> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > I Wish My Love (The Pitman's Love Song)

I Wish My Love / The Pitman's Love Song

[ Roud 8738 ; Ballad Index RcIWML ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang I Wish My Love unaccompanied in 1966 on his Topic album First Person. The track was reissued in 1994 as I Wish, I Wish on the CD Classic A.L. Lloyd. A.L. Lloyd commented in the former album's sleeve notes:

A lost song re-found. It resides among the manuscript papers of eccentric old John Bell of Newcastle, a great pioneer collector of the folk songs of the English North-east, unjustly neglected. Many of his songs found their way, unacknowledged, into the celebrated Northumbrian Minstrelsy, but this one was not among them. The song is something of a masterpiece, but it seems to have dropped right out of tradition after Bell noted it, apparently in the opening years of the nineteenth century. In Bell's manuscript the piece is entitled A Pitman's Love Song. There's nothing in the text of the song that attaches to the miner's calling. Bell gives no tune for it, so I have fitted one. There's another verse to this piece, passionate and scatological. Rather to my own surprise I find myself too prudish to sing it, though I'm impressed by its intensity.

Faustus sang I Wish, I Wish in 2013 on their CD Broken Down Gentlemen.

Lisa Knapp sang I Wish My Love Was a Cherry in a video that she uploaded to YouTube in 2010:


A.L. Lloyd sings I Wish My Love

I wish my love she was a cherry
A-growing on yon cherry tree
And I myself a bonnie blackbird
How I would peck that sweet cherry

I wish my love she was a red rose
A-growing on yon garden wall
And I myself a drop of dew
How on that red rose I would fall

I wish my love was in a little box
And I myself to carry the key
I'd go in to her whenever I'd a mind
And I'd bear my love good company

I wish my love she was a grey ewe
A-grazing by yonder riverside
And I myself a fine black ram
Oh on that ewe how I would ride

My love she's bonnie, my love she's canny
And she's well favoured for to see
And the more I think on her my heart is set upon her
And under her apron I fain would be

I wish my love she was a bee-skip
And I myself a bumble-bee
That I might be a lodger within her
For she's sweeter than the honey or the honeycomb tea

(The verse A.L. Lloyd left out:)

I wish my love was a ripe turd
And smoking down in yon dykeside
And I myself was a shitten flea
I'd suck her up before she dried