> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > The Trees They Grow So High
> Martin Carthy > Songs > The Trees They Do Grow High
> Steeleye Span > Songs > Long A-Growing
> Eliza Carthy > Songs > Growing (The Trees They Do Grow High)

The Trees They Grow So High / Long A-Growing / The Bonny Boy / Lady Mary Ann

[ Roud 31 ; Laws O35 ; G/D 6:1222 ; Ballad Index LO35 ; Bodleian Roud 31 ; trad.]

Bertha Bidder collected The Trees They Grow So High in May 1905 in Stoke Fleming, Devon, from an unnamed female singer. This version was printed in 1959 in A.L. Lloyd's and Ralph Vaughan Williams' Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

Harry Cox of Catfield, Norfolk, sang a fragment of Young and Growing in October 1953 to Peter Kennedy. This recording was included in 2000 on his Rounder anthology What Will Become of England?.

Lizzie Higgins sang Lang A-Growin' to Hamish Henderson in 1954. This recording was included in the early 1960s on the Prestige album Folksongs and Music from the Berryfields of Blair. Another recording with the title My Bonny Boy, made by Hamish Henderson and Sandy Paton in Aberdeen in September 1958, was included in 2000 on the Folk-Legacy anthology Ballads and Songs of Tradition. A third recording, made by Bill Leader on January 5, 1968, was released as The College Boy (Young Craigston) in the following year on her first Topic album, Princess of the Thistle. Peter Hall commented in the sleeve notes:

This moving song, known variously as The Bonny Boy Is Lang Lang A-Growin and The Trees They Do Grow High is popularly supposed to have had a factual basis in an arranged marriage in the early 17th century. However, such marriages were once so common that to pick out one in particular seems entirely arbitrary. Tradition has it that the ballad is originally Scots but there is little concrete evidence of this and a number of the musical variants suggest an Irish ancestry. Lizzie’s tune is a fine and fitting pipe air.

Lizzie Higgins sang another version named Lady Mary Ann in 1975 on her Topic album Up and Awa' Wi' the Laverock. This track was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology It Fell on a Day, a Bonny Summer Day (The Voice of the People Series Volume 17). Peter Hall commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

Many traditional singers know more than one version of the same song and here Lizzie gives us another setting of The College Boy (The Bonnie Laddie’s Lang, Lang A-Growing, The Trees They Do Grow High) which appeared on her first LP. The text came from her father’s aunt, Jean Stewart, and it has something of the flavour of the printed page. Lizzie was dissatisfied with the melody used by her great-aunt and, at her father’s suggestion, put the words to a pipe tune Mrs MacDonald of Dunacht. The composer of the tune is supposed to have written it close to a reverberant wall, giving him echoes of some of the phrases which he then incorporated into his composition.

A further recording of Lizzie Higgins singing The College Boy at the Blairgowrie Folk Festival in between 1986 and 1995 was included in 2000 on the festival's anthology The Blair Tapes.

A.L. Lloyd sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 1956 on his Tradition album The Foggy Dew and Other Traditional English Love Songs. In 1960, he sang it with the title The Trees They Grow So High on his album A Selection from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. Like all tracks from this LP it was reissued in 2003 on the CD England & Her Traditional Songs. Lloyd wrote in the album's sleeve notes:

A ballad common all over the British Isles. Scottish, Irish and English versions resemble each other in text but not always in tune. In Irish sets, the young lovers are of more respectable age. There is a story that the ballad was made after the death in 1634 of the juvenile laird of Craigton who married a girl some years older than himself, and died within a short time. In fact, the song is probably older, and may have originated in the Middle Ages when the joining of two family fortunes by child-marriage was not unusual. Our tune was notated by Bertha Bidder from a woman in Stoke Fleming, Devon, some time before 1905.

Ewan MacColl sang Lang A-Growing in 1957 on his and A.L. Lloyd's Riverside album Great British Ballads Not Included in the Child Collection.

May Bradley sang a fragment of Long A-Growing to Fred Hamer in Ludlow, Shropshire, in October 1959. This recording was included in 2010 on her Musical Traditions anthology Sweet Swansea. Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

May Bradley's skill is amply displayed in her penultimate verse, where the extra-long text “When me and you was sitting all alone” are effortlessly fitted into a modified melody. Beautiful!

Isla Cameron sang Still Growin' in 1962 on her and Tony Britton's Transatlantic album Songs of Love, Lust and Loose Living.

Queen Caroline Hughes sang a fragment of Young But Growing to Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in between 1963 and 1966. This recording was included in 2014 on her Musical Traditions anthology Sheep-Crook and Black Dog.

Joe Heaney sang this song as My Bonny Boy Is Young in a recording session at Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger's home in Beckenham in 1964. This was published in 2000 on his Topic CDs The Road from Connemara.

Lorna Campbell sang Lang A-Growin' in 1965 on the Campbell Family's Topic album The Singing Campbells. Peter A. Hall and Arthur Argo commented in the sleeve notes:

This ballad, although widespread, was not included in Professor Child’s famous anthology. It has been suggested that it is based on the marriage of the young Urquhart of Craigston to Elizabeth Innes about 1633, although many other such arranged marriages at this time or before may have been the origin.

Martin Carthy sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 1965 as on his eponymous first album, Martin Carthy; this track was later included on the 1999 compilation Martin Carthy: A Collection. A live recording from the Sunflower Folk Club, Belfast, on October 20, 1978 was published in 2011 on his CD The January Man; and he returned to this song on Brass Monkey's 2009 CD, Head of Steam. Martin Carthy commented in his original album's sleeve notes:

The Trees They Do Grow High first appeared in print in 1792 under the title Lady Mary Ann and the young man is named as Young Charlie Cochran. In 1824 another version was printed as the Young Laird of Craigs Town with a note attached saying he had been married when very young, and had died shortly afterwards in 1634. There is no real evidence to suggest that the many English versions collected date back to this incident; indeed the ballad may well be older as child marriages of convenience were by no means uncommon in Mediaeval times.

Fred Jordan was recorded singing The Bonny Boy by Bill Leader and Mike Yates in a private room in The Bay Malton Hotel, Oldfield Brow, Altringham, Cheshire, in 1966. This was published on his 1966 Topic album Songs of a Shropshire Farm Worker and on the anthology O'er His Grave the Grass Grew Green (The Voice of the People Series Volume 3; Topic 1998). Another, 1982 recording by Sybil Clarke is on his 2003 Veteran anthology A Shropshire Lad. Mike Yates commented in the latter album's notes:

England, Scotland and Ireland share this very favourite ballad, which appeared on several broadsides during the nineteenth century. Burns rewrote it as Lady Mary Ann—Lizzie Higgins can be heard singing this on Topic TSCD667—and some have suggested that the story relates to an actual event, namely the marriage of the boy Laird of Craigton to a girl some years his senior in 1631. Such marriages, often formed to consolidate family alliances, were not uncommon. Fred learned the song from his mother.

Pentangle sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 1968 on their second Transatlantic album, Sweet Child.

Ian Manuel sang Lang-A-Growing live at Folk Union One in 1969. This recording was included in the same year on the rare privately issued album Blue Bell Folk Sing which was finally reissued on CD in 2014.

Robin and Barry Dransfield sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 1970 on their first album, The Rout of the Blues on the Trailer label. Barry Dransfield also recorded it in 1994 with the title Bonny Boy for his CD Be Your Own Man. Their first album's liner notes commented:

Barry first heard this song played by the Irish musicians who frequent the Roscoe public house in Leeds. He included it in his solo repertoire, but after he joined with Robin and after they both had been deeply impressed by the Fairport Convention at their Festival Hall concert during summer of 1969, they put together this closely integrated duet which, although it sounds as though Barry's voice and fiddle might have been double tracked, in fact was performed as it is in a live performance.

Tony Rose sang The Trees They Do Grow High unaccompanied in 1971 on his second album, Under the Greenwood Tree. He commented in his sleeve notes:

The Trees They Do Grow High has been quite unashamedly learned from the version noted by Sharp from Harry Richards of Curry Rivell in Somerset. As Sharp states, the way in which the concluding strain of each verse is varied is a fine example of how lines of irregular length can be adapted to the same melody. As in the True Lovers tune, there is here the octave jump of which the old singers seem particularly fond.

George Dunn of Quarry Bank, Staffordshire, sang a fragment of The Trees They Do Grow High on December 4, 1972 to Roy Palmer. This recording was included in 2002 on his Musical Traditions anthology Chainmaker.

Mary Ann Haynes of Brighton, Sussex, sang Long A-Growing on July 17, 1974 to Mike Yates. This recording was included a year later on the Topic anthology of traditional songs from Sussex, Sussex Harvest, in 1998 on the Topic anthology Tonight I'll Make You My Bride (The Voice of the People Series Volume 6), and in 2003 on the Musical Traditions anthology of gypsy songs and music from South-east England, Here's Luck to a Man.

Walter Pardon sang The Trees They Do Grow High at home in his cottage in Knapton, Norfolk, in May 1974. This recording made by Bill Leader and Peter Bellamy was issued in the following year on Walter Pardon's Leader LP A Proper Sort. An alternate take was included in 2000 on his Topic CD A World Without Horses.

Steeleye Span recorded Long A-Growing in 1974 for their sixth album, the first one with drummer Nigel Pegrum, Now We Are Six.

Isabel Sutherland sang The Bonny Boy in 1974 on her eponymous EFDSS album Isabel Sutherland.

Harry Brazil sang Long A-Growing to Gwilym Davies at Staverton, Gloucestershire on November 27, 1977. This recording was included in 2007 on the Brazil Family's Musical Tradition anthology Down By the Old Riverside. The album's booklet noted:

Roud shows this song to be widely known, with 181 entries from right across the Anglophone world, but with the majority from England. It is most usually titled The Trees They Do Grow High, but examples along the lines of Long A-Growing are also very frequent. Clearly its popularity endured until recently, since about one third of his entries are sound recordings.

Although the sad tale of such failed arranged marriages was universal, Aberdeenshire claims it firmly for the marriage and death three years later of the young Laird of Craigston in 1634, as attested by James Maidment in A North Country Garland (1824).

Traveller Nelson Penfold of Westlake, Devon, sang Young A-Growing to Sam Richards and Tish Stubbs in between 1974 and 1980. This recording was included in 1981 on the Folkways album An English Folk Music Anthology. The album's booklet commented:

Nelson Penfold here sings another of the ballads that Child omitted. His rendition begins with a short spoken passage to set the scene, moving into song at what is variously found elsewhere as a second, third or even fourth verse. He says that the spoken passage is traditional, although often longer than he gives it.

The sense of the story usually revolves around an arranged marriage. Nelson's version changes the sense. As in the other versions the boy is too young, although he fathers a son but dies soon after. Nelson has them, though, as two young lovers seeking parental consent, and sometimes calls the song “the tale of the little boy and the big maid”.

Jean Redpath sang Lady Mary Ann in 1976 on her anthology The Songs of Robert Burns Volumes 1.

John Goodluck sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 1977 on his Traditional Sound Recordings album Monday's Childe.

Peter Bellamy sang The Trees They Do Grow High on his 1979 LP Both Sides Then. He laconically commented in his sleeve notes:

Learned from Walter Pardon of Knapton in Norfolk. (One verse omitted, one verse from a variant inserted).

Yorkshire Relish (Derek, Dorothy and Nadine Elliott) sang The Trees They Do Grow High on their 1980 Traditional Sound Recordings album An Old Family Business.

Gill Bowman sang Lang A-Growin' in 1990 on her Fellside CD City Love.

Janet Russell and Christine Kydd sang Lady Mary Ann in 1994 on their Greentrax CD Dancin' Chantin'.

Eliza Carthy learnt this song from Walter Pardon and sang it with the title Growing (The Trees They Do Grow High) in 1995 on her and Nancy Kerr's second album Shape of Scrape. The track was later included in their compilation CD On Reflection.

Bob Copper sang The Trees They Do Grow High on the 1995 Veteran CD When the May Is All in Bloom. According to the liner notes, he “learned this version from Seamus Ennis while they were working together for the BBC in the 1950s.” John Copper sang it ten years later on the Fellside anthology of English traditional songs and their American variants, Song Links 2, with Tim Eriksen providing the American variant.

Ray Driscoll of Longborough, Leicestershire sang My Bonny Boy on April 13, 1996 to Gwilym Davies. This recording was included in 2008 on his CD Wild, Wild Berry.. Gwilym Davies commented:

Also known as Long A-Growing or The Trees They Grow High. Ray learnt several songs from his Irish father, who was also a fiddle player. This song was Ray’s favourite and demonstrates well his Irish style of singing.

Billy Ross sang Lady Mary Ann on the 1996 Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 1.

Gordeanna McCulloch sang My Bonnie Laddie's Lang a' Growin on her 1997 Greentrax album In Freenship's Name.

Brian Peters and Gordon Tyrrall sang Long A-Growing in 2000 on their duo CD The Moving Moon.

Sangsters sang Lady Mary Ann in 2000 on their Greentrax album Sharp and Sweet.

Ellen Mitchell sang Lady Mary Ann on her and Kevin Mitchells's 2001 Musical Traditions anthology Have a Drop Mair and a year later on her Tradition Bearers CD On Yonder Lea.

The Cecil Sharp Centenary Collective sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 2003 on their Talking Elephant CD As I Cycled Out on a May Morning.

Annie Grace sang The Trees They Grow High in 2004 on her Greentrax CD Take Me Out Drinking Tonight.

Bob Fox sang Still Growing in 2006 on his Topic CD The Blast. He commented in his liner notes:

This is the first folksong I ever learned to sing and play. I have used both of the tunes that I know and have compiled the words from many sources. Also known as The Young Laird of Craigston, it appears to be about the marriage of Lord Craigston to Elizabeth Innes who was several years his senior. He died shortly after, in 1634, of melancholy due to unpaid debts left by his own father.

Graham Metcalfe sang The Trees Grow High in 2006 on his WildGoose CD Songs from Yorkshire and Other Civilisations. He commented:

Some say the story relates to the actual marriage of the boy Laird of Craigton to an older girl in 1631. Some people say anything!

Jon Boden and Fay Hield learned The Trees They Do Grow High from Barry Dransfield's album and sang it in a Bright Young Folk recording as the September 22, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Kirsty Bromley sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 2011 on her privately issued EP Sweet Nightingale.

Jim Moray sang The Trees They Do Grow High on Concerto Caledonia's 2011 album Revenge of the Folksingers. His sister Jackie Oates sang The Trees They Are So High in the same year on her CD Saturnine.

Jeff Warner sang Young But Daily Growing in 2011 on his WildGoose album Long Time Travelling. He commented:

Also known as The Trees They Do Grow High, this is another song Lena Bourne Fish gave the Warners in 1940. Some see its origins with a young laird of Craigton, Scotland, who died in 1634, three years after his marriage to a woman several years his senior. Others say it is an even older song. It's not in the Francis James Child collection of The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. But it probably should be.

Maggie Boyle sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 2012 on her CD Won't You Come Away. She commented in her liner notes:

From the singing of Peter Bellamy (excepting the tiny changes I made—including a few words from Jeff Warner. Thanks Jeff!). Peter made his customary, indelible mark on this popular folk story. I hope he would have approved of this (he’d certainly have told me if he did not!).

Lauren McCormick sang Trees Grow High on her 2012 WildGoose CD On Blue Stockings. She commented:

This tune comes from May Bradley via the listening room at Cecil Sharp House. Her take on the story was rather happier than usual—nobody died and the young couple just had a nice chat for two verses. As lovely as this is, I thought I’d flesh it out with some verses from the George Butterworth Collection.

Steve Roud included The Trees They Do Grow High in 2012 in The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. Lucy Ward and Bella Hardy sang it a year later on the accompanying Fellside CD The Liberty to Choose: A Selection of Songs from The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

Emily Smith sang this ballad as My Darling Boy in 2014 on her CD Echoes.

Andy Turner learned The Trees They Do Grow High from the 1995 recording of Bob Copper mentioned above. He sang it as the January 9, 2015 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Sarah Hayes sang The Trees They Grow Tall in 2015 on her CD Woven.

Fiona Hunter learned Lady Mary Ann from the singing of Lizzie Higgins and sang it in 2015 on Malinky's album Far Better Days (which took its title from the ballad's verses: “Far better days I trust will come again / For my bonnie laddie’s young, but he’s growin yet”.)

Kirsty Potts sang College Boy on her 2015 album The Seeds of Life. She commented in her liner notes:

Learnt from the superb singing of Lizzie Higgins of Aberdeen. It is also known as Young Craigston, Lang A-Growing and Trees They Do Grow High. Versions are well spread in Britain and North America. This is one of the few classic ballads which does not appear in Child's collection.

The Rails (Kami Thompson and James Walbourne) sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 2015 on their CD Australia.

David Stacey learned The Trees They Do Grow High from Joe Dolan and sang it on his 2015 Musical Traditions anthology Good Luck to the Journeyman.

Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater sang The Trees They Do Grow High in 2016 on their CD Findings. Ange Hardy commented in the album notes:

This was the first traditional song that we arranged together as a duo. It's a song I had heard countless times but never really listened to until I heard the version by Lucy Ward and Bella Hardy on The Liberty to Choose. Those two really dragged me into the lyrics of the song for the first time, and from that introduction to the song I knew I wanted to work on my own arrangement. Lukas introduced the mid-song time signature change just before we started recording!

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings The Trees They Grow So High

The trees they grow so high and the leaves they grow so green,
The day is past and gone, my love, that you and I have seen.
It's a cold winter's night, my love, when I must bide alone,
For my bonny boy is young but a-growing.

As I was a-walking by yonder church wall,
I saw four-and-twenty young men a-playing at the ball.
I asked for my own true love but they wouldn't let him come,
For they said the boy was young but a-growing.

“Oh father, dearest father, you've done to me much wrong,
You've tied me to a boy when you know he is too young.”
“Oh daughter, dearest daughter, if you'd wait a little while,
A lady you shall be, while he's growing.”

“We'll send your love to college, all for a year or two,
And then perhaps in time the boy will do for you.
I'll buy you white ribbons to tie about his waist
To let the ladies know that he's married.”

And so early in the morning at the dawning of the day,
They went out into the hay-field to have some sport and play,
And what they did there she never would declare,
But she never more complained of his growing.

And at the age of sixteen he was a married man,
And at the age of seventeen she brought to him a son,
And at the age of eighteen the grass grew over him,
And that soon put an end to his growing.

May Bradley sings Long A-Growing

Now the trees they do grow high, my love,
But the leaves they do grow green
The time has gone and past, my love,
That me and you have seen
It's a cold and a frosty night, me love,
When me and you was sitting all alone
And we would let the ladies know
That we are growing.

Now I'll buy my wife a gown
Sure the best of linen brown
And while she is a-wearing it
The tears they will roll down
For she asked me for blue ribbons
To tie around her bonny bonny waist
And then we'll let those ladies know
That we are married.

Martin Carthy sings The Trees They Do Grow High

Oh the trees they do grow high and the leaves they do grow green,
And many's the cold winter's night my love and I have seen.
On a cold winter's night my love you and I alone have been.
Oh my bonny boy is young but he's growing,
Growing, growing,
My bonny boy is young but he's growing

“Oh father, dear father, you've done to me much harm,
For to go and get me married to one who is so young.
For he is only sixteen years old and I am twenty-one,
Oh my bonny boy is young but he's growing,
Growing, growing,
My bonny boy is young but he's growing.”

“Oh daughter, dear daughter, I'll tell you what I'll do,
I'll send your love to college for another year or two.
And all around his college cap I'll tie a ribbon blue,
For to let the ladies know that he's married,
Married, married,
To let the ladies know that he's married.”

Now at the age of sixteen he was a married man,
And at the age of seventeen the father to a son,
And at the age of eighteen the grass grew over him.
Cruel death soon put an end to his growing,
Growing, growing,
Cruel death soon put an end to his growing.

And now my love is dead and in his grave doth lie,
The green grass grows over him so very very high.
I'll sit here and mourn his death until the day I die
And I'll watch all o'er his child while he's growing,
Growing, growing,
I'll watch all o'er his child while he's growing,

Robin & Barry Dransfield sing The Trees They Do Grow High

Oh, the trees they do grow high and the leaves they do grow green,
And many's the long and winter's night my love and I have seen.
It's a cold and winter's night, my love, you and I must lie alone.
My bonny boy is young but he's growing.

“Oh father, dear father, you've done to me great wrong,
To go and get me married to one who is too young.
Oh, he's only sixteen years and I am twenty one,
My bonny boy is young but he's growing.”

“Oh daughter, dear daughter, I'll tell you what we do:
We'll send your love to college for another year or two.
And all around his college cap we'll tie a ribbon blue
To let the ladies know that he's married.”

So early, so early, so early the next day,
This couple they went out to sport amongst the hay;
And what they did there I never will declare,
But she never more complained of his growing.

At the age of sixteen he was a married man,
And at the age of seventeen the father to a son,
And at the age of eighteen the grass grow over him,
Cruel death had put an end to his growing.

Tony Rose sings The Trees They Do Grow High

The trees they do grow high and the leaves they do grow green,
The day is past and gone, my love, that you and I have seen.
It's a cold winter's night, my love, when you and I must lie alone.
The bonny lad is young but he's growing.

“Oh father, dearest father, you've done to me great wrong,
You married me a boy and I fear he is too young.”
“Oh daughter, dearest daughter, and if you stay at home and wait along with me,
A lady you shall be while he's growing.”

“We'll send him to the college, all for a year or two,
And then perhaps in time, my love, a man he may grow.
I will buy you a bunch of white ribbons to tie about his bonny, bonny waist
To let the ladies know that he's married.”

And so early in the morning at the dawning of the day,
They went out into the hay-field to have some sport and play,
And what they did there she never would declare,
But she never more complained of his growing.

At the age of sixteen, oh, he was a married man,
And at the age of seventeen she brought to him a son.
At the age of eighteen, my love, oh his grave was growing green
And so she put to an end to his growing.

I made my love a shroud of the holland oh so fine
And every stitch she put in it, the tears come trinkling down.
Oh once I had a sweetheart but now I have got never a one,
So fare you well my own true love forever.

Now he is dead and buried and in the churchyard laid
The green grass is all over him so very, very thick
Oh once I had a sweetheart but now I have got never a one,
So fare you well my own true love forever.

Peter Bellamy sings The Trees They Do Grow High

Now the trees they do grow high, love, the leaves they do grow green,
The time it is now gone, love, that you and I have seen.
It's a cold winter's night when you and I must bide alone
For the bonny boy is young, he's a-growing, growing,
For the bonny boy is young, he's a-growing.

“Oh father, dear father, you have done to me much wrong,
You've married me to a boy who I fear is too young.”
“Oh daughter, dear daughter, if you stay at home with me
Then a lady you will be while he's growing, growing,
A lady you will be while he's growing.”

“Oh, we will send your love to college, for another year or two,
Perhaps in that time to a man he will grow.
I will buy you white ribbons for to bind around his bonny waist
Just to let the ladies know that he's married, married,
Just to let the ladies know that he's married.”

As I was a-looking off my father's castle wall
There I spied all them bonny boys they was playing at the ball.
And my true love he ran among them, he was flower of all,
Though my bonny boy is young, he's a-growing, growing,
Though my bonny boy is young, he's a-growing.

At the age of sixteen he was a married man,
At the age of seventeen he was the father of a son,
At the age of eighteen, love, well his grave it was a-growing green,
So she soon saw the end of his growing, growing,
So she soon saw the end of his growing.

I made my love a shroud of the Holland oh so fine,
Every stitch I put in it, my tears came trickling down.
And I will mourn his fate until the day that I do die,
But I will watch o'er his child while it's growing, growing,
Yes I will watch o'er his child while it's growing.

Steeleye Span's Long A-Growing

As I was walking by yonder church wall,
I saw four-and-twenty young men a-playing at the ball.
I asked for my own true love but they wouldn't let him come,
For they said the boy was young but a-growing.

“Father, dear father, you've done me much wrong,
You've tied me to a boy when you know he is too young.”
“But he will make a Lord for you to wait upon,
And a lady you will be while he's growing.”

“We'll send him to college for one year or two
And maybe in time the boy will do for you.
I'll buy you white ribbons to tie around his waist
For to let the ladies know that he's married.”

The trees they do grow high and the leaves they do grow green,
The day is passed and gone, my love, that you and I have seen.
It's on a cold winter's night that I must lie alone,
For the bonny boy is young but a-growing.

At the age of sixteen he was a married man,
And at the age of seventeen the father to a son,
And at the age of eighteen his grave it did grow green.
Cruel dead had put an end to his growing.

Eliza Carthy sings Growing

The trees they do grow high, the leaves they do grow green,
The time is long past, love, you and I have seen.
It's a cold winter's night that you and I must bide alone,
Tho' my bonny lad is young, he's a-growin'.

“Oh father, dear father, you've done me much wrong,
You've married me to a boy who I fear is too young.”
“Oh daughter, dear daughter, if you stay at home with me,
A lady you shall be while he's growin'.”

“And we'll send him off to college for one year or two
Perhaps then, my love, to a man he will grow.
Now I'll buy you white ribbons to tie round his bonny waist
So the ladies will know that he's married.”

At the age of sixteen he was a married man,
And at seventeen the father of a son,
At the age of eighteen, love, his grave it was a-growin' green,
So she saw the end of his growin'

I made my love a shroud of Holland oh so fine,
Every stitch I put in it, the tears came trickling down.
Now I'll abhor his fate until the day I shall die,
And I'll watch o'er his child while it's growin',
I'll watch o'er his child while it's growin'.

Now my love is dead and in his grave he lies
And the grass I sowed o'er him it groweth so high.
I had a sweetheart but now I've got never a one,
Fare ye well my own true love for growin', growin',
Fare ye well my own true love for growin'.

Jon Boden & Fay Hield sing The Trees They Do Grow High

Oh, the trees they do grow high and the leaves they do grow green,
And it's many's the long and winter's night my love and I have seen.
It's a cold and winter's night, my love, you and I must lie alone.
Oh, my bonny boy is young but he's growing.

“Oh father, dear father, you've done to me great wrong,
To go and get me married to a boy who is too young.
For, he is only sixteen years and I am twenty one,
Oh, my bonny boy is young but he's growing.”

“Oh daughter, dear daughter, I'll tell you what we'll do:
We will send him off to college for another year or two.
And all around his college cap we will tie the ribbons blue
For to let the ladies know that he's married.”

So early, so early, so early the next day,
This couple they went out for to sport among the hay;
And what they did there I never will declare,
But she never more complained of his growing.

At the age of sixteen he was a married man,
And at the age of seventeen the father to a son,
But at the age of eighteen years the grass grow over him,
Cruel death had put an end to his growing.

Lizzie Higgins sings Lady Mary Ann

Lady Mary Ann looked o'er the Castle wa'
When she saw three bonny laddies a-playing at the ba'
And the youngest he was the flooer amang them a'
He's my bonny, bonny boy, aye and growing o,

“Father, dear father, I'll tell you what to do:
We'll send him tae the college for another year or two.
And round about his cap I will sew the ribbons blow
For to let the ladies know that he's growing .”

Lady Mary Ann was a flower in the dew,
Sweet and bonnye, aye bright was her hue,
And the longer she blossomed the sweeter she grew,
For the lily in the border will be bonnier o.

Young Charlie Cochran was as proud as an ake,
Blithe and bonny and straight was his make.
And the sun it shone a' for his sake,
And he will be the brag o' the forest o.

The summer it is gaen and the leaves they are green,
And the days are awa that we hae seen;
Far better days I trust will come again,
For my bonny laddie's young, aye, and a-growing o.

Acknowledgements

Garry Gillard transcribed Martin Carthy's version and Kira White transcribed the version sung by Eliza Carthy.

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