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> Tim Hart & Maddy Prior > Songs > The Gardener
> June Tabor > Songs > The Gardener

Proud Maisrie / The Gardener / The Gardener Child

[ Roud 339 ; Child 219 ; G/D 4:840 ; Ballad Index C219 ; trad.]

Ewan MacColl sang The Gairdner Child in 1956 on his and A.L. Lloyd's anthology The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Volume III, He also sang it accompanied by Peggy Seeger on guitar on their 1956 Tradition album Classic Scots Ballads. He commented in the album's sleeve notes:

This beautiful little ballad is a curious mixture of tenderness, passion, irony and plain waspishness. It is a perfect admixture of the qualities which make up the Scots character. The heroine of the ballad, for all her stiff-necked pride, is not averse to being wooed providing she gets the opportunity to return soft words with insult. The ballad appears to be unknown outside of Scotland. The version sung here was learned in fragmentary form from the singing of my mother, with additional stanzas from Greig's Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads and Ballad Airs.

Shirley Collins learned this ballad from the singing of Ewan MacColl and sang it as Proud Maisrie on her and Davy Graham's 1964 album Folk Roots, New Routes.

Bert Jansch sang The Gardener in 1966 on his Transatlantic album Jack Orion.

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior recorded this song as The Gardener in 1969 for their second duo album Folk Songs of Old England Vol. 2. The sleeve notes commented:

A gardener offers to make a lady a robe made up of flowers if she will bestow her love on him. This romantic idea forms the basis of a most winsome and lyrical ballad. It is probably of Northern origin since most printed texts are Scottish, and was given to us by A.L. Lloyd, it being a collation of several printed versions.

June Tabor sang The Gardener in 1999 on her CD A Quiet Eye.

Grace Notes learned The Gardener from The House Band's 1996 album Rockall and sang it in 2007 on their CD Northern Tide.

Rachael McShane sang The Gardener in 2009 on her CD No Man's Fool. and at Shrewsbury Folk Festival in August 2009:

Her Bellowhead band mate Jon Boden sang it as the May 14, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He noted in his blog:

Such a beautiful tune this. Steeleye [Span] borrowed it for a chorus for Wife of Usher’s Well, and who can blame them? Lovely lyric as well. I’ve decided to drop the last verse though because I’m less keen on it.

Lady Maisery sang The Gardener in 2011 on their CD Weave & Spin. They commented in their liner notes:

This is a very mysterious dialogue between a gardener and a woman who does not appreciate his flowery propositions. It's a Child ballad which Hannah [James] has adapted from a few different versions.

This video shows Lady Maisery at Beverley Folk Acoustic Roots Festival in June 2012:

Rachel Newton sang verses 1-3 and 5-7 of Shirley Collins' Proud Maisrie in 2016 on her CD Here's My Heart Come Take It.

Lyrics

Ewan MacColl sings The Gairdener Child

Proud Maisrie stands at her faither's door,
As straucht's a willow wand,
And syne there cam' a gairdner child
Wi' a red rose in his hand, his hand,
Wi' a red rose in his hand.

“O ye shall hae my rose, fair maid,
Gin ye'll gie your flooer tae me,
And amang the flooers o' your faither's yard
I'll mak' a gown for thee.

“The lily white shall be your smock,
Becomes your body neist;
And marigowds shall be your stays,
Wi' a red rose at yer breist.

“Your gown shall be the smelling thyme
And your petticoat camowine,
And your apron o' the soladene,
Come, kiss sweetheart, and join.

“Your gloves shall be the clover flooer
That springs in yonder wan,
And I'll sew them wi' the blue blevets
That graws amang the lawn.

“Your feet I'll shod wi' yon red rue
That graws in the gairden fine;
And I'll line them wi' the tapetan,
So join your live wi' mine.”

“Since you hae made a gown for me
Amang the simmer flooers,
It's I will mak' a suit for thee
Amang the winter shooers.

“The milk-white snaw hall be your sark
And lie yer body neist,
And the mirk-black rain shall be your coat
Wi' a wind gale at your breist.

“The horse that ye shall ride upon
Shall be the winter snell;
And I'll bridle him wi' some Norland blasts
And some sharp shooers o' hail.

“The bonnet's that be upon yer heid
Shall be the Southron grey,
And every time that ye pass by
I'll wish ye were away.”

Shirley Collins sings Proud Maisrie June Tabor sings The Gardener

Proud Maisrie stands in her bower door,
As slim as the willow wand,
And by there comes a gardener child
With a red rose in his hand, his hand.
A red rose in his hand.

Proud Maisrie stands in her bower door
As straight as the willow wand
And by and comes a gardener lad
With a red rose in his hand.

“Oh you shall have my rose, fair maid,
If you'll give your flower to me.
And among the flowers in your father's yard
I'll make a gown for thee, for thee,
I'll make a gown for thee.

“It's you shall have my rose, fair maid,
If you'll give your flower to me.
From among the flowers in my garden
I'll shape a gown for thee.

“The lily white shall be your smock,
Becomes your body best,
The gillyflower to be your quill
And a primrose at your breast.

“Your dress shall be the smelling thyme,
And your petticoat chamomile.
And your apron of the celandine
Then kiss, sweetheart, and join and join,
Come kiss, sweetheart, and join.

“Your gown shall be the scented thyme,
Your petticoat chamomile.
Your apron of the salads neat
That taste both sweet and fine.”

“Your feet are shoon with yon red rue
That grows in the garden fine,
And I’ll line them with the tapitaine.
So join your love with mine, with mine,
So join your love with mine.”

“Since you have made a gown for me
Among the summer flowers,
So I will make a suit for thee
Among the winter showers, showers,
Among the winter showers.

“Since you have shaped a gown for me
Among the summer flowers,
It's I'll repay you back again
Amidst the winter showers.

“The milk white snow shall be your shirt
And lie your body next,
And the mirk-black rain shall be your coat
With a wind-gale at your breast, your breast,
A wind-gale at your breast.

“New fallen snow shall be your shirt
And lie your body next,
The mirk-black rain shall be your coat
And a wind-gale at your breast.

“The bonnet that’s upon your head
Shall be the southron grey,
And every time that you pass by
I’ll wish you were away, away,
I’ll wish you were away.”

“The steed that you shall ride upon
Shall be the weather grey,
And when you come into my sight
I'll wish you were away.”

Tim Hart & Maddy Prior sing The Gardener Rachael McShane sings The Gardener

Proud Margret stood at her father's doorway
As straight as willow wand
And by there came a gardener bold
With red rose in his hand, his hand,
With red rose in his hand.

Proud Margret stood at her father's doorway
Straight as willow wand
And by there came a gardener bold
With a red rose in his hand, his hand,
With red rose in his hand.

“O you shall have my rose, fair maiden,
If you give your flower to me.
Among the flowers in your father's garden
I'll make a gown for thee, for thee,
I'll make a gown for thee.

“O you shall have my rose, fair maiden,
If you'll give your flower to me.
And among the flowers in your father's garden
I'll make a gown for thee, for thee,
I'll make a gown for thee.

“Your gown shall be sweet smelling thyme,
Your apron celandine,
Your petticoat of the chamomile.
Come kiss sweetheart and join, and join,
Come kiss sweetheart and join.

“Your gown shall be sweet smelling thyme, love,
Your apron celandine,
Your petticoat of the chamomile.
Come kiss sweetheart and join, and join,
Come kiss sweetheart and join.

“Your glove shall be of the clover flower,
Your shoes of the rue so fine,
I'll line them with the cornflower blue.
So join your love with mine, with mine,
So join your love with mine.”

“Your glove shall be of the clover flower,
Shoes of the rue so fine,
I'll line them with the cornflower blue.
So join your love with mine, mine,
Join your love with mine;
Join your love with mine, mine,
Join your love with mine.”

“Since you have made a gown for me
Among the summer flowers,
So I will make a suit for thee
Among the winter showers, the showers,
Among the winter showers.

“Since you have made a gown for me-o
Among the summer flowers,
So I will make a suit for thee
Among the winter showers,
Among the winter showers.

“The milk-white snow will be your shirt
That lies your body next,
And the night-black rain will be your coat
With the wind gale at your breast, your breast,
With the wind gale at your breast.

“Milk-white snow will be your shirt-o
That lies your body next,
And the night-black rain will be your coat
With the wind all at your breast-o,
The wind all at your breast,
With the wind all at your breast.

“The horse that you shall ride upon,
Will be of the wintry grey,
And every time that you pass by,
I'll wish you were away, away,
I'll wish you were away.”

“The horse that you shall ride upon,
Will be a wintry grey,
And every time that you pass by,
I'll wish you were away-o,
I'll wish you were away;
I'll wish you were away-o,
I'll wish you were away;
I'll wish you were away-o,
I'll wish you were away.”

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: The Gardener (from The House Band).