Monday, March 28, 2016

Searching for Lambs
This English folk song was collected by Cecil Sharp in his One Hundred English Folk Songs (1916). Though the words may vary from version to version, the theme is always the same—the shepherdess is searching for her lambs on a May 
morning and the young man is searching for her love.

Searching for Lambs / As I went out one May morning

As I went out one May morning,
One May morning betime,
I met a maid from home had strayed,
Just as the sun did shine

What makes you rise so soon, my dear,
Your journey to pursue?
Your pretty little feet they tread so sweet,
Strike off the morning dew.

I'm going to feed my Father's flock,
His young and tender lambs,
That over hills and over dales
Lie waiting for their dams.

O stay! O stay! you handsome maid,
And rest a moment here,
For there is none but you alone
That I do love so dear.

How gloriously the sun doth shine,
How pleasant is the air;
I'd rather rest on a true love's breast
Than any other where.

For I am thine and thou art rnine;
No man shall uncomfort thee.
We'll join our hands in wedded bands
And a-married we will be.
These lyrics may or may not be copyrighted!

A.L. Lloyd suggests in Folk Song in England that this tune is the kind that owes its form to the mingling of the art of the peasantry and the art of the townsfolk. 

It was a great favourite of Cecil Sharp and in Somerset he collected five versions between 1904 and 1909. He included it in a number of publications, some with piano accompaniment. As such it was one of his chosen ‘English folk songs’ which became popular as a drawing-room song: It also appears in Novello's Schools Series which was compiled by Sharp and Baring-Gould in 1906, and in fact, Bob learned it at school when he was 12 or 13 from a master who was interested in folk songs.