Early One Morning

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For the 2011 French-Belgian film, see Early One Morning (film).

"Early One Morning" (Roud 12682) is an English folk song. The lyrics are first found in publications as far back as 1787.[1] A broadside in the Bodleian Library, Oxford dates from about 1803.[2] Early editions are often referred to as "The Lamenting Maid" or "The Lovesick Maid".[1]

It was only with William Chappell's publication in his National English Airs of c.1855-1859 that the well-known melody was first printed.[1] The melody may be derived from an earlier song "The Forsaken Lover". Chappell wrote in his later Popular Music of the Olden Time:

"If I were required to name three of the most popular songs among the servant-maids of the present generation, I should say, from my own experience, that they are Cupid's Garden, I sow'd the seeds of love, and Early one morning. I have heard Early one morning sung by servants who came from Leeds, from Hereford and from Devonshire, and by others from parts nearer to London. The tune... was, I believe first printed in my collection.... from one of the penny song-books collected by Ritson, and it is curious that scarely any two copies agree beyond the second line, although the subject is always the same - a damsel's complaint for the loss of her lover."[3]

Lyrics[edit]

Tune for Early One Morning

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Early one morning,
Just as the sun was rising,
I heard a young maid sing,
In the valley below.

CHORUS:
Oh, don't deceive me,
Oh, never leave me,
How could you use
A poor maiden so?

Remember the vows,
That you made to your Mary,
Remember the bow'r,
Where you vowed to be true,

Chorus

Oh Gay is the garland,
And fresh are the roses,
I've culled from the garden,
To place upon thy brow.

Chorus

Thus sang the poor maiden,
Her sorrows bewailing,
Thus sang the poor maid,
In the valley below.

Chorus[4]


Another version:

Early one morning, just as the sun was rising,
I heard a young maid sing in the valley below.
Oh, don't deceive me, Oh never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?

Remember the vows that you made to me truly,
Remember how tenderly you nestled close to me.
Gay is the garland, fresh are the roses
I've culled from the garden, to bind over thee.

Here I now wander alone as I wonder
Why did you leave me to sigh and complain.
I ask of the roses, why should I be forsaken,
Why must I here in sorrow remain?

Through yonder grove by the spring that is running,
There you and I have so merrily played,
Kissing and courting and gently sporting,
Oh, my innocent heart you've betrayed.

How could you slight so pretty a girl who loves you,
A pretty girl who loves you so dearly and warm?
Though love's folly is surely but a fancy,
Still it should prove to me sweeter than your scorn.

Soon you will meet with another pretty maiden,
Some pretty maiden, you'll court her for a while;
Thus ever ranging, turning and changing,
Always seeking for a girl that is new.

Early one morning, just as the sun was rising,
I heard a young maid sing in the valley below.
Oh, don't deceive me, Oh never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?

Arrangements[edit]

The folk song is used in a number of well known folk-song arrangements, for example by the English composers Benjamin Britten and Gordon Jacob along with the Australian composer Percy Aldridge Grainger. Its melody forms the opening bars of the "Radio 4 UK Theme" by Fritz Spiegl, which was played every morning at the switch-on of BBC Radio 4 from late 1978 until April 2006.

Recordings[edit]

TV and Film appearances[edit]

The song has also been used in a number of television programmes and films.

  • The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) children's programme The Friendly Giant, which aired from 1958 to 1985, used an instrumental version of "Early One Morning" as its introductory and closing theme performed on recorder by Bob Homme (the actor who played the titular giant), with harp accompaniment by John Duncan.
  • The song became Frank Spencer's choice of song in the BBC situation comedy Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
  • In the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Early One Morning" was used by the First Evil as a trigger to make the vampire Spike kill humans again; one of the episodes is called "Never Leave Me", a line from the song.
  • In the TV comedy series Will & Grace, Advise & Resent (2x15), Will Truman plays the opening to the song on a bread stick whilst waiting for his blind date to arrive.
  • It was used in at least three episodes of Bonanza. Adam Cartwright (played by Pernell Roberts) sang the song in the episode entitled "The Wooing of Abigail Jones" on 3/4/1962 (Season 3, Episode 24). Almost a year later, on 24 February 1963 (Season 4, Episode 22), Julia Grant (played by Pat Crowley) sang it again in the episode entitled "The Actress". Then on 4 April 1965 (Season 6, Episode 27), Hilda Brunner (played by Susanne Cramer) sang it to Howard Meade (played by Hoyt Axton) while playing harpsichord in the episode entitled "Dead and Gone".
  • Elizabeth Montgomery performed the song in a 1970 episode of Bewitched in which her character, Samantha, was transported back to 16th Century England and entertained King Henry VIII while strumming a lute.
  • Tessa Peake-Jones, playing the character Mary Bennet sang this song in the 1980 production of Pride and Prejudice.

It was also used in a book called The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Patrick M. Liebergen, Singer's Library of Song: Medium Voice (Alfred Music Publishing, 2005) ISBN 978-0-7390-3659-4, 164.
  2. ^ Bodleian Library, Retrieved 7 July 2010
  3. ^ William Chappell, Popular Music of the Olden Time, Volume 2 (Elibron Classics series, Adegi Graphics LLC) ISBN 978-1-4021-6106-3, 735
  4. ^ Hundreds of variations on the lyrics exist. These are the lyrics printed in the News Chronicle Songbook, 1956.

External links[edit]