“The False Bride (The Week Before Easter; I Once Loved a Lass)”

Alternate titles: “The Forlorn Lover”; “I Ainse Loved a Lass”; “I Loved a Lass”; “The Week Before Easter”; “Three Weeks Before Easter”; “Six Weeks Before Easter”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1675 (broadside, Bodleian Douce Ballads 1(83a)); also printed in the reign of James II (1685-1688)
Keywords: love infidelity courting marriage death wedding lyric
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber),England(South,Lond)) Ireland Canada(Newf) Australia

Description

The singer reports that the woman he once loved is going to be wed to another. He mopes around in various ways -- e.g. looking for flowers out of season. His friends fail to lift his spirits. He declares his intent to die in hopes of forgetting her

Notes

Some versions (for example, "I Loved A Lass" on SCMacCollSeeger01) include a verse close to Opie-Oxford2 318, "A man in the wilderness asked me": "A man in the wilderness asked me, How many strawberries grow in the sea? I answered him, as I thought good, As many as red herrings grow in the wood" (earliest date in Opie-Oxford2 is 1716). [Also in Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #142, p. 114. - RBW]

Is it significant that this verse is not in any of the printed versions that I consulted: Peacock, Karpeles-Newfoundland, Bodleian broadsides or Greig _Folk-Song of the North-East_ 24? - BS

Cross references

Broadsides

Recordings

References

  1. Meredith/Anderson, pp. 187-188, "I Think by This Time He's Forgot Her" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Kennedy 152, "The False Bride" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Ord, p. 175, "It Wasna My Fortune to Get Her" (1 text)
  4. OLochlainn 86, "The Lambs on the Green Hills" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Peacock, pp. 441-442, "The False Maiden" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  6. Karpeles-Newfoundland 31, "The False Bride" (2 texts, 3 tunes)
  7. Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 37, "The False Bride" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. BBI, ZN2765, "A week before Easter"; ZN2766, "The week before Easter"
  9. DT 848, FLSEBRDE FLSEBRD2* FLSEBRD3* FLSEBRD4 FLSEBRD5* FLSEBRD6* FLSEBRD7* FLSEBRD8
  10. Roud #154
  11. BI, K152