Lady in her Father’s Garden, The (1)

Play recording: Lady in her Father’s Garden, The (1)

view / hide recording details [+/-]

  • Teideal (Title): Lady in her Father’s Garden, The (1).
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 781510.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 264.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): N42.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Cynthia Thiessen.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 28/02/1978.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): seminar.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): Mike Seeger, Fredric Lieberman.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

There was a lady in her father’s garden
When a gentleman he was passing by
He stood awhile and he gazed upon her
He said, ‘Fair maid, would you fancy I?’

[‘I am no lady but a country girl
A country girl of a low degree
So, kind sir, you must find another
For I’m not fit your wife to be.’]

‘It’s seven years since I’ve had a true love
Seven years more since I did him see
And seven more I will wait upon him
If he’s alive he’ll come back to me.’

‘It’s seven years since you had a true love
Seven more since you did him see
And seven more you’ll wait upon him
Perhaps this young man you may never see.’

‘If he is married I wish him happiness
If he is dead I wish him rest

But if he’s alive I’ll wait upon him
For he’s the young man that I love best.’

When he saw his love was single
When he saw his love was true
He took out a gold ring they had between them
And when she saw it, it’s down she fell.

He took her up into his arms
He gave her kisses most loyal and true,
Saying, ‘I’m your young man and single sailor
Who’s come afar, love, to wed with you.’

‘If you’re my young man and single sailor
Your face and features look strange to me.’
‘Oh seven years make great alterations
The raging sea, love, between you and me.’

Now this couple are happily married
They have ships on the ocean blue
Her true love Willie never faltered
To please his darling, he loved so true.


This recording was made during a joint seminar with Mike Seeger, and it’s Seeger’s voice that we hear first. The stanza in square brackets was not included in this performance, but did appear in a subsequent rendition (UW84-1.23), which Joe introduced as follows:

There’s a lot of songs about ‘broken tokens’. Long ago, when the rich girls used to fall in love with the poor fellows… the powers-that-be — which usually belonged to the girl — would make sure the fellow was sent away, whether he came back or not (hopefully he didn’t, according to her parents). And they sometimes had a ring, or something, between them, that when he came back, that the girl would recognize who it was. For sometimes the years take a toll on some people… There’s a lot of these ‘broken-token’ songs, but the daddy of them all is supposed to be The Lady in her Father’s Garden. Now, he pretended he didn’t know her, but she definitely didn’t know him. Because maybe the so-and-so was disguised or something…

This was recorded while Joe was Artist in Residence at University of Washington.