The Gardener

from by Broadside Electric

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Child #219. The entire story can be summed up as: "A gardener propositions a young lady; she tells him to get lost." The dialog parallels that of riddle-songs like "Scarborough Fair," but the imagery makes it one of the most poetic of folk lyrics. There are a number of modern recordings of this song, mostly based on Ewan MacColl's version. The one that sparked Tom's interest in it was Roger Wilson's great rendition on a record by the House Band. Some additional lyrics were found in Child.


Proud Margaret stood in her father's doorway
Straight as a willow wand
And by there came a gardener bold
With a red rose in his hand, his hand,
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 garden
I'll make a gown for thee, for thee…

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

Your gloves shall be of the clover flower
And your shoes of rue so fine
I'll line them with the cornflower blue
Come join your love with mine

Since you have made a gown for me
Among the summer flowers
So I shall make a suit for thee
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 all at your breast

Your boots will be of the bramble briar
That nothing can betide
The water wan will be your steed
Light on, young man, and ride

The hat you wear upon your brow
It will be of the weather gray
And every time that you pass by
I'll wish you were away


from With Teeth, released August 17, 1999
(trad. Scottish)

JD: drums, backing vocal; AK: oboe; TR: vocals, electric and acoustic guitars; JS: bass, bass clarinet, alto saxophone; HZ: violins; MD: vocal

Interstitial: The Herring (trad. English); JD: vocal; AK: vocal; TR: vocal; JS: vocal; HZ: vocal



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Broadside Electric Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Broadside Electric is a five-piece electric folk band from Philadelphia, PA (US). They have earned a reputation for thoroughly original arrangements and painstaking research into traditional English, Celtic and Eastern European music. Broadside Electric has been at turns called “Pennsylvania’s answer to Steeleye Span” and “folk music’s answer to death metal.” ... more

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