The Sprig of Thyme
Come all you maidens fair
That are just now in your prime,
I'd have you to keep your gardens clean
And let no man steal your thyme.
Oh! I once had a sprig of thyme
And it flourished by night and by day
Till at length there came a false young man
And he stole my thyme all away.
So now my thyme is all gone
And I cannot plant any new
For the very place where my thyme used to grow
is all over-run with rue.
And rue is a running, running root
And it runs so far underneath
That I will pluck that running, running rue
And I'll plant a jolly oak tree.
Now here stands the jolly oak tree
That will neither wither or die,
And I'll prove so true to my dear love
As the stars all in the sky.
The gardener was standing by
And I asked him to choose for me
He chose for me the primrose, the violet and the vine
But I did them overlook all three.
In June there's a red rosy bud
But that's not the flower for me;
For oftentimes I've plucked at the red rosy bud
And gained the willow tree.
Green willow it will twist
Green willow it will twine,
I wish that I was safe all in that young man's arms
That stole away my thyme.
Green Willow I will sing
Green Willow shall be my song,
That all the world may plainly see
That I once loved a false young man.
From Marrow Bones, Purslow
Collected from David Morrow and Moses Blake, 1906