Blackbirds and Thrushes
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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Lyrics
This tune is supposed to be a variation of Hares on the Mountain. However, this version is not at all similar in either lyrics or melody to the same titled tune in Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, which is similar to Hares. So it may be a completely unrelated tune.

Blackbirds and Thrushes was popular in the West of England. Printed versions appear in a songbook by Cecil Sharp (1903). Variants include:

Blackbirds is sometimes attributed to Irishman Samuel Lover (1797-1865) because it is included in his novel Rory O'More.

As I was a-walking for my recreation,
A down by the gardens I silently stray'd,
I heard a fair maid making great lamentation,
Crying, Jimmy will be slain in the wars I'm afraid.

The blackbirds and thrushes sang in the green bushes;
The wood doves and larks seem'd to mourn for the maid;
And this song that she sang was concerning her lover;
O Jimmy will be slain in the wars I'm afraid.

Her cheeks blushed like roses, her arms full of posies,
She stray'd in the meadows and, weeping, she said:
My heart it is aching, my poor heart is breaking,
For Jimmy will be slain in the wars I'm afraid.

When Jimmy returned with his heart full of burning,
He found his dear Nancy all dead in her grave
He cried: I'm forsaken, my poor heart is breaking,
O would that I never had left this fair maid!
From
One Hundred English Folksongs
Information from
Folksongs of Britain and Ireland
See Bibliography for full information.