Still Growing
(The Trees They Do Grow High)

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Ron Clarke


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This tune is known by many titles. In addition to those above it is also known as Daily Growing and Bonny Boy is Young (But Growing). It first appeared in print in 1792 as Lady Mary Ann. There are numerous versions of both the tune and lyrics. In one set of lyrics the groom is twelve when he marries and a father at 13.

The ballad was printed on numerous broadsides. For copies of some of these see the Bodleian Library.

The words may have been based upon the 17th century wedding of Lord Craighton to Elizabeth Innes. She was several years older than he and he died in 1634 shortly after the wedding. Scholars note, however, that the ballad may be older, as child marriages were common in the Middle Ages.

The trees they do grow high,
and the leaves they do grow green
The days are passed and gone, my love,
that you and I have seen.
It's a cold winter's night, and
I must lie alone,
For my pretty lad is long, long a-growing.

O father, dear father,
you to me much harm have done
You've married me unto a boy,
you know he is too young.
O daughter, dear daughter,
and if you'll wait awhile,
A lady you shall be while he's growing.

We'll send your lad to college
For one year or two,
And in that time perhaps, my love,
He then may do for you.
And all about his waist
we will tie a ribbon blue
For to let the ladies know that he's married.

She listened in the garden,
She looked o'er the wall.
Of four and twenty scholars there
Her love exceeded all.
They would not let her through,
for her true love she did call,
Because he was a young man growing.

It happened on a day,
and a sunshiny day
They went into the greenwood
for to sport and for to play.
O what did there befall,
I tell not unto thee,
But she never more complained on his growing.

At the age of sixteen,
O he was a married man,
At the age of seventeen
She brought him forth a son.
At the age of eighteen
O the grass was growing green
O'er my bonny lad so long, long a-growing.

I made my love a shroud of
the holland o so fine,
And every stitch she put in it
the tears run down the twine,
Saying, "Once I had a sweetheart,
but now I have got none,
for he was to me my own true love for ever."

O now my love is dead
and in the grave does lie.
The green grass it grows over
him so very high.
There I may sit and mourn
until the day I die,
But I'll watch o'er his child while he's growing.
  • Other versions at this site:

  • Lyrics From Ron Clarke
    There are fairly similar lyrics to this in
    One Hundred English Folksongs
    See Bibliography for full information.