The Trees They Do Grow High
(Daily Growing)

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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 grow high,
the leaves they do grow green
Many is the time my true love I've seen
Many an hour I have watched him all alone
He's young,
but he's daily growing

Father, dear father,
you've done me great wrong
You have married me to a boy who is too young
I'm twice twelve and he is but fourteen
He's young,
but he's daily growing

Daughter, dear daughter,
I've done you no wrong
I have married you to a great lord's son
He'll be a man for you when I am dead and gone
He's young,
but he's daily growing

Father, dear father, if you see fit
We'll send him to college for another year yet
I'll tie blue ribbons all around his head
To let the maidens know that he's married

One day I was looking o'er my father's castle wall
I spied all the boys aplaying at the ball
My own true love was the flower of them all
He's young, but he's daily growing

And so early in the morning
at the dawning of the day
They went out into the hayfield
to have some sport and play;
And what they did there,
she never would declare
But she never more complained of his growing.

At the age of fourteen, he was a married man
At the age of fifteen, the father of a son
At the age of sixteen, his grave it was green
Have gone, to be wasted in battle.
And death had put an end to his growing

I'll buy my love some flannel
and I will make a shroud
With every stitch I put in it,
the tears they will pour down
With every stitch I put in it,
how the tears will flow
Cruel fate has put an end to his growing
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