All in a Garden Green

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ALL IN A GARDEN GREEN. English, Country Dance Tune. The earliest published version is usually given as that in John Playford's first edition of The English Dancing Master (1651). However, the melody appears earlier in William Ballet's Lute Book (1594), and therefore is probably older than the seventeenth century. In fact, it was already considered part of the established traditional repertoire in Playford's day (Pulver, 1923), the mid-17th century. A ballad was registered with the Stationers' Company (an early form of copyrighting, and mandatory at the time) in 1566 called "All in a garden green, between two lovers," which may or may not have been sung to the tune that later appeared in Ballet's MS and Playford. A further reference can be found in A Handefull of Pleasant Delites (1584) in which mention is made of "An excellent Song of an outcast Lover, to All in a Garden green." Whether these early references referred to the melody printed in Playford is not known, for the opening line, remarks Kines (1964), is common to many songs of the period. It begins:

All in a garden green two lovers sat at ease,
As they could scare be seen among, among the leafy trees.

Kines attributes the marrying of the "All in a garden green" poem to the air "Gathering Peascods" in William Ballet's book to the musicologist Chappell in the mid-19th century (the first four bars of the tunes are identical). Merryweather (1989) notes that variants of the tune appeared on the Continent, including the Dutch Unter den Linden Grune by Sweelinck, and Onder de Lindegroene by Vallet. Not only was the tune used for ballads and country dancing, continues Merryweather, but it was also absorbed into church hymnody, set, for example to psalm 47 ("All people clap your hands, Sing laud unto the Lord"). Chappell (1859) also prints a version in 6/4 time from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

Print Sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times, vol 1), 1859; pp. 79-80. Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 14: Songs, Airs and Dances of the 18th Century), 1997; p. 1. Karpeles & Schofield (A Selection of 100 English Folk Dance Airs), 1951; p. 21 (appears under the dance title "The Maid in the Moon"). Kines (Songs From Shakespeare's Plays and Popular Songs of Shakespeare's Time), 1964; p. 74. Laufman (Okay, Let's Try a Contra, Men on the Right, Ladies on the Left, Up and Down the Hall), 1973; p. 27. Merryweather (Merryweather's Tunes for the English Bagpipe), 1989; p. 39. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 25.

Recorded Sources: Dorian 90238, The Baltimore Consort - "A Trip to Killburn." Harmonia Mundi 907101, The King's Delight - "17c. Ballads for Voice & Violin Band" (1992).