Farewell ye Green Fields

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FAREWELL YE GREEN FIELDS. English, Air (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A popular late 18th century song (printed in Vocal Music, or the Songster's Companion, 1782, for example) whose tune was subsequently used as the vehicle for other songs. Words to "Farewell Green Fields" begin:

Farewell ye green fields and sweet groves,
Where Philis engaged my fond Heart,
Where nightingales warble their loves,
And Nature is dress'd without Art;
No pleasure they now can afford,
Nor Music can lull me to rest,
For Phillis proves false to her Word,
And Strephon can never be blest.

However, the tune may be considerably older. George Pullen Jackson (Spiritual Folk-Songs of Early America) traces the tune in its earliest form to Johann Sebastian Bach's Comic Cantata "Mer hahn en neue Oberkeet" (cf. Bach-Geseelschaft, vol. 28, p. 195) to the lyric "Es nehme zehn-tausend Ducaten." In England, the earliest form of the Bach tune (according to Baring-Gould) was in the stage production The Tragedy of Tragedies, or Tom Thumb (1734) for the song "In Hurry, Posthaste for License," attributed to Dr. Arne.

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