Now the Spring is Come

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NOW THE SPRING IS COME. English, Air (4/4 time). E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The air appears in Elizabeth Rogers' Virginal Book and Gamble's MS. The ballad set to the tune is in the Roxburghe Collection (vol. 1, p. 200) entitled "A Lover's desire for his best beloved; or, Come away, come away and do not stay. To an excellent new Court tune." Chappell (1859) remarks, "the rhythm of the first part of the tune is peculiar, from its alternate phrases of two and three bars, but still not unsatisfactory to the ear." The tune is dated by Chappell and Thomas Percy to:

...the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, or that of James I., as the yellow starch then in vogue is mentioned in it...It needs almost an effort now to realise how great the change must have been from the winter of Early and Middle England--with their ill built and chimneyless houses, their scarcity of fuel and seldom-changed food, their wretched roads,--to the glad light green of spring, its sun, its song of birds, and all its heavenly brightness. [Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript: Ballads and Romances, vol. 3, Issue 1, 1868, p. 230].

The ballad begins:

Now the Spring is come, turne to thy Love,
to they Love, to they Love, to they Love.--
make no delay.
Where the flowers spring, and the birds do sing
their sweet tunes, their sweet tunes, their sweet tunes;--
Oh! doe not stay!
Here I will fill thy lap full of flowres,
And cover thee with shadie bowres.
Come away! come away! come away,
and doe not stay!

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 1), 1859; pp. 194-195.

Recorded sources:




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