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Early, Early in the Spring

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Alternative title: Died for Love

Place Collected: Winchcombe
Date collected: 1908 (5 Apr)
Collector: Grainger, Percy
Roud Number: 273

This ballad was printed on broadside in the 19th century as “The Young Lady’s Lamentation for the Loss of the True Love”. Although described as a “new song” it may well be based on a much older theme. Versions abound throughout the English-speaking world and in particular, numerous versions have been found in the USA. Versions of it were still being collected in Gloucestershire as late as the 1990s. Mr Lane’s tune has been used for several other songs, notably “Lord Franklin”, “MaCaffery”, “The Croppy Boy” and even by extension “Bob Dylan’s Dream”, which in any case was based on his hearing Martin Carthy sing “Lord Franklin” in England.


Notes by Gwilym Davies