This song has only been collected twice, once in Wiltshire and once in Gloucestershire. Cecil Sharp’s version from Gloucestershire provides the tune and Alfred Williams’ from Wiltshire the words. (See http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfolk.php?id=961 ). The first verse collected by Sharp sounds like a typical pastoral love song but the Williams words reveal a more sinister plot of murder. Nothing more is known about the origins of this curious song. I wonder if Sharp, or his informant, knew about the dark twists the story would take.
Notes by Gwilym Davies