Subscribe to our Newsletter

The Seeds of Love

Back to browse page
Performer: Thomas, Henry
Place Collected: Chipping Sodbury
Date collected: 1907 (3 Apr)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 3

James Reeves at p235 of his The Everlasting Circle reasonably suggests that both The Seeds of Love and The Sprig of Thyme sprang from the stock verses in Child 219, The Gardener. However today we have access to many more early printed versions and the few versions of Child 219 are more likely to have been remade by sophisticated hands from The New Lover’s Garland printed by William Forrest of Edinburgh c1760. Although versions of The Sprig of Thyme date back to this period, indeed Forrest printed one in 1766, and the Seeds of Love is found only on broadsides c1800; it is a much more coherent, orderly sophisticated piece whereas The Sprig of Thyme is the opposite. It contains a few verses from The New Lover’s Garland but mostly corruptions of The Seeds of Love verses. All versions of The Sprig of Thyme show hallmarks of long-term oral tradition whereas The Seeds of Love has remained reasonably consistent even when in oral tradition and even in reduced broadside form. According to William Chappell The Seeds of Love was written in Lancashire c1689 by a Mrs Habergham. The above suggestion would seem to bear this out.

Notes by Steve Gardham