Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
156. The Trees So High

ALL the trees they are so high,
  The leaves they are so green,
The day is past and gone, sweet-heart,
  That you and I have seen.
    It is cold winter’s night,        5
    You and I must bide alone:
      Whilst my pretty lad is young
        And is growing.

In a garden as I walked,
  I heard them laugh and call;        10
There were four and twenty playing there,
  They played with bat and ball.
    O the rain on the roof,
    Here and I must make my moan:
      Whilst my pretty lad is young        15
        And is growing.

I listen’d in the garden,
  I lookèd o’er the wall;
’Midst five and twenty gallants there
  My love exceeded all.        20
    O the wind on the thatch,
    Here and I alone must weep:
      Whilst my pretty lad is young
        And is growing.

O father, father dear,
  Great wrong to me is done,
That I should married be this day,
  Before the set of sun.
    At the huffle of the gale,
    Here I toss and cannot sleep:        30
      Whilst my pretty lad is young
        And is growing.

My daughter, daughter dear,
  If better be, more fit,
I’ll send him to the court awhile,        35
  To point his pretty wit.
    But the snow, snowflakes fall,
    O and I am chill as dead:
      Whilst my pretty lad is young
        And is growing.        40

To let the lovely ladies know
  They may not touch and taste,
I’ll bind a bunch of ribbons red
  About his little waist.
    But the raven hoarsely croaks,        45
    And I shiver in my bed;
      Whilst my pretty lad is young
        And is growing.

I married was, alas,
  A lady high to be,        50
In court and stall and stately hall,
  And bower of tapestry.
    But the bell did only knell,
    And I shuddered as one cold:
      When I wed the pretty lad        55
        Not done growing.

At fourteen he wedded was,
  A father at fifteen,
At sixteen ’s face was white as milk,
  And then his grave was green;        60
    And the daisies were outspread,
    And buttercups of gold,
      O’er my pretty lad so young
        Now ceased growing.


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