Swalcliffe May Day Carol

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May Day Carol, included in the Blunt collection.

The words were noted by Miss Aniie Norris around 1840 from the singing of a group of children at Swalcliffe, North Oxfordshire. The words were passed onto Janet Blunt in 1908, and she finally collected a tune for the song from Mrs Woolgrove of Swalcliffe, and Mrs Lynes of Sibford, at Sibford fete, July 1921.

  1. Awake! awake! lift up your eyes
    And pray to God for grace
    Repent! repent! of your former sins
    While ye have time and space
  2. I have been wandering all this night
    And part of the last night
    So now I've come for to sing you a song
    And to show you a branch of May
  3. A branch of may I have brought you
    And at your door it stands
    It does spread out, and it spreads all about
    By the work of our Lord’s hands
  4. Man is but a man, his life’s but a span
    He is much like a flower
    He’s here today and he's gone tomorrow
    So he’s all gone down in an hour
  5. So now I have sung you my little short song
    I can no longer stay
    God bless you all both great and small
    And I wish you a happy May

(as printed in Michael Pickering, "Village Song and Culture".

The words and tune are given in Tony Foxworthy, "Forty Long Miles".