He's Young But He's Daily Growing
(Kenneth Peacock) MIDI, video
(The Trees They Do Grow High)
#25: YouTube video by telijencio
©2008 ~ Used with permission ~


The tree was growing tall
and the leaves were growing green,
They grew all about the place
oh where we have often been;
But now they all have fallen
on a cold winter's e'en,
He's young but he's daily growing.

"Oh, father, oh, father,
so cruel to me you've been,
You have a-married me to
a boy so young and green;
While I am twice twelve,
he is only thirteen,
He's young but he's daily growing."

"Oh, daughter, dear daughter,
I have done no such thing,
You're a-married to a noble boy,
and you wear his noble ring;
And if you'll only wait upon him
he will be a royal king,
He's young but he's daily growing."

"Oh, father, oh, father,
I tell you what we'll do,
We'll send him out to college
all for a year or two;
And all around his waist
we will bind a ribbon blue,
To let the girls know he's married."

As she was a-sewing
all in her father's hall,
'Twas there she saw the schoolboys
a-tossing up a ball;
And 'twas there she saw her own true love,
the flower of them all,
He's young but he's daily growing.

He was a married man
at the age of thirteen,
His only son was born
when he was just fourteen;
But at the age of fifteen
oh his grave was growing green,
And that put an end to his growing.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a British broadside ballad, The Trees They Do Grow High [Laws O35] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, My Bonny Lad Is Young, But He's Growing, published by H Such (London) sometime between 1849 and 1862, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 16(156d) ....####

Collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Mrs Charlotte Decker [1884-1967] of Parson's Pond, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.677-678, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this intriguing little ballad is very difficult to trace. Many scholars agree upon a Scottish origin, giving as evidence the arranged marriage of Elizabeth Innes to young Urquhart of Craigston who died early in life in 1634. Arranged marriages, sometimes of minors, were a fairly common practice among well-to-do families of this and earlier periods.

The video above features a variant arranged and recorded as The Trees They Do Grow High by Joan Chandos Baez [b.1941] of Staten Island, NY (Vol 2, trk#2, 1961, Vanguard Records, Santa Monica, CA).


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