The Lover's Trial (Kenneth Peacock)

One evening ranging for recreation
To view the state of this countery,
I beheld a fair maid in conversation
With a bold hero of no mean degree.

Her gentle countenance was so engaging
And entertaining that I drew near,
Sure, I myself in a shade concealed off,
Their conversation all for to hear.

He gently said, "Oh divinest creature,
It is with love you have ensnared my heart,
It was your beauty that inspired Cupid
Who first protested that painful dart.

"If you'll combine, love, for to be mine
I will plant the garden for you in June
With the finest rosies and yellow posies
And all such flowers when they are in bloom."

"It's not your rosies or yellow posies,
For to entice me will never do,
I slight your offer, likewise your proffer,
To lie the flower, the bride of you.

"There is a flower that has more power
Than any other of those you speak,
And that's the laurel, that beauteous coral,
And why should I my true love forsake?

"When all other flowers bedeck the bowers
And melt away just like frost and snow,
Then the lovely green of the holly's to be seen,
And it most spontaneously seems to grow."

He gently said, "Oh divinest creature,
It's for that young man you do remain,
Oh, do despise him and do not prize him,
For you might be certain you won't him obtain."

Now she gently said, "Oh my dearest young man,
It's for that young man I do remain,
He's far away on the foaming ocean,
And for his sake here I still remain.

"Till he returns I'll cease to mourn,
He won't be absent but for a while,
In spite of those who are his foes,
I hope bright fame will on him smile."

Long-wished-for moments at last approaching,
I heard that young man bid her farewell,
I was so engaged wth their conversation,
Forever lovely in my head did dwell.

I stepped up to her, I did salute her,
I found my darling was just and true,
I then conveyed her to her habitation,
She then saw plainly what I had in view.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional ballad ....####

Collected in 1952 by Kenneth Peacock from Jim Rice [1879-1958] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.553-554, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that for other songs dealing with the lovely fertility symbolism of the garden, see The Bloody Garden, She's Like The Swallow, and As I Walkèd Forth In The Pride Of The Season. In The Lover's Trial the symbolism starts in verse 4 with the young man's bold proposition to "plant the garden and continues through verse 7. Each flower of the garden has its own meaning: the green willow is sorrow or mourning, the lily is purity, the violet modesty, and so on. One may assume that "the finest rosies and yellow posies" of The Lover's Trial are red roses and yellow primroses, symbols of passion. The green laurel, of course, the symbol of constancy or everlasting love.


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