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

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.
 
II

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.
 
III

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.
 
IV

O father, father dear,
        25
  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.
 
V

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
 
VI

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.
 
VII

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.
 
VIII

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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