Dancing at Whitsun

Music: Traditional Words: John Austin Martin

 

In many places where ritual spring dances were done, women were a part of them, though when you think of the Morris you usually think of men dancing. I'm told there came a time when England's men were fighting on so many fronts around the world that women had to step in help remember and fill out the teams, to keep the tradition alive. (GB)

 

It's 50 long spingtimes since she was a bride

But still you may see her at each Whitsuntide

In a dress of white linen with ribbons of green

As green as her memories of loving

 

The feet that were nimble tread carefully now

As gentle a measure as age will allow

Through groves of white blossoms by fields of young corn

Where once she was pledged to her true love

 

The fields they stand empty, the hedges grow free

No young men to turn them or pastures go see

They are gone where the forests of oak trees before

Have gone to be wasted in battle

 

Down from the green farmlands and from their loved ones

Marched husbands and brothers and fathers and sons

There's a fine roll of honor where the maypole once stood

And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun

 

There's a straight row of houses in these latter days

All covering the downs where the sheep used to graze

There's a field of red poppies a wreath from the queen

But the ladies remember at Whitsun

And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun

 

 

Dancing at Whitsun is recorded on the albums Harbors of Home and Ways of Man