Wednesday, May 30, 2012

English Folk Song: The Crystal Spring

The English folk song 'The Crystal Spring' has been playing on my iPod lately and I've been thinking about it in detail. It's a favorite of mine for several reasons:

1. It tells the the sweet story of a ships Captain from the 1700's or 1800's proposing to his sweetheart.
2. It has a very pretty melody.
3. It's one of the only songs I know that has the name "Phyllis" mentioned in it (and when I cared for an elderly lady named Phyllis at the Alzheimer's Care Home I worked at I would sing the song to her).
4. The song was sung in Sense & Sensibility (1981) and any song from a Jane Austen adaptation instantly becomes a favorite! (hear that version)

My music video of the version sung by Cathy Waterson that I have on my iPod. 

The Crystal Spring
Down by a crystal spring, where the nightingales sing,
Most pleasant it is, in season, to hear the groves ring.
Down by the riverside, a young captain I espied,
Entreating of his true love, for to be his bride.

Dear Phyllis, says he, can you fancy me?
All in your soft bowers a crown it shall be;
And you shall take no pain, I will you maintain,
My ship she's a-loaded just come in from Spain.

Whenever you dine, there you shall drink wine;
And so sweetly in the season then you shall be mine.
Like a lady so rare, I'll maintain you so fair;
There's no lady in the navy with you shall compare.

If e'er I prove false to my soft little dove,
May the ocean turn desert; and the elements move:
For whereever I shall be, I'll be constant to thee,
My heart is no rover, if I rove through the sea.

Jane Austen's PersuasionAlso it came to mind that 'The Crystal Spring' would be a lovely addition if it were used in a new adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion!  The line that says "For wherever I shall be, I'll be constant to thee" fits perfectly with what Captain Wentworth said to Anne in his letter: "I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."
It would be lovely if the song were used in a scene of Anne & Captain Wentworth's early romance, perhaps even  a scene where Anne plays and sings it and then Captain Wentworth could join her in the second verse singing: "Dear Phyllis said he, can you fancy me?" Then the tune might be used later when they meet again to bring back memories!
And I just discovered that the song originated in the county of Somerset where the Elliot's home Kellynch is located in the book!

Have you ever heard 'The Crystal Spring' before?
Which verse of the song is your favorite?

If a new adaptation of Persuasion was filmed would you want to see scenes from Anne & Captain Wentworth's early romance?


JaneGS said...

What a lovely way to start my day--I don't recognize the song from S&S, but I agree that it would be a nice leitmotif for Persuasion.

I'll be downloading a copy myself for my listening pleasure.

Thanks--I love folk songs, and this is lovely--better than the heartbreak and leaving that feature in so many!

Kenneth said...

I was born in London and when I was about 6 years old ( around 1945 } went to a Primary school in Kensington called St. Mathias. The Principal was very keen on Classical and Traditional music and so until my 11th year when I went to Secondary school was immersed in all kinds of music of this type, we sang all kinds that have stayed with me until today. We sang vocal versions of "Flocks may safely graze" ," Londonderry Air" , David of the white rock" , Ye banks and braes" , " The harp that once through Taras halls" , " The ash grove ", and many more besides that remain with me now.
I think that people today sometimes tend to underestimate the importance of Teachers in our lives. These are songs are still fresh n my mind after nearly seventy years. I wonder how many other things {good and bad} that I learned at that and other schools have formed the person I have become today. Teachers are people of all different characters and as such bear a huge responsibility for the adults they themselves have to live alongside in later years. The effect on me of those songs has remained, but what of other things that are more difficult to measure?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...