Home > Solo instrument > Scarborough Fair

Scarborough Fair

Composer
trad.
Year of composition
1253
Lyricist
anon.
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
3 minutes
Genre
Other
Instrumentation
Solo instrument
Instrumental parts
Not available

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Remember me to one who lives there, For she once was a true love of mine.

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Without any seam nor needlework, And then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to wash it in yonder dry well, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Which never sprung water nor rain ever fell, And then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to dry it on yonder thorn, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Which never bore blossom since Adam was born, And then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to do me this courtesy, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, And ask for a like favour from me, And then she'll be a true love of mine.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Remember me to one who lives there, For she once was a true love of mine.

Tell her to find me an acre of land, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Between the salt water and the sea-strand, For then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to plough it with a lamb's horn, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, And sow it all over with one peppercorn, For then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to reap it with a sickle of leather, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, And gather it up with a rope made of heather, For then she'll be a true love of mine.

When she has done and finished her work, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Tell her to give me my cambric shirt, For then she'll be a true love of mine.

If she tells you she can't, I�ll reply, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Oh, Let me know that at least she will try, And then she'll be a true love of mine.

Love imposes impossible tasks, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, But none more than any heart asks, For then she'll be a true love of mine.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Remember me to one who lives there, For she once was a true love of mine.

The song comes from the attractive coastal town and fishing port of Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The Fayre originated from a charter granted by King Henry III on 22 January 1253.

The charter, which gave Scarborough many privileges, stated "The Burgesses and their heirs forever may have a yearly fayre in the Borough, to continue from the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary until the Feast of St Michael next following".

The origin of the song is unknown, and is known as a traditional air. It probably originated in the early era of the fayre, round about the 13th century, but, like most folk songs, was likely to have evolved to it�s best known form over a longer period of time.

The song can be read as either a Medieval love song, or a clever way for a trader to capture the attention of the public he is selling his herbs to.

According to old records, the 45-day Scarborough Fayre, was held annually from 15 August to 29 September and was soon internationally famous. Merchants came to it from all areas of England and Europe, also from Norway, Denmark, the Baltic and the Ottoman Empire.

Large crowds of buyers, sellers and pleasure seeking spectators attended the fayre. Prices were determined by �Supply and demand�, with goods often being exchanged through the barter system.

Records show that from 1383 Scarborough�s prosperity slumped. In the early 17th century competition from other town�s markets and Fayres and increasing taxation saw grass now growing in the streets of Scarborough. Shipping and house alike �fell into decay�.

The market was revived again in the 18th century, but due intense competition from other town�s Fayres Scarborough Fayre ended in 1788.

Although the Charter for an official Fayre in Scarborough is no more, there IS a Fayre organised by Scarborough people today and usually takes place in summer, usually composed of a week of events revolving around the towns medieval history with jugglers, jesters, musicians and much more!

The last Scarborough Fayre in July 2006 witnessed Medieval Jousting Competitions, hosted by English Heritage, in addition to the usual attractions: www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.9555 www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.9522

The next Scarborough Fayre will be on 25 June 2007. www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com/content/whats_on/dyc/whats_on_items.asp?id=027282

So go and visit Scarborough Fayre while you still can!

On a personal note I should say that I lived in the seaside town when I was two, just before going abroad. Once I�d returned to England many years later it became a place I visited often, not only for the theatres and the numerous legendary entertainers who visited there and the visiting orchestras, it inspired me to paint many oil paintings and water colours.

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