The True Lover's Farewell
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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Lyrics
This tune was popular in both England and in America. Cecil Sharp collected nine variants in the Appalachian Mountains. Variants and alternate title include The Turtle Dove and Ten Thousand Miles.

True Lover's Farewell appeared in Roxburghe Ballads dated 1710. It was also in Five excellent New Songs a collection printed in 1792.

The song is similar to a song Queen Mary's Lament, that was printed in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803).

According to one source Burns had a copy of a broadside of the tune. It is clearly the source for many of the lines from My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose.

O fare you well, I must be gone
And leave you for a while:
But wherever I go, I will return,
If I go ten thousand mile, my dear,
If I go ten thousand mile.

Ten thousand miles it is so far
To leave me here alone,
Whilst I may lie, lament and cry,
And you will not hear my moan, my dear,
And you will not hear my moan.

The crow that is so black, my dear,
Shall change his colour white;
And if ever I prove false to thee,
The day shall turn to night, my dear,
The day shall turn to night.

O don't you see that milk-white dove
A-sitting on yonder tree,
Lamenting for her own true love,
As I lament for thee, my dear,
As I lament for thee.

The river never will run dry,
Nor the rocks melt with the sun;
And I'll never prove false to the girl I love
Till all these things be done, my dear,
Till all these things be done.
Related Links
From One Hundred English Folksongs and
English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians
See Bibliography for full information.