As I Walked Forth
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

This song was printed in Playford's Ayres and Dialogues (1652-59) and in the Treasury of Music (1669). It also appeared in Thomas Durfey's Wit and Mirth and later in other collections.

As I Walked Forth was written by Robert Johnson (c 1560-1634). In 1596 he was apprenticed to Sir George Carey for seven years. During that time he was given musical instruction. Johnson was the son of John Johnson, the lutenist to Queen Elizabeth I. Robert Johnson was appointed one of James I's lutenists in 1604. In 1611 he became a musician to Prince Henry of Wales (whose death put Charles I on the throne). In 1628 he was appointed "Composer to the Lutes and Voices."

The dates of Robert Johnson's life are debated. English Melodies suggests he was born circa 1555. However, that would have made him forty one when he was apprenticed in 1596, which is highly unlikely. Some sources give the date of his death earlier ealier than 1634. However, in 1634 he was succeeded as Composer of the Lutes by Lewis Evans, and it is therefore likely his death was shortly before that date.*

As I walked forth one summer's day,
To view the meadows green and gay
A pleasant bower I espied
Standing fast by the river side,
And in't a maiden I heard cry:
Alas! alas! there's none e'er loved as I.

Then round the meadow did she walk,
Catching each flower by the stalk
Such flow'rs as in the meadow grew,
The Dead Man's Thumb, an herb all blue;
And as she pull'd them still cried she:
Alas! alas! there's none e'er loved as I.

The flowers of the sweetest scents
She bound about with knotty bents;
And as she bound them up in bands
She wept, she sigh'd, she wrung her hands;
Alas! alas! alas! cried she,
Alas! alas! there's none e'er loved as I.

When she had fill'd her apron full
Of such green things as she could cull,
The green things served her for her bed,
The flow'rs were the pillows for her head;
Then down she laid her, ne'er more did speak;
Alas! alas! with love her heart did break.

Related Links
From *One Hundred Songs of England
See Bibliography for full information.