Verse 1: 'Meet me by moonlight alone, / And then I will tell you a tale, / Must be told by the moonlight alone, / In the grove at the end of the vale. / You must promise to come for I said / I would show the night flowers their queen; / Nay, turn not away thy sweet head, / 'Tis the loveliest ever was seen. / O meet me by moonlight alone.' This song was published by the Poet's Box, Overgate, Dundee, and priced at one penny.
This haunting ballad appears to be a love song addressed to a woman. The narrator requests a meeting with the addressee in a grove by moonlight. In the most memorable image of the song, the woman is described as the queen of the night flowers. It is suggested there is a gravity and seriousness about the narrator's love for the woman that is better suited to night: 'Daylight may do for the gay, / The thoughtless, the heartless, the free; / But there's something about the moon's ray; / That is sweeter to you and to me.'
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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Probable period of publication:
1880-1900 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(83b)
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