Oak Ash and Thorn a Tree Song

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  • #13624
    david poole
    Participant

    Oak Ash and Thorn a Tree Song

    Of all the trees that grow so fair,
    Old Engerland to adorn,
    Greater are none beneath the Sun,
    Than Oak and Ash and Thorn.
    Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
    (All of a Midsummer’s morn)!
    Surely we sing of no little thing,
    In Oak and Ash and Thorn!

    Oak of the Clay lived many a day,
    Or ever Aeneas began;
    Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,
    When Brut was an outlaw man;
    Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town
    (From which was London born);
    Witness hereby the ancientry
    Of Oak and Ash and Thorn!

    Yew that is old in churchyard mould,
    He breedeth a mighty bow;
    Alder for shoes do wise men choose,
    And beech for cups also.
    But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,
    Your shoes are clean outworn,
    Back ye must speed for all that ye need,
    To Oak and Ash and Thorn!

    Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth
    Till every gust be laid,
    To drop a limb on the head of him
    That anyway trusts her shade:
    But whether a lad be sober or sad,
    Or mellow with ale from the horn,
    He’ll take no wrong when he lieth along
    ‘Neath Oak and Ash and Thorn!

    Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
    Or he would call it a sin;
    But—we have been out in the woods all night,
    A-conjuring Summer in!
    And we bring you news by word of mouth—
    Good news for cattle and corn—
    Now is the Sun come up from the South,
    With Oak and Ash and Thorn!

    Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs
    (All of a Midsummer’s morn)!
    England shall bide till Judgement Tide,
    By Oak and Ash and Thorn!

    I happened to hear this song very recently and it has stuck in my mind. I have heard someone singing it but I do not know the name of the artist who sang the song, although I do remember the tune very clearly. I was easily able to find these lyrics on the internet. I believe that the original author was Rudyard Kipling. As the summer and the conjuring in of summer is mentioned, it is clearly appropriate to the approaching time and season. You will notice that yew alder and beech are also mentioned so the title is not quite what it appears to be. The song is somewhat different from Cad Goddeu, although it appears clear that it is based around tree knowledge. I am not certain whether Kipling derived this song from the Cad Goddeu. I am not sure why three trees oak ash and thorn are focussed upon in particular. Are these three trees all supposed to be related to midsummer?

    #13625
    Dave TheDruid-3X3
    Participant

    Found the YouTube Rendition of it done by The Long Johns:

    3X3

    #13626
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    The song is somewhat different from Cad Goddeu, although it appears clear that it is based around tree knowledge. I am not certain whether Kipling derived this song from the Cad Goddeu. I am not sure why three trees oak ash and thorn are focussed upon in particular. Are these three trees all supposed to be related to midsummer?

    Swearing this oath by oak, ash and thorn (o-a-th, perhaps?), goes way back and seems to have originated in a literary sense in the 9th-10th century with a bard whose name has come down to us as Glasgerion. About the bard’s name, there has been debate – some see it as a corruption of “Glas Gereint – “Blue Gereint” – whereas others have even seen a link to the Gwydion of The Mabinogi. It has been suggested that Kipling found this turn of phrase that he used in The Tree Song in the novel Westward Ho! (Charles Kingsley, 1855) in which Sir Richard Grenville also swears by the oak, ash and thorn; however, Kipling was most likely familiar with a good many traditional folk ballads of the time, of which Glasgerion is definitely one to consider.

    Glasgerryon swore a full great othe,
    By oake and ashe and thorne,

    Whatever the reasons, the oak, ash and thorn are indeed trees with a great deal of folklore surrounding them in Britain and Ireland.

    Bennathow
    /|\

    #13630
    david poole
    Participant

    Thank you Dowrgi that is helpful and confirms to me that Kipling is the original author

    #13632
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Glad to have been of some assistance. 🙂

    Bennathow
    /|\

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