This version of “One Summer’s Morning” was collected by Frank Kidson from the singing of his mother Mary Kidson (Roberts) who is said to have heard it sung in Leeds in approximately 1820. It was a popular song particularly in Yorkshire but also in the North East at that time although the tune is likely to be much older. In “Traditional Tunes” Frank Kidson states: “The song itself is apparently of the date of the latter part of the eighteenth century, and as some reference is made to the “Hollanders,” it may perhaps be more distinctly referred to the period of an expedition to repel French encroachments in Flanders and the Netherlands in 1793. The tune is no doubt older than this date, and may have belonged to an earlier song, now lost or which has changed its tune.”
The song as printed in “Traditional Tunes” consists of six verses although many broadside versions of the lyrics often only featured the first, second, fourth and fifth stanzas. It is unclear as to whether Mary Kidson included all six of these verses in her version of the song as this is not stated in “Traditional Tunes”. However, Frank Kidson does make reference to the words printed in J.H. Dixon’s 1857 publication; “Songs of the Peasantry of England” Again, all six verses of the ballad are printed in the Dixon book, but with the addition of the following information; “we have met with a copy printed at Devonport. The readings are in general not so good; but in one or two instances they are apparently more ancient, and are, consequently, here adopted. The Devonport copy contains two verses, not preserved in our traditional version. These we have incorporated in our present text, in which they form the third and last stanzas.” I think it very possible that Kidson used the lyrics printed in “Songs of the Peasantry of England” to augment the narrative of the version sung by his mother.
This song is also commonly known as “The White Cockade” although there are many versions of the story featuring different coloured cockades (e.g. blue, green, orange). For those of you who don’t know, a cockade is a rosette style brooch worn by both men and women on a hat or a lapel. These cockades were usually of a circular or oval design, made from ribbon and would depict a particular political, ethical or social allegiance depending on the colours that were incorporated. In the case of this song the white cockade depicts the soldier’s military allegiance as he enlists to fight against the Hollander’s. It is documented that the white cockade was worn by supporters of the Jacobite Rebellions. There were three main Jacobite uprisings; the first occurring in 1689, the second in 1715-16 and the third in 1745-46. James VII (Scotland) and II (England) ruled from 1685 until 1689 when he was replaced by his daughter Mary and her husband the Dutch Prince, William of Orange. This change of power inspired the first Jacobite uprising. “In 1689, the Jacobites were opposed by the Williamites, or Whigs; those Britons who supported the Protestant cause and would not tolerate a Catholic kingdom.”
In light of this information, and of the reference to “Hollanders” within the song, it would seem to lend some credibility to the suggestion that this song was established much earlier than 1820.
ONE SUMMER’S MORNING
It was one summer’s morning as I went o’er the moss,
I had no thought of ‘listing, till the soldiers did me cross;
They kindly did invite me to a flowing bowl and down
They advanced me some money, they advanced me some money,
They advanced me some money, ten guineas and a crown.
‘Tis true my love has ‘listed and he wears a white cockade,
He is a handsome, tall young man, besides a roving blade;
He is a handsome, tall young man and he’s gone to serve the King,
Oh, my very heart is breaking, my very heart is breaking,
My very heart is breaking, all for the love of him.
My love is tall and handsome and comely for to see,
And by a sad misfortune a soldier now is he;
I hope the man that ‘listed him may not prosper night or day,
For I wish that the Hollanders, I wish that the Hollanders,
I wish that the Hollanders may sink him in the sea.
Oh, may he never prosper and may he never thrive,
Nor anything he takes in hand so long as he’s alive;
May the very grass he treads upon, the ground refuse to grow,
Since he’s been the only cause, since he’s been the only cause,
Since he’s been the only cause of my sorrow, grief and woe.
Then he pulled out a handkerchief and wiped her flowing eyes,
“Leave off those lamentations, likewise those doleful sighs,
Leave off your grief and sorrow, while I march o’er the plain,
We’ll be married in the springtime, we’ll be married in the springtime,
We’ll be married in the springtime, when I return again.”
So now my love has ‘listed, and I for him will rove,
I’ll write his name on every tree that grows in yonder grove;
Where the huntsman he does hallo and the hounds do sweetly cry,
To remind me of my ploughboy, to remind me of my ploughboy,
To remind me of my ploughboy until the day I die.