♫ Scarborough Fair ♫

In the last week or so, daughter Chris who is a lover of all things British, discovered a new television show to love called “Rosemary & Thyme”.  It’s fairly interesting, actually, about two middle-aged British women playing detective and solving murders every week.  I jokingly refer to the title of the show as “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme”, ala the song Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel.  And as payback for my humour, I have had this song looping through my head for two days now, so in a ritual of exorcism, I am sharing it here with you!

Scarborough is a small town on the coast of England. The “Scarborough Fair” was a popular gathering in Medieval times, attracting traders and entertainers from all over the country. The fair lasted 45 days and started every August 15th. In the 1600s, mineral waters were found in Scarborough and it became a resort town. Today, Scarborough is a quiet town with a rich history.

In Medieval England, this became a popular folk song as Bards would sing it when they traveled from town to town. The author of the song is unknown, and many different versions exist. The traditional version has many more lyrics.  Paul Simon learned about this song when he was on tour in England, where he heard a version by a popular folk singer named Martin Carthy. When Carthy heard Simon & Garfunkel’s rendition, he accused Simon of stealing his arrangement. Carthy and Simon did not speak until 2000, when Simon asked Carthy to perform this with him at a show in London. Carthy put his differences aside and did the show.

The lyrics are about a man trying to attain his true love. In Medieval times, the herbs mentioned in the song represented virtues that were important to the lyrics. Parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love, and thyme was courage.

Scarborough Fair
Simon & Garfunkel

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
For once she was a true love of mine

Have her make me a cambric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without no seam nor fine needle work
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to weave it in a sycamore wood lane
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And gather it all with a basket of flowers
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Have her wash it in yonder dry well
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
where water ne’er sprung nor drop of rain fell
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Have her find me an acre of land
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the sea foam and over the sand
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Plow the land with the horn of a lamb
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Then sow some seeds from north of the dam
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to reap it with a sickle of leather
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And gather it all in a bunch of heather
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

If she tells me she can’t, I’ll reply
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Let me know that at least she will try
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Love imposes impossible tasks
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Though not more than any heart asks
And I must know she’s a true love of mine

Dear, when thou has finished thy task
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Come to me, my hand for to ask
For thou then art a true love of mine

Songwriters: Arthur Garfunkel / Paul Simon
Scarborough Fair lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

20 thoughts on “♫ Scarborough Fair ♫

  1. I cry foul. First, your video did not play. Then when I looked for Rosemary and Thyme, nothing came up on our satellite listings. I think Trump is punishing me for say he had a very tiny… “Goonight, Dick.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if it’s something in your computer setup, for nobody else mentioned not being able to open the videos. Was it both, or just one that wouldn’t play? We don’t have satellite or cable, and Chris either gets it on Netflix or Britbox, not sure which, but I’ll ask her.

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      • Actually, Jill, a lot of your videos do not open for me, probably 6/10. But I hunt them down on youTube, it generally does not take long. I’m thinking it is WordPress, or the Canadian internet laws. Doesn’t matter, I get by. Never heard of Britbox, don’t have Netflix. Up here satellite is our best reception.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I put a note at the bottom of last night’s music post, asking if others had problems, and only one did … Suzanne … and she lives in India. David from the UK had no problems, nor did any of my US readers. I’m wondering if some are blocked by country? I do remember that somebody sent me one from Canada once that I couldn’t open.

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  2. Jill, I wrote a post about misunderstood lyrics with the title from a mother’s son who asked after the radio played this song. “Did he?” was asked. “Did he what?’ mom replied. “Did Parsley save Rosemary in time?” the boy asked. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was a teenager I thought Simon and Garfunkle had made up this song. At this stage the only Scarborough I knew was the beach suburb of Perth, Western Australia where we had our first sight of the Indian Ocean as new migrants. Years later I discovered it was an old folk song! We took the children on holiday to the real Scarborough, Yorkshire several times. I love it, a town of many parts perhaps. Two bays spearated by the castle on the cliff top, in the graveyard of the church by the castle lies the grave of Anne Bronte, who came to the seaside in the hope of improving her health. Scarborough is also the home of our most prolific living playwright, Alan Ayckbourn – all his plays are premiered there. Not far away is Whitby, home of Dracula and the town is also on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors.

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