Love, Loss & Longing

Updated: 17 Oct 2017

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Love, Loss & Longing "One Voice" album - Sung by Aled Jones

This is a magical album, with honey-voiced tenor Aled Jones singing duets with recordings from his earlier career as a boy soprano. The album went straight to the top of the UK classical chart when released in 2016, and well deserved it. These are classic folk songs from the British Isles, Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English, about love, loss and longing, beautiful and bitter-sweet, "achingly beautiful" as another reviewer put it.

"Love, Loss and Longing" are my own words to describe the common theme of these songs (except perhaps "The Ploughboy"). All the lyrics are included below.

The recent police drama series "Unforgotten" has as its title song "All we do" by duo Oh Wonder

"All we do is hide away ....
I've been upside down,
I don't wanna be the right way round,
Can't find Paradise on the ground."
"All we do is hide away ....
I've been upside down,
I don't wanna be the right way round,
Can't find Paradise on the ground."

The story of all our lives. We want some sort of paradise. We can't find it.

In "One Voice" these folk songs from the British Isles are nearly all about love, loss and longing. Half the world's songs are about love, loss and longing.

We all long for true love, and to be loved, yet all human loves tear out our hearts sooner or later, by death or desertion. Why is this?

The Buddhist says 'love is suffering, so do not love.'
The Materialist says 'love is an illusion. Don't kid yourself that your are not just a machine, a little part of the vast, unknowable and inhuman cosmic machine.'
The Stoic has given up any hope of lasting love.
The Cynic gives a hollow laugh and says 'the grapes were sour'.
The Bible says 'love is from God and is the essence of God and central to our human-ness.'

Only the Bible shows us where and how Paradise was lost, and where and how it can be found again.

Love, loss and longing meet at Jesus' cross.
Perfect love sacrifices Himself for us.
Loss receives its death sentence, to be carried out at the resurrection.
Longing is given hope, fulfilled when Love rose, Victor over death.

I think it is here that we can make sense of King Solomon's words in his books of Wisdom.

"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth."

Joy and mirth are good, not bad, but wisdom says 'face up to the troubles in this life; be prepared so that they don't destroy you'.

"Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief." "Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad."

(Solomon's words are from Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verses 4, Proverbs chapter 14, verse 3, Ecc. Chapter 7, verse 2 - English Standard Version)

The songs from "One Voice"

1. Eriskay Love Lilt (Scottish)

Bheir me o, horo van o
Bheir me o, horo van ee
Bheir me o , o horo ho
Sad am I, without thee.

Thou'rt the music of my heart;
Harp of joy, o cruit mo chruidh;
Moon of guidance by night;
Strength and light thou'rt to me.


In the morning, when I go
To the white and shining sea,
In the calling of the seals
Thy soft calling to me.


When I'm lonely, dear white heart,
Black the night and wild the sea,
By love's light, my foot finds
The old pathway to me.


2. The Lark in the Clear Air (Irish)

Dear thoughts are in my mind
And my soul soars enchanted,
As I hear the sweet lark sing
In the clear air of the day.
For a tender beaming smile
To my hope has been granted,
And tomorrow she shall hear
All my fond heart would say.

I shall tell her all my love,
All my soul's adoration,
And I think she will hear
And will not say me nay.
It is this that gives my soul
All its joyous elation,
As I hear the sweet lark sing
In the clear air of the day.

3. O Danny Boy (Irish)

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling,
It's you, it's you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
And I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so!

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
And I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me;

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
and I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!

4. Come To Me Soothing Sleep (English - well Handel wrote it in England, but from an Italian libretto)

Come to me soothing sleep,
And with thee bring
Forgetfulness and dreams,
And with thee bring
Forgetfulness and dreams,
Dreams that my sorrow may assuage.

Then when darkness spreadeth her wings
I should love her and embrace her,
Bid her welcome as a friend.
Come to me soothing sleep,
And with thee bring me dreams
That my sorrow may assuage,
Dreams my sorrow may assuage.

5. The Rowan Tree (Scottish)

Oh! Rowan Tree Oh! Rowan Tree!
Thou'lt aye be dear to me,
Entwined thou art wi mony ties,
O' hame and infancy.

Thy leaves were aye the first o' spring,
Thy flow'rs the simmer's pride;
There was nae sic a bonny tree
In a' the countrieside

Oh! Rowan tree!

How fair wert thou in simmer time,
Wi' a' thy clusters white
How rich and gay thy autumn dress,
Wi' berries red and bright.

On thy fair stem were many names,
Which now nae mair I see,
But they're engraven on my heart.
Forgot they ne'er can be!

Oh! Rowan tree!

We sat aneath thy spreading shade,
The bairnies round thee ran,
They pu'd thy bonny berries red,
And necklaces they strang.

My Mother! Oh, I see her still,
She smil'd oor sports to see,
Wi' little Jeanie on her lap,
And Jamie at her knee!

Oh! Rowan tree!

Oh! there arose my Father's pray'r,
In holy evening's calm,
How sweet was then my Mither's voice,
In the Martyr's psalm;

Now a' are gane! we meet nae mair
Aneath the Rowan Tree;
But hallowed thoughts around thee twine
O' hame and infancy.

Oh! Rowan tree!

6. All Through The Night (Welsh)

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night.
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping,
All through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping,
All through the night.
While the weary world is sleeping,
All through the night.
O'er thy spirit gently stealing,
Visions of delight revealing,
Breathes a pure and holy feeling,
All through the night.

7. Linden Lea (English)

Within the woodland flow'ry gladed,
By the oak tree's mossy root.
The shining grass blade, timber shaded,
Now do quiver on the foot.
And birds do whistle overhead,
And water's bubbling in its bed,
And there for me the apple tree,
Do lean down low, in Linden Lea.

When leaves that lately were a-springing
Now do fade within the copse,
And painted birds do hush their singing,
High upon the timber tops,
And brown leaved fruit is turning red,
In cloudless sunshine overhead,
With root for me the apple tree
Do lean down low, in Linden Lea.

Let other folk make money faster,
In the air of dark roomed towns.
I do not dread a peevish master,
Though no man may heed my frowns.
For I be free to go abroad,
Or take again my homeward road,
To where, for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low, in Linden Lea.

8. The Ash Grove (Welsh)

Down yonder green valley, where streamlets meander,
When twilight is fading I pensively rove.
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander,
Amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove;
'T was there, while the blackbird was cheerfully singing,
I first met my dear one, the joy of my heart!
Around us for gladness the bluebells were ringing,
Ah! then little thought I how soon we should part.

Still glows the bright sunshine o'er valley and mountain,
Still warbles the blackbird its note from the tree;
Still trembles the moonbeam on streamlet and fountain,
But what are the beauties of nature to me?
With sorrow, deep sorrow, my bosom is laden,
All day I go mourning in search of my love;
Ye echoes, oh, tell me, where is the sweet maiden?
"She sleeps, 'neath the green turf down by the ash grove."

9. David Of The White Rock (Welsh)

'Bring me my harp', was David's sad sigh,
'I would play one more tune before I die.

Help me, dear wife, put the hands to the strings,
I wish my loved ones the blessing God brings.'

'Last night an angel called with heaven's breath:
"David, play, and come through the gates of death!"
Farewell, faithful harp, farewell to your strings,
I wish my loved ones the blessing God brings.'

10. The Plough Boy (English)

A flaxen-headed cowboy, as simple as may be,
And next a merry ploughboy, I whistled o'er the lea;
But now a saucy footman, I strut in worsted lace,
And soon I'll be a butler, and wag my jolly face.
When steward I'm promoted, I'll snip a trademen's bill,
My master's coffers empty, my pockets for to fill;
When lolling in my chariot, so great a man I'll be,
You'll forget the little ploughboy that whistled o'er the lea.

I'll buy votes at elections, but, when I've made the pelf,
I'll stand poll for the parliament, and then vote in myself;
Whatever's good for me, sir, I never will oppose;
When all my ayes are sold off, why then I'll sell my noes.
I'll bawl, harangue, and paragraph, with speeches charm the ear;
And when I'm tired on my legs, then I'll sit down a peer;
In court or city honours, so great a man I'll be,
You'll forget the little ploughboy that whistled o'er the lea.

11. Passing By (English)

There is a Lady sweet and kind,
Was never face so pleased my mind;
I did but see her passing by,
And yet I love her till I die.

Her gesture, motion, and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.

Cupid is winged and doth range,
Her country so my love doth change:
But change she earth, or change she sky,
Yet will I love her till I die.

12. O Waly Waly (orig. Scottish)

The water is wide, I cannot get over.
Neither have I wings to fly.
Give me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row, my love and I.

A ship there is and she sails the sea.
She's loaded deep as deep can be.
But not so deep as the love I'm in.
I know not if I sink or swim.

I leaned my back against an oak,
Thinking it was a trusty tree.
But first it bent and then it broke,
So did my love prove false to me.

I reached my finger into some soft bush,
Thinking the fairest flower to find.
I pricked my finger to the bone,
And left the fairest flower behind.

Oh love be handsome and love be kind,
Gay as a jewel when first it is new.
But love grows old and waxes cold,
And fades away like the morning dew.

Must I go bound while you go free?
Must I love a man who doesn't love me?
Must I be born with so little art
As to love a man who'll break my heart?

When cockle shells turn silver bells,
Then will my love come back to me.
When roses bloom in winter's gloom,
Then will my love return to me.

13. Ye Banks And Braes O Bonnie Doon (Scottish)

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair;
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary, fu' o' care!

Thou'lt break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro' the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o' departed joys,
Departed - never to return!

Aft hae I rov'd by Bonnie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o' its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o' mine;

Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,
Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree!
And may fause Luver staw my rose,
But ah! She left the thorn wi' me.


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