“The Willow Tree”


Singer is a woman. Her love won't speak to her. She wishes his bosom were glass so she could "view those secrets of your heart." Her love is a sailor: "when he gets so far away, He hardly thinks no more of me" She would be happy to have him back.


The Willow reference is not exactly the expected one.

As I pass by a willow tree, willow tree,

That willow leaf blew down on me.

I picked it up, it would not break.

I've passed my love; he would not speak.

The break is usually for an oak tree ("I leaned my back against an oak ... First it bent and then it broke") rather than a willow leaf. Maybe the travelled lines have been so corrupted here that it is a new song.

Yates, Musical Traditions site _Voice of the People suite_ "Notes - Volume 10" - 4.9.02 considers this a version of "Tavern in the Town." I don't find enough of "Tavern"'s identifying lines to make that connection. - BS

There is some floating material here, though, e.g. the "heart made of glass" shows up in some versions of "My Dearest Dear." - RBW


  • May Bradley, "The Willow Tree" (on Voice12)


  1. Roud #60
  2. BI, RcTWilTr


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1965 (recording, May Bradley)
Found in: Britain(England(West))