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  1. The Ash Grove
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10. The Ash Grove (5:20) (Welsh Traditional)

Girl Scouts - specifically Girl Scout camp - is where I first learned this song. Or at least the first verse here. I spent many summers growing up at Scout camp, and singing this and all the other songs in our book around the campfire was the best part of every day for me. It was years later that I learned the last verse listed here - and realized what a dark and morbid song this actually is! And then there is the other version - the British Isles version - which is closer to the actual translation from the original Welsh. That’s where I snagged the second verse. It’s a great thing about traditional music, how it changes and adapts as it moves across time and geography, but always connects us together.

Lyrics

The ash grove, how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking
The harp through it playing has language for me
When over its branches, the sunlight is breaking
A host of kind faces is gazing on me
The friends of my childhood again are before me
Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam
With soft whispers laden, its leaves rustle o'er me
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home

Down yonder green valley where streamlets meander
When twilight is fading, I pensively roam
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 that dear one, the joy of my heart
Around as for gladness the bluebells were ringing
Ah then little knew I, how soon we would part

My lips smile no more, my heart loses its lightness
No dream of the future my spirit can cheer
I only can brood on the past and its brightness
The dead I have mourned are again living here
From every dark nook they press forward to meet me
I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome
And others are there, looking downward to greet me
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home

With soft whispers laden, its leaves rustle o'er me
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home