Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Ash Grove, etc.

We sang this hymn at the end of Mass today:

Sent forth by God's blessing, our true faith confessing,
the people of God from His dwelling take leave.
The supper is ended. Oh, now be extended
the fruits of this service in all who believe.
The seed of His teaching, receptive souls reaching,
shall blossom in action for God and for all.
His grace did invite us, His love shall unite us
To work for God's kingdom and answer His call.

With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,
the tasks of our everyday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,
embracing His children of each tribe and race.
With Your feast You feed us, with Your light now lead us;
united us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living with praise and thanksgiving
give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.

It has a nice, lilting melody, but - the problem is that I've heard it before. 

Every time we sing this my mind goes back to the 1980's Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth Garvie. During the party at the Lucases, Lizzie sings a song at the piano, and it's this one, with different lyrics, of course.  

Well, I happen to be reading another book about trees -  Fiona Stafford's The Long, Long Life of Trees, and in the chapter about the ash, what do you think I saw? 

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;
'twas there, while the blackbird was cheerfully singing,
I first met that 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.

Apparently, it's an old Welsh song called The Ash Grove, no doubt familiar to my (2 or 3) English readers. Ha!

I do think I'm partial to this version; I did hear Lizzie sing it first. Here, two young women do it charmingly, with all the verses.


  1. The Ash Grove is a song that until fairly recently was taught at primary school or was sung by school or amateur choirs. I'm not sure that it is still taught in England. It may still be sung regularly in Wales - I don't know. I like the tune too and I have heard it used with different lyrics, as you have. I had forgotten that Lizzie sang it in the 1980 P and P!

    1. I sometimes wonder if American children are taught old classic songs in school, Clare. Probably not. :( And, too bad.