It Was a Lover and His Lass (from As You Like It)

36
it was his lover

It Was A Lover And HIs Lass from As You Like It (5:3)

Sheet Music by Special Request only

Performed by: Michael Mikulin

The original musical setting of this was written by Thomas Morley, one of the few composers to have worked with Shakespeare during his lifetime and a member of the English Madrigal school of composers. It is presumed (but not proven) that Morley’s setting was used in a contemporary production of As You Like It in the 1590’s and that the two men knew each other. My setting aims to capture the pastoral feel of Morley’s madrigal and adds a Celtic twist.

Verse 1
It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o’er the green corn-field did pass,

Refrain
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Verse 2
Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,

Refrain
In the* spring time, the only pretty ring time, **
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Bridge
This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino.
{repeat this section double time followed by musical interlude w bagpipes}
ohhhh…. ohhh…ohhh….
ohhhh… ohhhh. ohhh…

Refrain
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring. {modulate to key of G}

And therefore take the present time,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino;
For love is crowned with the prime

Refrain
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding.
Sweet lovers love the spring.

*The “the” article before the word springtime appears in some editions. I have included it here for ease of singing. The repetition of verse 3 (this carol…) is my own addition.
**Spring was traditionally the time for giving rings of marriage.

Post your comment

2 comments

  1. Posted by Robert Rockabrand, at Reply

    Who knew that Thomas Morley wrote this sweet and simple setting of Shakespeare’s “It was a lover and his lass” – totally infectious and charming!

  2. Posted by Carmencita Joyce Lake, at Reply

    very light and engaging song……at this time in the fall it brings a spring to your step (no pun intended)

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