Folk Songs: ‘When You and I Were Young, Maggie’

I first saw a recording by the group Mignarda (http://www.Mignarda.com) at Cap’s Blog in his post Se sei con me.  By their own words,

“As Mignarda (http://www.Mignarda.com), we typically perform music from the 16th century, but while taking a break from recording the music of John Dowland, we did an impromptu rendition of this lovely old song.”

This “impromptu rendition” of When You and I Were Young, Maggie is below. ❤️

 

 

The Story

According to Mignarda,

The poem was written for Maggie Clark of Glanford, Ontario by poet George Washington Johnson. George and Maggie became engaged, married, and moved to Cleveland, but Maggie died less than a year later in May 1865 and was buried near her old home. Washington returned to Canada where he taught at the University of Toronto.

The poem was published in 1864 in a collection entitled ‘Maple Leaves’ and, after Maggie’s death, Johnson arranged for it to be set to music by James Austin Butterfield, a music teacher then living in Detroit. The song attained great popularity in post-Civil War America, and has been recorded countless times – first in 1905.

This is our own spontaneous arrangement.

You can find more about Mignarda at their blog, Unquiet Thoughts – Mignarda’s musings on lutes and lute songs in the 21st century.

 

WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, MAGGIE

(George W. Johnson / James Austin Butterfield)

I wandered today to the hill, Maggie,

To watch the scene below;

The creek and the creaking old mill, Maggie,

As we used to long ago.

The green grove is gone from the hill, Maggie,

Where first the daisies sprung;

The creaking old mill is still, Maggie,

Since you and I were young.

Chorus
And now we are agèd and grey, Maggie,
And the trials of life nearly done,
Let us sing of the days that are gone, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

A city so silent and lone, Maggie,

Where the young and the gay and the best,

In polished white mansions of stone, Maggie,

Have each found a place of rest,

Is built where the birds used to play, Maggie,

And join in the songs that were sung;

For we sang as lovely as they, Maggie,

When you and I were young.

Chorus
And now we are agèd and grey, Maggie,
And the trials of life nearly done,
Let us sing of the days that are gone, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

They say I am feeble with age, Maggie

My steps are less spritely than then

My face is a well written page, Maggie,

But time alone was the pen.

They say we are aged and gray, Maggie,

As sprays by the white breakers flung,

But to me you’re as fair as you were, Maggie,

When you and I were young.

Chorus
And now we are agèd and grey, Maggie,
And the trials of life nearly done,
Let us sing of the days that are gone, Maggie,
When you and I were young.

Click For Enlarged Detail

 

Read More:

Music Credit:

  • Performers: Mignarda (http://www.Mignarda.com)
  • Music by James Austin Butterfield (1866);
  • Lyrics by George W. Johnson. Arranged by Ron Andrico & Donna Stewart.  YouTube

Image Credit:

Louis Aston Knight (American, 1873-1948) , The Old Mill, signed and inscribed ‘Aston Knight/Paris’ (lower right), oil on canvas, 35 1/8 x 46 in. (89.2 x 116.8 cm.), Source: Christie’s, Link: https://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5728972

Thanks for Visiting! 🙂

~Sunnyside

11 Comments Add yours

      1. 🤗it is my pleasure.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. efge63 says:

    I really enjoy every post of you!!!!

    Thank you …. i don’t know your name ????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Efi! I am Deborah, or Sunnyside – whichever you prefer. 😎

      Like

      1. efge63 says:

        Both are beautiful!!! Have a sunny day!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. penwithlit says:

    Reblogged this on penwithlit and commented:
    Very sweet and moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ron or Donna says:

    What a beautiful post you’ve made from our song, Deborah! Thanks so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pleasure is all mine! Thank you for sharing your gifts of music and history – discovering your albums has given me countless hours of joy. ❤️😊

      Like

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