I Was In Covent Garden, Three Paces Did I Walk (from Four Songs for Ralph Vaughan Williams) — sheet music PDF
This gorgeous, melancholy folk tune was collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams from a Mrs Verrall in Horsham, Sussex on the 24th May, 1904. I rearranged it for solo piano to celebrate RVW's 150th birthday in 2022.
Key/mode: G aeolian
Characteristic features: modal, folk song,
Space for improvisation: Yes
Difficulty: Grade 5
I was in Covent Garden, three paces did I walk.
I met two pretty lovyers, so sweetly to talk.
'Twas of a gay young lady and her young 'prentice boy, In private they were courting, for he was all her joy.
One would imagine from the melancholy tone of the melody that the “gay young lady and her young ‘prentice boy” did not have a happy ending but the Vaughan Williams’ archive includes another set of lyrics in a different hand, which tells of how the lady’s parents banish the apprentice to “foreign lands”, where he makes his fortune and returns...
When she beheld his features and flew into his arms
With kisses out of measure she enjoyed his charms.
‘Twas down in Covent Garden their road to church they found, In everlasting comfort, these lovers they were bound.