THE NIGHTINGALE SONG
(ONE MORNING IN MAY; THE NIGHTINGALE)
Sung by: Seth Mize
Recorded in Mountain View, AR by George Fisher
Click here to listen to the original recording
I met a fair couple a-walking away.
One was a lady, a lady so fair,
And the other was a soldier and a brave volunteer.
Said the soldier to the lady, “Where shall we go?”
Said the lady to the soldier, “I hardly do know.
Go across the river and set down by the spring.
See the water go gliding, hear the nightingale sing.”
They had not been there but a moment or two
‘Til from a satchel a fiddle he drew.
He played her one tune he called 'Down by the Spring,'
And see the water go gliding, hear the nightingale sing.
Said the soldier to the lady, “It’s time to give o’er.”
“Oh, no,” said the lady, “Please play me one more.
I’d rather hear the fiddle, one tap on the string,
See the water go gliding, hear the nightingale sing.”
Said the lady to the soldier, “Will you marry me?”
“Oh, no,” said the soldier, “That never can be.
I’ve a home in New England, and children there three,
And the prettiest Dutch woman that you ever did see.”
“I’ll go to New England, and I’ll stay there three years.
In the place of cold water, I’ll drink lager beer,
And if ever I come, it’ll be to this spring,
To see the water go gliding, hear the nightingale sing.”
Now, ladies, take warning; take warning from me:
Never place your loving on a soldier so free.
He’ll tell you that he loves you to give your heart ease,
And he’ll turn his back on you, go and love who he please.
Mr. Mize: ". . . one about this old preacher that . . . he was . . ."
??: "You're on the air."
Fisher: "That's all right. Go ahead and tell it."
Mize: "Well, this old preacher, he come around, you know, and he went way back, and a woman lived there, and he asked her if there was any Presbyterians in the country. And she didn't seem to know what that was, and he kept talking and said, 'You must be in the dark.'
'Well,' she said, 'I was. The old man cut out a window the other day in the back there, and it's not quite so dark now.'
'Well,' he said, 'Didn't you know that the good Lord died for us?'
'Why, law, no,' she said, 'I didn't even know the old fellow was sick.'
'Well,' he said, 'I tell you. Ain't there no Presbyterians lives around here?'
'Well now,' she said, 'I don't know.' Said, 'The old man does a lot of trapping.' Said, 'You can go around behind the house there and see if you can find any of the hides.'"
Fisher: "When did you start playing? Did you start playing about the same time you started singing songs?"
Mize: "Yeah. I started playing on the violin back when I was about . . . I guess about fifteen, fourteen years old."
Fisher: "Did you used to play for dances?"
Mize: "I used to play for lots of dances after I learned to play. After I got up around eighteen, nineteen years old, that's where I went to playing."
Fisher: "You ever play all night long?"
Mize: "I've played all night. I went to playing whenever . . . dancing, oh, just about dusky dark and quit when the sun's rising."
Fisher: "Is that a fact?"
Mize: "I've been . . ."
Fisher: "And you could even still go a little farther, couldn't you?"
Mize: "Oh, yeah. I could have went right on. Didn't bother me a bit."
Fisher: "You've done a little dancing, too. I noticed here the other night, you were dancing."
Mize: "Yeah, I do that. Used to do a lot of it."
Fisher: "Jig dancing and tap dancing both."
Mize: "Yeah. I could do either one of them, used to."
Fisher: "Square dancing?"
Mize: "Square. Round."
Fisher: "That just about covers 'em all, doesn't it?"
Mize: "I just about danced 'em all."
Fisher: "Except ballet."
Mize: "Yeah. I danced 'em all whenever I was out."
Fisher: "When did you start playing the guitar, about the same time as the fiddle?"
Mize: "Well, I went to playing the guitar, I guess, when I was about eighteen, and I quit just about all of it when I was around about 27, or somewhere like that."
Fisher: "Did you ever raise a crop?"
Mize: "Yeah. I've done a little farm work."
Fisher: "What did you do mostly, besides mine work?"
Mize: "Well, I worked in timber, and I worked some on the farm."
Fisher: "Do you know what a bow belly is? Do you know what a little ribbon is?"
Mize: "No, I don't guess I do. I'll let you tell me."
Fisher: "Well, that's the term that somebody gave us for the name of two saws, crosscut saws-- the little ribbon and the . . ."
Mize: "Yeah. Well, I guess I should know. I've used them."
Fisher: "You've used them plenty."
Mize: "I've used both of them."
Fisher: "It's just a plain old crosscut saw to you, though, aren't they?"
Mize: "They're just what I call the plain old crosscut."
Fisher: "You pulled your end of it, though, didn't you?"
Mize: "I sure have pulled my end of 'em, many a day, cutting timber. Then after the chainsaw got in, why, I went to carrying a big two-man, then went to a one-man, and I've handled a chainsaw for several years."
Fisher: "Where did you go to school?"
Mize: "Well, I done the most of my schooling at Round Mountain near Big Flat, Arkansas."
Fisher: "Yeah. That's in Baxter County, isn't it?"
Mize: "Well, Round Mountain is just over in Stone County, right at the corner, right where they join."
Fisher: "Mr. Mize, we want to thank you for the songs and the music that you sang and played us today, and we'll cherish this tape for as long as we live, and with your permission, we would like to put this tape on and play it at the Rackensack meeting in Little Rock, just to let 'em hear your singing."
Mize: "Well, that would be all right. With my permission, put it on and let 'em hear my singing. I have done singing away back later years. Right now I don't have too good a voice for singing, but I'd be glad to spread this out, what I do know."
Fisher: "Oh, we don't think you have any need to apologize, because we think you do a fine job, as Ollie Gilbert does. Ms. Ollie Gilbert walked in about the time you were halfway through your tape. That didn't put you uneasy, did it?"
Mize: "No, not a bit. I'd like to hear Aunt Ollie sing some, though."
Fisher: "Well, we're going to put her on the other side, if we can twist her arm, you know, and make her."
Mize: "Well, we want to twist her arm and make her sing some, because me and her is both getting pretty agy. She's quite a bit older than I am, but . . ."
Fisher: "When he said that, Ms. Ollie said, 'Oh, I wouldn't go so far as to say that.' You didn't hear her say that, did you?"
Mize: "No, I don't guess she heard that."
Fisher: "Well, you get up past a certain age, and then you quit getting older."
Mize: "That's right. You know, there's lots of days when you feel that young blood feeling."
Fisher: "Yeah, that's right."
Mize: "You feel like sometimes after you get . . ."
Fisher: "Before we put Ms. Ollie Gilbert on tape singing some songs, we have a story by Mr. Mize. What's the story about?"
Mize: "Well, you know, we was talking about (?). We had a man out here in Big Flat, he had a wooden leg. Now, I think about two bottles was all he had to take, and he had to carry a hatchet around with him to keep the sprouts cut off of his leg."
Fisher: "I don't believe that, now . . ."
Mize: "You know, there was a lot of them that didn't even know what the flying saucer was, but we learned out here that it's a cap off of a (?) bottle."
Fisher: "You know almost as many jokes as Ollie Gilbert does."
Also found in Randolph, Vol. I, #58, “One Morning in May”; Brown, Vol. III, #13, “One Morning in May”; Belden, p. 239, “The Nightingale.”