I found "All around my hat" in Songs and Dances of England
by Liz Thomson (1982) and had never heard it before. I like the lyrics very much and the story is somewhat unusual in that it deals with the devotion of a young man to a young lady who is convicted of theft and transported, supposedly to Australia, for seven years. He swears eternal love, will wait for ever and never be downhearted. I sing it slowly and deliberately and gently increase my voice strength as the song progresses. This is at odds with Liz Thomson who proposes that the song should be done vigorously. For my taste, the lyrics (which for a folk singer are always of the most importance) are ill-served if done too fast. Her opinion appears to be the prevailing one however as I learned in New Zealand in 1994. When I sang this song to my sister-in-law, Kirsty, and brother Peter, who had heard this song in London in the sixties, they both were surprised at my singing it so slowly. They expected it to be done at high speed.