I find "The trees they do grow high" to be one of the most beautiful and mournful ballads of love in English folk music. The version I sing is taken from Songs and Dances of England
by Liz Thomson (1982). I love singing it and am always delighted when I can moisten a few eyes or coax an odd tear or two.
In July 2013, I came across Ireland Sings
by Dominic Behan
in which he made the following remark: about this song titled as Child Wedding
"I married was, a high lady to be", and again, "If better be more fit, I'll send him to the court ahile to point his pretty wit". Compare with that English Elizabethan version, the Scots "The trees are a' ivy the leaves they are green, The time is long past that I hae seen", and you'll see the terrible things go on when the drawing room tries to get nearer to the kitchen, in rooms that is. Match making, young women to old men usually, but the Irish version does an about face, after all we're not going to show our girls in a bad light.
Well said, Dominic although Liz's version also has a volte-face!