I Will Give My Love an Apple (I Gave My Love a Cherry)

TITLE: I Will Give My Love an Apple  (I Gave My Love a Cherry)
AUTHOR: unknown
CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: riddle, love, gift
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: c. 1430 (British Library, Sloane MS. 2593, “I have a yong suster”)

UnknownI Gave My Love an Apple, The Riddle Song, and I Gave My Love a Cherry is a lullaby based on two English folk songs: “Child Ballad no. 1” (also known as Riddles Wisely Expounded), and “Child Ballad no. 46.” This lullaby is said to be written in the 15th century. 

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • The Riddle Song
  • I Have a Young Sister
  • Perri Merri Dictum, Domine

RECORDINGS: (mp3’s available through Amazon.com)

Pete Seeger, The Riddle Song 

Jennifer Rose, I Will Give My Love an Apple

John Langstaff, John Langstaff Sings: Archival Folk Collection, 1949-1961

Clark Jones, I Will Give My Love an Apple

YOUTUBE VIDEO: 

YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART: download
PPT LYRICS FOR THE CLASSROOM: download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: Benjamin Luxon

I Will Give My Love an Apple

I’ll give my love an apple
without e’er a core
I’ll give my love a dwelling
without e’er a door,
I’ll give my love a palace
wherein she may be,
But she may unlock it
without any key.

How can there be an apple
without e’er a core
How can there be a dwelling
without e’er a door,
How can there be a palace
where she may be,
How can she unlock it
without e’er a key.

My head is the apple
without e’er a core,
My mind is the dwelling
without e’er a door.
My heart is the palace
wherein she may be
And she may unlock it
without e’er a key.

SOURCES:

  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books

SONGBOOKS:

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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