This song, recorded by many, works as a beautiful tune as well. It may have originated from an older folk song, "Green Grass It Grows Bonny". The transcription here is based on Karan Casey’s beautifully sung version of the song with Solas. It’s one of my favorites of all time and John Doyles’ guitar is beyond compare.
I Wonder What’s Keeping My True Love Tonight
"It may have originated from an older folk song, "Green Grass It Grows Bonny""
It is sung under that title, as the line appears in many versions. One of note is sung by Niamh Parsons.
It was also recorded in the 1950s in Donegal (by Seamus Ennis) under that title, from the singing of Mary McGarvey, and used for the volume "Folksongs of Britain and Ireland", edited by Peter Kennedy.
A very nice version was rendered by Tomás Lynch (together with June Tabor), on his album "The Crux of the Catalogue".
The version in Kennedy’s book:
T: Green Grass it Grows Bonny
S:Folksongs of Britain and Ireland (Ed. Kennedy) no.157
F2|A2 C2 AA|G2 F3 C|D2 F3 G|F4 (Ac)|
d2 d2 de|d2 c2 (dc)|(AG) F3 G|A5|
d d3 (ed)|d2 c2 (dc)|A2 F3 G|A4 F2|
G G3 A2|c2 C3 C|D2 F3 G|F4||
I wonder what is keeping my true-love tonight
I wonder what is keeping him out of my sight
Little he knows all the pain I endure
He would not stay from me this night I am sure
O, love, are you not coming my pain to advance
Or, love, do you wait on a far better chance
Or have you but a sweetheart laid by you in store
Or are you coming to tell me you love me no more?
Love, I’m not coming your pain to advance
Or, love, do I wait on a far better chance
Or have I but a sweetheart laid by me in store
But I’m coming to tell you: I love you no more
I have gold in my pocket and love in my heart
But I can’t love a maiden that has got two sweethearts
I love you just lightly like the dew on the thorn
That falls down at night and goes away in the morn
Green grass it grows bonny, spring water runs clear
I weary, I weary, when I think of you, dear
You were my first in true love, but it’s now do I rue
The fonder I loved you, the falser you grew
Come, all young maidens, take a warning from me
Never build your nest on the top of the tree
The roots they will wither, the branches decay
Like that false-hearted young man, they will soon fade away