Scarborough Fair

For years now, I have been so curious of the meaning of this song by Simon and Garfunkel that finally I did a research on the internet. It turned out, this was an old English Ballad that could date back to the 1600  and is similar to the Elfin Knight tale. So many versions have already been made to this tale that it is quite hard to know which is the original (if ever the original version could be traced).

Compared with the popular song we know today, I find this version, published in 1889, more beautiful because of the exchange of conversation between the two lovers with each one demanding some impossible task to be performed by the other. Although love for them is conditional and will greatly depend on the task being carried out, yet somehow the reader knows that the lovers will be able to perform them. And although both show hesitancy in giving their hearts to the other, yet the reader also knows that they are madly in love with each other but is just being coy and coquettish thus, making the dialogue graceful and witty.

As to Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, I have always interpreted them as representing a season of the year and that the lovers, no matter when, will always love each other. However, upon research, it turned out that none of them matched my interpretation  and the one which I liked was that Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme are ingredients for a love potion and that the repetition is necessary in order for the concoction to be more stronger. The reader now then is given an image of a witch (a beautiful one I should say) in a hut chanting and dancing while mixing a potion in a big steaming cauldron.

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