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Brigg Fair


As a visual person, it’s odd to think how significant the other four senses can be. I heard something on the radio this morning that reminded me.

Brigg Fair

By all accounts, Frederick Delius was a nasty man. But that didn’t stop him from writing some evocative music. For some myterious reason I associate his instrumental composition “Brigg Fair” with the death of my grandmother Clara Markiewicz, the woman who—for better and for worse—stepped in when my mother packed a suitcase of lengerie and loose cash and was never seen again. When grandma died I somehow became imprinted with the Delius composition. Now, whenever I hear it, a tsunami of grief washes over me. If you’ve never heard it, please do.

Delius based “Brigg Fair” on an English folk melody whose text I append below:

“It was on the fifth of August

The weather fair and mild

Unto Brigg Fair I did repair

For love I was inclined.

“I got up with the lark in the morning

And my heart was full of glee

Expecting there to meet my dear

Long time I’d wished to see.

“I looked over my left shoulder

To see what I might see

And there I spied my own true love

Come a-tripping down to me.

“I took hold of her lily white hand

And merrily sang my heart

For now we are together

We never more shall part.

“For the green leaves, they will wither

And the roots, they shall decay

Before I prove false to her

The lass that loves me well.”

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