Cupid’s Garden

This traditional song (Roud 297) is about an 18th century tea garden located on the south side of the River Thames in London. It was named after Abraham Boydell Cuper. It became known as “Cupid’s Garden because of the questionable morals of its visitors and as a result, lost its licence in 1736.


[G] ‘Twas down in Cupid’s [D] Garden I [C] wandered for to [D] view
[G] The sweet and lovely [D] flowers [C] that in the [D] garden [G] grew,
[G] And one it was sweet [D] jasmin, the [C] lily, pink and [D] rose;
[G] They are the finest [D] flowers [C] that in the [D] garden [G] grow
[C] that in the [D] garden [G] grow.

I had not been in the garden but scarcely half an hour,
When I beheld two maidens, sat under a shady bower,
And one it was sweet Nancy, so beautiful and fair,
The other was a virgin and did the laurels wear
and did the laurels wear.

I boldly stepped up to them and unto them did say,
“Are you engaged to any young man, come tell to me, I pray?”
“No, I’m not engaged to any young man, I solemnly declare;
I mean to stay a virgin and still the laurels wear”
and still the laurels wear.

So, hand in hand together, this loving couple went;
To view the secrets of her heart was the sailor’s full intent,
Or whether she would slight him while he to the wars did go.
Her answer was, “Not I, my love, for I love a sailor bold”
for I love a sailor bold.

It’s down in Portsmouth Harbour, there’s a ship lies waiting there;
Tomorrow to the seas I’ll go, let the wind blow high or fair.
And, if I should live to return again, how happy I should be
With you, my love, my own true love, sitting smiling on my knee
sitting smiling on my knee.