16 October 2006

Fields of Gold



It's no secret, I love Sting. I've been a huge fan of his work, both solo and with The Police, for as long as I can recall. In fact, the first 45 (!) I ever bought was for "Every Breath You Take," purchased at the Peaches record shop (later known as Buttons, then Sound Warehouse, and then, I think, Blockbuster Music before shutting entirely) at 51st and Sheridan in Tulsa, OK.

Something has been in the back of my head for years - like 15 of 'em - and I am only now getting around to Googling out the answer. I'm not sure I've got it, but would love thoughts of those reading (Gillian, this means you, in particular!)

Does the lyric for "Fields of Gold" remind you of anything?

Here's Sting's song (one of my all-time top three Sting tunes, I'd say, btw):

You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold

So she took her love
For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold
I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in fields of gold
We'll walk in fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of gold


It's a gorgeous, gorgeous song, but has always nibbled at the back of my mind - where have I read this before?

So, there's a Christopher Marlowe poem:

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love


is this what Sting was inspired by when writing Fields of Gold? He was an English lit teacher for several years and anyone who could write a concept album inspired by The Canterbury Tales would certainly know Marlowe forwards and backwards, too.

What about this, though, by John Donne?

The Baite

COME live with mee, and bee my love,
And wee will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and christall brookes:
With silken lines, and silver hookes.

There will the river whispering runne
Warm'd by thy eyes, more then the Sunne.
And there the'inamor'd fish will stay,
Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swimme in that live bath,
Each fish, which every channell hath,
Will amorously to thee swimme,
Gladder to catch thee, then thou him.

If thou, to be so seene, beest loath,
By Sunne, or Moone, thou darknest both,
And if my selfe have leave to see,
I need not their light, having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legges, with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poore fish beset,
With strangling snare, or windowie net:

Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,
Or curious traitors, sleavesilke flies
Bewitch poore fishes wandring eyes.

For thee, thou needst no such deceit,
For thou thy selfe art thine owne bait;
That fish, that is not chatch'd thereby,
Alas, is wiser farre then I.


But, here's where I need help. I remember way back in French IV, Mme Anderson had us reading all sorts of great French works, and there was one by Rabelais, "Pantagruel," that for some reason I'm thinking also has similar language to this. I can still remember sitting there in class and reading it for the first time thinking, 'This is like "Fields of Gold,'" but, alas, since this was 1992 and pre-internet (for "regular" people), cross-checking it was not so simple. I'm not sure why it's taken me 14 yrs. to get around to looking for more on this - God knows I think about it every time I hear the song. Does anyone out there know what I'm talking about? I have a feeling this will drive me crazy until I know.

While being driven there, I'm loving Sting's new CD "Songs from the Labyrinth," which features, incidentally, a remake of Fields on the lute. Absolute perfection...

1 comment:

Gillian said...

There's a folksong that ends in pregnancy and cursing. I've thought for years that this song was a romanticised version of it. Can't remember the song though, except that I don't think it's a Child.

Since I've made rude comments here, you can make rude comments on my food blog (I'm a good friend - even if I can't think of songs). http://www.foodpast.com

What I *really* want is all your secret family recipes and I'mm using the blog to gently winkle them out of you.