Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Christopher le Fleming

Letter No.: 

The White Gates

Dear le Fleming
I don't think "The leaves they shall wither" is a folk-song in the strict sense - neither words nor tune suggest it - i.e. not purely traditional.  It is probably a "border line" cause case, i.e. a "Vauxhall" tune which has become popular & had some "folk" elements added to it.  I have heard it sung (or other versions of your tune) often & noted it once or twice - but gave up when I came to the conclusion it was not a folk-tune.  I think Sharp also noted it - he refers to it in one of his prefaces to F.S. from Somerset.1  There is no reason why your arrangement shd not be published - But I think I should be wary of describing it as a folk-song.
I am glad I have news of you & to know that "the works of art are keeping pace with the works of nature" (as Fanny Burney said).  My kind regards to your wife.
R Vaughan Williams

1. Cecil Sharp's Folk songs from Somerset.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add. MS 65143, f.30