Music: Before Longfellow

Long before Longfellow penned his verses about the village smithy, rural Englishmen were singing a hippety-hopping tune to the words:

Underneath the spreading chestnut tree

I loved her and she loved me.

There she used to sit upon my knee

'Neath the spreading chestnut tree.

Last year, when King George VI visited a boys' camp in England, the boys entertained him by singing it with gestures, and (before a battery of newsreel Cameras) the King himself joined in with a right royal will (see cut). Weeks later the newsreel reached a small cinema theatre at Juan-les-Pins...

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