‘Lemon Tree Very Pretty…’

When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me,
Come here and learn a lesson from the lovely lemon tree.
Don’t put your faith in love, my boy, my father said to me,
I fear you’ll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree.

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Beneath the lemon tree one day, my love and I did a lie
A girl so sweet that when she smiled the sun rose in the sky.
We passed that summer lost in love beneath the lemon tree
The music of her laughter hid my father’s words from me:

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

One day she left without a word. she took away the sun.
And in the dark she left behind, I knew what she had done.
She’d left me for another, it’s a common tale but true.
A sadder man but wiser now I sing these words to you:

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.


This is a bittersweet song, but the tune is a happy, bouncy one and I am very grateful to it. I can date it exactly to the summer of 1964 when I was taking ‘O’ level Maths. I had never passed a maths exam in my life, so I was not looking forward to it. However, I had this song on the brain and was singing it to myself all the way through the exam. As a result, I was so relaxed I passed (admittedly only grade 5 but it was enough to get into university!)

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About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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4 Responses to ‘Lemon Tree Very Pretty…’

  1. sallykwitt says:

    Love the song and your post, Laura!

  2. Pingback: ‘Lemon Tree Very Pretty…’ « Bruce/Sally Witt, Social Media & Ministry

  3. dm yates says:

    I loved this song and who didn’t love Peter, Paul, and Mary?

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