The lyrics of "Scarborough Fair" have much in common with a Scottish ballad titled " The Elfin Knight ", one of the many ballads collected by Francis James Child ,  and both songs are officially categorised as the same ballad. The song has been traced as far back as the s, and dozens of versions existed by the end of the 18th century. The references to the traditional English fair, " Scarborough Fair " and the refrain " parsley , sage , rosemary , and thyme " can only be traced to 19th century versions and the refrain may have been borrowed from the ballad Riddles Wisely Expounded , Child Ballad 1 , which has a similar plot. The oldest versions of " The Elfin Knight " circa contain the refrain "my plaid away, my plaid away, the wind shall not blow my plaid away". Some relatively recent Scottish recordings contain similar refrains such as "Blaw, blaw, blaw ye winds blaw And the dreary wind's blawed my plaidie awa'".
Simon & Garfunkel Made It Famous but It Dates Back to Medieval Times
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About its lyrics
As a market fair, comprising of traders, merchants and other vendors, it started sometime in the 14th century and used to take place until the 18th century. The music of the folk song is characterized by extensive harmonies and rising melodic lines. The purpose here was to develop a sensitive setting, akin to the story behind it.
Like any fair, it attracted traders, entertainers and food vendors, along with other hangers-on. The fair peaked in the late 14th century but continued to operate until the end of the s. Now, several fairs are held in remembrance of the original.