Real loves and true loves

Cyril Tawney, in his songs, generally used the term “real love” where the traditional folk song usually uses “true love”.

I can’t say I blame him. The term true love in folk song is flexible, to say the least. My “true love” can be the person I love. Or the person who loves me. Or the person I don’t love any more. Or the person who doesn’t love me. It can be my manifestly untrue love, who is shagging someone else, or indeed has married someone else. It can be the person I am about to brutally murder, or the person who is in the very act of murdering me. Sometimes it simply means, someone I had a fling with once, a sort of, “I think I had a true love around here somewhere, a long time ago.”

Of course, it may mean the one person I have loved through many reincarnations, and the other half of my soul. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Folk song is really not romantic.