The Hazards of Love is a concept album concerning the trials and tribulations of a woman named Margaret, her foppish lover, William, who provides the dramatic undoing of the tragic heroine, the queen of a spooky forest and a murdering knave. Decemberists' frontman Colin Meloy originally intended it to be an actual musical, staged by director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening). In an interview with Paste magazine, Meloy revealed that he, "decided about halfway through my time in France that it wasn't going to work as a stage piece. But it would still work as a Rock record, so that's where it ended up."
The original inspiration for The Hazards of Love was a 1966 EP of the same title by English folk singer Anne Briggs. Meloy explained to about.com: "Her first 45 was 'The Hazards of Love,' four traditional songs, all unaccompanied voice, but none actually called 'The Hazards of Love.' A title which, I then figured, was fair game. It seemed, to me, to illustrate the themes of much of the music arranged in the folk-revival of the '60s, and the younger generation's attraction to romantic songs tinged with darkness and violence."
Meloy added in an interview with The Sun April 3, 2009: "I'd been immersing myself in music from that period, from the Sixties and Seventies, particularly the British folk revival and Anne has a phenomenal biography. It had enough for someone to romanticize. I just fell in love with her music, her voice, her approach to arrangements and the music that she picked."
This is the first of 4 "Hazards Of Love" songs on the album.
Meloy told about.com that this was the first song he wrote for the album, "in which I stole the genesis motif of innumerable folk-songs: a woman going out into the wild to pull flowers, and, thus, the adventure begins. By the time I got to the end of the song, the story felt like it was only just beginning."