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© Chris Foster 2019 - all rights reserved

Chris Foster song lyrics

Lyrics for all the songs on

Hadelin 2017, Outsiders 2008, Jewels 2004 and Traces 1999,

including downloadable PDF files.

Scroll down the page for Jewels and Traces lyrics.

Hadelin song lyrics in album order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

downloadable pdf

The seeds of love 

 

I sowed the seeds of love
and I sowed them in the springtime.
I gathered them up in the morning so soon,
while the small birds sweetly sing, while the small birds sweetly sing.


My garden was planted well,
with flowers everywhere,
but I had not the liberty to choose for myself
of the flowers I loved so dear, of the flowers I loved so dear.

But the gardener was standing by
and I asked him to choose for me.
He chose me the violet, the lily and the pink,
but these I refused all three, but these I refused all three.

Oh the violet I did not like,
because it fades too soon.

The lily and the pink I did over-think,
and I vowed I would wait ’till June, I vowed I would wait  ’till June.

 

Oh in June there is the red rosy bud
and that is the flower for me.
I pulled and I plucked at that red rosy bush
until I gained a willow tree, until I gained a willow tree.

Oh the willow it will twist
and the willow it will twine.
Oh I wish I was back in that young girl's arms
that once held this heart of mine, that once held this heart of mine.


So come all you false young maids,
who leave me here to complain,

the grass that is now trodden underfoot,
given time it’ll rise again, given time it’ll rise again.

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster

The faithful plough

  

Come all you jolly ploughmen of courage stout and bold,

who labour all the winter, through the stormy winds and cold.

For to crown your fields with plenty and your farmyards to renew.

That bread may not be wanted, we must use the faithful plough.

 

Adam in the garden, he was sent to keep it right.

The length of time he stayed there, they say it was one night.

He was conquered by a woman and that you all do know

and so soon he lost the garden and he went to hold the plough,

 

So Adam was a ploughman when ploughing first begun

and the next that did succeed him was Cain his eldest son.

Some of this generation the calling now pursue,

for we are all dependent upon the faithful plough.

 

Samson was a strong man and Solomon was wise.

Alexander for to conquer he was all that we do prize.

King David was a valiant man and many a thousand slew,

but none of these brave heroes could live without the plough.

 

Says the ploughman to the gardener “Count not your trade as ours,

but walk your curious borders and gaze upon your flowers.

If it was not for the ploughman both rich and poor would rue,

for they are all dependent upon the faithful plough. ”

 

Behold the wealthy merchant who trades in foreign seas

to bring forth gold and treasure for those that lives at ease,

with finest silks and spices and fruits and dainties too,

they are all brought from the Indies by virtue of the plough.

 

I hope that those who hear this will count in what is true

that we cannot sail the oceanwide without the faithful plough.

For they must have beer and biscuits, plum puddings, flour and peas

for to feed the the jolly sailors who plough the raging seas.

 

Well I hope there’s none offended now with me for singing this,

for it never was intended to be anything amiss,

but if you consider it rightly you will find that it is true

that all the trades I’ve mentioned depend upon the plough.

 

So come all you jolly ploughmen of courage stout and bold,

who labour all the winter, through the stormy winds and cold,

for to crown your fields with plenty and your farmyards to renew.

That bread may not be wanted, we must use the faithful plough.

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

Once when I was young 

 

When I was young,  I would sit by the fire

and dream 'til my eyes burned like coals.

And my body flared as the flames grew higher,

and my bones glowed like embers, and I was afraid.

 

Chorus

And I dreamed of a world where I would be king,

where the sun and the moon would be calling my name,

dreamed of a song that I wanted to sing,

and a girl with a smile like a flame.

 

I went out into the streets and rejoiced that the wind was hard.

I took my place in the queue and waited and waited.

And when my turn came, they gave me my card,

and I answered the questions according to the rules.

 

They gave me a key and taught me the password.

They wrote my name on a plastic label.

and my uniform was made to measure.

I was five foot ten in my socks and my output was normal.

 

Chorus

 

I went through the door that slid shut behind me.

The walls were of granite, the windows of glass,

and the building rose ‘til it tore the sky.

A million people walked bear headed as mourners, deaf as brass.

 

I was allotted the fifty-third floor

where the carpets were thick and a woman was there.

She introduced herself saying she was my wife

Something I recognised, her smile, the curve of her hair

 

Chorus

 

Well the carpets drowned the sound of our footsteps.

Sometimes we heard voices and wondered if they were ours.

We collected the tears and put them in water,

And grew we them instead of flowers.

 

The walls were of glass, the windows of granite,

and the curtains were closed to keep out the sun.

In the corner was a concrete cage,

where the children played until their turn should come.

 

Chorus

  

A million mourners are walking and waiting,

waiting for death, my death, though they don’t know my name.

I am five foot ten in my socks and my output is normal,

and I’ve always kept to the rules of the game.

 

My eyes are of glass, my body granite,

and I’ve taken my place in the queue waiting to leave

 

Once, when I was young, I used to sit by the fire,

and dream, and dream and dream...

© Leon Rosselson. 

arranged Chris Foster

The Gardener 

 

Proud Maisrie stands in her father’s garden,

straight as any willow wand.

And by there came a gardener child,

with a red rose in his hand, his hand,

a red rose in his hand.

 

I will give my rose to you fair maiden,

if you’ll give your flower to me.

And among the flowers of your father's yard,

I will make a gown for thee, for thee.

I will make a gown for thee.

 

The lily white shall be your smock,

and lie your body next.

And the marigolds shall be your stays,

with a red rose at your breast, your breast,

a red rose at your breast.

And the scented thyme shall be your gown,

and your petticoat the camomile,

and your apron of the celandine,

so come kiss sweetheart and join, and join.

Come kiss sweetheart and join.

And your gloves shall be the clover flower,

and your shoes the purple columbine,

and I’ll line them with the cornflower blue,

so come join your love with mine, with mine.

Come join your love with mine.

Since you have made a gown for me,

all among the summer flowers.

Then it's I will make a suit for thee

all among the winter showers, the showers,

all among the winter showers.

The drifting snow shall be your shirt,

and lie your body next.

And the mirk-black night shall be your coat,

with a storm howling at your breast, your breast,

A storm howling at your breast

 

And the horse that you shall ride upon

shall be the lashing winter gale.

And I’ll bridle him with some northern blast,

and biting showers of hail, of hail,

and biting showers of hail.

And your gloves shall be the midnight frost,

and your boots the freezing winter rain.

And every time that you pass by,

I will wish you were well away, away.

I'll wish you were well away.

© traditonal arranged Chris Foster

Rosie Ann

 

Fair Rosie Ann sits at her father’s door

a weeping and making moan.

When by there came her own father dear

saying “What ails you Rosie Ann."

 

“Oh a deal and a deal, dear father" she said.

"Good reasons have I for to moan.

For there lies a baby between my two sides,

between me and my brother John."

 

Fair Rosie Ann sits at her father’s door

a weeping and making moan.

When by there came her own mother dear

saying “What ails you Rosie Ann."

 

“Oh a deal and a deal, dear mother" she said.

"Good reasons have I for to moan.

For there lies a baby between my two sides,

between me and my brother John."

 

Fair Rosie Ann sits at her father’s door

a weeping and making moan.

When by there came her own sister dear

saying “What ails you Rosie Ann."

 

“Oh a deal and a deal dear sister" she said.

"Good reasons have I for to moan.

For there lies a baby between my two sides,

between me and our brother John."

 

Well her brother John was sitting in the very next room

and he heard what she had for to say.

And then he’s gone straight to his sister Rosie Ann,

just before the dawning of the day.

 

He said “You have told our father and you have told our mother

and you have told our sister all three."

Then he’s taken out his sharp broad sword

and he’s cut her fair body in three.

 

“Oh what is that blood on the blade of your sword?

son John, come tell it unto me."

“Oh, that is the blood of my racing horse,

dear mother and fair lady."

 

“But your horse’s blood it was never so red,

son John, come tell it unto me."

“Oh, that is the blood of my greyhound,

dear mother and fair lady."

 

“But your greyhound’s blood it was never so clear,

son John, come tell it unto me."

“Oh, that is the blood of my sister Rosie Ann,

dear mother and fair lady."

 

“Well what will you do when your father comes to know?

son John, come tell it unto me."

“Oh, I will take his best riding horse

and I will go as far as I can see."

 

“And what will you do with your bonny young wife?

son John, come tell it unto me."

“Oh, I will set her foot onto yonder ship board

and I hope that she will follow me."

 

“And what will you do with your bonny young son?

son John, come tell it unto me."

“Oh, I will leave him here with you my mother dear,

to keep in rememberance of me."

 

“And what will you do with your houses and your land?

son John, come tell it unto me."

“Oh, I will sell them all and give you the money,

to keep my young baby."

 

“And when will you return to your own land again?

my son John, come tell it unto me."

“When the sun and the moon lie in yonder shady bower

and I know that will never, never be."

© traditional arranged Chris Foster

The Holland Handkerchief

 

A wealthy squire lived in our town.

He was a man of a high renown.

He had one daughter, a beauty bright,

And the name he called her was his heart's delight

 

Many young men to court her came.

But none of them could her favour gain.

Until one came of a low degree

and above all others she fancied he.

 

But when her father he came to know

that his lovely daughter loved this young man so.

Over fifty miles he sent her away,

all to deprive her of her wedding day

 

One night as she lay in her bedroom,

her young love came to her from out the gloom.

He touched her hand and to her he did say,

"Arise, my darling, and come away."

 

So it's with this young man she got on behind,

and they rode swifter than any wind.

They rode on for an hour or more,

until he says, "O my darling, my head feels sore."

  

So a holland handkerchief she then drew out

and with it wrapped his head about.

She kissed his lips and to him she did say,

"My dear, you are colder than any clay."

 

Now when they came to her father's gate,

he said, "Get down love, the hour is late.

Get down, get down, love and go to bed,

and I will see that this gallant horse is groomed and fed."

 

And when she rapped at her father's hall,

"Who's there? who's there?" her own father did call.

"It is I dear Father; didn't you send for me?

by such a messenger." Naming he.

 

"O no, dear Daughter, that can never be.

Your words are false and you lie to me.

For on yonder mountain your young man died

and in yon' green valley now his body lies."

 

Then the truth it dawned on this maiden brave,

and with her friends she exposed the grave,

where lay her young man, though nine months dead,

with a holland handkerchief tied around his head.

 

So it is woe to all parents, as I say still,

who rob young lovers of their own will.

For once their promises and vows they give,

they can never recall them back whilst they live.

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster and Bára Grímsdóttir

The trees they grow so high

 

The trees they grow so high and the leaves they do grow green.

The time is past and gone, my love, that you and I have seen.

It's a cold wind and a winter's night and I must lie alone.

My bonny boy was young, but he was growing.

 

"O father dear, O father, you do me cruel wrong.

You have married me to a boy and I think he is too young,

for he is only sixteen years, and I am twenty-one.

The boy he is too young, and still growing."

 

"O daughter dear, O daughter, I've done to you no wrong,

though I've married you to the bonny boy, he is not too young.

When I am dead and in my grave, he'll prove to you a man.

The boy he may be young, but he's growing."

 

"And I will send him off to college for another year or two.

Then perhaps in time my love, he will do for you.

I will buy a bunch of blue ribbons, to tie about his bonny waist,

to let the ladies know that he's married."

 

One day as she was walking down by the college wall,

she saw four and twenty young men playing at bat and ball.

She asked them for her true love, but they would not let him come to her.

They said he was too young and still growing.

 

So at the age of sixteen, he was a married man

and at the age of seventeen, she bore to him a son,

but at the age of eighteen years, the green grass it grew over him.

Sudden death had put an end to his growing.

 

She made for him a shroud of the hadelin so fine

and every stitch she put in it, her tears came trickling down,

crying once I had a bonny boy, but now I have got never a one,

so, fare you well my bonny boy for ever.

 

Oh and now my love is dead, and in the church yard laid.

The green grass it grows over him so very, very thick.

I will sit here and mourn his death, until the day I die

and I'll keep watch over his son while he's growing.

©  Traditional arranged Chris Foster 

The trees they’re all bare   

 

:/: The trees they’re all bare, not one green leaf to be seen

and the meadows their beauty have lost. :/:

As for the leaves, they are fallen from the trees,

and the streams they are all frozen,

the streams they are all frozen, frozen fast by the frost.

 

:/:​ The poor little birds, to the barn doors fly for food,

silent they nestle on the spray. :/:​

The innocent hares, search the woods all for their food,

lest their footsteps should betray,

lest their footsteps should their where-a-bouts betray.

 

:/:​ The poor little pigeons sit shivering on the barn.

So coldly the north winds do blow.  :/:​

The innocent sheep run from the downs unto their fold,

with their fleeces all quite covered,

with their fleeces all quite cover-ed with snow.

 

:/:​ The poor old cow in the yard all foddered on straw,

sends forth her breath in clouds of steam.  :/:​

The sweet looking milkmaid goes trudging through the snow,

and flakes of ice she finds,

flakes of ice she finds, all in her pail of cream.

 

:/:​ Now Christmas is come and our song we have sung,  

soon will come the springtime of the year. :/:​                     

Come hand me the glass and I’ll drink healths all round

For we wish you all,

for we wish you all a bright and happy New Year.

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster and Bára Grímsdóttir

The life of a man

 

As I was a-walking one morning with ease,

viewing the leaves as they fell from the trees;

they were all in full motion, or appearing to be,

but those that were withered,

they fell from the tree.

 

chorus

 

But what is the life of a man, any more than a leaf?

A man have his seasons so why should he grieve.

We are out in this wide world so happy light and gay,

but like the leaves we shall wither and soon fade away.

 

You should have seen those leaves just a short time ago.

They were all in full motion and appearing to grow,

but then a frost came and bit them and withered them all.

A storm came upon them and down they did fall.

 

chorus

 

Down in yonder church yard many names you there will see,

of those that have fallen like a leaf from a tree.

Old age and affliction upon them did fall,

while death and disease it came and blighted them all.

 

chorus

But what is the life of a man, any more than a leaf?

A man have his seasons so why should he grieve.

We are out in this wide world so happy light and gay,

but like the leaves we must wither and soon fade away.

Yes we are out in this wide world so happy light and gay,

but like the leaves we must wither and soon fade away.

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

Who reaps the profits? Who pays the price?

 

You sit there handing down orders.

You examine the terms of the deal.

A car is always waiting,

other hands turn the wheel.

 

The doors slide open before you,

and the doors slide shut behind.

Other hands carry your luggage,

weightier matters engage your mind.

 

And you take the gold out of the earth,

and you throw the corpses in.

One crop is as good as another,

just as long as the cash keeps pouring in.

 

The wheel must never stop turning.

The machine must be obeyed.

The future has got to be fuelled,

and there’s a price to be paid.

 

Black like the dust,

brown like the earth,

this is our land,

the land of our birth.

Silently digging,

digging our graves,

choking our bodies,

choking our lives.

Living on scraps,

dying in debt,

digging in darkness,

so our children can eat.

 

Once we were free,

greeting the sun,

sharing the earth,

giving thanks to the corn.

Sang with the waters,

sang with the wind,

danced with the drum,

circle without end.

 

Now we are silent.

They've taken our tongues.

They've taken our pride.

They've taken our songs.

Only our bodies,

only our eyes,

burn with the memories,

of the old ways.

 

Brown like the earth,

black like the dust.

Who can we turn to?

Who can we trust?

 

And you’ve got no patience with failure.

You’ve got no time for delay.

Certainty points to the future.

Straight lines carve out the way.

 

And you never make moral judgements.

Only one truth you defend,

that money must be free to make money.

That’s all there is in the end.

 

And you take the diamonds out of the earth,

And you throw the corpses in.

One crop is as good as another,

Just as long as the cash keeps pouring in.

 

The wheel must never stop turning.

The machine must be obeyed.

The future has got to be fuelled,

and there’s a price to be paid.

 

Brown like the earth,

black like the dust.

Who can we turn to?

Who can we trust?

The gun is their god.  

They have taken our land.

They take what we dig.

They take without end.

And we drown in the dust.  

We choke in the heat.

Our skin grows sores.

Our lungs rot.

 

But still we remember 

the cold clear air,

waking at dawn,

with morning star.

Still we remember

the sound of the flute,

the feel of the grass,

under our feet.

 

Death may come quickly,

if the mine floods,

if the rock talks,

if the gas explodes.

But mostly we linger

on death’s cold bed,

clutching for air,

coughing up blood.

 

Nobody cares.

Nobody sees.

We make no headlines.

Dying by degrees.

 

And a thousand shapes wait to attend you,

the ones who drive your cars,

who reserve your place at the table,

and who order your daily cigars.

 

Who silently guard your privacy,

who make sure that your ties are new,

who remind you of your appointments.

Oh you know they all depend on you.

 

And you take the uranium out of the earth,

and you throw the corpses in.

One crop is as good as another,

just as long as the cash keeps pouring in.

 

The wheel must never stop turning.

The machine must be obeyed.

The future has got to be fuelled,

and there’s a price to be paid.

 

Nobody cares.

Nobody sees.

We make no headlines.

Dying by degrees.

What choice do we have?

They have taken our home.

We wait in silence.

Our time will come.

They tear from the earth.

They leave nothing behind,

only raw scars

on a waste land.

 

But some day and soon,

the mountains will shake,

and the drum will sound,

and the sun will turn black.

And from out of the dust,

and from under the earth,

we will arise,

proclaiming this truth.

 

All life is sacred.

All life is one,

from the rocks on the mountains,

to the children unborn.

And the walls will topple.

And the fences will fall.

The scars will be healed.

And the earth will be whole.

 

This is our land,

the land of our birth.

Black like the dust,

brown like the earth.

 

And you never carry money.

You like your life ordered and clean.

And you make out cheques to charity.

No-one can call you mean.

 

Through your double locked gateways

only the privileged pass,

to admire your taste and elegance,

marvels of marble and silver and glass.

 

And you take the earth out of the earth,

and you throw the corpses in.

One crop is as good as another,

just as long as the cash keeps pouring in.

 

The wheel must never stop turning.

The machine must be obeyed.

The future has got to be fuelled,

but there’s a price to be paid.

© Leon Rosselson

arranged Chris Foster

Spring song

 

Waking from long winter's sleep,

I wonder what will summer bring,   

and welcome now the growing days                

as sap and spirits rise.                               

 

Sunshine warms the cold dark earth.

Something is stirring underground.

April is smiling in my mind,

as winter slips away.

 

Blackthorn's dressed in drifting white.                             

Bluebells scent the breath of spring.

Blackbirds whistle winter's end

and guide the migrants home.                

 

Swifts are screaming on the wing,

as sunset's embers light the sky.                 

Setting blossoms promise fruit

and sow the seeds of hope.

 

Green shoots searching for the light.

New growth unfurling leaf by leaf.                                  

Garlands herald dancing days,                           

so unite, rise up and sing.

 

Hail the hum of hedge and hive.

Hail the hope that new growth brings.

Hail life's wild diversity.                               

It's good to be alive.

© Chris Foster

Traces song lyrics in album order

 

downloadable pdf

 

The bold Princess Royal

 

On the 14th of February we sailed from the land,

on the bold Princess Royal, bound for Newfoundland.

With forty brave seamen in our ship’s company.

From the eastwards to the westwards and so sailed we.

 

And on the 18th of February so fair blew the sky.

When a man from our masthead a sail he did spy.

It come bearing down upon us just to see what we were

and under its mizzen peak black colours it wore.

 

Well “Good lord!” cries our captain “what shall we do now?

For here comes a bold pirate to rob us I know.”

“Oh no” cries our chief mate, “that never shall be so.

For we will shake out our reef my boys and from her we will go.”

 

Well in time this bold pirate, he hove alongside.

Through a loud speaking trumpet “Whence come you?” he cried.

Our captain being aft me boys he answered him so.

“We are come from fair London and are bound for Callyo.”

 

“Then back your main topsail and heave your ship to

because I’ve got some letters I want to send home with you.”

“Alright I’ll back my main topsail and I’ll heave my ship to.

But it‘ll be in some harbour, not alongside of you.”

 

Well they chased us to the windward.  They chased us all that day.

They chased us to the windward but they could not make way.

And so they fired shots after us but none could prevail.

And the Bold Princess Royal soon showed them her tail.

 

Oh “Thank God!” cries our captain, “now the pirates are gone.

Go you down to your grog boys, go down everyone.

Go you down to your grog me boys and be of a good cheer.

For while we’ve got sea room brave boys never fear.

Go you down to your grog me boys and be of a good cheer.

For while we’ve got sea room brave boys never fear.”

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

Arthur McBride

 

Well I once knew a fellow named Arthur McBride

and his pleasure was walking down by the seaside.

Walking and talking and viewing the tide

and the weather was pleasant and charming.

 

So gay and so gallant we went on our tramp

‘til we met Sergeant Harper and Corporal Cramp

and the bonny little drummer boy who roused up the camp

with his rowdy dow dow in the morning.

 

“Good day me fine fellows” the sergeant he cried.

“And the same to you Sergeant” my mate he replied.

Then no more was said and we made to pass by

and continue our walk in the morning.

 

“I say my fine fellows if you would enlist,

ten guineas in gold I would slap in your fist

and a crown in the bargain to kick up the dust

and drink the king’s health in the morning.”

 

“Oh no my dear Sergeant we are not for sale.

Though we’re fond of our country your bribe’s no avail.

Though we’re fond of our country we are not for sale.

We are the boys of the morning.”

 

“And if we were such fools as to take your advance,

it’s right bloody slender would be our poor chance.

For the king wouldn’t scruple to send us to France

and get us all killed in the morning.”

 

“And you needn’t go bragging about your fine pay,

as you go a-drilling and marching away,

for all that you get is a shilling a day

and that isn’t much in the morning.”

 

“Well if you would insult me, without any word,

I swear by my king, I would draw my broadsword

and run through your bodies as strength me affords.

Then you would breathe out the morning.

 

We beat that little drummer boy as flat as a shoe

and we made a football of his rowdy dow do.

The corporal and sergeant we knocked out for two

Yes we were the boys in that morning.

 

And as for the weapons that hung by their side,

well we flung them as far as we could in the tide

and “The devil go with you” said Arthur McBride,

“for spoiling our walk in the morning.”

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

When a man’s in love

 

When a man’s in love he feels no cold, like me not long ago.

Like a hero bold, to see his girl, he’ll plough through frost and snow.

The moon she gently shed her light along my dreary way.

Until I came to that sweet spot where all my treasure lay.

 

I knocked at my love’s window saying “My dear are you within.”

And softly she undid the latch and slyly I slipped in.

Her hand was soft and her breath was sweet, her tongue did gently glide.

I stole a kiss, it was no miss and I asked her to be my bride.

 

“And take me to your chamber love.  Take me to your bed.

Take me to your chamber love, to rest my weary head.”

“To take you to my chamber love, my parents they won’t agree,

but sit you down by yon bright fire and I will sit close by thee.”

 

“Many’s the time I’ve courted you against your father’s will,

but you never once said that you would be my bride, so now my dear sit still.

Tonight I am going to cross the sea to far Columbia’s shore

and you will never, never see your youthful lover more.”

 

“And many’s the dark and stormy night I came to visit you.

Whether tossed about by cold winter winds or wet by the morning dew.

Tonight our courtship is at an end, between my love and me.

So fare the well my favourite girl, a long farewell to thee.”

 

“And are you going to leave me now, pray what can I do?

I would break through every bond of love to go along with you.

Perhaps my parents won’t forget, but maybe they will forgive.

For from this hour I am resolved along with you to live.”

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

Jack Barleycorn

 

Jack Barleycorn was an Indian weed

and the farmer he lived close by.

He made a vow and a solemn vow,

Jack Barleycorn should die.

Aye poor boy, Jack Barleycorn should die.

 

They let him lay for a shower of rain.

A shower of rain did fall.

Jack Barleycorn jumped out of the ground

and he so surprised them all.

Aye poor boy, he so surprised them all.

 

And they let him lay ‘til the mid-summer,

to wrangle out tall and thin.

And then Jack Barleycorn grew a long beard

and he so became a man.

Aye poor boy, he so became a man.

 

They hired men with scythes all in,

to cut him at his ease.

And this they served Jack Barleycorn.

They cut him below his knees.

Aye poor boy, they cut him below his knees.

 

And they drove him up and down the field.

They thought it would do him no harm.

And then they took Jack Barleycorn

and put him into a barn.

Aye poor boy, they put him into a barn.

 

And they hired men with cudgels too

and they laid him upon a stone.

Swish swosh the cudgels flew

and the flesh flew from his bones.

Aye poor boy, the flesh flew from his bones.

 

And then they put him into a sack

and they tied it up with a string.

But the miller he served him worst of the lot,

for he ground him between two stones.

Aye poor boy, he ground him between two stones.

And then they put him into a kiln

and they thought about roasting him there.

But Jack Barleycorn jumped out of the tub

and he soon became strong beer.

Aye poor boy, he soon became strong beer.

 

You can put wine into a glass

and you can put cider into a can.

But old Jack Barleycorn in a brown jug

‘ll prove out the strongest one.

Aye poor boy, he’ll prove out the strongest one.

 

So let anybody be strong as they will.

As I’ve oft’ told you before,

if you take too much of Jack Barleycorn

he’ll put you onto the floor.

Aye poor boy, he’ll put you onto the floor

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The Flower of Serving Men

 

My father built me a shady bower

and he covered it over with shamrock flowers.

The finest bower I ever did see,

my aged father he built for me.

 

My father married me to a noble knight

and my mother she owed to me a dreadful spite.

She sent nine robbers all in one night,

to rob my bower and to slay my knight.

 

How could she have done me a bigger harm

than to murder my babies all in my arms.

Left nothing at all for to wrap them in,

but the bloody sheets that my love died in.

 

All alone, all alone then I will wash them.

All alone, all alone I will bury them.

Cut off my hair and I’ll change my name

from fair Eleanor to sweet William.

 

I’ll saddle my horse and away I will ride,

until I come to where some king do reside.

To one of his servants give a gay gold ring

to carry a message to the king.

 

“Do you want any cook or groom

and do you want e’er a stableman.

Do you want a man servant in your hall,

to wait on nobles when they do call.”

 

“Well we don’t want any cook or groom

and we don’t want e’er a stableman.

But we wants a man servant in our hall,

to wait on nobles when they do call.“

Well it’s not long after it happened so,

that the young king and his nobles did a hunting go.

Left no one at all but a gay old man,

to keep company with sweet William.

 

When she thought she was all alone,

she took out her fiddle and she played a fine tune.

“Once my love was a rich and noble knight

and me myself was a lady bright.”

 

Well it’s not long after the king come home.

“What news, what news, Oh me gay old man”

“Good news, good news, Oh my lord” said he.

“Your serving man is a gay lady.”

 

“Well go and fetch me down then a pair of stays,

That I might lace up her slender waist.

Go fetch me down that gay gown of green,

that I might dress her up just like my queen.”

 

“Oh no, Oh no, Oh my lord” said she

“Pay me my wages and I will go free.

For I never heard tell of a stranger thing

as a serving man to become a queen.”

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

Barney’s Epic Homer

 

When Barney was at school they said he’d never make the grade.

He was living in a kipper coloured dream.

Barney ought to learn to concentrate his teachers used to say,

as he drifted in the bottom bottom stream.

Barney was waster, got no bits of paper.

Ended up attending a machine,

turning little piggies into plastic packaged sausages,

to sell in the heliport canteen.

 

Barney seemed to lack ambition, didn’t hear tomorrow call,

didn’t want the overtime for extra pay.

He just left his limbs to labour as he donned his uniform

and his mind was floating freely far away.

Press turn screw lift, early shift and late shift.

Always the same routine.

Turning little piggies into plastic packaged sausages,

to sell in the heliport canteen.

 

It was on one summer’s evening Barney crossed from work to home

with a tube of twisted metal that he’d found

and he stuck it in the garden like a broken totem pole

and he planted piles of pebbles all around.

“That boy’s no use, must have a screw loose,

Thinks his bit of metal’s gonna grow.”

Barney felt the silence in his head begin to melt

and in his heart a spark of laughter seemed to glow.

 

Barney’s game became a passion.  All the free time that he had,

he was in the garden marking out a space.

Piecing things together with devotion in his hands

and a sweet seraphic smile on his face.

Mother says “You can’t, No!”  Father says “You can’t, No!

Littering our little bit of lawn.

What are we going to do with him? Why can’t he be normal?

He’s been trouble since the day that he was born.”

 

And every day he brought home something.  He was nicking things from work.

Picking up what other people threw away.

Cans and kettles, boots and bottles,

All the refuse of the earth he assembled in a giant junk display.

Copper wire, car tyres, plastic pots and broken mops,

Worn out wheels and one old water tank.

What a silly game to play, what a waste of effort . 

He’d do better if he went and robbed a bank.

 

Now look at Barney’s weird contraption, high on iron girder legs,

reaching steel and tin can feelers to the sky.

As it wobbles in the breezes its belisha beacon heads

seem to nod and wink at all the passers by.

Every day he’d do a bit.

Every day it grew a bit, sprouting like a jungle in the rain.

And the neighbours watched in horror as his multi coloured monster

escaped from his loony bin brain.

 

But Barney’s work began to waiver.  He was failing his machine.

The foreman said he wasn’t giving of his best.

And so the job enrichment expert analysed his working speed

and devised a scheme to give him added zest.

It was press turn screw lift, press turn screw lift, early shift and late shift.

Always the same routine,

but turning twice as many piggies into plastic packaged sausages

to sell in the heliport canteen.

 

And Barney’s folly neighed the neighbours was disfiguring the street,

and there was baying from the purity crusade.

And the careful ants informed him that the bye laws had been breached,

while the blow flies buzzed round every move he made.

Watch out Barney! Special Branch are after you.

Got you fully photographed and filed.

Officialdom is closing in. Oblivious of everything,

Barney builds as happy as a child.

 

Well it was on one winter’s morning, Barney worked the early shift,

when inspectors came with agents of the law.

They dismantled Barney’s monster.  Dumped it on the council tip.

Left the garden neat and tidy as before.

Home comes Barney, can’t believe his eyes to see space

where his creation once held sway.

Shadows seem to fall on him, silence seems to swallow him.

Frightened Barney turns and runs away.

 

Now they say that Barney scavenges the scrap heaps of the town.

Doesn’t answer to his name and no one knows

why he wants to throw his life away just wandering around,

making crazy patterns everywhere he goes.

And still it’s press turn screw lift, early shift and late shift, always the same routine,

turning little piggies into plastic packaged sausages

to sell in the heliport canteen.

And it’s press turn screw lift, press turn screw lift, early shift and late shift,

other hands are working his machine

and turning twice as many piggies into plastic packaged sausages

to sell in the heliport canteen and no one knows,

why he wants to throw his life away, just wandering around,

making crazy patterns everywhere he goes.

 

© Leon Rosselson

arranged Chris Foster

The Coast of Peru

 

Come all you young fellows that’s bound after sperm.

Come all you bold seamen that has rounded the Horn.

Our Captain have told us and we hope he say true,

that there’s plenty of sperm whale on the coast of Peru.

 

Well we weathered the Horn and we are now off of Peru

and we’re all of one mind to endeavour to do.

Our boats they’re all ready and the masthead is all manned.

Our rigging rove light my boys and the signal’s all planned.

 

Well ‘twas early one morning, we heard the brave shout.

As the man in the lookout cries out “There she spout.”

“Where away” says our Captain “and where do she lay?”

“Two points to our lee bow, scarce a mile away.”

 

“Well it’s call up all hands my boys and be of a good cheer.

Put your tubs in your boats and have your bowlines all clear.

Sway up on them ropes.  Now jump in my brave crew.

Lower away now and after her. Try the best you can do.”

 

Well the waist boat run down and of course got the start.

“Lay on” says the harpooner “for I am hell for the long dart.

Now bend on them oars boys and make your boat fly,

But one thing we dread of, keep clear of his eye.”

 

Well the first iron struck and the whale he went down,

but as he come up again our Captain he bent on.

And the next harpoon struck and the line sped away,

but one thing that whale done, he give us fair play.

 

Well he raced and he sounded and he twist and he spin,

but we fought him alongside and we got our lance in,

which caused him to vomit and the blood for to spout

and in ten minutes time my boys he’d rolled both fins out.

 

And then we hauled him alongside with many a shout

and we soon cut him and begun to try out.

Now the blubber is rendered and likewise stowed down

and it’s better to us my boys than five hundred pound.

And now we’re bound into Tumbez in our manly power.

Where a man buys a whore house for a barrel of flour.

And we will spend all our money on them Spanish girls ashore

and when it’s all gone my boys, we’ll go whaling for more…and more.

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The Fowler

 

Come all you young fellows that follows the gun.

I would have you come home by the light of the sun.

For young Jimmy was a fowler who went fowling all alone

and he shot his own true love, by mistake, for a swan.

 

And then it’s home come young Jimmy with his dog and his gun.

Crying “Uncle dear Uncle do you know what I have done?

Oh cursed be that gun smith who has made me my gun,

for I’ve been and shot my true love.  I mistook her for a swan.”

 

Then out come his uncle with his locks hanging grey.

Saying “Jimmy, dear Jimmy don’t you run away.

Don’t you leave your own country until your trial it comes on,

for you never will be hanged for the shooting of a swan.”

 

All the girls in this country they’re all pleased you know.

Just to see pretty Polly down a-lying so low.

You could stand them all on a mountain.  You could put them all in a row

and her beauty would shine among them just like a fountain of snow.

 

Then the trial it come on and pretty Polly did appear,

saying “Uncle, dear Uncle let young Jimmy go clear.

With my apron thrown over me, he mistook me for swan

and he shot his own true love.  It was Polly his own.

With my apron thrown over me, he mistook me for a swan

and he shot his own true love.  It was Polly his own.”

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The Ranter

 

It’s of a sly ranting parson, for preaching he lived in great fame.

In the town of Roper did dwell, though I dare not to mention his name.

Likewise a jolly young farmer, a neighbour living close by.

Soon on the wife of the farmer the Ranter he cast a quick eye.

 

While the farmer was minding his business and rose with the lark in the morning,

the Ranter was forming a plan to crown the young farmer with thorns.

And he oft to the farmers did go, to pray the good of his soul.

But when you have heard of the joke, I’ll warrant you’ll say it was droll.

 

The Ranter if you had but seen you would think he was free from all evil.

As pure as snow driven without, within was as black as the devil.

One day when the farmer was out he said “I will have my desire.”

And straight to the house he did go and he sat himself down by the fire.

 

He said “My good woman I’m told that your husband won’t be home tonight.

I value not silver or gold if I could but enjoy my delight.”

Then she replied with a smile ”My husband is gone for a week.”

And little the Ranter did think how she meant to play him a trick.

When all things were silent at night, she whispered these words in his ear.

“The best bed it stands in the parlour and you must go to it my dear.

When you are safe up to bed my dear, I will come with all speed.”

“All right” said the Ranter “make haste” and so was the bargain agreed.

 

The Ranter got into bed and he lay there as snug as you please.

And the lady went into the garden and fetched back a fine hive of bees.

She carried them into the parlour and put’em down slap on the floor.

So nimbly then she ran out and on him she locked the door.

 

And the bees began buzzing about and the Ranter he jumped on the floor.

So sweetly he capered and danced as they stung him behind and before.

And then he got out of the window, since no other way could he find.

His clothes he n’er stopped for to take, but was glad for to leave them behind.

 

All smarting and sore with the stings, he ran home to his wife in his shirt.

Such a figure of fun for to see, all besmeared with mud and with dirt.

And the farmer come home the next morning and after the truth had been told

in one of the Ranter’s side pockets found thirty bright guineas in gold.

 

And the Ranter got into disgrace and the farmer he laughed at the joke,

to think how the Ranter would look without trousers, waistcoat or cloak.

The Ranter he frets and he pines, all for the loss of his money.

The farmer though he lost his bees, thinks he is well paid for his honey.

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The Flying Cloud

 

My name is William Hollander as you shall understand

I was born in the county of Waterford in Erin’s lovely land.

When I was sixteen years of age, a beauty upon me shone

and I was my parents pride and joy, I being their only son.

 

My father bound me to a trade in Waterford’s fair town.

He bound me to a butcher there by the name of Billy Brown.

And I wore the bloody apron for three long years or more,

until I shipped on board the Ocean Queen, belonging to Tremore.

 

When we arrived at Bermuda’s Isle I met with Captain Moore,

the commander of the Flying Cloud from out of Baltimore.

And he asked me if I’d sail with him on a slaving voyage to go,

to the balmy shores of Africa where the sugar cane do grow.

 

All went well ‘til we arrived off Africa’s burning shores.

Where five hundred of those poor slaves from their native homes we tore.

We chained them up together and we forced them down below,

where scarce eighteen inches to a man was all they had to show.

 

And then the plague and the fever came on board and took half of them away

We dragged their bodies up on deck and we flung them in the seas.

You know I thought it might have been better for the rest of them if they had died as well,

not to wear the chains nor to feel the lash in Cuba for ever more.

 

Well it is now our money is all gone and we must sail again.

Captain Moore come up on deck and he said unto us men

“There is gold and silver to be had if with me you’ll remain.

We will hoist the pirate flag aloft and go scour the Spanish Main.”

 

All agreed but three young men, so we put them on the shore.

Two of them were Boston boys and the third came from Baltimore.

Now I wish to God I’d joined those men, when they were set on shore,

but I chose a wild and a reckless life, serving under Captain Moore.

 

Well we robbed and we plundered many’s the ship down on the Spanish Main.

Causing many’s the widow and orphan in sorrow to remain.

But to the crews we showed no quarter.  We gave them a watery grave.

For the saying of our Captain is that dead men tell no tails.

 

Pursued we were by many’s the ship, by frigate and liner too.

Until at length a man o’ war the Dungeness hove in view.

We fought ‘til Captain Moore was slain and twenty of our men.

But then a chain shot tore our main mast down and we were forced to surrender then.

 

So it is now in Newgate Gaol I lie, bound down in iron chains,

for robbing and a plundering ships down on the Spanish Main.

The judge he found us guilty.  Now I am condemned to die.

Young men a warning by me take and lead not such a life as I.

 

So it’s fare thee well to Waterford and the girls that I adored.

I’ll never kiss your ruby lips nor squeeze your hands no more.

For it is drinking and bad company that have made a wretch of me.

Young men a warning by me take and shun all piracy.

 

Flying High, Flying Free

 

The red sun is sinking and the sky is on fire.

Swallows line up on the telegraph wire.

I think they’ve decided it’s time to be gone.

For the days are now shrinking.  The summer’s moved on.

 

Chorus

Swallow, swallow I wish I could follow you,

over the deserts, the mountains, the seas.

South to the colours and sunshine of Africa.

Flying high, flying free.

 

Swallow I don’t understand how you know

how far you will fly to and which way you will go.

Resting at night time and flying by day,

with no map or compass to show you the way.

 

And I wish you could stay here the whole winter through,

just as the robins and chaffinches do.

But I know that you can’t for when frost grips the year,

the insects you feed on will all disappear.

 

Chorus

Butterfly, dragonfly, salmon and seal,

whale and reindeer, cuckoo and eel,

each of them doing the migration dance

and I’d do it too if they’d give me the chance.

Clock in the kitchen and clock in the hall,

clock on the mantle piece and clock on the wall,

tocking and ticking me off when I’m late,

but no clock to tell me it’s time to migrate.

                                                                                                                    

Chorus

And I’ll miss your forked tails as you swoop through the air.

Your nests will be empty that you built with such care.

But I know you’ll return as you have done before

and your nests will be filled with your young ones once more.

 

So when winter departs with his mantle of snow

and the plum tree’s in blossom and the days start to grow.

When the summer sun rises and the sky is on fire.

I will see you again on that telegraph wire.

 

Chorus

 

© Leon Rosselson

arranged Chris Foster

Raggle Taggle Gypsies

 

Three gypsies stood at the castle gate.

They sang so high and they sang so low.

And the lady sits in her chamber late

and her heart it melted away as snow.

 

They sang so sweet and they sang so clear

that fast her tears began to flow.

And then she’s laid aside her silken gown

to go with the raggle taggle gypsies.

 

And then she’s took off her high heeled shoes,

made of Spanish leather

and around her shoulders a blanket she threw,

to go with the raggle taggle gypsies.

 

It was late that night when her lord come home

enquiring for his lady.

Then the servant girl gave this reply,

“Oh, she’s gone with the raggle taggle gypsies.”

 

“Then saddle to me my milk white steed.

Bridle me my pony,

that I may ride to seek my bride

who’s gone with the raggle taggle gypsies.”

 

Then he’s rode high and he’s rode low.

He rode through woods and copses,

until he came to the far green fields.

Oh and there he spied his lady.

 

“What makes you leave your houses and land?

What makes you leave your money?

What makes you leave your new wedded lord?

To go with the raggle taggle gypsies.”

“Oh what care I for houses and land ?

What care I for money?

What care I for my new wedded lord?

I’ll go with the raggle taggle gypsies.”

 

“Oh but last night you slept in a goose feather bed

with the sheets turned down so bravely.

Now tonight you will lie in the cold open fields,

all along with the raggle taggle gypsies.”

 

“But what care I for a goose feather bed

with the sheets turned down so bravely,

for tonight I will lie in the wide open fields

along with the raggle taggle gypsies.”

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

Outsiders song lyrics in album order

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

downloadable pdf

Lord Bateman

Lord Bateman was a noble youth

A noble youth of some high degree

He shipped himself on board a vessel

Some foreign country he would go see


He sailed east and he sailed west
until he came to proud Turkey
Where he was taken and put in prison
Until his life it grew quite weary

 

And in the middle of this prison

There grew a tree both stout and strong

Where he was chained all about his middle

Until his life it was nearly gone

 

The Turkish gaoler he had a daughter
The fairest creature you ever did see
She stole the keys to her father’s prison
And swore Lord Bateman she would set free

“Have you got silver, and have you got gold?

Have you got lands in your own country?

What would you give to a bold young woman

Who out of prison would set you free?”

 

“Yes I’ve got silver and I’ve got gold

And I’ve got lands in my own country

And I’d give them all to any woman

Who out of prison would set me free.”

 

She took him to her father’s cellar
And she gave to him a glass of wine
And every health that she drank to him
Was “I wish, Lord Bateman that you were mine.”

“For seven years we will make a promise
And for seven years we will keep it strong
That if you wed with no other woman
Then I’ll not marry with no other man.”

 

Then she took him to her father’s harbour

And gave to him a ship of fame

Saying “Fare thee well, farewell Lord Bateman

I fear I’ll never see your face again.”


Now seven years were passed and over
And forty days I tell to thee
When she packed up all her gay gold clothing
And to find Lord Bateman then she put to sea.

 

And when she came to Lord Bateman’s castle
So boldly then she rang the bell
“Who’s there, who’s there?” cried the proud young porter
“Who rings so boldly, come quickly tell?”

She said “Is this Lord Bateman’s castle?
And is his lordship now within?”
“O yes, this is Lord Bateman’s castle
And he’s just taken his new bride in.”

 

“Go and bid him send me a slice of cake
And a bottle of his best red wine
And bid him remember the bold young woman
Who did release him when he was confined.”

 

Away then went that proud young porter
And quickly to his lord went he
And when he came to Lord Bateman’s chamber
There he went down on his bended knee

“What news, what news, O my proud young porter?

What news, what news do you bring to me?”

“Well there is one of the fairest women
That ever my two eyes did see

 
And she’s got golden rings on every finger
And on her middle one she has got three
There’s enough gold lace all about her clothing
To buy your castle and your lands from thee.”

“And she bids you send her a slice of cake
And a bottle of your best red wine
She bids you remember the brave young woman
Who did release you when you were confined.”

 

Now when Lord Bateman he heard this news
He smashed his sword in splinters three
He said “I’ll give away all of my father’s riches
If my Sophia has crossed the sea.”

 

Then up and spoke the young bride’s mother
She had never been heard to speak so free
“You’ll not disgrace my only daughter

Although Sophia has crossed the sea.”
 

Then Lord Bateman said to the young bride’s mother

She'll be none the better nor the worse for me
She came to me on a horse and saddle
Now she’ll ride home in a coach and three.”

 

Then he prepared another wedding

And both their hearts were full of glee

He said “I’ll roam no more into foreign countries

Since my Sophia has come to me.”

 

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster

                       

Song of the olive tree

 

My father’s father’s father planted here

In this now broken earth an olive tree

And as a child I sang to it my secrets

And as I grew I felt it part of me.

 

It’s branches gave me shelter from the sun.

Its grey green leaves shaded my young dreams.

The fruit it bore was like a gift of hope.

Of all the olive trees I loved this one.

 

The settlers came. They beat us black and blue.

They said “Next time we shoot you.  Understand?”

But still we dared to come.  We had no choice.

We came at night like thieves to our own land.

 

Like ghosts we came, men women young and old

To pick the crop as we have always done

For centuries we harvested in peace.

The oil we pressed was sweet, precious as gold.

 

Now look.  This is a cemetery for trees.

Their great machines crushed hope into despair.

They ripped the heart from every living tree

Except for one.  My tree they chose to spare.

 

They dug it up.  They smuggled it away.

This ancient tree – they saw it as a prize

For some Israeli rich enough to pay.

Five thousand dollars’ worth, that’s what they say.

 

Do you believe in ghosts?  Last night I dreamed

My father’s father’s father came to me.

He took my hand and held it in his own

And said “Take heart.  Here is my olive tree.”

 

And when I woke, it was a kind of birth

And in my hand I found an olive stone

And in the field where once my tree had been

A thousand shapes rose out of the earth.

 

I saw their faces, women, children, men

And each hand held a perfect olive stone

And each heart held a vision of to come

When all our olive trees will rise again.

 

© Leon Rosselson, arranged Chris Foster

 

The false bride

O the week before Easter

A day long and clear

How pretty shone the sun

And how cold blew the air

I went down in the forest

Some flowers to find there

But the forest wouldn’t yield me any posies

 

As I was returning

All late in the night

I met my false lover

Dressed all in milk white

And I lifted my hat

To bid her a goodnight

And adieu to my false love for ever

The next time I saw my love

It was to the church go

With brides-men and brides-maids

She cut a fine show

And I followed after

With my heart full of woe

To see her getting wed to another

 

The parson was standing

And this he did say

If anyone forbid it

I would have them draw nigh

And I thought to myself

I’d a good reason why

But I had not the heart to forbid her

 

The last time I saw my love

Was at her wedding feast

I sat down beside her

But nought could I eat

For I loved her sweet company

Far better than meat

Although she was tied to another

 

Come dig me a grave

That is long wide and deep

And strew it all over

With flowers so sweet

So that I might lie down there

And take a long sleep

Because that’s the best way to forget her

Yes I think that’s the best way to forget her

 

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster & Bára Grímsdóttir

 

Cod banging / Oscar Woods' jig

Come, come my lads and listen here

A fisherman’s song you soon shall hear

What I did and undergo

When first I went a cod-banging O

 

Chorus

To my lal fol the day

Riddle all day

This is the smacksman’s life at sea

 

How well I remember the fourteenth of May

A big barque ship she came our way

She came our way and she did let fly

And the topsail halyards they flew sky high

 

And now we draw near Harwich pier

The young and the old folks they both draw near

To see us get our fish on deck

And crack their skulls with a little short stick

 

And now my song it is nearly done

And I hope that I’ve offended none

But I don’t think I’ve got it complete

‘Cos I’ve only been in the trade about a week

 

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster

Deportee (plane wreck at Los Gatos)

Well the crops are all in and they need us no longer.

The oranges are stored in their creosote dumps.

They’re sending us back to the Mexican border.

It takes all our money to go back again.

 

So farewell to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita

Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria

You won’t have a name when you ride the big aeroplane.

All they will call you will be deportees.

 

My father’s own father did wade through the Rio.

You took all the money that he made in his life.

My sisters and brothers they worked in your fruit fields.

Rode on your trucks ’till they laid down and died.

 

Some of us are illegal and all are not wanted.

Our work contract’s out and we must move on.

The six hundred miles to the Mexican border.

You drive us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

 

Our sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon.

Like a fire ball of lightening it fell from the sky.

Who are these friends lying there like dead leaves?

The radio say’s “They were just deportees.”

 

Well we died on your hills and we died in your valleys.

We died on your mountains and we died in your plains.

We still die ’neath your trees and we die ’neath your bushes.

Both sides of your borders, you know we still die just the same.

 

Woody Guthrie & Martin Hoffman

© TRO Essex Music Ltd

 

Bedlam

It was through Moorfields I rambled by myself all alone

I heard a maid in Bedlam making her sad moan

She was ringing of her tender hands and a-tearing of her hair

Crying O my cruel parents you have proved to me severe

 

It was all through my own true love your apprentice boy you know

You have forced him to the seas which has proved my overthrow

And this sad disconsolation which makes me to complain

Crying O shall I never see my own true love again

 

It was early the next morning this young sailor came on shore

He walked and he talked down alongside of Bedlam door

He overheard this fair young maid most grievously complain

I am afraid I shall never see the lad I love again

 

The sailor looked around him and he stood in a surprise

Then looking through a window he saw her lovely eyes

Then he gave to the porter a shining piece of gold

Saying “Show me to my wife for she’s the joy of my soul.”

 

Well when that the young man this young damsel he did see

He took her from her strawy bed and he set her on his knee

“O are you that young man that my father sent to sea

Or are you just come hither to make a fool of me?”

 

“O yes I am that young man that your parents sent to sea

And I have now come back again all for the love of thee”

“Well if it be so I can go free all my sorrows they are fled

I’ll bid adieu unto these chains and this cold and strawy bed”

 

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster

 

Sir Aldingar

 

The birds sang clear as any bell

They never sang so well

The queen has gone to her chamber

To talk with Aldingar

“I love you well my queen my dame

More than lands and rents so clear

And for to spend one night with you

I would bear pain most severe.”

 

“Away, away you Aldingar

You are both stark and stoor

Would you defile the king’s own bed

And make his queen a whore?

Tomorrow you would be taken sure

And like a traitor slain

And I would be burned at the stake

Although I am the queen.”

 

Then there came a leper to the queen’s door

He was a leper blind and lame

Aldingar took him upon his back

And on the queen’s bed has him lain

He told the leper to lie still

And not to go away

And he would be a healthy man

By the dawning of the day.

 

Then he has gone out of the queen’s door

As quickly as he could go

And he’s gone straight to the very place

Where the king himself did go

The king said unto Aldingar

“What news have you for me?”

He said “Your queen is a false woman

As I did plainly see.”

 

Then the king has gone into the queen’s door

So costly and so fine

And he’s gone straight to her bed chamber

Where the leper man was lain

He looked down on the leper man

As he lay on his queen’s bed

Then he lifted up the snow white sheet

And unto him he said.

 

“Since she has lain into your arms

She shall not lie in mine

Since she has kissed your ugly mouth

She’ll never more kiss mine

If you were a man as you are not

It’s here that you would die

But a pair of gallows shall be built

To hang you on so high.”

 

Then in anger he went unto the queen

Who fell upon her knee

He said “You false and unchaste woman

What is this you’ve done to me?

If you had taken a comely knight

Well the lesser would have been your shame

But you have taken a leper man

Who is both blind and lame.”

 

Then the queen she turned herself around

A tear was blinding her eye

She said “There’s not a knight in all your court

Dare make such a claim to me.”

He said “’tis true what I do say

For I a proof did make

Now you shall be taken from my bower

And burned at the stake.”

 

She said “I thought that dreams were never true

But now I’ve proved them true at last.

I dreamed a dream the other night

In my bed where I lay

I dreamed a great and a gruesome beast

Had carried my crown away

My gorget and my belt of gold

And all my fair head gear.”

 

“How he would have worried me with his claws

And carried me into his nest

Saving there came a little hawk

Flying out of the west

Saving there came a little hawk

Which men call merlion

And with his claws he struck him down

And dead he did fall down.”

 

“Then the king said “I will give you forty days

To find you a man there in

But if you find not a man in forty days

In a hot fire you shall burn.”

So she called up all her messengers

And sent them to the west

But they couldn’t find none to fight for her

Nor enter in the contest.

 

Then a messenger the queen sent east

Who rode for many a day

And as he rode along by a riverside

There he met with a little boy

Who said “Turn again you messenger

Greet well our queen from me

And bid her remember what she has dreamt

In her bed where she lay.”

 

Then the day came on that was to do

That dreadful tragedy

But the little boy was not come up

To fight for our lady

So before the hour the queen was brought

The burning to proceed

And in a black velvet chair then she was set

It was a token for the dead

And she saw the flames ascending high

A tear blinded her eye

“Oh where is the worthy knight?” she said

“Who is to fight for me.”

 

Then up and spoke the king himself

“My dearest have no doubt

For yonder comes a little boy

As bold as he set out.”

Then the child advanced to fight the dual

And his sword was tempered steel

He struck the first stroke at Aldingar

And he cut his legs off at the knee.

 

“Stand up, stand up you false traitor

and fight upon your feet

Now I have taken your legs away

At an even height we shall meet

“Confess your treachery now” he said

“Confess it before you die.”

“Oh I do confess it” said Aldingar

“For I can no longer lie.”

 

“Now take your wife you king Henry

And love her with your all

For the queen she is as true to thee

As the stones on your castle wall.”

And the leper under the gallows tree

Was a healthy man and small

And the leper under the gallows tree

Was made steward in the king’s hall.

 

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster

 

 

The man you don’t meet every day

I’ve a neat little cottage that’s built out of mud

Not far from the county of Kildare

I’ve got acres of land and I grow my own spuds

I’ve enough and a little to spare

Don’t think I’ve come over to look for a job

It’s only a visit to pay

Be easy and free when you’re drinking with me

I’m the man you don’t meet every day

 

Chorus

So fill up your glasses and drink what you please

Whatever’s the damage I’ll pay

Be easy and free when you’re drinking with me

I’m the man you don’t meet every day

 

When I landed in Liverpool a few days ago

I thought I would go to the star

And the first man I saw there was young Paddy White

With a glass of best ale at the bar

I spoke to him kindly, took him to one side

To him these words I did say

You can be easy and free when you’re drinking with me

I’m the man you don’t meet every day

 

When I landed in Liverpool O what a sight

Met my eyes as I walked on the shore

There was Paddy Bolin and Paddy McGhee,

Michael Laney and one or two more

They all burst out laughing to see me walk

They treated me in a fine way

I says “Look here you young scarecrows, don’t you think I’m a ghost

’cos I’m the man you don’t meet every day.”

 

There’s a neat little maiden that lives around here

And it’s her I’ve come over to see

We’re going to be married next Sunday and then

She’ll come back to old Ireland with me

And if you come over twelve months from today

This I would venture to say

We will have a smart lad, who will say to his Dad

“I’m the man you don’t meet every day.”

 

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster

 

Brother can you spare a dime

 

They used to tell me I was building a dream

And so I followed the mob

When there was earth to plough or guns to bear

I was always there, right there on the job

 

They used to tell me I was building a dream

With peace and glory ahead

So why should I be standing in line

Just waiting for bread?

 

Once I built a railroad, made it run

Made it race against time

Once I built a railroad, now it’s done

Brother can you spare a dime?

 

Once I built a tower to the sun

Made of brick and rivet and lime

Once I built a tower, now it’s done

Brother can you spare a dime?

 

Once in khaki suits

Well didn’t we look swell

We were full of that yankey doodely dum

There was half a million boots went slogging through hell

And I was the guy with the drum

 

Say don’t you remember?  You called me Al

O yes it was Al all the time

Say don’t you remember? I’m Al your pal

Brother can you spare a dime?

 

Edgar 'Yip' Harberg & Jay Gornay

© Chappel Music Ltd

 

The Cruel Mother            

 

There was a lady, a lady in York

All alone and alone - ee - o

She fell a-courting her own father's clerk
Down by the greenwood side - ee - o

 

She loved him long and many a day

’Til big with child she had to run away

 

She’s gone into the wild wilderness

Great was her sadness and distress

 

She’s leaned her back against an oak

She’s pushed and she’s pushed ’till it very nearly broke

 

She’s laid her head against a thorn

Two bonniest babies ever were born

 

She’s got nothing to wrap them in
Nothing but her apron and that was very thin

 

She’s taken out her little penknife

And she’s parted them from their sweet lives

 

Then she has taken a length of twine

And together their bodies she did bind

 

Then she has dug a hole in the ground

And there she’s laid her bonnie babies down

 

She’s gone back to her father’s castle hall

She was the smallest maid among ’em all

 

She’s looked over her father’s castle wall

Saw two bonnie babies playing with a ball

 

One was dressed in the scarlet so fine

The other one was naked just as she was born

 

“Oh dear babies, if you were mine

I would give you bread and I would give you wine”

 

“Oh dear Mother, when we were thine
You never treated us so very kind”

 

“Oh dear babies if you were mine
I’d dress you up in the silk and satin fine”

 

“Oh dear Mother, when we were thine

Around our bodies you bound the twine”

 

“O bonnie babes can you tell to me

What sort of death for you I must die?”

 

“Yes cruel mother we will tell to thee

what sort of death for us you must die”

 

“Seven years you’ll be an eel writhing in the flood

And seven years a bird a whistling in the wood”

 

“Seven years you’ll be a fish finning through the tide

And seven years a snake on your belly you must slide”

 

“Now we are going to the heavens so high

But in the hell fires you will die.”

 

© Traditional, arranged Chris Foster

 

Trespassers Will Be Celebrated

 

Joan alone on Stanage

Finds the air to clear her head

Lift her spirits, calm her nerves and bring her peace

While the ramblers group is raring

To walk Bleaklow’s boggy wastes

Kitted out with compass, map and fleece

Hassan’s on his first trip with his classmates from his school

He’s never heard the eerie curlew cry

All owe their Sunday freedom to those who went before

The ones who tried to reach out for the sky

 

Chorus:

Trespassers will be celebrated

Now their will is done

Trespassers will be celebrated

Glorious kingdom come

By those who walk the southern downs

The high and windy moor

Trespassers will be celebrated

Freedom is won

 

Gill and Tony’s little family 

Clamber madly over stones

Delight in rushing streams and frightened sheep

The baby’s in her backpack

Rocking gently through her dreams

And cooing with the beck from deep in sleep

Rose and Madge are wandering, their working life is done

Their time’s their own, they range for miles around

While blokes out on the Roches crawl like spiders up the rock

But know nought of those who won this hallowed ground

 

See campaigners through the ages

Walk together side by side

Watt Tyler, Benny Rothman hand in hand

Carpenter, Winstanley and the Diggers on the hill

The commoners who dared to seize the land

Stephen Morton, Barbara Castle,

Bert Ward and Terry Howard

The Greenham women cutting down the fence

Elsie Gaskell and the Buntings, young Woodcraft singers too,

Tom Stephenson, MacColl and Thomas Spence

 

Remember those who stuck at nothing

But kept slogging up the hill

For the right to spread their wings and take their space

Negotiators, demonstrators, all who spun the dream

That you and me might claim our rightful place

Trespassed for us and against those

Who kept beauty for themselves

Who fenced us out for profit and for greed

But now the way is open for us all to share this land

And the beauty and the glory’s ours indeed.

 

© Sally Goldsmith, arranged Chris Foster

Jewels song lyrics in album order

downloadable pdf

The banks of Newfoundland

 

O you western ocean labourers I would have you all beware

That when you’re aboard of a packet ship no dungaree jumpers wear

But have a big monkey jacket always at your command

And think of the cold nor'westers that blow on the Banks of Newfoundland

 

Chorus

So we'll rub her round and scrub her round with holy stone and sand

And say farewell to the virgin rocks on the Banks of Newfoundland

 

One night as I lay in my bunk a'dreaming all alone

I dreamt I was in Liverpool way up in Marylebone

With my true love there beside of me and a jug of ale in hand

When I woke broken hearted on the Banks of Newfoundland

 

Chorus

We had one Lynch from Ballinahinch, Jimmy Murphy and Mike Moore

And it was in the winter of sixty-two that them sea boys suffered sore

For they'd sold their clothes in Liverpool and pawned them out of hand

Not thinking of cold nor'westers that blow on the Banks of Newfoundland

 

Chorus

 

We had one female passenger Bridget Riley was her name

And to her I had promised marriage and on me she had a claim

And she tore up her flannel petticoats to make mittens for our hands

She couldn’t see us sea boys freeze on the Banks of Newfoundland

 

Chorus

 

O and now we are off Sandy Hook my boys and the land's all covered with snow

And the tug boat will take our hawser and for New York we will tow

And when we get into the Black Ball Dock the boys and girls will stand

And bid adieu to the virgin rocks on the Banks of Newfoundland

 

Chorus

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The New York trader

 

To a New York trader I did belong

And she was built for sea both stout and strong

Well rigged and well manned and well fit for sea

She was bound for New York in Ameriky

 

Well our cruel captain as we did find

Left half of our provisions behind

Our cruel captain as we understand

Meant to starve us all before we made the land

 

At length our hunger grew very great

We had but little on board to eat

And we were in necessity

All by our captain's cruelty

 

Our captain in his cabin lay

And a voice come to him and it thus did say

"Prepare yourself and your company

For tomorrow night you shall lay with me"

 

Well our captain awoke in a terrible fright

It being the first watch of the night

And aloud for his bo's'n he then did call

And he to him related the secret all

 

"O Bo's'n" says he "it grieves my heart

To think I acted a villain's part

And to take what was not my lawful due

To starve the passengers and the whole ship's crew"

 

"Now there is one thing more I have to tell

When I in Waterford town did dwell

O I killed my master a merchant there

All for the sake of his lady fair"

 

"I killed my wife and my children three

All for that curséd jealousy

And on my servant I laid the blame

And hanged he was all for the same"

 

"O Captain" says he "if that be so

Pray let none of your ship's crew know

But keep your secret within your breast

And pray to God for to give you rest"

 

Well early next morning a storm did rise

Which did our seamen much surprise

The sea was o'er us both fore and aft

Until scarce a man on our deck was left

 

O and then our bo's'n he did declare

That our captain was a murderer

And this so enraged our whole ship's crew

That they overboard their captain threw

 

And when this was done a calm was there

Our good little ship homeward did steer

The wind abated and it calmed the seas

And we sailed safe to Ameriky

 

And when we came to anchor there

Our good little ship for to repair

O the people wondered much to see

What a poor and distressed shipwrecked crew were we

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The grey cock

 

I must be going no longer staying

The burning Thames I have to cross

O I must guided without a stumble

Into the arms of my dear lass

 

Now when he came to his true love's window

He knelt down gently on a stone

And it is through the pane he has whispered softly

"My dear girl are you all alone?"

 

She rose her head from her down soft pillow

And snowy were her milk white breasts

Saying "Who's there who’s there at my bedroom window

Disturbing me from my long night's rest?"

 

"O I'm your love but I can't uncover

I pray you rise love and let me in

For I am fatigued by my long night's journey

And besides I am wet into the skin"

 

Then she quickly rose and she put on her clothing

And she swiftly let her own true love in

O they kissed held hands and embraced one another

Until that long night was near an end

 

"Then it's Willy dear O dearest Willy

Where is that colour you'd sometime ago?"

"O Mary love the clay has changed me

I am but the ghost of your Willy O"

 

"Then it's cock O cock O handsome cockerel

I pray you not crow until it is day

For your wings I will make of the fine beaten gold

And your comb I will make it of the silver grey"

 

But the cock it crew and it crew so fully

It crew three hours before it was day

And before it was day my love had to go away

Not by the light of the moon nor by the light of the day

 

"And then it's Willy dear O dearest Willy

Whenever shall I see you again?"

"When the fish they fly love and the sea runs dry love

And the rocks they melt in the heat of the sun"

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The cobbler and the butcher

 

This is just a little story but the truth I'm going to tell

All about a cunning cobbler who in Yeovil town did dwell 

(NB original version said Dover)

And a jolly butcher with a beautiful wife

But the cobbler he loved her as dearly as his life

Singing fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

 

One day the butcher went to market to buy himself an ox

But then the cunning cobbler as sly as any fox

He put on his Sunday coat and a courting he did go

To the jolly butcher's wife because he loved her so

Singing fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

 

Now when the little cobbler come into the butcher's shop

The butcher's wife knew what he meant and she bid him for to stop

"O" says he "me darling have you got a job for me?"

And the butcher's wife so saucy said "I'll go up stairs and see"

Singing fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

So the butcher's wife she went up stairs and gave the snob a call

"Yes I've got an easy job for you if you have brought your awl

And if you do it workmanlike some cash to you I'll pay"

"Well thank you" says the cobbler and he began to stitch away

With his fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

But as the cobbler was at work a knock come at the door

The cobbler scrambled under the bed and he hid upon the floor

"O" says he "me darling what will your husband say?"

But then she let the policeman in along with her to play

With his fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

 

The cobbler lay there trembling far too terrified to move

And the policeman says "My dear O my darling O my love"

The cobbler he was thinking well how he loves his wife

He feared the old bed would collapse and take away his life

And his fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

But then the butcher come from market in the middle of the night

The policeman he jumped out of bed and he soon got out of sight

The butcher's wife so nimbly she locked the bedroom door

But in her fright she quite forgot the cobbler on the floor

With his fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

 

And then the butcher got a surprise when he climbed into his bed

"Something here is very hard" the butcher smiled and said

She said "It is my rolling pin" which made the butcher laugh

"How long have you been rolling dough with a policeman's staff?"

Singing fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

And then the butcher threw the truncheon underneath the bed

And there it smashed the piddle pot and cracked the cobbler's head

The cobbler cried out "Murder!" said the butcher "Who are you?"

"O I am a little cobbler who goes mending ladies shoes"

With my fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

 

"Well if you are the little cobbler then come along with me

I will pay you for your mending before I set you free"

And then he locked him in the bull pen and the beast began to roar

And the butcher laughed to see him as he rolled him over and over again

With his fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

 

And then early in the morning just as people got about

The butcher smeared his face with blood and then he turned him out

He pinned a paper on his back and on it was the news

This cobbler to the bedroom goes to mend the ladies shoes

With his fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

And the people all were laughing just to see the cobbler run

His coat and britches were so torn and they could clearly see his bum

He run home to his wife but she locked and barred the door

And she said  "That'll teach you not to go out mending anymore"

With your fol the riddle I doh, fol the riddle day

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

The herring's head

 

What'll we do with the old herring's head

We'll make it into loaves of bread

Herring's head loaves of bread

And all such things

 

Chorus

The herring is the king of the sea

The herring is the fish for me

The herring is the king of the sea

Sing wack faloodle day

 

And what'll we do with the old herring's eyes

We'll make 'em into puddings and pies

Herring's eyes puddings and pies

And all such things

 

Chorus

 

And what'll we do with the old herring's gills

We'll make 'em into physical pills

Herring's gills physical pills

And all such things

 

Chorus

And what'll we do with the old herring's scales

We'll make 'em into buckets and pails

Herring's scales buckets and pails

And all such things

 

Chorus

 

And what'll we do with the old herring's fins

We'll make 'em into needles and pins

Herring's fins needles and pins

And all such things

 

Chorus

 

And what'll we do with the old herring's belly

We'll make it into jams and jelly

Herring's belly jams and jelly

And all such things

 

Chorus

And what'll we do with the old herring's guts

We'll make 'em into comic cuts

Herring's guts comic cuts

And all such things

 

Chorus

And what'll we do with the old herring's back

We'll make it into a fishing smack

Herring's back a fishing smack

And all such things

 

Chorus

And what'll we do with the old herring's tail

We will make it into a ship with a sail

Herring's tail a ship with a sail

And all such things

 

Herring's tail a ship with a sail

Herring's back a fishing smack

Herring's guts comic cuts

Herring's belly jams and jelly

Herring's fins needles and pins

Herring's scales buckets and pails

Herring's gills physical pills

Herring's eyes puddings and pies

Herring's head loaves of bread

And all such things

 

Chorus

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

Georgie

 

As I crossed over London Bridge

It was on one morning early

There I beheld a fair woman

Lamenting for her Georgie

 

"Go fetch to me some little boy

That can go on an errand quickly

That can run ten miles in an hour

With a letter for a lady"

 

"And saddle to me my milk white steed

Bridle him so rarely

That I may go to Newcastle gaol

To plead for the life of Georgie"

 

And when she came to Newcastle gaol

She bowed her head so lowly

And down on her bended knees she fall

Saying "Spare me the life of Georgie"

"O it’s no murder George have done

Nor have he killed any

But he took twelve of the King’s fat deer

And sold them in the army"

 

The judge looked over his right shoulder

And seeming very sorry

He said "I'm afraid you have come too late

He is condemned already"

 

"Well six babies I have with me

And I love them so dearly

And I would part with them every one

If you will spare me the life of Georgie"

 

The judge looked over his left shoulder

And seeming very hard hearted

He said "I'm afraid you have come to late

Because there is no pardon granted"

 

"Well let George hang in a chain of gold

Which a few there are not many

Because he came from a noble life

And he was loved by a virtuous lady"

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

Rufford Park poachers

 

They say that forty gallant poachers

They was in a mess

They'd often been attackéd

When their number it was less

 

Chorus

O poacher bold as I unfold

Keep up your gallant heart

And think about those poachers bold

That night in Rufford Park

 

The keepers they began the fight

With stones and with their flails

But when those poachers started

Why they quickly turned their tails

 

Chorus

 

A buck or doe believe it so

A pheasant or a hare

Were put on earth for everyone

Quite equal for to share

 

Chorus

 

They say that forty gallant poachers

They was in a mess

They'd often been attackéd

When their number it was less

 

Chorus

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

The false hearted knight

 

It's of a false knight he came from the north land

And he came a courting me

He promised to take me down to that north land

And there his bride make me

 

"Go and fetch me some of your mother's gold

And some of your father's fees

And two of the best horses out of the stable

Where there stand by thirty and three"

 

Then she's mounted up on her milk white steed

And he on the daple and grey

And away they did ride to the great waterside

Hours before it was day

 

"Jump off jump off your milk white steed

And deliver it unto me

For six pretty fair maids I've drowndéd in here

And the seventh one you shall be"

 

"And take off take off that silken gown

And lie it upon yon' stone

For I think it’s too rich and I think it's too rare

To rot all in the salt sea"

 

"Well if I must take off my silken gown

Then turn your back upon me

For I don't think it's fit that a villain like you

A naked woman should see"

 

"And stoop you down and cut that briar

That hangs right over the brim

In case it should tangle my golden curls

Or tear my lily white skin"

 

And then she gave him a push and a hearty push

And she pushed that old false knight in

Cryin' "Lie in there you false hearted knight

Lie in there instead of me

If six pretty fair maids you have drowndéd in here

Well the seventh one has drowndéd thee"

Then she's mounted up on her milk white steed

And she lead the daple and grey

And away she did ride to her father's own house

Two hours before it was day

 

And the parrot was up in the window high

And he cried aloud and did say

"I'm afraid that some villain he came here last night

And he carried my lady away"

 

Well her father he was not quite sound asleep

But he never heard what that bird did say

So he cryeth "What waketh my pretty Polly

Two hours before it is day"

 

"O the old cat was up in the window high

And that cat he would me slay

So loud did I cry that help should be nigh

To drive that old cat away"

 

"Well done well done my pretty Polly

No tales you will tell upon me

Thy cage shall be made of the bright glittering gold

And the door of white ivory"

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

Gypsy countess

 

Well there came an earl a-riding by

And a gypsy maid then he did see

"O nut brown girl" to her he said

"I want you to come away with me"

 

"I’ll take you up carry you home

And I'll put a safeguard over you

Your shoes shall be made of the Spanish leather

Your silken stockings all of blue"

 

"All night you lie 'neath the starry skies

All day you walk in the rain and snow

Now you shall lie in a feather bed

Wrapped in the arms of a husband O"

 

"But I like to lie 'neath the starry skies

I do not mind the rain and snow

So I'll be away come night and come day

To follow away with the gypsies O"

 

"But I will wed you sweet maid he said

I will marry you with a golden ring

You shall dance and merry merry be

And we shall have such a fine wedding"

 

"But I'll not marry you kind sir she said

I'll not wed you with a golden ring

For I'm free as the wind and I swear I can find

The man that will make my wedding"

 

"But no more would you be put in the stocks

Or trudge about from town to town

You shall ride in pomp and pride

In a red embroidered velvet gown"

 

"But I'll pawn my hat pawn my coat

Sell my silken stockings blue

I'll pawn my petticoat then my shift

To follow away with the gypsies O"

 

"Because my brothers three no more I'd see

If I went along with you

I'd rather be torn by thistle and thorn

With my bare feet all in the dew"

 

"Well then I'll lock you up in a castle tall

Bar you up in a room so high

You gypsy maid from the green wood glade

So that never a gypsy shall you find"

 

Three gypsies stood at the castle gate

They sang so high and they sang so low

The lady sits in her chamber late

And her heart it melted away as snow

 

They sung so sweet they sung so shrill

That fast her tears began to flow

Then she's put down her velvet gown

Her golden rings and all her show

 

She's took off her high heeled shoes

Made of the Spanish leather O

To run away in the rain and snow

To follow away with the gypsies O

 

And it was past midnight when her lord come home

Where his lady was he would know

The servants replied on every side

"O she's gone away with the gypsies O"

 

"Saddle my horse bridle my mare

And hang my sword to my saddle bow

So I may ride to seek my bride

Who has gone away with the gypsies O"

 

So they saddled his horse bridled his mare

And they hung his sword to his saddle bow

So he could ride to seek his bride

Who was gone away with the gypsies O

 

He rode high he rode low

And he rode through hills and valleys O

He rode 'til he spied his own fair bride

Following along with the gypsies O

 

"What makes you leave your house and lands?

What makes you leave your money O?

What takes you abroad from your wedded lord

To follow away with the gypsies O?"

 

"I want none of your house and lands

I want none of your money O

I don't want to be wed to a lord she said

I'll follow away with the gypsies O"

 

"But last night you slept in a feather bed

Wrapped in the arms of a husband O

Now you shall sleep on the cold cold ground

And walk along in the rain and snow"

 

"But I don't want sleep in a feather bed

Held in the arms of a husband O

I'd rather sleep on the cold cold ground

And walk along in the rain and snow"

 

"No that will not be I swear" said he

As he drew his sword from his saddle bow

Three times he smote on her lily white throat

Then her red blood down did flow

 

Three gypsies stood at the castle gate

And they sang so high and they sang so low

The lady sits in her chamber late

And her heart it melted away as snow

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

Lady Maisry

 

O the young men of the North Country

Have all a wooing gone

To win the love of Lady Maisry

But of them she would have none

 

"O hold your tongues young men said she

And think no more on me

For I've given my love to an English lord

Who promised to marry me"

 

Then word has to her father gone

As he put on his shoe

That Lady Maisry goes with a child

Unto some English lord

 

Then in there come her bold father dear

Stepping on the floor

He says "they tell to me my daughter Maisry

That you are become a whore"

 

"O a whore father a whore father

That is what I'll never never be

Though I've given my love to an English lord

Who promised to marry me"

 

"But couldn't you have gotten a duke or a lord

From your own country

But now you have gone with this English lord

To bring this shame on me"

 

"Now where are all my merry young men

Whom I give meat and fee

To pull the thistle and the thorn

To burn her vile body"

Then her father's to the green wood gone

Her brother has to the broome

All for to kindle a bold bonfire

To burn her body in

 

Then in there come an old woman

Lady Maisry's nurse was she

But before she could speak one single word

A salt tear blinded her eye

 

"O your father has to the green wood gone

Your brother has to the broome

All for to kindle a bold bonfire

To burn your body in"

 

And her father he was the first man

Who tied her to a stake

And her brother he was the second man

Who did the fire make

 

And her mother was the first woman

Who did the fire fetch

And her sister she was the second woman

Who lighted it with a match

 

They blew the fire and they kindled the fire

'Til it reach her knee

"O mother mother quench the fire

For the smoke it'll smother me"

 

"O had I but a little footboy

My errand he could run

He would run unto gay London town

And bid my lord come home"

 

"O nurse go and fetch to me my little footboy

Who is called my sister's son

So that he may go and tell to my own true love

That I am sick at home"

 

Well the first two miles that little boy walked

The second two he run

And he run until he come unto some broad waterside

And then he's fell upon his breast and he swum

Until he come to some dry land again

Then he took to his heels and he run

And he run until he come to some high park gate

Where lords were sitting at their meat

 

"O if you did but know what news I have brought

Not a bite more would you eat"

"O is my park gates overthrown

Or is my walls falling down"

 

"O your high park gates they are all overthrown

Your high park walls they are all a falling down

And your Lady Maisry lies sick at home

And shall die before you can come"

 

"O mother go and fetch to me my milk white steed

And saddle it with speed

So that I may go and kiss her cherry cheeks

Before they are turned to clay"

 

"Now where are all my merry young men

By one by two and three"

Then he's mounted up on his milk white steed

To go to his Lady Maisry

 

They blew the fire and they kindled the fire

'Til it did reach her head

"O mother mother quench the fire

For I am nearly dead"

 

Then she's turned her head on her right shoulder

She saw her lord come riding home

"O mother mother quench the fire

For I am nearly gone"

 

Then he's mounted off of his milk white steed

And he's leapt into the fire

He was thinking to save his Lady Maisry

But he had stayed too long

 

And the Lady she was buried in a cold church yard

The lord was buried in the choir

And out of her heart there sprung a sweet rose

And out of his mouth a sweet briar

 

And they growed so high unto the church wall

Until they could not grow any higher

And there they did twang in a true lover's knot

For all true lovers to admire

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

Australia

 

Come all you good people where so ever you may be

Come listen a while to my story

 

Now when I was a young man and my age seventeen

I ought to been serving Victoria our queen

But those hard hearted judges O how cruel they have been

To send us poor lads to Australia

 

I fell in with a damsel she was handsome and gay

I neglected my work more and more every day

And to keep her like a lady I went on the highway

And for that I was sent to Australia

 

Now the judges they stand with the whips in their hands

And they drive us like horses to plough up the land

You should see us poor young fellows working in that gaol yard

How hard is our fate in Australia

 

Australia Australia I would never see no more

Worn out by fever cast down to death's door

But should I live to see say seven years more

O I would then bid adieu to Australia

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster

 

The golden glove

 

O it's of a young squire near Tamworth we hear

He courted a nobleman's daughter so fair

And he promised for to marry her and it was his intent

All friends and relations they gave their consent

 

The time was appointed for the wedding day

A young farmer was chosen to give the bride away

But as soon as the lady the young farmer did espy

It overthrew her heart "O my heart!" she did cry

 

And then she turned from the squire and nothing she said

Instead of getting married she took to her bed

The thoughts of the farmer so ran in her mind

That a way for to have him she quickly did find

 

Coat waistcoat and trousers she then did put on

And off she went a'hunting with her dog and gun

She hunted all around where the farmer he did dwell

Because in her heart she lovéd him so well

 

Well she often times fired but nothing could she kill

'Til at length the young farmer come into the field

To converse with him it was her intent

So with her dog and gun to meet him then she went

 

"O I thought you would be at the wedding" she cried

"To wait on the squire and give to him his bride"

"O no sir I'd rather take a sword all in my hand

By my honour I would gain her if ever she command"

 

Well the lady was pleased for to find him so bold

And gave to him a glove that was floweréd with gold

She told him she had found it as she came along

As she was a'hunting with her dog and gun

 

And then the lady went home with her heart full of love

And she gave out a notice that she had lost her glove

"And the man that shall find it and bring it unto me

No matter who he is my husband he shall be"

 

Well the farmer was pleased when he heard of the news

And straight to the lady with her glove he goes

Saying "Dear and honoured lady it was I picked up your glove

I hope that you are pleased and will give to me your love"

 

"O it's already granted" the lady replied

"It's already granted and I will be your bride

I'll be mistress of the dairy and go milking my cow

While the jolly farmer is whistling at the plough"

 

Now when they were married she told him of the fun

Of how she went a'hunting with her dog and gun

And now she's got him so fast in her snare

She'll love him forever I vow and declare

 

© Traditional arranged Chris Foster