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Author Topic: Folk songs of and about Kent  (Read 23133 times)

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2014, 22:13:41 »
Coal Not Dole.
A song written by Kay Sutcliffe, the wife of a Kent miner, during the coal miners strike of 1984.
Lyrics at together with a video of the song sung by Norma Waterson. (From Yorkshire :))
Hometown Blues Syd Arthur

Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2014, 09:34:24 »
One for the Medwayites!

The Lady of Rochester Castle

In the reign of Richard long ago in Rochester did dwell
Sir Guy de Vere a noble knight as I’ve heard many tell
But times were troubled and men were challenged
In stations high and low
Guy left his lover Clare de Vane to fight the Saracen foe

Now Guy was gone four years or more and rumours they were rife
Of Richard and of Guy also some said they’d lost their lives
The treacherous lords of Rochester a plot they did conceive
To marry Clare to a nobleman upon St Mark’s Eve

This fiendish plan Clare did defy she said it would never be
She’d rather die by her own fair hand than forsake her lover Guy
A messenger she sent abroad to try and find the one
To save her from this terrible deed and to right the mounting wrong

The hour approached as Guy sped home to halt this heinous deed
Then Hugh de Burgh his faithless friend raised up his knife on high
And though he aimed at Guy de Vere it was Clare de Vane who died

Now it is said by those who know that upon St Mark’s Eve
A sylph-like figure dressed in white from a castle tower is seen
So if you travel through Rochester on a cold and windy night
Pray give a though to Clare de Vane and a tear shed for her plight


From A Kentish Garland by Tundra (Doug and Sue Hudson). Origins of this one are not to be found (or at least easily) on the web. Doug’s notes state ‘This story comes from and old book in Maidstone County Library…”

Anyone with more information, please help….

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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 05:45:59 »
A long ballad about the HMS Sovereign of the Sea, built at Woolwich and launched on 13 October 1637

A history - including her demise at Chatham in 1697 - she burnt to the waterline, is on wiki at

Old Paul's steeple, fare thee well,
Thy famous building He not tell,
Of that thy lofty little bell
Shall ring.
But I am in another vaine,
Now you shall heare a merry straine,
It is of Royal Soveraigne
I sing.

I meane the ship so lately built,
Without, within soe richly gilt
O never man saw rapier hilt
Soe shine.
I think there's none since Noah's Flood
Was ever like to prove soe good ;
You never saw thing made of wood
Soe fine.

Edgar sitts horse, in glorious wise
As glorious artists could devise,
And under seven kings prostrate lyes.
I’me told
His horse with mettle soe abounds
That he shall shortly scowre the Downes,
And winne, I’ll hold, a hundred pounds
Of gold.

To tell you of her bredth, her length,
Her height, her depth, her bulk, her strength.
Her anchor's weight too, and the length
Oth' cable,
Her guns, her tackle and the rest
Que nunc proscribere longum est,
It might be counted for a least
Or fable ;

For there be very few will guesse
Her half a mile or little lesse,
Her lanthorne to feast forty messe
Her mast for to be thrice as high
As Grantham steeple. If I lye
Ask them that saw her, pray, for I
Nere did.

To see how lasses flock each day,
And leave their maydenheads by th' way,
I doubt that some will shortly pay
And most men wives will alsoe goe
[To 't] whe'r their hussbands will or noe
To meet a freind, I don't say soe,
Not I.

There's many more will see this sight ;
Some call their wives, and they doe right,
But some with others to delight
Are bent.
Thus good and bad and midling some,
To see this ship, to Woolwich come,
This wonder of all Christendome
And Kent.

Kent was never conquered yet,
Kent was thought a place most fitt
To build this goodly arke in it,
Soe stronge.
Kent and men of Kent have showne
By sea, by land, that of their owne
Which other countries have not knowne
Soe long.

9 ,
Yet a word or two in merriment
To cheer up some were discontent,
And thought theire mony had bin lent
In vaine ;
But now the truth they plainely see,
They all in one consent agree
To double it if need shalbe

She will be Neptune's greatest grace ;
She vows our chiefest foes to chase,
And Triton with triforked mace
Doth sweare
Noe Remora there shall her stay,
Leviathan must give her way,
And all the divills that this day
Dwell there.

The syrens sitt and sweetly sing,
And hold it for a happy thing
That now they shall enioy the King
Oth' mayne,
And say it's a most Christian worke
To curb the Pope and scourge the Turke,
And ferret those that theeving lurke
Neer Spaine.

Our freinds are glad and mirth doe make,
Our foes are sad, their hearts doe quake,
Soe some doe laugh, and some doe shake
For woe,
And I amongst the rest make sport,
Singing to you in civill sort,
And if you have not thank'd me for't
Then doe.

God blesse King Charles with length of daies,
That doth deserve immortal praise,
In this and many thousand waies
Our guide.
God blesse the Queen and ship so tall,
God blesse the great, God blesse the small,
The blade that made this song and all


This is taken from Publications of the Navy Records Society Vol XXXIII - Naval Songs and Ballads (1907-1908)

Notes state: The ballad Upon the Great Ship clearly belongs to 1637. In that year Thomas Heywood published a prose pamphlet entitled  A true Description of his Majesties Royal Ship built this year at Woolwich in Kent, upon which these verses seem to be partly based.
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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 01:33:25 »
Bilgerat, I am sure it is relevant, I am searching archives of Sea Shanties - so far unsuccessfully.

In the meantime, here's one to stir the heart of every Man of Kent by a Tom D'Urfey from the Seventeenth Century

Entitled 'The Man of Kent'

1. When Harold was invaded,
And, falling, lost his crown,
And Norman William waded
Through gore to pull him down ;
While counties round, with fear profound,
To mend their sad condition,
And lands to save, base homage gave.
Bold Kent made no submission.

Then sing in praise of the men of Kent,
So loyal. brave. and free ;
Of Britons' race, if one surpass,
A man of Kent is he

2. And when by barons' wrangling
Hot faction did increase,
And vile intestine jangling
Had banished England's peace ;
The men of Kent to battle went.
They fear'd no wild confusion,
But join'd with York, soon did the work
And made a blest conclusion.

Then sing in praise of the men of Kent,
So loyal. brave. and free ;
Of Britons' race, if one surpass,
A man of Kent is he

3. The promis'd land of blessing.
For, our forefathers meant,
Is now in right possessing,
For Canaan sure was Kent.
The dome at Knowle,
by Fame enroll'd,
The church at Canterbury,
The hops, the beer, the cherries here,
May tell a famous story.

Then sing in praise of the men of Kent,
So loyal, brave, and free;
Of Britons' race, if one surpass,
A Man of Kent is he

Taken from 'Old English Ditties Vol 2' by William Chappell
Also entitled 'The Popular Music of the Olden Time' and  published as a new Edition under the title of "Old English Popular Music'
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Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2014, 12:06:14 »
I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I'm sure there was an old naval sea shanty, may have been called 'The Old Chatham Whore'. I've looked everywhere I can think of for the lyrics (I'm sure they're probably unprintable), but I'm sure that the gist of it was that the sailors were more afraid of crossing The Old Chatham Whore than they were of meeting the French......
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2014, 04:53:17 »
A very short one, but a long background if Wikipedia is to be believed, and maybe no real Kent connection

Franklin, my Loyal Friend

Franklin, my loyal friend, Oh one, Oh one!
In whom my joys do end, Oh one, Oh one!
Franklin, ray heart's delight,
Since last he took his flight,
Bids now the world good night, Oh one, Oh one!

Franklin is fled and gone, Oh one!, Oh one!
And left me here alone, Oh one!, Oh one!
Franklin ist led away,
The glory of the May,
Who can but mourn and say, Oh one!, Oh one!
Who can but mourn and say, Oh one!, Oh one!

This I found in 'Old English Ditties Vol II', 1809-1888 collected by Williams Chappell, where a footnote states
James Franklin, of Maidstone in Kent, was executed in 1615 for the attributed murder of Sir Thomas Overbury.
Overbury was poisoned by the wife of Robert Carr in 1613. All in all a major scandal

The Wikipedia entry for Sir Thomas Overbury names Simon Franklin as an accomplice (he was hanged), but the only James mentioned is James I of England. There is no mention of Maidstone, the closest 'Kent' connection being the involvement of Viscount Rochester (Robert Carr).  It seems that Simon Franklin was an apothecary who may have provided the poison.

I also had difficulty in lifting this from the PDF of the original as the last words of some lines were 'O hone'. The only interpretation I could work out was 'Oh one'
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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2014, 04:24:43 »
Okay, here's an odd one - again from Tundra, A Kentish Garland, Sweet Folk All Recordings SFA 078 (LP, UK, 1978) - love that SFA!

The Petition of the Pigs

Ye owners of woodlands, with all due submission,
 We humbly beg leave to present our petition,
 That you will be pleas'd to recall your decree,
 Which tells us that acorns no longer are free.
 In Sussex, in Surrey, and Middlesex too,
 Pigs may ramble at large without such ado;
 And why, then, in Kent should pretences be found
 To drive us like culprits and thieves to the pound?
 Since we, and our fathers, and others before 'em
 Have rang'd in your woods with, all proper decorum?
 No poachers are we, for no game we annoy,
 No hares we entrap, and no pheasants decoy;
 Contended are we, if an acorn we find,
 Nor wish for a feast of a daintier kind.
 Besides, we are told (and perhaps not mistaken)
 That you and your friends love a slice of good bacon;
 But if of good bacon you all love a slice,
 If pigs are to starve, how can bacon be nice?
 For these and for other wise reasons of state,
 We again our petition most humbly repeat,
 That you will repeal this severest of laws,
 So your woods shall resound with our grunting applause.

There are some oddities about this, first off it was taken from  the November 1809 edition of the Sporting Magazine - huh??
The link is below and for some reason it is a German Google Site

It is introduced as
"An humble Petition of the Pigs, to restore their ancient Privilege of foraging in the Woods during the Acorn Season."

The poem ends with the comment 'East Kent, Oct 12 - VIGO'
If it refers to the (then pub), Vigo is, to me, in West Kent, unless there are any other Vigos in Kent? Anyone know

There are some pleasant comments about this on the 'folksongaweek' web site at
and you can hear Andy Turner's version of this song, and a few others that are on this thread as well

I will, however, repeat the sleeve notes from Tundra:
Porcine plaisanterie at its peak! It may seem trivial to you or me but foraging for acorns in the woods was a basic pleasure of life for pigs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Imagine their disgruntlement at the removal of this their ancient right. The question is – who originally wrote the song? Was it Shakespeare, or – Bacon?
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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2014, 03:00:29 »
I have found my vinyl collection Kent songs (maybe we should be worried about that)

First off

The Jovial Man of Kent also known as 'When Autumn Skies were blue'

"Away with all Wine-drinkers,
And such new fangled thinkers,
And may they still be shrinkers
From all good men and true"
Thus said the Jovial Man of Kent,
As through his golden hops he went,
With sturdy limbs and brow unbent,
When Autumn's sky was blue,
When Autumn's sky was blue above,
When Autumn's sky was blue.

The hop that swings so lightly,
The hop that glows so brightly,
Will sure be honour'd rightly
By all good men and true,
Let Frenchmen boast their staggering vine,
Which gives them draughts of meagre wine;
It cannot match this plant of mine,
When Autumn's skies were blue above,
When Autumn's skies were blue

When winter snows are falling,
And winter winds are brawling,
For nut-brown ale are calling
All honest men and true,
And when the merry song is sung,
And logs upon the fire are flung,
They think upon the hop that swung,
When Autumn skies were blue above,
When Autumn skies were blue

This is taken from 'A Kentish Garland' by Tundra (Doug and Sue Hudson), 1978
The sleeve notes tell us “Attributed to Charles Dibdin the Elder, it first appeared in Chappell’s 'Old English Ditties'“. (1809-1888)
 Doug and Sue used a slightly different version of the tune to that printed in Chappell, and it’s all the better for it.
However, I have not found an original date for it
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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2014, 01:37:44 »
Found this on the Mudcat site
not sure of its history, I suspect it is fairly recent

Man of Kent by Bob Kenward

 The farmer will tell of the field and the tree
 For the good soil of Kents known all over
 And the traveller returning is gladdened to see
 The welcoming white cliffs of Dover

 And the hops on the bine out Faversham way
 And the apples in fruit around Marden
 Here's health to the Darent likewise the Medway
 And the Downs that surround England's garden

 The Canterb'ry pilgrims once walked on their way
 And beneath forest shade where they rested
 Now the plough and the harvester work all the day
 Where the wind blows the grass around Yalstead


 Now Maidstone's a market that's held in esteem
 Where the cattle and crops are worth selling
 And Faversham's brewers produce Shepherd Neame
 Bringing many a tale to the telling


 It's the Medway that distinguishes we Men of Kent
 From the Kentish Men west of the river
 But we'll meet at St Lawrence, the Nevill or Mote
 To celebrate willow on leather


 Though there's hundreds of houses around New Ash Green
 But the beauty of Kent is not waning
 There's still Romney Mash and old Tenterden Town
 The oasts and the downland remaining

 Chorus (x2)
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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 22:14:07 »
Hopping Down in Kent. The Albion Band with the wonderful Shirley Collins from just across the border in Sussex.
Hometown Blues Syd Arthur


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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2014, 21:37:13 »
The Folkestone Murder.

Serbian soldier stationed in England gets dumped by his Kentish girlfriend, and kills her in revenge. Her sister's there at the time, so he has to kill her too. He is later hanged for the double murder.

In 1856 Dedea Redanies, a private in the British Swiss Legion, murdered Caroline and Maria Black.
I have posted a version of the ballad @, together with details of the murder.

There is another contemporary ballad about the murder, The Foreigner's Downfall, @
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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2014, 14:46:50 »
After looking at the Hop-picking photos at

I added this post about the folk song 'Hopping Down in Kent'

so any more 'Kentish' folk songs out there?

I will be adding a few over the next couple of days

The Singing Loins a local band who only split up in 2013 have been singing folk songs about Kent for years. As their material is still available it is best if I link to their website and record label's website. The lyrics page is a good place to start. Several of the song titles give the locations away. Not all their lyrics are there, but it features plenty of Kentish ones. The shop page of their record label's website. Plenty to find here.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2014, 06:44:04 »
These are incredible. I had no idea that these songs existed. Generally I'm used to hearing about Lincolnshire or the inevitable Geordie Ploughman but to actually have songs that are from my own county are great. Thank you for taking the time to find and write these up TonyYoung.

A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2014, 04:41:12 »
The Deserter from Kent

The deserter is taken to Maystone (Maidstone?) Jail

DESCRIPTION: A deserter comes to join the harvesting. He talks too freely to a man in the tavern, who informs on him. He is arrested, taken to jail, then marched through the streets as he is returned to his regiment. The singer curses all informers.
AUTHOR: unknown

Come all you young fellows, give an ear to my song.
I'll tell you a story that'll not take you long.
And it might be a warning to young and to old
Not to sell one another for the sake of their gold

It happened about a twelve month ago.
It's of two young fellows which most of us know.
One was a deserter as blind would appear
Came down from the west of Kent to the Augustine, here

Oh what a deceiver he met with that day.
He met in an alehouse a drinking of beer.
And all in good friends    they told what they did know,
Not thinking he'd been drinking all day with a foe.

Then after a while, this man went away
He met with two soldiers along the highway.
‘We're after a deserter,’ to him they did say.
Then he swore he'd been drinking with one all that day.

Then the soldiers, they said ‘That will fit our plan.
Ten guineas we'll give you if you show us the man.’
‘Then come along with me.’ the fellow did say,
And straight to the alehouse went William that day.

These soldiers, they entered without doubt or fear.
‘What cheer says the fellow, come bring them some beer.
What regiment are you?’ ‘The ninth,’ they did say,
‘And what regiment are you? Come tell us, we pray.’

‘No regiment at all so bound and so gay.’
‘Then we'll find one for you,’ the soldiers did say.
They put him in irons and held him that night
Until the next morning when it was daylight.

To Maystone Jail they went straight away.
Wrote down to his regiment come take him away.
They marched him through town through village and city
With his hands tied behind him and the women cried pity.

And now I have come to tell of my hope
That all such informers be faced with the rope.
They'd sell one another for the take of their gain
And I hope they will get just reward for their pain.

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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Folk songs of and about Kent
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2014, 04:28:55 »
This very long Ballad mentions Dover and ‘near’ Sandwich and the squire’s daughter Ruth

The Beautiful Lady of Kent or The Seaman of Dover
DESCRIPTION: Ruth's parents would rather have her dead than married to Henry, a poor sailor. She retreats to her chamber. Henry sails to Spain and reluctantly marries a rich woman, believing he can never have Ruth. Ruth, released by her parents after a twelve-month confinement, goes to Spain, dressed as a seaman for disguise. Her parents believe she is lost. Ruth reveals herself to Henry when his wife dies. They return to Dover to marry. Henry, now rich but in poor seaman's dress, invites Ruth's parents to his wedding without telling them that Ruth is to be his bride. They, believing Ruth lost, admit that they should have let Ruth marry him. At the lavish wedding they recognize Ruth. Everyone is happy.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1813 (broadside, Harding B 4(94); 1846 (Dixon-Peasantry)


A seaman of Dover, whose excellent parts,
For wisdom and learning, had conquered the hearts
Of many young damsels, of beauty so bright,
Of him this new ditty in brief I shall write;

And show of his turnings, and windings of fate,
His passions and sorrows, so many and great:
And how he was blessed with true love at last,
When all the rough storms of his troubles were past.

Now, to be brief, I shall tell you the truth:
A beautiful lady, whose name it was Ruth,
A squire's young daughter, near Sandwich, in Kent,
Proves all his heart's treasure, his joy and content.

Unknown to their parents in private they meet,
Where many love lessons they'd often repeat,
With kisses, and many embraces likewise,
She granted him love, and thus gained the prize.

She said, 'I consent to be thy sweet bride,
Whatever becomes of my fortune,' she cried.
'The frowns of my father I never will fear,
But freely will go through the world with my dear.'

A jewel he gave her, in token of love,
And vowed, by the sacred powers above,
To wed the next morning; but they were betrayed,
And all by the means of a treacherous maid.

She told her parents that they were agreed:
With that they fell into a passion with speed,
And said, ere a seaman their daughter should have,
They rather would follow her corpse to the grave.

The lady was straight to her chamber confined,
Here long she continued in sorrow of mind,
And so did her love, for the loss of his dear, -
No sorrow was ever so sharp and severe.

When long he had mourned for his love and delight,
Close under the window he came in the night,
And sung forth this ditty:- 'My dearest, farewell!
Behold, in this nation no longer I dwell.

'I am going from hence to the kingdom of Spain,
Because I am willing that you should obtain
Your freedom once more; for my heart it will break
If longer thou liest confined for my sake.'

The words which he uttered, they caused her to weep;
Yet, nevertheless, she was forced to keep
Deep silence that minute, that minute for fear
Her honoured father and mother should hear.


Soon after, bold Henry he entered on board,
The heavens a prosperous gale did afford,
And brought him with speed to the kingdom of Spain,
There he with a merchant some time did remain;

Who, finding that he was both faithful and just,
Preferred him to places of honour and trust;
He made him as great as his heart could request,
Yet, wanting his Ruth, he with grief was oppressed.

So great was his grief it could not be concealed,
Both honour and riches no pleasure could yield;
In private he often would weep and lament,
For Ruth, the fair, beautiful lady of Kent.

Now, while he lamented the loss of his dear,
A lady of Spain did before him appear,
Bedecked with rich jewels both costly and gay,
Who earnestly sought for his favour that day.

Said she, 'Gentle swain, I am wounded with love,
And you are the person I honour above
The greatest of nobles that ever was born; -
Then pity my tears, and my sorrowful mourn!'

'I pity thy sorrowful tears,' he replied,
'And wish I were worthy to make thee my bride;
But, lady, thy grandeur is greater than mine,
Therefore, I am fearful my heart to resign.'

'O! never be doubtful of what will ensue,
No manner of danger will happen to you;
At my own disposal I am, I declare,
Receive me with love, or destroy me with care.'

'Dear madam, don't fix your affection on me,
You are fit for some lord of a noble degree,
That is able to keep up your honour and fame;
I am but a poor sailor, from England who came.

'A man of mean fortune, whose substance is small,
I have not wherewith to maintain you withal,
Sweet lady, according to honour and state;
Now this is the truth, which I freely relate.'

The lady she lovingly squeezed his hand,
And said with a smile, 'Ever blessed be the land
That bred such a noble, brave seaman as thee;
I value no honours, thou'rt welcome to me;

'My parents are dead, I have jewels untold,
Besides in possession a million of gold;
And thou shalt be lord of whatever I have,
Grant me but thy love, which I earnestly crave.'

Then, turning aside, to himself he replied,
'I am courted with riches and beauty beside;
This love I may have, but my Ruth is denied.'
Wherefore he consented to make her his bride.

The lady she clothed him costly and great;
His noble deportment, both proper and straight,
So charmed the innocent eye of his dove,
And added a second new flame to her love.

Then married they were without longer delay;
Now here we will leave them both glorious and gay,
To speak of fair Ruth, who in sorrow was left
At home with her parents, of comfort bereft.


When under the window with an aching heart,
He told his fair Ruth he so soon must depart,
Her parents they heard, and well pleased they were,
But Ruth was afflicted with sorrow and care.

Now, after her lover had quitted the shore,
They kept her confined a fall twelvemonth or more,
And then they were pleased to set her at large,
With laying upon her a wonderful charge:

To fly from a seaman as she would from death;
She promised she would, with a faltering breath;
Yet, nevertheless, the truth you shall hear,
She found out a way for to follow her dear.

Then, taking her gold and her silver also,
In seaman's apparel away she did go,
And found out a master, with whom she agreed,
To carry her over the ocean with speed.

Now, when she arrived at the kingdom of Spain,
From city to city she travelled amain,
Enquiring about everywhere for her love,
Who now had been gone seven years and above.

In Cadiz, as she walked along in the street,
Her love and his lady she happened to meet,
But in such a garb as she never had seen, -
She looked like an angel, or beautiful queen.

With sorrowful tears she turned her aside:
'My jewel is gone, I shall ne'er be his bride;
But, nevertheless, though my hopes are in vain,
I'll never return to old England again.

'But here, in this place, I will now be confined;
It will be a comfort and joy to my mind,
To see him sometimes, though he thinks not of me,
Since he has a lady of noble degree.'

Now, while in the city fair Ruth did reside,
Of a sudden this beautiful lady she died,
And, though he was in the possession of all,
Yet tears from his eyes in abundance did fall.

As he was expressing his piteous moan,
Fair Ruth came unto him, and made herself known;
He started to see her, but seemed not coy,
Said he, 'Now my sorrows are mingled with joy!'

The time of the mourning he kept it in Spain,
And then he came back to old England again,
With thousands, and thousands, which he did possess;
Then glorious and gay was sweet Ruth in her dress.


When over the seas to fair Sandwich he came,
With Ruth, and a number of persons of fame,
Then all did appear most splendid and gay,
As if it had been a great festival day.

Now, when that they took up their lodgings, behold!
He stripped off his coat of embroidered gold,
And presently borrows a mariner's suit,
That he with her parents might have some dispute,

Before they were sensible he was so great;
And when he came in and knocked at the gate,
He soon saw her father, and mother likewise,
Expressing their sorrow with tears in their eyes,

To them, with obeisance, he modestly said,
'Pray where is my jewel, that innocent maid,
Whose sweet lovely beauty doth thousands excel?
I fear, by your weeping, that all is not well!'

'No, no! she is gone, she is utterly lost;
We have not heard of her a twelvemonth at most!
Which makes us distracted with sorrow and care,
And drowns us in tears at the point of despair.'

'I'm grieved to hear these sad tidings,' he cried.
'Alas! honest young man,' her father replied,
'I heartily wish she'd been wedded to you,
For then we this sorrow had never gone through.'

Sweet Henry he made them this answer again;
'I am newly come home from the kingdom of Spain,
From whence I have brought me a beautiful bride,
And am to be married to-morrow,' he cried;

'And if you will go to my wedding,' said he,
'Both you and your lady right welcome shall be.'
They promised they would, and accordingly came,
Not thinking to meet with such persons of fame.

All decked with their jewels of rubies and pearls,
As equal companions of lords and of earls,
Fair Ruth, with her love, was as gay as the rest,
So they in their marriage were happily blessed.

Now, as they returned from the church to an inn,
The father and mother of Ruth did begin
Their daughter to know, by a mole they behold,
Although she was clothed in a garment of gold.

With transports of joy they flew to the bride,
'O! where hast thou been, sweetest daughter?' they cried,
'Thy tedious absence has grieved us sore,
As fearing, alas! we should see thee no more.'

'Dear parents,' said she, 'many hazards I run,
To fetch home my love, and your dutiful son;
Receive him with joy, for 'tis very well known,
He seeks not your wealth, he's enough of his own.'

Her father replied, and he merrily smiled,
'He's brought home enough, as he's brought home my child;
A thousand times welcome you are, I declare,
Whose presence disperses both sorrow and care.'

Full seven long days in feasting they spent;
The bells in the steeple they merrily went,
And many fair pounds were bestowed on the poor, -
The like of this wedding was never before!

Life's different upside down


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