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The Nobleman's Wedding / Another Man's Wedding

[ Roud 567 ; Laws P31 ; G/D 6:1199 ; Henry H60ab ; Ballad Index LP31 ; Bodleian Roud 567 ; Wiltshire 559 ; Mudcat 23329 ; trad.]

H.E.D. Hammond collected The Nobleman's Wedding in May 1906 from a Mrs Crawford of West Milton in Dorset.

Eddie Butcher sang Another Man's Wedding in a recording made by Hugh Shields in Butcher's home in Magilligan, Co. Derry, in 1955 on his 1976 Leader record Shamrock Rose & Thistle and on the Topic anthology Tonight I'll Make You My Bride (The Voice of the People Volume 6).

Cathie Stewart sang this song as Orange and Blue in a recording made by Bill Leader in Scotland in 1967 on the 1968 Topic album Back o' Benachie: Songs and Ballads from the Lowland East of Scotland. Belle Stewart sang it as Late Last Night in 1977 on her Topic album Queen Among the Heather: Scots Traditional Songs and Ballads and her daughter Sheila Stewart sang The Nobleman's Wedding in a recording made by Doc Rowe in Blairgowrie, Perthshire in October 1998 on her Topic CD From the Heart of the Tradition.

John Kirkpatrick sang The Nobleman's Wedding in 2007 on his CD Make No Bones. He commented in his liner notes:

Collected by the Hammond brothers, Henry and Robert, from Mrs Crawford in West Milton, Dorset, in 1906 and included in Frank Purslow's selection Marrow Bones published by EFDS Publications in 1965. It's a song that only pops up now and again in the various collections from Britain and North America, and I've stared at it in Marrow Bones for years without taking it further. What prompted me into action was hearing it from the lips of the current Dorset singer John Waltham, whose version has one crucial detail that differs from the normal set of words, because usually the bride asks to sleep with her mother. Suddenly a much clearer light shines on the whole story, which becomes one of the most exquisite tragedies.

You can head John Waltham's own recording on Farewell to the Green Fields, released in 2003.

Nick Dow sang Another Man's Wedding in 1983 on his album A Poor Man's Gift and in 2018 on his CD of unaccompanied traditional folk songs, Far and Wide. He noted on the latter album:

Also known as The Nobleman's Wedding, in England. This version comes from Eddie Butcher, however Joe Holmes has a very similar version. I first heard it sung by Keith Chandler, when I was resident at Dingle's Folk Club in London in the 1970's. I first recorded it in 1982, and this has inspired Jim Moray to learn the song and record it. My voice has matured over the years and I have revisited the song here.

Andy Turner learned The Nobleman's Wedding from Frank Purslow’s book Marrow Bones and sang it as the 18 March 2012 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Jim Moray sang Another Man's Wedding in 2016 on his CD Upcetera. He noted:

90% of us end up with the wrong person. And that's what makes the jukebox spin.
– Willie Nelson

Learned from Nick Dow's album A Poor Man's Gift. Most of this version comes from Joe Holmes of Co. Antrim, but I suspect Nick altered it quite a bit. And I've altered it further.

Marisa Jack & Davy sang Nobleman's Wedding on their 2016 EP March March. This video shows them at the Leigh Sailing Club during the Leigh Folk Festival on 24 June 2018:


Eddie Butcher sing Another Man's Wedding

I was invited to another man's wedding
All by a fair one that proved so unkind,
And aye as she thought of her old former lover
The thoughts of her darling still ran in her mind.

When dinner was over and all things were completed,
It fell each young man's lot to sing a love song,
And it happened to fall on her old former lover
To sing those few verses it wunnae keep you long:

“Oh, many's the lord was seven years from his lady,
And many's the lord he never came back again,
But I was only one year away from my darling
When an unconstant lover to me she became.”

“Oh, how can you sit at another man's table?
Or how can you drink of another man's wine?
Or how can you lie in the arms of another?
You that was so long a true lover of mine.”

The bride she was seated at the head of the table,
And every word she remembered it well.
To bear it in mind this fair maid she was not able
And down at the groom's feet she instantly fell.

“There is one request and I will ask you for no other,
The first and the last, love, perhaps it may be:
Only this one night to stay with my mother;
The rest of my time I will share it all with you.”

The request it was asked and just immediately granted,
Sighing and sobbing she went into her bed.
And early next morning, when the young groom awoken
He went into her chamber and found that she was dead.

He lifted her up from her soft and downy pillow,
He carried her out into the garden so green.
With sheets and fine pillows, oh, soon they did surround her
Still thinking that his young wife she might come to life again.

“Oh Sally, lovely Sally, when you and I were courting
You vowed and declared that you loved no one but me.
But them that depends upon fair maiden's folly
Their love it will decay like the bark on the tree.

All around my hat I will wear a weeping willow,
All around my hat until death it comes to me.
And if anybody asks me why I wear the willow,
It is all for my true love that I never more will sea.

The Nobleman's Wedding

Yesterday evening I was invited to a wedding
'Twas of a fair girl that proved so unkind.
Although she had decided to wed with another
'Twas her former lover still run in her mind.

When supper was over and all things were ended
They all did conclude to give the bride a song.
The first that begun was a farmer, her old lover
And the song that he sang was no very long.

“Oh, how can you sit at another man's table?
How can you drink of another man's wine?
How can you lie on another man's pillow?
When once you were a true lover of mine?”

“How can you sleep on another man's bosom
Since you pretend that you love me so dear?
Now for your sweet sake I'll wear the mournful willow
Now and for ever I'll wear it my dear.”

The bride she was sitting at the head of the table,
Hearing these words she marked them right well.
It pierced her heart till she could no longer stand it
Down at the feet of the bridegroom she fell.

“Now I am going to ask of you one favour,
I hope that the same you will grant unto me:
'Tis all this long night let me lie with my mother
The rest of my life I will lie along with thee.”

The favour was granted and all things were ready
With sighing and crying they all went to bed.
'Twas early next morning this young man arose
When he went to her chamber he found she was dead.

He picked her up in his bosom so softly
He carried her into the garden again.
He covered her over with flowers so sweetly
Hoping to revive her, but all 'twas in vain.

All round my hat I will wear the mournful willow,
All round my hat for a twelvemonth or more.
But if I should find that it does not become me
Then I'll leave it off for ever and evermore.