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Death of Young Andrew

[ Roud 6740 ; Child 48 ; Ballad Index C048 ; Mudcat 169844 ; trad.]

The Oxford Book of Ballads

Martin Carthy sang Death of Young Andrew on his 1979 album Because It’s There. He commented in the record’s sleeve notes:

[…] The exceptions are Long John, Old John and Jackie North which is a reworking of Long Johnny Mor, full of swash and buckle, and the Death of Young Andrew, a reworking of a severely holed set of words, and both songs are to be found in F.J. Child’s English and Scottish Popular Ballads.

Matt Quinn and George Sansome sang The Death of Andrew in 2023 on their duo album Sheffield Park. Matt Quinn noted tersely:

Child Ballad 48, converted into something singable by Martin Carthy. A thoroughly miserable one. Are you sitting comfortably?


Martin Carthy sings Death of Young Andrew

One night as I lay on my bed
A dreadful draught of sleep I drew
For I dreamed as all the trees turned brown
That I saw the death of young Andrew

For the moon shone bright and it give good light
Welcome she rise my honey my sweet
For seven long years you have been gone
I thought chance was we’d never more meet

And he’s tarn her all in his arms
And there they kissed both cheek and chin
And they loved sweet and they loved long
Before that one was two again

And O my love and sweet my love
And dear my love if you love me
Go fetch me some of your father’s gold
The time has come that we was away

Now she’s run down to her father’s hall
For well she knew where his good gold lay
So swiftly she’s returned again
She’s counted it out all down by his knee

For he’s ta’en her by the lily-white hand
And he’s led her up the hill so high
But oh the smiles they fell from his mouth
As dark and grim there grew his eye

Take off take off your velvet gown
Deliver it here over to me
For I’ve a love in a far far land
That I love far far more than thee

Take off take off your silken robe
Deliver it here over to me
For I’ve a love in a far far land
And I’ve been too long gone from she

But O my love and sweet my love
And love Andrew that lay with me
You loved me sweet and you loved me long
So why do you now love betray

But he’s drawn out his good long sword
And he’s placed it twixt her nose and her chin
Cries You may die on the point of this
Or you may run naked home again

And oh the bitter tears down fall
As down her clothes fell at his feet
And her body lately so deep in love
A hiding place from shame did seek

And there she’s stood at her father’s door
She’s naked as the day she’s born
Oh rise rise and let me in
For the night winds whip me to the bone

But up and spoke her own father
All where he lay in his high bedroom
Oh that thief and whore is at my door
Let no-one rise and let her in

But when he’s waked in the bright morning
And all the birds began to sing
He’s spied his daughter lying dead
She’s dead and cold as any stone

And oh the bitter tears down fall
And seven sons stood all around
Crying Why’s our sister lying dead
And why did you not let her in

And they have sworn a solemn oath
And they have sworn by earth and sky
That they would take this young Andrew
That he would wish for the day he’d die

And up they rose these seven brothers
And they chased him deep into Wales
There they caught him by such a wile
That now he must tell no more such tales

For there he stood this young Andrew
Like any fox they ringed him round
Crying We’ve not come for our father
But for the sister you done down

Two of them they broke his legs
And two of them broke his collar bone
And two of them broke his two arms
They leaned him back all against a stone

And up and rose the eldest one
Saying See the pity we show thee
For you ne’er shed our sister’s blood
So we’ll not do that unto thee

And they took up their father’s gold
And they laid it out in young Andrew’s sight
Saying, Guard this well ye young Andrew
Defend it well from the wolves tonight

And they have left this young Andrew
As naked as the day he’s born
Saying Men will strip you to the skin
But the wolves will strip you to the bone


Transcribed by Garry Gillard.