> Nic Jones > Songs > Edward
> Steeleye Span > Songs > Edward

Edward / My Son David / Henry / What Put the Blood?

[ Roud 200 ; Child 13 ; TYG 35 ; Ballad Index C013 ; Old Songs YellowDog ; GlosTrad Roud 200 ; Mudcat 37095 , 165063 ; trad.]

David Herd: Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs James Kinsley: The Oxford Book of Ballads Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger: Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland John Jacob Niles: The Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles Seán O Boyle: The Irish Song Tradition Roy Palmer: Songs of the Midlands Mike Yates: Traveller's Joy

Jeannie Robertson sang My Son David to Alan Lomax in London in November 1953. This recording was included in 1961 on the Tradition Records LP Heather and Glen and in 1998 on the Rounder CD The Queen Among the Heather. Another recording made by Peter Kennedy was included in 1955 on the HMV LP Folk Song Today.

Angela Brazil, Weenie Brazil, and Alice Webb's son sang three versions of Son Come Tell It Unto Me in recordings made in 1954, 1955 and 1968. They were all included in 2007 on the Brazil Family's Musical Tradition anthology Down By the Old Riverside. The accompanying booklet commented:

This was also sung by Lemmie, Alice, Danny and Tom [Brazil], so it could be considered the family's favourite song. One of the most striking things about these recordings of a significant number of singers from one family, is that—given the slight variations of text and melody from one singer to another—it seems fairly clear that all family members got their songs from one source; most likely their parents, or even grandparents.

Son Come Tell It Unto Me is unusual in that here we have three completely different tunes to the same song from three singers; Weenie's is essentially the Family one, whilst Angela's and young Mr Webb's are not. (…)

This is a very popular song with 236 Roud entries, of which 59 are sound recordings. The great majority are from the USA (148 entries) and Scotland (46 entries). Only 4 other singers from England are named.

Danny Brazil sang another version, called The Two Turtle Doves, to Mike Yates in Gloucester in 1979. This was printed in 2006 in Yates EFDSS book of songs of English and Scottish travellers and gypsies, Traveller's Joy.

Ewan MacColl sang My Son David in 1956 on his and A.L. Lloyd's Riverside anthology The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (The Child Ballads) Volume II. This song and 28 other from this series were reissued in 2009 on his Topic double CD set Ballads: Murder·Intrigue·Love·Discord. Kenneth S. Goldstein noted:

The high esteem in which Child held this ballad is indicated by the statement in his introductory notes: “Edward … has ever been regarded as one of the noblest and most sterling specimens of the popular ballad.” Such praise is entirely deserved, for the ballad, employing throughout a simple dialogue device, builds to a climatic emotional peak unsurpassed in any other Child ballad.

The ballad is known in the Northern countries of Europe, the dialogue form being maintained in every instance. Since Child's time, most reported texts do not implicate the mother in the crime, which in almost every case is fratricide (rather than patricide as in the Child “B” text). Archer Taylor, in his full-length study of the ballad, feels the fratricide factor relates recent findings to the earliest Scandinavian forms of the ballad, whence the English versions stem.

The ballad has been collected rather frequently in America; until recently it had been unreported in Britain for many years.

MacColl's version was learned from Jeannie Robertson, housewife and former tinker from Aberdeen.

The anthology The Child Ballads 1: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads Numbers 2-95 (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 4; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968) has a track of Edward / My Son David that is patched up of verses from Jeannie Robertson, Paddy Tunney, and Angela Brazil. Rounder's 2000 CD reissue added Mary Ellen Connors to this.

Jean Ritchie sang Edward in 1960 on her Folkways album British Traditional Ballads in the Southern Mountains, Volume 2. Kenneth S. Goldstein noted:

The high esteem in which Child held this ballad is stated in his introductory notes: “Edward … has ever been regarded as one of the noblest and most sterling specimens of the popular ballad.” Such praise is certainly deserved, for the ballad, employing throughout a simple dialogue device, builds to a climactic emotional peak perhaps unsurpassed in any other Child ballad.

Edward is known throughout the Northern European countries, the dialogue form being maintained in every instance. Since Child's time most reported texts do not implicate the mother in the crime, which in almost every case is fratricide (rather than patricide as in the Child B text). In his full length study of the ballad (Edward and Sven i Rosengård, Chicago, 1931), Archer Taylor concludes that the fratricide factor relates recent findings to the earliest British texts, from which the Scandinavian forms of the ballad stem.

The excellence of the ballad has resulted in an attack being made upon its traditional character by a number of scholars who point out that Percy's version (Child A text) is most assuredly a conscious art rather than folk creation. The wide appearance of this sterling ballad from authentic oral tradition in recent years should serve to answer the critics; Percy's text not withstanding, the ballad is certainly a gem of tradition.

The ballad has been collected rather frequently in America. Until recently it had been unreported in Britain for over a Century; two excellent versions have been collected in Aberdeenshire in the past few years and an English version from Hampshire was reported in 1938.

Jean Ritchie's version, learned from her sisters Patty, Edna, Una and May (who first learned it at the Hindman Settlement school), is similar to most versions collected in the Southern Appalachians, differing only in the omission of any reason being stated for the commission of the crime, which would normally appear after stanza 3.

Norman Kennedy sang My Son David in 1965 on the Topic LP New Voices from Scotland. Arthur Argo and Peter Hall noted:

Norman has learned many of his songs from Jeannie Robertson, among them My Son David, considered by many to be the finest of the tragic ballads. Professor Child, in whose collection this is No. 13, uses the title Edward, but the version collected in Scotland by William Motherwell gives the protagonist as Davie. In Jeannie Robertson’s version, there occurs the stanza: “‘Bit I’m gyan awa’ on a bottomless boat…” and another version from Connemara has it: “I’ll take and I’ll sail some old oaken boat…”, both remnants of the old Norse punishment for fratricide, which was to cast the guilty adrift in a sail-less boat; a penalty arising from belief that the other world lies beyond the sea.

Unlike the words, the tune is comparatively modern and also does service in a varied guise for the popular Aberdeenshire song: Gin I Were Faur the Gadie Rins. According to Gavin Greig in Folk Song of the North-East it was originally a continental military tune The Hessians’ March brought back by soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars.

John Reilly sang What Put the Blood? to Tom Munnelly in his own home in Dublin in Winter 1967. This recording was released ten years later on his Topic album of songs of an Irish Traveller, The Bonny Green Tree. Munnelly noted:

This is one of the favourite ballads with Irish travellers, and also it would seem with their Scottish counterparts. In spite of its popularity it has not been reported very frequently in this country.

A version learned from an Irish traveller is sung by Paddy Tunney. So much has been written on this ballad that any remarks made here would be superfluous, but for a very thorough examination of its Scandinavian dissemination from Britain see Archer Taylor : Edward and Sven i Rosengård, Chicago 1931.

A transcription of John’s singing of this ballad appears in Tom Munnelly: John Reilly, The Man and His Music, Ceol: A Journal of Irish Music Vol. IV no. 1, Dublin 1972.

Lizzie Higgins sang My Son David in a 1970 recording in Aberdeen made by Allie Munro. This was published on the 2006 Musical Traditions anthology In Memory of Lizzie Higgins. Rod Stradling noted in the album's booklet:

This old ballad is almost universally called Edward (or something similar), and the Son David title appears only in Scotland. (…) When Hamish Henderson ‘discovered’ Jeannie Robertson in 1953 and demonstrated her repertoire to the world, this particular ballad caused a sensation amongst scholars, as it had been thought to have been completely lost from the oral traditions for well over a hundred years, and caused the rest of her repertoire to be examined with the greatest of interest. (…) Considering this very much her mother's song, requiring Jeannie's “big classical ballad” style, Lizzie nevertheless went on to perform it after her death.

Nic Jones, accompanying himself on fiddle, sang the grisly dialogue Edward in 1971 on his eponymous second album, Nic Jones. He noted:

This is more or less a version of a large group of songs under the various titles of Edward, Lizzie Wan, Lucy Wan, What Blood is This?, etc. In this version the whole incident turns on the seemingly irrelevant statement:

It's all about a little holly bush
That might have made a tree.

The lines are possibly explained by a glance at some of the other versions, where the son has made love to his sister and subsequently killed her when she turns out to be pregnant. The holly bush could reasonably represent some kind of guarded reference to this incident; the incident itself having been excluded from the song.

John Wesley Harding also sang this song on his Nic Jones tribute album, Trad Arr Jones.

George Dunn sang Edward in a recording made by Bill Leader in December 1971 on his eponymous 1973 Leader album, George Dunn. Another fragment of this song, recorded by Roy Palmer on 3 December 1971 was included in 2002 on Dunn's Musical Tradition anthology Chainmaker. Roy Palmer noted:

Child considered this to be “one of the noblest and most sterling specimens of the popular ballad”. It was very well known (having 212 Roud entries: 20 from Ireland, 40 from Scotland, 130 from the USA—and some 40 sound recordings), yet seems not to have been so in England, and was recorded from oral tradition there only a handful of times in the whole of the twentieth century. Of the recordings, those by Angela Brazil, Thomas Moran, Mary Ellen Connors, Jeannie Robertson (all on Rounder CD 1775), Paddy Tunney (Topic TSCD 653) and Mary Delaney (Topic TSCD 667) may be found on CD.

George Dunn's version, which he remembered from earliest childhood, is haunting and poignant. He remembered the final verse on a different occasion from the rest.

Isabel Sutherland sang Son Davie on her eponymous 1974 EFDSS album, Isabel Sutherland.

Paddy Tunney sang What Brought the Blood? with quite a different story-line on his 1976 Topic album, The Flowery Vale. This track was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology O'er His Grave the Grass Grew Green (The Voice of the People Volume 3). Cathal Ó Baoill noted on Tunney's album:

In this old English ballad we are given a slight clue as to a possible background of the story when Paddy sings, “all through mother’s treachery”.

In the version I heard from Frank Quinn on the Lough Neagh Shore the involvement of the mother was never mentioned in the text, so that the whole tale of her guile and her hidden desire for the inheritance of both her sons had to be told as a preliminary to the singing. Different versions suggest different motives, but in any case the story of how the boy is driven away from home to avoid his father’s anger is clear enough in every version. The Lough Neagh version also included a localising verse which said,

What will you do in the winter of your life,
Like a saggin on the Lough I’ll bow with the wind.

Mary Delaney from Co Tipperary sang What Put the Blood? to Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie in London on 27 May 1977. This recording was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology It Fell on a Day, a Bonny Summer Day (The Voice of the People Volume 17).

Frank Hinchliffe sang Edward on his 1977 Topic album of traditional songs from South Yorkshire, In Sheffield Park. Ruairidh and Alvina Greig noted:

Few ballads have such an interesting history as this one. Versions of it have turned up all over northern Europe, and already before the end of the 18th century Herder described it as “one of the noblest of ballads”. A few versions had been collected in Scotland and the USA, but until recent years it had been recorded in England only once, as an accompanying song to a Souling Play in Cheshire. However, in the last 30 years a number of versions have been collected in various parts of the British Isles, including several in England. It was first collected in the Sheffield area by John Widdowson and Paul Smith, about 10 years ago. Frank quite understandably is not at all happy with the story in his version as it stands; it is hard to see the killing of three birds as a sufficient motive for fratricide. However, the tune is a fine one, and particularly well sung. Frank’s wife, Dorothy, could not remember hearing him sing this one before he was recorded, which is surprising since, she says, he even sings in his sleep.

Steeleye Span recorded Edward with somewhat changed lyrics courtesy of Bob Johnson in 1986 for their album Back in Line. A live recording from The Forum, London on 2 September 1995 was released on the CD The Journey.

Old Blind Dogs sang Edward in 1999 on their CD The World's Room. Susan Malcolm noted:

A traditional ballad, plucked from Child's Ballads without a tune. Jim [Malcolm] and Jonny [Hardie] worked on Andy Thoburn's There's Deils to produce the melody. This dark, dark ballad, first published in 1765, has the son killing his father, and there is a suggestion the mother put her son up to the deed. The song contains a reference to the ‘warldis room’ or world's room, the title of this album. The phrase means ‘freedom to roam’, which was considered by nomadic families, in Scotland called the travelling people, to be their reward for living a life without material wealth.

Chris Coe sang George Dunn's version of Edward in 2001 on her Backshift CD A Wiser Fool.

Kieron Means sang Edward in 2003 on his Tradition Bearers CD of North American songs and ballads, Run Mountain. His mother Sara Grey noted:

From the singing of Donal McGuire, a great singer from Ireland who has lived for several years in East Lancashire, England. It is the biblical parable of Cain and Abel. It has never been regarded as one of the best examples of popular ballads, it's more like a detached part of a ballad rather than a complete one. It is known to have Finnish and Swedish counterparts. These Scandinavian versions are closer to the American ones but the ‘Edward’ story was too strong for Americans. The mother had no part in the crime, as she did in Scottish versions. There's no more powerful ending in a ballad than the final realisation that the mother helped in or committed the murder of her son. Being ‘put to sea’ was a medieval punishment for fratricide.

The Demon Barbers learned Edward from Nic Jones' Trailer album and sang it in 2005 on their CD Waxed.

Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett sang Edward in 2006 on their WildGoose CD Both Shine as One. They noted:

Sometimes known as The Two Brothers or My Son David, this is a powerful ballad in which the violence of the action is matched by the tragic beauty of the imagery. It shares some verses with Lucy Wan. Learned by Ron from Chris Gladwyn in Cheltenham, this is largely the version as sung by the wonderful Paddy Tunney, under yet another title: What Put the Blood?’.

Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller sang Edward in 2008 on their Greentrax CD In a Bleeze. They noted:

An Irish version of the Scots ballad of the same name. Siobhan learned this while studying in Limerick.

Al O'Donnell sang What Put the Blood? in 2008 on his CD Ramble Away.

Emily Portman sang My Son David in 2008 on Rubus' WildGoose CD Nine Witch Knots. She noted:

Perhaps the sequel to Rolling of the Stones, here a mother gradually uncovers the truth about the origin of the blood on her son’s sword. I imagine that this mother already knows what has happened, as mothers often do. The incomparable Louis Killen gave me this song, whose own source is Jeannie Robertson.

Emily Portman returned to My Son David in 2018 on the Furrow Collective's album Fathoms. They noted:

F.J. Child considered this to be “one of the noblest and most sterling specimens of the popular ballad“ (The English and Scottish Popular Ballads: Volume One). Singers evidently agree, as variants are sung throughout Britain, Northern Europe and America under various titles, including Edward and Henry My Son. All versions share the feature of a dialogue between mother and son, with the mother gradually drawing out the painful truth of why her son has blood on his sword. Emily learnt this version from Lou Killen, who in turn learnt it from the well-known Aberdeen ballad singer Jeannie Robertson.

Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll sang Edward on their 2009 CD Beneath the Black Tree.

Alasdair Roberts sang What Put the Blood on Your Right Shoulder, Son? in 2010 on his CD Too Long in This Condition.

Barbara Dymock sang Edward on her 2011 CD Hilbert's Hotel. She noted:

A version of Child Ballad #13 in which Edward isn't actually named. It was tempting to call it “Me, Me, Me” due to Edward's apparent lack of concern for anyone but himself. The tune is from The Burl Ives Songbook and is based on one of the variants collected by Sharp in the Appalachians. It seemed appropriate for the song to do the round trip, and so I reset the Scottish words to the Appalachian tune.

June Tabor and Jon Jones sang My Son David in 2011 on her and the Oysterband's second collaboration, Ragged Kingdom. They noted:

From the singing of Margaret Stewart of Aberdeen. Long thought to be preserved only in Scandinavian and American traditions, this ancient ballad of mindless violence, fratricide ad exile was found to be treasured still by Travellers.

This is their 2018 video:

Fay Hield sang this ballad as Henry in 2012 on her CD with the Hurricane Party, Orfeo. She noted:

More commonly known as Edward, or in Scotland My Son David, this song is pretty unusual for being entirely developed through dialogue. It's not a song I've been attracted to before, perhaps because of the lack of direct action. However, I wrote this version to fit a tune I've been humming which I felt needed a repetitive lyric to complement it. The tune is Mandad ei Comigo, from the Codax manuscripts of 13th century Spain. The longer I spent with the song, the deeper it began to affect me and what I could once switch off as tediously repetitive I now struggle to reach the end of without a catch in my throat. It's intensely powerful to take the role of the mother and discover, during the course of a conversation, that you have lost your daughter, your unborn grandchild, and that there is no other choice than for your son to leave for an unknown destiny. Then, consider the twisted feelings of anguish she must be feeling towards all of these people as a result of their activities. An incredible song, essentially delivered through just one line of text: “It's the blood of my sister dear, she would have my baby.”

This video shows Fay Hield singing Henry in a May 2012 house concert:

Jeff Davis sang Edward in 2013 on his and Brian Peters' CD of songs collected by Cecil Sharp in the Appalachian Mountains, Sharp's Appalachian Harvest. Sharp collected this version from Jane Gentry of Hot Springs, North Carolina, on 24 August 1916.

Nua sang Who Put the Blood? on their 2013 CD Head Full of Dreams. They noted:

A song about a conversation between mother and son. His mother wants to know why he has blood on his shoulder, and after some sidesteps, he has to confess what he has done.

Lynched (now known as Lankum) sang What Put the Blood? on their 2014 CD Cold Old Fire.

Pete Wood sang Edward on his 2014 CD Young Edwin. He noted:

Very popular, but mysterious Child ballad. Most versions are found in the United States. Bronson in his monumental The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads found twenty four different tunes, of which this is one.

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne sang Edward in 2017 on his WildGoose CD Outway Songster. He noted:

Child ballad number 13; a classic ballad with variants throughout Britain, continental Europe and America. This tune and most of the text comes from Paddy Tunney who sang it as What Put the Blood?, a recording of which is available on Volume 3 of Topic’s Voice of the People series, O'er His Grave the Grass Grew Green.

Will Noble sang Edward on his 2017 Veteran CD It's Gritstone for Me. Brian Peters and John Howson noted:

A relatively uncommon ballad on fratricide (Child 13), furnished with a somewhat misleading title by Professor Child, since the ‘Edward’ character never appears. This version is from Frank Hinchliffe, the best of a group of singers still active in the Lodge Moor area West of Sheffield until the 1970s, whom Will got to know well.

Swedish group Garmarna sang Sven i Rosengård in 2020 on their CD Förbundet.

Sarah Jarosz and Chris Thile sang Edward on 8 February 2020 on Thile's “Live from Here” show:

Jon Wilks sang Edward on his 2021 album Up the Cut. He noted:

This is a well-known, many-times recorded Child Ballad. A smattering of collections across Britain show that it was reasonably well known here, but it seemed to take a real hold in the US—and I have to say, I think my arrangement has more of an American twang to it than most of the other songs on this album.

Roy Palmer collected this song from George Dunn in the winter of 1971, the old singer having learnt it in his childhood. I first read the lyrics in Palmer’s book Songs of the Midlands, but it wasn’t until I heard Dunn’s haunting rendition on the aforementioned, George Dunn, Chainmaker, that I determined to learn it myself. It has become a personal favourite among the songs on this Up the Cut album.

Lyrics

Jeannie Robertson sings My Son David

“O what's the blood that's on your sword,
My son David, O son David?
What's the blood it's on your sword?
Come promise, tell me true.”

“O that's the blood of my grey mair,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
That's the blood of my grey mair,
Because it widnae rule my me.”

“O that blood it is owre clear,
My son David, O son David;
That blood it is owre clear,
Come promise, tell me true.”

“O that's the blood of my grey hound,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
That's the blood of my grey hound,
Because it widnae rule my me.”

“O that blood it is owre clear,
My son David, O son David;
That blood it is owre clear,
Come promise, tell me true.”

“O that's the blood of my huntin' haak,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
That's the blood of my huntin' haak,
Because it widnae rule my me.”

“O that blood it is owre clear,
My son David, O son David;
That blood it is owre clear,
Come promise, tell me true.”

“O that's the blood of my brother John,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
That's the blood of my brother John,
Because he drew his sword tae me.

“I'm gaun awa' in a bottomless boat,
In a bottomless boat, in a bottomless boat,
But I'm gaun awa' in a bottomless boat,
And I'll ne'er return again.”

“O whan will you come back again
My son David, O son David?
Whan will you come back again?
Come promise, tell me true.”

“When the sun and the moon meets in yon glen,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
When the sun and the moon meets in yon glen,
For I'll return again.”

Jean Ritchie sings Edward

“How came that blood on your shirt sleeve?
O dear love, tell me.”
“Well it is the blood of the old grey mare
That ploughed the fields for me, -me, -me,
That ploughed the fields for me.”

“It does look too pale for the old grey mare
That ploughed the fields for thee, -thee, -thee,
That ploughed the fields for thee.

“How came that blood on your shirt sleeve?
O dear love, tell me.”
“O it is the blood of the old grey hound
That chased the fox for me, -me, -me,
That chased the fox for me.”

“It does look too pale for the old grey hound
That chased the fox for thee, -thee, -thee,
That chased the fox for thee.

“How came that blood on your shirt sleeve?
O dear love, tell me.”
“O it is the blood of my brother-in-law
That went away with me, -me, -me,
That went away with me.”

“And it's what will you do now, my love?
O dear love, tell me.”
“I'll set my foot on yonder ship
And I'll sail across the sea, -sea, -sea,
Sail across the sea.”

“And it's when will you be back, my love?
O dear love, tell me.”
“When the moon sinks yonder in the sycamore tree
And that will never be, -be, -be,
And that will never be.”

John Reilly sings What Put the Blood?

“O, what put the blood on your right shoulder?
An’ son come tell it unto me, to me.
An’ son come tell it unto me.”

“O, that is the blood of a hare, Mama,
An’ who may pardon me, me
An’ you may pardon me.”

Sayin’, “That is the blood of your youngest bretheren,
An’ son come tell it unto me, to me
An’ son come tell it unto me.

“What a-kem between you an’ your youngest bretheren?
Son come tell it unto me, to me,
An’ son come tell it unto me.”

“It wall from the cuttin’ of a hazel rod
That never will grow a tree, a tree
O, that will never grow a tree.”

Sayin’, “What will you do with your lovin’ wife?
An’ son come tell it unto me, to me,
An’ son come tell it unto me.”

“She will leave her foot upon a shipboard
An’ she’ll sail all along with me, with me,
She'll sail all along with me.”

Sayin’, “What will you do with your two grand children?
Son come tell it unto me, to me,
An’ son come tell it unto me.”

“I’ll give one to my daddy an’ the other to my mammy
An’ they’ll keep them company,
An’ they’ll keep them company.”

Sayin’, “What will you do with your lovin’ house?
An’ son come tell it unto me, to me,
An’ son come tell it unto me.”

“I will leave it there for the birds of the air
To mourn an’ sing for me, for me,
For to mourn an’ sing for me.”

Sayin’, “What will you do with your two race horses?
An’ son come tell it unto me, to me,
An’ son come tell it unto me.”

“I will take the bridles off their heads
An’ they’ll race no more for me, for me,
An’ they’ll race no more for me.”

Sayin’, “What will you do with your two greyhounds?
An’ son come tell it unto me, to me,
An’ son come tell it unto me.”

“I will take the straps off their two necks
An’ they’ll hunt no more for me, for me,
An’ they’ll hunt no more for me.”

Nic Jones sings Edward

“What's that blood all on your shirt?
Son, come tell to me.”
“O that's the blood of my own grey hound,
He wouldn't run with me, with me,
He wouldn't run with me.”

“O it's too pale for your greyhound's blood,
Son, come tell to me.”
“It is the blood of my own grey mare,
He wouldn't hunt with me, with me,
He wouldn't hunt with me.”

“O it's too red for your grey mare's blood,
Son, come tell to me.”
“Well, it's the blood of me own dear brother,
He wouldn't ride with me, with me,
He wouldn't ride with me.”

“And what were you all quarrelling about?
Son, come tell to me.”
“O it's all about a little holly bush
And it might have made a tree, a tree,
It might have made a tree.”

“And what will you do when your father comes to know?
Son, come tell to me.”
“O I'll set sail in a little sailing boat,
I'll sail across the sea, the sea,
I'll sail across the sea.”

“And what will you do with your pretty little wife?
Son, come tell to me.”
“O she'll sail along in my little sailing boat,
She'll sail along with me, with me,
She'll sail along with me.”

“And what will you do with your eldest son?
Son, come tell to me.”
“O I'll leave him here for you to raise,
Rock all-upon your knee, your knee,
To rock all-upon your knee.”

“And when will you come back again?
Son, come tell to me.”
When the sun and the moon there on yonder hill,
I know that will never never be, never be,
Know that will never never be.”

George Dunn sings Edward

“What did you kill your dear little brother for?
My son, come tell it unto me.”
“For killing three little dicky birds
That flew from tree to tree.”

“What will you do with your houses and land?
My boy, come tell it unto me.”
…   …   …
…   …   …

“What will you leave your dear little brother now?
My boy, come tell it unto me.”
“I'll leave him a rope to hang himself
On yonders high tree.”

“What will you do when your father comes home?
My boy, come tell it unto me.”
“I shall place my foot on board a ship
And sail to Amerikee.”

“When shall I see your dear, dear face again?
My boy, come tell it unto me.”
“Never 'til the sun sets on yonder high tree
And that will never, never be.”

Paddy Tunney sings What Put the Blood?

“Where have you been the whole day long?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I was fishing and fowling the whole day long
𝄆 All through mother's treachery.” 𝄇

“What put the blood on your right shoulder?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“'Twas the killing of a hare that I killed today,
𝄆 That I killed right manfully.” 𝄇

“The blood of the old hare, it could never be so red.
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“'Twas the killing of a boy that I killed today,
𝄆 That I killed most manfully.” 𝄇

“What came between yourself and the boy?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“It was mostly the cutting of a rod
𝄆 That would never come a tree.” 𝄇

“What are you going to do when your daddy finds out?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I will put my foot on board a ship
𝄆 And sail to a foreign country.” 𝄇

“What are you going to do with your lovely young wife?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“She can put her foot on board of a ship
𝄆 And sail e'er after me.” 𝄇

“What are you going to do with your two fine young babes?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I'll give one to my father and the other to my mother
𝄆 For to bear them company.” 𝄇

“What are you going to do with your two fine racehorses?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I will take the bridles off their necks
For 𝄆 they'll run for more for me.” 𝄇

“What are you going to do with your two fine greyhounds?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I will take the leads all off their necks
For 𝄆 they'll run for more for me.” 𝄇

“What are you going to do with your houses and your lands?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I will lay them bare to the birds on the air
For 𝄆 there is no more welcome there for me.” 𝄇

Steeleye Span sing Edward

“What's that blood upon your sword, Edward?”
“'Tis the blood of my grey mare.”
“Your grey mare's blood was never that red, Edward,
You're telling lies, telling lies.”

“What's that blood upon your sword, Edward?”
“'Tis the blood of my greyhound.”
“Greyhound's blood was never that red, Edward,
You're telling lies, telling lies.”

“What's that blood upon your sword, Edward?”
“'Tis the blood of my great hawk.”
“Great hawk's blood was never that red, Edward,
You're telling lies.”

Chorus:
And the sun will never shine, Edward,
And the moon has lost his light.
And the sun will never shine, Edward,
You're telling lies, telling lies.

“What's that blood upon your sword, Edward?”
“It is the blood of my brother.”
“Why did you kill your own brother, Edward?
You're telling lies, telling lies.”

Chorus

What will you do, where will you go, Edward?
What will you do, how will you live?”
“I'll sail away, I'll sail away, Mother,
And you'll never see more of me.”

“What of your wife, what of your son, Edward?
And what will you leave to your mother dear?”
“The curse of Hell to burn her with, Mother
But telling lies, telling lies.”

Chorus

Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller sing Edward

“Where have you been all a fine summer’s clay?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“A-fishin and a-fowlin in the field in the forest.
I am weary mother let me be,
I am weary mother let me be.”

“What put the blood on your right shoulder?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“’Twas the blood of a hare I killed yesterday.
I am weary mother let me be,
I am weary mother let me be.”

“The blood of a hare it would ne’er be so red
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“’Twas the blood of a boy I killed yesterday,
I killed most manfully,
I killed most manfully.”

“And what came between yourself and the boy?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“’Twas only the cutting down of a rod
That would never come to a tree,
That would never come to a tree.”

“And what will you do when your daddy finds out?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I’ll put my foot on board of a ship
And sail to a foreign country,
I’ll sail to a foreign country.”

“And what will you do with your only wedded wife?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“She can put her foot on board of a ship
And follow after me,
And follow after me.”

“What will you do with your two fine babes?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I’ll give one to my mother and the other to my father
For to keep them company,
For to keep them company.”

“What will you do with your two fine hounds?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I’ll take the leads all off their necks
For they’ll no more race for me,
They’ll no more race for me.”

“And what will you do with your houses and your lands?
Son, come tell it unto me.”
“I’ll lay them bare tae the birds of the air
For there’s no more welcome there for me,
There’s no more welcome there for me.”

“And what will you do in the winters o’ your life?
Son come tell it unto me.”
“Like a saggin in the lough I’ll bend in the wind,
And pray for God’s mercy,
I will pray for God’s mercy.”

Fay Hield sings Henry

“O what is the blood on your shirt sleeve?
O my son Henry, come tell unto me.”
“It's the blood of my grey hound;
He would not run for me.”

“O that's not the blood of your greyhound,
O my son Henry, don't lie unto me.
It would be a far redder blood,
This can never be.

“O what is the blood on your shirt sleeve?
O my son Henry, come tell unto me.”
“It's the blood of my grey mare;
She would not ride for me.”

“O that's not the blood of your grey mare,
O my son Henry, don't lie unto me.
It'd be a far darker red,
This can never be.

“O what is the blood on your shirt sleeve?
O my son Henry, come tell unto me.”
“It's the blood of my goshawk;
He would not hunt for me.”

“O that's not the blood of your goshawk,
O my son Henry, don't lie unto me.
It'd be a far thicker blood,
This can never be.

“O what is the blood on your shirt sleeve?
O my son Henry, come tell unto me.”
“It's the blood of my sister dear;
She would have my baby.

“O set me a boat on the ocean,
Set it to sail over all the seven seas.
I must die for the love of
My sister and me.”

Nua sing Who Put the Blood?

“Where have you been all along summer's day?
Son, tell it unto me.”
“A-fishing and a-fowling in the fields and in the forest
𝄆 Weary, mother, let me be.” 𝄇

“Who put the blood on your right shoulder?
Son, tell it unto me.”
“It's the blood of a hare that I killed yesterday,,
𝄆 I killed most manfully.” 𝄇

“The blood of a hare, it would never be so red.
Son, tell it unto me.”
“It's the blood of a boy that I killed yesterday,
𝄆 I killed most manfully.” 𝄇

“What was between yourself and the boy?
Son, tell it unto me.”
“'Twas mostly the cutting down of a rod
𝄆 That would never come to a tree.” 𝄇

“What will you do when your daddy finds out?
Son, tell it unto me.”
“I will put my foot on board of a ship and sail away,
𝄆 Sail to a foreign country.” 𝄇

“What will you do with your two fine babes?
Son, tell it unto me.”
“I'll give one to my father and the other to my mother
𝄆 To keep them company.” 𝄇

“What will you do with your house and your lands?
Son, tell it unto me.”
“I will lay them bare to the birds and the air
𝄆 There is no more welcome for me.” 𝄇