> Tony Rose > Songs > Young Hunting
> Tim Hart & Maddy Prior > Songs > Earl Richard
> June Tabor > Songs > Love Henry
> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > The Proud Girl

“Don’t mess with Scottish girls!”
Iona Fyfe at the Young Scots Trad Awards Winner Tour 2019

Young Hunting / Earl Richard / Love Henry / The Proud Girl

[ Roud 47 ; Child 68 ; Ballad Index C068 ; HenryLee at Old Songs ; Earl Richard at Muckle Sangs ; VWML CJS2/10/3537 ; DT FALSLADY , YNGHUNT ; Mudcat 84081 ; trad.]

Young Hunting, a 30-verse long ballad of jealousy and murder was sung unaccompanied by Tony Rose as title track of his first album, Young Hunting (1970). He noted:

The story of Young Hunting is basically a simple one—a jilted girl gains revenge by killing her former lover—and yet the song is one of the most powerful and compelling I have heard. Perhaps more than anything this is due to the drama and mystery lent to the story by the recurring hints of magic and the supernatural—the talking bird, the floating candle used to indicate the place of a drowned body, the body of the murdered man bleeding in the presence of the murderer, and the final trial by ordeal. This is a fine reworking of the ballad by Peter Nalder, and the tune I got from Peter too.

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior recorded a much shorter form [Child 68F] with the name Earl Richard in 1969 for their second duo album, Folk Songs of Old England Vol. 2. The record’s sleeve notes comment:

This song concerns the murder of Earl Richard by his jealous lover, and is a shorter version of the ballad Young Hunting. In the latter stanzas a bird speaks to the murderess, and while this could be a reference to the transfiguration of the soul of her victim, it is more probable that the bird plays an innocent role, since speaking birds like the mythological phoenix in earlier times and later the parrot, are universal as messengers throughout folklore. This version comes from Motherwell’s Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sang The False Lady in 1977 on their Folk-Legacy album of ballads of the supernatural, Dark Ships in the Forest. They noted:

In common with other American examples, this New England version of Young Hunting has lost its ending, in which the heroine is burned at the stake for her transgressions. Jealousy is often a good enough motive for murder, but death is still a rather high price to pay for a little white lie.

Arthur Knevett sang Young Hunting on his 1988 cassette Mostly Ballads. Vic Gammon noted:

Arthur learnt this ballad from a recording of A.L. Lloyd. This version represents Lloyd’s reworking of mainly Scottish traditional material. His skill in sympathetic recasting such ballads was very impressive. The song demonstrates the consonance between the ballad form and a story with elements that might have intrigued Edgar Allan Poe: a refusal of sexual invitation leads to jealousy and murder; a magical talking bird (a motif in common with The Bloody Gardener), the walling up pf the murdered man’s body, the disposal of the body in a river; the rousing of divers by the talking bird, candles burning under the water to show the corpse, and the final ghastly burning of the guilty woman. They don’t write them like that any more! Visually it would be a video nasty, in Arthur’s restrained, and stoical, ballad performance it is a piece of considerable power.

Rod Paterson sang Earl Richard in 1988 on his Greentrax album Smiling Waved Goodbye. He commented:

This version is from Motherwell’s Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern.

Brian Peters sang Young Hunting on the 1997 Fellside anthology Ballads. He noted that this is

A ballad of murder and detection, whose supernatural elements—locating a submerged body using floating candles, a corpse gushing blood in the presence of a murderer, ordeal by fire—are omitted by recent source singers. The garrulous bird, however, is retained in Martin McDonagh’s version (he called in “Lady Margaret”), collected in Co. Roscommon by Tom Munnelly in 1974, which supplied the tune used here. Frank Proffitt of North Carolina sang Song of a Lost Hunter—same story, no bird, servant’s gender changed to male providing additional sexual frisson—to a recognisably related melody. The text was knocked together from Child; for dark drama it takes some beating.

Simon Haworth sang The Ballad of Earl Richard in 1998 on his Fellside CD Coast to Coast.

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan sang Young Hunting in 1998 on their first duo CD on the Fellside label, Starry Gazy Pie. They noted:

This version of Child 68 is from British Ballads From Maine. Vestiges of totemistic belief account for the ability of animals to chat with the human characters in a ballad. In this case the bird discloses the murder and may be the victim in spirit form. Songs like The Grey Cock and Outlandish Knight also feature human attempts to buy the favour of a surly animal/soul, with varying success.

John Spiers and Jon Boden recorded Earl Richard in 2001 for their Fellside CD Through & Through, and Jon Boden sang it as the 28 June 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He also commented in the CD liner notes:

A version of Young Hunting noted from a Miss Stephenson of Glasgow in 1825. Talking birds are not uncommon in traditional ballads but this one is unusually moral and immune to bribery, a stark contrast to the behaviour of the human characters.

Seriouskitchen sang Young Hunting on their 2002 CD Tig. They noted:

This was one of the very first ‘big’ ballads in Nick [Hennessy]’s extensive repertoire of unaccompanied song, learnt from the singing of Brian Peters. An engaging story ending, as is the case for most of the big ballads, with powerful imagery.

Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer returned to Young Hunting in 2007 on their CD Sliptease. They noted:

A blood, guts and gore ballad with 26 verses. For the most part, we learnt this traditional song in our Serious Kitchen days from the singing of Brian Peters (and adding our own tune). Since then we have tweaked the story to make more sense—taking extra verses from the singing of Pete Nalder and Tony Rose: Kindly provided by Ken Johnson.

Sara Grey sang Young Hunting at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2008. This recording was released a year later on the Festival CD Grand to Be a Working Man (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 5). She also recorded Young Hunting in 2009 for her Fellside CD Sandy Boys.

Karan Casey and John Doyle sang The False Lady in 2010 on their Compass album Exiles Return. John Doyle noted:

A variation of a Child ballad called Young Hunting collected from New England. Telling the story of slighted love, murder and a pretty little bird. Tony Barrand has a lovely version of this on a CD entitled Dark Ships in the Forest. Tony and his long-time singing partner John Roberts have been a great duo for 35 years or more now and have officially sung every song known to man.

James Findlay sang Young Hunting at the Bath Folk Festival 2011:

Paul and Liz Davenport sang Young Hunting in 2011 on their CD Spring Tide Rising. They noted:

This version is from Sharp’s English Folk Songs From the Southern Appalachians. It’s a simple and economic telling of the story in which a young man discovers that ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’. Generally, it’s not a great idea to tell one’s lover that she’s the one who’s unfaithful. Neither is it too smart to compound this by telling her that your wife is better looking than ten of her. Unsurprisingly it all ends in tears—frankly, it serves him right!

Alistair Ogilvy sang Earl Richard in 2012 on his Greentrax album Leaves Sae Green.

Tom Spiers sang Earl Richard in 2012 on Shepheard, Spiers & Watson’s Springthyme album Over the High Hills. They noted:

Tom Spiers: I found this short version of Young Hunting in Motherwell’s Minstrelsy of 1868 and tweaked the words a bit to get it to fit the two-part tune at the back of the book. I thought this was a great find, as I had never heard anyone else sing it. I later discovered it was sung quite commonly in the USA, to a different tune and under the name of Loving Henry. However, as seems to be the norm with the move to America, the supernatural ending had been lost. I rather like the ending, where she tells the bird (clearly the spirit of Earl Richard) to clear off or she’d kill it too.

Motherwell—from the recitation of Miss Stevenson of Glasgow, January 1825.

Iona Fyfe sang Earl Richard in 2016 on the Iona Fyfe Band’s EP East. She noted:

Variants of the ballad are known as Young Hunting and Love Henry. A song found in England as well as Scotland, and found in William Motherwell’s collection as well as Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. From the singing of Rod Paterson. Earl Richard is a ballad which crossed the Atlantic and became part of Appalachian song tradition.

Granny’s Attic sang False Lady in 2016 on their WildGoose CD Off the Land. They noted:

A variant of Child ballad 68, Young Hunting. Like all good ballads, some variants of Young Hunting run to over 25 verses but we’ve opted for a more compact rendition here. We came across this variant in Bertrand Bronson’s The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads Volume II printed as The Faulse Layde, we’ve decided to correct the spelling (apologies to any traditional spelling purists). The song was collected from Thomas Edward Nelson of Union Mill, New Brunswick on 18 February 1929. The instrumental section features the traditional tune William Irwin’s, also known as Barbara Allen.

Kate Fletcher and Corwen Broch sang Young Hunting on their 2017 CD Fishe or Fowle. They noted:

In which a talking bird reveals a dreadful murder.

The text [is] Child Ballad #68G, set to the tune collected from Mrs G.A. Griffin of Newberry, Florida, by Alton C. Morris in 1950.

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage sang Earl Richard in 2022 on their Topic CD Ink of the Rosy Morning. Hannah Sanders noted:

I learnt this version of Young Hunting from my days of family singing, where we sang it in four-part acapella at break-neck speed! According to Shirley Collins, False True Love is a ‘sister ballad’ of this, and lyric fragments are shared across both songs. The ballad tells of the demise of a faithless lover, although why he freely admits he has a better girl at home is unknown! Like so many British ballads, the bird has an interesting role as moral arbiter, witness to the murder and disposal of poor, foolish Earl Richard.

Amy Leach sang Lowe Bonnie on her and guitarist Alasdair Paul’s 2024 EP Six Sangs. She noted:

A version of Young Hunting (Rond 47/Child 68) pieced together from various versions collected in the Appalachians.

Love Henry

A variant of Young Hunting called Love Henry was collected by Cecil Sharp in September 1916 from Mrs Orilla Keeton, Mount Fair, Virginia [VWML CJS2/10/3537] . Frank Proffitt of North Carolina sang it as Song of a Lost Hunter (Love Henry) on his Folk-Legacy album of 1962, Frank Proffitt of Reese, NC.

Tom Paley sang Love Henry in 1965 on his and Peggy Seeger’s Topic album Who’s Going to Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?.

Hedy West sang Love Henry in 1967 on her Topic album Ballads. A.L. Lloyd commented in the album’s sleeve notes:

Young Hunting is the scholars’ name for this story of love, jealousy, murder and magical talking birds. As often happens, the American versions are much revised, simplified, sometimes corrupted, compared with the British versions. That’s not to say that Americanisation of ballads necessarily means decline (it doesn’t necessarily mean improvement either). Many of the changes come about naturally with the historical development of recognisable American characteristics of mood, outlook, personality. Stressing her proper pride in Americanised song (as proper as the British singers’ pride in his own tradition), Hedy West expresses a fond romance of hers: that people can begin from similarity to expand their tolerance of differences to an appreciation of those differences. The ballad has been not uncommon in Scotland, very rare in England. In the U.S.A. its circulation has been limited almost entirely to the Southern states, but in more or less hillbillyized versions it has been carried widely by rural professional minstrels attached to medicine shows and such, notably through Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and the Ozarks. Cecil Sharp collected this Virginia version in 1916.

The English Country Blues Band sang Loving Henry (Lord Henry and Lady Margaret) in 1983 on their Rogue album Home and Deranged. Ian A. Anderson returned to it in 2008 on Blue Bloke 3’s Fledg’ling album Stubble and sang it in a False Beards live performance from 10 March 2024 that was released in the same year on the Broadside Hacks cassette A Tribute to Les Cousins. The Blue Bloke 3 noted:

A condensed ballad for these days of too much information, this précis of Young Hunting (Child 68) is a second cousin of Dick Justice’s 1929 Henry Lee with a tune nicked from Kit Bailey. For a brief time after the English Country Blues Band recorded it in 1983 it acquired a now-forgotten last verse in which the parrot got its come-uppance.

June Tabor (accompanied by Mark Emerson on violin) recorded Love Henry in March 1990 at Wytherston Studios. This demo was included in the Hokey Pokey charity compilation Circle Dance and later on her 4 CD anthology Always. She noted:

I’ve often found it amusing and distressing the way the great ballads metamorphosed when they crossed the water. Something as disturbing as Young Hunting with its supernatural references, with the corpse bleeding when the murderer approaches and the real weight of horror that is in that tale of murder and the attempted concealment by the former true love, turns into a kind of Disneyfied version that becomes Love Henry. And yet it still has so much strength. Now I appreciate much more the power of the Appalachian versions, whereas I might once have said, “Yes, but it’s not as good as the original.” This one sneaked through because it’s got so many good lines in it. Particularly,

Then up and spoke a pretty little bird
Exceeding on a willow tree

You’ve got to sing a song with that in it! The bird flies away into the sunset to star in the sequel, while everybody else dies unhappily ever after.

Chris Coe sang Love Henry in 2001 on her Backshift CD A Wiser Fool.

Martin Simpson sang Love Henry in 2005 on his Topic CD Kind Letters. This recording was also included in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2007 compilation. He noted:

One of the most affecting performers I ever saw at Scunthorpe Folk Club was Hedy West. A banjo player, singer and guitarist from Georgia, Hedy’s work has been a great influence on me and many others. She was the source of the 9/4 tune which appears at the end of Fairport Convention’s Matty Groves and which Martin Carthy used for The Famous Flower of Serving Men. Hedy recorded a great collection of ballads for Topic in the early 60’s and that was the source for Love Henry. The Scot’s version is usually called Young Hunting and it appears on the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Songs as Henry Lee, performed by Dick Justice. The mixture of sex, murder, talking bird and a great tune is irresistible to me. I wanted to re-Anglicise the song for this record and James Fagan’s beautifully considered, driving bouzouki and Nancy [Kerr]’s open-tuned fiddle do the job superbly.

Whapweasel sang Love Henry on their 2012 album Festivalis. They noted:

This song is a version made popular by Bob Dylan; it originates from a song called Young Hunting and is also found in the USA as Henry Lee. Introduced to and arranged for the band by John [Hirst].

Lucy Farrell of The Furrow Collective sang Henry Lee on their 2014 album At Our Next Meeting. She noted:

Our version comes from the Peggy Seeger record Heading for Home. When I learnt it I was becoming interested in the symbolism of birds in ballads. In Henry Lee I think the bird that appears at the end represents her conscience, singing too loud. We recorded it on a windy day and decided it added to the atmosphere!

This video shows The Furrow Collective at The Glad Cafe in Glasgow on 22 February 2014:

The Proud Girl

A.L. Lloyd sang another variant of Young Hunting called The Proud Girl live at the Top Lock Folk Club, Runcorn, on 5 November 1972. This concert was published in 2010 on the Fellside CD An Evening With A.L. Lloyd.

And Frankie Armstrong sang The Proud Girl in 1996 on her ballads album Till the Grass O’ergrew the Corn. The sleeve notes commented:

Bert Lloyd gave Frankie this chilling version of Young Hunting, which he seems to have based chiefly on that given to Walter Scott by James Hogg, the “Ettrick Shepherd”, who had it from his mother. There can be few more imperious female protagonists in balladry: on learning of her love’s falseness, she reacts with a ferocity worthy of a heroine from Greek tragedy. One reason for the power of ballad texts is that the bareness of their telling leaves space for singers and listeners to fill in the parts which are missing: they positively demand that we set our imaginations to work. Was it really pride that sparked the girl’s action, or true love turned to hate? Did she keep the corpse so close because she still loved him? The candles which burn so bright may, says Child, allude to the practice of floating a loaf with a consecrated candle on it to divine the whereabouts of a drowned body. The inquisitive and tale-telling bird has been identified by folklorists as housing the soul of the dead man.


Tony Rose sings Young Hunting

As she was a-walking all alone
And down in a leafy wood
She has heard the sound of a bridle reins;
And she hoped that it might be for good.

“Come down, come down, you fine young man,
You’re welcome home to me,
To my cosy bed and the charcoal red
And the candles that burns so free.”

“Oh I can’t come down and I won’t come down
And nor I come into your arms at all
For a finer girl than ten of you
Is a-waiting beneath the town wall.”

“Oh well, a finer girl than ten of me
I wonder now how that might be?
For a finer girl than ten of me
I’m sure that you never didn’t see.”

Then and he has leaned him across his saddle
Oh for a kiss before they did part,
And she has taken a keen, long knife
And she’s stabbed him to the heart.

Saying, “Lie there, lie there, you fine young man,
Until the flesh it rots from your bones
And that finer girl than ten of me
Can weary waiting alone.”

But as she walked up on the high highway
She’s spied a little bird up in the tree,
Saying, “Oh how could you kill that fine young man
As he was a-kissing of thee?”

“Come down, come down, you pretty little bird
And sit upon my right knee,
And your cage shall be made of the glittering gold
And the spokes of the best ivory.”

“I can’t come down and I won’t come down
Nor sit upon your right knee,
For as you did serve that fine young man
I know that you would serve me.”

“Oh, then I wish I had my bended bow
And my arrow close to my knee.
I would fire a dart that would pierce your heart
As you sit there a-pipin’ on that tree.”

“Ah, but you’ve not got your bended bow
And nor your arrows close to your knee.
So I’ll fly across the sea to that young man’s home
And tell them what I did see.”

So she’s gone back to her own house
And she’s crossed the threshold with a moan,
And she has taken that fine young man
And she’s walled him behind the stones.

And she has kept that fine young man
For full three-quarters of a year
Till a heavy smell began to spread
And it filled her heart with fear.

So she’s called unto the servant girl
And this to her did she say:
“There is a fine and a young man in my room
And but it’s time that he was away.”

So the one of them’s took him by the shoulders,
And the other one’s took him by the feet
And they’ve thrown his body in the River Clyde
And that run so clear and so sweet.

And they had not crossed a rig of land,
A rig and barely one,
Before they saw his old father come a-riding
All along.

“Oh where you’ve been, my gay lady?
And where have you been so late?
For we’ve come a-seeking for my only son
Who used to visit your gates.”

And there came a-seeking for this fine young man
A-many lords and many knights.
And there came a-weeping for this fine young man
Full a-many’s the lady bright.

And now the ladies turned them around and about
And they made such a mournful sound,
Saying, “We greatly fear that your son is dead
And he lies neath the water and drowned.”

“So, who will dive from either bank
For gold and for fee?”
And the young men dived from either bank
But his body they could not see.

Then up and speaks that pretty little bird
A-sitting up high in the tree,
Saying, “Oh, cease your diving, you divers bold,
For I’d have you to listen to me.”

“And I’d have you to cease your day diving
And to dive all into the night.
For under the water where his body lies
The candles they burn so bright.”

So the divers ceased their day diving
And they dived all into the night.
And under the water where his body lay,
The candles they burned so bright.

And they have raised his body up
From out the deepest part,
And they’ve seen the wound deep into his chest
And the turf all across his heart.

And when his father did see this dreadful wound
He made such a mournful sound,
Saying, “Oh, who has killed my only son
Who used to follow my hounds?”

Then up and speaks the pretty little bird,
Saying, “What needs all this din?
For it was his light leman took his life
And then threw his body in.”

“Oh, blame not me,” the lady says,
“For it was the servant girl.”
So they built a fire of the oak and ash
And they put that servant girl in.

But the fire wouldn’t take upon her cheek
And the fire wouldn’t take upon her chin,
And nor would it take upon her hair
For she was free from the sin.

And when the servant girl touched the clay cold corpse,
A drop it never bled.
But when the lady laid a hand upon it
The ground was soon covered with red.

So they’ve taken out the servant girl
And they’ve put the lady in.
And the fire it reached a ruddy red,
And all because of her sin.

And the fire took fast upon her cheek,
And the fire took fast upon her chin,
And it sang in the points of her yellow hair,
And ’twas all because of her sin.

Tim Hart and Maddy Prior sing Earl Richard

Earl Richard is a-hunting gone,
As fast as he could ride
His hunting horn hung round his neck
And broadsword by his side

He rode till he came to my lady’s gate
He telled out the pin
And answered yes she had said
To rise and let him in

“Oh light, oh light, Earl Richard,” she said,
“Oh light and stay the night
You shall have cheer with charcoal clear
And candles burning bright”

“I will not light, I cannot light
I cannot light at all
A fairer lady than ten of you
Is waiting now at Richard’s hall.”

He stooped down from his milk white steed
To kiss her rosy cheek
She had a pen knife in her hand
And wounded him so deep

“Oh lie ye there, oh lie ye there
Oh lie ye there till morn
A fairer lady than ten of me
Will think long of your coming home.”

She’s called the servants one by one
She’s called them two by two
“I have a dead man in my bower
I wish he were away.”

Then one’s a-take him by the hands
The other by the feet
They’ve thrown him in the deep draw-well
Full fifty fathom deep

Then up bespake a little bird
That sits upon a tree
“Go home, go home you false lady
And pay your maids a fee.”

“Come down, come down, oh my pretty bird
That sits upon the tree,
I have a cage of beaten gold
That I will give to thee.”

“Go home, go home you false lady
And pay your maids a fee.
For as you have done to Earl Richard
So would you do to me.”

“If I had an arrow in my hand
And a bow bent on a string
I’d shoot a dart at thy proud heart
Among the leaves so green.”

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sing The False Lady

“Abide, abide, true love,” she said,
“Beg and stay all night,
You shall have pleasure in my room
With a coal and a candle light, light,
   With a coal and a candle light.”

“I won’t abide, you false lady,
And beg and stay all night,
For I have a far better love to enjoy,
When I go home, than you.”

As he stooped over saddle bow
To kiss her lips so sweet,
And with a penknife in her hand,
She wounded him full deep.

“Why woundest me, you false lady,
Why woundeet me so sore?
There’s not a doctor in all Scotland
Can heal my mortal wound.”

She awoke her maids in the morning,
Just at the break of day,
Saying, “There’s a dead man in my bed-chamber,
I wish he was away.”

Some took him by the lily-white hands,
And others by the feet,
They threw him into a very deep well,
Full fifty fathoms deep.

“Lie there, lie there, you false young man,
Lie there, lie there alone,
And let the one that you love best
Think you long a-coming home.”

Oh, then up spoke a pretty little bird,
Sitting in a tree:
“An ill death may you die, lady,
For he had no love but thee.”

Brian Peters sings Young Hunting

Young Hunting’s to the castle gone
As fast as he could ride
His hunting horn about his waist
A broadsword by his side,
A broadsword by his side.

And when he came to the castle gate
He’s pulled all at the pin
No-one so ready as the lady herself
To rise and let him in,
Arise and let him in.

“You’re welcome here, my Young Hunting,
For coal and candle-light,
And so welcome are you Young Hunting
To lie with me this night,
To lie with me this night.”

“I thank you for your light lady
So do I for your coal
But there’s a fairer woman than ten of thee
Meets me at Brandy’s well,
Meets me at Brandy’s well.”

He bent down o’er his saddle bow
To kiss her ruby cheek,
But she took out a little pen-knife
And wounded him full deep,
And wounded him full deep.

And she has called on her maid Katherine
So long before the day,
“I have a dead man in my bower;
I wish he was away,
I wish he was away.”

They booted him and spurred him
As he was wont to ride
They have taken him to the wide water
They call the River Clyde,
They call the River Clyde.

One has taken him by his feet
The other one by his head
In the deepest part of Clyde Water
It’s there they made his bed,
It’s there they’ve made his bed.

“Lie there, lie there, you Young Hunting
’Til the blood seep from your bone
That fairer woman than ten of me
Will wait long ere you come home
Wait long ere you come home.”

Then up and spoke the bonny little bird
That stood up in the tree
“Go home, go home, you false lady
Pay your maid her fee
And pay your maid her fee.”

“Come down, come down, my bonny little bird
Come down into my hand
Your cage I’ll make of the fine beaten gold
Where now it’s the willow wand,
Where now it’s the willow wand.”

“Keep your cage of beaten gold
And I will keep my tree
For as you did with Young Hunting
You’d do the same with me,
You’d do the same with me.”

And it fell out on the very next day
The King was going to ride
And he has sent for Young Hunting
To ride all at his side,
To ride all at his side.

The lady swore by the grass so green
So did she by the corn
“I saw not your son, Young Hunting
Since yesterday at morn,
Yesterday at morn.

“But I saw him ride to Clyde Water;
I fear he’s drowned therein!”
And they have sent for divers bold
To dive for Young Hunting,
To dive for Young Hunting.

Then up and spoke the bonny little bird
That flew above their heads
“Dive on, dive on, you divers bold
For there he lies indeed,
For there he lies indeed.

“But leave off your diving in the day
And dive all in the night
And where Young Hunting he lies slain
The candles will burn full bright,
The candles will burn full bright.”

So they left off diving in the day
And dived all in the night
And where Young Hunting he lay slain
The candles burned full bright,
The candles burned full bright.

White, white were his wounds all washed
As white as a linen clout
But when the lady she came near
The blood come gushing out,
The blood come gushing out.

“Well, it’s surely been my maid Katherine
And ill may she betide!
For I’d have never slain my young Hunting
And thrown him in the Clyde,
And thrown him in the Clyde.”

So they have taken the maid Katherine
And a bonfire set her in
But the fire wouldn’t take upon her cheek
Nor yet upon her chin,
Nor yet upon her chin.

So they’ve taken out the maid Katherine
They’ve thrown the lady in
And the fire took fast on her fair body
She burned like holly green,
She burned like holly green.

Tom Spiers sings Earl Richard

Earl Richard is a-huntin gaen,
As fast as he could ride;
A huntin-horn hung roond his neck,
And a shairp sword by his side.

Fan he’s come tae my lady’s gate,
He’s tirled at the pin;
There wis nane sae ready as my lady,
To gae doon and let him in.

“Licht doon licht doon Earl Richard,” she says,
“Licht doon and bide aa nicht;
We’ll hae cheer wi charcoal clear,
Aye and candles burnin bricht.”

“I canna bide I winna bide,
I canna bide ava;
For a fairer lady than ten o ye,
Is waiting at my haa.”

He’s bent doon fae his milk-white steed,
Tae kiss her rosy cheek;
She’s taen a pen-knife in her hand,
And wounded him richt deep.

“Lie ye there Earl Richard,” she says,
“Lie there until the morn;
And a fairer lady than ten o me,
Will think ye’re lang comin hame.”

Then she has caad her servin maids,
Aye she’s caad them twa by twa;
“There is a deid man at my gate,
And I wish he wis awa.”

Twa maids hae taen him by the hands,
And twa hae taen his feet;
And they’ve flung him in a deep draw-well,
Fu fifty fathoms deep.

Then up there spake a bonny bird,
That sat upon a tree;
“Gae hame, gae hame ye fause lady,
And pey your maids their fee.”

“Come doon here my bonny bird,
And sit upon my hand;
I’ll gie ye a cage o the beaten goud,
And nae the hazel wand.”

“Gae hame, gae hame ye fause lady,
And an ill death may ye dee;
For as ye’ve din tae Earl Richard,
Sae wid ye dae tae me.”

“Gin I had a bent bow in my hand,
An arrow on the string;
I’d shoot a dart at your prood hert,
Amang the leaves sae green.”

June Tabor sings Love Henry

As Lady Margaret was a-going to her bed
She heard the sound of a musical horn;
It made her feel both glad and sad,
To think it was her brother John, John,
Coming in from his wild hunt.

Who should it be but her love, Henry,
Returning from his king, king,
Returning from his king?

“Come down, come down, Love Henry
And stay all night with me.
You shall have a cheer of a cheerful girl
The best I can give thee, thee,
The best I can give thee.”

“I shan’t come down and I won’t come down
And stay all night with thee.
There’s a girl by the city wall
I love far better than thee, thee,
I love far better than thee.”

He’s leaned across his saddle trim
To give her a kiss so sweet;
And with a pen-knife in her right hand
She’s wounded him in full deep, deep,
She’s wounded him in full deep.

“Woe be, woe be, Lady Margaret,
Woe be, woe be to thee;
Don’t you see my thick heart’s blood
Run a-trickling down my knee, knee,
Run a-trickling down my knee?”

She’s called unto a maid of hers:
“The secret keep on me,
And all the fair robes on my body
Shall always be to thee, thee,
Shall always be to thee.”

One’s taken him by the long yellow hair,
The other one by the feet;
They throwed him into the well water
Which was both cold and deep, deep,
Which was both cold and deep.

“Lie there, lie there, Love Henry
Until the flesh rots off your bones.
There’s a girl by the city wall
Thinks long on your coming home, home,
Thinks long on your coming home.”

It’s up and spoke a pretty little bird
Exceeding on a willow tree:
“There never was a girl by the city wall
He loved far better than thee, thee,
He loved far better than thee.”

“Come down, come down, my pretty little bird
And sit all on my knee.
Your cage shall be made of the beaten gold
And the bars of ivory, -ry,
And the bars of ivory.”

“I shan’t come down and I won’t come down
And sit all on your knee.
For you have murdered your own true love;
Far sooner you would kill me, me,
Far sooner you would kill me.”

“O, if I had an arrow in my hand,
My bow on a tuneful string,
I’d fire a dart to pierce your heart
So you could no longer sing, sing,
You could no longer sing.”

“O, if you had an arrow in your hand,
Your bow on a tuneful string,
I’d spread my wings and fly away
And tune my voice to sing, sing,
And tune my voice to sing.”

Lucy Farrell sings Henry Lee

“Lie down, lie down, my love Henry,
And stay with me tonight,
And you shall have both candle and comb,
My fire’s burning bright,
My fire’s burning bright.”

“I won’t lie down, I can’t lie down
And stay all night with thee;
For there’s a lady ten times fairer than you
In Lord Barnet’s hall for me,
In Lord Barnet’s hall for me.”

And he’s leaned him o’er her soft pillow
For to give her a kiss so sweet;
And with her little pen-knife held keen and sharp
She’s wounded him fully,
She has wounded him fully.

And she’s picked him up by his long yellow hair
And also by his feet,
And she’s thrown him in her cruel well
Fifty fathoms deep,
Oh, fifty fathoms deep.

“Lie there, lie there, love Henry Lee,
Though I know you may not swim;
That lady ten times fairer than me
She’ll never see you again,
She will never see you again.”

“Come down, come down, you pretty little bird,
Come down, sit on my knee.”
“Well, a girl who’d killed her own true love
Would kill a little bird like me,
She would kill a little bird like me.”

“I wish I had my bending bow,
My arrow and my string,
I’d shoot the dart so nigh your heart
That you’d no longer sing,
That you’d no longer sing.”

“I wish you had your bending bow
Your arrow and your string,
I’d fly away to Barnet’s hall
You’ll always hear me sing,
You will always hear me sing.”


I found the verses of June Tabor’s Love Henry and Malcolm Douglas’s note to the song’s origin and some text variants in the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Love Henry and changed the verses to June’s actual singing. Thanks too to Garry Gillard who reminded me of Martin Simpson’s version, and to Tim McElwaine for Brian Peters’ verses.