Jackie Tar

Young Jackie Tar out one day a-walking
Heard the squire and a lady talking
Jack heard him to the lady say
Tonight with you, love I mean for to lay
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

Just tie the string all around your finger
Let the other end dangle down from your window
I’ll come by, pull on the string
You come down love, you let me in
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

Blow me says Jack, Oh why don’t I venture
See if a poor sailor can’t win this treasure
So he went by, pulled on the string
She come down now, she let him in
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

Jack never had seen such a sight before-a
String round her finger was all she wore-a
Open up the door when he pulled on the string
Pull back the covers and she let Jack in
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

Squire he come by, he was singing a song-a
Thinks he to himself, it’s not gonna be long-a
When he got there no string he found
Behold his hopes was all dashed to the ground
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

Jack lay in her arms all the live-long night-a
And she woke up in a terrible fright-a
For there lay Jack in his tary shirt
Behold, his face was all covered with dirt
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

What do you want, oh you nasty sailor
Stealing in my chamber for to steal my treasure?
No, he says, I pulled on the string
You come down love, you let me in
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

Jack says to her, Pardon I pray-a
I’ll steal away at the break of day-a
No, she says, don’t you go far
For I never will part from my little Jack Tar
Fol-lol-a-do, right folerol, right fol-lol-a-do

As sung by Martin Carthy on the Andy Kershaw programme, Sunday 17th October 2004

Back to interview transcript

The Famous Flower of Serving Men

My mother did me deadly spite
For she sent thieves in the dark of the night
Put my servants all to flight
They robbed my bower, they slew my knight

They couldn’t do to me no harm
So they slew my baby in my arm
Left me naught to wrap him in
But the bloody sheet that he lay in

They left me naught to dig his grave
But the bloody sword that slew my babe
All alone the grave I made
And all alone the tears I shed

And all alone the bell I rang
And all alone the psalm I sang
I leaned my head all against the block
And there I cut my lovely locks

I cut my locks and I changed my name
From Fair Eleanor to Sweet William
Went to court to serve my king
As the famous flower of serving men

So well I served my lord the king
That he made me his chamberlain
He loved me as his son
The famous flower of serving men

And oft time he’d look at me and smile
So swift his heart I did beguile
And he blessed the day that I became
The famous flower of serving men

Ah but all alone in my bed at e’en
There I dreamed a dreadful dream
I saw my bed swim with blood
I saw the thieves all around my head

Our king has to the hunting gone
Ta’en no lords nor gentlemen
He’s left me there to guard his home
The famous flower of serving men

Our king he rode the wood all around
He stayed all day but nothing found
And as he rode himself alone
It’s there he spied the milk white hind

Oh the hind she broke, the hind she flew
The hind she trampled the bramble through
First she’d melt and then she’d sound
Sometimes before, sometimes behind

Oh what is this, how can it be?
Such a hind as this I ne’er did see
Such a hind as this was never born
I fear she’ll do me deadly harm

And long, long did the great horse turn
To save his lord from branch and thorn
Long e’er the day was o’er
They tangled all in his yellow hair

And all in the glade the king drew nigh
Where the hind stood bright all in his eye
Oh he sprang down, sword drew
She vanished there all from his view

And all around the grass was green
All around where a grave was seen
Sat himself down on the stone
Great weariness it seized him on

Great silence hung from tree to sky
The woods grew still, the sun hung fire
Through the wood the dove he came
As through the woods he made his moan

Oh the dove he sat down on a stone
So sweet he looked, so soft he sang
Alas the day my love became
The famous flower of serving men

Oh the bloody tears they fell as rain
As still he sat and still he sang
Alas the day my love became
The famous flower of serving men

Our king cried out, and he wept full sore
So loud unto the dove he did call
Pretty bird come sing it plain

Oh it was her mother’s deadly spite
For she sent thieves in the dark of the night
They come to rob, they come to slay
They made their sport, they went their way

And don’t you think that her heart was sore
As she laid the mold on his yellow hair
And don’t you think that her heart was woe
She turned about, all away to go

And how she wept as she changed her name
From Fair Eleanor to Sweet William
Went to court to serve her king
As the famous flower of serving men

Oh the bloody tears they lay all around
He’s mounted up and away he’s gone
And one thought come to his mind
The thought of her that was a man

And as he’s rode himself alone
A dreadful oath he there has sworn
That he would hunt her mother down
Like he would hunt the wild wood swine

For there’s four and twenty ladies all
And they’re all playing at the ball
But fairer than all of them
Is the famous flower of serving men

Our king rode in, into his hall
And he’s rode in among them all
Lifted her to his saddle brim
He’s kissed her there both cheek and chin

Oh, the lords all stood and they stretched their eyes
The ladies hid in their hands and smiled
For a stranger homecoming
No gentleman had ever seen

And he has sent his nobles all
Unto her mother they have gone
Ta’en her that did such wrong
They lain her down in a prison strong

And he’s brought men up from the corn
And he sent men down to the thorn
For to build the bonfire high
All for to set her mother by

Oh, bonny sang the morning thrush
Where he sat in yonder bush
Louder did her mother cry
In the bonfire where she burned close by

Oh, for there she stood all among the thorn
And there she sang her deadly song
Alas the day that she became
The famous flower of serving men

For the fire took first all on her cheek
And there it took all on her chin
Spat and it rang in her yellow hair
As there she burnt like Hokey Green

As sung by Martin Carthy on the Andy Kershaw programme, Sunday 17th October 2004

Back to interview transcript

The Foggy Dew

Oh when I was a bachelor airy and young I followed the weaving trade
All the harm that ever I done was in courtin’ a fair young maid
I courted her in the summertime and all through the winter too
And the only thing I ever did wrong was keep her from the foggy dew

Well I got that tired of living alone I says to her one day
I’ve a nice little cot in my old shack where you could safely lay
You’ll be all right in the summertime and all through the winter too
You’ll be snug and warm and you’ll take no harm all out of the foggy dew

Well, I don’t think much to your old shack ’cause I will lonely be
With only your old Cyprus cat to keep me company
There’s crickets chirruping in the hearth but whatever can they do
When the night turns raw and the fire won’t draw to keep me from the foggy dew?

Now one night she come to my bedside when I lay fast asleep
She laid her head down on my breast she started in to weep
She wept, she sighed, she well near died; she cries, What shall I do?
For this night I’m resolved to stay with you and out of the foggy dew.

Oh lie down there you silly young girl, wipe away those tears
Then I hauled her shift up over her head and I wrapped it round her ears
We were all right in the summertime and all through the winter too
But I held her tight that live-long night to keep her from the foggy dew

Oh lie down there you silly young girl, don’t you be afraid
If you’re going to stay with me you’ll have to learn your trade
She learned all through the summertime and all through the winter too
And truth to tell she learned that well she saved us from the foggy dew

One night I laid there good as gold and she cries out to me
Says, I’ve got a pain in below my back where no pain ought to be
I was all right in the summertime, all through the winter, too.
But I take some ill, a kind of a chill on account of the foggy dew

That night she started to moan and cry: says I, What’s up with you?
Says she, I never should have been this way If it haven’t been for you
I put my boots and my trousers on and I ran for my neighbour too
Do what we could, we could do no good and she died in the foggy dew

I’m a bachelor now and I live with my son and we work at the weaving trade
Each time I look in his eyes I see the eyes of that fair young maid
Reminding me of the summertime and of the winter too
And of the many times I rolled in her arms all over the foggy dew

As sung by Martin Carthy on the Andy Kershaw programme, Sunday 17th October 2004

Back to interview transcript

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