JOHN TAMS


Bitter Withy Lyrics

as it fell out one high holiday
small hail from the heaven did fall
our saviour asked his mother mary mild
if he might go and play at the ball

at the ball – at the ball my own dear son
it’s time that you were gone
but don’t let me hear of any misdoings
at night when you come home

then it’s up the hill and down the hill
our sweet young saviours’s run
and there he spied three rich young lords
all playing in the sun

good morn – good morn – good morn said they
good morning all said he
now which of you three rich young lords
is going to play at the ball with me

but we’re all lords’ and ladies’ sons
born in our bower and hall
and you aren’t nothing but a poor maid’s child
born in an ox’s stall

but if you’re all lords’ and ladies’ sons
all born in your bower and hall
i’ll make you believe in your lattery end
i’m an angel above you all

so he built him a bridge from the beams of the sun
and over the river ran he
and these rich young lords followed after him
and drowned they were all three

then it’s up the hill and down the hill
these rich lord’s mother run
crying mary mild – fetch home you child
for ours he has drown’d each one

and so mary mild fetched home her child
and she put him all across of her knee
and it’s with a handful of green withy twigs
she’s gave him lashes three

oh the bitter withy – the bitter withy
thou causest me to smart
and the withy shall be the very tree
to perish at the heart

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