RICHARD THOMPSON


Tam Lin Lyrics

I forbid you maidens all that wear gold in your hair
To travel to Carter Hall for young Tam Lin is there

None that go by Carter Hall but they leave him a pledge
Either their mantles of green or else their maidenhead"

Janet tied her kirtle green a bit above her knee
And she's gone to Carter Hall as fast as go can she

She'd not pulled a double rose, a rose but only two
When up there came young Tam Lin says "Lady, pull no
more"

"And why come you to Carter Hall without command from
me?"
"I'll come and go", young Janet said, "and ask no leave
of thee"

Janet tied her kirtle green a bit above her knee
And she's gone to her father as fast as go can she

Well, up then spoke her father dear and he spoke meek
and mild
"Oh, and alas, Janet," he said, "I think you go with
child"

"Well, if that be so," Janet said, "myself shall bear
the blame
There's not a knight in all your hall shall get the
baby's name

For if my love were an earthly knight as he is an elfin
grey
I'd not change my own true love for any knight you
have"

Janet tied her kirtle green a bit above her knee
And she's gone to Carter Hall as fast as go can she

"Oh, tell to me, Tam Lin," she said, "why came you here
to dwell?"
"The Queen of Faeries caught me when from my horse I
fell

And at the end of seven years she pays a tithe to hell
I so fair and full of flesh and feared it be myself

But tonight is Hallowe'en and the faery folk ride
Those that would their true love win at Miles Cross
they must buy

So first let past the horses black and then let past
the brown
Quickly run to the white steed and pull the rider down

For I'll ride on the white steed, the nearest to the
town
For I was an earthly knight, they give me that renown

Oh, they will turn me in your arms to a newt or a snake
But hold me tight and fear not, I am your baby's father

And they will turn me in your arms into a lion bold
But hold me tight and fear not and you will love your
child

And they will turn me in your arms into a naked knight
But cloak me in your mantle and keep me out of sight"

In the middle of the night she heard the bridle ring
She heeded what he did say and young Tam Lin did win

Then up spoke the Faery Queen, an angry queen was she
Woe betide her ?ill-fought? face, an ill death may she
die

"Oh, had I known, Tam Lin," she said, "what this knight
I did see
I have looked him in the eyes and turned him to a tree

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