The Noble Lord

Bob Lewis: On Autumn Harvest ah09: Bob Lewis: Drive Sorrows Away. Recorded at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2009.

Two men are out walking and one, a lord, kills the other by accident. He is accused of wilful murder and condemned to die. A poor servant girl decides to plead on his behalf, she borrows fine clothing and jewels, comes before the judge and says she would give her life to set the lord free. The lord is pardoned, he asks who she is, she admits she is no lady but is a poor servant girl who has borrowed the fine clothing. He offers to marry her or give her a reward of ten thousand pounds. She consents to be his bride. Quite a rare song that had been collected only a few times in the south of England and one that Bob got from his mother (Roud 6473).

1: ’Tis of a noble lord, my boys, as any in the land,
He had squires to attend him and servants at command;
One day as they were walking to take a pleasant air,
That lord he killed the squire as quicklye you shall hear.

2: That lord he killed the squire, a false witness standing by,
’Twas brought in wilful murder, condemned he was to die;
Condemned he was to die and sentence upon him passed,
But beyond all expectations a friend there came at last.

3: ’Tis of as poor a serving girl as any in the land,
She borrowed rings and jewels and servants at command;
She borrowed rings and jewels, a footman with her came,
Just like any lady of honour in all her birth and fame.

4: And when she came before the judge, down on her knees did fall,
“Oh pardon him, oh pardon him,” for mercy she did call;
“Take pity on a virgin, it’s grant to me my love,
And the heavens shall reward you with great blessings from above.”

5: The judge he says, “Dear lady, your love is condemned to die.”
She wrung her hands, she tore her hair and bitterly did cry,
Saying, “If one of us must die, pray let it fall on me,
I’ll give my life to save him and set his lordship free.”

6: The judge he says, “Dear lady, we’ll pardon him for your sake.”
She took him by the lilywhite hand, a journey for to make;
And as they walked together across that pleasant plain,
Says he, “Dear honoured lady, pray tell to me your name.”

7: “Indeed I am no lady, these clothes they are not mine,
They are my mistress daughter’s, the truth you soon shall find;
They are my mistress daughter’s, the truth you soon shall know,
Which I borrowed to prevent them from proving your overthrow.”

8: “Indeed if you’re no lady it’s ten thousand pounds I’ll give,
Or you shall be my wedded wife as long as I do live;
We’ll live and love together and you shall be my bride,
For I’ve more right to love you than all the world beside.”

9: This fair maid she consented to be his lawful bride,
And when they got unto the church the knot it there was tied;
So now they live in leisure for they have gold in store,
This young lord and his lady each other do adore.

c p 2010 Autumn Harvest :