Lost Lady Found

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

After his niece is stolen away by gypsies the uncle is accused of her murder and sentenced to death. However, her lover goes in search of her, eventually finds her, takes her back home, saves her uncle from the gallows and they are married. The song was circulated widely on broadsides and has been widely collected in Britain and North America. Bob heard the song from his mother (Roud 901; Laws Q31).

1: ’Tis of a young damsel that lived all alone,
For the sake of her parents she sadly did moan;
She had but one uncle, two trustees besides,
That were left all alone for this young lady’s guide.

2: As she was a walking in the meadows so low,
Her uncle was pleasèd that lovèd her so;
As she was a-walking in the meadows so gay,
Three gypsies betrayed her, they stole her away.

3: Longtime she’d been missing, nowhere could be found,
Her uncle he searched all the country round;
He went to the trustees twixt hope and despair,
But all was in vain for she had not been there.

4: And when that her uncle his tale he had told,
They swore he had slain her for the sake of her gold;
“It shall be death for death,” the trustees did cry,
“And cast into prison, condemned there to die.”

5: It’s of this young squire that lovèd her so,
Oft-times to the schoolhouse they together did go;
No rest could he find, both night and by day,
And in search of his lady he wandered away.

6: He travelled through Scotland, through France and through Spain,
He ventured his life o’er the watery main;
He went to an alehouse for to spend the night,
And in that same alehouse was his own heart’s delight.

7: “How came you in Flanders, in Flanders?” said he,
“How came you in Flanders, now pray tell to me.”
“As I was a-walking those meadows so gay,
Three gypsies betrayed me, they stole me away.”

8: “Your uncle’s in prison, in prison doth lie,
And for your sweet sake is condemned there to die.”
“Carry me home to my uncle, my uncle,” she cried,
“For I’ll give you thousand or I’ll be your bride.”

9: He says, “My dear jewel we’ll order it so,
Since love brings great danger to church let us go;
To church let us go love and be married indeed,
And straight to old England we’ll hie with all speed.”

10: And when that they came old England to view,
The cart was drawn under the high gallows tree;
She down on her knees and for pardon did crave,
“You see I’m alive, sir, my uncle to save.”

11: “My parents they left me fifteen thousand pounds,
My uncle and two trustees to pay me my bounds;
To pay me my bounds, sir, as long as I live,
So now I’ll enjoy my young squire so brave.”

c p 2010 Autumn Harvest : www.springthyme.co.uk