Earl Richard

On Springthyme SPRCD 1043
Shepheard, Spiers & Watson: Over the High Hills

Tom Spiers: I found this short version of Young Hunting in Motherwell’s Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern and tweaked the words a bit to get it to fit the two-part tune (no.11) at the back of the book. I thought this was a great find, as I had never heard anyone else sing it. I later discovered it was sung quite commonly in the USA, to a different tune and under the name of Loving Henry. However, as seems to be the norm with the move to America, the supernatural ending had been lost. I rather like the ending, where she tells the bird (clearly the spirit of Earl Richard) to clear off or she’d kill it too. Motherwell – from the recitation of Miss Stevenson of Glasgow, January 1825. (Child 68; Greig Duncan 7:1465; Roud 47)

Tom (lead vocal and fiddle) with Pete (melodeon) and Arthur (whistle)

1: Earl Richard is a-huntin gaen,
As fast as he could ride;
A huntin-horn hung roond his neck,
And a shairp sword by his side.

2: Fan he’s come tae my lady’s gate,
He’s tirled at the pin;
There wis nane sae ready as my lady,
To gae doon and let him in.

3: "Licht doon licht doon Earl Richard," she says,
"Licht doon and bide aa nicht;
We’ll hae cheer wi charcoal clear,
Aye and candles burnin bricht."

4: "I canna bide I winna bide,
I canna bide ava;
For a fairer lady than ten o ye,
Is waiting at my haa."

5: He’s bent doon fae his milk-white steed,
Tae kiss her rosy cheek;
She’s taen a pen-knife in her hand,
And wounded him richt deep.

6: "Lie ye there Earl Richard," she says,
"Lie there until the morn;
And a fairer lady than ten o me,
Will think ye’re lang comin hame."

7: Then she has caad her servin maids,
Aye she’s caad them twa by twa;
"There is a deid man at my gate,
And I wish he wis awa."

8: Twa maids hae taen him by the hands,
And twa hae taen his feet;
And they’ve flung him in a deep draw-well,
Fu fifty fathoms deep.

9: Then up there spake a bonny bird,
That sat upon a tree;
"Gae hame, gae hame ye fause lady,
And pey your maids their fee."

10: "Come doon here my bonny bird,
And sit upon my hand;
I’ll gie ye a cage o the beaten goud,
And nae the hazel wand."

11: "Gae hame, gae hame ye fause lady,
And an ill death may ye dee;
For as ye’ve din tae Earl Richard,
Sae wid ye dae tae me."

12: "Gin I had a bent bow in my hand,
An arrow on the string;
I’d shoot a dart at your prood hert,
Amang the leaves sae green."

c p 2012 Springthyme Records • Springthyme Music