Sung by: Mrs. T.F. Guthrie of San Antonio, TX
Click here to listen to the original recording
A-combing his milk-white steed,
And along came Lady Nancy Bell,
A-wishing her lover goodspeed, speed, speed,
A-wishing her lover goodspeed.
“Oh, where are you going, Lord Lovel?” she said.
“Oh, where are you going?” said she.
“I’m going away,” Lord Lovel replied,
“Far countries for to see, see, see,
Far countries for to see.”
“How long will you be gone, Lord Lovel?” she said.
“How long will you be gone?” said she.
“I’ll only be gone a year and a day,
Or at most but two or three, three, three,
Or at most but two or three.”
He’d only been gone a year and a day,
A year and a day gone, he,
When into his head popped languishing thoughts,
Lady Nancy Bell for to see, see, see,
Lady Nancy Bell for to see.
He rode and he rode ‘til he reached London town--
To London town came he--
And there he met a funeral,
With the mourners all weeping around, round, round,
With the mourners all weeping around.
“Oh, who is dead?” Lord Lovel, he said.
“Oh, who is dead?” said he.
“’Tis the Earl’s only daughter,” the people replied,
And they called her Lady Nancy, cy, cy,
They called her Lady Nancy.”
He ordered the coffin to be opened straight,
And the shroud to be pulled down,
And there he kissed her cold, cold corpse,
While the tears, they came trickling down, down, down,
While the tears, they came trickling down.
Lady Nancy, she died on the selfsame eve,
Lord Lovel, he died on the morrow.
Lady Nancy, she died of pure, pure grief;
Lord Lovel, he died of sor, ror, rorow,
Lord Lovel, he died of sorrow.
Lord Lovel was laid in St. Martha’s kirk;
Lady Nancy was laid in the choir,
And out of her bosom there grew a red rose,
And out of her lover’s a briar, riar, riar,
And out of her lover’s a briar.
They grew and they grew ‘til they reached the church tower,
And there they couldn’t grow any higher,
And there they entwined in a lover’s true knot,
All true lovers for to admire, rire, rire,
All true lovers for to admire.
(Comment by Dr. Wolf: “She learned this song from the natives around Sylamore, Arkansas.”)
Also found in Child, #75; Randolph, Vol. I, #17; Brown, Vol. II, #21; Belden, p. 52.