THE HOUSE CARPENTER
(JAMES HARRIS; THE DAEMON LOVER)
Sung by: Almeda Riddle
Recorded in Miller, AR, 6/23/53
Click here to listen to the original recording
Well met, well met," said he.
"Now I could've been married to a king's daughter fair,
And would have, but I loved thee;
I could have, but remembered thee."
"Well, if you could've married a king's daughter fair,
I am sure you're much to blame.
I'm now married to a house carpenter,
And I think he's a fine young man,
And I proudly wear his name."
"Well, now. Come, leave this house carpenter,
And go along with me.
I'll take you where the grass grows green
On the banks of the sweet Willee,
And pleasure we will see."
"If I should leave my house carpenter,
And come and go with thee,
What have you to maintain me on,
To keep me from misery,
To keep me from penury?"
"It's seven ships on the ocean sailed,
And the eighth one brought me in.
I've a hundred and ten big nigger men,
And they'll all come when you command.
They'll all be under your command."
Then she picked up her sweet little baby,
And kisses gave him three.
Said, "Stay at home with your daddy, my pet,
And keep him company,
And try to remember me."
Then she dressed herself in a scarlet dress.
Oh, she was beautiful to be seen,
And she decked herself in a purple coat,
And she looked like a gypsy queen.
She looked like a gypsy queen.
Now they hadn't been sailing but about two weeks,
And I know it couldn't have been three,
When this little lady began to weep,
And she wept most bitterly.
Oh, she wept piteously.
"Oh, why do you weep, my love," he said,
"For gold and silver and store?
Or do you weep for the house carpenter
That you never will see any more,
Whom we left on England's shore?"
"Cursed be your gold and silver,
And cursed be your store.
I am weeping for my baby," she said,
"That I left on England's shore.
Will I ever see her any more?"
Now they sailed on for about three weeks,
And I know it couldn't have been four,
When the bottom of their ship sprang a leak,
And the flames began to roar.
The flames began to roar.
"Oh, cursed be all sailor men;
Cursed be the men of the sea.
They have taken me from my house carpenter,
And now they're drowning me.
Oh, now they're drowning me."
"What are those hills?" she said to him.
"They look as white as snow."
"Those are the hills of heaven, my pet,
Where your husband and baby will go;
But heaven we'll never know."
"What are those other hills?" she said;
"They look as black as night."
"That's the hills of hell," he said,
"Where you and I will unite."
Also found in Child, #243, "James Harris"; Randolph, Vol. I, #30, "The House Carpenter"; Brown, Vol. II, #40, "James Harris"; Belden, p. 79, "James Harris."