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A REFUGE FOR POETS WHO WRITE IN THE LYRIC TRADITION,

WITH RHYME AND METER, WITH OR WITHOUT MUSIC




MATTY GROVES

A holiday, a holiday,
And the first one of the year.
Lord Donaldís wife came into church,
The gospel for to hear.

And when the meeting it was done,
She cast her eyes about.
And there she saw little Matty Groves
Walking in the crowd.

Come home with me, little Matty Groves,
Come home with me tonight.
Come home with me, little Matty Groves,
And sleep with me till light.

I canít come home, I wonít come home,
And sleep with you tonight.
By the rings on your fingers I can tell
That you are Lord Donaldís wife.

Matty, I am Lord Donaldís wife.
Lord Donaldís not at home.
He is out to the far corn fields,
Bringing the yearlings home.

And the footpage who was standing by
And hearing what was said.
He swore Lord Donald he would know
Before the sun would set.

And in his hurry to carry the news,
He rent his breast and ran.
And when he came to the broad mill stream,
He took off his shoes and swam.

And when he came upon dry land,
He took to his heels and he run.
And when he came to Donaldís gate,
He knocked on the bell and it rung, rung,
He knocked on the bell and it rung.

What news, what news, my little foot page?
What news have you for me?
Are my castle walls torn down,
Or are my castles three, three,
Are my castles three?

Your castle walls are not torn down.
Your castles stand as three.
But little Matty Groves is in your house
In bed with your lady, dy,
In bed with your lady.

If this be true, my little foot page,
Then well paid you shall be.
And if this be false, my little foot page,
Iíll hang you from a tree, tree,
Hang you from a tree.

Lord Donald called his merry men all,
And he stood them all in a row,
And he bade them not one word to speak,
And not one horn to blow, blow,
Not one horn to blow.

But there was one man amongst them all
That owed little Matty good will,
And he put his bugle to his mouth,
And he blowed both loud and shrill, shrill,
Blowed both loud and shrill.

And little Matty Groves jumped up and said
I hear the bugle blow.
And every note does seem to say
Arise, arise and go, go,
Arise, arise, and go.

Lie down, lie down, little Matty Groves,
And keep my back from the cold.
ĎTis nothing but my shepherd boy,
Bringing the sheep from the fold, fold,
Bringing the sheep from the fold.

So little Matty Groves, he lay down
To take a little sleep.
When he awoke, Lord Donald
Was standing at his feet.

Saying, how do you like my feather bed?
And how do you like my sheets?
How do you like my lady gay
Who lies in your arms asleep?

Itís well I like your feather bed,
And well I like your sheets.
Far better I like your lady gay
Who lies in my arms asleep.

Get up, get up, Lord Donald cried.
Get up as quick as you can.
Itíll never be said in fair England
I slew a naked man.

I canít get up, I wonít get up,
I canít get up for my life,
For you have two long beaten swords,
And I not a pocket knife.

Itís true, I have two beaten swords,
And the cost me deep in the purse.
But you will have the better of them,
And I will have the worse.

And you will strike the very first blow,
And strike it like a man,
And I will strike the very next blow,
And Iíll kill you if I can.

And Matty struck the very first blow,
And he hit Lord Donaldís sword.
Lord Donald struck the very next blow,
And Matty struck no more.

And then Lord Donald took his wife
And he sat her on his knee,
Saying who do you like the better of us?
Matty Groves or me?

And then up spoke his own dear wife,
Never heard to speak so free.
Iíd rather one kiss from dead Mattyís lips
Than you or your finery.

And then Lord Donald he jumped up,
And lonely he did bawl.
He struck his wife right through the heart,
And he hit her against the wall.

A grave, a grave, Lord Donald cried,
To put these lovers in.
But bury my lady at the top,
For she was of noble kin.

Traditional Appalachian



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