The cruel mother

from by Phil Edwards

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There was a lady came from York
She went with child by her father's clerk
...Down by the greenwood side-i-o

She set her back against a tree
And how the salt tears filled her eye

She set her back against a thorn
And there her two babes they were born

She took a ribbon from out her hair
And she choked them though they cried for air

She dug a hole beneath a tree
Thinking to bury them where none would see

She laid them under a marble stone
Thinking to turn a maiden home

But as she walked in the pale moonlight
She saw two babes dressed all in white

"Oh bonny babes, if you were mine
I would feed you on white bread and wine"

"Oh mother, mother, when we were thine
You gave us none of your white bread and wine

"You took the ribbon from out your hair
And you choked us though we cried for air

"And now we two in heaven do dwell
While you must drag out the burning fires of Hell."
...Down by the greenwood side-i-o


from 52 Folk Songs: Violet, released October 7, 2011




Phil Edwards Manchester, UK

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