The holland handkerchief

from by Phil Edwards

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Child 246


A wealthy squire lived in our town
He was a man of high renown
He had one daughter of beauty bright
And the name he gave her was his Heart's Delight

Many young man to court her came
But none of them could her favour gain
Till there came one of a low degree
And above them all, why, she fancied he

But when her father he came to know
That his lovely daughter loved this young man so
Over fifty miles he sent her away
All to deprive her of a wedding day

One night as she lay in her bedroom
Her lover appeared from out the gloom
He touched her hand and to her did say
“Arise my darling and come away”

'Twas with this young man she got on behind
And they rode swifter than any wind
They rode on for an hour or more
Till he cried out, “Oh, my head is sore!”

A holland handkerchief she then drew out
And with it bound his aching head about
She kissed his lips and to him did say
“Oh my love, you're colder than the clay.”

When they came to her father's gate
He said, “Get down, for the hour is late!
Get down, my love, and go to bed
I'll see this gallant horse is groomed and fed”

But when she entered her father's hall
“Who's there, who's there?” her own father called
“'Tis I dear father, didn't you send for me
By such a messenger”, and she's named he

“Oh no dear daughter, that can never be
Your words are false love, and you lie to me
For on yon mountain your young man died
And it's in the grave now his body lies”

She rose up at the break of day
And went to the grave where her true love lay
And there he lay, full six weeks dead,
With a holland handkerchief tied round his head.


from 52 Folk Songs: Red, released July 21, 2012
Phil Edwards: vocal and English concertina




Phil Edwards Manchester, UK

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