Martin Carthy

Martin Carthy - Famous Flower Of Serving Men

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My mother did me deadly spite
For she sent thieves in the dark of the night
Put my servants all to flight
They robbed my bower, they slew my knight

They couldn't do to me no harm
So they slew my baby in my arm
Left me naught to wrap him in
But the bloody sheet that he lay in

They left me naught to dig his grave
But the bloody sword that slew my babe
All alone the grave I made
And all alone the tears I shed

And all alone the bell I rang
And all alone the psalm I sang
I leaned my head all against a block
And there I cut my lovely locks

I cut my locks and I changed my name
From Fair Eleanor to Sweet William
I went to court to serve my king
As the famous flower of serving men

So well I served my lord, the king
That he made me his chamberlain
He loved me as his son
The famous flower of serving men

And oft time he'd look at me and smile
So swift his heart I did beguile
And he blessed the day that I became
The famous flower of serving men

Oh but all alone in my bed at e'en
There I dreamed a dreadful dream
I saw my bed swim with blood
I saw the thieves all around my head

Our king has to the hunting gone
He's taken no lords nor gentlemen
He's left me there to guard his home
The famous flower of serving men

Our king he rode the wood all around
He stayed all day but nothing found
And as he rode himself alone
It's there he spied the milk white hind

Oh the hind she broke, the hind she flew
The hind she trampled the bramble through
First she'd melt, then she'd sound
Sometimes before, sometimes behind

Oh what is this, how can it be?
Such a hind as this I ne'er did see
Such a hind as this was never born
I fear she'll do me deadly harm

And long, long did the great horse turn
For to save his lord from branch and thorn
But long e'er the day was o'er
They tangled all in his yellow hair

And all in the glade the king drew nigh
Where the hind stood bright all in his eye
And he sprang down, sword [he] drew
She vanished there all from his view

And all around the grass was green
And all around where a grave was seen
He sat himself down on the stone
Great weariness it seized him on

Great silence hung from tree to sky
The woods grew still, the sun on fire
As through the wood the dove he came
As through the woods he made his moan

Oh the dove, he sat down on a stone
So sweet he looked, so soft he sang
“Alas the day my love became
The famous flower of serving men.”

Oh the bloody tears they fell as rain
As still he sat and still he sang
“Alas the day my love became
The famous flower of serving men.”

Our king cried out, and he wept full sore
So loud unto the dove he did call
“O pretty bird, come sing it plain.”

“Oh it was her mother's deadly spite
For she sent thieves in the dark of the night
They come to rob, they come to slay
They made their sport, they went their way

“And don't you think that her heart was sore
As she laid the mould on his yellow hair
And don't you think her heart was woe
As she turned her back, all away to go

And how she wept as she changed her name
From Fair Eleanor to Sweet William
Went to court to serve her king
As the famous flower of serving men

Oh the bloody tears they lay all around
He's mounted up and away he's gone
One thought come to his mind
The thought of her that was a man

And as he's rode himself alone
A dreadful oath he there has sworn
That he would hunt her mother down
Like he would hunt the wildwood swine

There's four and twenty ladies all
And they're all playing at the ball
Fairer than all of them
Is the famous flower of serving men

Oh, he's rode in, into his hall
And he's rode in among them all
Lifted her to his saddle brim
And there he kissed her cheek and chin

The nobles stood and they stretched their eyes
The ladies took to their fans and smiled
For a stranger homecoming
No gentleman had ever seen

And he has sent his nobles all
Unto her mother they have gone
Ta'en her that did such wrong
They've laid her down in a prison strong

And he's brought men up from the corn
And he's sent men down to the thorn
Ans all for to build the bonfire high
All for to set her mother by

O bonnie sang the morning thrush
All where he sat in yonder bush
But louder did her mother cry
In the bonfire where she burned close by

Oh, for there she stood all among the thorn
And there she sang her deadly song
“Alas the day that she became
The famous flower of serving men.”

For the fire took first all on her cheek
And then it took all on her chin
It spat and it rang in her yellow hair
And soon there was no life left in
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Author: ?

Composer: ?

Publisher: ?


Released in: 1972

Language: English

Appearing on: Shearwater (1972) , Essential Martin Carthy (2011)

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