FAIREST FLOO'ER

by Karine Polwart

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released December 10, 2007

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Karine Polwart UK

One of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain" The Guardian

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Track Name: Dowie Dens Of Yarrow
Dowie Dens of Yarrow

There was a lady in the north
You scarce would find her marrow
She was courted by nine gentlemen
An a plooboy lad fae Yarrow

Well nine sat drinking at the wine
As oft they’d done afore o
And they made a vow amang themselves
Tae fight for her on Yarrow

He’s come ower yon high, high hill and
doon by the den sae narrow
And there he spied nine armed men
Come tae fight wi him on Yarrow

He says “There’s nine o’ you and but yin o’ me
It’s an unequal marrow”
But I’ll fight ye a’ noo one by one
On the Dowie Dens o’ Yarrow

So it’s three he slew and three withdrew
Anthree he wounded sairly
Til her brother he came in beyond
And he wounded him maist foully

“Gae hame, gae hame ye fause young man
And bring yer sister sorrow
For her ain true love lies pale and wan
On the Dowie Dens o’ Yarrow”

“O mither I dreamed a dream
A dream o’ doul and sorrow
I dreamed I was pu’ing the heathery bells
On the Dowie Dens o’ Yarrow”

“O daughter dear I ken yer dream
And I doobt it will bring sorrow
For yer lover John lies pale and wan
On the Dowie Dens o’ Yarrow”

So she’s run ower yon high, high hill an
doon by the den sae narrow
And there she spied her dear lover John
Lying pale and deid on Yarrow

She’s washed his face an’ kaimed his hair
As aft she’d done afore o
And tied it roond her middle sae sma
And carried him hame tae Yarrow.

“Oh haud yer tongue my dochter dear!
What need for all this sorrow?
I’ll wed ye tae a far, far better man
Than the one that’s lost on Yarrow”

“O faither ye hae seven sons
Ye may wed them a’ the morrow
But the fairest floo-er amang them a’
Was the plooboy lad fae Yarrow”

“So mither, mither mak my bed
And mak it saft and narrow
For my love died for me this day
And I’ll die for him tomorrow”
Track Name: Thou Hast Left Me Ever Jamie
Thou Hast Left Me Ever Jamie

Thou hast left me ever Jamie
Thou hast left me ever
Thou hast left me ever Jamie
Thou hast left me ever
Often hast thou sworn that death
Should alone us sever
Noo you’ve left my heart for aye
I’ll see thee never Jamie, I’ll see thee never

Thou hast me forsaken Jamie
Thou hast me forsaken
Thou hast me forsaken Jamie
Thou hast me forsaken
Thou can love anither lass
While my heart is breaking
Soon my weary e’en I’ll close
Never mair tae waken Jamie, never mair tae waken
Track Name: Mirk Mirk Is This Midnight Hour
Mirk, Mirk Is This Midnight Hour

O MIRK, mirk is this midnight hour,
And loud the tempest’s roar;
A waefu’ wanderer seeks thy tower,
Lord Gregory, ope thy door.
An exile frae her father’s ha’,
And a’ for loving thee;
At least some pity on me shaw,
If love it may na be.

Lord Gregory, mind’st thou not the grove
By bonie Irwine side,
Where first I own’d that virgin love
I lang, lang had denied.
How aften didst thou pledge and vow
Thou wad for aye be mine!
And my fond heart, itsel’ sae true,
It ne’er mistrusted thine.

Hard is thy heart, Lord Gregory,
And flinty is thy breast:
Thou bolt of Heaven that flashest by,
O, wilt thou bring me rest!
Ye mustering thunders from above,
Your willing victim see;
But spare and pardon my fause Love,
His wrangs to Heaven and me.
Track Name: The Birks Of Invermay
Birks Of Invermay

Behold the hills and dales around
Wi lowing flocks and herds abound
The wanton kids and frisking lambs
Gambol and dance aroond their dams
The busy bee wi humming noise
And a’ the reptile kind rejoice
Let us like them then sport and play
Amang the Birks o’ Invermay

How soon the winter o’ the year
And age life’s winter will appear
Tis then your living bloom will fade
And that will strip the verdant shade
Oor taste of pleasure then is o’er
The feathered sangsters are no more
But when they droop and we decay
Fareweel the Birks o Invermay

Hark! How the waters as they fa’
Loudly my love tae gladness ca’
The wanton waves sport in the beams
And fishes play throughout the streams
The circling sun does now advance
And a’ the planets roond them dance
Let us like them then sport and play
Amang the Birks o’ Invermay
Track Name: Will Ye Go Tae Flanders?
Will Ye Go Tae Flanders?

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
We’ll get wine and brandy,
Sac and sugar candy,
Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O.

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Tae see the bonnie soldiers, my Mally O?
They’ll gie the pipes a blaw,
Wi their kilts and plaids sae braw,
Ae the fairest o’ them a, my Mally O.

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Gin I tak the royal shillin there my Mally O?
Will ye tae a foreign shore,
For tae hear the cannon roar,
And the bloody shouts o’ war, my Mally O?

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Tae see the bold commanders, my Mally O?
Will ye see the bullets fly,
And the soldiers how they die,
And the ladies how they cry, my Mally O?
Track Name: The Learig
The Learig

When o'er the hill the eastern star
Tells bughtin time is near, my jo,
And owsen frae the furrow'd field
Return sae dowf and weary O;
Down by the burn, where birken buds
Wi' dew are hangin clear, my jo,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

At midnight hour, in mirkest glen,
I'd rove, and ne'er be eerie, O,
If thro' that glen I gaed to thee,
My ain kind Dearie O;
Altho' the night were ne'er sae wild,
And I were ne'er sae weary O,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

The hunter lo'es the morning sun;
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo;
At noon the fisher seeks the glen
Adown the burn to steer, my jo:
Gie me the hour o' gloamin' grey,
It maks my heart sae cheery O,
To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.
Track Name: The Death Of Queen Jane
The Death Of Queen Jane

Queen Jane lay in labour full six days or more,
Till the women grew weary and the midwives gave o’er.
They sent for King Henry to come with great speed
To be with Queen Jane in her hour of need

King Henry came to her and sat by her bedside
Saying “What ails thee my Jeannie? What ails thee my bride?”
“O Henry O Henry do this one thing for me
Rip open my right side and find my baby”

“O Jeannie, O Jeannie that never will do
It would lease thy sweet life and thy young baby too”
She wept and she wailed and she fell into a swoon
They opened her right side and her baby was found

Well the baby was christened the very next day
While his poor dead mother a mouldering lay
Six men went before her and four more travelled on
While loyal King Henry stood mourning alone

He wept and he wailed until he was sore
Saying “The flower of all England will flourish no more”
He sat by the river with his head in his hands
Saying “My merry England’s a sorrowful land”
Track Name: The Wife Of Usher's Well
The Wife Of Usher's Well

There lived a wife at Usher's Well
And a wealthy wife was she
She had three stout and stalwart sons
And she sent them o'er the sea

They hadna been a month frae her
Not one month and a day
Till cauld, cauld Death come o’er the land
And he stole those boys away

She said “I wish the wind would never mair blaw
Nor fish swim in the flood
Till my my three boys come hame tae me
In earthly flesh and blood
In earthly flesh and blood”

Well it fell aboot the Martinmas time
When the nichts are lang and mirk
The carlin wife’s three boys come hame
And their hats were o’ the birk

That neither grew in any wood
Nor down by any wall
But at the gates o Paradise
Aye, the birken tree grew tall

So she has laid the table braid
Wi bread and blood red wine
“Come eat and drink my bonnie boys
Come and eat and drink o mine”

“Oh mither bread we cannae eat
Nor can we drink the wine
For cauld, cauld death is Lord of All
And to him we must resign”

“For the green, green grass is at oor heads
And the clay is at oor feet
And how your tears come tumbling down
Tae wet the winding sheet
Tae wet the winding sheet”

So she has made a bed full braid
And she’s made it lang and deep
She's laid it all wi golden thread
And she’s lulled those boys tae sleep

But the cock he hadna crowed but once
Tae welcome in the day
When the eldest tae the youngest says
“Brother we must away”
“For the cock does craw, the day does daw
And the chunnerin worm does chide
And if we're missed out o’ oor place
Then a sair pain we maun bide”

“For the green, green grass is at oor heads
And the clay is at oor feet
And how your tears come tumbling down
Tae wet the winding sheet
Tae wet the winding sheet”

She said “I wish the wind may never blaw
Nor fish swim in the flood
Till my three sons return to me
In earthly flesh and blood
In earthly flesh and blood”
Track Name: Cant Weld A Body- Preview Track
Can't Weld A Body

You crafted and caressed her with a careful hand
But the lady didn’t understand
And you riveted and plated her til morning
But with a coil or a careless spark
Or a tumble in the dark
She’ll leave her mark upon you without warning

You can float a boat of steel upon the ocean
You can fix it up with nuts and bolts and toil
But you can’t weld a body when it’s broken

The lady she’s as fair as Desdemona
She swallowed you up just like Jonah
And there the air inside her belly ailed you
And no-one saw you fall
And they did not hear your call
And your breath it faltered just before it failed you

On a cruiser that was fitted by your father
You anchored in San Carlos harbour
But the lady at the helm she was not for turning
And in your bell bottoms blue
In April 82
You bid adieu and watched all you knew burning