Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Sir Richard's Ride

What the Tom Fool is wrong with me? Ambushed on my way to work by another folksong from the world of Three Katherines. It treats of one thread in the unwritten story of Kit Fox - none of which may ever actually get told, unless the first book finds favour with a publisher. The singer has the essence of his characters right by instinct, and a little of what actually happened more or less right by coincidence. This is how it was, after it had been turned into the sort of thing people sing about.

Sir Richard's Ride

Over the hills and far away, Sir Richard's ride began,
From Clover Clough in the far far off, till he came to a maid that ran.
"My lord Sweetwater's hunting me,
And a shameful bride he would make me be -
So over the hills and away with thee,
Or he'll slay thee at my side!"

Over the ridge and over the bridge rode all Sweetwater’s men,
And the young Sir Richard all defied, and he bade them turn again.
"We will use thee ill, we will use her well,
And a shameful tale you shall have to tell
When you share one skin in the harlot's hell
Where the ghosts of the worthless wail!"

Then the bold Sir Richard drew his sword, and they bent ten bows to slay,
When a horn blew high, and the Prince rode nigh, and he made them turn away.
"She is meat of mine," Bob Sugar cries, "and he stole from my estate!"
So the dull Prince begs his witty wife to resolve our friends' hard fate.

Over the hills and far away, no man knew whence she came -
And her husband's wit was a scrape of shit, but Doll's was a dancing flame.
"Would Lord Sweetwater favour have?
She shall be my maid who has been his slave -
And do you, dear lord, his pardon crave
For a knight who should bear your blade!"

Over the years and worse than fears, the Prince to treason fell,
And because she loved him more than breath, Bet's mistress fell as well.
"Oh, Dick, my dear, there has evil been!
They have slain the King, they will slay the Queen.
We must whisk her away so that none shall ween
Where the Rose of the Earth took wing!"

So the good Green Rose they whisked away, and each to their liege returned,
For to stand by their sides when she home did ride, and the skies with Fury burned.
Then the Prince is ash, and the Princess smoke, and the true Queen calls the tune -
And the Green Rose prays her saviours dear to say what shall be their boon.

Over his knee Dick broke his sword, and Bet she tore her hair,
And they begged her pity for broken oaths, and an axe for their necks to share.
"I would use you well, you would plead for ill,
But all danger you dared for your masters still,
When their honour you saved from their evil will,
And the life of my baby spared!"

Over the hills and far away, Sir Richard's ride did end,
In Clover Clough in a house of love, where he wedded his faithful friend.
They lived to see Bob Sugar die -
On the Grey Wolf's gallows he swung so high.
Gods send their fortune to you and I,
And such honour to each and all!

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