#01132
Lord Donald (Sons Of Erin) MIDI, videos

[Child ballad #81] (Matty Groves)
(Little Musgrave And The Lady Barnard)
#632: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

midi   alt: midi2

It was a day, a holiday,
The very first day in the year;
Lord Donald's wife came down to church,
Some holy words to hear,
Some holy words to hear.

Some came down in robes of green,
Some more in robes of silk;
Lord Donald's wife came down alone
With her skin so white as milk,
With her skin so white as milk.

She lookèd east and lookèd west,
But no one could she see;
At length she spied young Arthur Groves,
Saying, "To-night you'll lie with me,
To-night you'll lie with me."

"I can not, I dare not,
I will not for my life;
I can see by the rings on your fingers
That you are Lord Donald's wife,
That you are Lord Donald's wife."

"If I am Lord Donald's wife,
Pray what is that to thee?
Lord Donald has gone to Weycastle
King Henry for to see,
King Henry for to see."

Young Arthur Groves then took his sword
And he plunged it in the ground,
Saying, "Tonight you'll lie with the man you love
Before the sun goes down,
Before the sun goes down."

A little foot-page was standing by,
And heard all they had said;
As soon as the bargain it was made,
He then jumped up and fled,
He then jumped up and fled.

He ran till he came to the riverside
And then he did jump in;
He swam till he came to the other side,
And then jumped out again,
And then jumped out again.

He ran till he came to the castle gate,
So loudly knocked at the ring;
And who should be there but Lord Donald himself
To let the young page in,
To let the young page in.

"What news, what news, my little foot-page,
What news have you brung unto me?"
"Bad news, bad news," the young page replied,
"The worst of news can be,
The worst of news can be."

"Is there any of my bridges broke,
Or any of my towers undone,
Or is my gay lady put to bed
With a daughter or a son,
With a daughter or a son?"

"Oh no, there's none of your bridges broke,
Nor none of your towers undone;
But Arthur Groves in bed do lie
With your gay lady at home,
With your gay lady at home."

"If that's the truth you're telling of me,
Ride down," cried he,
"The finest present that's in London,
I will buy and give to thee,
I will buy and give to thee.

"If that's a lie you're telling of me,
Well then," cried he,
"I'll order a gallows to be made
And hangèd you shall be,
And hangèd you shall be."

He mounted on his milk-white steed
And placed his men in a row;
He gave them orders not to speak
Or neither an horn to blow,
And neither an horn to blow.

But one of Lord Donald's men,
In spite of Lord Donald's will,
He put his horn unto his mouth
And he blew it loud and shrill,
He blew it loud and shrill.

"I thought I heard Lord Donald's voice,
I thought I heard him say,
'It's you that's in bed with another man's wife
The time is jogging away,
The time is jogging away.'

"You did not hear Lord Donald's voice,
You did not hear him say,
'It's you that's in bed with another man's wife
The time is jogging away,
The time is jogging away.'

"So cuddle me high and cuddle me low
And keep me from the cold;
It is my father's old blind shepherd
A-driving his sheep to the fold,
A-driving his sheep to the fold."

He cuddled her high and cuddled her low,
They both fell fast asleep;
And in the morning when they woke,
Lord Donald stood at their feet,
Lord Donald stood at their feet.

"Oh, how do you like my bed," he said,
"Or how do you like my sheets,
Or how do you like my gay lady
That lies in your arms asleep,
That lies in your arms asleep?

"Arise, arise young Arthur Groves,
Some raimant you put on;
It will never be said by anyone
That I killed a naked man,
That I killed a naked man."

"I can not, I dare not,
I will not for my life;
You have two swords all by your side
And I haven't so much as a knife,
And I haven't so much as a knife."

"If I have two swords all by my side,
They cost me money in purse,
And you can take the best of them,
And I will take the worst,
And I will take the worst."

The very first blow Arthur Groves gave him
He wounded Lord Donald full sore;
The very first blow Lord Donald gave him
He sank to rise no more,
He sank to rise no more.

Taking his gay lady out of bed,
He placed her on his knee.
"And now, my dear," he said, "take choice
Between Arthur Groves and me,
Between Arthur Groves and me."

"So well I likes his lips," she said,
So well I likes his chin,
More better I likes his little finger
Than you and all your kin,
Than you and all your kin."

The birds they all sang for joy,
The bells they all rang for sorrow;
Lord Donald has killed his wife to-day
And he's going to be hung to-morrow,
And he's going to be hung to-morrow.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 17th-century British traditional, Little Musgrave And The Lady Barnard [Child ballad #81]. Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, The Lamentable Ditty Of The Little Mousgrove And The Lady Barnet, published by F Coles (London); T Vere (London); and W Gilbertson (London) sometime between 1658 and 1664, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Wood 401(91) with a note on the reverse by Wood stating that the protagonists were alive in 1543 ....####
This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Mrs Thomas (Annie) Walters [1896-1986] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.613-616, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this is one of the great classics of the traditional ballad repertory and was found in Newfoundland in a truly amazing state of preservation. The ballad was very popular in Elizabethan times, and stanzas from it appear in various plays of the period. One of John Fletcher's [1579-1625] plays, for example, Monsieur Thomas, (performed 1619, printed 1639) contains two stanzas very similar to verses 12 and 13 of this Newfoundland variant.

Another variant was collected in 1951 from Dennis (Din) Dobbin [1900-1976] of St Vincent's, NL, and published as Matty Groves in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The video above features a variant of Matty Groves performed for Newfoundland Television (NTV) by Sons of Erin (Pleasant And Delightful, trk#10, 1980, Erinson Records, St John's, NL.


See more songs by Sons of Erin.

See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.

The video below features a variant of Matty Groves by Americana-style musician Archie Logsdon of Kern River Valley, California.

#383: YouTube video by losthills
©2007 ~ Used with permission ~


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