> June Tabor > Songs > Young Waters

Young Waters

[ Roud 2860 ; Child 94 ; Ballad Index C094 ; trad.]

June Tabor sang Young Waters on her first solo album, Airs and Graces. She commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Child No 94. Text Percy's Reliques, much anglicised. Tune Ribson, Scottish Songs. Rumour has it that the jealous king may have been James I of Scotland. In a Scandinavian version, Folke Lovmandson, the hero, meets his death by being rolled downhill in a barrel of knives.

Chris & Siobhan Nelson learned Young Waters from the singing of June Tabor and recorded it for their 2006 album, Day Has Dawned.

Steve Turner sang Young Waters on his 2008 CD The Whirligig of Time. He commented in his liner notes:

Child suggests that Young Waters was one of the Scottish nobles executed by James I after returning from his captivity in England. It has only one tune in Bronson as opposed to a hundred and ninety eight for Barbara Allen. So I decided to go with the folk process and broadened the options with another composed on a flight to Australia earlier this year.

Lyrics

June Tabor sings Young Waters

Oh, about Yule, when the winds blow cold
And the round tables begin
For there is come to our king's court
Many's the well-favoured man.
The queen looked over the castle wall,
Beheld both dale and down,
And there she spied Young Waters
Come a-riding to the town.

His footmen they did run before
And his horsemen rode behind;
A mantle of the burning gold
Did keep him from the wind.
Golden harness'd his horse before
And silver shod behind;
The horse Young Waters rode upon
Was swifter than the wind.

Then up then spoke a wily lord
And unto the queen says he,
“Oh, tell me whose is the fairest face
Rides in the company?”
“Oh, I've seen lord and I've seen laird
And knights of high degree,
But Young Waters is the fairest face
That ever my eyes did see.”

Then up then spoke the jealous king
And an angry man was he,
“Oh, if he had of been twice as fair
You might have accepted me.”
“You're neither lord nor laird,” she says,
“But the king that wears the crown.
And there's not a knight in all of Scotland
But to thee must bow down.”

But for all that she could do nor say
Appeas-ed he would not be,
And for the words that the queen had spoke
Young Waters he must die.
And they have taken Young Waters
And put fetters on his feet,
And they have taken Young Waters
And thrown him in dungeon deep.

“Oft have I ridden through Stirling Town
In the wind both and the wet
But I never rode through Stirling Town
With fetters on my feet.
Oft have I ridden through Stirling Town
In the wind both and the rain
But I never rode through Stirling Town
Never to return again.”

Oh, they have taken to the heading hill
His young son in his cradle,
And they have taken to the heading hill
His horse both and his saddle.
And they have taken to the heading hill
His lady fair to see,
And for the words that the queen had spoke
Young Waters he did die.