> Martin Carthy > Songs > The Green Wedding

The Green Wedding / There Was a Lord in Edinburgh

[ Roud 93 ; Child 221 ; G/D 5:1024 ; Ballad Index C221 ; trad.]

LaRena Clark sang There Was a Lord in Edinburgh in 1965 on her Topic album A Canadian Garland: Folksongs from the Province of Ontario. Edith Fowke commented in the sleeve notes:

In its early form this ballad told how a Scots lass, Katherine Jaffray, was wooed by a Scots laird; when she jilted him for an English lord, her first lover showed up at the wedding and carried her off. This provided the model for the tale of Young Lochinvar that Sir Walter Scott included in Marmion, and Scott himself was the first to print the ballad in his Border Minstrelsy in 1802, from versions in Herd's manuscripts. The original form is rare in tradition, but an Irish remodelling of the story as The Squire of Edinborough Town has had wider currency, particularly in North America. Another Ontario version will be found in [Edith Fowke's] A Garland of Ontario Folk Songs, where full references are given.

Nora Cleary sang The Green Wedding at home at The Hand near Milton Malbay, Co. Clare, July 1976. This recording by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie was included in 1998 on the Topic anthology Tonight I'll Make You My Bride (The Voice of the People Series, Vol. 6).

Martin Carthy sang The Green Wedding unaccompanied live at the Sunflower Folk Club, Belfast, on October 20, 1978. In his introductory words he credited Thomas Moran as his source for this song (who also supplied him with Handsome Polly-O). This concert was published in 2011 on his CD The January Man.

Lyrics

Nora Cleary sings The Green Wedding

There was a squire in Edinburgh town, and a squire of high degree,
He's fell courting a comely girl and a comely girl was she.
She got consent from father and mother, from old and young likewise,
And it's then she said, “I am undone,” as the tears fell from her eyes.

She wrote her love a letter and sealed it with her right hand,
And told him she was to be wedded to a very rich farmer's son.
The very first line he looked over it, he smiled and thus did say,
“I might deprive him of his bride all on his wedding day.”

He wrote her back an answer and that without delay,
He wrote her back an answer to be sure to be dressed in green,
“A suit of the same I will put on; the wedding I will see.
A suit of the same I will put on; your wedding I will prepare,
Oh dearest, dearest, it's with you I will wed in spite of all that's there.”

He looked east and he looked west and all around the land;
He selected a score of fine young men all of a Scottish clan.
They rode on in twos and threes and a single man rode he,
And away they went to the wedding's house with his company dressed in green.

“Oh, welcome, and oh, welcome, where have you spent the day?”
He laughed at them, he scoffed at them, he smiled and thus did say,
“They might have been some fairy troops who rode along this way.”

She filled him a glass of new port wine; he says to the company round,
“Where,” he replied, “ is the man,” he said, “the man they call him groom?”
“Where,” he replied, “ is the man,” he said, “who will enjoy the bride?
For another might like her as well as him and would take her from his side.”

Then out spoke the bachelor with a voice so loud and clear,
Saying, “If it is for fight that you came here, I am the man for thee.”
“It's not for fight that I came here, but friendship for to show.
Give me one kiss from your bonny, bonny bride and away from you I go.”

He caught her by the middle so smart and by the grass-green sleeve,
He marched her out of the wedding house, but his company asked no leave.
The drums they'd beat, and the morning sun most glorious to be seen,
And away he went to Edinburgh town with his company dressed in green.

Martin Carthy sings The Green Wedding

Now there was a squire in Edinburgh town, and a wealthy squire was he,
And he has a-courted a country girl and a comely lass was she.
And he's got consent from father and mother, and old and young likewise,
But still she cries, “I am undone,” as the tears fell from her eyes.

So she's wrote her love a letter and she sealed it with her hand,
All for to say she was to be wed unto some other man.
Now the very first line that he looked o'er, he smiled and this did say,
“Oh, I think I'll have his bride from him all on his wedding day.”

So he's wrote her back a letter to be sure and dress in the green,
“And a suit of the same I will put on; for your wedding day I'll prepare.
Now he's looked east and he's looked west and he's looked all over his land;
And he has a-mounted eight score men all from the Scottish clan.

And he's mounted two on every steed and a single man rode he,
And they are off into Edinburgh town with the company dressed in green.
“Oh, you're welcome, oh, you're welcome, oh, where have you been all the day?”
Oh, did you see them fairy troops that rode all on this way?”

And they filled him a glass of the new port wine and he drank to the company round,
“Oh happy is the man,” he says, “the man that they call the groom.
But happier is the man,” he says, “that shall enjoy the bride,
For another might like her as well as him and have her from his side.”

Oh, then up jumped the young bridegroom and an angry man was he,
He says, “If it's to fight that you came here, I am the man for thee.”
“Now it wasn't to fight that I came here, but friendship I mean to show.
Give me one kiss of your bonny, bonny bride and away from you I'll go.”

And he's ta'en her by her middle so small and by her grass-green sleeve,
And he's waltzed her through the wedding house door, of the company's asked no leave.
And they laughed at him and they scoffed at him, they scorned then this did say,
“Oh, it must have been some fairy troops that stole your bride away.”