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The Singer's Request

[Sir Walter Scott, Nic Jones]

Nic Jones framed his 1978 album From the Devil to a Stranger with this song based on Sir Walter Scott's The Minstrel's Request as first and last tracks and used it as an instrumental bridge near the end of the first side. He was accompanied by Helen Watson on piano.

33 years later, Nic Jones and (a lot of!) Friends sang The Singer's Request in the finale of the In Search of Nic Jones concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on May 28, 2011. The concert was originally conceived for and performed at Sidmouth Folk Week in 2010.

John Wesley Harding sang The Singer's Request in 1999 on his Nic Jones tribute album, Trad Arr Jones.

Lyrics

Nic Jones sings The Singer's Request

Chorus (twice after each verse):
Dark the night and long till day,
Do not bid us further stray.

Now the sun it doth decline,
Pour the beer and pour the wine;
Let us lead your thoughts astray
From the world and from the day.

We bring songs from history,
Love and war and mystery.
We can lead you from despair
Or can chill the darkening air.

You can choose to pass us by
With a cruel or scornful eye.
We will see the ending through;
Then we'll turn and say to you …

Sir Walter Scott's The Minstrel's Request

  1. Summer eve is gone and past.
    Summer dew is falling fast.
    I have wander'd all the day.
    Do not bid me farther stray.

    Gentle hearts of gentle kin,
    Take the wand'ring harper in.
    Gentle hearts of gentle kin,
    Take the wand'ring harper in.

  2. I have song of war for knight,
    Lay of love for lady bright,
    Fairy tale to lull the heir,
    Goblin grim the maids to scare.

    Dark the night and long till day.
    Do not bid me farther stray.
    Dark the night and long till day.
    Do not bid me farther stray.

  3. Ancient lords had fair regard
    For the harp and for the bard.
    Baron's race throve never well
    Where the curse of minstrel fell.

    If you love your noble kin,
    Take the weary harper in.
    If you love your noble kin,
    Take the weary harper in.

Acknowledgements

Sir Walter Scott's The Minstrel's Request was posted by Jim Dixon in this Mudcat CafĂ© thread. He found it in Franklin Square Song Collection: Two Hundred Favorite Songs and Hymns, Nursery and Fireside. No. 8, selected by John Piersol McCaskey, 1892, page 98.