> Shirley Collins > Songs > Richie Story

Richie Story (or The Earl of Weymss)

[ Roud 97 ; Child 232 ; G/D 5:1051 ; Ballad Index C232 ; trad.]

Shirley Collins recorded this ballad in 1959 for her second LP, False True Lovers, and a second time in 1967 for her album The Power of the True Love Knot. The latter version was also included in her 4CD anthology Within Sound. She commented in the first album's notes:

Ritchie Story is a rare ballad published by Child as No. 232 of his collection English and Scottish Popular Ballads. According to his note, the ballad is based in history. Lillias Fleming, daughter of John, third Earl of Wigton, ran away with and married one of her father's servants, Richard Story, and in 1673 she resigned her portion of the family land. In all but one of the Child versions, Lillias seems satisfied with the choice she has made, but in that one Richard turns out to be an Earl in disguise. The present variant comes from Ewan MacColl, who learned it from his Scots father and from Hughie Graham of Newton Stuart, Galloway, and added supplementary text from a variant in Gavin Greig's collection. Here, where romanticism has a field day, we discover that Richard is really the King of England!

and in the The Power of the True Love Knot sleeve notes:

The only thing you can do to alter the sound of the breezy set of pipes which Dolly plays is to add an octave by means of pushing a crude brass lever. This we did to add pomp and flutey circumstances to the story of King Richard who loved a lady enough to leave the throne of England and wait on her. Attending the lady's progress is the Medieval Percussion Band: Mike Heron plays Indian finger-cymbals and thumps an African drum, and Robin Williamson clicks japanese sticks and plays tin whistle.

Jackie Oates recorded this song as Richie's Lady in 2008 for her second album, The Violet Hour.

Lyrics

Shirley Collins sings Richie Story on
False True Lovers
Shirley Collins sings Richie Story on
The Power of the True Love Knot

“Here's a letter to you, Madam,
Here's a letter to you, Madam,
Here is a letter from the Earl of the Weymss
And all in suit of you, Madam.”

“Here's a letter to you, Madam,
Here's a letter to you, Madam,
Here is a letter from the Earl of the Weymss
And all in suit of you, Madam.”

“Say not so to me, Richard,
Say not so to me, Richard,
For I made a vow and I'll keep it true,
To marry none but you, Richard.”

“Say not so to me, Richard,
Say not so to me, Richard,
For I made a vow and I'll keep it true,
To marry none but you, Richard.”

“Say not so to me, Madam,
Say not so to me, Madam,
For I have neither lands nor rents,
For to maintain ye with, Madam.”

“Say not so to me, Madam,
Say not so to me, Madam,
For I have neither lands nor rents,
For to maintain ye with, Madam.”

“I am going away, Madam,
I am going from here, Madam,
I'm going away, so far away,
I'm going across the sea, Madam.”

“Now I am going away, Madam,
I am going away, Madam,
I'm going away to London town,
My friends they long to see me, Madam.”

“Then I will go with you, Richard,
I will go with you, Richard,
I'll go with you to London town,
I'm going away with you, Richard.”

“Then I will come with you, Richard,
I will come with you, Richard,
I'll leave my castle and my land,
I'm coming away with you, Richard.”

When they went down through London town,
Oh but the bells they were ringing bonny,
And many a knight and many a squire
Stood there to welcome Richard's lady.

As they came down through London town,
Oh but the bells they were ringing bonny,
And many a knight and many a squire
Stood there to welcome Richard's lady.

“So dearly as you loved me, Madam,
So dearly as you loved me, Madam,
You left your lands and all your rents
Your serving boy to go with, Madam.”

“So dearly as I loved you, Madam,
So dearly as I loved you, Madam,
I left the sceptre and the throne
And was your waiting man, Madam.”

“For since it's so I love you, Madam,
Since it's so I love you, Madam,
I left the sceptre and the throne
And was your serving man, Madam.”

“And was your waiting man, Madam,
Made all your bridles ring, Madam,
And little did you think that your waiting man
Was England's royal king, Madam.”

“And was your serving man, Madam,
Made all your bridles ring, Madam,
But little did you know that your serving man
Was England's royal king, Madam.”

“But since it's so you love me, Madam,
Since it's so I love you, Madam,
You shall be the queen of all England
And happy shall you be, Madam.”

“And since it's so you love me, Madam,
Since it's so I love you, Madam,
You shall be the queen of all England
And happy shall you be, Madam.”