Fair Rosamund - Traditional
This song carries a sentimental memory for me. When I arrived in St. John's as a teenager and met up with Noel Dinn (who later persuaded me to join his band, Figgy Duff) he was trying to give me a perspetive of traditional music, and how the NL folk songs fit into the larger scheme of things. This song was recorded by Hedy West, an Appalation singer, in the 60s, and Noel loved it. He also joked that it was the only song with a banjo that he ever liked!
All these years later, I still
remember the magic I felt when I heard it - it is obviously a fragment of a longer ballad, and it carries so much mystery.
I have a sister, young Clifford said, a sister no-one knows
She hath the colour all in her cheeks like a drop of blood in snow
She hath a waist, a waist, a waist, like to my silver cane
And I would not for ten thousand worlds have King Henry know her name
King Henry in his fair bower was hid so close and still
That every word young Clifford said, he wrote down in a bill
The first fair lines she looked upon she did begin to smile
The next fair line that she looked upon the tears ran down in aisles
Oh cursed be my brother Clifford, cursed may he be
Why can't he dote on his hawks and hounds, but he must dote on me