Lady Hartley's Lament - James Prescott (words and music)


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Lady Hartley's Lament

Words and music copyright © 1983 James Prescott

( Click on MP3 to listen to an MP3 version of the tune. )

lady hartley's lament music

Rise, rise, stand to arms, cried bold Captain Hartley,
'Tis the morn and 'tis the hour, dress you now right smartly.

Ease cold from your limbs, clean and oil your armour,
Though the day be chilly now, 'twill too soon be warmer.


Lips smile no more, heart laughs no more;
The lady waits forever,
For there they fought, and there they fell,
And there they lie forever.

See mist on the plain, shot with glint of metal,
Sharpen swords and string your bows, eat well from the kettle.

Hoofbeats faint I hear, as the foe draws nearer,
Were you all by own blood sons, I could not love you dearer.


Last night as I slept, I dreamt I saw my lady,
Wearing black and weeping low, by the stream so shady.

Nine score at muster call, cheer your hearts, my yeomen,
Closer now the sounds of war, we soon shall see our foemen.


Yonder, up the slope, four armoured horsemen riding,
And at their backs are hundreds more, the mist no longer hiding.

Archers, bend your bows, men-at-arms, stand boldly,
The enemy so thickly come, it makes my blood run coldly.


Gentles, we'll not sing, of pain and death and sorrow --
Of that company of men, not one did greet the morrow.

(Nowadays I usually omit the final half verse.)




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