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John Minear Lyr Req: Demon Lover in New England? (182* d) Lyr Add: THE HOUSE CARPENTER (trad Virginia) 14 Dec 11


For comparative purposes, here is a very fine version of "The House Carpenter" sung by Robert Shifflett, of Browns Cove, VA, which is in the Blue Ridge, east of Charlottesville.

http://www.klein-shiflett.com/shifletfamily/HHI/GeorgeFoss/SONGS/song5.html

"Well met, well met my old true love
Well met, well met," cried he,
"I have just returned from the great salt sea
To take thee away with me."

"I once could have married a king's daughter fair
She wanted to marry me
But a crown of gold have I refused
Because of my love for thee.

If you could have married a king's daughter, sir,
I'm sure you are to blame,
For I am married to a house carpenter
And he is a nice young man."

"Will you forsake your house carpenter
To sail away with me?
I will take you where the grass grows green
On the banks of the low country."

"How can I leave my house carpenter
Oh, how can I leave I say?
How could I leave my three little babes
To sail so far away?"

"I have seven ships upon the sea
All sailing for this land
And a hundred and ten brave, jolly, bold men
Shall be at your command."

She picked up her three little babes
She gave them kisses three
Saying,"Stay here with your papa, my dear,
To keep him company.

She arrayed herself in rich attire
Most glorious to behold
And every hamlet they rode through
She shown and glittered like gold.

They had been on the sea about two weeks
I'm sure it was not three
When this fair maiden began to weep
She wept most bitterly.

"Is it for the gold you weep
Or is it for the store?
Or can it be for your house carpenter
You never will see anymore?"

"It is not for the gold that I weep
And neither for the store
But I am grieving for my three little babes
I never shall see anymore."

They had been on the sea about three weeks
I'm sure it was not four
When there sprang a leak in the bottom of the ship,
And it sank to rise no more.

"What is it that looms so black,
As black as the feathers of a crow?"
"That is the smoke from the fires of Hell
Where you and I must go."

"What is it that shines so bright
As white as driven snow?"
"That is the gate of Heaven itself
Where we can never go."

This version is very similar to those that we have found in New England, with the exception of the last two verses. It is also very similar to the DeMarsan broadside. I wonder if the DeMarsan broadside was picked up at some point and published in a songbook. I'm finding it a little hard to grasp how a single broadside published in New York/Philadelphia could have spread so far and wide.


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