The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17304   Message #272674
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
06-Aug-00 - 11:23 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
Subject: Lyr Add: DEATH OF QUEEN JANE (from Ray Driscoll)
This song has survived in tradition to the present day:


(Version from Ray Driscoll, 1993)

Queen Jane lay in harbour for nine days or more;
The women had grown weary and the midwives gave o'er.
King Henry was sent for by horseback and steed,
To be with Queen Jane in her hour of need.

He sped to her bed side. "What ails thee, my Queen?
I've come to thee direct sin' late yestreen".
"King Henry, King Henry, I know you to be:
Pray cut my side open and find my baby."

"Oh not", quoth King Henry, "That never shall be.
If I can lose my pretty rose, I can lose my baby."
Queen Jane turned over and fell into a swound,
Her side it was cut open and the baby was found.

The baby it was christ-ned the very next day,
While his poor dear, dead mother a mouldering lay.
Six lords walked before her and four followed on;
The hatchman's followed after with black crêpe upon.

He weeped and he wailed and crieth full sore:
"My sweet rose of England shall flourish no more."
He sits in his tower with his head in his hand
And says, "This merry England is a sorrowful land".

This version was collected by Gwilym Davies, from Ray Driscoll of Dulwich, South London, in 1993. It was published in English Dance and Song, Autumn edition 1994. Ray was born in Ireland in 1922 but grew up in London. He learned this song and its particularly fine tune while living in Shropshire, from an itinerant farmworker called Harry Civil.

A midi of the tune goes to Alan's Mudcat Midi Site.