THE LAST LAY OF MATTY GROVES ----------------------------
A holiday, a holiday and the first one of the year,
Lord Darnell's wife had gone to church, the gospel for to hear.
When the service it was done and all walked out of doors,
Her wicked eyes did rove about and on a hostler's lad did pause!
"Come home with me young Matty Groves, she whispered in his ear,
Come home with me and sleep with me till morning's light is here -
These words came from this site. I emailed them and was told it was written by 'lewtrah' who did not want his/her real name to ne used, but was fine about it being circulated.
I assume you know the tune....
Catrin I'll pay you well, little Matty Groves, to keep my back from the cold,
And to give me something warm inside, if I may make so bold."
Matty Groves was an honest man and he wanted to refuse
If he did as the lady bid, his master's trust he would abuse;
"Oh, I can't come home, I daren't come home and sleep with you tonight
By the rings on your fingers I can tell you are Lord Darnell's wife"
"So what that I'm your master's wife, you master's not at home,
My husband's out in the farthest fields and this night I'm alone."
Lady Darnell's maid she heard this talk for she was standing near,
Kitty Hopkins swore on her mother's grave the master himself would hear,
She gathered her skirts up to her knees and across the glebe she ran,
When she reached the broad millstream, she tore off her skirt and she swam.
Lord Darnell was in the far country, but yearlings were far from his mind,
He'd found himself a peasant lass and was taking her from behind;
So when his Lady's maid appeared Lord Darnell was not well pleased,
He'd only just got settled in and got his polestaff greased.
Kitty said as she reached Lord Darnell's side "Come home and look to your wife,
For she has taken some common hostler's lad into her bed tonight!"
Her master swore that he'd reward Kitty Hopkins handsomely,
He unlaced her bodice and stroked her thigh as he sat her on his knee.
Lord Darnell took to his fastest horse and galloped hard for home,
When into his chamber at last he strode, his wife was not alone!
The pair had coupled and kissed all night and then they fell to sleep,
And when they woke at break of day, Lord Darnell stood at thier feet.
"Tell me how do you like my fine feather-bed and how do you like my sheets?
And how do you like my lady-wife who lies in your arms asleep?"
"Very well do I like your feather bed, very well do I like your sheets,
Best of all I do like your fair lady who lies in my arms asleep"
"Get up, get up," Lord Darnell cried, "Get up and fight for your life,
For I'll not slay an unarmed man, though he lies in the arms of my wife;
So get you up little Matty Groves and all of your clothes put on,
For it shall never be said in Old England that I slew a naked man."
"I can't get up" said Matty Groves "I've been getting it up all night,
A full eight hours I've been getting it up at the bidding of your wife!
Nay I can't get up and I'll not get up, for I hear the tone of your words,
And I have only a pocket knife against your two fine swords"
"Truly I have two fine swords and they cost me deep in my purse,
You shall take the better of them and I shall take the worse
And you shall have the very first blow and strike it like a man,
Then I will strike the very next blow and I'll kill you if I can!"
Matty he struck the very first blow and pierced Lord Darnell's side
Lord Darnell struck the very next blow, and young Matty Groves, he died.
Lord Darnell lifted up his wife and he sat her on his knee,
"Now tell me who you liked the best, that hostler's lad or me"
Sat on his knee, his lady spoke, her manners not so mild,
"Do you think your own withered stick would ever get me with child?"
Lord Darnell was shocked right to his heart when he heard her speak so free:
"I'd rather a kiss from dead Matty's lips than you or your finery."
In anguish her husband pushed her aside and took of his swords the best,
Before his wife could speak again, he sheathed it in her chest.
Lord Darnell he went red in the face and loudly he did bawl,
He'd struck his wife right through the heart and pinned her against the wall.
"As you shared my own feather bed, so you'll share a pauper's grave,
But you'll be buried at the top, for you were a noble lady."
Then he called for his lady's maid, he called her to his side
"Your mistress sought the single thing her husband couldn't provide,
Had I not known about Matty Groves, she have might have borne a son
And knowing not his parentage, I'd have raised him as my own,
But Kitty Hopkins you were keen upon my cock to ride,
And called me home to end the tryst, thus childless I shall die."
"A grave, a grave," Lord Darnell sighed, "to put these lovers in
But bury my lady at the top for she was of noble kin."