Witch of the West-Mer-Lands
words & music by Archie Fisher
© 1976 by Ard-Ri Music, Dublin
(Slight modifications by Stan Rogers & Isaac Bonewits)
Key of C
[Two verses instrumental]
Pale was the wounded knight / That bore the
Loud and cruel were the raven's cries / That feasted on the field,
(Saying) "Beck water, cold and clear,
/ Will never clean your wound.
There's none but the Maid of the Winding mere / Can make you
hale and soond."
(He said) "Course well, / my brindled
hounds, / And fetch me the mountain hare
Whose coat is as grey as the Wastwater / Or as white as the lily
(They said) "Green moss and heather bands
/ Will never staunch the flood.
There's none but the Witch of the West-mer-lands / Can save thy
dear life's blood."
"So turn, turn thy stallion's head /
Till his red mane flies in the wind,
And the rider of the moon goes by / And the bright star falls
And clear was the paley moon / When his shadow
passed him by;
Below the hill was the brightest star / When he heard the owlet
(Saying) "Why do you ride this way, /
And whafore came you here?"
"I seek the Witch of the West-mer-lands / That dwells by
the winding mere."
"Then fly free your good grey hawk /
To gather the goldenrod,
And face your horse into the clouds / Above yon gay green wood."
And it's weary by the Ullswater / And the
misty brake fern way
Till through the cleft o' the Kirkstane Pass / The winding water
(He said) "Lie down, my brindled hounds,
/ And rest thee, my good grey hawk,
And thee, my steed, may graze thy fill / For I must dismount
"But come when ye hear my horn / And
answer swift the call,
For I fear e'er the sun shall rise this morn / Ye will serve
me best of all."
And it's down to the water's brim / He's borne
the rowan shield,
And the goldenrod he has cast in / To see what the lake might
And wet rose she from the lake, / And fast
and fleet went she;
One half the form of a maiden fair / With a jet black mare's
Now loud, long and shrill he blew / And his
steed was by his side.
High overhead his grey hawk flew / And swiftly he did ride,
(Saying) "Course well, my brindled hounds,
/ And fetch me the jet black mare.
Stoop and strike, my good grey hawk, / And bring me the maiden
[Two verses instrumental]
(She said:) "Pray sheathe thy silvery
sword, / Lay down thy rowan shield;
For I see by the briny blood that flows, / Thou wert wounded
in the field."
And she stood in a gown of the velvet blue,
/ Bound 'round with a silver chain.
She's kissed his pale lips aince and twice, / And three times
And she's bound his wound with the goldenrod;
/ Full fast in her arms he lay.
And he has risen hale and soond / With the sun high in the day.
(She said:) "Ride with thy brindled hounds
at heal / And thy good grey hawk in hand.
There's none can harm the knight who's lain / With the Witch
of the West-mer-land."
[One-half verse instrumental]
There's none can harm the knight who's lain
/ With the Witch of the West-mer-land!