Friday, March 24, 2017

Joan Baez singing Mary Hamilton, a haunting love song

Joan Baez singing Mary Hamilton

When I was in college my favorite musicians were Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and others who often resurrected or re-wrote ballads from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Click on the above link to hear Joan Baez singing the song. The painting shows Mary Hamilton in custody.
This is a tragic love story and here are the lyrics Joan Baez wrote, following the story as it unfolded in a well-known sixteenth century ballad from Scotland (Child Ballad 173).

Word is to the kitchen gone, and word is to the Hall
And word is up to Madam the Queen, and that's the worst of all
That Mary Hamilton has borne a babe
To the highest Stuart of all
Oh rise, arise Mary Hamilton
Arise and tell to me
What thou hast done with thy wee babe
I saw and heard weep by thee
I put him in a tiny boat
And cast him out to sea
That he might sink or he might swim
But he'd never come back to me
Oh rise arise Mary Hamilton
Arise and come with me
There is a wedding in Glasgow town
This night we'll go and see
She put not on her robes of black
Nor her robes of brown
But she put on her robes of white
To ride into Glasgow town
And as she rode into Glasgow town
The city for to see
The bailiff's wife and the provost's wife
Cried Alack and alas for thee
You need not weep for me she cried
You need not weep for me
For had I not slain my own wee babe
This death I would not dee
Oh little did my mother think
When first she cradled me
The lands I was to travel in
And the death I was to dee
Last night I washed the Queen's feet
And put the gold in her hair
And the only reward I find for this
The gallows to be my share
Cast off cast off my gown she cried
But let my petticoat be
And tie a napkin round my face
The gallows I would not see
Then by them come the king himself
Looked up with a pitiful eye
Come down come down Mary Hamillton
Tonight you will dine with me
Oh hold your tongue my sovereign liege
And let your folly be
For if you'd a mind to save my life
You'd never have shamed me here
Last night there were four marys
Tonight there'll be but three
It was Mary Beaton and Mary Seton
And Mary Carmichael and me.



Linda said...


DawnTreader said...

I listened to Joan Baez back in my teens as well (and Dylan) and I have one CD with her. The music link here didn't work for me but I found a clip on YouTube with her singing it.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My kind of music. I just played the song on You Tube and my, oh my, wasn't her voice just beautiful. I would bet that it still is.

Pom Pom said...

Interesting! I like her voice, too.

Carol Z said...

We like a lot of the same music. One of my recent treats was hearing Joan Baez at a concert for her 75th birthday. So excited. I know it was taped for PBS, so you may be able to find it. Some of the other performers were a little disappointing, but Joan lived up to my expectations.

Red Rose Alley said...

Terra, I've always like Bob Dylan's songs. I'll check out Joan Baez' link. Music soothes us and is comforting.

love, ~Sheri

Denise inVA said...

Hi Terra, wonderful words. I was always a Joan Baez fan and still have some old vinyls of hers. Her voice was unique.

only slightly confused said...

Hard times those...for a woman to die for her indiscretion. Joan Baez has a lovely voice.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Terra ... I've come over from Delores blog (only slightly confused.)

I've always liked Joan Baez and Dylan.

All the best Jan

Joyful said...

You and I have similar taste in music. I have loved Joan Baez for many years.