The Three Ravens – Recited

The Three Ravens is a ballad that was first printed in 1611.  I found this reading by Alan Davis-Drake so well done, that I had to post the lyrics here with his recording!

I’ve annotated the song within the lyrics and updated the spelling.  The refrain consists of nonsense words used for the sound.

MP3 Recording of The Three Ravens

The Three Ravensimage

There were three ravens sat on a tree,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

There were three ravens sat on a tree,

With a downe.

 

There were three ravens sat on a tree,

They were as black as they might be.

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

The one of them said to his mate,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

Where shall we our breakfast take?

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

Down in yonder green field,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

There lies a Knight slain under his shield,

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

His hounds they lie down at his feet,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

So well they can their Master keep,

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

His hawks they fly so eagerly,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

There’s no fowl dare him come nigh [near]

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

Down there comes a fallow Doe,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

As great with young as she might go,

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

She lift up his bloody head,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

And kissed his wounds that were so red,

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

She got him up upon her back,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

And carried him to the earthen lake [grave],

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

She buried him before the prime [a prayer at 6 – 7 am],

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

She was dead her self ere even-song [evening prayer] time.

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

 

God send every gentleman,

Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

Such hawks, such hounds, and such a Leman [i.e. dear-one].

With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

This article was posted on Friday, May 11th, 2012 at 5:07 pm and is filed under English, Folk Music, Folk Songs, Languages, MP3's, MP3's of Poems, Music, Recordings of Poems, Recordings of Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “The Three Ravens – Recited”

  1. Uly Says:

    That’s one version/family of the three ravens. The other one has a more depressing ending – the guys’ wife and hound and hawk are all chasing something new, so the crows feast away because nobody cares that his bones are there.

    (Well, I guess it’s happy for the crows.)

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