The Witch of the West-Mer-Lands (Archie Fisher) G C / G C / G Am / C D7 / Pale was the wounded knight That bore the rowan shield Loud and cruel were the raven's cries That feasted on the field, saying: Beck water, cold and clear, Will never clean you wound. There's none but the Maid of the Winding mere Can make thee hale and soond. So course well, my brindled hounds, And fetch me the mountain hare Whose coat is a grey as the Wastwater Or as white as the lily fair, who 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 you stallion's head Till his red mane flies in the wind And the rider of the moon gaes by And the bright star falls behind. And clear was the paley moon When his shadow passed him by; Below the hill was the brightest star When he heard the houlet cry, saying Why do you ride this way, And wharfore cam' ye 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 golden rod, And face your horse into the clouds Above yon gay green wood. And it's weary by Ullswater And the misty brake fern way Till through the cleft o' the Kirkstane Pass The winding water lay. He said, Lie down, my brindled hound, And rest my good grey hawk, And thee, my steed, may graze thy fill, For I must dismount and walk. But come when you hear my horn And answer swift the call, For I fear e'er the sun shall rise this morn You will serve me best of all. And down to the water's brim He's borne the rowan shield, And the golden rod he has cast in To see what the lake might yield. And wet rose she from the lake, And fast and fleet gaed she, One half the form of a maiden fair With a jet black mare's body. And 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 fair. She said: Pray sheath thy silvery sword, Lay down thy rowan shield, For I see by the briny blood that flows You've been 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 time 'round again. And she's bound his wound with the golden rod; Full fast in her arms he lay, And he has risen hale and soond Wi' the sun high in the day. She said: Ride with you brindled hounds at heel And your good grey hawk in hand. There's nane can harm a knight wha's lain With the Witch of the West-mer-land. Archie Fisher borrowed, for this song, the form of the narrative ballad. The ingredients are a mixture of legend, superstition, and ballad themes brought into focus by the work of the lakeland painter, Joni Turner. As far as I know, the female centaur is not a creature of mythology, and this role of witch disguise was suggested by the tales of antlered women with bodies of deer seen wading in the shallows of the lakes in the moonlight. There are many pleasant and hospitable inns in the Lake District. Sung by Archie Fisher on FSI- Copyright 1976, Ard-Ri Music, Dublin. Also sung by Ray Fisher (his sister) on FSI- DC
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!