Lyrics for "Tam Lin"

This traditional folk song was recorded by Outgrabe at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco. The legend of Tam Lin exisits in many forms. You can learn more find many other versions at tam-lin.org

 

I forbid you maidens all

That wear gold in your hair

To travel to Carterhaugh

For young Tam Lin is there

None that go by Carterhaugh

But they leave him a pledge

Either their mantles of green

Or else their maidenhead

Janet tied her kirtle green

A bit aboon her knee

And she's gone to Carterhaugh

As fast as go can she

She knocked with a double rose

A rose but only two

When up then came young Tam Lin

Says “Lady, pull no more

Why come you to Carterhaugh

Without command from me?”

“I come and go, young Janet said

And ask no leave of thee.”

Janet tied her kirtle green

A bit aboon her knee

And she's gone to her father

As fast as go can she

Well, up then spoke her father dear

And he spoke meek and mild

“O and alas, Janet, he said

I think you go with child”

“Well, if that be so, Janet said

Myself shall bear the blame

There's not a knight in all your hall

Shall get the baby's name

For if my love were an earthly knight

As he is an elfin grey

I'd not change my own true love

For any knight you have”

Janet tied her kirtle green

A bit aboon her knee

And she's gone to Carterhaugh

As fast as go can she

“O, tell to me, Tam Lin, she said

Why came you here to dwell?”

“The queen of fairies caught me

When from my horse I fell

And at the end of seven years

She pays a tithe to hell

I so fair and full of flesh

Am feared it be myself

But tonight is Hallowe'en

And the fairy folk ride

Those who would let true love win

At Miles Cross they must bide

First let past the horses black

And then let past the brown

Quickly run to the white steed

And pull the rider down

For I ride on the white steed

Nearest to the town

For I was an earthly knight

They give me that renown

Oh they will turn me in your arms

To a newt or a snake

But hold me tight and fear not

I am your baby's father

And they will turn me in your arms

Into a lion bold

But hold me tight a fear not

As you will love your child

And they will turn me in your arms

Into a naked knight

Then cloak me in your mantle

And keep me out of sight."

In the middle of the night

She heard the bridle ring

And she heeded what he did say

And young Tam Lin did win

Then up spoke the Fairy Queen

An angry queen was she

“Woe betide her ill-far’d face

An ill death may she die.

Had I know, Tam Lin,” she said

“What this night I did see

I’d have ta’en out both his eyes

And turned him to a tree.”

 

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Tam Lin is a traditional celtic folk song. This recording is ©1997 Fearless Angel Music. Outgrabe and the Outgrabe logo are trademarks of Outgrabe, a privately held entity. Boojum, Boojum Records, Boojum Productions, and the Boojum logo are trademarks of Boojum Records. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.