The House Carpenter

Traditional

Audio

This example of "The House Carpenter" is performed by Mary Smith
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

Notes: This 18th century ballad is number 243 in the F.J. Child collection. It was also collected later in Appalachia and has been recorded by Jean Ritchie and others.

Well met, well met, my own true love 
Well met, well met, cried he 
I've just returned from the salt, salt sea 
And it's all for the love of thee 

O I could have married the king's daughter dear 
And she would have married me 
But I have refused the crown of gold 
And it's all for the sake of thee 

If you could have married the king's daughter dear 
I'm sure you are to blame 
For I am married to the house carpenter 
And he is a fine young man 

If you'll forsake your house carpenter 
And come away with me 
I'll take you to where the grass grows green 
On the banks of the sweet Willie 

If I forsake my house carpenter 
And come away with thee 
What have you got to maintain me upon 
And keep me from slavery 

I've six ships sailing on the salt, salt sea 
A-sailing from dry land 
And a hundred and twenty jolly young men 
Shall be at thy command 

She picked up her poor wee babe 
And kisses gave him three 
Saying stay right here with the house carpenter 
And keep him good company 

They had not been at sea two weeks 
I'm sure it was not three 
When this poor maid began to weep 
And she wept most bitterly 

O do you weep for your gold, he said 
Your houses, your land, or your store? 
Or do you weep for your house carpenter 
That you never shall see anymore 

I do not weep for my gold, she said 
My houses, my land or my store 
But I do weep for my poor wee babe 
That I never shall see anymore 

They had not been at sea three weeks 
I'm sure it was not four 
When in their ship there sprang a leak 
And she sank to rise no more 

What hills, what hills are those, my love 
That are so bright and free 
Those are the hill of Heaven, my love 
But not for you and me 

What hills, what hills, are those, my love 
That are so dark and low 
Those are the hills of Hell, my love 
Where you and I must go