Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Brown and Yellow Earl

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The Brown and Yellow Earl

The Brown and Yellow Earl

As I was going down the road one fine day, O
        O, the brown and yellow earl
I met with a man who was no right man
        O, love of my heart


He asked me was the woman with me my daughter
And I said that she was my married wife.

He asked me would I lend her for an hour and a day, O
And I said I would do anything that was fair.

So you take the upper road and I'll take the lower
And I'll meet you again by the bank of the river.
I was going that way one hour and a day, O
When she came to me without any shame.

When I heard her news, I lay down and I died, O
And they sent three men to the woods for timber.

A board of holly and a board of elder
And three great yards of cloth about me.

Me own dear mother, she was a woman;
I could tell you another sad story about women.

traditional (translated from Irish by James Joyce)
Note: In the feudal British Isles, the lord or earl of
     the manor had the first right to bed the new bride
     of any of his subjects.  By the time of the brown
     and yellow earl, this custom had been forgotten by
     all but, perhaps, the lords themselves.  When the
     earl spies the pretty young bride, he invokes the old
     law.  The husband innocently hands her over for an
     hour and a day, only to kill himself in grief when
     he learns the truth.  Debby McClatchy
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