Sovay, Sovay, all on a day
She dressed herself in man's array.
With a sword and pistol all by her side,
To meet her true love,
To meet her true love away did ride.
As she was riding over the plain,
She met her true love and bid him stand.
"Your gold and silver, kind sir," she said,
"Or else this moment,
Or else this moment your life I'll have."
And when she'd robbed him of his store,
She said, "Kind sir, there's just one thing more--
A golden ring which I know you have,
Deliver it your sweet life to save."
"O, that golden ring a token is;
My life I'll lose, the ring I'll save."
Being tender-hearted just like a dove,
She rode away,
Rode away from her true love.
Next morning in the garden green,
Just like two lovers they were seen.
He spied his watch hanging by her cloak
Which made him blush,
Made him blush like any rose.
"O what makes you blush at so silly a thing?
I thought to have had your golden ring.
'Twas I that robbed you all on the plain,
So here's your watch
Here's your watch and your gold again.
"For I did intend and it was to know
If that you were my true love or no.
Well, now I have a contented mind;
My heart and all,
My heart and all my gear* is thine."
* gear: or "dear"
Recorded by Cliff Haslam on "The Clockwinder" and
Martin Carthy on his self-titled album. This is a
Dorsetshire version of "The Female Highwayman,"
and the tune may have suffered somewhat at the hands
The girl's name varies widely; the original may
perhaps have been "Sylvie" (the title of another
variation of the text) or "Sylvia." The latter is the
name preferred by Peter Kennedy, who gives a
bibliography of English versions in "Folksongs of Britain
and Ireland" (item 334, pages 722 & 734). RW