Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Jack Rowland

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Jack Rowland

Jack Rowland

There was Jack Rowland and his two brothers
  went out to play at ball
And there was their sister, Ellen Rowland
  amidst them all

She tossed the ball so very high
  She caught it with her knee
She kicked it high all in the old churchyard
  Where no one it could see

She's hitched her skirts all around her waist
  And after the ball she's run
They've waited long, her three brothers
  But she's never come home again

Up the hill and down the hill
  Three weeping brothers roamed
They told their mother that Ellen Rowland
  How she has vanished and flown

And it's, "Oh my love," now cries their mother,
  "Oh and alas," cries she
"For she has gone to the King of the Hill
  No more by us, she'll be seen"

So up and rose the first brother
  And he was a proud young man
He swore an oath and a solemn oath
  That Ellen he'd seek and find

And he's run down to his father's stable
  He's saddled the bonnie grey
And as the sun looked over the hill
  We watched him ride away

Up and rose the second brother
  A proud young man was he
And he swore an oath and a solemn oath
  That Ellen he'd find and free

And he's run down to his father's stable
  And he's saddled the bonnie brown
And as the sun stood up in the sky
  We watched him ride from town

We stayed long and very long
   With our gloves all in our hands
And sad were hearts all over the town
  But he never came home again

And up there rose, then, Jack the fool
  He's the youngest of all the three
He's saddled and bridled his mother's horse
  But he's wept so bitterly

She spoke to him, his mother's horse
  As they rode out of the way
She says, "Never you fear, you Jack Rowland
  But listen to what I do say

And remember the song the spider sings
  When she comes to court the fly

Never a drop must you eat or drink
  As we go along our road
And all that help us on the way
  You must leave them lying dead"

So Jack Rowland has left his good long bow
  And his arrows one by one
And he's taken his father's good long gun
  That never was drawn in vain

And never a drop did they eat or drink
  While on the way they rode
And all that helped them on the way
  Jack Rowland left them dead

The horse that Jack Rowland sat upon
  She was black as the darkening night
And her eyes shone far as the evening star
  That put the sun to flight

As Jack Rowland to the dark hour came
  And he stood there without
Three times all around the place
  The horse spun round about

And she cried, "Open door and open door
  Open and let me ride"
And e'er the third time she had spoke
  See the door swing open wide

In it he spied some lovely tower(?)
  that lined in the silver grey
All hung with mists and heavy dew
  That shone clear as any day

No ceiling could this young man spy
  No windows were there to be seen
But all around his head it shook the bed(?)
  As the sun that sets at e'en

And he rode on and further on
  The tears came falling fast
For he thought he saw his sister Ellen
  Wandering like any ghost

And she cried, "Woe be to you, Jack Rowland
  For your life's not worth a pin
For had you a hundred thousand lives
  You should not spare one of them

"Oh pity on you, Jack Rowland
  Why stayed you not a home
When the King of the Hill, you find
  Then help you will find none"

With that, in come the King, himself
  Glorious to be seen
For he come riding the storm and the wind
  With a club all in each hand

"Rise, rise, Jack Rowland
  Rise, rise and run
For now I smell Jack Rowland's blood
  Jack Rowland's day is done

"Get up, get up, you Jack Rowland
  If you would fight with me
And we will see how a frightened man
  Will let his courage flee"

He's first turned him to a raging bear
  And then to a writhing snake
And then's a herd of angry bulls
  That roared all in his face

Then he became a burning bush
  With a flame that lept so high
But he sang the song the spider sings
  When he comes to court the fly

But up and rose Jack Rowland's horse
  So loud I heard her cry
"Stand fast and fear you not," she cried
  "No harm will come to thee"

There she stood an the high hill top
  The stars shown in her mane
And she has turned to a mighty flood
  She bore down on the plain

The King has changed to a little fish
  To float all in the sea
And he fell as fast into the flood
  As a dead branch from a tree

But she has changed to ropes and lines
  And she hunted the ocean floor
He has become a fishing smack
  And hauled all lines aboard

So she has changed all in the sky
  To a gale that howled and roared
She filled his sails, she beat his spars
  And she drove him onto shore

So he's become the deep dark night
  And he dropped to the valley floor
And she rose up as the summer dawn
  And she drove him on before

She cried, "Rise, rise, Jack Rowland
  And the sun will rise with thee
As the dew falls from the leaves
  We shall see what we shall see"

And as the dew fell from the leaves
  And the daylight drew all around
He saw his sister and his two brothers
  Mother naked on the ground

And he's taken them all in his arms
  He's kissed them cheek and chin
He's wrapped them up in a cloak of gold
  They've gone riding home

Up and spoke the King himself
  As he vanished in the sun
"I should have taken your horse," he cried
  And struck her blind and dumb"
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