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The LiederNet Archive

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The three ravens

Language: English

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
Down a down hey down hey down.
[And]1 they were [as]2 black as they might be,
With a down.
Then one of them said to his [mate]3:
"Where shall we our breakfast take?"
With a down derry derry derry down down.

Down in yonder greenfield,
Down a down hey down hey down.
There lies a knight slain under his shield;
With a down.
His hounds they lie down at his feet,
So well they [can]1 their master keep.
With a down derry derry derry down down.

His hawks they fly so eagerly,
Down a down hey down hey down.
There is no fowl dare [come him]4 nigh
With a down.
[But] down there comes a fallow doe,
As great with young as she might go.
With a down derry derry derry down down.

[O she lifts]5 up his bloody head,
Down a down hey down hey down.
And kissed his wounds that were so red.
With a down.
She got him up upon her back
And carried him to [an]6 earthen lake.
With a down derry derry derry down down.

She buried him before the prime,
Down a down hey down hey down.
She was dead herself ere evensong time.
With a down.
[Now]7 God send every gentleman
Such [hounds, such hawks]8 and such a leman.
With a down derry derry derry down down.

Translation(s): DUT

List of language codes

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Ireland.
2 omitted by Grainger.
3 Grainger: "make"
4 Ravenscroft, Ireland: "him come"
5 Ravenscroft, Ireland: "She lifted"
6 omitted by Grainger and Ireland.
7 omitted by Ravenscroft.
8 Ravenscroft: "hawks, such hounds"
Note: "leman" means 'sweetheart'

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Set in a modified version by Percy Aldridge Grainger, Ivor Gurney, Frederic Ayres, Arnold Edward Trevor Bax, Sir.

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Tinelot Wittermans) , title 1: "Dutch Translation", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:54

Line count: 35
Word count: 232

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