Shanty a Day #410

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Welcome to Shanty-a-Day #410! We're the Harris Siblings and we love sea shanties - sing along from home with us and learn a new shanty every day while we're all stuck at home!

Witch of the West-mer-land

Pale was the wounded knight, that bore the rowan shield
Loud and cruel were the raven's cries that feasted on the field
Saying "Beck water cold and clear, will never clean your wound
There's none but the witch of the West-mer-land can make thee hale and soond"

So turn, turn your stallion's head 'til his red mane flies in the wind
And the rider of the moon goes by and the bright star falls behind
And clear was the paling moon when his shadow passed him by
Below the hills were the brightest stars when he heard the owlet cry

Saying "Why do you ride this way, and wherefore came you here?"
"I seek the Witch of the West-mer-land that dwells by the winding mere"
And it's weary by the Ullswater and the misty brake fern way
Til through the cleft in the Kirkstane Pass the winding water lay

He said "Lie down, my brindled hound and rest ye, my good grey hawk
And thee, my steed may graze thy fill for I must dismount and walk
But come when you hear my horn and answer swift the call
For I fear ere the sun will rise this morn ye will serve me best of all"

And it's down to the water's brim he's born the rowan shield
And the goldenrod he has cast in to see what the lake might yield
And wet she rose from the lake, and fast and fleet went she
One half the form of a maiden fair with a jet black mare's body

And loud, long and shrill he blew til his steed was by his side
High overhead the grey hawk flew and swiftly did he ride
Saying "Course well, my brindled hound, and fetch me the jet black mare
Stoop and strike, my good grey hawk, and bring me the maiden fair"

She said "Pray, sheathe thy silvery sword. Lay down thy rowan shield
For I see by the briny blood that flows you've been wounded in the field"
And she stood in a gown of the velvet blue, bound round with a silver chain
And she's kissed his pale lips once and twice and three times round again

And she's bound his wounds with the goldenrod, full fast in her arms he lay
And he has risen hale and sound with the sun high in the day
She said "Ride with your brindled hound at heel, and your good grey hawk in hand
There's none can harm the knight who's been with the Witch of the West-mer-land. "


Here's the great original recording from Stan Rogers:

Here's some info about the history of Walpurgisnacht:


Find out about Black Artists' contributions to the sea shanty art form:

Find out ways you can educate yourself and help the AAIP community:


Check out our brand new Shanty Merch!

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And if you want to find out more about sea shanties, visit:
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