The Three Ravens

Traditional

Audio

This example of "Three Ravens" is performed by A Chorus of Two
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

Notes:  FJ Child Ballad #26;  Found in  Thomas Ravenscroft's 1616 "Melismata." Here are images of the two Ravenscroft manuscript pages part1  part2  and the modern notation, courtesy of Gregory Blount. He has most of the Ravenscroft manuscripts available onlne.

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
Down a down, hey down, hey down
They were a black as black might be,
With a down.
The one of them said to his mate.
"Where shall we our breakfast take?"
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down.

Down in yonder green field,
Down a down, hey down, hey down
Their lies a knight slain under his shield,
With a down.
His hounds they lie down at his feet
So well they do their master keep.
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down.

His hawks they fly so eagerly
Down a down, hey down, hey down
No other fowl dare him come nigh,
With a down.
Down there comes a fallow doe
As heavy with young as she might go.
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down.

She lifted 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 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 even-song time,
With a down.

God send every gentleman
Such hawks, such hounds, and such leman,
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down.