From the recording Timber And Stream

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Traditional, adaptation © Mark Clavey

Sonya Baughman: lead vocals, recorder
Mark Clavey: vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: vocals, tinwhistle, hammered dulcimer

There are two prevailing versions of this story - an English and a Scots flavor, ours being the former. The story begins with England's ever-so-curious variation on recruitment - conscription. An unfortunate newlywed is whisked handily away into military service in, possibly, Cromwell's unofficial maritime war against the Dutch (1652-54) or, perhaps, Charles II's Dutch Wars (1664-67, 1672-78, fought on the continent as well as in the colonies), or maybe even in William III's War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), which pitted Dutch and English interests against those of France and Spain, using the Low Countries as a battlefield. Who knows? The song isn't terribly explicit. In any case, the stage is set for the forsaken bride to lament her plight over the remainder of the song. The melody we've used is a traditional one borrowed from "Banks of Claudy" and "The Handsome Cabin Boy". The preceding tunes are two fairly common session pieces, "An T-Athair Jack Walsh" (normally performed in D-mixolydian) and "Banish Misfortune".


The night that I was married (and on my marriage bed) there came a bold sea-captain and to my love he said, "Arise, arise young wedded man, and come along with me to the low lowlands of Holland to fight our enemy."

I held my love all in my arms in hopes that he might stay. The captain gave the order, and marched my love away, saying, "Many a blithe young married man this night must go with me to the low lowlands of Holland to face our enemy."

Now Holland is a wondrous place and in it grows fine grain. 'Tis a wild habitation for a soldier to remain. The sugar-cane grows plenty tall and tea grows on each tree. I never had but one sweetheart, now he's far away from me.

Said the mother to her daughter, "Leave off your sore lament. There's men enough in Galway for to be your heart's content." If there's men enough in Galway, alas there's none for me since the high winds and the rolling seas have cleft my love from me.

No clothes shall go upon my back, no comb go through my hair, no firelight nor candle bright shall on my bower shine fair. Nor never will I married be until the day I die since the low lowlands of Holland parted my love and I.

Now Holland is a wondrous place and in it grows fine grain, &c

My love has crossed the salt, salt sea, and I am on this side. 'Tis enough to break a young thing's heart that lately was a bride, that lately was a bonny bride with pleasure in her eye. But the low lowlands of Holland have twined my love and I.

Now Holland is a wondrous place and in it grows fine grain, &c