The Two Magicians

(Traditional)

Another classic folk song made famous by Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. The words of The Two Magicians (or Child Ballad no. 44) to our modern age might seem difficult to accept, but in these old folk songs such chases are attributed to ‘graceful teasing’ rather than their literal meaning, and the tune really rocks!

The lady sits at her own front door
As straight as a willow wand
And by there come a lusty smith
With his hammer in his hand

Saying bide lady bide
For there’s a nowhere you can hide
For the lusty smith will be your love
And he will lay your pride.

Why do you sit there lady fair
All in your robes of red
I’ll come back tomorrow
And have you in me bed

Saying. . .

Away away you coal black smith
Would you do me this wrong
For to have me maiden head
That I have kept so long
I’d rather I was dead and cold
And me body in the grave
Than a lusty, dusty, coal black smith
Me maiden head should have

Saying. . .

So the lady, she curled up her hand
And swore upon the mold
That he’d not have her maiden head
For all of a pot of gold.
But the blacksmith he curled up his hand
And swore upon the mast
That he would have her maiden head
For the half of that or less

Saying. . .

So the lady she turned into a dove
And flew up in the air
But he became an old cock pigeon
And they flew pair and pair
So the lady she turned into a mare
As dark as night was black
But he became a golden saddle
And climbed upon to her back

Saying . . .

So the lady she turned into a hare
And ran all over the plane
But he became a greyhound dog
And ran her down again
So the lady she turned into a fly
And fluttered in the air
But he became a hairy spider
And dragged her in his lair

Saying. . .

So the lady she turned into a sheep
Grazing upon the common
But he became a horny ram
And soon he was upon her.
So she turned into a full dress ship
And sailed over the sea
But he became a bold captain
And aboard of her went he

Saying . . .

So the lady she turned into a cloud
Floating in the air
But he became a lightning flash
And zipped right into her
So she turned into a mulberry tree
A mulberry tree in the wood
But he came forth as the morning dew
And sprinkled her where she stood.

Saying. . .

So the lady she ran into the bedroom
And changed into a bed
But he became a green coverlet
And he gained her maidenhead
And once she woke he took her so
And still he bad her bide
For the lusty smith became her love
For all of her mighty pride.