THE QUEEN OF THE DARK ELF'S FEE


A ragged vagabond he was, a lady fine was she
They walked along the leeward shore on a footpath through the trees
They plied their troth to the wind and the stars but a mile from the town
Though promised to a lord she was, yet still he laid her down
Upon the bracken and the boughs, they made their forest bed
And she let down her flaxen hair, and these were the words she said:

Lay me down, you wanderer, love me well tonight
I'll be leaving with the rooster's crow, before the morning light
Lay me down in this forest, come and lay here by my side
For I'll be gone at daybreak, to be a noble's bride

Though untied to the land you are, I'll love you well, quoth she
But my lord must never know, for a jealous lord is he
They made their tryst, but not alone, for their meeting had been seen
Too full of love were they to hear the laugh of the dark elf's queen
She saw these lovers lying so, and an angry queen was she
For woodland night is an elven realm, and love is never free

So lay me down, you wanderer, love me well tonight
I'll be leaving with the rooster's crow, before the morning light
Lay me down in this forest, come and give your love to me
But know that you may have to pay the elven dark queen's fee

To trespass on my land, she spoke, a pledge you will give me
You'll never give your own true love to any man save he
And you, a footpad though you are, a man without a home
You'll never leave this lass again, no more will your feet roam
Their passion burned like spectral fire, the queen she laughed with glee
But they cared not, for the light of love was all that they could see

So lay me down, oh wanderer, love me well tonight
I'll be leaving with the cock's crow, before the morning light
Lay me down in this forest come and give your love to me
But know that we may have to pay the elven dark queen's fee

The queen came forth, her eyes afire, enraptured both were they
She kissed them both upon the brow, just e're the break of day
They did not stir when daylight came, touched by the morning dew
For she was a weeping willow, and he a stately yew
And these two trees can still be seen, with their limbs entwined just so
And this song can still be heard at the point of Tupelo

So lay me down, you wanderer, love me for tonight
I'll be leaving with the cock's crow, before the morning light
Lay me down in this forest, come and give your love to me
But know that we will have to pay the elven dark queen's fee