The lyrics here were taken from the 1755 ?original? version but slightly Anglicised, from the old Scottish dialect, to make it more understandable today. The tune here is a combination of segments from a number of tunes of that period.
The queen sees Young Waters ride to court. A clever lord asks her to name the comeliest man in the whole company (at court), and her answer is 'Young Waters is the fairest face that ever my eyes did see'. The king is angry that she did not accept him. She tries to appease him, but the king throws Young Waters in prison and executes him. Child suggests that Young Waters was one of the Scottish nobles executed by James I after returning from his captivity in England.
Oh, about Yule, when the winds blow cold And the round tables begin For there is come to our king's court Many's the well-favoured man. The queen looked over the castle wall, Beheld both dale and down, And there she spied Young Waters Come a-riding to the town.
His footmen they did run before And his horsemen rode behind; A mantle of the burning gold Did keep him from the wind. Golden harness'd his horse before And silver shod behind; The horse Young Waters rode upon Was swifter than the wind.
Then up then spoke a wily lord And unto the queen says he, ?Oh, tell me whose is the fairest face Rides in the company?? ?Oh, I've seen lord and I've seen laird And knights of high degree, But Young Waters is the fairest face That ever my eyes did see.?
Then up then spoke the jealous king And an angry man was he, ?Oh, if he had of been twice as fair You might have accepted me.? ?You're neither lord nor laird,? she says, ?But the king that wears the crown. And there's not a knight in all of Scotland But to thee must bow down.?
But for all that she could do nor say Appeas-ed he would not be, And for the words that the queen had spoke Young Waters he must die. And they have taken Young Waters And put fetters on his feet, And they have taken Young Waters And thrown him in dungeon deep.
?Oft have I ridden through Stirling Town In the wind both and the wet But I never rode through Stirling Town With fetters on my feet. Oft have I ridden through Stirling Town In the wind both and the rain But I never rode through Stirling Town Never to return again.?
Oh, they have taken to the heading hill His young son in his cradle, And they have taken to the heading hill His horse both and his saddle. And they have taken to the heading hill His lady fair to see, And for the words that the queen had spoke Young Waters he did die.
South Shields near Newcastle Tyneside United Kingdom