Three Ravens (The)

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X:1 T:Three Ravens M:C L:1/8 R:Air B:Thomas Ravenscroft – “Melismata” (London, 1611) F: http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/ravenscroft/modern/3rav.pdf Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Gdor V:1"Treble" G2|G2A2B2d2|c2B2A4|G3A B2c2|d3e d2d2| G2A2B2G2|A2B2c2 Bc|d6 d2|d2f2e2d2|c2B2 A3A| B2d2c2B2|A2_F2D2 Bc|d4 cB AG| FG A2 G2|| V:2“Medivs." D2|D2 EF G3B A2G2^F4|B3A GB AG |^F3G F2F2| D6 E2|F4 G2 GG| A6 F2|F6 F2|F8| D4 D2D2|D6 DD|B3A GF EE|D2D2D2|| V:3"Tenor" G2|B3 c d2d2|e2d2d4|d3d d2G2|A3 A A2A2| B2c2e2B2|A4 G2 GG|^F6 A2|B2d2c2B2|A2B2 c4| B4 A2G2|^F3G A2 AA|f4 ed cB|A2 A2 =B2|| V:4"Bass" cleff = bass G,,2|G,,6G,,2|C,2G,,2D,4|G,3F, _E,2E,2|D,3D, D,2D,2| G,8|F,4 _E,2 E,E,|D,8|B,,8|F,8| G,8|D,6 D,D,|B,,4C,4|D,D, D,2G,,2||



THREE RAVENS, THE. AKA - "There were three ravens." English, Air (2/2 time). G Dorian (Ravenscroft): E Minor (Kines). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The Three Ravens (Child 26, Roud 5) air was printed by Thomas Ravenscroft in his Melismata (London, 1611[1]. The songs in the book were generally considered much older, states Kines, while Walker (1924) considers it an Elizabethan melody. Versions of songs about three crows exist today in folk tradition (see the Scottish song "Twa Corbie").

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. .... [Digital Tradition]


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Kines (Songs From Shakespeare's Plays and Popular Songs of Shakespeare's Time), 1964; p. 87.



See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
See the Mainly Norfolk entry on the song [2]



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  1. As with many older publications, dates vary. 1616 is also often stated as the date of publication).
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