Tam Lin Balladry

A website of folklore and discovery.

Tam Lin: Broadside Electric

Source: Broadside Electric

album: Amplificata

Title: Tam Lin

Site reference number: 32


After being warned of Tam Lin, Janet travels to Carter hall to pluck roses, when Tam Lin appears and questions her presence. She replies that the woods are hers. She returns to her father's hall, where her father remarks that she appears to be pregnant. She defends her elfen lover, and returns to Carterhall. She asks Tam Lin about his heritage. He informs her that he was captured by the fairies when he fell fromhis horse, but he can be rescued that night. She must pull him from his horse as he is tranformed into several shapes, and finally thrown in well water. She follows his instructions, and wins him, though the faerie Queen curses him for his betrayal.

Tam Lin

  1. The steed that my true love rides on
    is lighter than the wind
    With silver he is shod before,
    with burning gold behind.
  2. I forbid you maidens all,
    that wear gold in your hair,
    To come and go by Carter Hall,
    for young Tam Lin is there.
  3. Janet's belted her green kirtle
    a little above her knee,
    And she's away to Carter Hall
    as fast as she can hie.
  4. She had not pulled a double rose,
    a rose but only two,
    When up then started young Tam Lin,
    says "Lady, pull no more."
  5. "Why pulls thou the rose, Janet,
    and why breaks thou the wand?
    And why comes thou to Carter Hall
    withouten my command?"
  6. "Carter Hall it is my own,
    my father gave it me.
    I'll come and go by Carter Hall
    and ask no leave of thee."
  7. Now, Janet's belted her green kirtle
    a bit above her knee,
    And she is to her father's hall
    as fast as she can hie.
  8. Then up spoke her father dear,
    and he spoke meek and mild:
    "E'er alas, sweet Janet," he says,
    "I think you go with child."
  9. "If that I go with child, father,
    it's my self shall bear the blame,
    There's ne'er a lord about your hall
    shall get the babe his name."
  10. "For if my love was an earthly knight,
    as he's an elfin grey,
    I would not trade my own true love
    for any knight you have."
  11. When she came to Carter Hall,
    Tam Lin was at the well.
    "Oh tell to me, Tam Lin," she says,
    "how came you here to dwell?"
  12. "When I was from hunting come,
    then from my horse I fell,
    The Queen of Faeries caught me up
    in yon green hill to dwell.
  13. "But at the murk and midnight hour,
    the faerie-folk will ride,
    And they that would their true loves win,
    at Miles-cross they must bide."
  14. "Oh, first let pass the black, lady
    and then let pass the brown,
    But quickly run to the milk white steed,
    pull ye his rider down."
  15. "They'll turn me to a bear so grim
    and then a lion bold,
    But hold me fast and fear me not,
    as ye shall love your child."
  16. "At last they'll turn me in your arms
    into the burning lead
    Then throw me into well water,
    o throw me in with speed."
  17. So well she minded what he did say
    and young Tam Lin did win,
    Soon covered him with her green mantle,
    as blithe's a bird in spring.
  18. Up then spoke the Queen of Faeries,
    and an angry queen was she,
    "Shame betide her ill-fared face,
    an ill death may she die."
  19. "But had I known, Tam Lin," she said,
    "what now this night I see,
    I'd've taken out thy two grey eyes,
    put in two eyes of tree."
  20. The steed that my true love rides
    on is lighter than the wind.
    With silver he is shod before,
    with burning gold behind.


Version Notes

More information is available at the band's website

Added to site: July 2001