Sovay, Sovay all on a day
She dressed herself in man's array
With a sword and a pistol all by her side
To meet her true love to meet her true love away did ride.
And as she was a-riding over the plain
She met her true love and bid him stand
Your gold and silver kind sir she said
Or else this moment or else this moment your life I'll have.
And when she'd robbed him of his store
She says kind sir there is one thing more
A golden ring which I know you have
Deliver it deliver it your sweet life to save.
Oh that golden ring a token is
My life I'll lose the ring I'll save.
Being tender-hearted just like a dove
She rode away she rode away from her true love.
Oh next morning in the garden green
Just like true lovers they were seen
Oh he spied his watch hanging by her clothes
And it made him blush made him blush like any rose.
Oh what makes you blush at so silly a thing
I thought to have had your golden ring
It was I that robbed you all on the plain
So here's your watch here's your watch and your gold again.
I did intend and it was to know
If that you were me true love or no
For if you'd have give me that ring she said
I'd have pulled the trigger I'd have pulled the trigger and shot you dead.
Kennedy, D. (1987) Martin Carthy: A Guitar in Folk Music.
Petersham: New Punchbowl Music.
From the notes to Martin Carthy's first album:
Sovay Sovay was a great favourite among country singers and was printed by Such, among others, under its alternative title of The Female Highwayman. Her name varies from place to place - Sovay, Silvy, Shilo, Sally, etc. - but the story remains the same being a rather involved and slightly chancy way of establishing her lover's good faith. The tune sung here was collected by Hammond in Dorset and slightly altered rhythmically by Bert Lloyd giving it a somewhat Balkan lift. The text is collated from various versions.
Note on the ABC/Score: The lack of bar lines isn't a mistake. To quote the song book: "Martin insisted on this melody being written in as free a way as possible, rather than forcing it into a time signature that did not neccessarily reflect the actual rhythmic feel of the song"
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Sylvia [Female Highwayman]