Queen Jane was in labour
For six days or more
Till her women got tired
And wished it were o'er.
Good women, good women,
Good women, if you be
Will you send for King Henry
For King Henry I must see.
King Henry was a-sent for,
King Henry did come home
For to meet with Queen Jane
My love your eyes do look so dim.
King Henry, King Henry,
King Henry if you be,
If you have my right side open'd
You will find my dear baby.
Queen Jane, my love, Queen jane, my love,
Such a thing was never known,
If you have your right side open'd
You will lose your dear baby.
Will you build your love a castle
And lie down so deep
For to bury my body
And christen my dear baby.
King Henry went mourning
And so did his men
And so did his dear baby
For Queen Jane did dien.
How deep was the mourning
How wide were the bands,
How yellow, yellow were the flamboys
They carried in their hands.
There was fiddling, there was dancing
On the day the babe was born
While the royal Queen Jane beloved
Lay cold as a stone.
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Source: Sharp, C (ed),1916,One Hundred English Folksongs,Boston,Oliver Ditson Co
Cecil Sharp wrote:
For other versions see Child (No. 170)) and the Journal of the Folk-Song Society (volume ii, p. 22 1;volume iii, p. 67).
Queen Jane Seymour gave birth to Prince Edward, afterwards Edward VI, on 0ctober 12, 1537, and died twelve days later. There is no evidence that her death was brought about in the way narrated in the ballad.
This set was noted from Mrs. Sweet at Somerton, Somerset, in August 1906. She was aged 61 at the time.
Some editorial changes have been made, mostly for the sake of coherence. One verse has been omitted; I quote here just Mrs. Sweet's final three:
And how deep was the mourning,
How wide was the bands,
How yellow was the flower, my boys,
She carried in her hands.
How she hold it, how she rumpled it,
How she hold it in her hand,
Saying: The flower of old England
Shall never detain me long.
There was a fiddling, there was dancing
The day the babe was born;
To see that Queen Jane, my love,
Lying cold as a stone.
(Cecil Sharp's Collection of Folk Songs, ed. Maud Karpeles, 1974)
Roud: 170 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Related Songs: The World I have Forsaken (melodic)