"The Demon Lover"

Vernon Hill

Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)

 

 

 

"The Demon Lover", also known as "James Harris", "James Herries", or

"The House Carpenter" is a popular English ballad. It tells the story of a

man (usually the Devil), who returns to a former lover after a very long

absence, and finds her with a husband (usually a carpenter) and a baby.

He entices her to leave both behind and come with him, luring her with many ships laden with treasure. Together they board

one of his ships, (which in many versions she is surprised to find does not have a crew) and put to sea.

 

 

 

Vernon Hill's illustration from Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)

 

 

Vernon Hill - 'The Demon Lover' from ''Ballads Weird and Wonderful'' (1912)

Full Image

Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)

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Price: US$5.00

 

Vernon Hill - Detail of 'The Demon Lover' from ''Ballads Weird and Wonderful'' (1912)

Detail (for reference)

Fine Art Poster (10x18'')

Code: VH BWW M3 10x18
Price: US$60.00

 

Fine Art Poster (20x36'')

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'The Demon Lover' from Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)

 

 

The Demon Lover

 

   

"O where hae ye been, my lang-lost love,

This lang seven years and more?"

"O I'm come to seek my former vows

Ye granted me before."

 

"O haud your tongue o' your former vows,

For they will breed sad strife;

O haud your tongue o' your former vows,

For I am become a wife."

 

He turn'd him right and round about,

And the tear blindit his ee;

"I ne'er wad hae trodden on Irish ground,

If it hadna been for thee.

 

"Had I kenn'd that ere I cam here,

I ne'er had come to thee'

I might hae had a king's daughter,

Had it na been for love o' thee."

 

"If ye might hae had a king's daughter,

Yoursell ye hae to blame;

Ye might hae taken the king's daughter,

For ye kenn'd that I was nane."

 

"O fause are the vows o' womankind,

But fair is their fause bodie;

I ne'er wad hae trodden on Irish ground,

Had it na been for love o' thee."

 

"If I was to leave my husband dear,

And my twa babes also,

O what hae ye got to keep me wi',

If I should wi' thee go?"

"See ye not yon seven pretty ships,

The eighth brought me to land,

With merchandise andmariners

And wealth in ilka hand.

 

The she's gane to her twa little babes,

Kiss'd them baith cheek and chin;

Sae has she to her sleeping husband

And done the same to him.

 

She set her foot upon the ship,

No mariners coud she behold;

But the sails were o' the taffetie,

And the masts o' beaten gold.

 

They hadna sail'd a league, a league,

A league but barely three,

When dismal grew his countenance,

And drumly grew his ee.

 

The masts that were like beaten gold,

Bent not on the heaving seas;

The sails that were o' taffetie,

Fill'd not in the east land breeze.

 

They hadna sail'd a league, a league,

A league but barely three,

Until she espied his cloven hoof,

And she wept right bitterlie.

 

"O haud your tongue, my sprightly flower,

Let a' your moanin' bee;

I will showyou how the lilies grow

On the banks of Italy."

"O what hills are yon, yon pleasant hills,

That the sun shines sweetly on?"

"O yon are the hills o' heaven," he said,

"Where you will never win."

 

"O whatten a mountain 's yon," she said,

"Sae dreary wi' frost and snow?"

"O yon is the mountain o' hell," he cried,

"Where you and I will go."

 

And aye when she turn'd her round about,

Aye taller he seem'd to be;

Until that the tops o' that gallant ship

Nae taller were than he.

 

The clouds grew dark, and the winds grew loud,

And the tears fill'd her ee;

And Waesome wail'd the snaw-white sprited

Upon the  gurly sea.

 

He strack the tapmast wi' his hand,

The foremast wi' his knee;

And he brak that gallant ship in twain,

And sank her in the sea.