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Published on May 6, 2010
There are multiple of different versions and names of this traditional song (Child ballad 93). For example Lamkin and Lambkin. This version is by Fire + Ice appearing on their album Gilded By The Sun (1992). One of my favourite British traditional songs, a real dark ballad.
"Says the lord to his lady as he mounted his horse Beware of long lankin who lives in the moss Says mylord to Mylady as he went on his way Beware of long lankin who lives in the hay"
See the doors are all bolted, see the windows all pinned, And make sure theres no crack for him to creep in. so the doors were all bolted and the windows were pinned through a gap in the window long lankin crept in
Where's the lord of the household? cries Long Lankin. He's away up to London, says the false nurse to him. Where's the lady of the household? cries Long Lankin. She's asleep in her chamber, says the false nurse to him.
Where's the heir of the household? cries Long Lankin. He's asleep in his cradle, says the false nurse to him. So we'll pinch him and prick him all over with a pin. to make his mother come down to him
So they pinched him and they pricked him all over with a pin. And the false nurse held the basin for the blood to run in. Oh nurse how you slumber, oh nurse how you sleep, You leave my small baby to cry and to weep.
Oh, I tried him with the milk and I've given him a pat. Come down, my lady, and rock him in your lap. How dare I come down in the dead of the night When no candle is burning and no fires alight?
But, the lady came downstairs, aware of no harm Lankin stood ready to catch her in his arm. There's blood in the kitchen, there's blood in the hall, There's blood in the parlour where mylady did fall. There's blood in the parlour where the lady did fall.
Additional verses to the story, taken from Martin Carthy's version:
Her handmaid stood out at the window so high And she saw her lord and master come a-riding close by. Oh master, oh master, don't lay no blame on me. 'Twas the false nurse and Lankin that killed your lady.
Oh master, oh master, don't lay no blame on me. It was the false nurse and Lankin that killed your baby. Long Lankin shall be hanged on the gallows so high. And the false nurse shall be burned in the fire close by.
Wikipedia quote: "Lambkin" is not one of the major league Child ballads in terms of popularity, but it was widely known in England and Scotland, and even more so in North America. ... . The central character's name varies considerably, including, in just the English versions 'Lambkin', 'Lamkin', Lincoln' and 'Limkin", and he is various referred to as 'Long', 'Bold', 'Cruel' and 'False'.