- A holiday, a holiday, and the first one of the year
Lord Arnold's wife to the church did go, the Gospel for to hear
The Gospel for to hear.
- And when the meeting it was done, she cast her eyes about
And there she spied little Matty Groves, walking in the crowd
Walking in the crowd
- "Come home with me little Matty Groves, come home with me tonight
Come home with me little Matty Groves, and sleep with me till light
And sleep with me till light."
- "Oh I can't come home and I won't come home, to sleep with you tonight
By the rings on your fingers I can tell, you are Lord Arnold's wife
You are Lord Arnold's wife."
- "What if I am Lord Arnold's wife, he is not at home
He's away in the far cornfields, he's bringing the yearlings home
He's bringing the yearlings home."
- A servant who was standing by, hearing what was said
Swore Lord Arnold he would know before the sun had set
before the sun had set.
- And in his hurry to carry the news, he bent his breast and ran
And when he came to the broad mill stream, he took off his shoes and swam
he took off his shoes and swam.
- Little Matty Groves, he lay down and took a little sleep
And when he woke Lord Donald was standing at his feet
was standing at his feet.
- Saying "How do you like my feather bed, and how do you like my sheets
And how do you like my lady gay who lies in your arms asleep
Lies in your arms asleep?"
- "Oh it's well I like your feather bed, better I like your sheets
Best of all I like your lady who lies in my arms asleep
lies in my arms asleep."
- "Get up, get up," Lord Arnold cried, "get up as quick as you can
For they'll never say in England that I killed a sleeping man
that I killed a sleeping man."
- "Oh I can't get up, I won't get up, I wouldn't get up for my life
For you have two long beaten swords, and I not a pocket knife
and I not a pocket knife."
- "It's true I have two beaten swords, and they cost me deep in my purse
But you shall have the better of them, and I will use the worse
and I will use the worse.
- "And you shall strike me the very first blow, strike it like a man!
For I will strike the very nex blow, I'll kill you if I can
I'll kill you if I can."
- So Matty struck the very first blow, and he hurt Lord Arnold sore
Lord Arnold struck the very next blow, and Matty struck no more
and Matty struck no more.
- And then Lord Arnold he took his wife, and set her on his knee
Saying "Who do you like the best of us now, your dead Matty Groves or me
your dead Matty Groves or me?"
- And then up spoke his own dear wife, never heard to speak so free
"I had rather a kiss from dead Matty's lips than you and your finery
than you and your finery."
- At that Lord Arnold he did jump up and loudly did he bawl
He struck his wife right through the heart and pinned her against the wall
and pinned her against the wall.
- "A grave, a grave," Lord Arnold cried, "to put these lovers in
But bury my lady at the top, for she was of noble kin
for she was of noble kin."