Young Hunting

First demo with guitar and voice only.


2nd demo complete with overdubbed fake banjo and sitar for extra colour. (Actually a Variax 300 imitating a Gibson Mastertone and a Coral Sitar.)


Words traditional, somewhat arranged by me. Tune is mine.

The unaccompanied version below is much older.

This is a traditional ballad (Child 68). Nick Cave recorded a version of an American variant called Henry Lee. So Wikipedia tells me. I was never a Bad Seeds follower…

I don’t usually rewrite traditional songs, and I honestly can’t remember where I found these words (though I suspect that they’re from the US), but I liked the way they pared down most of the elements of the story without completely losing the supernatural aspect, and I don’t think I tweaked them very much. I didn’t have a tune, so I wrote one. I haven’t sung it in decades, but I suddenly remembered it when I was working up another song of mine that uses a variation of the same tune.

Demo unaccompanied (earlier) version:

Young Hunting (arr. and adapted Harley)

Light down, light down my own true love
And stay with me the night
For I have a bed and a fireside too
And a candle that burns so bright.

I can’t light down and I won’t light down
Nor spend the night with thee
For I have a love and a true true love
Would think so ill of me

But he’s bent down from his saddle
To kiss her snowy white cheek
She’s stolen the dagger from out of his belt
And plunged it into him so deep

She’s taken him by his long yellow hair
And the maid’s taken him by the feet
They’ve plunged him into that deep doleful well
Full 20 fathoms deep

And as she’s turned her round to go home
She’s heard some pretty bird sing
Go home, go home you cruel girl
And weep and mourn for him

Fly down, fly down you pretty bird
Fly down and go home with me
And your cage will be made of the glittering gold
And the perch of the best ivory

I can’t fly down and I won’t fly down
And I’ll not go home with thee
For you have slain your own true love
And I’m feared you’ll murder me

I wish I had my bent horn bow
And drawn with a silken string
I surely would shoot that cruel bird
As sits in the briars and sings

I wish you had your bent horn bow
And drawn with a silken string
I surely would fly from vine to vine
And always you’d hear me sing

Author: David Harley

Musician/singer/songwriter; independent author/editor

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