A holiday, a holiday
The first one of the year
Lord Arland's wife came into the church
The gospel for to hear
And when the meeting it was done
She cast her eyes about
And there she saw little Matty Groves
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"
"Oh, I can't come home, I won't come home
Sleep with you tonight
By the rings on your fingers I can tell
You are my master's wife"
"Well, if I am Lord Arland's wife
Lord Arland's not at home
He is out in the far cornfields
Bringing the yearlings home"
And a servant who was standing by
And hearing what was said
He swore Lord Arland he would know
Before the sun would set
And in his hurry to carry the news
He bent his breast and ran
And when he came to the broad millstream
He took off his shoes and swam
Matty Groves, he lay down
And took a little sleep
When he awoke, Lord Arland
Was standing at his feet
Saying "How do you like my feather bed
How do you like my sheets
How do you like my lady
Who lies in your arms asleep?"
"Oh, well I like your feather bed
And well I like your sheets
But better I like your lady gay
Who lies in my arms asleep"
"Well, get up, get up," Lord Arland cried
"Get up as quick as you can
It'll never be said in fair England
That I slew a naked man"
"Well, I can't get up, I won't get up
I can't get up for my life
For you have two long beaten swords
And I not a pocket knife"
"Well it's true I have two beaten swords
And they cost me deep in the purse
But you will have the better of them
And I will have the worse
And you will strike the very first blow
And strike it like a man
And I will strike the very next blow
And I'll kill you if I can"
So Matty struck the very first blow
And he hurt Lord Arland sore
Lord Arland struck the very next blow
And Matty struck no more
And then Lord Arland took his wife
And sat her on his knee
Saying, "Who do you like the best of us
Matty Groves or me?"
And then up spoke his own dear wife
Never heard to speak so free
"I'd rather a kiss from dead Matty's lips
Than you or your finery"
Lord Arland he jumped up
And loudly he did bawl
He struck his wife right through the heart
And pinned her against the wall
"A grave, a grave," Lord Arland cried
"To put these lovers in
But bury my lady at the top
She was of noble kin"