The haunting Scottish ballad “The Daemon Lover” ensares you with a tragic tale of a woman being visited by a past lover… who is later revealed to be The Devil. He tempts her away from her child and husband with promises of land, riches, lurid promises of dark enchantments… She kisses her child goodbye, and they leave by ship. But her lover takes her not to a beautiful shining shore, but tears the ship apart and drags her through the waves onto the dark shores of Hell.
The song has been Americanized as House Carpenter, a foreboding folk song that makes the lover/Satan connection a lot more ambiguous, and the woman appears much more regretful of all she left behind. The lover realizes this as well, and calls her out in anger while she curses the day he walked back into her life. A storm smashes the ship and together they die with furious outrage out in the ocean.
Even more fun stuff! You know, for kids!!
Anyway, House Carpenter is a wonderfully disturbing tune, and Nickel Creek’s version is probably my favorite. I included the lyrics below because why not. Enjoy!
Well met, well met, said an old true love
Well met, well met, said he
I just returned from the salt, salt sea
And its all for the love of thee
Come in, come in, my own true love
And have a seat by me
Its been three-fourths of a long, long year
Since together we have been
I cant come in and I cant sit down
For I’ve only a moment’s time
They say you’re married to a House Carpenter
And your heart will never be mine
I could’ve married the kings daughter fair
And she would’ve married me
But I have forsaken her crowns of gold
And it’s all for the love of thee
Now you’ll forsake your House Carpenter
And go along with me
I’ll take you where the grass grows green
On the banks of the deep blue sea
Then she picked up her darling little babe
And kisses she gave it three
Saying stay right here my darling little babe
And keep your pop company
They had not been on the ship two weeks
I’m sure it was not three
Til this true love began to weep and to mourn
And she wept most bitterly
Saying are you weeping for my silver and my gold?
Saying are you weeping for my store?
Or are you weeping, for your House Carpenter
Whose face you’ll never see no more?
A curse, a curse to the sailor, she cried
A curse, a curse, she swore
You robbed me of the darling little babe
That I shall never see no more
They had not been on the ship three weeks
I’m sure it was not four
When there came a leak, in the bottom of the ship
And sank them for to rise no more…