A holiday, a holiday,
The first one of the year,
Lord Arnold's wife came into 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 tonight."
"Oh I can't come home, I won't come home
And sleep with you tonight
By the rings on your fingers I can tell
You are Lord Arnold's wife."
"'Tis true I am Lord Arnold's wife,
But he is not at home
He is out to the far corn fields,
Bringing the yearlings home."
A servant who was standing by,
Hearing what was said
Swore Lord Arnold, he would know,
Before the sun was set.
And in his hurry to carry the news,
He bent his breast as he ran
And when he came to the broad mill stream
He took off his shoes and swam
"Awake, awake, my Lord Arnold,
As thou art man of life,
For Little Matty Groves is at thy house
Abed with thy wedded wife."
"If this be true, my loyal man,
This thing thou tellest me,
Then all the land about my house
I freely give to thee.
"But if this thing it is a lie
This thing thou tellest me,
From the highest tree in all my land
Then hanged shalt thou be."
Little Matty Groves, he started up.
"Methinks I hear a jay.
Methinks I hear my Lord Arnold
And I would I were away!
"lie still, lie still, young Matty Groves,
And huggle me from the cold,
'Tis only some little shepherd boy
abringing his sheep to the fold."
Little Matty Groves, he lay down
And took a little sleep
When he awoke, Lord Arnold
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,
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
Who lies in my arms asleep."
"Well Get Up! Get Up!" Lord Arnold cried,
"Get Up as quick as you can
It'll never be said in fair England
I slew a naked man!"
"Oh I can't get up and I won't get up,
I won't get up for my life
For you have two long beaten swords
And I have but a pocket knife."
"Well it's true I have two beaten swords,
They cost me deep in the purse
But you will have the better of them
And I will have the worst.
"And you will strike the very first blow
And strike it like a man
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 Arnold sore
Lord Arnold struck the very next blow
And Matty struck no more.
And then Lord Arnold he took his wife,
He sat her on his knee
Saying "who do you like the best of us,
Your dead Matty Groves or me?"
And then up spoke his own dear wife
Never heard her speak so free
"I'd rather one kiss from dead Matty's lips
Than you in your finery."
Then Lord Arnold he jumped up
And loudly he did bawl
He stuck his wife right through the heart
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.