Know something about this song or lyrics? Add it to our wiki.
I'd like to tell you people I met her at a fair,
But I met her in a pub down by the far side of the square.
She was dark and she was handsome and her name was Mary-Lee,
And I'll tell you of the good times of Mary-Lee and me.

She said she was a gypsy and I knew she didn't lie -
You could see the fires of India in her dark and roaming eyes.
I knew I couldn't hold her, I knew she must be free
But no power on Earth could quench the love I had for Mary-Lee.

She said the time of horses had long since passed away
The family remembers them as carefree happy days.
Her granddad used to drive in a pony and a trap,
But now they lived in Bradford where her father dealt in scrap.

I couldn't really tell you how we passed away our time.
We mostly spent the evenings drinking Tetley's Ale and wine.
Although it may seem commonplace the way I'm telling you,
To me a life with Mary-Lee was like a dream come true.

I courted this young gypsy girl from autumn into spring
And I thought that the time had come for me to offer her my ring.
But I never plucked my courage up before I became to see,
That Mary-Lee grew restless with the pudding of the trees.

It was on a Sunday afternoon I called to take her out.
It was Mary's dad, not Mary, who answered to my shout,
"If it's her that you're seeking you've a long long way to go,
She joined a band for Scotland at least twelve hours ago."

For a while I stood there speechless at what her father said,
And the promises I'd hoped for were still ringing in my head.
And I knew that I must travel on the road that she'd gone on -
Even if it took me to the dark side of the sun.

So early the next morning I started for Ilkley.
The city was silent and still as a stone.
With hope in my heart and fire in my head,
I set off to find where the gypsies had gone.

I flagged down a car that dropped me at Bolton
The valley before me, the town at my back
Walking alone by the low hills of Wharfedale,
By the black top of Kilty I saw the dawn crack.

The first one I met on the road was a farmer.
He nodded his head as he passed me by.
I asked him politely if he'd seen the gypsies,
"They were camped up at Langstrothdale," came his reply.

By the evening I came to the village of Buckden
And decided that here I should make my night's stop.
"Have you seen the gypsies?" I asked my friend Jackie,
"They've moved on," he said, "They've gone over the top."

So next morning I took the road into Wensleydale,
Moorland before me, stretched out like a dream.
Up by the boulders and over the bridge
Where the white lady walks into the stream.

I stopped an old man I'd met once before:
Kit Calvert, the maker of Wensleydale cheese.
And when I asked Kit if he'd seen the gypsies,
The words that he spoke helped to put me at ease.

He said, "The gypsies left early, I watched as they went
They had one amongst them, thy dark haired lass.
She shouted to me from the back of a wagon
They were making for Keld by the Buttertubs Pass."

Now the Buttertubs Pass, it's steep and it's high
And the horses would find it a hard way to go.
If I set on the road and my boots didn't fail me
I might catch them up before daylight was through.

High on the road, and nobody near me,
Far from the city, and far from all harm.
Sheep on the hillside, grouse in the heather,
The blind windows of a far-distant farm.

As the sun dropped down low I came into Thwaite,
Leaving behind me the dusk on the fell.
I started straight away down the road into Keld
Where Neddy once played his harmonium and bells

From a field by the road I saw the smoke rising.
I hitched up my pack and I rounded the bend.
I first saw the horses, and then saw the wagons,
And I knew that my journey was nearing its end.

Mary walked up to me and I looked into her eyes,
And the sadness in her face is a thing I can't describe.
We didn't speak a word, there was nothing we could say
About the closing of a love affair, the closing of a day.

Mary took my hand in hers, I took her hand in mine,
Just one more night together before we had our time.
We couldn't sleep inside the van (there wasn't any room)
So I spent the night in Mary's arms beneath the haloed moon.

I woke up in the morning, the light was cold and grey.
The gypsies and their caravans had gone upon their way.
In my head a burning pain, in my heart a hole,
By my side a note was pinned, "Have mercy on my soul."

The last time I heard a word about my Mary Lee,
She was married to a tinker and was living in Dundee.
They say she has a baby now to bounce upon her knee,
And I wonder in the long nights if she ever thinks of me.


Lyrics submitted by Starfighter Pilot

The Gypsy song meanings
Add your thoughts

1 Comment

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentNice to see Mr Fox on this website - especially this song, the title track of their second and final album and the best thing they ever did.

    They really were the forgotton band of early British folk rock (along with Trees). Everybody remembers Steeleye and Fairport but very few remember the wild north-of-England semi acoustic sound of Mr Fox. Live, they were unpredictable. Occasionally they were terrible, but on the majority of nights they were mind-bogglingly good. They were probably the scariest folk band ever to stalk a stage. Most of their songs were spooky in the extreme and their style of playing suited the material to a T.
    BoultersCanaryon July 10, 2009   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain