Janet sits in her lonely room, sewing a silken seam
Looking out on Carterhaugh, among the roses green.
And Janet sits in her lonely bower, sewing a silken thread
And longed to be at Carterhaugh, among the roses red.

She's let the seam fall at her heel, the needle to her toe
And she has gone to Carterhaugh as fast as she can go.
She hadn't pulled a rose, a rose, a rose, but only one
When there appeared him, young Tam Lin, says, "Lady, let alone."

"What makes you pull the rose, the rose? What makes you break the tree?
What makes you come to Carterhaugh without the leave of me?"

"But Carterhaugh is not your own, roses there are many.
I'll come and go all as I please, and not ask leave of any."

And he has took her by the hand, took her by the sleeve,
And he has laid this lady down, among the roses green.
And he has took her by the arm, took her by the hem,
And he has laid this lady down, among the roses red.

There's four and twenty ladies fair, sewing at the silk,
And Janet goes among them all, her face as pale as milk
And four and twenty gentlemen, playing at the chess
And Janet goes among them all as green as any glass

And up then spoke her father, he spoke it meek and mild,
"Oh alas, my daughter, I fear you go with child.
And is it to a man of might, or to a man of means?
Oh who among my gentlemen shall give the babe his name?"

"Oh Father, if I go with child, this much to you I tell:
There's none among your gentlemen that I would treat so well.
And Father, if I go with child, I must bare the blame:
There's none among your gentleman shall give the babe his name."

She's let the seam fall at her heel, the needle to her toe
And she has gone to Carterhaugh as fast as she can go.
She's down among the weeds, down among the thorns,
And then appeared Tam Lin again, says, "Lady, pull no more."

"What makes you pull the poison rose? What makes you break the tree?
What makes you harm the little babe that I have got with thee?"

"Oh, I will pull the rose Tam Lin, I will break the tree,
But I'll not bear the little babe that you have got with me."

"If he were to a gentleman, and not a wild shade,
I'd rock him all the winter's night and all the summer's day."

"Then take me back into your arms, if you my love would win,
And hold me tight and fear me not, I'll be a gentleman.
But first, I'll change all in your arms into a wild wolf,
But hold me tight and fear me not, I am your true love."

"And then, I'll change all in your arms into a wild bear,
But hold me tight and fear me not, I am your husband dear.
And then, I'll change all in your arms into a lion bold,
But hold me tight and fear me not, and you will love your child."

At first, he changed all in her arms into a wild wolf.
She held him tight and feared him not: he was her own true love.
And then, he changed all in her arms into a wild bear.
She held him tight and feared him not: he was her husband dear.
And then he changed all in her arms into a lion bold.
She held him tight and feared him not, the father of her child.

And then he changed all in her arms into a naked man.
She’s wrapped him in her coat so warm, and she had brought him home.


Lyrics submitted by pkmnavy

Tam Lin (Child 39) song meanings
Add your thoughts

No Comments

sort form View by:
  • No Comments

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