GALLOWS POLE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
GALLOWS POLE
“The Maid Freed from the Gallows” is one of many titles of a centuries-old folk song
about a condemned maiden pleading for someone to buy her freedom from the
executioner. The ballad existed in a number of folkloric variants from many different
countries, and has been remade in a variety of formats. It was recorded in 1939 as “Gallis
Pole” by folk singer Huddie Ledbetter (better known as Lead Belly), but the most famous
version was the 1970 cover of the Lead Belly version by English rock band Led Zeppelin,
which was entitled “Gallows Pole” on the album Led Zeppelin III.
Hangman, hangman, hold it a little while,
I Think I see my friends coming, Riding many a mile.
Friends, you get some silver?
Did you get a little gold?
What did you bring me, my dear friends? Keep me from the Gallows Pole.
What did you bring me to keep me from the Gallows Pole?
I couldn’t get no silver, I couldn’t get no gold,
You know that we’re too damn poor to keep you from the Gallows Pole.
Hangman, hangman, hold it a little while,
I think I see my brother coming, riding many a mile.
Brother, you get me some silver?
Did you get a little gold?
What did you bring me, my brother, to keep me from the Gallows Pole?
Brother, I brought you some silver, yeah.
I brought a little gold, I brought a little of everything
To keep you from the Gallows Pole.
Yes, I brought you to keep you from the Gallows Pole.
Hangman, hangman, turn your head awhile,
I think I see my sister coming, riding many mile, mile, mile.
Sister, I implore you, take him by the hand,
Take him to some shady bower, save me from the wrath of this man,
Please take him, save me from the wrath of this mad, man.
Hangman, hangman, upon your face a smile,
Tell me that I’m free to ride,
Ride for many mile, mile, mile.
Oh yes, you got a fine sister, She warmed my blood from cold,
She warmed my blood to boiling hot to keep you from the Gallows Pole,
Your brother brought me silver, Your sister warmed my soul,
But now I laugh and pull so hard, see you swinging from the Gallows Pole