Death Goes a Walking

from by Faustus

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According to Ruth Tongue, the song is “Possibly c17th based on an earlier tune about the mediaeval dance of death; it has tabor rhythm. This I heard an itinerant labourer sing incessantly. I was recovering from a serious illness in 1911, and was so scared of it I had nightmares”. Conversations between Death and his victims, known broadly as ‘The Dance of Death’ or ‘Danse Macabre’, abounded in medieval texts and thence continued in popularity.

One of several differently-coloured ‘Joke’ tunes, the tune dates back to the eighteenth century (the first printing was in approximately 1720) when it was attached to bawdy lyrics. Having undergone a number of uses, its most common present day rôle is as the accompaniment to a dance of the same name from the Adderbury Morris tradition.


Death Goes a Walking
(Trad / Faustus)

Death he went a walking,
A walking did he.
He met a poor old lady,
So crippled was she.
“Come my pretty one,
Come with me.
I’ll make you so spry as when you were young,
With a pretty blue eye and a tuneable tongue,
And a nimble foot,
So feel my cold breath,
And join in my merry dance”, says Death.

Death he went a walking,
Away from his home.
He met a rich young farmer,
From market he did come.
“Come my jolly lad,
Come with me.
Now leave all your harvest your orchards and gold,
And join in my dance now before you get old.
Won’t you dance with me,
And feel my cold breath?
And join in my merry dance”, says Death.

Death he went a walking,
One morning in May.
He met three little babies,
Who in the meadow played.
“Come my little dears,
Come with me.
And you shall go dancing away and away,
As happy as daisies for ever a day,
And you won’t know grief,
So feel my cold breath,
And join in my merry dance”, says Death.
Death he goes a walking,
So far and so near.
He wanders all over,
But he does not come here.
“Come good neighbour Death,

And set me free.
For I lie in jail a-loaded with chains,
And starve in the straw where none heed my pains,
And I’ll welcome Death,
And feel your cold breath,
And join in your merry dance”, old Death.


from Death and Other Animals, released October 7, 2016
Benji Kirkpatrick - voice, bouzouki, guitars, mandolin
Saul Rose – voice, melodeons
Paul Sartin - voice, oboe, cor anglais, violin

Recorded at Halsway Manor
Produced and engineered by Rupert Christie
Mixed by Sam Burden at Empire Record Studios
Mastered by Nick Cooke at Pure Records



all rights reserved


Faustus England, UK

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Bloke-folk!... Fans of Led Zep III should take a thoughtful interest.’ **** Independent on Sunday
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