The Recompense

It’s of a bold young captain and married he would be
For seven long years he’d courted his own sweet love Marie
He’s asked it of her father, likewise her mother too, 
To wed their youngest daughter that he did love most true

The wedding being over, the church bells they did ring   
(When) a horseman came a-riding with orders from the king 
That if he be an honest man, as he had once foreswore
Then he would leave his dear-ey, and march that day to war 

The bride she fell a-weeping, her heart was broken in two
The captain he held her to his breast saying “Love, a fond adieu
But when this war is over and my duty it is done
No more then shall I leave you and we shall live as one”

But the bells that rang on his return, they rang not so for him
But for his wife, who there did stand, to sport a new gold ring 
He asked then of this newmade bride, a place that he might bide
She said, “My dear young stranger, you find us occupied”
Well, he turned then to her mother, who’d loved him as her own
She smiled upon this stranger, his face to her unknown
She said “My gallant captain, with us you’ll find some rest
So come my brave young soldier boy, you’re welcome as our guest”

And those who stood about him, invited him to dine
As to the wedding feast they went, to sup the good red wine
At this his heart did gladden and he did not them deny
But went to sit beside the bride with mischief in his eye

As he drew near the groom did stand all for to bar his way
 “Not one step more now soldier boy, I order you to stay 
For, here sits my newly wedded wife and one so dear to me
Think no more to press upon her, for she is naught to thee?”

 “Oh where now are those tokens that I gave unto my love?
That bright gold ring I placed on her before the Lord above?”
At this the bride did loudly call, “Dear mother of Jesus Christ,
 This morn I rose a widow but now I am married twice!”

She’s taken out her bridal purse where sat ten thousand in gold
She’s placed it on the table saying unto him “Behold,
Ten thousand would I freely give, as recompense to thee,
A recompense of newly-weds that you should now set free.”

Trad: Québécois, Arr. Na-Mara

We have translated this song from the singing of electrotrad Québécois singer, Mélisande Gélinas-Fauteux. It provides a radically different ending to the conventional tale of the long-lost soldier returning home unrecognised to test his sweetheart before declaring all.