The Death of Queen Jane
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

An version of this ballad appears as early as 1612. It is reprinted in Old Ballads (1723). A ballett and The Lamentation of Queen Jane were licensed in 1560. The Duke of Bedford is related to this ballad.

This is Child Ballad #170.

The Queen Jane referred to is Jane Seymour, third of Henry VIII's six wives, and mother to his only legitimate son, Edward VI. Jane bore Edward on October 12, 1537 and died on October 24. There were rumors that surgery was involved in the birth (i.e. that it was cesarean) from which Queen Jane died. The rumors were denied.

For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site go to Francis J. Child Ballads.

Queen Jane was in labour
For six days or more,
Till her women got tired
And wished it were o'er.

Good women, good women,
Good women if you be,
Will you send for King Henry,
For King Henry I must see.

King Henry was asent for,
King Henry did come,
For to meet with Queen Jane:
My love, your eyes do look so dim.

King Henry, King Henry,
King Henry if you be,
If you have my right side open'd
You will find my dear baby.

Queen Jane, my love,
Queen Jane, my love,
Such a thing was never known,
If you have your right side open'd
You will lose your dear baby.

Will you build your love a castle
And lie down so deep
For to bury my body
And christen my dear baby.

King Henry went mourning,
And so did his men
And so did his dear baby
For Queen Jane did dien.

How deep was the mourning,
How wide were the bands,
How yellow, yellow were the flamboys,
They carried in their hands.

There was fiddling, there was dancing,
On the day the babe was born,
While the royal Queen Jane
Beloved lay cold as stone.
Related Links
From One Hundred English Folksongs and
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
See Bibliography for full information.