The Keys of Canterbury
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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Lyrics
This is a variation of Madam, Will You Walk?

The earliest printed copy of that tune is found in Haliwell's Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales (1849). The volume consists of nursery rhymes that he collected from "oral traditions." The tune was known in both England and Scotland. It is also known in the Appalachians. It was used in some areas as a two team singing game.

Other variants and alternate titles include: The Keys of Heaven, Madam I Present You with Six Rows of Pins, The Disdainful Lady, There Stands a Lady on the Mountain, There Stands a Lady in the Ocean, Lady on the Mountain, When I Was Young I Was Well Beloved, If You Will Walk With Me, Oh Madam I Will Give to Thee, Blue Muslin and The Little Row of Pins.

Another male/female courtship song is Huntingtower.

O Madam, I will give you
The keys of Canterbury,
And all the bells in London
Shall ring to make us merry.
If you will be my joy, my sweet and only dear,
And walk along with me, anywhere.


I shall not, Sir, accept of you
The keys of Canterbury,
Nor all the bells in London,
Shall ring to make us merry.
I will not be your joy, your sweet and only dear,
Nor walk along with you, anywhere.


O Madam, I will give to you
A pair of boots of cork,
The one was made in London,
The other made in York,
If you will be my joy, my sweet and only dear,
And walk along with me, anywhere.



I shall not, Sir, accept of you
A pair of boots of cork,
Though both were made in London,
Or both were made in York.
I will not be your joy, your sweet and only dear,
Nor walk along with you, anywhere.


O Madam, I will give you
A little gold bell,
To ring for your servants,
And make them serve you well.
If you will be my joy, my sweet and only dear,
And walk along with me, anywhere.


I shall not, Sir, accept of you
A little gold bell,
To ring for all my servants,
And make them serve me well.
I will not be your joy, your sweet and only dear,
Nor walk along with you, anywhere.


O Madam, I will give you
A gallant silver chest,
With a key of gold and silver
And jewels of the best.
If you will be my joy, my sweet and only dear,
And walk along with me, anywhere.


I shall not, Sir, accept of you
A gallant silver chest,
With a key of gold and silver
And jewels of the best.
I will not be your joy, your sweet and only dear,
Nor walk along with you, anywhere.


O Madam, I will give you
A broidered silken gownd,
With nine yards a-drooping
And training on the ground,
If you will be my joy, my sweet and only dear,
And walk along with me, anywhere.


O Sir, I will accept of you
A broidered silken gownd,
With nine yards a-drooping
And training on the ground,
Then I will be your joy, your sweet and only dear,
And walk along with you, anywhere.

Related Links
From Folk-Songs, Chanteys and Singing Games
Information from:
Folksongs of Britain and Ireland
See Bibliography for full information.