“The Witch of the Westmoreland”
Pencil, pastel, and watercolor
I painted this and supposedly finished it in the winter of 2021, when I was still COVID sequestered, for 14 months, in the old Mark Addy Inn…far up in the mountains. We weren’t allowed to have more than five guests at a time over that year. We (Karen,Kasse, and I) were a skeleton-crew at most, in the big old house, and we often had no guests. It was, actually, a very beautiful and somewhat magical place to pass a pandemic. We had a full pantry, supplied with at least six months worth of everything one could need in a high-end inn. I cooked.
I found this small painting today and realized that, with a few touches to the mist, it already said all that needed to be said. The song is mysterious and beautiful….go to:

It’s a very fine song, and worthy of all men to hear. My good guess is that most women already already know its meaning. (see below)

“Pale was the wounded knight, that bore the rowan shield
Loud and cruel were the raven’s cries that feasted on the field
Saying “Beck water cold and clear will never clean your wound
There’s none but the witch of the Westmoreland can make thee hale and soond”

So turn, turn your stallion’s head ’til his red mane flies in the wind
And the rider of the moon goes by and the bright star falls behind
And clear was the paley moon when his shadow passed him by
Below the hills were the brightest stars when he heard the owlet cry

Saying “Why do you ride this way, and wherefore came you here?”
“I seek the Witch of the Westmorland that dwells by the winding mere”
And it’s weary by the Ullswater and the misty brake fern way
Til throught the cleft in the Kirkstane Pass the winding water lay
He said “Lie down, my brindled hound and rest ye, my good grey hawk
And thee, my steed, may graze thy fill for I must dismount and walk
But come when you hear my horn and answer swift the call
For I fear ere the sun will rise this morn ye will serve me best of all”

And it’s down to the water’s brim he’s born the rowan shield
And the goldenrod he has cast in to see what the lake might yield
And wet she rose from the lake, and fast and fleet went she
One half the form of a maiden fair with a jet black mare’s body

And loud, long and shrill he blew til his steed was by his side
High overhead the grey hawk flew and swiftly did he ride
Saying “Course well, my brindled hound, and fetch me the jet black mare
Stoop and strike, my good grey hawk, and bring me the maiden fair”

She said “Pray, sheathe thy silvery sword. Lay down thy rowan shield
For I see by the briny blood that flows you’ve been wounded in the field”
And she stood in a gown of the velvet blue, bound round with a silver chain
And she’s kissed his pale lips once and twice and three times round again

And she’s bound his wounds with the goldenrod, full fast in her arms he lay
And he has risen hale and sound with the sun high in the day
She said “Ride with your brindled hound at heel, and your good grey hawk in hand
There’s none can harm the knight who’s lain with the Witch of the Westmorland. “