—— folk family and jam

house carpenter

Well met, well met, my own true love
Well met, well met, cried he
For I have returned from the salt salt sea
All for the love of thee.

And I could have married a King's daughter dear
She would have married me
But I have returned without that crown
All for the love of thee

Well If you could have married a King's daughter fair
I'm sure you are to blame
I have married a house carpenter,
Find him a pleasing young man:

Well would you forsake your house carpenter,
And go along with me?
I'd take you to where the grass grows green
By the banks of the deep blue sea.

Well if I should forake my house carpenter,
And go along with thee
What do you have to maintain me upon
To keep me from poverty

Six ships, six ships all on the sea.
The seventh on dry land
A hundred and ten brave sailor men
All at your command

Well she has taken her own little babe
Kisses give her three
Saying stay you here with my house carpenter
Keep him good company

Well they had not been gone but about two weeks
I'm sure it was not three
When this fair maid began to mourn
Weeping most bitterly

Why do you weep my own true love
Wep you for your golden store?
Or do you weep for your house carpenter
whom you shall never see more?

I do not weep for my house carpenter
Nor for my golden store
But I do weep for my own sweet babe
Whom I shall never see more.

What hills, what hills are those my love
That stand so fair and high
Those are the hills of heaven my love
But not for you and I

What hills what hills are those my love
Those hills so dark and low
Those are the hills of hell my love
Where you and I must go.

From I got it from Joan Baez - more or less.  Never got further than the first couple of verses as far as writing it out goes. 
It kept on coming back to me - it was one of the tunes I could play finger-picking style, it was vaguely annoying not having the words. 
I picked them up from www.

The story seems perhaps to be a cautionary tale; you do something bad and you'll end up in hell.
But in several versions the long-lost lover grows after a couple of weeks at sea, to gigantic proportions and bangs the main mast through the bottom of the ship with one blow of his mighty fist.  The ship sinks, obviously.  And another title for this song is "The demon lover".  So the story is she is tempted, her true love is a demon, or impersonated by one.  But the ship she boards is taking her to hell.
This was collected by Child (243), in several versions.

Joan Baez has done it.  Bob Dylan in a version seemingly without enthusiasm or feeling.  Natalie Merchant has done it.  Cornelis Vreeswijk took the melody for one of his ballads.