From the recording Sleepy Hollow: Love is Scary

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Written and recorded in 2020 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Kristen sings the famously loved story by setting her original lyrics to a traditional folk tune ("When Johnny Comes Marching Home"/"Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye") and arranging the accompaniment as an organ duet (four hands, four feet — links to buy sheet music on this site).

Experience the spookiness of autumnal Hudson Valley through pipe organ and voice. Listen for the fugue played by one organist in the middle of the song, and continued by both organists at the end of the song. All themes entangle to make the heart thump, acknowledging that, indeed, LOVE IS SCARY!


Traditional folk tune,
Lyrics and arrangement by Kristen Lawrence

A village along the Hudson shore,
O heart! O heart!
Not long after Revolution’s War,
O heart! O heart!
Was the site of specters and reverie
And legends like Major André’s tree,
For the old Dutch wives say
Spirits appear once more.


The Hessian rides again tonight,
O heart! O heart!
To remedy England’s losing fight,
O heart! O heart!
Where a cannonball carried off his head;
He’ll search for his, but take yours instead,
For the Headless Horseman
Of Sleepy Hollow
Haunts with his weapon drawn,
Returns to his grave at dawn.

When Ichabod Crane did journey down,
O heart! O heart!
As schoolmaster to this Tarry Town,
O heart! O heart!
He became enraptured by local tales
Of haunted valleys and ghostly trails,
Taking fearful pleasure,
Credulous by renown.


Katrina Van Tassel sparked the eye,
O heart! O heart!
Of all lads beneath that witching sky,
O heart! O heart!
And as rapt was Ichabod by her charm,
He too desired her father’s farm,
So the heiress conquest
Added a suitor spry.

A rivalry with Brom Bones ensued,
O heart! O heart!
That roistering swain stirred up a feud,
O heart! O heart!
For in love and war all the paths are wide,
And head games splatter the countryside.
Courting hearts are wary,
Thumping when spooked or wooed.

A frolic at old Van Tassel’s stead,
O heart! O heart!
Gave Ichabod hope that he might wed,
O heart! O heart!
For Katrina smiled while they danced a spree
Which deepened Brom’s morbid jealousy.
Only tales told after
Boded where night would head.

Brom’s narrative of the trooper ghost,
O heart! O heart!
Held sway over Ichabod the most,
O heart! O heart!
As the revel ended, the teacher stayed
And, thinking his lady’s heart had swayed,
The coquette rejected
All that he thought to boast.


Dejected, he traveled back through night,
O heart! O heart!
That region of shadows fooled his sight,
O heart! O heart!
Then a figure galloping, head in hand,
Gave chase, dragooning with terror spanned,
And he hurled a pumpkin,
Smashing the fearful wight.


Brom married Katrina and estate,
O heart! O heart!
Did each play a game to win their mate?
O heart! O heart!
Some reports of Ichabod’s whereabouts
Came late, but everyone held their doubts,
For they all knew he was
Spirited off by fate.

(Alternative chorus:)

The Hessian spreads his spell of dread,
O heart! O heart!
Look out, for you just might lose your head
And heart! And heart!
So if goblins gallop across your path,
Beware of love games and mindless wrath.
Seeking love is scary;
It beats all hollow
Mortals who once adored,
Soon struck by a flying gourd.

Copyright © Kristen Lawrence 2020