I am taking a second course from the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic. This one is an "Introduction to British Folklore".
The first section of the course is on British Ballads as collected by Francis James Child. It was suggested in the course that in many of the ballads, there was a practice of "leaping and lingering", where the ballad would move from one thought or place to another very quickly with no explanation and then linger at a new thought or place for a time before leaping again. As a creative quest, it was suggested that one might fill in a gap in a ballad in some manner.
Back in the 60's, when I was singing folksongs with my guitar in various places, I used to sing a song that was made popular by Joan Baez. She identified it as a Child ballad called "Geordie". Due to my current studies on British ballads I have discovered that her "Geordie," was a new version of about a dozen versions that Child had collected. Her version was much simplified and much shorter. I have no idea who or when this new version was made. Perhaps it was Joan herself?
Minutes ago I read in a Wikipedia article that there are "about 129 distinct versions - 40 from England, 27 from Scotland, 2 from Ireland, 52 from the United States and 8 from Canada." Amazing!
Back to the task at hand: because there were two sites mentioned in the Child version 209F that I could identify, I chose to work with that version.
Here is the complete 209F Geordie version from
‘GEORDIE Lukely is my name,
And many a one doth ken me; O
Many an ill deed I hae done,
But now death will owrecome me. O
209F.2 ‘I neither murdered nor yet have I slain,
I never murdered any;
But I stole fyfteen o the king’s bay horse,
And I sold them in Bohemia.
209F.3 ‘Where would I get a pretty little boy,
That would fain win gold and money,
That would carry this letter to Stirling town,
And give it to my lady?’
209F.4 ‘Here am I, a pretty little boy,
That wud fain win gold and money;
I’ll carry your letter to Stirling town,
And give it to your lady.’
209F.5 As he came in by Stirling town
He was baith weet and weary;
The cloth was spread, and supper set,
And the ladies dancing merry.
209F.6 When she read the first of it,
She was baith glad and cheery;
But before she had the half o’t read,
She was baith sad and sorry.
209F.7 ‘Come saddle to me the bonnie dapple gray,
Come saddle to me the wee poney;
For I’ll awa to the king mysell,
And plead for my ain love Geordie.’
209F.8 She gaed up the Cannogate,
Amang the puir folk monie;
She made the handfus o red gold fly,
And bade them pray for Geordie,
And aye she wrang her lily-white hands,
Saying, I am a wearyd lady!
209F.9 Up and spoke the king himsell,
And oh, but he spok bonnie!
‘It’s ye may see by her countenance
That she is Geordie’s lady.’
209F.10 Up and spoke a bold bluidy wretch,
And oh, but he spoke boldly!
‘Tho [thou] should pay ten thousand pounds,
Thou’ll never get thy own love Geordie.
209F.11 ‘For I had but ae brother to mysell,
I loved him best of any;
They cutted his head from his fair bodie,
And so will they thy love Geordie.’
209F.12 Up and spoke the king again,
And oh, but he spak bonnie!
‘If thou’ll pay me five thousand pound,
I’ll gie thee hame thy love Geordie.’
209F.13 She put her hand in her pocket,
She freely paid the money,
And she’s awa to the Gallows Wynd,
To get her nain love Geordie.
209F.14 As she came up the Gallows Wynd,
The people was standing many;
The psalms was sung, and the bells was rung,
And silks and cords hung bonnie.
209F.15 The napkin was tyed on Geordie’s face,
And the hangman was just readie:
‘Hold your hand, you bluidy wretch!
O hold it from my Geordie!
For I’ve got a remit from the king,
That I’ll get my ain love Geordie.’
209F.16 When he heard his lady’s voice,
He was baith blythe and merry:
‘There’s many ladies in this place,
Have not I a worthy ladie?’
209F.17 She mounted him on the bonnie dapple grey,
Herself on the wee poney,
And she rode home on his right hand,
All for the pride o Geordie."
According to Google Earth, it is about 50 kilometres from
Stirling to Canongate as the crow flies.
(Continued on the next blog entry . . .)