Mudcat Café message #3315205 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #140911   Message #3315205
Posted By: Mick Pearce (MCP)
29-Feb-12 - 02:41 PM
Thread Name: Child Ballads: US Versions
Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions

Here's the version from the Minstrelsy. You can actually download a copy from In fact I used a djvu copy I'd downloaded from there to get the main text below; but as the ocr has inevitable errors I proofread it against my paper copy of the book.



Lord Beichan was a noble lord,
A noble lord of high degree;
He shipped himself on board a ship,
He longed strange countries for to see.

He sailed east, he sailed west,
Until he came to proud Turkey,
Where he was ta'en by a savage Moor,
Who handled him right cruellie.

For he viewed the fashions of that land,
Their way of worship viewed he;
But to Mahound or Termagant
Would Beichan never bend a knee.

So on each shoulder they've putten a bore,
In each bore they've putten a tye,
And they have made him trail the wine,
And spices on his fair bodie.

They've casten him in a donjon deep
Where he could neither hear nor see;
For seven long years they've kept him there,
Till he for hunger's like to dee.

And in his prison a tree there grew,
So stout and strong there grew a tree,
And unto it was Beichan chained,
Until his life was most weary.

This Turk he had one only daughter,
Fairer creature did eyes ne'er see;
And every day as she took the air,
Near Beichan's prison passed she.

And bonny, meek, and mild was she,
Tho' she was come of an ill kin;
And oft she sighed, she knew not why,
For him that lay the donjon in.

O! so it fell upon a day,
She heard young Beichan sadly sing;
And aye and ever in her ears,
The tones of hapless sorrow ring —

"My hounds they all go masterless,
My hawks they flee from tree to tree,
My younger brother will heir my land,
Fair England again I'll never see."

And all night long no rest she got,
Young Beichan's song for thinking on;
She's stown the keys from her father's head,
And to the prison strong is gone.

And she has ope'd the prison doors,
I wot she opened two or three,
Ere she could come young Beichan at —
He was locked up so curiouslie.

But when she came young Beichan before,
Sore wondered he that maid to see !
He took her for some fair captive —
"Fair ladye, I pray of what countrie?"

"Have you got houses? have you got land?
Or does Northumberland 'long to thee?
What would ye give to the fair young ladye
That out of prison would set you free?"

"I have got houses, I have got lands,
And half Northumberland 'longs to me —
I'll give them all to the ladye fair
That out of prison will set me free.

"Near London town I have a hall,
With other castles two or three;
I'll give them all to the ladye fair
That out of prison will set me free."

"Give me the troth of your right hand,
The troth of it give unto me,
That for seven years ye'll no lady wed,
Unless it be along with me."

"I'll give thee troth of my right hand,
The troth of it I'll freely gie,
That for seven years I'll stay unwed,
For kindness thou dost show to me."

And she has bribed the proud warder,
With golden store and white money,
She's gotten the keys of the prison strong,
And she has set young Beichan free.

She's gi'en him to eat the good spice cake,
She's gi'en him to drink the blood-red wine;
And every health she drank unto him —
"I wish, Lord Beichan, that you were mine;"
And she's bidden him sometimes think on her
That so kindly freed him out of pine.

She's broken a ring from off her finger,
And to Beichan half of it gave she:
"Keep it to mind you of that love
The lady bore that set you free."

O she took him to her father's harbour,
And a ship of fame to him gave she;
"Farewell, farewell to you, Lord Beichan,
Shall I e'er again you see ?

"Set your foot on the good ship board,
And haste ye back to your own countrie,
And before seven years have an end
Come back again, love, and marry me."

Now seven long years are gone and past,
And sore she longed her love to see,
For ever a voice within her breast
Said "Beichan has broken his vow to thee."
So she's set her foot on the good ship board,
And turned her back on her own countrie.

She sailed east, she sailed west,
Till to fair England's shore came she,
Where a bonnie shepherd she espied,
Feeding his sheep upon the lea.

"What news, what news, thou bonnie shepherd ?
What news hast thou to tell to me?"
"Such news I hear, ladye," he said,
"The like was never in this countrie.

"There is a wedding in yonder hall,
(I hear the sound of the minstrelsie),
But young Lord Beichan slights his bride
For love of one that's ayond the sea."

She's putten her hand in her pocket,
Gi'en him the gold and white monie —
"Here, take ye that, my bonnie boy,
For the good news thou tell'st to me."

When she came to Lord Beichan's gate
She tirled softly at the pin,
And ready was the proud warder
To open and let this ladye in.

When she came to Lord Beichan's castle,
So boldly she rang the bell —
"Who's there? who's there?" cried the proud porter,
"Who's there? unto me come tell?"

"O! is this Lord Beichan's castle?
Or is that noble lord within?"
"Yea, he's in the hall among them all,
And this is the day of his weddin'."

"And has he wed another love,
And has he clean forgotten me?"
And sighing, said that ladye gay:
"I wish I was in my own countrie."

And she has ta'en her gay gold ring,
That with her love she brake so free —
"Gie him that, ye proud porter,
And bid the bridegroom speak to me.

"Tell him to send me a slice of bread,
And a cup of blood-red wine,
And not to forget the fair young ladye
That did release him out of pine."

Away and away went the proud porter,
Away and away and away went he,
Until he came to Lord Beichan's presence,
Down he fell on his bended knee.
"What aileth thee, my proud porter,
Thou art so full of courtesie?"

"I have been porter at your gates,
Its thirty long years now, and three,
But there stands a ladye at them now
The like of her I ne'er did see.

"For on every finger she has a ring,
And on her mid-finger she has three,
And as much gay gold above her brow
As would an earldom buy to me;
And as much gay clothing round about her
As would buy all Northumberlea."

Its out then spak' the bride's mother —
Aye, and an angry woman was she —
"Ye might have excepted the bonnie bride,
And two or three of our companie."

"O hold your tongue, ye silly frow,
Of all your folly let me be,
She's ten times fairer than the bride
And all that's in your companie.

"She asks one sheave of my lord's white bread,
And a cup of his red, red wine;
And to remember the ladye's love
That kindly freed him out of pine."

Lord Beichan then in a passion flew,
And broke his sword in splinters three—
"O, well a day," did Beichan say,
"That I so soon should married be;
For it can be none but dear Saphia
That's crossed the deep for love of me."

And quickly hied he down the stair,
Of fifteen steps he made but three,
He's ta'en his bonnie love in his arms,
And kist and kist her tenderlie.

"O, have you taken another bride,
And have ye quite forgotten me,
And have ye quite forgotten one
That gave you life and libertie?"

She looked over her left shouther,
To hide the tears stood in her e'e —
"Now fare thee well, young Beichan," she says,
"I'll try to think no more on thee."

"O! never, never, my Saphia,
For surely this can never be,
Nor ever shall I wed but her
That's done and dreed so much for me."

Then out and spak' the forenoon bride —
"My lord, your love is changed soon;
At morning I am made your bride,
And another's choose ere it be noon!"

"O sorrow not, thou forenoon bride,
Our hearts could ne'er united be,
You must return to your own countrie,
A double dower I'll send with thee."

And up and spak' the young bride's mother,
Who never was heard to speak so free —
"And so you treat my only daughter,
Because Saphia has cross'd the sea."

"I own I made a bride of your daughter,
She ne'er a whit the worse can be,
She came to me with her horse and saddle,
She may go back in her coach and three."

He's ta'en Saphia by the white hand,
And gently led her up and down,
And aye as he kist her rosy lips,
"Ye're welcome, dear one, to your own."

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand,
And led her to yon fountain stane,
Her name he's changed from Saphia,
And he's called his bonny love Lady Jane.

Lord Beichan prepared another marriage,
And sang with heart so full of glee —
"I'll range no more in foreign countries,
Now since my love has crossed the sea."

There are several versions of this highly popular and apparently
ancient ballad in the works of Jamieson, Kinloch, Motherwell, &c,
and in the "Local Historian's Table Book,"vol. II., p. 20, New-
castle-upon-Tyne, 1842, the last being an English traditional version
communicated by Mr. J. H. Dixon, of Seaton Carew.
Jamieson suggests that the name of the hero should be not
"Beichan,"but "Buchan;" and another editor or annotator (Percy
Society Publications, No. 43) surmises "that the hero was one of
the ancient and noble border family of 'Bertram;'" whilst Mother-
well refers the ballad to an incident in the life of Gilbert, father of
the celebrated Thomas a Becket. In this opinion he is supported
by Professor Child, of Boston, U.S.A. There is also the popular song
of "Lord Bateman,"a ludicrously corrupt copy of this ballad, an
edition of which (in the Cockney vernacular, with comic illustrations
by George Cruickshanks, and notes of a burlesque character) was
published by Tilt, of London, many years ago, containing the air to
which the ballad was sung in the South of England — totally different
from the Northern melody, which is here given.

Source: Bruce & Stokoe: Northumbrian Minstrelsy, 1882.