Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy



User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,EllenA Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher (11) RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher 18 Jul 17


I'd love lyrics confirmation from anyone who has the printed lyrics or who might be able to ask Archie Fisher directly, but in the mean time, here is an excellent post that I received via email from my wonderful friend Casey (Diplocase on mudcat), that I am passing along with her permission. Seems like a reasonable enough explanation (inasmuch as faerie glamour and shape shifting are reasonable....) for the lyrics we think we've deciphered from listening to the recording!

--Ellen

===========================
Ellen - i would change only one phrase in the lyrics, see below.

my own take on this is that this is not a shape-shifting ballad but a fairy glamour ballad. the fairies enchanted the daughter, Elaine, into the appearance of a bird.

The Good Folk are said not to be able to physically change a thing, but only to sustain an illusion. Fairy enchantment is generally considered not to change the essence of the thing; it can only change human perceptions of it. Elaine, for example, couldn't fly, and the Fairies can't make her fly, but they can make others think she flies; they can make her think she flies; and they can make others see her as a bird. That would be consistent with her father seeing her as a bird, but a bird sitting on a stone--not the usual place to find a bird, but a reasonable place to find a young woman. Thus cats and other animals are said to 'see through' glamour and thus to know that an enchanted illusion is fake.

An example of this principle is that people who have been with the fairies are said sometimes to die of starvation: what they eat in faerie isn't actually food but leaves and grass enchanted to look, feel, taste and satisfy like food, but it's still leaves and grass in essence, and cannot nourish. Since the Good Folk eat and drink only for pleasure, not nourishment, that's fine for them but not for their human guests.   I would speculate that Elaine's fatal arrowhead was iron, which is said to allow one to perceive the true shape of an enchanted thing through the glamour.

When the bird was shot, Elaine's death released her from the enchantment and she once again had her true appearance, that of a woman.   In this scenario, what flew away would be, not a bird, but the persistent illusion of a bird that the fairies had created. I don't recall ever reading of the enchanted living thing separating itself at death from the glamour that had been cast over it, and the illusion going on alone for a while, but it is not counter to anything I've run into in fairy lore, either.

An interesting example of the interpenetration of the glamour and the enchanted being is the girl in La Blanche Biche (The White Doe, a French ballad). She tries to dissuade her brother from hunting the white doe, and tells her mother that she is a maiden by day and a white doe by night. When her brother's huntsman goes to butcher the doe killed in the hunt, he says "I know not what to say. She had a maiden's breasts and blonde hair" Another version says he found "her white hands" within the doe's skin. Inexplicably the doe is cooked and served anyway and the sister is able to speak to her brother from the plates of food! French ballads are a bit different from the Norse/Saxon tradition we know.

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For the Lord of the May has sorrow for aye:       for aye = forever, without end
his daughter away wi' the faeries was ta'en

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
After mony's the year, to bring him some cheer
The Lord of the May to the hunting has gane

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For he drew not his bow at a deer or a roe
But the bonnie white bird that sat on a stane [ stone ]

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For his arrow he shot but it harm-ed her not
For it died in the heart of his daughter Elaine

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
The Lord of the May has sorrow for aye:
his daughter away by the faeries was ta'en


Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.