The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #29130   Message #2715334
Posted By: Jim Dixon
03-Sep-09 - 09:06 AM
Thread Name: Origins: How many versions of Geordie
Subject: Lyr Add: GEORDIE (Cunningham, 1825)
From The Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern, Vol. II, by Allan Cunningham (London: John Taylor, 1825), page 186:


There was a battle in the north,
And it was fought right proudlie;
And they have slain Sir Charlie Hay,
And laid the wyte on Geordie.
Now he has written a lang letter—
O busk my bonnie ladie;
And haste, and come to Edinbrugh town,
And see what comes o' Geordie.

Whan first she looked the letter on,
She grew baith red and rosie;
But when she read a word or twa,
She wallow't like a lilie:
O saddle to me my gude gray steed—
My Gordons all come wi' me;
For I shall neither eat nor drink
Till my gude lord shall see me.

And soon she came to the water broad,
Nor boat nor barge was ready;
She turned her horse's head to the flood,
And swam through at Queensferry:
But when she to the presence came,
'Mang earls, high and lordlie;
There hat on head sat every man—
While hat in hand stood Geordie.

And there it stood, the fatal block;
The axe was sharp and ready:
Nor did the colour quit his cheek,
Nor was his step unsteady.
Though he was chained in fetters strang,
He looked both bold and lordlie:
O monie a gallant earl I've seen,
But neer a ane like Geordie.

That lady knelt low on her knee—
I wot both pale and wearie:—
O pardon, pardon, noble king,
And gie me back my dearie!
I have borne seven sons to my gude lord—
The seventh ne'er saw his daddie:—
O pity, pity, thou noble king!
O pity a woeful lady!

Gae bid the heading-man make haste,
The king said, stern and lordlie.
O noble king, take all that's mine—
But gie me back my Geordie.
The Gordons gude came gathering round—
A stark band and a steady;
And ay the word among them a'
Was, Gordons keep you ready.

An old lord at the king's right hand
Says, noble king, but hear me:—
Gar her pay down five thousand pound,
And gie her back her dearie.
Some gae her merks, some gae her crowns,
And bonnet pieces many;
And she's told down five thousand pounds,
And gotten again her dearie.

She blinkit blythe in her Geordie's face,
Says, dear I've bought thee, Geordie;
But there should been bloody sarks in the court
Ere I had tint my laddie.
He claspet her by the middle sae sma,
And he kist her lips fu' ready—
The fairest flower of womankind
Is my sweet bonnie lady.

This genuine old song relates to some forgotten feud between the powerful Gordons and Hays. The third verse is restored from the recitation of Mrs. Cunningham, and is one of the finest verses in the song. The courage of the lady in braving the flood, and the appearance of her lord abiding the judgment of his peers and his king, are briefly and naturally told. The concluding verse, too, is very characteristic. The lady was alike prepared to purchase her husband's freedom by silver or by sword; and like a prudent heroine, she chose the safest way and the best. It was first printed in the Museum, from a copy supplied by Burns, which, perhaps, accounts for the excellence of the concluding verse.