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question on Outlandish Knight

DigiTrad:
FALSE SIR JOHN
FALSE SIR JOHN 2
LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF-KNIGHT
LADY ISOBEL AND THE ELF KNIGHT
OUTLANDISH KNIGHT
THE KING O' SPAIN'S DAUGHTER
THE LONELY WILLOW TREE


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Kentucky version of Lady Isabel (8)
Penguin: The Outlandish Knight (13)
Seeger/Outlandish Knight version? (39)
Lyr Req: Castle by the Sea (Lena Bourne Fish) (8)
meaning: 'beechen gold' (from False Lover John) (4)
Lyr Req: charlotte renals' a man from the north #4 (9)
(origins) Origins/Authenticity:Lonely Willow Tree (Child #4) (14)
Version of Lady Isabel and Elf Knight (6)
Tune Req: Outlandish Knight (Fred Jordan) (6)
Lyr Req: Outlandish Knight (Cyril Tawney) (10)
'Italian' Lady Isobel (6)
Lyr Add: The False Young Sailor (10)
Chords: Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight (5)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Le Tueur de Femmes


Wolfgang 18 Feb 00 - 05:16 AM
wysiwyg 18 Feb 00 - 08:44 AM
Stewie 18 Feb 00 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Arthur K. 18 Feb 00 - 09:11 AM
Abby Sale 18 Feb 00 - 10:11 AM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Feb 00 - 11:24 AM
Wolfgang 18 Feb 00 - 12:04 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Feb 00 - 02:34 PM
Abby Sale 18 Feb 00 - 08:39 PM
Pelrad 18 Feb 00 - 08:56 PM
Sandy Paton 19 Feb 00 - 12:16 AM
Abby Sale 19 Feb 00 - 11:11 AM
Sandy Paton 20 Feb 00 - 12:06 AM
John Moulden 20 Feb 00 - 05:33 AM
Garry Gillard 20 Feb 00 - 07:26 AM
Grey Wolf 20 Feb 00 - 09:00 AM
Abby Sale 20 Feb 00 - 10:49 AM
Uncle_DaveO 20 Feb 00 - 11:37 AM
Sandy Paton 20 Feb 00 - 01:25 PM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Feb 00 - 02:57 PM
Sandy Paton 20 Feb 00 - 08:40 PM
Garry Gillard 20 Feb 00 - 09:59 PM
Wolfgang 21 Feb 00 - 05:08 AM
Abby Sale 21 Feb 00 - 11:53 AM
Alan of Australia 21 Feb 00 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Wolfgang 23 Feb 00 - 10:21 AM
Garry Gillard 27 Feb 00 - 12:14 AM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 05:49 AM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jun 01 - 07:09 AM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 07:27 AM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 07:29 AM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jun 01 - 08:09 AM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 08:13 AM
Snuffy 25 Jun 01 - 09:35 AM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Jun 01 - 10:32 AM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 10:40 AM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jun 01 - 12:01 PM
pavane 25 Jun 01 - 05:39 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jun 01 - 08:05 PM
Garry Gillard 06 May 02 - 01:41 AM
Anglo 07 May 02 - 12:55 AM
GUEST,Souter 07 May 02 - 07:24 PM
Uncle_DaveO 08 May 02 - 09:34 AM
michaelr 08 May 02 - 09:15 PM
Uncle_DaveO 08 May 02 - 11:04 PM
GUEST,Roberto 28 Sep 02 - 11:33 AM
Joe Offer 28 Sep 02 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Roberto 28 Sep 02 - 01:17 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Sep 02 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Roberto 28 Sep 02 - 04:09 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Sep 02 - 11:43 PM
Abby Sale 06 Oct 02 - 05:54 PM
Abby Sale 06 Oct 02 - 06:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Oct 02 - 07:27 PM
robinia 07 Oct 02 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,roberto 07 Oct 02 - 01:47 PM
Nerd 07 Oct 02 - 04:31 PM
Amos 07 Oct 02 - 08:14 PM
Abby Sale 08 Oct 02 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Roberto 09 Oct 02 - 11:52 AM
Uncle_DaveO 09 Oct 02 - 12:15 PM
Nerd 09 Oct 02 - 03:00 PM
Nerd 09 Oct 02 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,what does the bit about the parrot mean? 08 Feb 04 - 08:10 PM
Uncle_DaveO 08 Feb 04 - 09:25 PM
GUEST 09 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM
Uncle_DaveO 09 Feb 04 - 07:25 PM
Joybell 09 Feb 04 - 07:36 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Feb 04 - 09:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Feb 04 - 10:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Feb 04 - 12:17 AM
GUEST,visitor (Kirsty) 10 Feb 04 - 12:35 AM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Feb 04 - 12:49 AM
Joybell 10 Feb 04 - 07:32 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Feb 04 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,padgett 11 Feb 04 - 09:10 AM
Joybell 11 Feb 04 - 04:46 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Feb 04 - 11:34 AM
Joe Offer 12 Feb 04 - 04:25 PM
LadyJean 13 Feb 04 - 12:35 AM
Joybell 13 Feb 04 - 05:11 PM
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Subject: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 05:16 AM

Outlandish Knight, a version of Child #4, is in the database. Martin Carthy sings it on his Shearwater LP. He starts with completely different lyrics for the first four verses. Later on the lyrics are much closer.
Carthy starts "Lady Margaret sat..." which could possibly come from Child #74, Fair Margaret and Sweet William. I have only an abridged one volume Child (one of the bigger mistakes of my life, when I had the choice 20 years ago) and so I can't check myself what I'd like to know:

Is there a version of Child #2 in which there are starting verses about Lady Margaret?
Or did Martin Carthy "marry" two ballads to make a new one (Shearwater is the only Carthy LP I have without notes)?

Wolfgang


Search for "Outlandish" threads


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 08:44 AM

Thanks to your question, I went to LINKS at top of page and soon found:

Francis J. Child Ballads http://www.childballads.com

Francis J. Child Ballads; with Biography of Child, Complete List of Child Ballads, Lyrics, Tune Information, Midis, Historical Background and Tune Related Links

What it didn't tell me ans was a lovely surprise was that it includes Carolan stuff too!!!!

When I went there briefly it began to lay me a tune. I'm going back there now!

There was an entry there on Outlandish Knight.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Stewie
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 08:51 AM

Wolfgang, none of the versions of Child #2, 'The Elphin Knight', has any mention of Lady Margaret.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,Arthur K.
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 09:11 AM

Heard Shropshire traditional singer, Fred Jordan sing a beautiful long version of the Outlandish Knight back in the fifties. I think he was recorded by Lomax and Kennedy about that time, and is on the Caedmon collection of The Folksongs of Britain. Try their reference TC1145 "The Child Ballads". Good luck.

Arthur K.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Abby Sale
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 10:11 AM

Here begins confusion. Fair Margaret and Sweet William are stock characters & show in many ballads & floater verses. Child, himself, relates #74 to #73, Lord Thomas & Fair Annet. The DT version also has the whole parrot sequence. This is trad. in this song but itself a floater which I associate more with The Greycock series. I wouldn't pay much attention to names or subplots as to the core story of the ballad. (Not necessarily easy to line out either.) #4, Elf (Outlandish) Knight is a baddy, come to murder the seventh princess. She kills him instead.

In #74, Fair Margaret and Sweet William are tragic lovers, he's (usually he) a ghost and we have the night-visiting element (usually.) But the lover may be revenant or live - it may wind up a simple night-visiting song or a ghost song.

I generally "need" to place songs in relationship & sequence but there are exceptions. In this case I'd leave it alone.

DT gives a favorite version of mine as the Peggy Seeger "Greycock" and (correctly) cites Child #48. Her & MacColl's Blood and Roses series (and Sam Hinton's Wandering Folksong) do a fine job of examples of the problem.

Good luck.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 11:24 AM

A. L. Lloyd did a version on Folkways many years ago, which is (more's the pity) not in the Smithsonian-Folkways collection..... ..It had no named characters at all, but was in the first-person voice of the female character. It started, "An outlandish knight from the northland y-came, And he came a-wooin' of me. And he said he would take me to that northern land, And there he would marry me." It ends with the parrot sequence. I had this song along with about 7 hours of unaccompanied Child ballads, sung by Ewan McColl and A.L. Lloyd, on reel-to-reel tape. The reels were mislaid for many years, and two of them just showed up. I'd like to find a technician who would try to deal with this old, old tape stock and copy it off to cassettes, if it's not too badly deteriorated. Any suggestions?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 12:04 PM

Thanks for all these responses so far.
The core story in Martin Carthy's song sure is the Outlandish Knight, but the starting sequence seems to be more different than what can usually be expected (and not just a Child variant I didn't know yet, thanks, Stewie). I still wonder a bit where Martin Carthy got his version from or whether he made it himself (as he sometimes does).

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 02:34 PM

There were sleevenotes with the original (vinyl, 1972) release of Shearwater, though for some unknown reason they are replaced in the CD insert (1991) with a piece about Carthy by Maggie Holland and John Tobler.  Beyond some general observations about The Outlandish Knight and MayDay in Padstow, Carthy says only, "The tune is my own".  No clues to his source(s).

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Abby Sale
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 08:39 PM

doesterr, that's most likely the Riverside/Washington series. Spectactular work with full Goldstein notes, glossary, etc. How I started to learn Scots. 1956. Still have them & prize them highly. I'm pretty sure all Folkways recordings are available on tape, if not CD. The Riverside collection is also a treasure & I do hope it can one day be recreated & made available. Lots of good stuff. Lots.

Wolfgang, I'm not aware Carthy makes up that much as to texts. Tune arrangements & Anglicazations of Scots texts, yes, but I don't think much more. Well, how much do you want to know? Bronson has a huge number of versions of this & I could compare with DT. Or ask.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Pelrad
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 08:56 PM

Barrand and Roberts have recorded a version that seems similar to the A.L. Lloyd version, at least in lyrical content. It too has no character names and ends with the parrot. "An outlandish knight came to the northland. He came a-wooing me. He said he would take me into the northland and there his bride I would be..." It's on their album "A Present From the Gentlemen."


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 19 Feb 00 - 12:16 AM

Joe Hickerson recorded a very similar (apparently) version for Folk-Legacy. Available on cassette, with booklet.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Abby Sale
Date: 19 Feb 00 - 11:11 AM

BTW, I just received by US Federal postal service a fine Margaret MacArthur CD including this & other ballads too. Mostly New England (esp Vermont) versions. Surprisingly complete ones.

Since I was "raised" on MacColl's approach, it's always a pleasure to listen to a gentle & compelling approach such as Margaret's. It works even for the bloodiest bits, just as MacColl works for the lovey bits. There's something about the great ballads in the mouth of a good singer...

In this Vermont version, "She seized him up in her arms so brave / And threw him into the salt sea." (tough gal.) The parrot sequence is 5 verses including the lie that Lady has called the parrot (thus accidently waking her father) so parrot will scare away the black cat at te door. Men don't come off well in this song.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 12:06 AM

It turns out that the version Joe Hickerson recorded for us on Drive Dull Care Away, Volume 2 was learned from Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag, but Joe mislearned the tune, switching it from Myxolidian to Aeolian. Sandburg has obtained a number of songs (without the tunes) from Robert W. Gordon who was the first head of the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress, a position Joe Hickerson later held for a number of years. Gordon had the text from Mrs. O. Mobley of Springfield, Illinois. Joe thinks that Sandburg may have taken the tune he used from Kidson's Traditional Tunes (1891), but notes that it was in 4/4 rather than 3/4 there. Thus, kids, is the tradition modified.

As Vonnegut would say: "And so it goes..."

Sandy


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: John Moulden
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 05:33 AM

The version Bert Lloyd sang which begins "An outlandish knight ..." is in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs and has probably recently been posted.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 07:26 AM

Thanks for asking the question, Wolfgang.

One thing I'd like to know, Abby, is what the hell is Martin Carthy's chorus line, the second line of the version he sings, which sounds something like

Baba and the lily va

which makes me sound stupid asking ...

Gaz


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Grey Wolf
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 09:00 AM

Gaz,

I'd heard it as:

"Lady Margaret she sits, in here bower window
And she's sewing of the lily white"

That is just a guess though

Wolf


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Abby Sale
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 10:49 AM

Gaz, I have a bunch or MacColl/Seeger versions but not the Carthy Shearwater. Wolf's suggestion seems possible. If you'll type in the first 5 verses (ie, the different ones & the ref to DT) I will check Bronson.

Now here's something... - Incidentally, every time I get another Folk-Legacy record, and I have about 1,200 of them, I say Now that's my favorite. Very annoying. But, on my favorite F-L record, Fair Winds and a Following Sea, is a shorter version of "C'est l'Aviron," a song I learned from an actual French Canadian & we sang in the streets of Paris in 1959. Pretty good memories there. But the note-writer for the record notes a connection between this classic paddling song & Child #4. The notes follow Laura Smith & Child but this is a case I find I'd like to see the missing links. (I know Sandy is not now staking his life on this claim - it's just interesting.)

The first line is normally "M'en revenant de la jolie Rochelle." While 'revenant' could be a ghost ('returned one') if a noun - and the traveller does meet several pretty women, he has other notions than to kill them. It's usually taken as "As I returned to..." from 'revenir' the verb. (I'm going by the dictionary here, not my profound knowledge of French.) Still, this shows how widely the ideas in the song can be strewn.

Still, Hickerson does a good job too. (As I said, ALL F-L records are my favorite.)

There's another motif of the song that intrigues me; Lady is often compared to a man. Instead of submitting & getting killed as a proper lady should, she behaves like a man & defends & violently kills. (See my quote above) Sometimes this is is extended to such male adjectives as Steadfast & Brave, etc.


Boycot South Carolina!


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 11:37 AM

I just checked the version in the DT. It's very similar but to A.L. Lloyd's version I spoke of. The tune given, however, is quite different. .....Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 01:25 PM

I can't comment on Tom McHenry's note, Abby, as I have no understanding of French, classic or Canadian. All I did was type what Tom wrote. I assume responsibility only for the typos in the booklet. And Joe Offer can testify as to my typo-frequency! He's called upon regularly to correct the worst offenders in my Mudcat posts.

Someday, by golly, I'm going to get both of those Boarding Party Folk-Legacy recordings out on CD. They are really gems!

Sandy


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Subject: ADD: Le Tueur de Femmes (Outlandish Knight)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 02:57 PM

These are the first four verses of the Carthy version.  The first refrain line is, I think, meaningless; I've rendered it as close as I can to the sound, but others may be able to get closer.  So far I am defeated by the first line of verse two!

Lady Margaret she sits in her bower sewing
Ba-ba and a lily-ba
When she saw the knight with his horn a-blowing
On the very first morning of May.

"Oh (ought oh ought)?? would give to me rest
And* that young knight lay here on my breast."

Now the lady she had these words scarce spoken
When in at her window the knight come a-jumping.

"Oh, strange it is, oh strange, young woman
I can scarce blow my horn since I heard you a-calling."

* In the old sense, probably, meaning "If".

After this we get to the usual sequence:

Go get me gold... etc.

I don't know about C'est l'Aviron, (though I'd be very surprised if "M'en revenant de" meant anything other than "While I was coming back from") but The Outlandish Knight is certainly well-known in France (as in a number of countries, of course) where it is usually called Le Tueur de Femmes. Now that I've mentioned it, I just have to post the thing...

LE TUEUR DE FEMMES

"Allons, la belle, nous promener,
En attendant le déjeuner.
Allons, la belle, allons-y donc:
'Y a du plaisir nous promenant."

Ils ne furent pas à mi-chemin:
"Mon Dieu, Renaud, que j'ai grand faim!"
"Mangez, la belle, votre main,
Jamais ne mangerez de pain."

Ils ne furent pas au bord du bois:
"Mon Dieu, Renaud, que j'ai grand soif!"
"Buvez, la belle, votre sang,
Jamais ne boirez de vin blanc."

Et quand la belle fut promenée,
Elle demanda-t-à se loger.
Tu logeras dans le vivier,
Ou j'ai sept femmes de noyées."

Et quand ils furent au bord du vivier,
Lui dit de se déshabiller:
La belle ôta son blanc jupon
Pour aller voir la mer à fond.

"C'est pas à toi, franc chevalier,
De voir ta mie déshabiller.
Mets ton épée dessous tes pieds
Et tourne-toi vers le vivier."

Elle l'a pris, l'a embrassé,
Dans la rivière elle l'a jeté:
"Pêche, Renaud, pêche poisson;
Si tu y en prends, en mangerons!"

Quand le beau galant fut à l'eau,
Il se raccroche à une branche;
La belle tira son grand couteau,
Coupa la branche au ras des flots.

"Voici les clefs de mon château;
La belle, je vous les donnerez."
"Je m'soucie autant de tes clefs
Que je me soucie de toi*."

"La belle, qui vous ramenera
Vers le château de votre père?"
"Le cheval qui nous amena
Bien doucement m'y ramenera."

"Mais que diront tous vos parents
De vous voir revenir seulette?"
"Je leur dirai la vérité;
Que tu as voulu me noyer!"

* pronounced the old way, to rhyme with clefs.

This version, from the Ile de France, was recorded by Jean-Francois Dutertre on L'Epinette Des Vosges (Chant du Monde LDX 74536, 1974).  The song has sometimes been found as a second part to La Fille au Roi Louis, and it is from one of these -probably the version printed in Henri Davenson's Livre des Chansons, that Dutertre got his melody.  I'll send a .midi to the midi site.  Davenson also gives a (very similar) version, but with a far less interesting tune.

"Let us go out riding, fair maid, while we wait for the midday meal.  Let us go, fair maid, let us go, then; there is pleasure in going out riding."
They were scarcely half way along the road: "My God, Renaud, I am very hungry!"  "Eat your own hand, fair maid: you will never (again) eat bread."
They were scarcely at the edge of the wood:  "My God, Renaud, I am very thirsty!" "Drink your own blood, fair maid; you will never (again) drink white wine."
And when the fair maid had taken her ride, she asked to go home.  "Your home shall be in the pond*, where I have seven drowned wives."
And when they were on the edge of the pond, he told her to undress.  The fair maid took off her white petticoat, to go and see the bottom of the sea.
"It's not for you, bold knight, to see your sweetheart undress; put your sword beneath your feet, and turn towards the pond."
She has taken hold of him, put her arms around him; into the river she has thrown him.  "Go fishing, Renaud: if you catch anything there, we will eat it!"
When the handsome young man was in the water, he catches hold of a branch.  The fair maid pulled out his** big knife (and) cut off the branch, level with the waves.
"Here are the keys to my castle; I shall give them to you, fair maid."  "I care as much for your keys as I do for you."
"Fair maid, who will take you back to your father's castle?"  "The horse that brought us here will take me back gently enough."
"But what will your family say when you return all alone?"  "I shall tell them the truth: that you tried to drown me!"

* literally, an expanse of water where fish are bred.

** or "her", assuming she had one!


Malcolm


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 08:40 PM

Hats off to Malcolm! That's a wonderful contribution.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 20 Feb 00 - 09:59 PM

Yes indeed!

Thanks very much to Malcolm.

Gaz


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Feb 00 - 05:08 AM

thanks a lot for all the information (and a special thanks to Malcolm for the first four verses and the French variant).

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Abby Sale
Date: 21 Feb 00 - 11:53 AM

Well done from me too, Malcolm. OK. I foolishly offered so I stuck myself. Bronson gives 141 versions, all but one or two with text. None have a refrain, chorus or nonsense burdon. The only similar sound I find is version 31 from Hampshire: In verse 1, line 2, instead of the common "And he came a-wooing to me," this version gives "He came a-bowing to me." Not much help.

Ok. How about the start. Also no help. They always begin from his POV. Ie, the knight comes a-wooing or else He followed her up, he followed her down - many, though go straight to the point in line 1 - Go bring me some of your father's gold.

Incidentally, at this point I see many versions in which she is Pretty Polly (no other relation to "Gosport" though) and it evolves from her being Pretty Polly into the Polly-the-parrot verses. Hmmm.

So Bronson's no help. Still, the version Malcolm enters is very similar to Child A (given exactly in filename[ ELFKNIG2). This does have a burdon & begins:

1 FAIR lady Isabel sits in her bower sewing, Aye as he gowans grow gay [hey, Dick - change to 'the gowans'] There she heard an elf-knight blawing his horn. The first morning in May

2 'If I had yen horn that I hear blawing, ['yon horn'] And yen elf-knight to sleep in my bosom.' ['yon']

Hmm; since this is a Scottish version (Buchan) hold on a tic while I check Greig....

Greig did receive a good version from his chief informant but sorry, not much help there either. It's in Last Leaves and, of course, Greig~Duncan. But only a marginal assist. Two verses give the place Knight takes her as "that they call Beenie an by." Greig believes this is a Mondegreen for Binyan's bay. Buchan uses Binyan's bay and flat out states this is the proper local for the murder. It was, he claims, the early name for the site on which Peterhead now stands. Greig doesn't give much credit to that.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 21 Feb 00 - 07:39 PM

G'day,
Thanks to Malcolm the tune to "Le Tueur de Femmes" can be found here at the Mudcat MIDI site.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 10:21 AM

From my point of view, Abby has found it: the song M. Carthy sings is made out of different versions of Child #4.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 27 Feb 00 - 12:14 AM

And here is as close as I (with all the help above) can get to what Martin Carthy sings.

Garry


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 05:49 AM

No-one seems to have mentioned that 'Outlandish' was just an old English word meaning 'foreign' - someone from outside the land. I presume the current meaning comes from the behaviour of foreigners in the past! Also, Knight was derived from a word originally meaning (young?) man, not a necessarily nobleman. This may throw new light on the meaning of the story.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 07:09 AM

I suppose we just assumed that people knew about "Outlandish"; to be honest, I don't think that the derivation of "knight" from Anglo-Saxon "cniht" is particularly relevant here, given the currency of the word in so many ballads and the fact that none of the published texts of this song are particularly old.  Still, it may be that people do make cultural assumptions based mainly on an understanding of the modern meanings only of such words, so perhaps an occasional reminder is useful.  For reference, I've listed the Outlandish Knight material available here and at a number of other sites in another thread:  Penguin: The Outlandish Knight

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 07:27 AM

I think that the song may well be older! If the guy was a nobleman, would he be calling in secret, or would the parents perhaps welcome him, not knowing he was an early conman. He is often seen at the bedroom window, persuading the lady to elope with him - more suggestive of someone of a lower social standing than the 'bride'?
An interesting twist to the incompatible social rank is found in the 'Royal Forester' song, where the whole story seems to indicate that he is a nobelman forced to marry a commoner, but it turns out that it is all a set-up, she is an Earl's daughter, outranking him, and that the 'shotgun wedding' was the only way they had to overcome the barriers!
PS I like Nic Jones' version, now sadly unavailable.

Thanks for the link.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 07:29 AM

Nic's version of the outlandish Knight, I meant, in case my PS causes confusion!


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 08:09 AM

Oh, the story goes back a long way, and turns up all over Northern Europe; Lajos Vargyas thought that it came ultimately from Central Asia more than two thousand years ago, but his (iconographic) evidence seems to have been slender, to say the least (ref. A.L. Lloyd, Folk Song in England, 1967).  However that may be, the extant English language sets of the song that we have are, as I said, relatively recent, with a first appearance in print in (if I remember correctly) the late 18th century.  There isn't much point in trying to analyse this kind of song according to a presumed internal logic, because most of the time there just isn't any; for myself, I'm happy enough with the supernatural explanation of some of the older sets, but I doubt if the majority of traditional singers in the last couple of hundred years saw the song as anything other than an entertaining melodrama.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 08:13 AM

I suppose so - and I never DID understand where he just happened to find a sickle handy, ' to cut down the nettles that grow so close to the brim'!


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Snuffy
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 09:35 AM

Pavane, Royal Forester is a version of Child #110. There are 5 versions in the DT database (Knight & Shepherd's Daughter), and many more in the forum.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 09:50 AM

DO they all have the twist in the tale? That was the whole point of the song. So many people lose the meaning when they retell stories. I remember one longish joke about the origin of the yodel. It ended with the punch line 'And your old Lady' (supposed to sound like a yodel, of course). I once heard some end it with 'And your old woman too'.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 10:32 AM

Come on, everybody. Nobody has answered the important question "What is "baba and the lily va' really supposed to be?"

Last year I, a Yank, took a cruise on an English boat, and most of my dinner-table companions talked like this all week. If English is to remain a medium of communication around the world, we have to help each other out in matters like this.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 10:40 AM

I will listen to Martin Carthy's version again and see if I can hear anything more - or can we ASK Martin what he actually sang/sings?


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 12:01 PM

It probably means nothing at all; Carthy sang ba, not va, as I mentioned earlier (the sound is the result of a vocal mannerism).  I suppose I could quote the following, which I didn't have at the time the question was originally asked.  In a discussion of The Elfin Knight (Child #2), Bronson said, with reference to a blackletter broadside of c.1670, The Wind hath blown my Plaid away, or, A Discourse betwixt a young [wo]man and the Elphin Knight:

"..Without the testimony of the tune, however, we do not know how to read the first refrain-line.  The other (second) refrain-line gives a norm, tetrameter iambic.  But the first, "Ba, ba, ba, lilli ba," has only six, instead of eight syllables, and the accents are uncertain.  The scansion would be settled instantly by the tune, but not the meaning of the line, if it had a meaning.  Supposing it were meant to suggest the horns of elfland (whence the knight fetched his instrument), we should then know how they sounded.  By the merest chance, a traditional version of this ballad was sung in West Newton, Massachusetts, about 1870, to a pentatonic tune with a hornlike second phrase containing the same number of syllables, thus:

Blow blow blow ye winds blow

It may be only a coincidence; but since the version is traditional, it is at least a curious coincidence.  When we find in Scottish tradition, in the first decade of the present century, a form of the ballad to another tune but with twelve stanzas of the earliest text still recognizable, and with refrain-lines almost identical, we begin to suspect a persistent continuity, viz.:

Bo ba ba lee-lie ba

But the sense remains obscure...  mere common sense prompts the conviction that originally neither refrain nor burden had anything to do with this ballad.  No one, making a song on the riddling theme, could have thought up the refrain on rational grounds, or have supposed it appropriate."

-B.H. Bronson (The "Child" Ballads: Fractures in Tradition, paper of 1966)

Bronson goes on to suggest that the lines derive from an earlier, quite different song of the same title, which is not identified.  He also quotes a number of variants of Child #2 found in the United States, which have taken nonsense refrains to a whole new level, Keedle up a keedle up a turp turp tay, Tum a lum a do, castle on my nay being one!

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: pavane
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 05:39 PM

There has been some suggestion that 'nonsense' lyrics or chorus may be a hangover from a previous language. For example, is 'hey derry down' related to the Welsh for Oak, which I think is deri. Hickory Dickory Dock is thought by some to be Celtic (?Druidic) counting for 8,9,10. An old shepherds song from ?Lincolnshire used 'yan tan tethera pethera' for counting, obviously derived from a Celtic language. So perhaps we are looking in the wrong place for sense in these words. It is not so far-fethced, because there have been recorded instances of songs in the Welsh language being collected from non-Welsh speakers.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 08:05 PM

Certainly not impossible, but nevertheless extremely unlikely in this case.  Speculation is often interesting, but we really do need a more specific proposal (original language? possible meaning?) in order to consider something of the sort as a possiblity.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 06 May 02 - 01:41 AM

This song is on Waterson:Carthy's CD A Dark Light, which has not yet been released (but advance copies have been sold in the US). Is is the same song that Martin Carthy sings on Shearwater?

Garry


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Anglo
Date: 07 May 02 - 12:55 AM

Norma said it's the version from the Penguin Book but she changed the tune a bit. The sleeve notes say "Similarly, [referring to her modal changes to the 'Death & The Lady' tune] but this time rhythmically, she also tweaked (ever so slightly) the tune of 'The Outlandish Knight' as found in [Penguin]." What was a 4/4 tune has become 3/4 (or 6/4 if you want to retain the original barring) but there are melodic changes too. It's a long way from Martin's Shearwater version.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,Souter
Date: 07 May 02 - 07:24 PM

Why does it have to have any meaning? Maybe someone way back when couldn't think of the words that fit, so substituted nonsense syllables instead.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 May 02 - 09:34 AM

Seems to me nonsense filler lines or nonsense choruses are best understood as an "instrumental break" of sorts. The pure story, unrelieved, would be "here and gone" too quickly, so to speak, and the sung nonsense lines give a kind of punctuation, stretching the story content into a slower passage through the mind of the hearer.

Besides that, many if not most (I hate to say all) of these songs were originally dance songs. Note the etymological link between "ballad" and "ballet". The nonsense lines and choruses were intended to be chimed in with and sung by the audience.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: michaelr
Date: 08 May 02 - 09:15 PM

I think it may be more than just nonsense. Those syllables remind me of the beginning of "The Great Silkie", where "an earthly norris (nursing mother) sits and sings; and aye she sings BY LILY WEAN" (this is the DT version). Maddy Prior, in the notes from her Ravenchild CD, gives it as BA LILY WAIN. And the other song in the DT, "The Grey Silkie of Sule Skerry", has the words BALOO MY BABE.

So this appears to be representative of the sound of a mother cooing to her baby. Of course there's no mention of a baby in "The Outlandish Knight", but still...

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 May 02 - 11:04 PM

Bye lily wean, or Ba lily wain is just to say (go to sleep?) pretty baby. Nothing nonsense about that.

But talking about nonsense lines, I was referring to such verses as:

A farmer was plowing his field one day
Riteful, riteful, tibby eye ay
A farmer was plowing his field one day
When the Divil came to him and to him did say
With a rite fol lol, tibby eye ay
Riteful, riteful, tibby eye ay!

Now those nonsense lines ARE nonsense, or that's the only way I can read them, and their function is to present a vocal musical passage purposely without sense, as I referred to earlier, to stretch out the story over a larger piece of music. They are, as I see it, the equivalent of an instrumental break.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: outlandish knight
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 11:33 AM

The Outlandish Knight as sung by Norma Waterson, in Dark Luight. In the seventh stanza, she sings: Go get me a sickle to crop off the thistle That grows beneath the brim It will not mingle with my curly locks ............ skin. I can't get the words before the final "skin". Can somebody please help me? Thank you. Roberto
Hi, Roberto - I'm going to move you to the ongoing discussion in another thread.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 12:38 PM

Refresh: anybody have the lyrics Norma Waterson sings? Gary Gillard's watersons lyrics site has at least one version (click), but I'm not sure it's the one you seek. I didn't see anything about curly locks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: OUTLANDISH KNIGHT
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 01:17 PM

These are the lyrics I could write down.I've put the brackets when I'm not sure of the words. There can be more mistakes I'm not aware of, English being not my mother language. Can you please help me correct and complete this text? Thank you. Roberto

Well, an outlandish knight from the northern lands came
He came wooing of me
He told me he'd take me up to the north lands
There he would marry me

Go fetch me some of your father's gold
Some of your mother's fee
And two of the best of your father's horses
(There stands) thirty and three

She's fetched him some of her father's gold
Some of her mother's fee
And two of the best of her father's horses
There stands thirty and three

Then she's mounted on her milk-white steed
He's rode the dapple grey
They rode till they came to the broad riverside
Three hours before it was day

Light down, light down my pretty fair maid
Light down, light down, cried he
Six pretty maidens I've drowned here
And the seventh one you shall be

Pull off, pull off your silken gown
Deliver it over to me
For it is too fine and much too fair
To rotten (in) salt water sea

Go get me a sickle to crop off the thistle
That grows beneath the brim
It will not mingle with my curly locks
Or (…) skin

He's got the sickle to crop off the thistle
That grows beneath the brim
She's caught him round by the middle so small
Tumbled him into the stream

Sometimes he sank, sometimes he swam
Down to the bank came he
Oh help me, oh help me, my pretty fair maid
Or drowned I shall be

Lie there, lie there, you false-hearted man
Lie there instead of me
Six pretty maidens you've drowned there
And the seventh one has drowned thee

She's mounted on her milk-white steed
And led the dapple grey
She rode till she came to her father's door
An hour before it was day

But the parrot was up in his window so high
On hearing the lady, he did say
I was afraid that a ruffian had done you harm
You've tarried so long before day

Don't prittle, don't prattle, my pretty Polly
Don't tell no tales of me
Your cage shall be made of the glistening gold
And your perch of the best ivory

But her father was up in the bedroom so high
Hearing the parrot, did say
What is the matter, my pretty Polly
You've cried so long before day?

Oh, there came an old cat in my window high
To take my life away
And I was just calling my young mistress
To scare that old pussy away


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 01:54 PM

As stated earlier in this thread, Norma sings the set from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, though she has modified the rhythm. The text from that book can be seen in an earlier discussion here:

Penguin: The Outlandish Knight


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Subject: Lyr Add: OUTLANDISH KNIGHT
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 04:09 PM

The Penguin Book version is quite near to what Norma Waterson sings, but it isn't the very same. Where I can't get the exact words, the Penguin Book version doesn't help me. The only thing to do would be to listen to the record and try to write down the words. I still hope somebody who has the CD will do that. Another version very similar to the Penguin Book's is the one by A.L.Lloyd:

An outlandish knight from the north land came
And he came wooing of me
And he told me he'd take me to that northern land
And there he would marry me

Well, she mounted on her lily-white horse
And he upon the grey
And away they did ride to the fair riverside
Three hours before it was day

He says, unlight, unlight my little Polly
Unlight, unlight, cries he
For six pretty maids I've drowned before
And the seventh thou art to be

She says, go get a sickle to crop the thistle
That grows beside the brim
That it may not mingle with me curly locks
Nor harm my lily-white skin

So he got a sickle to crop the thistle
That grow beside the brim
And she catched him around the middle so small
And tumbled him into the stream

Then she mounted on her lily-white horse
And she did ride away
And she arrived at her father's door
Three hours before it was day

Now the parrot being in the windy so high
A-hearing the lady, he did say
I'm afraid that some ruffians have led you astray
That you've tarried so long away

Don't prittle, don't prattle, my pretty Polly
Nor tell no tales of me
And your cage shall be of the glittering gold
And your perch of the best ivory

Now the master being in the bedroom so high
A-hearing the parrot, he did say
What's the matter with you, my pretty Polly
You're prattling so long before day

There came an old cat on the top of me cage
To take me sweet life away
I was just calling on my young mistress
To drive that old pussy away


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 11:43 PM

The texts you quote are nearly identical. Hardly surprising; as Lloyd, too, recorded the version published in the Penguin Book (of which he was an editor). Doubtless there are a few differences of wording in some places due to deliberate or inadvertent modification in both his and Norma's arrangements of the song, but they do seem to be very minor ones. At present I don't have either recording, so I'm afraid I can't be more specific about the fine detail. As it happens, the "Penguin" version from which both derive wasn't exactly what it was made out to be; but that's another story.


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Subject: Lyr Add: OUTLANDISH KNIGHT (from Norma Waterson)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 05:54 PM

Roberto: Sorry for the delay - had to get around to it.  I tend to agree with the others that it doesn't much matter but wotthehell - you wanted to know what the damn words were...

From Norma on the new Wart/Cart CD, Dark Light, best as I hear it.

Outlandish Knight

Well, an outlandish knight from the northern lands came
He came wooing of me
He told me he'd take me up to the north lands
There he would marry me

Go fetch me some of your father's gold
Some of your mother's fee
And two of the best of your father's horses
There stands thirty and three

She's fetched him some of her father's gold
Some of her mother's fee
And two of the best of her father's horses
There stands thirty and three

Then she's mounted on her milk-white steed
He's rode the dapple grey
They rode till they came to the broad riverside
Three hours before it was day

Light down, light down my pretty fair maid
Light down, light down, cried he
Six pretty maidens I've drowned here
And the seventh one you shall be

Pull off, pull off your silken gown
Deliver it over to me
For it is too fine and much too fair
To rot in salt water sea

Go get me a sickle to crop off the thistle
That grows beneath the brim
It will not mingle with my curly locks
Or mangle my glittering skin

  Child "F"  'Go fetch the sickle, to crop the nettle
                      That grows so near the brim,
                      For fear it should tangle my golden locks,
                      Or freckle my milk-white skin.'

He's got the sickle to crop off the thistle
That grows beneath the brim
She's caught him round by his middle so small
Tumbled him into the stream

Sometimes he sank, sometimes he swam
Down to the bank came he
Oh help me, oh help me, my pretty fair maid
Or drowned I shall be

Lie there, lie there, you false-hearted man
Lie there instead of me
Six pretty maidens you've drowned here
But the seventh one has drowned thee

She's mounted on her milk-white steed
And led the dapple grey
She rode till she came to her father's door
An hour before it was day

But the parrot was up in his window so high
On hearing the lady, he did say
I was afraid that some ruffians had done you harm
You've tarried so long before day

Don't prittle, don't prattle, my pretty Polly
Don't tell no tales of me
Your cage shall be made of the glistening gold
And your perch of the best ivory

But her father was up in the bedroom so high
Hearing the parrot, did say
What is the matter, my pretty Polly
You've cried so long before day?

Oh, there came an old cat in my window high
To take my life away
And I was just calling my young mistress
To scare that old pussy away
 


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 06:05 PM

Malcolm:

As it happens, the "Penguin" version from which both derive wasn't exactly what it was made out to be; but that's another story.

Ok. What's the story? Overall, versions are much the same but I guess it could easily be a collated text. Say beginning with the "sickle" verse - it only occurs in "F."

Got some good folk-gossip for us?



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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 07:27 PM

Ralph Vaughan Williams didn't actually note a text from Mr. Hilton at all, so far as can be told; just the tune. The Penguin text is mainly that noted by C. S. Parsonson from a Mr. Lugg of Launceston, Cornwall, in 1905, with additional verses from other, unspecified, sources (probably broadsides). Mr. Lugg's set was published in The Journal of the Folk Song Society vol.IV (issue 15) 1910; pp.116-117.

RVW was inclined to go for tunes only; "Hey, we can always get the words off a broadside". He missed a lot of good stuff that way, and occasionally -though not often enough- regretted it. While it's perfectly true that most sets of this song collected in the early 20th century are clearly derived from broadsides, it's disappointing that we don't have the details.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: robinia
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 05:53 AM

I'm fond of an Appalachian version of the ballad and particularly like the climactic line (from Jean Ritchie's singing of "False Sir John"), "she made a dash with her tender little arms and pushed him into the sea" -- so feminine!!


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,roberto
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 01:47 PM

Thanks to Abby Sale. That is what I was looking for, trying to get the text as sung by Norma Waterson. Thank you. Roberto


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Nerd
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 04:31 PM

This is a great song, and an indication that the modern fascination with serial killers goes back many years (just saw Red Dragon this weekend)!

For those who care, JF Dutertre's version of Tueur Des Femmes (inserted above by Malcolm) is also on his CD Ballades Francaises, which is available on the Musique Du Monde label. This means it actually turns up at US record shops like Tower and HMV. Dutertre does sometimes record multiple versions of the same song, so this may not be the exact text Malcolm contributed, but it's a great CD, as is the sequel Ballades Francaises Volume 2. I'm not sure if the Epinette des Vosges album is out on CD, but I think it was and is now deleted.

Nic Jones recorded two different versions of this song, one on each of his first two albums. The first was a standard one beginning "An Outlandish Knight from the Northlands came, and he came courting of me), while the second plunged you into the action with "He's followed her up, and he's followed her down, and it's into the room where she lay." I always liked the second, with its brisk tune. Frankie Armstrong's strong unaccompanied version of this is always stirring as well.

When I get home, I'll give a listen to Carthy's and see if I can figure out what the chorus is...


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Amos
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 08:14 PM

I don't see mentioned here Richard Dyer-Bennett's recording of "The Cruel Youth" (IIRC), the same story in short but featuring a cruel youth, and a damsel who persuades him to turn around while she takes off her gown, and throws him into the sea the moment he does so. The rest of the tale is a very close parallel to the Outlandish Knight.

A


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Abby Sale
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 10:40 PM

Amos: I have a feeling you're thinking of "Eggs and Marrowbone." Also a good song but the woman's the baddy there. I don't think RDB ever recorded any "Outlandish" version. But if he did, it must have been early on. I'd like to hear it.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,Roberto
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 11:52 AM

I'm interested in the CD Ballades Francaises by JF Dutertre, but I can't find using Google who sells it. Can somebody tell me something about? Thank you. Roberto Campo


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 12:15 PM

Yes, Abby, Dyer-Bennett recorded a version of this. I'm too lazy to go dig out the LP at the moment, but the words were very close to The Lonely Willow Tree in the DT. See:

The Lonely Willow Tree
Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 03:00 PM

Roberto,

The CD features Dutertre singing and playing epinette des Vosges (a French relative of the mountain dulcimer) and hurdy-gurdy. He's joined by guest musicians like Jean-Loup Baly on bowed psaltery, Michel sikiotakis on guitar, flute and tin whistle, and Jean Francois Vrod on violin. So it's a disc of tasteful acoustic arrangements of French ballads. The songs are:

Les Tristes Noces
La Porcheronne
La Blanche Biche
Le Maure-Sarrasin
Le Prince Eugene
La Fille du Roi Loys
Jean Renaud
Les Anneaux de Marianson
Le Tueur Des Femmes
La Pernette.

Ballades Francaises Volume 2 features the same musicians plus Yvon Guilcher, meaning Dutertre's whole band Melusine is along for the ride. The Songs are:

L'Amante du Dauphin
Les Trois Princesses
Le Deuil D'Amour
Le Breuvage Empoisonne
La Belle Qui Fait La Morte
Le Chevalier a la Claire Epee
La Barbiere
La Mie Qui Meurt En Mal D'enfant
La Jolie Fille du Geolier
Le Flambeau D'Amour
Bella Louison
La Fille Parricide
Le Navire Merveilleux
Germine

The CDs are on the Musique Du Monde label, distributed by Buda Musique, and the discs have a website address:

www.budamusique.com

good luck, they're great!


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 03:14 PM

I just went over to the Buda site, and you can indeed order the CDs directly from Buda. They have some cute Franglais descriptions there, like: "The stories of the pretty daughter of the jailer, of fairy crews, of parricides and of crossed love make us discover all the imaginary of Ancient France."


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,what does the bit about the parrot mean?
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 08:10 PM


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 09:25 PM

Guest, 8:10 p.m>

A good thought: Succinct, and well phrased!


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM

what does the parrot bit mean?


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 07:25 PM

What does the parrot bit mean? Nothing more than it says.   

Girl comes home, and the parrot asks her where she's been all night. She says to be quiet, and she'll give the parrot various goodies.

Daddy hears the parrot talking, and asks what's up, at that hour.

Parrot says, "There came an old cat on top of my cage, for to take my sweet life away. I was just callin' out to my young mistress, to drive that old cat away."

What's to mean? The parrot has been bribed to be part of the conspiracy to keep the girl's secret from her father.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 07:36 PM

Or is the bird a remnant from an earlier belief that souls of the dead were borne away by them? The bird would be able to tell all in this event. Joy


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 09:22 PM

Not in English-language forms, no; the song is a relatively late arrival in Britain and most of its supernatural elements were lost before it got here. In earlier forms (Netherlands and Scandinavia) there are occasionally talking birds, if I recall correctly; but these are of the distant, generic kind -common in folktales- that call veiled warnings to the heroine as she rides deeper into the wood where her lover has hung the bodies of his earlier victims.

It is most likely that the ballad came to Britain via France, where the drowning element came to the fore; there are, I think, no talking birds in French forms. Sad as it may seem, the whole motif is probably just a coincidence, or an element incorporated by analogy from other narratives where the dead do sometimes return in the form of birds; there is no internal evidence, though, that that is the case here.

That said, there are studies of the parrot business that I haven't had the chance to look at yet, and doubtless they go into all this in greater depth and may reach very different conclusions.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 10:19 PM

Can you tell us more about the Scandinavian form, Malcolm?

SRS


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 12:17 AM

Not directly, at the moment; but a few general comments for now:

Child has plenty to say on the subject (his notes to Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight are detailed and extensive), but the best general study is probably still Holger Nygard's The Ballad of 'Heer Halewijn', Its Forms and Variations in Western Europe: A Study of the History and Nature of a Ballad Tradition (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1958) also published as F[olklore] Fellows] Communications, No. 169 (Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia/Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 1958). Nygard explores ballad forms of the story found throughout Western Europe, reaching the general conclusion that the oldest elements seem to belong to the Netherlands, which he is inclined to consider to be the centre from which it spread; roughly, through Germany into Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, through Denmark into Scandinavia, and through France into Britain. The diagrams get quite complicated, and I certainly can get no more than the very roughest gist of some of the examples quoted, which are deconstructed and without music. Nevertheless, it's an enormously interesting book, but far too extensive for me to attempt any proper sort of summary here.

More recently (1967), Lajos Vargyas has suggested a line of descent reaching back to Central Asia, but that seems to have been based on iconography rather than any direct evidence. I haven't had the opportunity of reading that book so far, though, so I have only Bert Lloyd's comments to go on: he was quite keen on that sort of idea, but doesn't commit himself. There have been a good few further studies too, of course, taken from various different viewpoints but mainly concentrating on detail (such as the parrot episode) rather than distribution. Plenty I haven't read yet, so my comments shouldn't be taken as in any way definitive.

So far as Scandinavian forms are concerned, you can see some 28 Norwegian texts at the Norwegian Universities Documentation Project:

Kvinnemordaren, but you do need some knowledge of the language -more than I have, at any rate- to get a great deal from them.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,visitor (Kirsty)
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 12:35 AM

This is my first visit and I'm really enjoying reading the discussions. Please excuse me if these have already been suggested and I missed it:

1)"Ba-ba and a lily-ba"

Maybe it's (meaningless here, but) transferred over from something like Ewan MacColl's version of The Elfin Knight, "blaw, blaw, blaw winds blaw" ?

2)"Oh (ought oh ought)?? would give to me rest
And* that young knight lay here on my breast."

Possibly "aught" ("anything") ?


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 12:49 AM

This is quite an old thread now (just recently brought back from the mists of time by that parrot fellow) and I think that we may have gone further into that somewhere or other; can't recall at this time of night whether it was here or in another thread. Could well be worth revisiting some points and tying up some loose ends, though, and I at least know a fair bit more than I did four years ago when the question was first asked. Tomorrow, maybe.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 07:32 PM

The parrot bit does rather raise some questions. Of course ballads are seldom logical but - Why did she tell the parrot ANYTHING? Why didn't she say, "Mind your own business, you snoopy parrot!" and leave it at that. At least the bird in the ballad "Young Hunting/Henry Lee" witnessed the murder. You'd want to offer a nice golden cage to that bird. The whole thing makes more sense in that story.
Also why did Polly call her pet parrot after herself? Was Polly - the girl, named after the pet parrot?
I do so enjoy these discussions. Where are they leading us? Is this the path to true enlightenment? If it is - can I keep up? Joy


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 08:33 PM

The names seem to have become a bit mixed up in some forms of the song, but I wouldn't pay too much attention to that really. You don't tell a talking animal to mind its own business, though; you always have to bribe it, or else make it an offer it can't refuse; as in the Saki story about the talking cat that blackmailed everybody until they brought up the subject of vets.

Meanwhile, here's a link to a Heer Halewijn text with a translation into English. It seems pretty good on the whole, though there are some odd word-choices in one or two places. Best ignore the accompanying notes, though, as they make some rather dubious assumptions which need a good bit of salt to go with them.

Heer Halewijn


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 11 Feb 04 - 09:10 AM

I reached the conclusion that the parrot was really her own conscience telling her not to have any qualms about her drowning the knight taking his money and his horses,

lovely alliteration in my version

don't prittle or prattle my pretty polly
don't tell any tales upon me
for your cage shall be built of the glitters in gold
and the door of the best ivory


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Feb 04 - 04:46 PM

Pagett, That's a lovely bit. Thanks. It's the alliteration that's missing from modern "tradition style" songs I've always thought. The story is taken to be more important than the telling.
I never tell a talking animal what to do actually. It's the deep love of these old ballads that makes me comment on their quirks. When I sing them I find myself caught up in the sadness and suddenly crying at the vivid imagery. The desperate bargain that Polly makes with her parrot doesn't seem at all strange when you sing the ballad.
                                                   Joybelle


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Feb 04 - 11:34 AM

GUEST,padgett said, in part:

I reached the conclusion that the parrot was really her own conscience telling her not to have any qualms about her drowning the knight taking his money and his horses,

Padgett, I don't question your right to interpret a portion of this or any other song however you wish in your own mind. But when you suggest that the parrot was "really" the voice of her conscience, I wonder if you are suggesting that this was the meaning traditionally assigned in the singing and passing down of the song.

If we were talking about what I'll call "an authored song", then speculation as to the author's meaning is entirely proper (although your suggested meaning is rather unlikely in this particular case, in my opinion). But for a song which has come together through gradual accumulation and alteration, through the contributions of many singers over a long period of time, for one today to suggest that the surface meaning covers a hidden moralistic meaning is unwarranted.

And even if it were an authored song, there is nothing in the parrot incident that suggests the voice of her conscience salving her feelings.

The English and Scottish traditional ballads, in my opinion and understanding, are pretty up-front, telling a story of events and leaving the listener to his/her own interpretation. They don't tell you something like, "Oh, wasn't she terrible to kill that poor baby that she'd had out of wedlock?" And I don't think of any of the ballads that deal with a character's inner feelings, either.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OUTLANDISH KNIGHT
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 04 - 04:25 PM

There's also this version (click) posted by Hesperis:



Thread #24700   Message #284828

Posted By: hesperis

25-Aug-00 - 02:44 AM

Thread Name: Ballads with Plot Twists?

Subject: Lyr Add: THE OUTLANDISH KNIGHT


leenia - for you.



The Outlandish Knight

An outlandish knight came out of the North
To woo a maiden fair
He promised to take her to the North lands
Her father's only heir

"Come, fetch me some of your father's gold
And some of your mother's fee
And two of the best nags out of the stable
Where they stand thirty and three"

She fetched him some of her father's gold
And some of her mother's fee
And two of the best nags out of the stable
Where they stand thirty and three

She mounted her on her milk-white steed
He on the dapple grey
They rode till they came unto the sea-side
Three hours before it was day

"Light off, light off thy milk-white steed
And deliver it unto me
Six pretty maids have I drowned here
And thou the seventh shall be

Pull off, pull off thy silken gown
And deliver it unto me
Methinks it looks to rich and too gay
To rot in the salt sea

Pull off, pull off thy silken stays
And deliver them unto me
Methinks they are to fine and gay
To rot in the salt sea

Pull off, pull off thy Holland smock
And deliver it unto me
Methinks it looks to rich and gay
To rot in the salt sea"

"If I must pull off my Holland smock
Pray turn thy back unto me
For it is not fitting that such a ruffian
A woman unclad should see"

He turned his back towards her
And viewed the leaves so green
She caught him round the middle so small
And tumbled him into the stream

He dropped high, and he dropped low
Until he came to the tide ---
"Catch hold of my hand, my pretty maiden
And I will make you my bride"

"Lie there, lie there, you false-hearted man
Lie there instead of me
Six pretty maidens have you drowned here
And the seventh has drowned thee"

She mounted on her milk-white steed
And led the dapple grey
She rode till she came to her father's hall
Three hours before it was day



Is there a melody for this?
Where can I learn it?


One other thing, although this is one of my favorite childhood poems, it is not the one that named my cat.

~*sirepseh*~


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: LadyJean
Date: 13 Feb 04 - 12:35 AM

You will find "The Outlandish Knight" in my friend Sarah Zettel's book "Camelot's Shadow" which will be in the stores this May. Sarah did some of the research for this book on the mudcat, so I thought I'd give her book a shameless plug.
I've read a proof and it is good! It's calling itself a romance, but it is NOT a bodice ripper.


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Subject: RE: question on Outlandish Knight
From: Joybell
Date: 13 Feb 04 - 05:11 PM

Pete Seeger recorded a good version of this ballad. He got the title wrong, calling it "The False Knight Upon the Road", however so you need to look for it under that title if you want to hear him sing it. I learned it from his recording and have been singing it for about 40 years. Can't be? Yes I believe it is!! Joy


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