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Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53


Related threads:
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Lord Bateman - new version (19)
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Lyr Req: Lord Bateman (23)
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(origins) Lyr Add: Lord Beichan and Susie Pye (12)
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LORD BATEMAN query (16)

toadfrog 19 Aug 01 - 07:10 PM
Joe Offer 19 Aug 01 - 08:48 PM
toadfrog 19 Aug 01 - 09:46 PM
Jeri 19 Aug 01 - 10:08 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 19 Aug 01 - 11:38 PM
Jeri 20 Aug 01 - 08:00 AM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Aug 01 - 09:51 AM
masato sakurai 20 Aug 01 - 11:11 AM
masato sakurai 20 Aug 01 - 11:23 AM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Aug 01 - 08:16 PM
toadfrog 20 Aug 01 - 11:49 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 21 Aug 01 - 12:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Aug 01 - 11:34 AM
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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: LORD BEICHAN 2 (Child #53)
From: toadfrog
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 07:10 PM

In my opinion, a good version of a good balad. The tune, I think, is different from the one already in DT. Other versions in DT are:
LORD BATEMAN; THE TURKISH LADY; and LORD BEICHAN AND SUSAN PYE. There is also a v. good historical thread on Gilbert Beket. There are also numerous online mentions, including a reference to a minor book by Thackery about the ballad. I think the latter is boring, but more literary people may disagree.

LORD BEICHAN (2)(Child #53)


Young Beichan was a king's son,
And aye a king's son was he,
And he went on wi' a foreign Moor,
Unto a foreign land went he.

When he was in a foreign land,
And in among the savage black,
They laid a plan among themselves,
It was young Beichan for to tak'.

They hae ta'en him young Beichan,
And put him in a vault o' stane,
It was daylight and the sun shone bright,
But I wat young Beichan, he saw nane.

But it fell out [hereinafter pronounced "oot"] upon a day,
Young Beichan, he did mak' his moan,
But it was not unto a stock,
Nor yet was it unto a stone.

"If any lady would borrow me,
I would promise to be her son,
If any knight would borrow me,
I would at his bridle run.

"But if a maiden would borrow me,
I would wed her wi' a ring,
And all my land and all my houses,
They should a' be at her command."

The savage Moor had an only daughter,
Her name it was ca'd Susan Pye,
And she went in at the prison door,
And kindly ca'd young Beichan by.

"It's hae ye ony land?" she says,
"Or hae ye ony dowry free
Ye could bestow on a lady's love,
If out o' prison she would lowse thee?"

"It's I hae lands baith broad and wide,
But they are far beyond the sea,
But all that's mine, it shall be thine,
If out o' prison ye would lowse me."

So it fell out upon a day,
Her faither to the hunt did gae,
And she's stolen the keys frae aneath his hied,
And I wot she set young Beichan free.

She's gie'n him a steed frae her faither's stable,
She's gien him a saddle wi' ivory bane,
And she has gi'en him twa guid greyhounds,
That they might at his bridle run.

Between them twa they wrote a letter,
Between them twa they hae made a bond,
That for sieven years he would not marry,
Nor yet that she should love a man.

When sieven years were gane and past,
She longed young Beichan for to see,
She's ta'en her mantle a' about ("aboot") her,
And she's ta'en shipping on the sea.

When she cam' by young Beichan's gates,
And knocked gentle at the pin,
"Who is this," the porter cried,
"Who knocks so gentle and would come in?"

"Is this not young Beichan's gates,
And is that worthy knight at hame?"
"He's up the stair at his dinner set,
Wi' his bonny bride and mony a ane."

She's put her hand into her pocket,
She's gi'en the porter a guinea fee.
"Gang up the stair and bring him to me,
And bid him speak one word wi'me."

"Get first a sheave o' his white bried,
And then a glass o' his red wine,
And bid him mind on a lady fair,
That once relieved him out of pine."

The porter, he went up the stairs,
And he fell low down upon his knee,
Young Beichen, he pulled him up again,
Says, "What makes a' this courtesy?"

"Outside there stands the fairest lady,
That ever my eyes did see,
And she's got rings on every finger,
And on her mid-finger she's got three.

"She wants a sheave o' your white breid,
and then a glass o' your red wine,
And bade you mind on a lady fair,
That once relieved you out o' pine."

The stair it was full fifteen steps,
But I wot he mde nane but three,
He's catched her in his arms twa,
And he's kissed her tenderly.

"Gie me my hand and troth," she said,
For my native country I maun see,
For since ye've met wi' another lady,
My hand and troth you must gie to me."

"Oh, no, Oh no, madam," he said,
"Oh, no, Oh no, and this maunna be,
For since ye lowsed me out o' pine,
Rewarded now it's you must be!"

He took her by the milk white hand,
And led her to the marriage stane,
He changed her name frae Susan Pye,
And he called her, "my dear Lady Jane."

Then out and spak the young bride's mither,
She was never kent to speak sae free,
"Will ye forsake my only daughter,
Though your fair Susan has crossed the sea?"

"'Tis true that I hae wed your daughter,
She's nane the better nor the waur for me.
She came here on a hired horse,
I send her hame in a chariot free."
[Also, please accept this tasteful commemorative ash-tray.]

I wot na who would hae done the like,
Or yet if ever the like was seen,
To wed a lady in the mornin' early,
And choose anither one long ere e'en!
^^ (words only)
As sung by Ewan McColl, "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads," Vol. 2, Folkways Records Album #FG 3510 (1964).
The liner notes say: "A 12th Century manuscript of a poetical narrative credits Gilbert Beket [Becket?] father of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, with adventures similar to those experienced by the ballad hero. While it is unlikely that the ballad derives from this legend, there is little doubt that it has been influenced by it. Learned from Grieg and Kieth."


Having still not figured out MIDI, I supply the following ABC. It gives the tune accurately. Rythm is imperfect but can be determined from the words.

T:Young Beichan
G c c c|G A ^A (3caG|G c G 1/2c 1/2d|e f e d|
1/2g 1/2f e g e|d c 1/2e 1/2c 1/2A 1/2G|^A A G F|1/2E 1/2F G G c||

% ABC2Win Version 2.1 8/19/2001

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 08:48 PM

Something wrong with this ABC. Can anybody fix it?
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: toadfrog
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 09:46 PM

Well, I can paste it in again. I played that several times, and it sounded o.k.; maybe the problem was with the transmission. It does look a little odd.

G c c c|G A ^A (3caG|G c G 1/2c 1/2d|e f e d| 1/2g 1/2f e g e|d c 1/2e 1/2c 1/2A 1/2G|^A A G F|1/2E 1/2F G G c||

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 10:08 PM

For some reason, the ABCs above have "1/2g" when I think it's supposed to be "g/2". Try the tune below - at least it has the right number of notes per measure. (I just hope they're the right notes.

T:Young Beichan
G c c c|G A ^A (3c/2a/2G/2|G c G c/2 d/2|e f e d|
g/2 f/2 e g e|d c e/2 c/2 A/2 G/2|^A A G F|E/2 F/2 G G c||

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From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 19 Aug 01 - 11:38 PM

Here is another

In London city was Beichan born,
He longed strange countries for to see,
But he was ta'en by a savage moor,
Who handled him right cruelly.

For through his shoulder he put a bore,
And through this bore has pitten a tree
And he's gard him draw the carts o wine
Where horse and oxen had wont to be.

He's casten him in a dungeon deep,
Where he could neither hear nor see
He's shut him up in a prison strong
And he's handled him right cruelly

O this moor he had but ae daughter
I wot her name was Susie Pye
She's doen her to the prison house,
And she's called young Beichan one word by

"O hae ye any lands or rents
Or cities in your ain country,
Could free you out of prison strong,
And could maintain a lady free?"

"O London city is my own,
And other cities twa or three
Could loose me out o'prison strong
And could maintain a lady free.

O she has bribed her father's men
Wi' mickle gold and white money,
She's gotten the key o' the prison doors,
And she has set young Beichan free.

She's gi'n him a loaf o' the good white bread,
But an a flask o' Spanish wine,
And she bade him mind on the lady's love
That kindly freed him out o' pine.

"Go set your foot on good ship board,
And haste you back to your ain country,
And before that seven years has an end,
Come back again, love, and marry me."

It was long or seven years had an end
She longed full sair her love to see
She's set her foot on good ship board,
And turned her back on her ain country.

She's sailed up, so has she down,
Till she came to the other side;
She's landed at young Beichan's gates,
And I hope this day she shall be his bride.

"Is this Young Beichan's gates?" says she,
"Or is that noble prince within?"
"He's up the stairs wi' his bonny bride.
And many a lord and lady wi' him."

"O has he te'an a bonny bride,
And has he clean forgotten me?"
And sighing said that gay lady
"I wish I were in my ain country!"

But she's pitten her hand in her pocket,
And gi'n the porter guinaes three;
Says, "Take ye that, ye proud porter,
And bid the bridegroom speak to me."

O when the porter came up the stair,
He's fa'n low down upon his knee:
"Won up, won up, ye proud porter,
And what makes all this courtesy?"

"O, I've been porter at your gates
This mair nor seven years and three,
But there is a lady at them now
the like of which I never did see.

"For on every finger she has a ring,
And on the mid-finger she has three,
And there's as mickle goud aboon her brow
As would buy an earldom o' land to me."

Then up it started Young Beichan,
And sware so loud by Our Lady,
"It can be none but Susie Pye,
That has come o'er the sea to me."

O quickly ran he down the stair,
O' fifteen steps he has made but three;
He's ta'en his bonny love in his arms
And I wot he kissed her tenderly.

"O hae you ta'en a bonny bride?
And Hae you quite forsaken me?
And hae you Quite forsaken her
That give you life and liberty?"

She's lookit o'er her left shoulder
To hide the tears stood in her ee;
"Now fare thee well, Young Beichan," she says,
"I'll strive to think nae mair on thee."

"take back your daughter, madam," he says,
"And a double dowry I'll gi' her wi';
For I maun marry my first truelove,
That's done and suffered so much for me."

He's ta'en his bonny love by the hand,
And led her to yon fountain stane;
He's changed her name frae Susie Pye,
And he's called her his bonny love, Lady Jane.

Line Breaks
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 08:00 AM

Just to clarify what I wrote up there about my messing-around with the tune - I wasn't sure I shortened the right notes. It fits, but I don't know if it's accurate. It sounds like I could have been saying toadfrog had entered the wrong notes, and that's not what I meant. (That high 'a' in the 2nd measure triplet sounds weird, but may just be an 'a' versus 'A' oopsie - Right note/wrong octave.) I am not about to insult someone who's put so much work into posting a song, and if it came across that way, I apologize.

I can put the tune into midi format easily, but I'd like some feedback as to whether the the changes I made to the ABCs were OK. Maybe I should just do a midi, put it up somewhere, and ask for critique?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 09:51 AM

I'm a little puzzled by that high note in the second bar, too; might it be a grace rather than part of a tuplet?  Mind, I haven't heard the record.  I may have time to look in at the library later on, and I'll see if Bronson has the Last Leaves version MacColl used; it seems likely.

As Thomas doesn't give a source for his text, I'll do it for him.  It is Child's version A, which came from Mrs. Anna Brown of Falkland in Fife (1783; Jamieson-Brown MS).  Somebody has modernised some of the spelling, anglicised other bits, and changed the names of the principals from Bicham and Shusy to Beichan and Susie.  Mrs. Brown actually had two distinct sets of the ballad; Child prints the other as his version C, Young Beckie.

The Turkish Lady (as in the DT) isn't really a Beichan variant, though it has occasionally been considered so; Child refers to it in his notes, along with other similar but also unrelated pieces, but quotes no text.  Confusion also often arises because Appalachian versions of Beichan are sometimes called The Turkish Lady.

The ballad was widely popular, particularly in England, and there are a number of broadside copies at  Bodleian Broadside Ballads,  as both Lord Bateman and Lord Beigham.  There are also several copies there of The Turkish Lady.

Lesley Nelson has the version noted by Cecil Sharp from Harry Larcombe of Haselbury-Plucknett in Somerset (1905):  Lord Bateman.  Larcombe's tune is also given with the DT file, but there it's put in 3/4 rather than 3/2, and the key is wrongly shown as E flat; it's actually in B flat.

There is a set at  The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection:

Lord Batesman  As sung by Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on May 26, 1969.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: masato sakurai
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 11:11 AM

One word on Thackery's "The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman," mentioned by Toadfrog. It was found later as "a joint adaptation by Thackery and Dickens," however boring it may be. The original edition is a 40-page booklet (chapbook?), published in 1839, illustrated by George Cruikshank (11 illust. in all); music and a 10-page notes attached. It is entered in Child's ballad book (#53L); the music is in Bronson (no. 37). Leslie C. Staples (Past President, The Dickens Fellowship) says in the new note to the facsimile edition (Dent, 1969):

The authorship of this 'little jeu d'espri', as The Dickensian called it, was the subject of argument for years, until in 1939, some letters of Dickens to George Cruikshank turned up. Published in 1839, it is now accepted as a joint adaptation by Thackery and Dickens of a traditional ballad, said to have been heard by the former outside a public house. Dickens wrote to Cruikshank: 'I have altered a word here and there,' and 'substituted a new last verse for the old one'. The Preface and Notes are entirely Dickens's work. Cruikshank, the illustrator, sought the music from Dickens, who told him to ask Mrs Burnett, Dickens's sister and a professional singer, to take down the tune as he hummed it. Dickens was delighted with Cruikshank's work; in a post-publication letter of July 1839, he said: 'You never did anything like those etchings--never'.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: masato sakurai
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 11:23 AM

Sorry, not Thacker(e)y, but Thackeray.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 08:16 PM

Well, Bronson has 112 tune variants for Beichan, of which 5 appeared in Greig and Keith's Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads and Ballad Airs (1925).  None of these is obviously MacColl's source, though perhaps three of them might be if we assume that he changed the tune a bit.  Full texts are not given, so no clues there; I must look at the Greig-Duncan books to see if any of the texts match.

The set of Lord Bateman in the DT, incidentally, appears to be a Kentucky version.  Sandy Paton would know it's exact source.

Perhaps the "already here" symbol added to Thomas' post may need to be changed; I don't think that set is already here, and it is Child's primary text, even if somebody has taken it upon themself to alter it.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: toadfrog
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 11:49 PM

Well, Jeri is correct; the a in the triplet should have been an A. I am not offended. But on my machine, anyway, 1/2g works as an 1/8th note. I've not tried g/2, so I don't know if the effect is the same. I may have made additional errors, but I don't think so. Unless I misapprehend McColl's approach to folk songs (another possibility) he would not have thought it unreasonable to make small changes in the tune.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 12:06 AM

Right-e-oh Malcolm, I submitted that version some time back, and cut and pasted it to above... I copied it verbatim from a text... noted in the post.

I like the Scottish one alot!ttr

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lord Beichan (2) Child No. 53
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Aug 01 - 11:34 AM

Ah, yes; I overlooked that thread yesterday.  I actually thought it was a reference to this current one; now that I look again, I see that it was a year ago.  That explains why I was getting one of those déjà vu feelings, having posted to that thread also.  Another good argument for keeping discussions of a particular song or group of songs to one thread where possible, perhaps.  Sorry for any confusion caused.  The older discussion is here:  Lyr Add: Lord Beichan and Susie Pye.

It would probably have been out of character for MacColl not to have changed the tune.  Unfortunately, some of those changes remove specifics which would make identification of his exact source easier for the untrained musician (me).  I want to know the answer, now, and will look further.

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