Lord Thomas And Fair Ellinor (Kenneth Peacock)
MIDI, video
#325: YouTube video by raymondcrooke
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~


Lord Thomas he was a bold forester,
A keeper of the king's deer,
Fair Ellinor was a young woman,
Lord Thomas he lovèd her dear.

"Oh, riddle it over, dear mother," he said,
"Oh, riddle it over to me
Whether I must wed with fair Ellinor
Or with the brown girl be."

"The brown girl she's got houses and land,
Fair Ellinor she has got none,
And therefore I charge you with my blessing
To bring the brown girl home."

Lord Thomas he went to fair Ellinor's court,
He dingled at the ring,
And who came down but fair Ellinor herself
To let Lord Thomas in.

"What news, what news, Lord Thomas," she said,
"What news have you brought for me?"
"I've come to bid you to my wedding,
And I think it's bad news for thee."

"Oh, God forbid, Lord Thomas," she said,
"That any such thing should be done,
I thought to be your bride myself,
And thee to be my bridegroom."

"Oh, riddle it over, dear mother," she said,
"Oh, riddle it over to me
Whether I must go to Lord Thomas's wedding
Or tarry at home with thee."

"Oh, some will be your friends, daughter,
And thousands be your foe,
And therefore I charge you with my blessing
To Lord Thomas's wedding don't go."

"If some would be my friends, mother,
Or thousands be my foe,
To be tied to my life or be tied to my death
To Lord Thomas's wedding I'll go."

She dressed herself in richest attire,
Her mantle being all in green,
And every town that she rode through
They took her to be a queen.

She rode till she came to Lord Thomas's court,
She dingled at the ring,
And who should come out but Lord Thomas himself
To let fair Ellinor in.

He took her by the lily-white hand,
He led her through the hall,
He placed her in the noblest chair
Amongst the company all.

"Is this your bride, Lord Thomas," she said,
"That looks most wonderful brown?
And you might have had so fair a woman
As ever trod English ground."

"Despise her not," Lord Thomas he said,
"Despise her not unto me,
For better I like your little finger
Than I do her whole body."

The brown girl took out her wee pen-knife
That was both long and sharp,
Between the small ribs and the long
She pierced fair Ellinor's heart.

"Oh, what is the matter?" Lord Thomas he said,
"You look so pale and wan,
And you used to have so fresh a color
As ever the sun shone on."

She said, "Lord Thomas, are you blind,
Or can't you very well see?
And don't you see my own heart's blood
Come running down over my knee?"

"Oh, dig me a grave, dear mother," he said,
"Dig it long, wide, and deep,
And place fair Ellinor by my side
And the brown girl at my feet."

Lord Thomas cut off the brown girl's head,
He hove it against the wall,
He took a sword and he killed himself,
And that put an end to them all.

####.... Author unknown. English variant of a 17th-century Scottish traditional ballad, Lord Thomas And Fair Annet [Child ballad #73] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, A Tragical Story Of Lord Thomas And Fair Ellinor, published by F Coles (London); T Vere (London); J Wright (London); J Clarke (London), 1677, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Douce Ballads 1(120b) ....####
Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from James Decker [1909-1993] of Parson's Pond, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.617-619, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also published in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968.)

Kenneth Peacock noted that though very similar in style to Lord Donald, this ballad has not the convincing characterization of the former. Still, the story carries well when sung to either of the dissimilar tunes collected. This particular text is the English version of the Scottish Lord Thomas And Fair Annet and was a broadside during the reign of Charles II (b.1630; r.1660-1685). Similar ballads have been noted by collectors in Norway.

See more Child Ballads from NL.


Index Page
GEST Songs Of
Newfoundland And Labrador


~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here