Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor.
This is given, with corrections, from an ancient copy in black-letter, in the Pepys Collection, intitled, "A tragical Ballad on the unfortunate Love of Lord Thomas and fair Ellinor, together with the Downfall of the browne Girl." In the same Collection may be seen an attempt to modernize this old song, and reduce it to a different measure: a proof of its popularity.
LORD THOMAS he was a bold forrester,
And a chaser of the kings deere;
Faire Ellinor was a fine woman,
And Lord Thomas he loved her deare.
"Come riddle my riddle, dear mother," he sayd,
"And riddle us both as one;
Whether I shall marrye with faire Ellinor,
And let the browne girl alone?"
"The browne girl she has got houses and lands,
Faire Ellinor she has got none,
And therefore I charge thee on my blessing,
To bring me the browne girl home."
And as it befelle on a high holidaye,
As many there are beside,
Lord Thomas he went to faire Ellinor,
That should have been his bride.
And when he came to fair Ellinors bower,
He knocked there at the ring,
And who was so readye as faire Ellinor,
To let Lord Thomas within?
"What newes, what newes, Lord Thomas?" she sayd,
"What newes dost thou bring to mee?"
"I am come to bid thee to my wedding,
And that is bad newes for thee."
"O God forbid, Lord Thomas," she sayd,
"That such a thing should be done;
I thought to have been the bride my selfe,
And thou to have been the bridegroome."
"Come riddle my riddle,[ 1] dear mother," she sayd,
"And riddle it all in one;
Whether I shall goe to Lord Thomas his wedding,
Or whether shall tarry at home?"
"There are manye that are your friendes, daughter,
And manye a one your foe,
Therefore I charge you on my blessing,
To Lord Thomas his wedding don't goe."
"There are manye that are my friendes, mother;
But were every one my foe,
Betide me life, betide me death,
To Lord Thomas his wedding I'ld goe."
She cloathed herself in gallant attire,
And her merrye men all in greene;
And as they rid through every towne,
They took her to be some queene.
But when she came to Lord Thomas his gate,
She knocked there at the ring;
And who was so readye as Lord Thomas,
To lett fair Ellinor in?
"Is this your bride?" fair Ellinor sayd;
"Methinks she looks wonderous browne;
Thou mightest have had as faire a woman,
As ever trod on the grounde."
"Despise her not, fair Ellin," he sayd,
"Despise her not unto mee;
For better I love thy little finger,
Than all her whole bodče."
This browne bride had a little penknife,
That was both long and sharpe,
And betwixt the short ribs and the long,
She prick'd faire Ellinor's harte.
"O Christ thee save," Lord Thomas hee sayd,
"Methinks thou lookst wonderous wan;
Thou usedst to look with as fresh a colour,
As ever the sun shone on."
"Oh, art thou blind, Lord Thomas?" she sayd,
"Or canst thou not very well see?
O dost thou not see my owne hearts bloode
Run trickling down my knee."
Lord Thomas he had a sword by his side;
As he walked about the halle,
He cut off his brides head from her shoulders.
And threw it against the walle.
He set the hilte against the grounde,
And the point against his harte.
There never three lovers together did meete,
That sooner againe did parte.
*** The reader will find a Scottish song on a similar subject to this, towards the end of this volume, intitled, Lord Thomas and Lady Annet.
1. It should probably be, "Reade me, read," &c. i.e. Advise me, advise.