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Geordie's Ballad

In: Film and Music

Submitted By pinalla
Words 679
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"Geordie" is Child ballad 209, existing in many variants.

Contents [hide] 1 Synopsis 2 Text 3 Adaptations 4 Geography 5 See also 6 Recordings 7 References 8 External links Synopsis[edit] The "Geordie" of the title is taken for a crime, to hang; it may be rebellion, murder, horse-stealing, or poaching deer. His wife (or lady) goes to appeal for his life, sometimes refusing offers to marry her, once widowed, along the way.

She pleads for his life, mentioned the children she had borne him, usually seven, or twelve; she may still be pregnant with the youngest, or the youngest has never seen his father. In some versions, a ransom is set, and many people give her money, which adds up to enough to buy his life. In others, the wife's attempts are in vain and he is executed.

Text[edit] As I walked out over London bridge one misty morning early I overheard a fair pretty maid was lamenting for her Geordie Ah my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain This is not the chain of many he was born of king's royal breed and lost to a virtuous lady

Go bridle me my milk white steed, go bridle me my pony, I will ride to London's court to plead for the life of Geordie Ah my Geordie never stole nor cow nor calf he never hurted any Stole sixteen of the king's royal deer, and he sold them in Bohenny. Two pretty babies have I born the third lies in my body I'd freely part with them every one if you'd spare the life of Geordie The judge looked over his left shoulder he said fair maid I'm sorry he said fair maid you must be gone for I cannot pardon Geordie. Ah my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain This is not the chain of many Stole sixteen of the king's royal deer, and he sold them in Bohenny.

Adaptations[edit] One of the earliest recorded versions is by Joan Baez, who included a live performance of the song on her first live album in 1962. The Baez version makes it clear that Geordie's crime was poaching the King's deer, for which the penalty was hanging with a silken rope. It has also been recorded by Ewan MacColl, John Jacob Niles, Doc Watson, Sandy Denny, A. L. Lloyd, Julie Felix, and the British folk rock band Trees, Silly Sisters (band) and Shirley Collins. More recently, Emilie Autumn performed it in live.

The ballad became very popular in Italy thanks to Fabrizio de André who translated the ballad into Italian, and this version was later reinterpreted by the folk band Mercanti di Liquore and the dj Gabry Ponte.

In September 1965, the ballad was adapted in French by Claude François on his EP "Dona Dona".

Danish band Gasolin recorded an adaptation in 1971 heavily inspired by Baez' rendition. "London Bridge" was translated into "Langebro" - the title of the track. The setting shifts from London to 20th century Copenhagen, though the overall sombre mood of the song remains intact.

Geography[edit] In terms of geography, there are four versions. The Scottish variants mention Geordie being rescued from the scaffold in Edinburgh. This may refer to George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly. One English version mentions Newcastle. This may refer to George Stools, executed in 1610. There are some versions that mention the town "Boheny", but this has never been satisfactorily located. There is a hamlet called Bohenie near Roybridge. Another English version has the execution taking place in London, and the culprit is the Earl of Oxford. The story of the Earl of Oxford was printed in the seventeenth century. The last version is the Danish version taking place in Copenhagen, performed by Gasolin. The Danish title is Langebro.

See also[edit] "The Laird O Logie'" features another woman pleading for her lover's life. "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" depicts the condemned pleading for a stay of execution while the ransom may yet arrive. " Geordie" performed by Sherwood folk band

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