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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleLord Thomas and fair Eleanor
Roud No.4
Collected FromField, Elizabeth Mrs. [Lily]
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleChild No 073
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 165
Source SecondaryUnpublished
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Lord Thomas he was a forester bold,
He was forester over the dell.
Fair Eleanor was a fair young woman,
Lord Thomas he loved her well.

Verse 2

'Come riddle my riddle, dear mother,' he said,
'And riddle it both as one,
Whether I wed with the fair Eleanor,
And leave the brown girl alone.'

Verse 3

'The brown girl she has got houses and land,
Fair Eleanor, she has got none,
Therefore I do bid you with my while heart,
To bring me the brown girl home.'

Verse 4

Then he rode till he came to fair Eleanor's bower,
Then knocked so loud at the ring,
There was none so ready as fair Eleanor,
To let Lord Thomas in.

Verse 5

'What news have you brought, Lord Thomas' she said,
'What news have you brought to me?'
'Oh I have come to invite you to my wedding,
And that is bad news for thee.'

Verse 6

'Come riddle my riddle, dear mother,' she said,
'And riddle it both as one.
Whether I should go to Lord Thomas's wedding,
Or whether I tarry at home?'

Verse 7

'Many are thy friends, dear daughter,' she said,
'And a great many more thy foes,
Betimes thy life and betimes thy death,
To Lord Thomas's wedding don't go.'

Verse 8

'If many are my friends, dear mother,' she said,
'And a great many more are my foes,
Betimes my life and betimes my death,
To Lord Thomas's wedding I'll go.'

Verse 9

Then she dressed herself in her gallant attire,
Her waiting maids all were in green,
And every borough that she did ride through,
They took her to be some Queen!

Verse 10

And when she came to Lord Thomas's bower,
She knocked so loud at the ring,
There was none so ready as Lord Thomas himself,
To let fair Eleanor in.

Verse 11

'Is this thy Bride, Lord Thomas?' she said,
I think she looks wondrous brown,
When thou could'st have had as fair a lady,
As ever trod England's ground.'

Verse 12

'Oh, don't despise her,' Lord Thomas he said,
'Oh, don't despise her unto me,
For more do I love thy little finger,
Than I do the brown girl's whole body.'

Verse 13

The brown girl, she had a little pen knife,
It was both long and sharp,
Between the long ribs and the short,
She pierced Fair Eleanor to the heart.

Verse 14

'Oh, what is the matter?' Lord Thomas he said,
'I think you look wondrous wan,
When thou used to have as fair a colour,
As ever the sun shone on.'

Verse 15

'Art thou blind, art thou blind?' Lord Thomas she said,
'Or cannot thou very well see?
For cannot you see my own heart bleed,
And come trickling down my knee?'

Verse 16

Lord Thomas he had a sword by his side,
And as he was crossing the hall,
He took and chopped off his own wife's head,
And threw it against the wall.

Verse 17

He turned the sword unto his breast,
The blade was against his heart,
There wasn't three lovers no sooner did meet,
No sooner did ever they part.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

The usual introduction by Williams to this song is missing. The song is ascribed to Mrs Lily Field who elsewhere is described as Mrs W Field, her husband's initial.

Note 2

In Verse 10, line three the first word is given as 'the' but this may be an error.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2007.



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