Prev Next

Nowe daye was gone, and night was come, And all were fast asleepe, All save the ladye Emmeline, 55 Who sate in her bowre to weepe:

And soone shee heard her true loves voice Lowe whispering at the walle: "Awake, awake, my deare ladye, Tis I, thy true love, call. 60

"Awake, awake, my ladye deare, Come, mount this faire palfraye: This ladder of ropes will lette thee downe, Ile carrye thee hence awaye."

"Nowe nay, nowe nay, thou gentle knight, 65 Nowe nay, this may not bee; For aye sould I tint my maiden fame, If alone I should wend with thee."

"O ladye, thou with a knight so true Mayst safelye wend alone; 70 To my ladye mother I will thee bringe, Where marriage shall make us one."

"My father he is a baron bolde, Of lynage proude and hye; And what would he saye if his daughter 75 Awaye with a knight should fly?

"Ah! well I wot, he never would rest, Nor his meate should doe him no goode, Till he had slayne thee, Child of Elle, And seene thy deare hearts bloode." 80

"O ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette, And a little space him fro, I would not care for thy cruel father, Nor the worst that he could doe.

"O ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette, 85 And once without this walle, I would not care for thy cruel father, Nor the worst that might befalle."

Faire Emmeline sighed, faire Emmeline wept, And aye her heart was woe: 90 At length he seizde her lilly-white hand, And downe the ladder he drewe.

And thrice he claspde her to his breste, And kist her tenderlie: The teares that fell from her fair eyes, 95 Ranne like the fountayne free.

Hee mounted himselfe on his steede so talle, And her on a faire palfraye, And slung his bugle about his necke, And roundlye they rode awaye. 100

All this beheard her owne damselle, In her bed whereas shee ley; Quoth shee, "My lord shall knowe of this, Soe I shall have golde and fee.

"Awake, awake, thou baron bolde! 105 Awake, my noble dame!

Your daughter is fledde with the Childe of Elle, To doe the deede of shame."

The baron he woke, the baron he rose, And called his merrye men all: 110 "And come thou forth, Sir John the knighte; The ladye is carried to thrall."

Fair Emmeline scant had ridden a mile, A mile forth of the towne, When she was aware of her fathers men 115 Come galloping over the downe.

And foremost came the carlish knight, Sir John of the north countraye: "Nowe stop, nowe stop, thou false traitoure, Nor carry that ladye awaye. 120

"For she is come of hye lynage, And was of a ladye borne, And ill it beseems thee, a false churles sonne, To carrye her hence to scorne."

"Nowe loud thou lyest, Sir John the knight, 125 Nowe thou doest lye of mee; A knight mee gott, and a ladye me bore, Soe never did none by thee.

"But light nowe downe, my ladye faire, Light downe, and hold my steed, 130 While I and this discourteous knighte Doe trye this arduous deede.

"But light now downe, my deare ladye, Light downe, and hold my horse; While I and this discourteous knight 135 Doe trye our valours force."

Fair Emmeline sighde, fair Emmeline wept, And aye her heart was woe, While twixt her love and the carlish knight Past many a baleful blowe. 140

The Child of Elle hee fought soe well, As his weapon he wavde amaine, That soone he had slaine the carlish knight, And layde him upon the plaine.

And nowe the baron, and all his men 145 Full fast approached nye: Ah! what may ladye Emmeline doe?

Twere now no boote to flye.

Her lover he put his horne to his mouth, And blew both loud and shrill, 150 And soone he saw his owne merry men Come ryding over the hill.

"Nowe hold thy hand, thou bold baron, I pray thee, hold thy hand, Nor ruthless rend two gentle hearts, 155 Fast knit in true loves band.

"Thy daughter I have dearly lovde Full long and many a day; But with such love as holy kirke Hath freelye sayd wee may. 160

"O give consent shee may be mine, And blesse a faithfull paire; My lands and livings are not small, My house and lynage faire.

"My mother she was an earles daughter, 165 And a noble knyght my sire----"

The baron he frownde, and turnde away With mickle dole and ire.

Fair Emmeline sighde, faire Emmeline wept, And did all tremblinge stand; 170 At lengthe she sprange upon her knee, And held his lifted hand.

"Pardon, my lorde and father deare, This faire yong knyght and mee: Trust me, but for the carlish knyght, 175 I never had fled from thee.

"Oft have you callde your Emmeline Your darling and your joye; O let not then your harsh resolves Your Emmeline destroye." 180

The baron he stroakt his dark-brown cheeke, And turnde his heade asyde, To wipe awaye the starting teare, He proudly strave to hyde.

In deepe revolving thought he stoode, 185 And musde a little space; Then raisde faire Emmeline from the grounde, With many a fond embrace.

"Here take her, Child of Elle," he sayd, And gave her lillye hand; 190 "Here take my deare and only child, And with her half my land.

"Thy father once mine honour wrongde, In dayes of youthful pride; Do thou the injurye repayre 195 In fondnesse for thy bride.

"And as thou love her and hold her deare, Heaven prosper thee and thine; And nowe my blessing wend wi' thee, My lovelye Emmeline." 200


Of this very remarkable ballad two copies have been printed in English, _Sir Aldingar_, from the Percy MS. (_Reliques_, ii. 53), "with conjectural emendations and the insertion of some additional stanzas,"

and _Sir Hugh Le Blond_, by Scott, from recitation. The corresponding Danish ballad, _Ravengaard og Memering_, first published by Grundtvig, is extant in not less than five copies, the oldest derived from a MS. of the middle of the 16th century, the others from recent recitations. With these Grundtvig has given an Icelandic version, from a MS. of the 17th century, another in the dialect of the Faroe Islands, and a third half Danish, half Faroish, both as still sung by the people. The ballad was also preserved, not long ago, in Norway.--_Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser_, i. 177-213, ii. 640-645.

All these ballads contain a story one and the same in the essential features--a story which occurs repeatedly in connection with historical personages, in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, as well as England,--and which has also furnished the theme for various modern romances, poems, and tragedies. The connection of the different forms of the legend has been investigated by the Danish editor at considerable length and with signal ability; and we shall endeavor to present the principal results of his wide research in the few pages which our narrow limits allow us to give to such questions.

The names of the characters in the Danish ballads are Henry (called Duke of Brunswick and of Schleswig in the oldest), Gunild (of Spires, called also Gunder), Ravengaard, and Memering. To these correspond, in the English story, King Henry, Queen Eleanor, Sir Aldingar (the resemblance of this name to Ravengaard will be noted), and a boy, to whom no name is assigned. Eleanor, it hardly need be remarked, is a queen's name somewhat freely used in ballads (see vol. vi. 209, and vol. vii. 291), and it is possible that the consort of Henry II. is here intended, though her reputation both in history and in song hardly favors that supposition.

The occurrence of Spires in the old Danish ballad would naturally induce us to look for the origin of the story in the annals of the German emperors of the Franconian line, who held their court at Spires, and are most of them buried in the cathedral at that place. A very promising clue is immediately found in the history of King (afterwards Emperor) Henry III., son of the Emperor Conrad II. Salicus. This Henry was married, in the year 1036, to Gunhild, daughter of Canute the Great. An English chronicler, William of Malmesbury, writing in the first half of the 12th century, tells us that after this princess had lived many years in honorable wedlock, she was accused of adultery. Being forced to clear herself by wager of battle, she found in all her retinue no one who was willing to risk a combat with her accuser, a man of gigantic stature, save a little boy whom she had brought with her from England. The issue of the duel established her innocence,--her diminutive champion succeeding by some miracle in ham-stringing his huge adversary; but it is alleged that the queen refused to return to her husband, and passed the rest of a long life in a monastery.[3]

[3] "Although there are seven centuries between William and our times,"

says Grundtvig, "and the North Sea between Jutland and the land of his birth, it almost seems as if he had taken his account from the very ballad which is at this day sung on the little island of Fuur in the Lym Fiord."

A Norman-French _Life of Edward the Confessor_, written about 1250, repeats this story, and adds the champion's name.[4]

[4] We have substituted this paragraph instead of a later chronicle cited by Grundtvig. The translation is that of the English editor: _Lives of Edward the Confessor_ (p. 39, 193), recently published by authority of the British government.

"A daughter had the king, Who was not so beautiful as clever.

Report error

If you found broken links, wrong episode or any other problems in a anime/cartoon, please tell us. We will try to solve them the first time.