Dalhousie University Archives

Nova Scotia Ballads

[Page 37]

THE FALSE KNIGHT (Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight)1

There was a lord2 in Ambertown
He courted a lady3 gay,
And all he wanted of tide pretty maid,
Was to take her life away.
“Go gather up your father’s gold
And some of your mother's fee,
And two of the choicest of the steeds,
And we'll ride away to the sea."
She gathered up her father's gold
And part of her mother's fee,
They mounted two of the fairest steeds,
And merrily rode away.
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She mounted on the milk white steed
And he on the rambling gray,
And they rode till they came to the fair riverside,
Three hours before it was day.
"Light off, light off thy milk white steed
And deliver it unto me,
For six fair maids I have drownded here,
And you the seventh shall be.
"Strip off, strip off your silken robes,
Likewise thy golden stays,
Methinks they are too rich and too gay
To rot in the salt, salt sea.”
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"If I must take off my silken robes,
Pray turn your back to me,
For it is not fit such a ruffian as you
An undressed lady should see."
He turned his back around about
To face yon willow tree.
With all the strength this fair maiden had,
She tumbled him into the sea.
“Lie there lie there you false young knight!
Lie there instead of me!
For six fair maidens thou hast drownded here,
But the seventh hath drownded thee."
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So he rolled high and he rolled low,
Till he rolled to the sea side.
"Stretch forth your hand, my pretty Polly,
And I'll make you my bride."
"Lie there! lie there! you false young knight!
Lie there instead of me!
For I don't think your clothing too good,
To rot in the salt, salt sea.”
She mounted on her milk white steed,
And she led her rambling gray,
And she rode forward to her father's door
Two hours before it was day.
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The parrot was up in the window high,
And to his young mistress did say,
"0, where have you been, my young mistress,
That you're out so long before day!"
"Don’t prittle, don’t prattle, my pretty Polly,
Nor tell no tales on me.
Your cage shall be made of the finest of gold,
Although it was made from the tree.”
The old man on his pillow did lie,
He unto the parrot did say,
"What ails you, what ails you, my pretty Poll parrot,
You prattle so long before day!"
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“There was a cat came to my cage,
And she did frighten me,
And I was a-calling my young mistress
To drive the cat away."
“Well done it, well done it, my pretty Poll parrot,
Well done it, well done it," said she
"Your cage it shall be of the glittering gold,
And the doors of ivory.”
Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight: is the common name of a European ballad. The subject matter is frequently associated with the genre of the Halewyn legends. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Isabel_and_the_Elf_Knight
Lord: The villain is sometimes referred to an Elf-Knight, Luppen, Outlandish knight, False Sir John and Halewijn
Lady: The heroine is sometimes referred to as Lady Isabel, King's daughter, May Colvin and Princess
Anonymous. Date: 2014-10-16