The Outlandish Knight

from by Lindsay Straw

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about

A very popular ballad with many names and many versions, this is a classic tale of a man complacent in his masculine physical superiority being outwitted by a clever woman. This version was collated from those in Sharp's One Hundred English Folksongs and The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. Many versions have a talking parrot that threatens to tell on the heroine at the end, but I eliminated those verses because I wanted to focus the story on her triumph.

lyrics

An outlandish knight came from the north land,
And he came courting me;
He said he would take me to foreign lands,
And there he would marry me, me, me;
And there he would marry me.

“Go fetch me some of your father’s gold,
And some of your mother’s fee,
And two of the best steeds from out of the stable,
Where there stand thirty and three, three, three;
Where there stand thirty and three.”

She mounted all on her lily white steed,
And he on a dapple grey.
They rode till they came unto the seaside,
Three hours before it was day, was day;
Three hours before it was day.

“Light off, light off, your lily white steed,
Deliver it up unto me;
For six pretty maidens have I drowned here,
And the seventh thou shall be, shall be;
Oh, the seventh thou shall be.”

“And doff off, doff off, your silken things,
Deliver them up unto me;
I think they look too rich and too gay,
To rot all in the salt sea, salt sea;
To rot all in the salt sea.”

“If I must doff off my silken things,
Pray turn your back unto me;
For it is not fitting that such a young man,
A naked maiden should see, should see;
A naked maiden should see.”

“And cut thou away the brambles sharp,
The brambles from off of the brim,
That they may not tangle my curly locks,
Nor scratch my lily white skin, white skin;
Nor scratch my lily white skin.”

He turned around his back unto her,
And he’s bent down over the brim.
She’s caught him around his middle so small,
And she’s flung him all into the stream, the stream;
She flung him all into the stream.

Well, he fell high, and he fell low,
Until he came to the side.
“Catch hold of my hand, my pretty fair maid,
And I will make you my bride, my bride;
Oh, I will make you my bride.”

“Lie there, lie there, you false-hearted man,
Lie there instead of me.
For six pretty maidens have you drowned here,
But the seventh has drowned thee, drowned thee;
The seventh has drowned thee.”

credits

from The Fairest Flower of Womankind, released April 28, 2017
Vocals: Lindsay Straw
Fiddle: Daniel Accardi

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about

Lindsay Straw Boston, Massachusetts

Boston-based traditional folk singer, guitarist & bouzouki player.

"Hearken(s) back to more innocent times, of Greenwich Village and pure folk." - The Living Tradition

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