209: Geordie

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Go to Child 209 Comment to read the background information.


Maiden’s Lamentation for her Georgy

1

As I rode over London bridge,

‘Twas in the morning early,

There did I spy a maiden fair,

Lamenting for her Georgy.


2

Georgy never stole ox or cow,

Nor calves he never stole any,

Six of the King’s white deer he stole,

And sold them at Broad Hembury.


3

Come saddle me my milk white steed,

Come saddle it so ready,

Then I will ride to my good Lord Judge

To beg for the life of my Georgy.


4

And when she came into the hall,

There was Lords and Ladies plenty,

And down on her bended knees did fall,

Spare me the life of my Georgy.


5

I have got sheep, I have got cows,

Oxen I have plenty,

And you shall them all your own,(sic)

Spare me the life of my Georgy.


6

The Judge he look’d over his left shoulder

Saying, Lady pray now be easy,

George hath confess’d, & die he must,

The Lord have mercy on my Georgy.


7

Georgy shall be hanged in a chain of gold

Such as you never saw many,

For George’s one of the British blood,

And he courted a virtuous Lady.


8

Who for him hath wept both night & day

And could not drive her sorrow away,

But she hoped to see that happy day,

To be blest once more with her Georgy.


9

Was I at the top of Prockter’s hill,

Where times I have been many,

With my pistol cock’d all in my hand,

I’d fight for the life of my Georgy.


The above version printed by T Birt of London is almost identical to those printed by Hook of Brighton, Pitts, and Catnach, and their followers in the trade, Hodges, Disley and Fortey, all of London. Broad Hembury is in Devon between Honiton and Cullompton, and there were lots of farmers of the name Prockter in the district in the early nineteenth century.



The Maid’s Lamentation for the Loss of Her Georgy


1

As I rode over London bridge,

It was in the morning early,

There I heard a maiden sigh and complain,

Lamenting for her Georgy.


2

Come saddle me my milk white steed,

Come saddle it so ready.

And I will go to my good lord Judge,

And beg for the life of my Georgy


3

And when she came to my good lord Judge,

She was both wet and weary,

And on her bended knees did fall,

To beg the life of her Georgy.


4

She travelled till she got into the hall,

Where were lords and ladies plenty,

And on her bended knees did fall,

Saying spare me the life of my Georgy.


5

The judge looked over his left shoulder,

Saying lady I pray you be easy,

Your Georgy is condemned and die he must,

Then the Lord have mercy on my Georgy.


6

My Georgy never robb’d any man,

Never plundered any,

For stealing six of the King’s white deer,

And sold them at Bohemia.


7

My Georgy shall be hanged in silken ropes,

Such as ne’er hanged any,

For he was one of the British blued,

And courted a virtuous lady.


8

Who for him hath wept both night and day,

And nothing can drive her sorrows away,

For she hoped to have seen the happy day,

To have been blessed once more with her Georgy.


9

I wish I was on yonder hill,

Where times I have been many,

With a sword and pistol in my hand,

I’d fight for the life of my Georgy.


10

Take me home and let me mourn,

And I will mourn so rarely,

I’ll mourn a twelvemonth and a day,

All for the life of my Georgy.


The above version printed by Jennings of London c1809-1815, was also printed later in the century by Such of London. The last stanza is no doubt influenced by a stanza in Child 78, ‘The Unquiet Grave’.



The Life of Georgey


1

As I was walking over London bridge,

It was one morning early,

There I espied a gay lady,

Lamenting for her Georgey.


2

Come fetch me some little boy,

That can run an errand swiftly,

That can go ten miles in one hour,

With a little for a lady. (letter)


3

Come saddle me my milk white steed,

Come saddle it so neatly,

That I may go down unto Newcastle gaol,

Begging for the life of Georgey.


4

But when she came unto Newcastle gaol,

She bowed her head so slowly,

Three times on her bended knees did fall,

Saying spare me the life of Georgey


5

The Judge looked over his left shoulder,

And he seemed very hard hearted,

He said, my dear you must begone,

For there is no pardon granted.


6

It is no murder Georgey’s done,

Nor has he killed any,

But he stole sixteen of the king’s best steeds,

And he sold them in Bohemia.


7

It’s six pretty babies I have got,

And the seventh lies in my body,

I’d freely part with them every one,

If you’d spare me the life of Georgey.


8

The Judge looked over his left shoulder,

And he seemed very sorry,

He said, my dear you are too late,

Georgey’s condemn’d already.


9

My George shall be hung in chains of gold,

Of such there are not many,

Because he’s become of noble breed,

And was lov’d by a virtuous lady.


10

I wish I was on yonder hill,

Where times I have been many,

With sword and pistol by my side,

I’d fight for the life of Georgey.


The above version printed by B Walker of Bradford is almost identical to those printed by Ward of Ledbury and Joseph Smyth of Belfast, all c1840.



Charley’s Escape


1

As I walk’d over London bridge, twas on one morning early,

‘Twas there I spied a gay lady lamenting for her Charley;

Come saddle to me my milk white steed, come bridle to me so early,

That I may go down to my good lord Judge, and plead for the life of Charley.


2

She met the Judge then at his door, she look’d exceeding sorry,

Saying good lord Judge grant me my request, it’s but spare me the life of Charley.

The Judge look’d over his right shoulder, he look’d exceeding sorry,

Saying pretty maid you have come too late, for he’s condemned already.


3

The Judge look’d over his left shoulder, he look’d exceeding straightly,

Saying young man you must die to-day, and the Lord have mercy on ye;

As Charley walk’d through the hall taking his leave of many,

But when he come to his own true love, oh! it grieved him worse than any.


4

Charley never rob’d the king’s highway, nor yet hath he kill’d any,

But he stole sixteen of the king’s fair dears and sold them at Bohema.

I wish I was on yonder hill, where kisses I’ve had many,

With a good broadsword all drawn in my hand, I’d fight for the life of Charley.


5

When Charley sat on the gallows high, with the silken cord about him,

This fair maid said that she must die for she could not live without him.

The Judge took her by the lilly white hand and led her to the parlour,

Saying pretty maid he is pardon’d, now go, you’re welcome to your Charley.


From ‘The Green Mountain Songster’ published in Vermont in 1823.