Lord Thomas and Fair Elender or the Brown Girl Lord Thomas was a gay forester And the lodge-keeper of the king's deer Fair Elender was as fair a woman Lord Thomas he loved her well "Come rail it over, dear mother," he said "Come rail it over again Whether I must marry fair Elender Or bring the brown girl home" "The brown girl she got houses and land Fair Elender she got none And therefore I charge you with my blessing Go bring the brown girl home" He went till he came to fair Elender's court So loudly twirled at the pin There was none so ready as fair Elender herself To let Lord Thomas in "What news, what news, Lord Thomas?" she said "What news brings you today?" "Bad news brings I, fair Elender," he says "Bad news I bring to thee I come to ask you to my wedding And I think that is bad news for thee" "Come rail it over, dear mother," she says "Come rail it over again If I must go to Lord Thomas's wedding "Or if I must stay at home" "Many may be your friends, daughter But thousands are your foe And therefore I charge you with my blessing To Lord Thomas's wedding don't go" "Yes, many may be my friends, mother And thousands are my foes But betide to my life, betide to my death, To Lord Thomas's wedding I'll go" She dressed herself in rich array Her merry men all in green And every town that they went through They took her to be some queen When she came to Lord Thomas's court So loudly she twirled at the pin There was none as ready as Lord Thomas himself To let fair Elender in He took her by the lily-white hand And led her through the hall He placed her in the noblest chair Among the ladies all "Is this your bride, Lord Thomas?" she said "She looks most wonderful brown You might have had as fair a woman As every trod England's ground" "Despise her not, fair Elender," he said "Despise her not to me Much better do I like your little finger Than I do her whole body" The brown girl had a little penknife It was both long and sharp Betwixt the long ribs and the short She pierced fair Elender's heart "Oh, what's the matter?" Lord Thomas said "You look so pale and wan You used to have so fair a color As ever the sun shone on." "Are you blind, Lord Thomas?" she said "Or can't you very well see And can't you see my own heart's blood As it trickles down to my knee?" Lord Thomas he has a sword by his side It was both long and small He cut the brown girl's head from her shoulders And kicked it against the wall He set the hilt against the ground And the point against his heart There was never three lovers that ever met More sooner they did part "Now dig me a grave," Lord Thomas, he said "And dig it both wide and deep And lay fair Elender by my side And the brown girl at my feet" __________ Child #73 from Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf "Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland" with the incomplete penultimate verse put in from Child. One version of this ballad gets around the color problem (really complexion, not race) by capitalizing "Brown" thus making it the girl's name. SOF
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