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Title: The Dalby Bear - and Other Ballads
Author: Borrow, George Henry, 1803-1881
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Dalby Bear - and Other Ballads" ***

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Transcribed from the 1913 Thomas J. Wise pamphlet by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org.  Many thanks to Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library,
UK, for kindly supplying the images from which this transcription was
made.



                              THE DALBY BEAR
                            AND OTHER BALLADS


                                    BY
                              GEORGE BORROW

                                 LONDON:
                     PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION
                                   1913



THE DALBY BEAR


There goes a bear on Dalby moors,
Oxen and horses he devours.

The peasants are in deep distress
The laidly bear should them oppress.

Their heads together at length they lay,
How they the bear might seize and slay.

They drove their porkers through the wood,
The bear turn’d round as he lay at food.

Outspoke as best he could the bear:
“What kind of guests approach my lair?”

Uprose the bear amain from his food,
A christian man before him stood.

A little hour together they fought,
The bear to the earth the man has brought.

Fast came a knight as he could make,
He heard the heart of the peasant break.

The bear upon him fiercely glar’d;
“Thou needst not hurry, I’m prepar’d.”

“And thou by me shalt be stoutly met,
So thou may’st vapour and thou may’st threat.

“If thou hast spear and nimble hand,
I’ve claws and teeth at my command.”

They fought for a day, they fought for two,
And so on the third they continu’d to do.

But when to night the fourth day drew,
The bear to the earth the warrior threw.

“Thou wilt no victory gain from me,
Thou haughty knight, thou may’st certain be.

“I late was the son of a powerful King,
A Queen me into the world did bring.

“My Step-dame chang’d me, as you see,
She’d ruin me to eternity.

“About the wild forest I have run,
To the boors much scathe and violence done.

“In winter and in summer’s tide
In peace for me they could not bide.

“But they may thank my cruel Dame,
For ’twas through her I a bear became.

“She plac’d around my neck so tight
An iron band in wrath and spite.

“If thou this accursed band canst break
Thy life from thee I will not take.”

“O I will help thee from thy thrall;
Maria’s son who has power for all

“Will loosen from thee this stubborn band,
Full able thereto is his right hand.”

O’er him the cross the knight did make,
The iron burst from the bruin’s neck.

He became a youth as fair as day,
His father’s realm he went to sway.

A noble maid awaits the knight,
The hand of the Monarch’s sister bright.

They liv’d together in honor and joy,
To the cruel Stepdame’s great annoy.

A hard flint rock she soon became,
For herself she earn’d both woe and shame.



TYGGE HERMANDSEN


Down o’er the isle in torrents fell
   On a Thursday morn the rain;
To fetch his bride now forth shall ride
   Sir Tygge Hermandsen.

Sir Tygge out of the window look’d,
   The brooks ran boisterously;
“To ride out now would bring me woe,
   So dear no bride I’ll buy.

“But hear thou, Nilaus Benditson,
   Long shanks has thy good steed;
I beg for the love of the God above
   You’ll fetch my bride with speed.”

Then answer’d Nilaus Benditson,
   In his sleeve thus answer’d he:
“If me thou dispatch thy bride to fetch
   I’ll trick thee certainly.”

It was Nilaus Benditson,
   He rode the bride to meet;
There hung silk sheen and sendal green
   Before his courser’s feet.

They clad themselves in silken cloth,
   And in cloth of gold beside;
In long array to the Kirk their way
   They took with the youthful bride.

The bride before the holy Kirk door
   Like a blooming rose did stand;
Oft did she turn to the water, to learn
   If the bridegroom was at hand.

Then answer’d Nilaus Benditson,
   He stood by the bride so close:
“The brooks so roar’d that to cross the ford
   He fear’d would wet his hose.”

They plac’d the bride on the bridal bench
   With pomp and honor high;
Oft would they turn to the water to learn
   If the bridegroom bold drew nigh.

In the silver cup they skink the ale,
   And the nut-brown mead they pour;
Thus things they sped till day was fled,
   And until of bed the hour.

They lifted up the youthful bride,
   In the bride-bed her they set;
And there sat she for hours three,
   There came no bridegroom yet.

The priests before the bride-bed stood,
   And sang with all their might:
“Who in the bed in the bridegroom’s stead
   Shall sleep with the bride tonight?”

Then forth stepp’d Nilaus Benditson,
   His lac’d shoe off flung he:
“With the bride so bright I’ll sleep tonight,
   And give her my troth with glee.”

So they the bridal solemnized,
   And glad themselves they made;
At home was then Tygge Hermandsen,
   To cross the brooks afraid.

It chanc’d upon a Wednesday,
   The waters began to fall;
Across came then Tygge Hermandsen
   With his gay bridesmen all.

And he came to the bridal house
   Where the feast was spread in state,
Then up and cried the youthful bride:
   “Ride back, you come too late.”

“Now hear, thou beauteous Sidselil,
   I’ve this to complain of thee,
That thou hast ta’en another swain
   And broke thy troth with me.”

“Now hear, thou Tygge Hermandsen,
   Thou might’st have been aware,
I would disdain to wed the swain
   To wet his feet had fear.

“If thou hadst been a Lady’s swain,
   And hadst thou lov’d me true,
With thy sword’s stroke thou wouldst have broke
   Thy way through the billows blue.”

“To the cloyster I’ll myself betake,
   And the monkish vow I’ll swear;
For good or ill, proud Sidselil,
   I’ll never more come here.”

“But if hereby thy way shall lie
   When the brooks shall calmly run,
If cheeses two in my store I view
   In thy sack I’ll drop thee one.” {13}



THE WICKED STEPMOTHER


Sir Ove he has no daughter but one,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
He bestow’d her the Lord of Elling upon.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

He bestow’d her upon a gallant knight,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Sir Stig Cob was the gallant hight.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

When a year to end had well nigh come,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_.
Two sons had Thorelil in her womb.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

Hither and thither they carry the dame,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
But worse and worse her plight became.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

Sir Stig his bonnet he has put on,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
And into the hall to his mother is gone.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“Hear me, dear mother, canst thou rede,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
How it with Thorelil shall speed?”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“For forty weeks and a year I trow,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Thy Thorelil with child shall go.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“O mother dear, it can scarce be so,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
But forty weeks Mary with Christ did go.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“Since I no help can here obtain,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
From whence I came convey me again.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“The horses are grazing upon the moor,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
And in their beds the coachmen snore.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“If coach nor coachmen I can get,
   _All underneath the green hill’s side_,
I’ll tramp on my feet through dry and wet.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

Her lips the word had scarcely said,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
When the horses to the coach were led.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

Stig took her so tenderly by the waist,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_.
And her in the gilded coach he plac’d.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

He set her down on the cushions gray,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
And he himself drove the coach away.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

And when they came under the green wood bough,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Her chariot broke her weight below.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“A wondrous woman I sure must be,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Since my own coach won’t carry me.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“My dearest, my dearest, be not dismay’d,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Thou back canst walk with thy husband’s aid.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

And when to the castle gate they won,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
His sister stood and lean’d thereon.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“O my dear sister, canst thou rede,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
How it with Thorelil will speed?”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

Unto her coffer proud Mettelil flew,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Of wax she has fashion’d babies two.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

She drew her blue mantle o’er her head,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
And unto her mother’s bower she sped.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“From thy heart, dear mother, all sorrow chase,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
And thy grand-babes take to thy embrace.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“O I had thought with my bunch of keys,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
To overturn her bliss with ease.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“I thought I’d bewitch’d each inch of land,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Save the spot alone where her chest doth stand.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

No sooner was Thorelil thither convey’d,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
Than of two fair sons she light was made.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“O God grant me so long to breathe,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
That parting presents I may bequeath.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“Stig’s mother, I give her my sarke to wear,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
May she use it like me with grief and care!
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“To his sister I give my embroider’d shoe,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
To wear with glee unmixt with woe.
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

“A lovely rose is my last bequest,
   _All underneath a green hill’s side_,
For Stig to wed, and with her be blest.”
   _In such peril through the forest they ride_.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
               Printed for THOMAS J. WISE, Hampstead, N.W.
                   _Edition limited to Thirty Copies_.



Footnotes:


{13}  She taunts him with the idea of his becoming a monk, and going
about with a sack begging for alms.





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