MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Lord Bateman
M. Curran NFLD 1 Tape 12A Track 3
Calvert Audio:
Child ballad / love across social classes Child 53

Lord Bateman was a noble lord
He was a lord of high degree
He shipped himself on board of a vessel
Some foreign countries for to go see

Oh, he sailed east and he sailed west
Until he came to [Sentapee?]
And he was taken and cast in irons
Until his life was quite weary

In his prison yard there grew a tree
And there it grew both stout and strong
And he was chained around the middle
Until his life was nearly gone

Now this Turk he had one lonely daughter
As fair as my two eyes did see
And she stole the keys of her father's prison
And she said Lord Bateman she would go see

"Oh is it true that you're Lord Bateman
And does Northumberland belong to thee
And what would you give to a fair young damsel
Who out of prison would set you free?"

"Oh yes it is true that I'm Lord Bateman
And half Northumberland belongs to me
But I'd give it all to the fair young damsel
Who out of prison would set me free."

Oh, she went unto her father's cellar
And she brought to him the very best wine
And every health he drank unto her
Said Lord Bateman, "I wish you were mine."

Oh they made a vow between them two
For seven long years to keep it strong
That he would marry no other woman
And she to no other man belong

Oh she went unto her father's harbour
And she put him on board a ship of fame
Saying, "Farewell, farewell to thee Lord Bateman
I'm afraid I will never see thee again."

Now when seven long years had passed and gone
And fourteen days well known to me
She put on all of her grey silk clothing
And she said Lord Bateman she would go see

And when she reached Lord Bateman's castle
She boldly then did ring the bell
"Who's there, who's there?" cried the proud young porter
"Who's there, who's there, come quickly tell."

"Oh is this Lord Bateman's castle
And is his Lordship now within?"
"Oh yes oh yes," cried the proud young porter
"He is just now bringing his young bride in."

"Go bid him send me a piece of cake
And a bottle of his choicest wine
And ask him if he does remem.

(speaks) No that's that. Hold on now, I'll see

"Go bid him bring me a piece of cake
And a bottle of his choicest wine
And tell him not to forget the fair young damsel
Who did release him when close confined."

(speaks) Now just stop it a minute again now sir.

[Tape stops and starts]

Away and away sped the proud young porter
And way and away and away sped he
Until he reached Lord Bateman's ca.

(speaks) Lord Bateman's . what? . his room?

[Tape stops and starts]

Away away sped the proud young porter
Away and away and away sped he
Until he reached lord Bateman's presence
And down he fell on his bended knee

Oh there is one.

(speaks) Dang it I'm wrong again

"What's new what news, my proud young porter
What news what news do you bring to me?"
"Oh there is one of the finest damsels
That ever eyes on men did see

"She has diamond rings upon every finger
And on one finger she has got three
And she has more gold around her person
Than would buy Northumberland from thee

"She bids you send her a piece of cake
And a bottle of your choicest wine
And not to forget that fair young damsel
Who did release you when close confined

(speaks) Hold on again now sir till I get. pick up the next verse

[Tape stops and starts]

Lord Bateman then flew in a.
Lord Bateman then flew in a passion

(speaks) That's wrong That's the wrong air now

[Tape stops and starts]

Lord Bateman then flew in a passion
And he broke his sword into splinters three
Saying, "I will wed no other woman
Since my Sophia has come to me."

Then up and spake the young bride's mother
She was never known for to speak so free
Saying, "What will you do with my only daughter
Since yours has crossed the sea?"

"Oh it's true that I married your only daughter
But she's none the better or the worse for me
She came to me on a horse and saddle
I'll send her home in a chase and three."

Lord Bateman fixed him another wedding
And his young heart was filled with glee
He sailed no more into foreign countries
Since his Sophia crossed the sea


Sources:   Child ballad #53, "Young Beichen"; Mercer 198; Greenleaf 1968: 17, Karpeles 1934: 88; Peacock 210 (2 versions); recorded by Anita Best on Crosshanded (Amber, 1997); for a long list of variants and recordings, see Leach also collected this from Mr. M. Curran of Calvert. Henry 470; Roud 40.

History: Also called "Young Beichan," the popularity of this ballad was enhanced by numerous broadside publications in the 19th century. The narrative is also found in the folklore of Spain, Italy, and Scandinavian countries.

Text notes: An exotic tale in which Lord Bateman is imprisoned, usually in a Turkish jail, rescued by the daughter of the jailor. They promise to wed in seven years. She seeks him out after this time but finds he has just married another. But he frees himself in order to marry the jailor's daughter.  

Tune notes: Bronson notes that the earliest tunes (dating from the late 18th century) are in duple time while more recent ones are generally in triple metre. This performance tends toward 5/8.   Peacock collected two tunes, one in 5/4.   Anita Best sings a variant of this tune on her solo album, Cross-handed.

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