The Wandering Ballad – Song no. 3: Earl Brand

This is the third in a series of blogs about the songs on our new CD “The Wandering Ballad”. 

 

The story of Earl Brand has been sung in ballad form far and wide, for centuries.

 

A young girl is secretly in love with a young man. He comes and whisks her away and the two young lovers take off on horseback.

 

However, the girl’s father and seven brothers are fast on their heels. When they catch up with the runaways there is a terrible fight. The young man kills the girl’s father and brothers. He himself is mortally wounded and the story ends in tragedy.

 

I have found that versions of this story have been sung in ballad form in Scandinavia, the U.K., the U.S., France and Punjab in India. I am sure there are more versions that I am not aware of as well. It also ties in to several myths and legends along the way.

 

Of course it is quite a universal story line. The runaway lovers. But some of the details of the ballad have remained in the different versions. So somehow this ballad must have been transmitted over vast distances.

 

The song Earl Brand on our CD is of British origin also found in the U.S.

 

Did you hear of Brave Earl Brand?

-Lalli lilli lalee

He courted the king’s daughter of fair England

- In the night so early

 

She was only 15 years of age,

-Lalli lilli lalee

when so boldly she came to his bedside

- In the night so early

 

“Oh, Earl Brand, hear what I see,

-Lalli lilli lalee

the hounds let loose on the lee!”

- In the night so early

 

“Oh, lady, I have horses but one,

-Lalli lilli lalee

so you shall ride and I shall run!”

- In the night so early

 

They rode over moss and moor,

-Lalli lilli lalee

and they met neither rich or poor.

- In the night so early

 

Until they met old Carl Hood.

-Lalli lilli lalee

He comes for ill and never for good.

- In the night so early

 

“Where have you ridden this long day?

-Lalli lilli lalee

And where have you taken this maiden away?”

- In the night so early

 

“She is only my sick sister,

-Lalli lilli lalee

who I have brought from Winchester.”

- In the night so early

 

“If she is sick and close to dead,

-Lalli lilli lalee

why does she wear the ribbons so red?”

- In the night so early

 

“If she is sick and close to die,

-Lalli lilli lalee

why does she wear the gold so high?”

- In the night so early

 

Carl Hood rode to the castle gate.

-Lalli lilli lalee

And so rudely he rapped at it.

- In the night so early

 

“Where is the princess today?”

-Lalli lilli lalee

“Oh, she is out with her maids to play.”

- In the night so early

 

“Ha ha ha, you are mistaken!

-Lalli lilli lalee

Go and count your maidens once again!”

- In the night so early

 

The character of Carl Hood appears in some versions of British and Scandinavian ballads and is thought to be the old Oden who still roams the moss and more in his big floppy hat, creating trouble…

 

In most versions, including the Scandinavian and Punjabi versions, the girl’s father and seven brothers catch up with the couple when they stop to rest for a while.

 

Please reload

Featured Posts

The Mountain King, Song # 9: Tilili

July 5, 2017

1/9
Please reload

Recent Posts
Please reload

Archive
Please reload