Aug 31, 2015

"Scarborough Fair"+ Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight + Elfin Knight




One of the most popular so-called "folk songs" today is "Scarborough Fair".
Scarborough Faire” dates back to medieval times, and by the end of the 18th century dozens of different versions of the song existed.
Scarborough is a small village that lies on the coast of England, and the Scarborough fair was a grand gathering of merchants, entertainers, and folk from all over the country. The fair would begin every year on August 15th and last for 45 days. An anonymous fellow (or group of fellows) composed the song “Scarborough Faire”, and its popularity arose as Bards traveled from place to place and sung the lyrics.
The tune of this song was derived from “The Elfin Knight,”.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt

(On the side of a hill in the deep forest green)
Parsely, sage, rosemary & thyme
(Tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground)
Without no seams nor needlework
(Blankets and bedclothes a child of the mountains)
Then she'll be a true love of mine
(Sleeps unaware of the clarion call)
Tell her to find me an acre of land

(On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves)
Parsely, sage, rosemary, & thyme
(Washed is the ground with so many tears)
Between the salt water and the sea strand
(A soldier cleans and polishes a gun)
Then she'll be a true love of mine

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of leather

(War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions)
Parsely, sage, rosemary & thyme
(Generals order their soldiers to kill)
And to gather it all in a bunch of heather
(And to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten)
Then she'll be a true love of mine

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine.
The song is about a man asking the reader to tell his lover to perform impossible tasks in order to win back his love. 


The herbs mentioned in each stanza have been speculated to represent the pagan belief that, when combined, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme can create a love charm. The entire song itself seems to be a riddle, with undertones of bitterness and nostalgia that can only belong to a spurned lover. Perhaps, since herbs carried both literal and metaphorical significance during this time, their repetition represents an attempt to woo the woman mentioned in the song.
There are 4 herbs mentioned: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. In the medieval times herbs had much more significant meaning than now (flower language for example) and it might be so that the singer talks in such a way respectively about happiness (as an absence of “sadness, bitterness”), strength, love and bravery.
Another very interesting option can be found in Wikipedia. According to it women who just gave birth to a child were not supposed to eat this herbs as, according to some sources, it might cause the absence of milk. So maybe there’s also some bastard involved which makes the whole story even more thrilling!

The Love Potion Theory

Third option, also very possible, is that these herbs were used for making love potions (medieval times, witches, potions…). Anyway now it’s difficult to find the truth as even those who were singing it 3 centuries ago, I suppose, were not sure what they are singing about. Each ingredient in the potion has a different medicinal and symbolic purpose:
  • Parsley: This ingredient is often used as a digestive aid to remove the bitterness out of certain edibles. It has been theorized that in this song it soothes the bitterness from a once sweet relationship.
  • Sage: This herb is a universal symbol of power. Some believe that it would take extraordinary power to perform the tasks in the song.
  • Rosemary: This ingredient is used in traditional wedding customs and symbolizes love, fidelity and remembrance.
  • Thyme: This herb symbolizes courage; courage to stand up for true love.

The Death Theory 

Another plausible theory is that one of the young lovers is actually deceased—possibly a dead soldier. This theory developed because the four herbs repeated in the lyrics were traditionally associated with death. They would be mixed used for embalming the body and to purify and mitigate the smell of decomposition. When combined, the herbs also have a spiritual symbolism to give lovers strength to endure being separated from each other.
The lyrics in the third verse seem to support this theory.
Tell her to find me an acre of land (On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves).
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (Washes the grave with silvery tears).
Between salt water and the sea strands (A soldier cleans and polishes a gun).
Then she’ll be a true love of mine.

The Riddle Theory

Others have theorized that the true meaning of the refrain is actually a riddle that only the writer’s true love would know the meaning too. In fact, many believe that the whole song is written in riddles and sexual references designed to win her back. If you figure out the hidden meaning, then the tasks really aren’t impossible; they are actually quite simple. This theory is supported by lyrics from one of the earlier versions of the folk song rather than the modern version recorded by Simon & Garfunkel.
Tell him to plough it with a ram’s horn,
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
And sow it all over with one pepper corn,
And he shall be a true love of mine.

Other Theories

Over the years, the lyrics to Scarborough Fair have changed and evolved, spawning countless other theories. Some have to do with the contraceptive and abortive uses of these herbs, speculating that the woman’s pregnancy was actually the impossible task. Others think the herbs are making reference to death from the black plague rather than from war. These theories have been much debated, but It seems that most people come back to one of the three theories mentioned above. No one knows for sure what the writer truly meant when he penned the song.

Elfin Knight




In the oldest extant version of this ballad (circa 1600-1650), an elf threatens to abduct a young woman to be his lover unless she can perform an impossible task; she responds with a list of tasks which he must first perform, thus evading rape. The plot is closely related to "Riddles Wisely Expounded" (Child Ballad #1), in which the Devil proposes to carry off a woman unless she can answer a number of riddles.
Later versions invert the direction of desire, with the elf proposing tasks which the lady must perform in order to be accepted as his lover. The first verse usually opens with the introduction of the title character:
The elphin knight sits on yon hill,
Blaw, blaw, blaw, wind blaw.
He blaws his horn both lewd and shril.
The wind hath blown my plaid awa.
(Note that this verse appears to be taken directly from "Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight", Child Ballad #4; in this ballad, the horn is magic and arouses desire in the hearer.[2])
Meanwhile a maid lies in bed, wishing she could marry the knight. Upon her speaking these words, the knight appears, telling her he will marry her if she will perform numerous tasks, all impossible.
"For thou must shape a sark to me,
Without any cut or heme," quoth he.
She promptly responds with her own list of impossible tasks, and thereby gains her supernatural husband.
The Elfin Knight stands on yon hill
He blows his horn both loud and shrill
He stands so proud and he stands so still

Blow winds blow my bonny o
Blow winds blow my bonny
Blow winds blow my bonny o
Blow winds blow my bonny
 
The Elfin Knight stands on yon land
My true love ?ventually I found,
Down to the church then soon we will be bound

Blow winds blow my bonny o...
You?ll make me a dress with seams of fine thread
Make me a garland of flowers for my head
Down to the church, then away we?ll go to bed

Blow winds blow my bonny o... 
The Elfin Knight stands on yon hill
He blows his horn both loud and shrill
He stands so proud and he stands so still

Blow winds blow my bonny o...

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight tells the story of a young girl who runs off with a strange knight after he either enchants her with music or promises her marriage and a life of luxury.  When they come to their destination, he informs her that he is a serial killer who intends to make her his next victim.  In all of the versions collected here by Child, she saves herself by tricking him into letting his guard down and then killing him.
Version A starts out with Lady Isobel hearing the elf knight’s horn and wishing to sleep with him.  He then breaks into her window and tells her that she has to go the “greenwood side.”  When they get there he tells her that he plans to kill her. She tricks him into taking a nap, apparently using magic, then ties him up and stabs him.

1.Fair lady Isabel sits in her bower sewing, Aye as the gowans grow gay
There she heard an elf-knight blawing his horn.
The first morning in May
2.If I had yon horn that I hear blawing,
And yon elf-knight to sleep in my bosom.'
3.This maiden had scarcely these words spoken,
Till in at her window the elf-knight has luppen.
4.'It's a very strange matter, fair maiden,' said he,
'I canna blaw my horn but ye call on me.
5.'But will ye go to yon greenwood side?
If ye canna gang, I will cause you to ride.'
6.He leapt on a horse, and she on another,
And they rode on to the greenwood together.
7.'Light down, light down, Lady Isabel,' said he,
'We are come to the place where you are to die.'
8.'Hae mercy, hae mercy, kind sir, on me,
Till ance my dear father and mother I see.'
9.'Seven king's-daughters here hae I slain,
And ye shall be the eight o' them.'
10.'O sit down a while, lay your head on my knee,
That we may hae some rest before that I die.'
11.She stroak'd him sae fast, the nearer he did creep,
Wi' a sma' charm she lull'd him fast asleep.
12.Wi' his ain sword-belt sae fast as she ban him,
Wi' his ain dag-durk sae sair as she dang him.
13.'If seven king's-daughters here ye hae slain,
Lye ye here, a husband to them a'.'


Lady Isabel is sewing in her private room when she hears an elf-knight blowing his horn. In the refrain (second and fourth lines), which is repeated in every stanza, we are informed that the daisies (gowans) are growing wonderful (gay) and that it is the 1st of May[88] the date in the calendar that is the opposite of Halloween.
The second line refers to the awakening of Nature that also inspires humans with love-longing and at the same time is a revealing code to inform us that something erotic or morbid is expected in the story that follows. Lady Isabel hears the call of Nature (the elf-knight's horn is a clear phallic symbol) and does not hide her wish to make love (second stanza). She utters her wish so loud that the knight hears it and goes straight to her window. As it is the 1st of May the man, disguised as an elf-knight for the rite, invites her to follow him into the greenwood (fifth stanza) where, according to the custom, they will celebrate the rites of fertility, a symbolical marriage. But the knight has got something else in his mind: he wants to kill her.
The story that follows seems a ritual: he has already killed seven king’s daughters there (something we can hardly believe) and she shall be the eighth. Once again number seven is connected with death. Yet the killing of king’s daughters seems more a ritual sacrifice than anything else. The sacrifice of a virgin of royal blood to induce the gods of nature to be benevolent is not new in the studies of anthropology and mythology. Besides, on that day, she was the Queen of May wearing her crown of flowers. After seven king's daughters it is now the time for a prince to die amid the fields. He will have to lie there and be a husband to them all in order to generate the fruits of nature. That is why the ballad ends with these words: “Lye ye here, a husband to them a'”.
Also the rest of the tale is full of rituals: strangely enough the girl does not seem to be scared when she hears about her fate, and proposes to rest before she dies. Then she persuades the elf to sit down, with his head on her lap, lulls him asleep with a charm, binds him with his own sword-belt, and stabs him with his own dagger.
If we accept the thesis of the ritual sacrifice and we look back at old archetypes, we may find an answer. As we know, seven generally means death, that is, transformation. In our case the girl realizes that, although the elf says that she will be the eighth victim, she is not bound to die because it is a rite of passage. After seven girls it is now the turn of a boy (a King of May) to be sacrificed.
He also knows his destiny and accepts rest and to be lulled asleep by means of a charm. The girl does not have magic powers; what she does, when she charms the boy is part of the rite in which she might have pronounced a magic formula.
She could have stabbed him without binding him, but in ancient times, before a sacrifice, the victims were bound[89] and this is what she does before stabbing him. The seven girls (Queens of May) need now a husband (a King of May) to make the earth fertile. The elf will lie on the earth to become a symbolic husband in a marriage that should bring prosperity to the whole community. A good crop will be the result of a successful marriage.
Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight is one of the most widespread ballads in the British Isles and America. As the old traditions faded though, the elf with the rites of the month of May[90] disappeared and in more recent versions there is a false knight, who abducts a girl with the promise of a marriage. After riding for many miles, though, he tells her that she is going to be killed. In all versions the girl saves her life by means of an expedient and kills the false knight.  Such a story recalls the one about Blue Beard who married the girls only to murder them soon after, until a brave girl unmasked him.
Post a Comment

Labels

Giveaway ( 3135 ) Excerpt ( 1391 ) blog tour ( 966 ) Book Blitz ( 877 ) Cover Reveal ( 571 ) Guest post ( 528 ) Teaser ( 349 ) Book blast ( 293 ) Interview ( 267 ) Books ( 246 ) Culture ( 246 ) Trailer ( 238 ) freebie ( 227 ) Art ( 226 ) Funny ( 225 ) History ( 220 ) Promotion ( 211 ) Science ( 202 ) Articles ( 181 ) free kindle ( 145 ) Literature ( 142 ) Release Day ( 131 ) Review ( 120 ) Photography ( 115 ) nature ( 113 ) kindle ( 112 ) Gender ( 105 ) Book tour ( 91 ) Authors ( 89 ) new release ( 83 ) myth ( 77 ) Coffee ( 76 ) newsletter ( 72 ) Children ( 70 ) PLAYLIST ( 69 ) Music ( 66 ) box set ( 60 ) Archaeological ( 59 ) illustration ( 56 ) spotlight ( 51 ) food ( 50 ) social ( 48 ) 0.99 sale ( 46 ) YA ( 45 ) contest ( 43 ) fantasy ( 43 ) Mythology ( 42 ) Grand Finale ( 41 ) sale ( 40 ) blog hop ( 37 ) words ( 37 ) Poetry ( 35 ) artist ( 34 ) Characters interviews ( 32 ) Game ( 32 ) syfy ( 32 ) quotes ( 31 ) language ( 30 ) recipe ( 30 ) Release Party ( 29 ) Expert ( 27 ) ads ( 21 ) mystery ( 21 ) Photos ( 20 ) reading ( 20 ) top 10 ( 20 ) Romance ( 19 ) dream cast ( 19 ) Animals ( 18 ) Design ( 18 ) Education ( 18 ) Street Photography ( 18 ) book highlight ( 18 ) facts ( 18 ) comics ( 17 ) health ( 17 ) writing ( 17 ) Folklore ( 16 ) Holidays ( 16 ) Movies ( 16 ) Characters bio ( 15 ) poem ( 15 ) Characters cast ( 14 ) Biology ( 13 ) Book release ( 12 ) Book trailers ( 12 ) Cash Giveaway ( 12 ) Maps ( 12 ) covers ( 12 ) Giveaways ( 11 ) Twitter Blast ( 11 ) Valentine ( 11 ) events ( 11 ) Friday revel ( 10 ) Libraries ( 10 ) Paranormal ( 10 ) Release blitz ( 10 ) agriculture ( 10 ) sport ( 10 ) Publishing ( 9 ) Sneak Peek ( 9 ) work ( 9 ) BOOK SIGNING ( 8 ) Steam-punk ( 8 ) astronomy ( 8 ) interviews ( 8 ) plants ( 8 ) soundtrack ( 8 ) technology ( 8 ) Free Book ( 7 ) Goodreads giveaway ( 7 ) Halloween ( 7 ) NA ( 7 ) Thanks Giving ( 7 ) blog ( 7 ) blog blast ( 7 ) economy ( 7 ) letters ( 7 ) street art ( 7 ) Christmas ( 6 ) Contemporary Romance ( 6 ) Genetic ( 6 ) This and That ( 6 ) YA RELEASES ( 6 ) news ( 6 ) short story ( 6 ) writing tools ( 6 ) Amazon. ( 5 ) Audio ( 5 ) Philosophy ( 5 ) Spring ( 5 ) YA Fantasy ( 5 ) hosting ( 5 ) jobs ( 5 ) mother day ( 5 ) top 5 ( 5 ) Black Friday ( 4 ) BookRave ( 4 ) Characters ( 4 ) Fun Facts ( 4 ) Grammar ( 4 ) Song ( 4 ) Sunday Read Recommendation ( 4 ) Weather ( 4 ) Web ( 4 ) cakes ( 4 ) deals ( 4 ) evolution ( 4 ) gift card ( 4 ) horror ( 4 ) lol ( 4 ) photographer ( 4 ) studies ( 4 ) video ( 4 ) Architecture ( 3 ) Book Swapping ( 3 ) Book tor ( 3 ) Cartoon ( 3 ) Computing ( 3 ) Dance ( 3 ) Easter ( 3 ) Erotica ( 3 ) Indian ( 3 ) Kindle Fire HDx Giveaway ( 3 ) St. Patrick's day ( 3 ) Suspense ( 3 ) TV series ( 3 ) Thriller ( 3 ) Translation ( 3 ) bookstore ( 3 ) chapters ( 3 ) chemistry ( 3 ) contemporary ( 3 ) ecology ( 3 ) fall ( 3 ) film director ( 3 ) guest review ( 3 ) hope ( 3 ) icon ( 3 ) launch day ( 3 ) math ( 3 ) story ( 3 ) summer ( 3 ) syfi ( 3 ) urban ( 3 ) winter ( 3 ) 10 Fun Facts ( 2 ) 10 things ( 2 ) 4th of july ( 2 ) Adventure ( 2 ) Audiobook ( 2 ) Awards ( 2 ) Blogger Appreciation ( 2 ) Book reveling ( 2 ) Bookstores ( 2 ) Clean Sweep ( 2 ) Cover wars ( 2 ) Crime ( 2 ) Debut Author Challenge ( 2 ) Dystopian ( 2 ) Family ( 2 ) Free Shipping ( 2 ) Fun ( 2 ) Gifts ( 2 ) Graphs. STAT ( 2 ) Hop International ( 2 ) Introduction ( 2 ) Literature awards ( 2 ) New Year ( 2 ) Nostalgic ( 2 ) Ocean ( 2 ) Psychological ( 2 ) Psychological Thriller ( 2 ) Reading Contest ( 2 ) Release week ( 2 ) Selfies ( 2 ) Summer Reading ( 2 ) Summery of the year ( 2 ) Tablets ( 2 ) Tea ( 2 ) Titles ( 2 ) add ( 2 ) art Articles ( 2 ) birds ( 2 ) book bash ( 2 ) book contest ( 2 ) bread ( 2 ) cell & molecular biology ( 2 ) children’s literature ( 2 ) climate change ( 2 ) codes ( 2 ) discussion ( 2 ) dragons ( 2 ) ebooks ( 2 ) epic ( 2 ) extreme ( 2 ) facebook ( 2 ) facebook Blast ( 2 ) games & gadgets. test ( 2 ) ilustration ( 2 ) immunology ( 2 ) incredible ( 2 ) internet ( 2 ) labels ( 2 ) lists ( 2 ) lunch blitz ( 2 ) martial ( 2 ) min-interview ( 2 ) monsters ( 2 ) physics ( 2 ) poets ( 2 ) sea ( 2 ) songs tracks ( 2 ) tips ( 2 ) tv ( 2 ) water ( 2 ) wolf ( 2 ) 5 Fun Facts ( 1 ) 5 Rapid Fire Round ( 1 ) A vote ( 1 ) Action ( 1 ) Adult ( 1 ) Adult Historical Fantasy ( 1 ) Adult fiction ( 1 ) African-American Lit ( 1 ) Amazing ( 1 ) Amazon ( 1 ) Amazon.Tech ( 1 ) Announcement ( 1 ) Apology ( 1 ) April ( 1 ) Atlit Yam ( 1 ) B-day ( 1 ) Badass heroes ( 1 ) Baking ( 1 ) Bibliophile ( 1 ) Black & White ( 1 ) Blogoversary ( 1 ) Book Hop ( 1 ) Book Series ( 1 ) Bookfest ( 1 ) Booklikes ( 1 ) Bravery ( 1 ) Bundles ( 1 ) Catalog ( 1 ) Concepts ( 1 ) Critique ( 1 ) Cut Scene ( 1 ) DVD ( 1 ) Did you know ( 1 ) Discovery ( 1 ) Disney ( 1 ) Donation Campaign ( 1 ) Earth Day ( 1 ) Etymology ( 1 ) Extravaganza ( 1 ) FAQ ( 1 ) Falafel Day ( 1 ) Favorite Reads ( 1 ) Folklure ( 1 ) Gadgets ( 1 ) Garden ( 1 ) Geography ( 1 ) Greating ( 1 ) Happy New Year. greatings ( 1 ) Heroes ( 1 ) High-Rise Buildings ( 1 ) Highlights ( 1 ) Holocaust ( 1 ) Infographic ( 1 ) Inspiration ( 1 ) International ( 1 ) Japan ( 1 ) Jazz ( 1 ) Kindness ( 1 ) Linguists ( 1 ) Literary Fiction ( 1 ) Maleficent ( 1 ) Meet the author ( 1 ) Misconceptions ( 1 ) Movie poster ( 1 ) Multicultural ( 1 ) New Adult ( 1 ) New Adult fiction ( 1 ) New Series Releases ( 1 ) Offers ( 1 ) PRE-RELEASE ( 1 ) Parental ( 1 ) Passover ( 1 ) Personal message ( 1 ) Picture Revision ( 1 ) Piracy ( 1 ) Pirates ( 1 ) Preview ( 1 ) Print Design ( 1 ) Psychology ( 1 ) QA ( 1 ) Query Contest ( 1 ) Quet ( 1 ) Quiz ( 1 ) Quize ( 1 ) Random Facts ( 1 ) Rapid Fire Round ( 1 ) Recommends ( 1 ) References ( 1 ) Religion ( 1 ) Reveal ( 1 ) Rhymes ( 1 ) Romantic Suspense ( 1 ) Scavenger Hunt ( 1 ) Scots ( 1 ) Sleeping Beauty ( 1 ) Sparkiversary ( 1 ) Target ( 1 ) Tax day ( 1 ) Tour ( 1 ) Tour Highlight ( 1 ) Tourney ( 1 ) Trivia ( 1 ) Typography ( 1 ) Unbelievable ( 1 ) Urban Fantasy ( 1 ) Vintage ( 1 ) Virtual Book Tour ( 1 ) Visa ( 1 ) WWII ( 1 ) Waiting on Wednesday ( 1 ) Western Historical Romance ( 1 ) What I'm reading ( 1 ) Women ( 1 ) Women’s Fiction ( 1 ) Women’s Lit ( 1 ) YA nonfiction ( 1 ) academic ( 1 ) alternative medical ( 1 ) angry robot ( 1 ) anima ( 1 ) author blog ( 1 ) available ( 1 ) book hunt ( 1 ) book industry ( 1 ) book sketch ( 1 ) book swag ( 1 ) brain ( 1 ) calligraphy ( 1 ) ceremony ( 1 ) challenge ( 1 ) clips ( 1 ) clocks ( 1 ) confidence ( 1 ) convention ( 1 ) crazy ( 1 ) creative ( 1 ) cupping ( 1 ) daimonds ( 1 ) diet ( 1 ) digital copy ( 1 ) discount ( 1 ) drugs ( 1 ) east ( 1 ) editing ( 1 ) essays ( 1 ) fairy tales ( 1 ) fashion ( 1 ) fiction ( 1 ) fool day ( 1 ) genre ( 1 ) gift ( 1 ) global warming ( 1 ) gov ( 1 ) green ( 1 ) greeting ( 1 ) guns ( 1 ) harvest ( 1 ) help ( 1 ) here and there ( 1 ) ideas ( 1 ) indi ( 1 ) infectious disease ( 1 ) info ( 1 ) insects ( 1 ) intro for audio ( 1 ) introducing ( 1 ) labor day ( 1 ) lego ( 1 ) make up ( 1 ) manga ( 1 ) meaning ( 1 ) message ( 1 ) money ( 1 ) monthly ( 1 ) mystical ( 1 ) names ( 1 ) names.culture ( 1 ) new cover ( 1 ) note ( 1 ) olympic ( 1 ) organic ( 1 ) out takes ( 1 ) outage ( 1 ) packing ( 1 ) palentology ( 1 ) party ( 1 ) pepco ( 1 ) physiology ( 1 ) pk ( 1 ) protein ( 1 ) protein foldingץ ( 1 ) protest ( 1 ) public transportation ( 1 ) pulp fiction ( 1 ) rare ( 1 ) recommendation ( 1 ) rescued ( 1 ) retail ( 1 ) reveal tour ( 1 ) revel party ( 1 ) shopping ( 1 ) solutions ( 1 ) support ( 1 ) surfing ( 1 ) survival ( 1 ) swords ( 1 ) tags ( 1 ) theater ( 1 ) title reveal ( 1 ) top 12 ( 1 ) trees ( 1 ) update ( 1 ) visual ( 1 ) winner of giveaway ( 1 ) wo ( 1 )