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The Serpent Knight and other ballads   By: (1803-1881)

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First Page:

THE SERPENT KNIGHT AND OTHER BALLADS

BY GEORGE BORROW

LONDON: PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION 1913

Table of Contents

PAGE

THE SERPENT KING 7 SIR OLAF 10 THE TREACHEROUS MERMAN 15 THE KNIGHT IN THE DEER’S SHAPE 18 THE STALWART MONK 24 THE CRUEL STEP DAME 30 THE CUCKOO 34

THE SERPENT KNIGHT

Signelil sits in her bower alone, Of her golden harp she waked the tone.

Beneath her mantle her harp she played, Then in came striding the worm so laid.

“Proud Signelil, if thou me wilt wed, I’ll give thee store of gold so red.”

“Forbid the heavenly God so great That I should become the Lindworm’s mate.”

“Since thee I may not for a wife acquire, Kiss me only and I’ll retire.”

The linen so white betwixt she placed, And the laidly worm she kissed in haste.

With his tail of serpent up strook he, From beneath her dress the blood ran free.

The Lindworm down from the chamber strode, Wringing her hands behind she trode.

And when she came out upon the stair Her seven bold brothers met her there.

“Welcome our sister, whither dost hie? Keep’st thou the Lindworm company?”

“Ah, yes! with the laidly worm I go, Because hard fate will have it so.”

The Lindworm into the mountain strode, Wringing her hands behind she trode.

She fell on her knee, and her prayer she made, “Now son of Mary deign to aid.”

And when he had come to the mountain in, Off he cast his serpent’s skin.

His snake’s appearance off he shook, And the form of a stately knight he took.

“Thanks for thy trouble, proud Signelil, Now live and die with thee I will.”

Now is proud Signild free from fright, In a prince’s arm she sleeps each night.

SIR OLAF

Sir Olaf rides on his courser tall, Guests to bid to his bridal hall. Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

In fours and fives the elfins dance, The elf king’s daughter I see advance. Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“Sir Olaf, cease so fierce to ride, And dance with me for a little tide.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“I may not dance, I may not stay, To morrow is my bridal day.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“Sir Olaf, if thou wilt dance with me, Two buckskin boots I’ll give to thee.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“I dare not dance, I dare not stay, To morrow is my bridal day.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“Sir Olaf, if thou wilt dance with me, A silken shirt I’ll give to thee.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“A silken shirt so fair and fine, Which my mother bleach’d in the pale moon shine.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“I dare not dance, I must away, To morrow is my bridal day.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“Sir Olaf, if thou wilt dance with me, A helm of gold I’ll give to thee.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“A helm of gold is a bonny thing, But I dare not tread the elfin ring.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

“And if thou wilt not dance with me, Disease and death shall follow thee.” Gaily they dance in the greenwood .

She struck him on the shoulder bone, Fiercer pain he ne’er had known... Continue reading book >>




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