Fair Ellender


"Father, come father, come riddle to me,
Come riddle it all as one;
And tell me whether to marry fair Ellen,
Or bring the Brown girl home."

"The Brown girl she has house and land,
Fair Ellender, she has none;
And there I charge you with the blessing
To bring the Brown girl home."

He got on his horse and he rode and he rode,
He rode till he came to her home;
And no one so ready as Fair Ellen herself,
To rise and bid him in.

"What news have you brought unto me, Lord Thomas,
What news have you brought unto me ?"
"I've come to ask you to my wedding,
A sorrowful wedding to be."

"Oh mother, oh mother, would you go or stay ?"
"Fair child do as you please.
But I'm afraid if you go you'll never return,
To see your dear mother anymore."

She turned around all dressed in white,
Her sisters dressed in green;
And every town that they rode through,
Took her to be some queen.

They rode and they rode till they came to his hall,
They pulled on the bell and it rang;
And no one so ready as Lord Thomas himself,
To rise and bade them in.

Then taking her by the lily-white hand,
And leading her through the hall;
Saying, "Fifty gay ladies are here today,
But here is the flower of all."

The Brown girl, she was standing by,
With knife both keen and sharp;
Between the long ribs and the short,
Pierced Fair Ellender's heart.

Lord Thomas, he was standing by.
With knife ground keen and sharp;
Between the long ribs and the short,
He pierced his own bride's heart.

The placing the handle against the wall,
The point against his breast;
Saying, "This is the ending of three true lovers,
God sends us all to rest."

"Oh father, oh father, go dig my grave,
Go dig it wide and deep;
And place Fair Ellender in my arms,
And the Brown girl at my feet."

Midi sequenced by Terry Stephens
Used with permission

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