Tam Lin Balladry | Oral Tradition | Narrative Poems

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Tam Lin BalladryTam Lin Balladry Tam Lin: Child 39A Site reference number: 1 source cited: 'Tam Lin', Johnson's Museum, 1729, communicated by Burns This is child's version 39-A, probably the best known version of the story of Tam Lin in ballad version, and the version which is used as the base of much of the information present at this web site. The Ballad of Tam Lin Summary of Tam Lin : The woods of Carterhaugh are guarded by Tam Lin, a man who demands payment of all maidens who pass through,
Transcript
  Tam Lin BalladryTam Lin BalladryTam Lin: Child 39ASite reference number: 1source cited: 'Tam Lin', Johnson's Museum, 1729, communicated by BurnsThis is child's version 39-A, probably the best known version of the story ofTam Lin in ballad version, and the version which is used as the base of much ofthe information present at this web site.The Ballad of Tam LinSummary of Tam Lin : The woods of Carterhaugh are guarded by Tam Lin, a man whodemands payment of all maidens who pass through, in the form of a belonging ortheir virginity. A maiden named Janet travels to Carterhaugh and picks a rose,causing Tam Lin to appear. He questions her presence, to which she relies thatCarterhaugh is rightfully hers. She then travels to her fathers house where sheexhibits the early signs of pregnancy, much to the concern of the household. She states that her lover is elven, and then returns to Carterhaugh, once againencountering Tam Lin. He reveals he is not elven, but a mortal captured by thequeen of Faeries, and that he may be sacrificied to hell as part of the faerietithe. He then details how she can save him to be her mate, if she will undergoa trial on Halloween night. She must pull him from his horse as the faeriesprocess through the woods, and hold onto him as he is transformed into variousbeasts, then plunge him into a well when he turns into a brand of fire. When heregains his own naked shape she must cover him with her green mantle and he will be free. She does all of this, much to the anger of the watching Queen offaeries.If you're finding this version hard to read, you can either read other versionsor you can read a translation of this one.Musical notation for this version can be found at The Music of Tam Lin.Tam LinChild ballad #39AThe English and Scottish Popular Ballads, 1882-1898 by Francis James ChildO I forbid you, maidens a',That wear gowd on your hair,To come or gae by Carterhaugh,For young Tam Lin is there.There's nane that gaes by CarterhaughBut they leave him a wad,Either their rings, or green mantles,Or else their maidenhead.Janet has kilted her green kirtleA little aboon her knee,And she has broded her yellow hairA little aboon her bree,And she's awa to Carterhaugh  As fast as she can hie.When she came to carterhaughTam Lin was at the well,And there she fand his steed standing,But away was himsel.She had na pu'd a double rose,A rose but only twa,Till upon then started young Tam Lin,Says, Lady, thou's pu nae mae.Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,And why breaks thou the wand?Or why comes thou to CarterhaughWithoutten my command? Carterhaugh, it is my own,My daddy gave it me,I'll come and gang by Carterhaugh,And ask nae leave at thee. Janet has kilted her green kirtleA little aboon her knee,And she has broded her yellow hairA little aboon her bree,And she is to her father's ha,As fast as she can hie.Four and twenty ladies fairWere playing at the ba,And out then came the fair Janet,The flower among them a'.Four and twenty ladies fairWere playing at the chess,And out then came the fair Janet,As green as onie glass.Out then spake an auld grey knight,Lay oer the castle wa,And says, Alas, fair Janet, for thee,But we'll be blamed a'. Haud your tongue, ye auld fac'd knight,Some ill death may ye die!Father my bairn on whom I will,I'll father none on thee. Out then spak her father dear,  And he spak meek and mild, And ever alas, sweet Janet, he says, I think thou gaest wi child. If that I gae wi child, father,Mysel maun bear the blame,There's neer a laird about your ha,Shall get the bairn's name. If my love were an earthly knight,As he's an elfin grey,I wad na gie my ain true-loveFor nae lord that ye hae. The steed that my true love rides onIs lighter than the wind,Wi siller he is shod before,Wi burning gowd behind. Janet has kilted her green kirtleA little aboon her knee,And she has broded her yellow hairA little aboon her bree,And she's awa to CarterhaughAs fast as she can hie.When she came to Carterhaugh,Tam Lin was at the well,And there she fand his steed standing,But away was himsel.She had na pu'd a double rose,A rose but only twa,Till up then started young Tam Lin,Says, Lady, thou pu's nae mae. Why pu's thou the rose, Janet,Amang the groves sae green,And a' to kill the bonny babeThat we gat us between? O tell me, tell me, Tam Lin, she says, For's sake that died on tree,If eer ye was in holy chapel,Or christendom did see? Roxbrugh he was my grandfather,Took me with him to bideAnd ance it fell upon a dayThat wae did me betide.  And ance it fell upon a dayA cauld day and a snell,When we were frae the hunting come,That frae my horse I fell,The Queen o' Fairies she caught me,In yon green hill do dwell. And pleasant is the fairy land,But, an eerie tale to tell,Ay at the end of seven years,We pay a tiend to hell,I am sae fair and fu o flesh,I'm feard it be mysel. But the night is Halloween, lady,The morn is Hallowday,Then win me, win me, an ye will,For weel I wat ye may. Just at the mirk and midnight hourThe fairy folk will ride,And they that wad their true-love win,At Miles Cross they maun bide. But how shall I thee ken, Tam Lin,Or how my true-love know,Amang sa mony unco knights,The like I never saw? O first let pass the black, lady,And syne let pass the brown,But quickly run to the milk-white steed,Pu ye his rider down. For I'll ride on the milk-white steed,And ay nearest the town,Because I was an earthly knightThey gie me that renown. My right hand will be gloved, lady,My left hand will be bare,Cockt up shall my bonnet be,And kaimed down shall my hair,And thae's the takens I gie thee,Nae doubt I will be there. They'll turn me in your arms, lady,Into an esk and adder,But hold me fast, and fear me not,I am your bairn's father.
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