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Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)

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Naemanson 11 Sep 00 - 08:52 PM
Brendy 12 Sep 00 - 01:12 AM
Ed Pellow 12 Sep 00 - 02:03 AM
Bearheart 13 Sep 00 - 01:32 AM
Naemanson 13 Sep 00 - 08:28 AM
MMario 05 Dec 02 - 12:50 PM
OldPossum 06 Dec 02 - 12:47 PM
Dave Wynn 06 Dec 02 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Taliesn 06 Dec 02 - 01:34 PM
OldPossum 09 Dec 02 - 12:25 PM
OldPossum 09 Dec 02 - 02:26 PM
OldPossum 09 Dec 02 - 04:19 PM
MMario 09 Dec 02 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,shaina darcy 09 Dec 02 - 09:53 PM
OldPossum 22 Sep 08 - 02:21 PM
Phil Edwards 23 Sep 08 - 03:19 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Sep 08 - 04:13 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Sep 08 - 04:51 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Sep 08 - 09:17 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Sep 08 - 03:38 AM
OldPossum 24 Sep 08 - 01:39 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 08 - 08:22 PM
OldPossum 26 Sep 08 - 02:58 AM
Jim Dixon 11 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Jul 09 - 06:32 PM
Jack Blandiver 11 Jul 09 - 06:39 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Jul 09 - 06:53 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Jul 09 - 11:08 PM
Jack Blandiver 12 Jul 09 - 05:04 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 11 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 08:52 PM

This is a simple request. I have heard the song for years and have never been able to make out the words. It doesn't seem to be in the DT and I can't find it in my ballad books. Is it an old song or were they singing someone elses music for once? Does anyone know the history, and chords, and words?

I tried, once upon a time, to get my kids to transcribe it for me on the theory that younger ears could make out exactly what was being sung but they gave up too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: Brendy
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 01:12 AM

So far, no lyrics, but I came across an interesting article here Steeleye Span: The Folk who plugged in about the band.

B.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SEVEN HUNDRED ELVES (Steeleye Span)^^
From: Ed Pellow
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 02:03 AM

Taken from this excellent Steeleye Span site:

SEVEN HUNDRED ELVES

Chorus
Seven hundred elves from out the wood
Foul and grim they were
Down to the farmer's house they went
His meat and drink to share

There was a farmer in the west and there he chose his ground
He thought to spend the winter there and brought his hawk and hound
He brought with him both hound and cock alone he begged to stay
And all the dear that roamed the wood had cause to rue the day

He felled the oak, he felled the birch, the beech nor poplar spared
And much was grieved the sullen elves at what the stranger dared
He hewed him baulks and he hewed him beams with eager toil and haste
Then up and spake the woodland elves: "Who's come our wood to waste?"

Chorus

Up and spake the biggest elf and grimly rolled his eyes:
"We'll march upon the farmer's house and hold on him assize
He's knocking down both wood and bower, he shows us great disdain
We'll make him rue the day he was born and taste of shame and pain."

Chorus

All the elves from out the wood began to dance and spring
And marched towards the farmer's house their lengthy tails to swing
The farmer from his window looked and quickly crossed his breast
"Oh woe is me," the farmer cried, "The elves will be my guests."

In every nook he made a cross and all about the room
And off flew many a frightened elf back to his forest gloom
Some flew to the east, some flew to the west, some flew to the north away
And some flew down the deep ravine and there forever stay

Chorus

Ed ^^


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: Bearheart
Date: 13 Sep 00 - 01:32 AM

I too have been looking for the words to this song for ages... really appreciate the request AND the words. And will check out both sites!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: Naemanson
Date: 13 Sep 00 - 08:28 AM

Thanks for the words. It clears up some long standing questions. Now for the hard part. Is there any history to this song? Is it old or new? Where did it come from? And are there any chords? Can there be any chords that don't include any from the dreaded Family Of B?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: MMario
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 12:50 PM

re-freshing


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Subject: Chords Add: SEVEN HUNDRED ELVES (Steeleye Span)
From: OldPossum
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 12:47 PM

If nothing else, I can supply the chords:

Chorus
Ab                  Cm
Seven hundred elves from out the wood
Ab       Bb       Csus4
Foul and grim they were
Ab                   Cm
Down to the farmer's house they went
Ab          Bb       Csus4
His meat and drink to share

      Bb    Cm                     Bb       F
There was a farmer in the west and there he chose his ground
   C                   F      G         Bb          F
He thought to spend the winter there and brought his hawk and hound
   C                     F         G    Bb      F
He brought with him both hound and cock alone he begged to stay
    Bb      Cm                            Bb       F
And all the deer that roamed the wood had cause to rue the day

Source: The songbook Steeleye Span: Original Masters,
(c) 1977 Steeleye Span Limited/Chrysalis Music Limited.

If the chords (in the key of Ab) are a bit impractical for the guitar, no doubt they can be
transposed easily.


As for the background of the song, the songbook simply says "traditional". It has no notes on
the songs. However, the link given by Brendy above (scroll down to the middle and a little bit
more - the passage starting with: "A lot of our mythology came from the Danes")
suggests that it was adapted by Bob Johnson -
the chorus and the tune? Furthermore, I have the 2 LP set "Original Masters" that correspond
with the songbook (it is a compilation), and it gives the following credit: "Adapt. from Trad.
Words; Music by Hart - Prior - Knight - Johnson - Kemp - Pegrum). So there is another piece of
the puzzle for our experts to work on.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 01:02 PM

Good thread. Smack on target. I have copied the words and chords hope this is OK??
Now to dig out my Gordon Smith and my old amp and Korg processor.....oh yes......
Spot


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 01:34 PM

Add my compliments to this thread as I've had this Steel Eye Span song in pieces on an audio cassette for over a decade and never knew the name of the song nor which album it came from........ until *today*.
I've always loved Maddy Prior's voice and the way she would intone a song with the purest of natural pitch and timbre. I can listen to anything with her voice.
Sorry I could never say the same for the artistic choices of the other "eclectrified" ( not a mispell ) Folk Rock musician's of the band though.
(As a matter of fact now I remember why my off-the-air tape is truncated. I purposefully edited out the electric musicianship just to tape Maddy's singing of the words.)
Man I can just melt away imagining Maddy Prior's voice singing
Crosby,Stills, & Nash's 1st album song "Gwenivier".

Even Brit Folk Rock group "Rennaissance" got more than a tad more often than not too ham-handed with the Rock in their Folk.

In my not-so-humble opinion , the best Folk Rock for my ear never needed any drums or atleast not in the up-front-and-in-yer-ear way that characterises "What's Rock & What's Not". Too much dependency on drummers for the beat when all that's necessary is solid "rhythm" has ruined many a Folk Rock song for my ear.
( Best example off the top o' me head is the Stones over-produced version of their "Sympathy for the Devil" which was originally written as a straight delta blue dirge and is yet to be resserected as such by some stalwart blues man with the will to dot it justice.......Rev. Bobert? ;-).


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: OldPossum
Date: 09 Dec 02 - 12:25 PM

I should correct something I wrote above: The chords I gave do not belong to the key of Ab, but Eb, or more properly c-minor.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: OldPossum
Date: 09 Dec 02 - 02:26 PM

I understand from Mmario that this is one of the songs in the DT which is missing the tune. I will have a go at posting the ABC, but it is a bit of a challenge, since the rhythm keeps changing. Anyway: Watch this space!


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Subject: Tune Add: SEVEN HUNDRED ELVES (Steeleye Span)
From: OldPossum
Date: 09 Dec 02 - 04:19 PM

X:1
T:Seven Hundred Elves
B:Steeleye Span: Original Masters
L:1/8
M:3/4
K:Eb
||B,CCB, C2|B, C2 B, C2|
M:2/4
z4|
M:3/4
E2 E D2 D|
M:4/4
C4 z4|
M:3/4
B,CB, C2 B,|
M:4/4
C2 B, C3 z2|
M:3/4
EDC B,2 C|
M:4/4
C6 z2|
M:2/4
z2 G2|
M:4/4
||F2 E C4 D|E2 F G4 F|
F2 E C2 =A, C2-|C4 z3 D|=E2 F(G2=A) =B2|
c2 =A2 =B2 z1 c2|B2 GF2G G2-|G4 z3 C|
=E2 F(G2=A) =B2|c2 c2 =B3 c|B2 GF2G G2-|
G4 z3 F|F2 E C4 D|E2 FG3 z1 F|F2 E C2 C C2-|
C4 z4||

Source: The songbook Steeleye Span: Original Masters, (c) 1977 Steeleye Span Limited/Chrysalis Music Limited.
- also the source for the chords posted above. It sounds OK to me when I play it back using ABC Player. Let me know what you think.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: MMario
Date: 09 Dec 02 - 04:31 PM

Thank you, thank your, thank you. Steeleye songbook, eh? There are a few others....


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves by Steeleye Span
From: GUEST,shaina darcy
Date: 09 Dec 02 - 09:53 PM

steeleye's back on tour, y'all! with maddy, no less. not in the states, at least not so's i've heard, but still...!
YAAAAAYYYY!
shaina


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: OldPossum
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 02:21 PM

I have discovered something interesting: This song is an almost exact translation of the first eight verses of a traditional Danish ballad: Eline af Villenskov, DgF no. 52 D, except that it refers to Seven hundred trolls instead of elves. The chorus is a translation of the ballad's tenth verse.

I first discovered this when I followed a link provided by Masato Sakurai in another thread: Page 76 of The Fairy Mythology by Thomas Keightley, where a slightly different translation is quoted in the opening of the chapter about Scandinavia.

In the notes to DgF 52, Svend Grundtvig mentions that an English translation of the D version was printed "in the notes to Walter Scott's Lady of the lake", but offers no further details. Is that the title of one of his books? I wonder if somebody would like to track down this reference for us?

Incidentally, the link posted by Brendy at 12 Sep 00, doesn't work anymore. But the same article can now be found at Plugged in [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/c.kellett/plugin.htm]


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 03:19 AM

Research online establishes that Lady of the Lake is a long poem by Sir Walter Scott, and it is heavily annotated with explanations of various historical and mythical references. The entire thing has been reproduced online in a few places, but in a later edition; there's an editorial note saying that 'most of' Scott's notes have been included. Not this one, unfortunately. To find the original notes I think you'd have to find one of the editions published in Scott's lifetime, i.e. before 1832. Curiouser and curiouser.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 04:13 AM

See also Here (which also includes the text of Sir Olaf I brought up Here).

Meanwhile Span's elves continue to plague me in darkest shadows of my barely conscious brain; even in my dreams they leap about and torment me, foul and grim indeed. It is an obsession going back to 1975 when, as a tender 14-year-old seduced by all manner otherwise wondrous folkery, I bought the album thinking it might be the sort of thing I would like. Nothing could have been further from the truth; never had I heard anything quite as bad, or indeed as embarrassing, as this limp wristed slab of what was quite possibly the worst music in the world. Even now it brings me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. But in getting rid of the record (which I did forthwith into the village bonfire) I could not get rid of those cursed elves who have been with me ever since. For some thirty-three years I have sought catharsis, or simply sense, or yet even the provenance of this vile and abominable song.

Otherwise - I dare say a complete translation of Eline af Villenskov would suffice... Anyone?

Meanwhile:

All of this fantastic league's against me
The Fantastic is in league against me

Tin-can rattle on the path
The bestial greed is on the attack
The cat black runs round the tree
The siamese reached the shore
The siamese reached the shore

No never, no never no more
will I trust the elves of Dunsimore


Or even:

The chief elf Norman said
Gutter sweat
Splendid droplets on strings
His toes were cloven
His teeth were squirly and pointy
Knee cups curly
Ding click rings on ears
Norman jumped about
On all four corners
Norman twirled around his golden thrones
Whitewall tyres were a lifetime from his thoughts


(Both: Mark E. Smith)


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 04:51 AM

I did consider learning Danish at one point, but then I found a translation of The little trolls and the great flood and the moment passed.

It's worth noting* that Span also did a version of Sir Olof ("Dance with me"); this suggests either that someone in the band had Danish antiquarian leanings or that some other band or singer had put this stuff back into circulation. Perhaps the Orcadian band Nerd mentioned on the other thread?

I've never owned a copy of Commoner's crown, but I don't remember it being that bad. I've recently got hold of All around my hat and Rocket cottage ("Steeleye Span: the Wombling years") and even they aren't that bad. Maybe I'm just easily pleased.

*I invariably mistype this phrase as "It's worth nothing". Probably truer than I'd like to think!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 09:17 AM

It was The St. Eleye Primary School Junior Choir sequences that I found so unforgivable, thus throwing out the bathwater with the bogus babies. I think the lingering elves are a symptom of a deeper psychotic longing for the sort of thing I wanted it to be; darker, stranger, perverse & subversive; in this respect Thomas the Rhymer remains a significant bugbear also...


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Sep 08 - 03:38 AM

Ah... Now we are Six, not Commoner's crown. Yes, that was pretty dreadful - it says something that I'd erased it from my memory!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: OldPossum
Date: 24 Sep 08 - 01:39 PM

Google books has Walter Scott's Lady of the lake. The pertinent note is here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 08:22 PM

Only a week ago, I traced a different ballad excerpt to the notes to Scott's "Lady of the Lake" and a Danish ballad before that.

See this thread: Help: Possible Yorkshire Ballad?

(Malcolm Douglas later pointed out that the same question had already been asked and answered long before in another thread: Help: Seeking old Yorkshire ballad.)

OldPossum: Did you see that thread before you did your research, or is this just a weird coincidence?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: OldPossum
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 02:58 AM

Jim, that was complete coincidence! I never saw that thread, but I would have recognized "Moderen under mulde" immediately.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ELF (Danish ballad, from Grimm bros.)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM

From Old Danish Ballads: Translated from Grimm's Collection, by an Amateur; [by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm], (London: Hope and Co., 1856):


THE ELF.

1. In a wood out on a Western isle
A farmer chose his ground,
And, as he would spend the winter there,
He brought his hawk and hound.

2. Brought hound and cock, and built a house,
He meant so long to stay;
And well the beasts that roam'd the wood,
Had cause to rue the day.

3. He fell'd the oak, he fell'd the birch,
He fell'd the graceful beech,
And anger'd much the spiteful Elf
By making such a breach.

4. He hew'd him spars, he hew'd him beams,
And spared not of his toil;
When eager asked the mountain Elves,
Who troubled so their soil?

5. Then spake the smallest Elf of all,
An emmet were as big,
"There's come a Christian to the wood;
I'll stop the saucy prig."

6. Up started then the Captain Elf,
And grimly rolled his eyes:
"Let's go and seize the farmer's house,
And hold on him assize.

7. "He's hacking down our leafy bowers.
Our rights he seems to mock.
I'll take his wife and make her mine,
And him a laughing-stock."

8. And gaily then those mountain Elves
Began to hop and spring;
And as they near'd the farmer's house,
Their little tails to swing.

9. The dog howl'd dismal in the yard.
The herdsman blew his horn.
The oxen low'd. The cock he crow'd,
As tho' he'd had his corn.

10. Seven hundred Elves there were in all
So ugly and so grim,
Who would at the farmer's make a feast,
And eat and drink with him.

11. The farmer from his window saw
Their troop file through the wood,
And, "Help me," cried he, "Jesus Christ!
These Elves mean me no good."

12. In every nook a cross he made,
But most about his bed,
And many an Elf in strange affright
To the wildest woodland fled;

13. Some off to th'East and some to West,
And some to th'North they pack,
And some down in the dale so deep,
I trust they've ne'er come back.

14. But strutted in the smallest Elf
Full boldly through the door,
No fear had he for sign of cross,
But mischief much in store.

15. The house-wife knew the wisest plan.
She set him at the board,
And gave him best of meat and drink,
And many an honied word.

16. "Now, farmer, list to what I say,
And ponder well the same:
To build thy house in this our wood
Who gave thee right or claim?

17. "Yet on these terms I grant thee leave
To build and settle here,
That thou surrender this thy wife
To be my lemman dear."

18. Then spake the man"My sweet Eline,
The comfort of my life,
Shalt neither thou or other Elf
To lemman have or wife."

19. Yet soothingly implored the Elf,
"Leave me my housewife dear,
And for the rest, take what thou wilt,
My gold or other gear."

20. "Then both Eline and thee I'll take
And trample under foot,
And all thy gold and silver too
I'll in my cellars put."

21. The farmer, maid, and serving man
Thought, like a fearful crew,
'Twas better she alone were lost,
Than they should perish too.

22. Then rose the farmer sore perplex'd
How best to save himself,
And kissed once more his wife Eline,
And gave her to the Elf.

23. Blithely he took her to his arms,
And round in circles sprang;
But pale the cheek of poor Eline,
For keen she felt the pang.

24. Then spake the housewife in her woe,
Spake more the frequent tear:
"O Lord! in mercy send relief,
My fate is hard to bear.

25. "My husband was a man as fine
As one on earth might see;
And now to an ugly hated elf
Must I the lemman be."

26. He kiss'd her once. He kiss'd her twice.
Her woe but made him mirth,
And still remain'd the ugliest imp
Was ever seen on earth.

27. But while he took a third embrace,
She call'd on Jesus' name,
And straight the Elf became a knight
Of noblest mien and frame.

28. 'Twas under a linden tree the knight
Was from his spell unbound.
'Twas joy to him, and joy to her,
And joy to all around.

29. "Now listen, dearest sweet Eline,
My wife that art to be;
In England is a heap of gold;
I'll give it all to thee.

30. "Me, while as yet a little child,
And dead my mother dear,
My stern stepmother drove from home,
And left for the Elves to rear.

31. "And now I'll give thy husband wealth,
And honours great, and gold;
But thou, Eline, must be my wife,
Nor shalt thou find me cold."

32. "O noble knight! now thank we God
Who hears us in distress.
Leave me and take a maiden fair
And live with her in bliss."

33. "Then, can I not have thee to wife,
Thy daughter will I take,
Since recompense for thy good deeds
No other can I make.

34. "From praising thee and all thy worth
I never shall refrain,
But as I cannot win thy love,
'Tis better thou remain."

35. The farmer now dwells on his isle,
With all the world at peace,
And his daughter wears a royal crown,
And blessings still increase.

36. For first a daughter did she bear,
And then a little king,
And praises God each hour she lives,
From whom such blessings spring.

37. And happy too the farmer's wife,
And free from all alarms,
Proud to be mother of a queen
A king folds in his arms.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ELF AND THE FARMER'S WIFE (Danish)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:32 PM

From Ancient Danish Ballads by Richard Chandler Alexander Prior (London: Williams and Norgate, 1860):

CXXIV.

THE ELF AND THE FARMER'S WIFE. A.
From Vedel's Edition.

This ballad has been very much, and not very judiciously, altered and expanded from several shorter ones of more ancient date, and published in the following form in Vedel's edition of 1590. As it is the one which has been translated into German by Grimm, and into broad Scotch by Jamieson, and copied in various Danish editions of ballads, it could not be passed over. Jamieson's translation will be found in a note to Scott's Lady of the Lake, p. 367. It is very correct and spirited, but in very broad Scotch. He supposes the scene to be in one of the Orkney Islands or Hebrides.

All the latter part from the 32d stanza to the end is Vedel's addition. In the older copies there is nothing about the daughter.

It is supposed that these stories of opposition made by Elves to the first settlement of farmers on their territory may refer to the contests of the Scandinavian race with the aboriginal inhabitants of the northern countries, of whom we know, through the antiquarian researches of modern times, that they dwelt in subterranean excavations.

But is it a too hazardous conjecture, that these Alfs or Elves may in the first place have been the figures that stood for the letters of the Runic Alphabet, in which as J. Grimm says, Myth. p. 487, there was many a God's name, and that partly through the riddling propensity of early Scandinavian poets, and partly through misunderstood reports of the wonderful result of written communications, the name of the leading letter Alf should have been transferred to certain mysterious beings supposed to lurk in the woods, from which the Rune-tables were brought? See J. Grimm's Mythologie p. 411 and Keightley's Fairy Mythology p. 78.

The Elf and the Farmer's Wife. A.
Grundtv. II. 145. Dan. Vis. I. 175. Grimm p. 279. Oehl. p. 67. B. Warr. p. 64.

1. 'Twas in a wood on a Western isle,
A farmer chose his ground;
He thought to spend the winter there,
And brought his hawk and hound.

2. He brought with him both hound and cock,
For long he meant to stay,
And much the deer, that roam'd the wood,
Had cause to rue the day.

3. He fell'd the oak, he fell'd the birch,
Nor beech nor poplar spared,
And much was griev'd the sullen Elf,
At what the stranger dared.

4. He hew'd him balks, he hew'd him beams,
With eager toil and haste;
"Who," ask'd the Elves in the mountain cave,
"Who's come our wood to waste?"

5. Then up and spake the tiniest Elf,
As emmet* small and slim;
"There's hither come a Christian man.
Leave me to manage him."

6. And then spake up the biggest Elf,
And grimly roll'd his eyes:
"We'll march our troop to the farmer's house,
And hold on him Assize.

7. "He is hacking down both wood and bower.
He shows us great disdain.
His housewife he shall give me up,
And taste of shame and pain."

8. And all the Elves from out their cave
Began to dance and spring,
And marching towards the farmer's house
Their lengthy tails to swing.

9. The dog howl'd in the farmer's yard.
The herdsman blew his horn.
The falcon yell'd, and crow'd the cock,
For e'en he had had his corn.

10. Seven hundred Elves from out the wood,
And foul and grim they were,
Would at the farmer's hold a feast
His meat and drink to share.

11. The farmer out of his window look'd
This host of Elves to see;
"O help me, Jesus, Mary's son!
These Elves will visit me."

12. In every nook he made a cross,
But most about his room,
And off flew many a frighten'd Elf,
Back to his forest gloom.

13. Some flew to th'East, some flew to West,
Some flew to the North away,
And some down into the deep ravine,
Where still I hope they stay.

14. But one, the smallest Elf of all,
In through the doorway strode;
No fear had he for sign of cross,
But great the grudge he ow'd.

15. The housewife took the wisest plan.
She set him down to board,
And fed him well with ale and meat
And many a coaxing word.

16. "But hark, thou farmer of Willenshaw,
What now I say to thee:
Who gave thee leave to build a house,
And settle here with me?

17. "Yet if thou wishest here to dwell,
The treaty bear in mind:
From this day forth thy wife so dear
To me must be resign'd."

18. "Ah! nay," the unhappy farmer spake
In all his depth of woe.
"Eline, the comfort of my life,
I never will forego."

19. He sooth'd the Elf, as best he could:
"Leave me my housewife dear,
And, for the rest, take what then wilt,
My gold and all my gear."

20. "Then both Eline and thee I'll take,
And trample both of you,
And bury underneath my cell
Your gold and silver too."

21. The farmer, maids and serving men
In dread and fell despair,
Thought better she alone were lost,
Than all in ruin share.

22. The farmer wild and frantic rose
With bitter grief and keen,
And gave to the little hateful Elf
His wife, his dear Eline.

23. He clasp'd her in his arms with joy,
And round in circles sprang;
But pallid grew the housewife's cheek,
For sharp she felt the pang.

24. She spake, poor woman, full of woe,
With many a falling tear:
"O Lord! in mercy send relief,
My fate is hard to bear.

25. "My husband was a man, as fine
As one on earth might see;
And now to such a lothesome Elf
The leman I must be."

26. He kiss'd her once, and then again,
So sad and woebegone.
The ugliest little Imp he was,
That eye could look upon.

27. But when a third kiss he would take,
On Mary's son she cried;
And straight, instead of a lothely Elf,
A knight was at her side.

28. 'Twas under a linden tree so green
His shape he found again,
And that to no one's hurt or loss,
But joy to both the twain.

29. "Now list, my dearest sweet Eline,
My housewife thou shalt be.
In England lies a heap of gold.
I'll give it all to thee.

30. "While I was still a little child,
And dead my mother lay,
By stepdame I was driven from home,
And turn'd to an Elfin gray.

31. "And now I'll make thy husband great.
I'll give him gold and fee;
But thou, Eline, the farmer's wife,
My housewife thou shall be."

32. "Nay, noble knight, for this relief
Th'Almighty let us thank.
Choose thou to live in bliss with thee
Some maid of equal rank."

33. "If then I get not thee to wife,
Thy daughter I will take;
Since recompense for thy good deeds
No other I can make.

34. "To thee, Eline, thou wise good wife,
All honour I will pay;
But since I cannot win thy love,
'Tis best thou shouldest stay."

35. The farmer now on his island dwells
From care and trouble free.
His daughter in England wears a crown,
And happy days has she.

36. Eline, she too, the farmer's wife,
Is quit of all alarm,
Proud to be mother of a queen,
A king folds in his arm.

37. This queen she first a daughter bare,
And then a little king;
And every hour she praises God,
From whom such blessings spring.

38. And there Eline's fair daughter sits;
A kingdom owns her sway;
And she, that honest farmer's wife,
May with her good man stay.

* This is quite inconsistent with the subsequent part of the ballad, see st. 23. The words in Vedel's text are
    Hand war icke strre end en Myre.


NOTES.

St. 15. This is agreeable to the received idea in other countries also.

"It is the general belief that those who present them with the best food, may expect all kinds of prosperity, for their property and their family." Keightley, Fairy mythology p. 469 quoted from Du Mege respecting the Fairy people 'Fes' 'Hadas' of Provence.


- - -

TILE ELF AND THE FARMER'S WIFE. B.

The two following pieces are translated from older forms of the ballad, as it was sung before Vedel had made the alterations and additions, with which it has been printed since his time. They will be found more consistent with themselves and with the description of Elves in other ballads. It will be observed that in these there is no mention of their having tails, and also that the knight is released by the kisses, as in other ballads, and not by the call on Mary's Son. This is agreeable to general tradition, and may be symbolical of the restoration of a fierce character to human sentiments through lady's love. See Kempion, Scott III, 15, and Scott's notes, and also in this collection 'The Maid in the Linden Tree' No. 120 'The Lindworm' No. 118, and the 'Maiden in the Snake's Guise' No. 119 and the notes to them.

The statement that the Elf was no bigger than an ant in the 3d stanza of A. must be an error that has arisen from misunderstanding some provincial expression, or introduced for the rime's sake in recitation. It is not only contradictory to every other description of Elves, but inconsistent with the subsequent part of the ballad. We might rather expect to be told that he was no longer than a baby, as though his growth had been stopped.

These ballads are considered to bear the strongest internal evidence of being extremely ancient. There are three copies, beside Vedel's version, printed in Grundtvig's book, and so different the one from the other, as to indicate transmission through widely separated intervals of time and space.


The Elf and the Farmer's Wife.
Grundtv. II. p. 142. A.

1. Out in the West sea lies an isle,
Where once a farmer came,
And brought with him his hound and hawk,
And there his house would frame.

2. He fell'd the oak, he fell'd the beech,
He built his house so fast;
"And shall then," said the cavern Elf,
"This farmer's bragging last?"

3. Out came the very smallest Elf
An ant were scarcely less.
"And shall this Christian cart our wood,
And cause us all distress?"

4. Seven hundred ugly Elves there were
Met in a ring so bold,
And flew away to the farmer's yard,
And there their court would hold.

5. The farmer out of his window look'd,
And saw their troop so near.
"O help me, God in heaven above!
How much these Elves I fear!"

6. The housewife took the wisest plan.
She set them all at board,
And fed them well with meat and ale,
And many a coaxing word.

7. The first who spake, the grimmest Elf,
The farmer thus address'd:
"Farmer, thy housewife I will have,
And then I'll take the rest."

8. "O leave me but my gentle wife,"
In grief the farmer spake.
"My house and yard are in thy power.
These thou may'st freely take."

9. "Nay," said the Elf, "have me she shall,"
And took her in his arm.
Her face, as red as any blood,
Betray'd her heart's alarm.

10. Him must she take in arms and kiss,
And keen she felt the pain;
For ill and strangely he was shaped,
As eye shall see again.

11. The housewife's heart was like to break.
"O give me, God, thine aid!"
The third time she must kiss his mouth,
A knight that Elf was made.

12. "Now thanks, thou noble farmer's wife.
I'll prize thee, while I live.
Wilt thou thy farmer have, or me?
The choice to thee I give."

13. "O knight, thank rather thou thy God,
Who made thy sorrow cease.
Betrothe some knight's fair daughter thou,
And live in joy and peace."

NOTE.

St. 3. 'Hand war icke strre end en Myre' He was no larger than an ant. This, as remarked above, must have crept into the ballad by some accident, for in Danish ballads we find no trace of the Scotch belief that Elves could assume different sizes, as in Young Tamlane
    But we that live in Fairy-land,
    No sickness know, nor pain;
    I quit my body when I will,
    And take to it again.

    Our shape and size we can convert
    To cither large or small;
    An old nut-shell's the same to us,
    As is the lofty hall.

    Scott. Vol. II. p. 193.

- - -

THE ELF AND THE FARMER'S WIFE. C.
Grundtv. II. 143. B.

1. Out in the West sea lies an isle,
There once a farmer came,
And with him brought his hawk and hound,
And house began to frame.

2. He fell'd the oak, he fell'd the beech,
He built his house so fast.
"And shall then," ask'd the cavern Elf,
"This farmer's bragging last?"

3. Up rose and spake the smallest Elf:
"In circle let us meet,
And march away to the farmer's house,
And yule-feast with him eat."

4. The hound he howl'd in the farmer's yard.
The herdsman blew his horn.
The cock leap'd up on the bench, and crow'd,
As if he had his corn.

5. The farmer out of his window look'd,
And humbly cross'd his breast.
"O help me, Jesus, Mary's son!
The Elf will be my guest."

6. He made a cross in every nook,
About his room the most,
And some flew east, and some flew west,
And some to Norway's coast.

7. Some flew to the east, and some to west,
And some to the north away,
But one, the grimmest Elf of all,
Would with the farmer stay.

8. The farmer, as he was wont to do,
His people at table placed.
The Elf he took the foremost seat.
Their meal they dared not taste.

9. The farmer had so fair a wife,
On earth was scarce her peer,
And her that foul and lothely Elf
Would take for his leman dear.

10. "For husband I have as good a man,
As one on earth may see.
Great God, forbid that now to an Elf
The leman I should be."

11. "Hark, woman! dear thou art to me,
Yet if this boon's denied,
I'll sink thee down to the lowest pit,
Thy house and land beside."

12. She took him gently within her arms.
His Elfish lips she kiss'd,
And straight he grew to as fine a knight,
As doth on earth exist.

13. "And now, good honest farmer, hear:
'Tis much to thee I owe,
And lifelong every day and hour
My love to thee I'll show.

14. "With wealth I'll day by day reward
Thee and thy gentle wife.
So rich shall be no knight on earth,
For thou hast saved my life."

NOTES.

St. 1. brought hawk and hound. Before the invention of guns the hawk was of value for providing food in lonely settlements. See for instance the Colloquy in Thorpe's Analecta Anglo-Saxonica p. 2526. "How feedest them thy hawks?" "They feed themselves and me in the winter, and in the spring I let them fly away to the woods."

St. 4. The hound, cock, and herdsman all give notice of some danger approaching, and lead the farmer to look out of window. The crowing of a cock generally disperses sprites of all kinds, and probably the lines descriptive of the flight of the Elves may have originally followed more closely after this stanza, and the 5th and 6th be an interpolation of Christian times.

There is much that these ballads have in common with Tam-a-line. Sec Dixon's Scottish Ballads in Percy Soc., Vol. XVI p. 11.

In this the Elfin Knicht asks the lady
    "O why pou ye the rose, the rose?
    Or why brake ye the tree?
    Or why come ye to Charterwoods
    Without leave ask'd of me?"

    He has ta'en her by the milk white hand,
    And by the grass-green sleeve,
    And laid her low on gude green-wood,
    At her he speir'd nae leave.
At a second meeting with him he tells her
    "O I hae been at gude church-door,
    An' I've got Christendom;
    I'm the Earl o' Forbes's eldest son,
    An' heir ower a' his land.

    "When I was young, o' three years old,
    Muckle was made o' me;
    My stepmither put on my claithes
    An' ill, ill sain'd she me."
He goes on to tell her how, as he lay asleep under an apple tree, a fairy queen had stolen him away and had detained him ever since.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:39 PM

They're back! All 700 of the little fuckers!

All of this fantastic league's against me
The Fantastic is in league against me...


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:53 PM

Jim, that is an excellent piece of resourcing, take no notice of Sweeney O'pibroch.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ELFIN GRAY (from Jamieson, Scott)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 11:08 PM

Note that in this version, the number of elves is "five score and seven", that is, a hundred and seven, not seven hundred. I suspect a mistranslation somewhere.

From The Lady of the Lake, Second Edition, by Walter Scott (Edinburgh: John Ballantyne and Co., 1810):

NOTES TO CANTO FOURTH.

Note VI.
Alice Brand.St. XII. p. 158.

This little fairy tale is founded upon a very curious Danish ballad, which occurs in the Kiempe Viser, a collection of heroic songs, first published in 1591, and re-printed in 1695, inscribed by Anders Sofrensen, the collector and editor, to Sophia Queen of Denmark. I have been favoured with a literal translation of the original, by my learned friend Mr Robert Jamieson, whose deep knowledge of Scandinavian antiquities will, I hope, one day be displayed in illustration of the history of Scottish Ballad and Song, for which no man possesses more ample materials. The story will remind the readers of the Border Minstrelsy of the tale of The Young Tamlane. But this is only a solitary and not very marked instance of coincidence, whereas several of the other ballads in the same collection, find exact counterparts in the Kiempe Viser. Which may have been the originals will be a question for future antiquarians. Mr Jamieson, to secure the power of literal translation, has adopted the old Scottish idiom, which approaches so near to that of the Danish, as almost to give word for word, as well as line for line, and indeed in many verses the orthography alone is altered. As Wester Haf, mentioned in the first stanza of the ballad, means the West Sea, in opposition to the Baltic, or East Sea, Mr Jamieson inclines to be of opinion, that the scene of the dis-enchantment is laid in one of the Orkney, or Hebride Islands. To each verse in the original is added a burden, having a kind of meaning of its own, but not applicable, at least not uniformly applicable, to the sense of the stanza to which it is subjoined: this is very common both in Danish and Scottish song.

THE ELFIN GRAY.
Translated from the Danish Kmpe Viser, p. 143, and first published in 1591.

Der ligger en vold i Vester Haf,
Der agter en bond at bigg:
Hand frer did baad hg og hund,
Og agter dar om vinteren at ligg.
(De vilde diur og diurene udi skofven.)



1. There liggs a wold in Wester Haf,
There a husbande means to bigg,
And thither he carries baith hawk and hound,
There meaning the winter to ligg.
(The wild deer and daes i'the shaw out.)

2. He taks wi' him baith hound and cock,
The langer he means to stay,
The wild deer in the shaws that are
May sairly rue the day.
(The wild deer, &c.)

3. He's hew'd the beech, and he's fell'd the aik,
Sae has he the poplar gray:
And grim in mood was the growsome elf,
That be sae bald he may.

4. He hew'd him kipples, he hew'd him bawks,
Wi' mickle moil and haste;
Syne speer'd the elf in the knock that bade,
"Wha's hacking here sae fast?"

5. Syne up and spak the weiest elf,
Crean'd as an immert sma:
"It's here is come a Christian man;
I'll fley him or he ga."

6. It's up syne started the firsten elf,
And glowr'd about sae grim:
"It's we'll awa' to the husbande's house,
And hald a court on him.

7. "Here hews he down baith skugg and shaw,
And wirks us skaith and scorn:
His huswife he sall gie to me;
They's rue the day they were born!"

8. The elfen a' i' the knock that were
Gaed dancing in a string;
They nighed near the husband's house;
Sae lang their tails did hing.

9. The hound he yowls i' the yard;
The herd toots in his horn;
The earn scraichs, and the cock craws,
As the husbande had gi'en him his corn.*

10. The Elfen were five score and seven,
Sae laidly and sae grim;
And they the husbande's guests maun be,
To eat and drink wi' him.

11. The husbande out o' Villenshaw
At his winnock the Elves can see:
"Help me, now, Jesu, Mary's son;
Thir Elves they mint at me!"

12. In every nook a cross he coost,
In his chalmer maist ava;
The Elfen a' were fley'd thereat,
And flew to the wild-wood shaw.

13. And some flew east, and some flew west,
And some to the norwast flew;
And some they flew to the deep dale down,
There still they are, I trow.**

14. It was then the weiest Elf,
In at the door braids he;
Agast was the husbande, for that Elf
For cross nor sign wad flee.

15. The huswife she was a canny wife,
She set the Elf at the board;
She set before him baith ale and meat,
Wi' mony a well-waled word.

16. "Hear thou, Gudeman o' Villenshaw,
What now I say to thee;
Wha bade thee bigg within our bounds,
Without the leave o' me?

17. "But, an thou in our bounds will bigg,
And bide, as well as may be,
Then thou thy dearest huswife maun
To me for a lemman gie."

18. Up spak the luckless husbande then,
As God the grace him gae:
"Eline she is to me sae dear,
Her thou may na-gate hae."

19. Till the Elf he answer'd as he couth;
"Lat but my huswife be,
And tak whate'er o' gude or gean
Is mine, awa wi' thee."

20. "Then I'll thy Eline tak and thee
Aneath my feet to tread;
And hide thy goud and white monie
Aneath my dwalling-stead."

21. The husbande and his househald a'
In sary rede they join:
"Far better that she be now forfairn,
Nor that we a' should tyne."

22. Up, will of rede, the husbande stood,
Wi' heart fu sad and sair;
And he has gien his huswife Eline
Wi' the young Elf to fare.

23. Then blyth grew he, and sprang about;
He took her in his arm:
The rud it left her comely cheek;
Her heart was clem'd wi harm.

24. A waefu' woman than she was ane,
And the moody tears loot fa':
"God rew on me, unseely wife,
How hard a wierd I fa!

25. "My fay I plight to the fairest wight
That man on mold mat see;
Maun I now mell wi' a laidly El,
His light lemman to be?"

26. He minted ancehe minted twice,
Wae wax'd her heart that syth:
Syne the laidliest fiend he grew that e'er
To mortal ee did kyth.

27. When he the thirden time can mint,
To Mary's son she pray d,
And the laidly elf was clean awa,
And a fair knight in his stead.

28. This fell under a linden green,
That again his shape he found;
O' wae and care was the word nae mair,
A' were sae glad that stound.

29. "O dearest Eline, hear thou this,
And thou my wife sall be,
And a' the goud in merry England
Sae freely I'll gie thee.

30. "Whan I was but a little wee bairn,
My mither died me frae;
My stepmither sent me awa frae her;
I turn'd till an Elfin Gray.

31. "To thy husband I a gift will gie,
Wi' mickle state and gear,
As mends for Eline his huswife;
Thou's be my heartis dear."

32. "Thou nobil knyght, we thank now God
That has freed us frae skaith;
Sae wed thou thee a maiden free,
And joy attend ye baith!

33. "Sin I to thee na maik can be,
My dochter may be thine;
And thy gude will right to fulfill,
Lat this be our propine."

34. "I thank thee, Eline, thou wise woman;
My praise thy worth sall hae;
And thy love gin I fail to win,
Thou here at hame sall stay."

35. The husbande biggit now on his e,
And nae ane wrought him wrang;
His dochter wore crown in Engeland,
And happy liv'd and lang.

36. Now Eline the husbande's huswife has
Cour'd a' her grief and harms;
She's mither to a noble queen
That sleeps in a kingis arms.


* This singular quatrain stands thus in the original:
    "Hunden hand glr i gaarden;
    Hiorden tud i sit horn;
    rnen skriger, og hanen galer,
    Som bonden hafd gifvet sit korn."


** In the Danish:
    "Somm fly oster, og somme fly vester,
    Nogl fly nr paa;
    Nogl fly ned i dyben dal,
    Jeg troer de er der endnu."



GLOSSARY.

St. 1. Wold, a wood; a woody fastness.

Husbande, from the Dan. has, with, and bonde, a villain, or bondsman, who was a cultivator of the ground, and could not quit the estate to which he was attached, without the permission of his lord. This is the sense of the word, in the old Scottish records. In the Scottish "Burghe Laws," translated from the Rej. Majest. (Auchinleck MS. in the Adv. Lib.) it is used indiscriminately with the Dan. and Swed. bond.

Bigg, build.

Ligg, lie.

Daes, does.

2. Shaw, wood.

Sairly, sorely.

3. Aik, oak.

Grousome, terrible.

Bald, bold.

Kipples, (couples,) beams joined at the top, for supporting a roof, in building.

Bawks, balks; cross beams.

Moil, laborious industry.

Speer'd, asked.

Knock, hillock.

5. Weiest, smallest.

Crean'd, shrunk, diminished; from the Galic, crian, very small.

Immert, emmit; ant.

Christian, used in the Danish ballads, &c. in contradistinction to demoniac, as it is in England, in contradistinction to brute, in which sense, a person of the lower class, in England, would call a Jew or a Turk, a Christian.

Fley, frighten.

6. Glowr'd, stared.

Hald, hold.

7. Skugg, shade.

Skaith, harm.

8. Nighed, approached.

9. Yowls, howls.

Tootsin the Dan. tude, is applied both to the howling of a dog, and the sound of a horn.

Scraichs, screams.

10. Laidly, loathly; disgustingly, ugly.

Grim, fierce.

11. Winnock, window.

Mint, aim at.

12. Coost, cast.

Chalmer, chamber.

Maist, most.

Ava, of all.

13. Norwart, northward.

Trow, believe.

14. Braids, strides quickly forward.

Wad, would.

15. Canny, adroit.

Mony, many.

Well-waled, well chosen.

17. An, if.

Bide, abide.

Lemman, mistress.

18. Nagate, nowise.

19. Couth, could; knew how to.

Lat be, let alone.

Gude, goods; property.

20. Aneath, beneath.

Dwalling-stead, dwelling-place.

21. Sary, sorrowful.

Rede, counsel; consultation.

Forfairn, forlorn; lost; gone.

Tyne, (verb neut.) be lost; perish.

22. Will of rede, bewildered in thought; in the Danish original, "vildraadige;" Lat. "inops consilii;" Gr. .... This expression is left among the desiderata, in the Glossary to Ritson's Romances, and has never been explained. It is obsolete in the Danish as well as in English.

Fare, go

23. Rud, red of the cheek.

Clem'd, in the Danish, klemt; (which, in the north of England, is still in use, as the word starved is with us;) brought to a dying state. It is used by our old comedians.

Harm, grief; as in the original, and in the old Teutonic, English, and Scottish poetry.

24. Waefu, woeful.

Moody, strongly and wilfully passionate.

Rew, take ruth; pity.

Unseely, unhappy; unblest.

Wierd, fate.

Fa, (Isel. Dan. and Swed.) take; get; acquire; procure; have for my lot.This Gothic verb answers, in its direct and secondary significations, exactly to the Latin capio; and Allan Ramsay was right in his definition of it. It is quite a different word from fa', an abbreviation of 'fall, or befall; and is the principal root in fangen, to fang, take, or lay hold of.

25. Fay, faith.

Mold, mould; earth.

Mat, mote; might.

Maun, must.

Mell, mix.

El, an elf. This term, in the Welch, signifies what has in itself the power of motion; a moving principle; an intelligence; a spirit; an angel. In the Hebrew, it bears the same import.

26. Minted, attempted; meant; shewed a mind, or intention to. The original is:

"Hand mindte hende frstog anden gang;
Hun giordis i htortet sa vee:
End blef hand den lediste diefvel
Mand kunde med oyen see.
Der hand vilde minde den tredie gang," &c.

Syth, tide; time.

Kyth, appear.

28. Stound, hour; time; moment.

29. Merry, (old Teut. mer,) famous; renowned; answering, in its etymological meaning, exactly to the Latin mactus. Hence merry-men, as the address of a chief to his followers; meaning not men of mirth, but of renown. The term is found in its original sense in the Gal mr, and the Welsh mawr, great; and in the oldest Teut. Romances, mar, mer, and mere, have sometimes the same signification.

31. Mends, amends; recompence.

33. Maik, match: peer; equal.

Propine, pledge; gift.

35. e, an island of the second magnitude; an island of the first magnitude being called a land, and one of the third magnitude a holm.

36. Cour'd, recover'd.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 05:04 AM

Great stuff Jim. Forgive me, it's just the Steeleye Span version that I have issues with, thus do I reach for the antidote...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATfb8-3-dns

Maybe a new thread's in order?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: 700 Elves (from Steeleye Span)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 10:45 AM

didn't see this one mentioned but it looks like it came out after this thread kind of went quiet:

ELLEN OF VILLENSKOV
AND OTHER BALLADS

by
GEORGE BORROW

London:
printed for private circulation
1913
p. 5
ELLEN OF VILLENSKOV.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28772/28772-h/28772-h.htm
Ellen of Villenskov - George Borrow


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Mudcat time: 24 October 10:47 PM EDT

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