Geordie p. 35 Millennium 1 Geordie As I came over London Bridge One misty morning early, I overheard a fair pretty maid Lamenting for her Geordie. a b c b “Come bridle me my milk-white horse, Come bridle me my pony That I may ride to London's court To plead for the life of Geordie.” a b c b And when she entered in the hall, There was lords and ladies plenty. Down on her bended knees she did fall, To plead for the life of Geordie.” a b a b Oh, Geordie stole no cow nor calf, Nor sheep he never stole any, But he stole sixteen of the King's wild deer And sold them in Bohemy. a b c b “Oh, two brave children I’ve had by him, And the third lies in my bosom; I'd freely part with them every one, If you would spare me the life of Geordie.” a b c d Geordie The judge looked over his left shoulder, And said “I'm sorry for thee, My pretty fair maid, you have come too late, For he’s condemned already.” a b c b Let Geordie hang in golden chain Such chain as never was any, Because he came of the royal blood, And courted a virtuous lady. a b c d “I wish I was down in yonder grove, Where times I have been many, With my broad sword and my pistol too, I’d fight for the life of Geordie.” a b c b Geordie 1. Before reading check whether you remember: a. b. What a ballad is. What its typical features are. 1a: It is a poem that tells a story sung in medieval times accompanied by music. 1b : It is usually anonymous, It is handed down orally through the centuries; it has a simple, direct rhymed language; Its metrical pattern is the quatrain; It is often accompanied by a refrain; It often deals with tragic events. LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE 2. Changed word order. 1. 1. 2. 3. 3. In poetry, however, and sometimes in speech, to give emphasis to certain words or for the sake of rhythm, the basic word order may be changed, as in “nor sheep he never stole any” (l.14). Highlight in the ballad three more sentences showing a changed word order. “Down on her bended knees she did fall” (l.11) “Two brave children I’ve had by him” (l. 17) “times Have I been many” (l.30) Consider the adjectives. Highlight in yellow all the adjectives in the ballad and write them down. The first one has been done for you in line 2. _Misty, fair pretty, my, milk-white, my, wild, brave, his, left, pretty, fair, golden, royal, virtuous, yonder, many, broad. LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE 4. Order of qualifiers What is the order of qualifiers when more than one refers to the same noun? Although there are no fixed rules (as with “fair pretty maid” in line 3 and “pretty fair maid” in line 22), they are generally placed according to the following sequence: OPINION SIZE AGE SHAPE COLOUR ORIGIN MATERIAL PURPOSE Re-order the qualifiers in these sentences: a. He bought a Spanish / huge / modern painting – it fills up most of the wall. huge modern Spanish b. Why is Jenny talking to that French / middle-aged / tall guy? tall middle-aged French c. They spend their holiday s in a big / summer / white-painted / wooden house. big white-painted wooden summer d. Harry and James have just got a black / cute /little kitten called Smokey. cute little black e. I have just bought a garden / white / plastic chair. white plastic garden f. What a old / brown / wooden / fine / Italian / round / dining / big table you have in your house! fine big old round brown Italian wooden dining LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE 5. Rhetorical devices In the ballad two common rhetorical devices are used. Highlight them in the text in the corresponding colours: anaphora: the repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines of poetry enumeration: a list of people, animals or things. “Come bridle me my ....” (ll. 5-6) “ no cow, no calf / Nor sheep” (ll. 13-14) GUIDED ANALYSIS 1. a. b. c. 2. a. b. c. d. e. Focus on the content Talk about: characters; narrator, Geordie, Geordie’s lover / wife, the judge. atmosphere; gloomy atmosphere of impending death and violence. theme; tragic love story. Focus on the characters. What do we know of the narrator? the poet is anonymous; he has no other function than telling the story, i.e. he is the narrative voice. What do we know of Geordie’s lover/wife? She is a pretty young girl (l3); she rides to London Court of Justice to plead for her lover’s life (ll. 11-12); she is ready to part with her children to save Geordie’s life (ll. 17-20); she proclaims her love by regretting she was not with Geordie in the wood when he was arrested so that she could fight for him (ll. 29-33) Why has he been hanged? Because he stole sixteen of the king’s wild deer and sold them (ll. 15-16). What social class does Geordie belong to? He belongs to the aristocracy. What does the judge stand for? He symbolises medieval law. GUIDED ANALYSIS 1. Focus on the narrative technique and language • • • • • • Identify: Rhyme scheme; The rhymes are not perfect ( slant or inexact rhyme is widely used here) but it is possible to identify a dominant rhyme scheme: a-b-c-b Verse form; Stanzas are quatrains. Four-stress and three-stress lines alternate in each quatrain. Narrative mode; The story is told through narration and dialogue. refrain / repetitions. “the life of Geordie” / “for the life of Geordie” alliteration “misty / morning” (l.2); “me / my / milk-white” (l.5); “me / my” (l.6); “lords and ladies” (l.10); “no cow nor calf” (l.13); language used it is colloquial, simple and direct with a preponderance of monosyllabic Anglo-Saxon words. The singer makes also use of concrete nouns and stock phrases. De André’s version of Geordie 1. Compare De André’s version of Geordie to the original FEATURES DE ANDRÉ’S VERSION ORIGINAL BALLAD Rhyme scheme Quatrains Quatrains Verse form Not always regular (abab dominant) Not always regular (abcb dominant) Narrative mode narration and dialogue narration and dialogue Refrain “vendendoli per denaro” “(for) the life of Geordie” Language used colloqial colloqial 2. 3. Is De André’s version faithful to the Middle Age original or has it been changed on the basis of the folk singer’s mood? It is very faithful to the Middle Age original even if he changed the order of the images. Beyond keeping faithful to the medieval version what images has he added rendering the ballad perhaps more poetical? Stanza 3 lines 13-14 “Geordie non rubò mai neppure per me / un frutto o un fiore raro”; Stanza 4 lines 17-20 “Salvate le sue labbra, salvate il suo sorriso, / non ha vent’anni ancora / cadrà l’inverno anche sopra il suo viso, / potrete impiccarlo allora”.