Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Benball Stair



Another Kateverse folk song! This one is Ewan MacColl's fault, the result of my needing to exorcise the diabolical earworm that great man made of The Bonnie Banks of Airdrie. It is sung to the same tune, though it is not about the same thing. Internal evidence suggests that it was written some time after the events of The Deed of Katy Elflocks, and that the original narrator was confused or fibbing or both.

External evidence suggests that I've been reading entirely too many Child Ballads lately.

The Benball Stair

As I came down the Benball Stair,
Lynx she slinks through heather, oh,
I met a maid beyond compare,
Cally cat a basie, oh.

Her hair was tangled like the brakes,
Her face was such as man's heart breaks.

"Oh will you have a pedlar's son
That never yet did harm to none?"

"If you will pledge me first in wine
That ripened by the cold moonshine."

"A kiss is vintage of moonshine,
And you may drink your fill of mine."

"If you will pledge me in a word
That never yet was spoke nor heard."

"A lover's look spoke never lies,
So all my word read in mine eyes."

"If all you have, you'll give me thrice,
Then this shall be my bridal price."

"My body only I do own,
So three times claim your bridal crown."

We loved so long on ling and stone.
On Benball Stair I woke alone.

What kisses crave I 'neath the Sun,
Who drank her nectar ere his noon?

What light seek I in maiden's eyes,
Who sees her wink from starry skies?

What body shall I hold now fair,
Who held the world all tangled in her hair?

When you shall riddle all these three,
Lynx she slinks through heather, oh,
The pedlar's son shall wed with thee,
Cally cat a basie, oh.

1 comment:

  1. June 15: 'find' changed to 'hold' in penultimate verse. Lightning, lightning bug, &c.

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