click to play

Lord Bateman was a noble Lord,
A noble Lord of high degree;
He put himself all on a ship,
Some foreign countries he would go see.

He sailed east and sailed west,
Until he came to fair Turkey,
Where he was taken and put in prison,
Until his life was quite weary.

And in this prison there grew a tree,
It grew so stout and it grew so strong,
Where he was chained by the middle,
Until his life was almost gone.

The Turk he had an only daughter,
The fairest creature ever my eyes did see
She stole the keys of her father's prison,
And swore Lord Bateman she would set free

Have you got houses, have you got lands?
Or does Northumberland belong to thee?
What would you give to the fair young lady,
That out of prison would set you free?"

I have got houses, I have got lands,
And half Northumberland belongs to me
I'll give it all to the fair young lady,
That out of prison would set me free."

Oh, then she took him to her father's palace,
And gave to him the best of wine,
And every health she drank unto him
"I wish, Lord Bateman, that you were mine."

Now, for seven long years, I'll make a vow,
For seven long years, and keep it strong,
If you will wed no other woman,
That I will wed no other man."

Oh, then she took him to her father's harbour,
And gave to him a ship of fame;
Farewell, farewell, my dear Lord Bateman,
I'm afraid I shall never see you again."

Now, seven long years were gone and past,
And fourteen long days well known to me
She packed up her gay clothing,
And Lord Bateman she would go see.

And then she came to Lord Bateman's castle,
So boldly now she rang the bell;
`Who's there?" cried the young porter,
'Who's there now come unto me tell ?

Oh, is this Lord Bateman's castle,
And is his Lordship here within
O yes, O yes," cried the proud young porter,
"He's just taking his young bride in."

Oh, then tell him to send me a slice of bread,
And a bottle of the best wine;
And not forgetting the fair young lady,
That did release him when close confined."

Away, away, went that proud young porter,
Away, away, and away went he,
Until he came to Lord Bateman's door,
Down on his bended knees fell he.

"What news, what news, my young porter,
What news have you brought unto me?"
There is the fairest of all young ladies,
That ever my two eyes did see.

She has got rings on every finger,
And round one of them she has got three
And such gay gold hanging round her middle,
That would buy Northumberland for thee.

She tells you to send her a slice of bread,
And a bottle of the best wine;
And not forgetting the fair young lady,
That did release you when close confined."

Lord Bateman then in a passion flew,
And broke his sword in splinters three,
Saying, " I will give all my father's riches,
If that Sophia has crossed the sea."

Then up spoke this bride's young mother,
Who never was heard to speak so free
You'll not forget my only daughter,
If Sophia has crossed the sea."

I own I made a bride of your daughter,
She's neither the better nor worse for me;
She came to me with a horse and saddle,
She may go home in a coach and three"

Lord Bateman prepared another marriage,
With both their hearts so full of glee;
"I'll range no more in foreign countries
Now since Sophia has cross'd the sea."

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Traditional Tunes, A Collection of Ballad Airs, ISBN 1-86143-081-7

Collected by Frank Kidson from Mrs Holt of Alderhill, Meanwood.

Kidsons notes are reproduced here:

MANY are the airs which have been set to the popular street ballad, "Lord Bateman." Mrs. Holt, of Alderhill, Meanwood, supplies the following, varying from any of the sets which I have hitherto seen of the tune.
The common version of the words is undoubtedly much corrupted from a very early metrical poem, and there are numberless copies printed in the English and Scottish ballad books, which were formerly current in a traditional form throughout the land. They are all in general much longer than the one now popular, hereunder given. The story in all these is of a Christian knight, who sailing into an eastern land is imprisoned and afterwards released by the daughter of his captor. She afterwards follows him across the seas and arrives at the opportune moment, when the knight, forgetting her who befriended him, is about to wed another lady.

It has been asserted, with every appearance of truth, that the hero of the tale was Gilbert a Becket, father of Saint Thomas a Becket of Canterbury, who in the early time of the Crusades was captured as in the ballad, released, and followed to London by the lady. She is said to have known no more than two words of English: 'Gilbert" and "London," and to have cried the first through London streets until she found her lover. Fanciful as the legend appears, it is supported by the fact that every ballad known on the subject gives the name of the knight as a greater or lesser corruption of Becket. For instance: "Young Bekie," "Lord Beichan," "Lord Bateman," etc.

For the various copies of the ballad in its Scottish form, see Jamieson's Popular Ballads, Kinloch's Scottish Ballads, Motherwell's and Buchan's collections, etc.; a lengthy, English version is found in Dixon's Andent.Poems, Ballads, and Songs, printed for the Percy Society.

The broadside version from Catnach's press is the one remembered by Mrs. Holt, and here given.
The various tunes to " Lord Bateman, all different to the following, are to be found in The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman (said to be edited by Dickens), illustrated by George Cruikshank;.Northumbrian Ministrelsy, Christie's Traditional Airs, and Sussex Songs.

Roud: 40 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z