Earl Brand
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

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Lyrics
This ballad is said to be an ancient story with a long oral tradition. According to Child, the full ballad was "recovered from the oral tradition" in 1857. Prior to that fragments appeared in Scots Minstrelsy (1803). A similar story, Ribold and Guldbord, is told on a Danish broadside circa 1648. This ballad appears throughout Scandinavia. Earl Brand appeared in the Percy Portfolio (a collection of broadsides circa 1765 but which dated to the 1640s or 1650s).

Legend has it that Lady Margaret lived in a tower near Blackhouse Farm in Selkirkshire. The lovers were supposed to have stopped at Douglas Burn for a drink. Seven large stones in the area are said to mark the spot where the seven brothers were killed.

This version is one of twelve that Cecil Sharp collected in the Appalachians.

This ballad is Child Ballad #7.

Variants and alternate titles include: Earl Bran, The Brave Earl Brand and the King of England's Daughter, The Douglas Tragedy, Lord Douglas, Lady Margaret and The Child of Ell.

For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site see Francis J. Child Ballads.

Wake you up, wake you up, you seven sleepers,
And do take warning of me;
O do take care of your oldest daughter dear,
For the youngest are going with me.

He mounted her up on his bonny, bonny brown,
Himself on the dark apple grey;
He drew his buckles down by his side,
And away he went singing away.

Get you up, get you up, my seven sons bold,
Get on your arms so bright,
For it never shall be said that a daughter of mine
Shall lie with a lord all night.

He rode, he rode that livelong day,
Along with his lady so dear,
Until she saw her seventh brother come
And her father were walking so near.

Get you down, get you down, Lady Margaret,
     he cried,
And hold my horse for a while,
Until I can fight your seventh brother bold,
And your father is walking so nigh.

She held, she held, she bitter, bitter held,
And never shedded one tear
Until she saw her seventh brother fall
And her father she loved so dear.

Do you choose for to go, Lady Margaret,
     he cried,
Do you choose for to go or to stay?
O I'll go, I'll go, Lord Thomas, she cried,
For you've left me without any guide.

He mounted her up on his bonny, bonny brown,
Himself on the dark apple grey;
He drew his buckles down by his side,
And away he went bleeding away.

He rode, he rode that livelong night
Till he came to his mother's stand.
Get you down, get you down, Lady Margaret,
     he cried.
So that we can rest for a while.

It's mother, mother, make my bed,
And fix it smooth and wide,
And lie my lady down by my side
So that we can rest for a while.

Lord Thomas he died by midnight,
Lady Margaret before it were day,
And the old woman for the loss of her son,
And there were several lives lost.
Additional Versions
Related Links
From English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians and
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
See Bibliography for full information.