2 Geordie As I came over London Bridge a One misty morning early, b I overheard a fair pretty maid cLamenting for her Geordie. b“Come bridle me my milk-white horse, aCome bridle me my pony bThat I may ride to London's court cTo plead for the life of Geordie.” bAnd when she entered in the hall, aThere was lords and ladies plenty. bDown on her bended knees she did fall, aOh, Geordie stole no cow nor calf, aNor sheep he never stole any, bBut he stole sixteen of the King's wild deer cAnd sold them in Bohemy. b“Oh, two brave children I’ve had by him, aAnd the third lies in my bosom; bI'd freely part with them every one, cIf you would spare me the life of Geordie.” d
3 Geordie The judge looked over his left shoulder, a And said “I'm sorry for thee, bMy pretty fair maid, you have come too late, cFor he’s condemned already.” bLet Geordie hang in golden chain aSuch chain as never was any, bBecause he came of the royal blood, cAnd courted a virtuous lady. d“I wish I was down in yonder grove, aWhere times I have been many, bWith my broad sword and my pistol too, cI’d fight for the life of Geordie.” b
4 Geordie Before reading check whether you remember: 1a: 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.
5 LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE Basic word order.As you know the basic word order in English is subject + verb + object as in “I like chocolate”. The object may also be indirect, as in “I go to the cinema” . In ballads which are characterised by simple language, this basic word order is fairly common.Consider the first stanza of “Geordie”, in which subjects, verbs, and objects are highlighted in, respectively, pink, green and blue, then highlight three more sentences in the corresponding colours showing the basic word order.“As I came over London Bridge,One misty morning early,I overheard a fair pretty maidLamenting for her Geordie”.“She entered in the hall” (l.9)“Geordie stole no cow nor calf” (l. 13)“He stole sixteen of the king’s wild deer” (l. 15)
6 LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE Changed word order.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 firstone 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.
7 LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE Order of qualifiersWhat 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 fairmaid” in line 22), they are generally placed according to the following sequence:OPINION SIZE AGE SHAPE COLOUR ORIGIN MATERIAL PURPOSERe-order the qualifiers in these sentences:He bought a Spanish / huge / modern painting – it fills up most of the wall.huge modern SpanishWhy is Jenny talking to that French / middle-aged / tall guy?tall middle-aged FrenchThey spend their holiday s in a big / summer / white-painted / wooden house.big white-painted wooden summerHarry and James have just got a black / cute /little kitten called Smokey.cute little blackI have just bought a garden / white / plastic chair.white plastic gardenWhat a old / brown / wooden / fine / Italian / round / dining / big table you have in your house!fine big old round brown Italian wooden dining
8 LANGUAGE THROUGH LITERATURE Rhetorical devicesIn 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 poetryenumeration: a list of people, animals or things.“Come bridle me my ....” (ll. 5-6)“ no cow, no calf / Nor sheep” (ll )
9 GUIDED ANALYSIS Focus on the content characters; 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 ); she is ready to part with her children to save Geordie’s life (ll ); 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 )Why has he been hanged?Because he stole sixteen of the king’s wild deer and sold them (ll ).What social class does Geordie belong to?He belongs to the aristocracy.What does the judge stand for?He symbolises medieval law.
10 GUIDED ANALYSIS 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-bVerse 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 usedit is colloquial, simple and direct with a preponderance of monosyllabic Anglo-Saxon words. The singer makes also use of concrete nouns and stock phrases.
11 De André’s version of Geordie Compare De André’s version of Geordie to the originalIs De André’s version faithful to the Middle Age original or has it been changed on thebasis 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 “Geordie non rubò mai neppure per me / un frutto o un fiore raro”; Stanza 4 lines “Salvate le sue labbra, salvate il suo sorriso, / non ha vent’anni ancora / cadrà l’inverno anche sopra il suo viso, / potrete impiccarlo allora”.FEATURESRhyme schemeVerse formNarrative modeRefrainLanguage usedDE ANDRÉ’S VERSIONORIGINAL BALLADQuatrainsNot always regular(abab dominant)(abcb dominant)narration and dialogue“vendendoli per denaro”“(for) the life of Geordie”colloqial