Lord Thomas (OT2003-3014-012)

Dublin Core


Lord Thomas (OT2003-3014-012)

Alternative Title

Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor
Lord Thomas and Fair Annet
Fair Ellen and the Brown Girl
Lord Thomas's Wedding
The Brown Bride


Song excerpted from audio recording OT2003-3014, part of VFC2003-0007 Margaret MacArthur Collection.



Margaret MacArthur Collection -- VFC2003-0007. Vermont Folklife Center Archive, Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, Vermont, United States of America.

Date Created






VFC2003-0007 OT2003-3014-012

Rights Holder

Vermont Folklife Center

Song Item Type Metadata

Local Title

Lord Thomas

Standard Title

Lord Thomas

Standard Title Reference

Folk Music Index (http://www.ibiblio.org/folkindex)
Coffin, Tristam. The British Traditional Ballad in North America. American Folklore Society (Philadelphia, 1950). 74-6.


[Singing starts at 0:16]

Lord Thomas was a bold forester
And a chaser of the king's deer
Fair Eleanor was a find woman
Lord Thomas loved her dear

"Come riddle my riddle dear mother" he said
"And riddle us both in one
Whether I shall marry with fair Eleanor
Or and let the brown girl alone"

"The brown girl has got money
Fair Eleanor she has none
Therefore I charge thee on my blessing
To bring the brown girl home"

And it befell on a holiday
And many more do beside
Lord Thomas went to see fair Eleanor
That should have been his bride

And when he came to fair Eleanor's bower
He knocked at the ring
Then who was so ready as fair Eleanor
To let Lord Thomas in

"What news what news Lord Thomas" she said
"What news has thou brough unto me"
"I've come to bid you to my wedding
And that is sad news for thee"

"O God forbid Lord Thomas" she said
"That such thing should be done
I thought to have been the bride myself
And thou to have been the bridegroom"

"Come riddle my riddle dear mother" she said
"And riddle it all in one
Whether I shall go to Lord Thomas wedding
Or whether I let it alone"

"There's many that are our friends daughter
And many that are our foes
Therefore I charge you on my blessing
To Lord Thomas wedding don't go"

"There's many that are our friends mother
If a thousand were our foes
Betide me life betide me death
To Lord Thomas wedding I'll go"

She clothed herself in gallant attire
And her merry men all were seen
And as she rode through every place
They took her to be some queen

When she came to Lord Thomas gate
She knocked at the ring
And who was so ready as Lord Thomas
To let fair Eleanor in

He took her by the lily-white hand
And lead through the hall
And he sat her in the noblest chair
Among the ladies all

"Is this your bride" fair Eleanor said
"Methinks she looks wondrous brown
Thou mightest had as fair a woman
As 'er trod on the ground"

"Despise her not" Lord Thomas he said
"Despise her not unto me
For better do I love her little finger
Than all you of her body"

That brown girl had a little pen knife
White was both keen and sharp
Betwixt the short rib and the long
She pricked fair Eleanor's heart

"Christ now save me Lord Thomas" she said
"Methinks you look wondrous wan
Thou used to look as good a color
As ever sun shone on"

"O art thou blind Lord Thomas" she said
"Or can't thou not very well see
O dost thou not see mine own heart's blood
Run trickling down my knee"

"O dig my grave" Lord Thomas replied
"Dig it both wide and deep
And lay fair Eleanor by my side
And the brown girl at my feet"

Lord Thomas had a sword by his side
And he walked about the hall
[Atwood stumbles, then continues] He cutted bride's head from off her shoulders
And flung it against the wall

He set his sword upon the ground
And the point against his heart
There never was two lovers true
That sooner did depart

And out of his grave grew a bright red rose
And out of hers grew a briar
They grew up to the tall steeple top
And withered away together

  • "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor," typewritten lyrics owned by Margaret MacArthur, archived at the Vermont Folklife Center.






Atwood, Fred, “Lord Thomas (OT2003-3014-012),” Vermont Folklife Center Digital Collections, accessed February 25, 2024, https://vtfolklifearchive.org/collections/items/show/1199.

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