Sir Aldingar [Child 59]

DESCRIPTION: Aldingar, spurned by the Queen, puts a (blind/drunk) leper in her bed and shows the king. She will be burned and the leper hanged. She finds a (child) champion who defeats Aldingar. He confesses. (The leper is made whole, becomes steward.)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
KEYWORDS: royalty knight adultery trick disease reprieve
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Child 59, "Sir Aldingar" (3 texts)
Percy/Wheatley II, pp. 54-67, "Sir Aldingar" (2 texts, one the original from the Percy folio and the other the retouched version in the _Reliques_)
Leach, pp. 185-196, "Sir Aldingar" (2 texts)
OBB 4, "Sir Aldingar" (1 text)
DT 59, SIRALDGR

ALTERNATE TITLES:
Sir Hugh le Blond
File: C059

 

 

 

 

Child #59
Arthurian overtones: Guenivere was found with Lancelot in her room and sentenced
to burn unless a champion would fight for her (trial by combat).  Lancelot came
at the last minute and saved her from the fire.  Also note the merlin hawk.
Child finds parallels to every Scandinavian tradition, Spanish, German, etc.,
but does not mention Arthur
 

       Child 59A: Sir Aldingar

Percy MS., p. 68; Hales and Furnivall, I, 166.

59A.1 OUR king he kept a ffalse steward,
Men called him Sir Aldingar,
. . . . .
. . . .
59A.2 He wold haue layen by our comely queene,
Her deere worshipp to haue betraide;
Our queene shee was a good woman,
And euer more said him nay.
59A.3 Aldingar was offended in his mind,
With her hee was neuer content,
But he sought what meanes he cold find out,
In a fyer to haue her brent.
59A.4 There came a lame lazer to the kings gates,
A lazar was blind and lame;
He tooke the lazar vpon his backe,
Vpon the queenes bed he did him lay.
59A.5 He said, Lye still, lazar, wheras thou lyest;
Looke thou goe not away;
Ile make thee a whole man and a sound
In two howres of a day.
59A.6 And then went forth Sir Aldingar,
Our queene for to betray,
And then he mett with our comlye king,
Saies, God you saue and see!
59A.7 ‘If I had space, as I haue grace,
A message I wold say to thee:’
‘Say on, say on, Sir Aldingar,
Say thou on and vnto me.’
59A.8 ‘I can let you now see one of [the] greiuos[est] sights
that euer Christen king did see;
Our queene hath chosen a new, new loue,
She will haue none of thee.
59A.9 ‘If shee had chosen a right good knight,
The lesse had beene her shame;
But she hath chosen a lazar man,
Which is both blinde and lame.’
59A.10 ‘If this be true, thou Aldingar,
that thou dost tell to me,
Then will I make thee a rich knight
Both of gold and fee.
59A.11 ‘But if it be false, Sir Aldingar,
That thou doest tell to me,
Then looke for noe other death
But to be hangd on a tree.
Goe with me,’ saide our comly king,
‘This lazar for to see.’
59A.12 When the king he came into the queenes chamber,
Standing her bed befor,
‘There is a lodly lome,’ says Harry King,
‘For our dame Queene Elinor!
59A.13 ‘If thou were a man, as thou art none,
Here thou sholdest be slaine;
But a paire of new gallowes shall be built,
Thoust hang on them soe hye.
59A.14 ‘And [a] fayre fyer there shalbe bett,
And brent our queene shalbee:’
Fforth then walked our comlye king,
And mett with our comly queene.
59A.15 Saies, God you saue, our queene, Madam,
And Christ you saue and see!
Heere you [haue] chosen a new, new loue,
And you will haue none of mee.
59A.16 ‘If you had chosen a right good knight,
The lesse had beene your shame;
But you haue chosen a lazar man,
That is both blind and lame.’
59A.17 ‘Euer alacke!’ said our comly queene,
‘Sir Aldingar is false to mee;
But euer alacke!’ said our comly queene,
‘Euer alas, and woe is mee!
59A.18 ‘I had thought sweuens had neuer been true;
I haue prooued them true at the last;
I dreamed in my sweauen on Thursday at eueninge,
In my bed wheras I lay,
59A.19 ‘I dreamed a grype and a grimlie beast
Had carryed my crowne away,
My gorgett and my kirtle of golde,
And all my faire heade-geere.
59A.20 How he wold haue worryed me with his tush,
And borne me into his nest,
Saving there came a little hawk,
Flying out of the east.
59A.21 ‘Saving there came a little hawke,
Which men call a merlion;
Vntill the ground he stroke him downe,
that dead he did fall downe.
59A.22 ‘Giffe I were a man, as I am none,
A battell I would proue;
I wold fight with that false traitor;
Att him I cast my gloue!
59A.23 ‘Seing I am able noe battell to make,
You must grant me, my leege, a knight,
To fight with that traitor, Sir Aldingar,
To maintaine me in my right.’
59A.24 ‘I’le giue thee forty dayes,’ said our king,
‘To seeke thee a man therin;
If thou find not a man in forty dayes,
In a hott fyer thou shall brenn.’
59A.25 Our queene sent forth a messenger;
He rode fast into the south;
He rode the countryes through and through,
Soe ffar vnto Portsmouth.
59A.26 . . . . . .
. . . . .
He cold find never a man in the south country
that wold fight with the knight soe keene.
59A.27 The second messenger the queen forth sent
Rode far into the east;
But, blessed be God made sunn and moone!
He sped then all of the best.
59A.28 As he rode then by one riuer side,
There he mett with a little child;
He seemed noe more in a mans likenesse
Then a child of four yeeres old.
59A.29 He askt the queenes messenger how far he rode;
Loth he was him to tell;
The little one was offended att him,
Bid him adew, farwell.
59A.30 Said, Turne thou againe, thou messenger,
Greete our queene well from me;
When bale is att hyest, boote is att next;
Helpe enough there may bee.
59A.31 ‘Bid our queene remember what she did dreame
In her bedd wheras shee lay;
Shee dreamed the grype and the grimly beast
Had carryed her crowne away;
59A.32 ‘Her gorgett and her kirtle of gold,
Alsoe her faire head-geere;
He wold haue werryed her with his tushe,
And borne her into his nest.
59A.33 ‘Saving there came a little hawke,
Men call him a merlyon;
Vntill the ground he did strike him downe,
that dead he did ffall downe.
59A.34 ‘Bidd the queene be merry att her hart,
Euermore light and glad;
When bale is att hyest, boote is at next,
Helpe enoughe there shalbe.’
59A.35 Then the queenes messenger rode backe,
A gladed man then was hee;
When he came before our queene,
A gladd woman then was shee.
59A.36 Shee gaue the messenger twenty pound,
O lord, in gold and ffee;
Saies, Spend and spare not while this doth last,
Then feitch thou more of me.
59A.37 Our queene was put in a tunne to burne,
She thought no thing but death;
Th?e were ware of the little one
Came ryding forth of the east.
59A.38 With a mu . . . . .
A louelie child was hee;
When he came to that fier,
He light the queene full nigh.
59A.39 Said, Draw away these brands of fire
Lie burning before our queene,
And feitch me hither Sir Aldingar,
that is a knight soe keene.
59A.40 When Aldingar see that little one,
Ffull litle of him hee thought;
If there had beene halfe a hundred such,
Of them he wold not haue wrought.
59A.41 Hee sayd, Come hither, Sir Aldingar;
Thou seemust as bigge as a ffooder;
I trust to God, ere I haue done with thee,
God will send to vs [an] auger.
59A.42 Saies, The first stroke that’s giuen, Sir Aldingar,
I will giue vnto thee,
And if the second giue thou may,
Looke then thou spare not mee.
59A.43 The litle one pulld forth a well good sword,
I-wis itt was all of guilt;
It cast light there over that feild,
It shone soe all of guilt.
59A.44 He stroke the first stroke att Aldingar,
He stroke away his leggs by his knee;
. . . . . .
. . . . .
59A.45 Sayes, Stand vp, stand vp, thou false traitor,
And fight vpon thy feete;
For and thou thriue as thou begins,
Of a height wee shalbe meete.
59A.46 ‘A preist, a preist,’ sayes Aldingar,
‘Me for to houzle and shriue!
A preist, a preist,’ sayes Aldingar,
‘While I am a man liuing a-liue!
59A.47 ‘I wold haue laine by our comlie queene;
To it shee wold neuer consent;
I thought to haue betrayd her to our king,
In a fyer to haue had her brent.
59A.48 ‘There came a lame lazar to the kings gates,
A lazar both blind and lame;
I tooke the lazar vpon my backe,
In the Queenes bed I did him lay.
59A.49 ‘I bad him, Lie still, lazar, where he lay,
Looke he went not away;
I wold make him a whole man and a sound
In two houres of a day.
59A.50 . . . . .
. . . . .
‘Euer alacke!’ sayes Sir Aldingar,
‘Falsing neuer doth well;
59A.51 ‘Forgiue, forgiue me, queene, Madam!
For Christs loue forgiue me!’
‘God forgaue his death, Aldingar,
And freely I forgiue thee.’
59A.52 ‘Now take thy wife, thou King Harry,
And loue her as thou shold;
Thy wiffe shee is as true to thee
As stone that lies on the castle wall.’
59A.53 The lazar vnder the gallow tree
Was a pretty man and small;
The lazar vnder the gallow tree
Was made steward in King Henerys hall.


       Child 59B: Sir Aldingar

Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, III, 51, 1803.  Communicated to Scott by K. Williamson Burnet, of Monboddo, as written down from the recitation of an old woman, long in the service of the Arbuthnot family.

59B.1 THE birds sang sweet as ony bell,
The world had not their make;
The queen she’s gone to her chamber,
With Rodingham to talk.
59B.2 ‘I love you well, my queene, my dame,
Bove land and rents so clear,
And for the love of you, my queen,
Would thole pain most severe.’
59B.3 ‘If well you love me, Rodingham,
I’m sure so do I thee;
I love you well as any man,
Save the king’s fair bodye.’
59B.4 ‘I love you well, my queen, my dame,
’Tis truth that I do tell;
And for to lye a night with you,
The salt seas I would sail.’
59B.5 ‘Away, away, O Rodingham!
You are both stark and stoor;
Would you defile the king’s own bed,
And make his queen a whore?
59B.6 ‘To-morrow you’d be taken sure,
And like a traitor slain,
And I’d be burned at a stake,
Altho I be the queen.’
59B.7 All in an angry mood,
Untill he met a leper-man,
Just by the hard way-side.
59B.8 He intoxicate the leper-man,
With liquors very sweet,
And gave him more and more to drink,
Until he fell asleep.
59B.9 He took him in his arms two,
And carried him along,
Till he came to the queen’s own bed,
And there he laid him down.
59B.10 He then steppd out of the queen’s bower,
As swift as any roe,
Till he came to the very place
Where the king himself did go.
59B.11 The king said unto Rodingham,
What news have you to me?
He said, Your queen’s a false woman,
As I did plainly see.
59B.12 He hastend to the queen’s chamber,
So costly and so fine,
Until he came to the queen’s own bed,
Where the leper-man was lain.
59B.13 He looked on the leper-man,
Who lay on his queen’s bed;
He lifted up the snaw-shite sheets,
And thus he to him said.
59B.14 ‘Plooky, plooky are your cheeks,
And plooky is your chin,
And plooky are your armis twa,
My bonny queen’s layne in.
59B.15 ‘Since she has lain into your arms,
She shall not lye in mine;
Since she has kissd your ugsome mouth,
She never shall kiss mine.’
59B.16 In anger he went to the queen,
Who fell upon her knee;
He said, You false, unchaste woman,
What’s this you’ve done to me?
59B.17 The queen then turnd herself about,
The tear blinded her ee:
‘There’s not a knight in a’ your court
Dare give that name to me.’
59B.18 He said, ’Tis true that I do say;
For I a proof did make;
You shall be taken from my bower,
And burned at a stake.
59B.19 ‘Perhaps I’ll take my word again,
And may repent the same,
If that you’ll get a Christian man
To fight that Rodingham.’
59B.20 ‘Alass! alass!’ then cried our queen,
‘Alas, and woe to me!
There’s not a man in all Scotland
Will fight with him for me.’
59B.21 She breathed unto her messengers,
Sent them south, east, and west;
They could find none to fight with him,
Nor enter the contest.
59B.22 She breathed on her messengers,
She sent them to the north;
And there they found Sir Hugh le Blond,
To fight him he came forth.
59B.23 When unto him they did unfold
The circumstance all right,
He bade them go and tell the queen
That for her he would fight.
59B.24 The day came on that was to do
That dreadful tragedy;
Sir hugh le Blond was not come up,
To fight for our lady.
59B.25 ‘Put on the fire,’ the monster said,
‘It is twelve on the bell;’
’’Tis scarcely ten, now,’ said the king,
‘I heard the clock mysell.’
59B.26 Before the hour the queen is brought,
The burning to proceed;
In a black velvet chair she’s set,
A token for the dead.
59B.27 She saw the flames ascending high,
The tears blinded her ee:
‘Where is the worthy knight,’ she said,
‘Who is to fight for me?’
59B.28 Then up and spak the king himsell:
‘My dearest, have no doubt,
For yonder comes the man himsel,
As bold as eer set out.’
59B.29 They then advanced to fight the duel,
With swords of temperd steel;
Till down the blood of Rodingham
Came running to his heel.
59B.30 Sir Hugh took out a lusty sword,
’Twas of the metal clear,
And he has pierced Rodingham
Till’s heart-blood did appear.
59B.31 ‘Confess your treachery, now,’ he said,
‘This day before you die;’
‘I do confess my treachery,
I shall no longer lye.
59B.32 ‘I like to wicked Haman am,
This day I shall be slain:’
The queen was brought to her chamber,
A good woman again.
59B.33 The queen then said unto the king,
Arbattle’s near the sea;
Give it unto the northern knight,
That this day fought for me.
59B.34 Then said the king, Come here, Sir Knight,
And drink a glass of wine,
And, if Arbattle’s not enough,
To it we’ll Fordoun join.


       Child 59C: Sir Aldingar

Dr Joseph Robertson’s Note-Book, January 1, 1830, p. 6.

59C.1 THEY’VE putten her into prison strang,
A twalmon lang and mair,
Until the mice and wild rattens
Did tear her yallow hair.
59C.2 ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’
‘One shake o your han,’ said Rodingham,
‘One shak o your han gie me:’
‘I cam na here for shaking hans,
But to fight maist desperatelie.’
59C.3 ‘It’s nae ten strucken on the clock,
Nor eleven on the bell:’
‘We’ll doe ill deeds anew ere night,
Tho it were strucken twall.’

 

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
4. Sir Aldingar
 
 
I


OUR King he kept a false steward,

 
  Men call’d him Sir Aldingar;  
[He would have woo’d our comely Queene  
  To be his paramour].  
 
II


He would have woo’d our comely Queene,

        5
  Her deere worship to betray:  
Our Queene she was a good woman  
  And evermore said him nay.  
 
III


Sir Aldingar was offended in ’s mind,

 
  With her he was ne’er content,         10
But he sought what meanès he could find  
  In a fyer to have her brent.  
 
IV


There came a lame lazar to the King’s gate,

 
  A lazar ’was blind and lame;  
He took the lazar upon his backe,         15
  Upon the Queene’s bed did him lay.  
 
V


Said, ‘Lye still, lazar, whereas thou lyest,

 
  Looke thou goe not away;  
I’le make thee a whole man and a sound  
  In two howres of a day.’         20
 
VI


And then went forth Sir Aldingar

 
  Our Queene for to betray,  
And then he met with our comely King;  
  Says, ‘God you save and see!  
 
VII


‘If I had space, as I have grace,

        25
  A message I’d say to thee.’—  
‘Say on, say on, Sir Aldingar,  
  Say thou on and unto me.’  
 
VIII


‘I can shew you one of the grievous’t sights

 
  Ever Christian King did see;         30
Our Queene hath chosen a new, new love,  
  She will have none of thee.  
 
IX


‘If she had chosen a right good knight.

 
  The lesse had beene her shame;  
But she hath chosen a lazar man         35
  Which is both blind and lame.’—  
 
X


‘If this be true, Sir Aldingar,

 
  That thou dost tell to me,  
Then will I make thee a rich knight  
  Both of gold and fee.         40
 
XI


‘But if it be false, Sir Aldingar,

 
  That thou dost tell to me,  
Then looke thou for no other death  
  But to be hang’d on tree.’  
 
XII


When the King came into the Queene’s chamber,

        45
  Standing her bed before,  
‘There’s a lodly lome,’ says Harry the King  
  For our dame Queene Elinor!  
 
XIII


‘If thou were a man, as thou art none,

 
  It is here thou shouldest dye;         50
But a paire of new gallowes shall be built,  
  Thou’st hang on them soe hye.  
 
XIV


‘And a fayre fyer there shall be bett,

 
  And brent our Queene shall been.’  
Forth then walk’d our comely King,         55
  And met with our comely Queene.  
 
XV


Saies, ‘God you save our Queene, Madam,

 
  And Christ you save and see!  
Here you have chosen a new, new love,  
  And you will have none of mee.         60
 
XVI


‘If you had chosen a right good knight,

 
  The lesse had beene your shame;  
But you have chosen a lazar man  
  That is both blind and lame.’  
 
XVII


‘Ever alacke!’ said our comely Queene,

        65
  ‘Sir Aldingar he is false;  
But ever alacke!’ said our comely Queene,  
  ‘And woe is me, and alas!  
 
XVIII


‘I had thought swevens had never been true

 
  I have proved them true [today]:         70
I dream’d in my swevens on Thursday at even  
  In my bed wheras I lay,  
 
XIX


‘I dreamèd a grype and a grimlie beast

 
  Had carried my crowne away,  
My gorget and my kirtle of golde,         75
  And all my heade-geare [gay].  
 
XX


‘He wo’ld have worryed me with his tush,

 
  And borne me into his nest,  
Saving there came a little hawke  
  Flying out of the east.         80
 
XXI


‘—Saving there came a little hawke

 
  Which men call a merlion;  
He stroke him downe untill the ground,  
  That deade he did fall downe.  
 
XXII


‘Gif I were a man, as I am none,

        85
  A battell I wo’ld prove;  
I wo’ld fight with that false traitor;  
  At him I cast my glove!  
 
XXIII


‘Seeing I am able noe battell to make,

 
  You must grant me, my liege, a knight,         90
To fight with that traitor, Sir Aldingar,  
  To maintaine me in my right.’  
 
XXIV


‘I’le give thee forty dayes,’ said our King,

 
  ‘To seeke thee a man therein;  
If thou find not a man in forty dayes,         95
  In a hott fyer thou shalt brenn.’  
 
XXV


Our Queene sent forth a messenger;

 
  He rode fast into the south;  
He rode the countryes through and through  
  Soe far unto Portsmouth.         100
 
XXVI


[But for all his riding ne’er sped he

 
  To fetch help to our Queene;]  
He co’ld find noe man in the south country  
  ’Wo’ld fight with the knight soe keene.  
 
XXVII


The second messenger shee sent forth,

        105
  Rode far into the east;  
But—blessèd be God ’made sunn and moone!—  
  He sped then all of the best.  
 
XXVIII


As he rode then by one river side,

 
  There he mett with a little Child;         110
He seemèd noe more in a man’s likenesse  
  Than a child of four yeeres old.  
 
XXIX


He ask’d the messenger how far he rode;

 
  Loth he was him to tell;  
The little one was offended att him,         115
  Bade him adieu, farewell.  
 
XXX


Said, ‘Turne thou againe, thou messenger,

 
  Greete our Queen well from me;  
When bale is at hyest, boote is at nyest—  
  Helpe enough there may bee.         120
 
XXXI


‘Bid our Queene remember what she did dreame

 
  In her bedd wheras shee lay;  
She dreamèd the grype and the grimlie beast  
  Had carryed her crowne away;  
 
XXXII


‘Her gorgett and her kirtle of gold,

        125
  Her head-geare [all soe drest]  
He wo’ld have worryed her with his tush,  
  And borne her into his nest.  
 
XXXIII


‘Saving there came a little hawke,

 
  Men call him a merlion;         130
’Did strike him downe untill the ground  
  That dead he did fall downe.  
 
XXXIV


‘Bidd the Queene be merry att her heart,

 
  Evermore light and glad;  
When bale is at hyest, boote is at nyest,         135
  Helpe enough [shall be had’].  
 
XXXV


Then the Queen’s messenger rode backe,

 
  A gladded man then was hee;  
When that he came before our Queene,  
  A gladd woman then was shee.         140
 
XXXVI


She gave the messenger twenty pound,

 
  O Lord, in gold and fee;  
Saies, ‘Spend, nor spare while this doth last,  
  Then fetch thou more of me.’  
 
XXXVII


Our Queene was put in a tunne to burn;

        145
  She thought noe thing but death:  
When they were ware of the Little One  
  ’Came ryding forth of the east.  
 
XXXVIII


With a mu[le and a bridle all of bells]

 
  A lovelye child was hee;         150
When that he came to that fyér  
  He lighted the Queene full nigh.  
 
XXXIX


Sayd, ‘Draw away these brands of fyer

 
  ’Lie burning before our Queene,  
And fetch me hither Sir Aldingar         155
  That is a knight soe keene.’  
 
XL


When Aldingar saw that Little One,

 
  Full little of him hee thought;  
If there had been halfe a hundred such  
  Of them he would not have wrought.         160
 
XLI


He sayd, ‘Come hither, Sir Aldingar,

 
  Thou seemest as big as a fooder;  
I trust God ere I have done with thee  
  God will send us an auger.’  
 
XLII


Sayes, ‘The first stroke that’s given, Sir Aldingar,

        165
  I will give unto thee;  
And if the second give thou may,  
  Looke then thou spare not mee.’  
 
XLIII


This Little One pull’d forth a well good sword,

 
  I wis it well all of gilte.         170
It cast a light there over that field,  
  It shone soe all of gilte.  
 
XLIV


He stroke the first stroke at Aldingar;

 
  [Noe second needed hee;  
At the first stroke] he stroke away         175
  His leggs [all] by the knee.  
 
XLV


Sayes, ‘Stand up, stand up, thou false traitor,

 
  And fight upon thy feete;  
For, an thou thrive as thou begins,  
  Of a height we shall be meete.’         180
 
XLVI


‘A priest, a priest,’ sayes Aldingar,

 
  ‘Me for to housel and shrive!  
A priest, a priest,’ sayes Aldingar,  
  ‘While I am a man living alive!  
 
XLVII


‘I would have courted our comely Queene;

        185
  To it shee wo’ld never consent;  
I thought to betray her to our King  
  In a fyer to have her brent.  
 
XLVIII


‘There came a lame lazar to the King’s gate,

 
  A lazar both blind and lame;         190
I took the lazar upon my back,  
  Upon the Queene’s bedd had him layn.  
 
XLIX


‘I bade him, Lye still, lazar, where he lay,

 
  Looke he went not away;  
I wo’ld make him a whole man and a sound         195
  In two houres of a day.  
 
L


‘A priest, a priest,’ sayes Aldingar,

 
  ‘To shrive me cleane of hell!  
Ever alacke!’ sayes Sir Aldingar,  
  ‘Falsing never doth well.         200
 
LI


‘Forgive, forgive me, Queene, Madam!

 
  For Christ’s love forgive me!’—  
‘God forgave his death, Aldingar,  
  And freely I forgive thee.’—  
 
LII


‘Now take thy wife, thou King Harry,

        205
  And love her as thou sho’ld;  
Thy wife shee is as true to thee  
  As stone lies in castle wall.’  
 
LIII


The lazar under the gallow tree

 
  [Grew] a pretty man and small:         210
The lazar under the gallow tree  
  Was made steward in King Harry’s hall.  
 
GLOSS:  brent] burnt.  lodly] loathly.  lome] thing.  bett] kindled.  swevens] dreams.  grype] gryphon.  tush] tusk, beak.  merlion] merlin, a small falcon.  bale] evil, trouble.  boote] help, remedy.  tunne] barrel.  wrought] recked.  fooder] tun.  meete] matched, equal.