LORD BAKER/YOUNG BEICHAN/LORD BATEMAN

Child #53

Una ballata che è in pratica una fiaba in musica, così come nel Medioevo si divulgavano  “le storie romanzate” con i menestrelli e i cantastorie che le cantavano e mimavano .. questa ha un fondamento storico o presunto tale divulgato nella storia di Gilbert e Rohesia (Sofia o Shusha Pye) ambientata sotto il regno di Enrico  II, nientemeno che i genitori di Thomas Becket (1118-1170), il futuro arcivescovo di Canterbury.  Una versione dell’insolito incontro tra i due genitori è riportata dai biografi di Thomas:  il padre quando era giovanotto conobbe una bellezza d’oltremare, ribattezzata con un nome cristiano prima di renderla sua sposa.

batemanErano i tempi delle Crociate e dei grandi pellegrinaggi nella Terra Santa e il nostro protagonista partito dalle Isole Britanniche finisce in mano ai Mori (Saraceni) ed è reso prigioniero (forse è messo in schiavitù oppure è in attesa che qualcuno paghi il suo riscatto); la bella figlia del Turco innamoratasi del prigioniero, lo aiuta a fuggire con la promessa che quando vorrà prendere moglie, sarà lei la sua sposa. Ma gli anni passano e il bel Lord si è dimenticato della bellezza orientale: è la ragazza, oramai donna e stanca di aspettare, a prendere l’iniziativa e ad attraversare il mare per riunirsi al promesso sposo, il quale è in procinto.. di convolare a nozze con una pallida bellezza inglese!

Ovviamente il lieto fine non può mancare e così la storia si conclude con la ri-unione dei due innamorati!!

plate11

Il testo è lungo come ogni ballata medievale che si rispetti incentrato sulla vera protagonista della storia che è un’eroina, forte e determinata. Il protagonista maschile della storia è chiamato  Young Bicham/Beichan  o Baker/Bekie, ma anche Lord Bateman o Lord Ateman. Il professor Child riporta 14 versioni della ballata nota anche con il titolo Lord Bateman, Lord Beichan and Susie Pye, The Turkish Lady; così come per i testi anche la melodia presenta un’ampia serie di variazioni e qui sarebbe arduo proporle tutte sebbene raggruppate, così mi limiterò alla selezione di alcuni ascolti  che ritengo essere più significativi; la ballata è stata anche interpretata da Angelo Branduardi nel già citato lavoro “Il rovo e la rosa“,  2013, nella traduzione italiana della moglie Luisa Zappa

ASCOLTA Angelo Branduardi in Il rovo e la rosa, 2013

Testo: Luisa Zappa Branduardi (tratto da qui): come potete notare le strofe non sono suddivise rigorosamente nella stessa lunghezza metrica e musicale, è questa una caratteristica della musica medievale più antica.


I
Lui era il Lord di queste belle terre,
era un signore di gran lignaggio
e prese il mare su di una grande nave,
verso paesi sconosciuti.
II
Lui viaggiò ad Est e viaggiò ad Ovest,
fino al freddo Nord, al caldo Sud…
Ma il giorno in cui lui sbarcò in Turchia,
fu catturato e imprigionato
dal fiero Turco che viveva lì.
III
Ed era padre di una figlia sola,
la più bella lady nata in Turchia
prese le chiavi e ingannò suo padre,
rese a Lord Baker la libertà.
IV
“Lo so che hai case, tela di lino,
il Northumber s’inchina a te,
ricorderai la ragazza turca
che oggi ti ha reso la libertà?”
V
“Lo so che ho case, tela di lino,
il Northumber s’inchina a me,
tutto ai tuoi piedi metterò, mia cara,
perché mi hai reso la libertà.”
VI
Lei lo condusse giù fino al porto,
per lui armò una ricca nave,
Ed ad ogni sorso di quel vino rosso
Brindò: “Lord Baker, che tu sia mio!”
VII
Ci fu tra loro una promessa
Per sette anni ed ancora sette…
“Se non prenderai mai un’altra sposa,
non sarò mai io di un altro uomo.”
VII
E sette anni eran passati
E sette ancora sommati a quelli…
Lei radunò tutti i suoi vestiti,
giurò: Lord Baker, ti troverò!”
VIII
Lei viaggiò ad Ovest e viaggiò ad Est,
sino a che giunse ad un grande palazzo.
“Chi c’è, chi c’è? – si destò il guardiano –
Bussa gentile a questa porta.

IX
“È qui che Lord Baker vive? – chiese la lady –
Ed ora è in casa il tuo signore?”
“È qui che Lord Baker vive – replicò il guardiano –
E proprio oggi lui prende moglie.”
X
“Vorrei un poco di quel loro dolce
Ed un bicchiere di vino rosso,
che si ricordì la bella lady
che là in Turchia lo liberò.”
XI
E corse, corse il buon soldato
Fino ai piedi del suo signore.
“Ora alza il capo, mio buon guardiano,
che novità porti con te?”
XII
“Per te io annuncio un grande evento,
la più bella lady che si vide mai
resta in attesa di carità…
XIV
Porta un anello ad ogni dito,
solo al medio ne porta tre.
E con quell’oro lei può comprare
Tutto il Northumber ed anche te.
Ti chiede un poco del vostro dolce
Ed un bicchiere di vino rosso.
Ricorderai la bella lady
che là in Turchia ti liberò?”
XV
Scese la madre della sua sposa:
“Figlia mia cara, che sarà di te?”
“Con me tua figlia non ha mentito,
non ha mai detto d’amare me.
Venne da me con una borsa d’oro,
ne avrà in cambio ben trentatrè.”
XVI
Prese la spada tra le sue mani
E poi di fette ne tagliò tre:
“una alla madre della mia sposa,
una al mio amore, una per me.”
XVII
Così Lord Baker corse alla porta,
di ventun passi ne fece tre.
Prese tra le braccia la ragazza turca
E baciò il suo amore… teneramente.

 

Le versioni che seguono provengono dall’area Inghilterra-Scozia-America, ma  la ballata si è diffusa in varie parti d’ Europa, la ritroviamo in particolare nei paesi  scandinavi, Spagna e Italia.

ASCOLTA Sinéad O’ConnorChristy Moore in Sean-Nós Nua, 2002


I
There was a Lord who lived in this land
He being a Lord of high degree
He left his foot down a ship’s board
And swore strange countries he would go see.(1)
II
He’s travelled east and he’s travelled west
Half the north and the south also
Until he arrived into Turkey land.
There he was taken and bound in prison
Until his life it grew weary.
III
And Turkey(2) bold had one only daughter
As fair a lady, as the eye could see
She stole the key to her Daddy’s harbour
And swore Lord Baker, she would set free.
IV
Singing, ‘You have houses and you have linen,
All Northumber belongs to thee
What would you give to Turkey’s daughter
If out of prison she’d set you free?’
V
Singing, ‘I have houses, I have linen,
All Northumber belongs to me
I would will them all to you my darling,
If out of prison you set me free?’
VI
She’s brought him down to her Daddy’s harbour
And filled for him was the ship of fame
And every toast that she did drink round him,
‘I wish Lord Baker that you were mine.’
VII
They made a vow(3) for seven years
And seven more for to keep it strong
Saying ‘If you don’t wed with no other woman
I’m sure I’ll wed with no other man.’
VIII
And seven years been past and over
And seven more they were rolling on
She’s bundled up all her golden clothing
And swore Lord Baker she would go find.

IX
She’s travelled East and she’s travelled West
Until she came to the palace of fame
‘Who is that, who is that?’ called the young foot soldier
‘Who knocks so gently and can’t get in?’
X
‘Is this Lord Baker’s palace?’ replied the lady
‘Or is his lordship himself within?’
‘This is Lord Baker’s palace’ replied the porter,
‘This very day took a new bride in.’
XI
‘Well ask him send me a cut of his wedding cake
A glass of his wine that been e’er so strong
And to remember the brave young lady
Who did release him in Turkey land.’
XII
In goes, in goes, the young foot soldier
Kneels down gently on his right knee
‘Rise up, rise up now the brave young porter,
What news, what news have you got for me?’
XIII
Singing, ‘I have news of a grand arrival,
As fair a lady as the eye could see
She is at the gate
Waiting for your charity.’
XIV
‘She wears a gold ring on every finger,
And on the middle one where she wears three,
She has more gold hanging around her middle
Than’d buy Northumber and family.’
XV
‘She asked you send her a cut of your wedding cake
A glass of your wine, it been e’er so strong,
And to remember the brave young lady
Who did release you in Turkey land.’
XVI
Down comes, down comes the new bride’s mother
‘What will I do with my daughter dear?’
‘I know your daughter, she’s not been covered
Nor has she shown any love for me.(4)
XVII
Your daughter came with one pack of gold
I’ll avert her home now, with thirty-three.’
He took his sword all by the handle
And cut the wedding cake, in pieces three
Singing ‘here’s a slice for the new bride’s mother
A slice for me new love and one for me.’
XVIII
And then Lord Baker, ran to his darling
Of twenty-one steps, he made but three
He put his arms around Turkey’s daughter
And kissed his true love, most tenderly.

NOTE
1) già in apertura si delinea il personaggio, non certo un pellegrino penitente o un mercante medievale, piuttosto un uomo di mondo, uno spirito inquieto. Di certo la ballata si è adattata allo spirito del Settecento e Lord Bateman è molto più simile a Lord Byron
His goblets brimmed with every costly wine,
And all that mote to luxury invite.
Without a sigh he left to cross the brine,
And traverse Paynim shores, and pass earth’s central line. (tratto da qui)
2) il turco è un corsaro o un predone, crudele e spietato
3) strano giuramento o promessa, quella di mantenersi casti per sette anni, proprio mentre i due si sollazzano bevendo vino!!
4) si suppone che il matrimonio non essendo stato consumato possa essere dichiarato nullo

ASCOLTA Planxty 1983, versione testuale simile, ma arrangiamento musicale migliore

ASCOLTA Susan McKeown in Lowlands, 2000, interessante anche questo arrangiamento arabeggiante


I
There was a lord who lived in this land
Being a lord of high degree
He left his foot down a ship’s board
And swore strange countries that he would go see
II
He traveled East and he traveled West
He traveled North and South also
Until he arrived into Turkey land
There he was taken and bound in prison
Until his life it grew weary
III
Oh Turkey bold had one only daughter
As fair a lady as the eye could see
She stole the key to her dad-oh’s harbour
And swore Lord Baker she would set free
IV
Singing “you have houses and you have linen
And all Northumber belongs to thee
What would give you to Turkey’s daughter
If out of prison she’d set you free?”
V
Singin’ “I have houses, and I have linen
All Northumber belongs to me
I would will them all to you my darling
If out of prison you’d set me free”
VI(x2)
She’s brought him down to her dad-oh’s harbour
And filled for him was the ship of fame
And every toast that she did drink round him
“I wish Lord Baker that you were mine”
VII
They made a vow for seven years
And seven more for to keep it strong
Saying if you don’t wed with no other woman
I’m sure will wed with no other man
VIII
And seven years been passed and over
And seven more they were rolling on
She has bundled up all her gold and clothing
And swore Lord Baker she would go find

IX
She traveled East and she traveled West
Untill she came to the palace of fame
“Who’s that, who’s that, -cried the bold young porter-
Who knocks so gently and can’t get in?”
X
“Is this Lord Baker’s palace, -replied the lady-
Or is his lordship himself within?”
“This is Lord Baker’s palace, -replied the porter-
This very day took a new bride in”
XI
“Well ask him send me a cut of his wedding cake
A glass of his wine it been e’er so strong
And to remember a brave young lady
Who did release him in Turkey land”
XII
In goes, in goes, in goes the porter
And kneels down gently on his right knee
“Rise up, rise up now my bold young porter
What news, what news have you brought to me?”
XIII
“Singing I have news of a grand arrival
As fair as lady as the eye could see
She is at the gate waiting for your charity.
She wears a gold ring on every finger
And on the middle one where she wears three
She has more gold hung around her middle
Than’d buy Northumber and family
XIV
She asks you send her a cut of your wedding cake
A glass of your wine it’d been e’er so strong
And to remember a brave young lady
Who did release you in Turkey land”
XV
He took his sword all by the handle
Cut the wedding cake in pieces three
Singing here’s a piece for Turkey’s daughter
Here’s a piece for the new bride and one for me
XVI
Down comes, down comes the new bride’s mother
“What will I do with my daughter dear?”
“Your daughter came with one bag of gold
I’ll let her to home love with thirty-three”
XVII
And then Lord Baker ran to his darling
Of twenty-one steps he made but three
He put his arms round Turkey’s daughter
And kissed his true love most tenderly

ASCOLTA Chris Wood in The Lark Descending 2005: molto gradevole la modulazione della voce

ASCOLTA Custer LaRue (Baltimore Consort) la versione americana (Monti Appalachi)

ho riportato la maggior parte del testo ad orecchio e in parte da qui


I
Lord Bateman was so noble lord,
and he was handsome high degree;
but yet he could not rest contented
some foreign country he would see.
II
He sailed east and he sailed west,
until he came to Praterky;
where he was took and put in prison,
Until his life grew quite weary.
III
The Sogger had one only daughter
the fairest creature as eyes did see
She stole the key to her father’s prison
and said, “Lord Bateman I’ll free”
IV
“Have you got houses, have you got land ?
and are you hold some high degree
What would you give to the fair young lady
that out of prison will set you free?”
V
“Oh I’ve got house and I’ve got land
Half of Northumberland belongs to me.
I’ d give it all to the fair young lady
that out of prison would set me free”
VI
She took him to her father’s table,
And gave to him the best of wine;
And every health she drank to him,
“I wish Lord Bateman that you were mine”.
VII
She lead him to her father’s harbor
And give to him a ship of fame.
“Fare-the-well Fare-the-well to you, Lord Bateman
Fare-the-well Fare-the-well till we meet again”
VIII
“It’s seven long years I will make this honour
it’s seven long years I’ll give my hand;
If you will wed no other woman,
Then I will wed no other man.”

IX
When seven long years had gone and passed,
And fourteen days well known to me;
She dressed herself in a fine gay clothing,
And said “Lord Bateman I’ll go see”
X
And when she came to Lord Bateman’s castle,
So boldly there she rang the bell;
“Who’s there who’s there?” cried the proud young porter,
“Who’s there who’s there, unto me tell.”
XI
She said , “Is this Lord Bateman’s castle,
and is his Lordship here within?”
“Oh, yes, this is  Lord Bateman’s castle,
“He’s just now taken his young bride in.”
XII
“Go tell to send me a slice of cake,
And a bottle of the best of wines;
Not to forget the fair young lady,
That did release him when he was close confined”.
XIII
Away, away went that proud young porter
untill Lord Bateman  he did see.
“What news? What news, my proud young porter?
What news, what news have you brought to me?”
XIV
“That stand at your gate the fairest lady
That ever my two eyes did see.
‘She has a ring on every finger,
And round one of them she has got three”
XV
“She says to bring a slice of cake,
a bottle of your best wine.
And not to forsake the fair young lady
That did release you when close confined”
XIV
Lord Bateman in a passion flew,
His sword he broke in pieces three;(5)
“Oh how forsake my fair young lady
Sophia has crossed the sea.”
XV
It’s up then  spoke the young bride’s mother,
Who was never heard  to speak so free(5):
“Don’t forget my only daughter,
although Sophia has crossed the sea.”
XVI
“I own I’ve made a bride(4) of your daughter,
and so she’s none  worse by me;
She came here on a horse and saddle,
and I’ll send her home in a coach and three.”
XVII
Lord Bateman prepared another wedding ,
With both their hearts so full of glee;
“I’ll range no more to foreign countries,
now Sophia has crossed the seas “

NOTE
5) mentre nelle altre versioni testuali il Lord utilizza la spada per tagliare dalla torta nunziale tre fette, qui spezza la spada in tre pezzi. Gli studiosi si sono interrogati sul perchè del gesto: scaramanzia, la frenesia del momento nell’apprendere la notizia?
plate104) Come se nulla fosse successo il Lord manda a casa la moglie (ricompensandola per il disturbo con un po’ d’oro o una bella carrozza) e prepara un’altro matrimonio per sposare la sua Sofia (evidentemente quello precedente viene annullato perchè non consumato!)

seconda parte continua

FONTI
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15618/15618-h/15618-h.htm
http://www.contemplator.com/child/bateman.html
http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=marshall&book=island&story=gilbert
http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=ChildRef_53
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8950
https://www.mainlynorfolk.info/joseph.taylor/songs/lordbateman.html
http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/13/bateman.htm
http://www.mescalina.it/musica/recensioni/angelo-branduardi-il-rovo-e-la-rosa-ballate-damore-e-di-morte-

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