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Lady Isobel and the Elf-Knight

by Judith Weir From Scotch Minstrelsy (1982)

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Lady Isobel and the Elf-Knight
English source: Anon.

Fair Lady Isobel sits in her bower sewing,
There she heard the Elf-Knight blowing his horn.

'If I had yon horn that I hear blowing,
And yon Elf-Knight to sleep in my bosom.'

The maiden had scarcely these words spoken,
When in at her window the Elf-Knight has luppen.

'It's a very strange matter, fair maiden' said he,
'I canna blow my horn but ye call on me.

But will ye go to yon Greenwood side?
If ye canna gaing, I will cause you to ride'.

He leapt on a horse and she on another,
And they rode on to the greenwood together.

'Light down, light down, fair lady Isobel', said he,
'We are come to the place where you are to die'.

'Have mercy, have mercy kind sir on me,
Till once my dear father and mother I see'.

'Seven king's daughters here have I slain,
And you shall be the eighth of them'.

'O sit down a while, rest your head upon my knee,
That we may have some rest before I die'.

She stroked him so softly the nearer he did creep;
With a small secret charm she lulled him fast asleep.

With his own sword belt so softly she bound him;
With his own dagger so softly she killed him.


Judith Weir

Judith Weir was born into a Scottish family in 1954, but grew up near London. She was an oboe player, performing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and studied composition with John Tavener during her schooldays. She went on to…



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