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Poem rec, 4/8 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Poem rec, 4/8
And for today's poem rec, the old ballad Tam Lin (several versions at this site).

I like story poems, and this one is fun from a grrl-power point of view--it dates back at least to the early 1700s, and it concerns a young woman who saves her lover, Tam Lin, from the fairy queen, by standing steadfast and brave against her as she shifts his shape over and over. I used it as a base for my gen ficathon entry last year.

This is the fairy queen at the end of the Jennifer Holm version:

Up then spoke the Faery Queen,
Out of a bush of broom--
She that has borrowed young Tam-Lin,
has got a stately groom.
Up then spoke the Faery Queen
Out of a bush of rye--
She has ta'en away the bonniest knight
In all my company.

But had I known Tam-Lin, she says
What now this night I see,
I would have taken thy two grey eyes,
And turned thee to a tree.

Oh had I known, Tam-Lin, she says
Before ye came from home,
I would ta'en your heart o' flesh,
Put in a heart o' stone.

Had I but the wit yestereen
That I have bought today--
I'd pay my tiend seven times to hell
Ere you'd been won away,
My love,
Ere you'd been won away!

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Comments
willowbough From: willowbough Date: April 9th, 2006 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Checking in briefly to say "hello." I love this ballad too, and the fact that the Queen of Faerie gets the last word, so to speak, is one of its most chilling aspects.

If you love the Tam Lin story and don't mind good fantasy recs, I heartily recommend Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock and Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, both of which are finally back in print.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: April 9th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I love this one - I post a different version of it every Halloween. Have you heard the Steeleye Span rendition of it?
leapin_jot From: leapin_jot Date: April 9th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's a book based on that poem. I can't think who it's by. I think it was published in the mid-90s, a modern day fairy tale. Anyways, it makes an interesting story.
leapin_jot From: leapin_jot Date: April 9th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I should look at comments before I post. I was referring to the Dean Tam Lin
bodgei From: bodgei Date: April 11th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this one, my fav verson is either the sir Walter Scott version or the Fariport Convention version...
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