“The Dark Knight”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1952 (Brown)
Keywords: homicide family madness children knight husband wife
Found in: US(SE)

Description

The knight courts "a lass all neat and fair" and takes her home, where she bears him six(?) sons and three daughters. He then kills the children. "She did not live another dawn," whereupon he seeks another bride

Supplemental text

Dark Knight, The
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From the Frank C. Brown collection, Volume II, #59, pp. 218-220.
Source not recorded.

1  There was a lass all neat and fair --
   Oh runny ba ho
   With middle small and golden hair
   Oh runny bunny ba ho

2  She's married a knight all dark and tall
   And she has left her father's hall.

3  Her mother gret full woeful sair,
   'Oh, I'll not see my daughter mair.'

4  He's placed her on his milk-white steed,
   And they have gone full many a mile.

5  They had not gone but forty mile,
   And they came on a golden stille.

6  'Light down, fair Alice, for you have come home;
   For I am sick and will no more roam.'

     [stanza or stanzas missing]

7  Ten years they lived in the castle fine,
   And she has born him children nine.

8  . . . . . .
   They will not live another dawn

9  He's killed the sons all tall and good;
   He's taken the daughters to the wood.

10 And there he's hanged his daughters three:
   'And oh, your sorrows you must dree.'

11 The lady saw her bairns were gone.
   She did not live another dawn.

12 He's mounted on his milk-white steed
   And he's gone out across the sea

12 To seek another maiden fair
   Who'll never see her mother mair.

Notes

The notes in Brown show some signs of suspicion of this piece, found in the collection but with no indication of source; it also has some Scottish word forms they find unlikely. But it also shows clear signs of tradition.

There is also the question of source. The editors thought the story sounded familiar -- but couldn't locate it. I find the very lyrics familiar -- but I can't locate it either. - RBW

Cross references

References

  1. BrownII 59, "The Dark Knight" (1 text)
  2. ST BrII059 (Full)
  3. Roud #6526
  4. BI, BrII059