#01933
Lady Who Threw Her Fan (MacEdward Leach)

In London town there dwelled a lady,
And with her beauty none could compare;
And she was courted by lords and squires,
And men of wonder I do declare.

She was so high and so condescending,
No man on earth could her husband be,
Unless he was some great man of honour,
Was never conquered on land or sea.

There were two brothers that were her lovers,
She did admire them above the rest;
Intent she was for to try their valour,
To see which of them that loved her the best.

One of them was a bold sea captain,
On board the Tiger, a fierce man-o-war;
And the other of them was a third lieutenant,
On board of the cruiser A Jolly Tar.

Early one morning a coach got ready,
It was by her orders at the break of day;
And those two brothers being two bright heroes,
For London town they rode away.

And when they came to London town,
She threw her fan in the lion's den,
Saying, which of ye now will gain a lady,
And bring to me back my fan again?

Now up speaks the bold sea captain,
As he stood shivering by her side,
He said, in battle I was never daunted,
Always inclined for to meet my foe.

But where there's wild beasts, wolves, and tigers,
My strength to them it would prove in vain;
Therefore my life I won't put in danger,
Supposing if your favour I should never gain.

Now up speaks the third lieutenant,
With a voice like thunder most loud did roar,
He said, in battle I was never daunted,
Always inclined for to be in war.

He drew his sword out of his scabbard,
And boldly entered the lions' hall;
'Twas by his valour he being so clever,
Four of these lions to his blade did fall.

When she saw her true love coming,
And no harm to him was done,
She threw herself into his arms,
Saying, here's the prize that you dearly won.

When the news to the king was carried,
Four of his lions they were left slain,
He sent for the young man,
And well rewarded him for the same.

He rose him from a third lieutenant,
And made him admiral over the blue;
That day unto his true love got married,
See what the force of strong love can do.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British ballad, Lady Of Carlisle [Laws O25] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Bold Lieutenant In The Lion's Den, published by James Lindsay (Glasgow), and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Murray, Mu23-y1:087 ....####

Collected in 1951 from Thomas Williams [1872-?] of St Vincent's, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also collected in 1951 from Cyril O'Brien [ca.1902-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published as In St Giles There Dwelled A Lady in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1952 from Nathan Hatt of Middle River, Victoria County, Nova Scotia, by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] and published as The Lady's Fan in Maritime Folk Songs (Ryerson, Toronto, 1962/1972).

According to Same Henry's Songs of the People (G Huntington, 1990 pp. 488-489), the incident described in this ballad took place early in the 18th-century when in the presence of the French king, Francis, Count de Lorge recovered his lady love's glove from the lion's den. The occurence has been made the subject of poems, The Glove by Robert Browning, and The Glove and the Lions by Leigh Hunt.


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