Geordie

Fabrizio De André (1966)

Mentre attraversavo London Bridge
un giorno senza sole
vidi una donna pianger d’amore
piangeva per il suo Geordie.

Impiccheranno Geordie con una corda d’oro
è un privilegio raro
rubò sei cervi nel parco del Re
vendendoli per denaro.

Sellate il suo cavallo dalla bianca criniera
sellatele il suo pony
cavalcherà fino a Londra stasera
ad implorare per Geordie.

Geordie non rubò mai neppure per me
un frutto o un fiore raro
rubò sei cervi nel parco del Re
vendendoli per denaro.

Salvate le sue labbra, salvate il suo sorriso
non ha vent’anni ancora
cadrà l’inverno anche sopra il suo viso
potrete impiccarlo allora.

Né il cuore degli inglesi né lo scettro del Re
Geordie potran salvare
anche se piangeranno con te
la legge non può cambiare.

Così lo impiccheranno con una corda d’oro
è un privilegio raro
rubò sei cervi nel parco del Re
vendendoli per denaro

Geordie

Translated by: Mary Migliozzi

While I walked over London Bridge
on a day without sunshine
I saw a woman weeping for love
she wept for her Geordie.

They will hang Geordie with a golden rope
a rare privilege
he stole six deer from the king’s park
selling them for money.

Saddle her white-maned horse
saddle her pony
she will ride as far as London tonight
to implore for her Geordie.

Geordie never stole for me
even a fruit or a rare flower.
he stole six deer from the king’s park
selling them for money.

Save his lips, save his smile
he is not yet twenty
winter will fall over even his face
you can hang him then.

Neither the heart of the English nor the scepter of the king
can save Geordie
though they will weep with you
the law cannot change

And so they will hang him with a golden rope
a rare privilege
he stole six deer from the king’s park
selling them for money.

 

De André recorded this song in 1966, with Maureen Rix singing the female voice. Joan Baez too recorder a version, of this song, which is collected in Francis James Child’s English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1860).

As I walked over the London bridge / One misty morning early, / I overheard a fair pretty maid / Was lamenting for her Geordie. / Oh, my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain, / ‘Tis not the chain of many / He was born of king’s royal breed / And lost to a virtuous lady. / Go bridle me my milk white steed, / Go bridle me my pony, / I will ride to London court / To plead for the life of Geordie. / Ah, my Geordie never stole nor cow nor calf, / He never hurted any, / Stole sixteen of the king’s royal deer, / And he sold them in Bohenny. / Two pretty babies have I born, / The third lies in my body, / I’d freely part with them every one / If you’d spare the life of Geordie. / The judge looked over his left shoulder, / He said fair maid I’m sorry / He said fair maid you must be gone / For I cannot pardon Geordie. / Oh, my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain, / ‘Tis not the chain of many, / Stole sixteen of king’s royal deer / And he sold them in Bohenny.

A French version was recorded by Claude François in 1965.