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Fabrizio de André

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Geordie

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

Nè il cuore degli inglesi nè 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

As I crossed London Bridge
in a day without sunshine
I saw a woman weeping love
she was crying for her Geordie

They will gallow Geordie with a rope of gold
it is a rare privilege
he stole six deers in the park of the King
and he sold them for money

Saddle her horse with the white mane
saddle her pony
she will ride up to London tonight
to plead for Geordie

Geordie never stole not even for me
a fruit or a rare flower
he stole six deers in the park of the King
he sold them for money

Save his lips, save his smile
he doesn't have yet twenty years
winter will fall even on his face
you can hang him then

Neither the heart of the British nor the scepter of the King
will b able to save Geordie
although they will mourn with you
the law cannot change

So they will hang him with a rope of gold
it is a rare privilege
he stole six deers in the park of the King
he sold them for money


Fabrizio de Andre singing with Joan Baez

translation Enrico Massetti

"Geordie" is Child ballad 209, existing in many variants.

The "Geordie" of the title is taken for a crime, to hang; it may be rebellion, murder, horse-stealing, or poaching deer. His wife (or lady) goes to appeal for his life, sometimes refusing offers to marry her, once widowed, along the way.

She pleads for his life, mentioned the children she had borne him, usually seven, or twelve; she may still be pregnant with the youngest, or the youngest has never seen his father. In some versions, a ransom is set, and many people give her money, which adds up to enough to buy his life. In others, the wife's attempts are in vain and he is executed.


Original Geordie ballade sung by Joan Baez

As I walked out over London bridge
one misty morning early
I overheard a fair pretty maid
was lamenting for her Geordie

Ah my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain
This is 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's 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.

Ah my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain
This is not the chain of many
Stole sixteen of the king's royal deer,
and he sold them in Bohenny.    

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