Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender

Dublin Core


Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender




This is a recording made by Bobby McMillon, c 1968, of Nathan Gortney (Nate Gortney) singing the ballad "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" (Roud 4, Child 73).


Bobby McMillon


Bobby McMillon Collection, Southern Appalachian Archives, Mars Hill University


Southern Appalachian Archives, Liston B. Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies, Mars Hill University


c. 1968


This item may be viewed, downloaded, and printed for personal and educational use, but any commercial use is prohibited without permission from the Southern Appalachian Archives, Mars Hill University. Questions may be directed to the Archivist at (828) 689-1262 or archives@mhu.edu.







Sound Item Type Metadata

Original Format



1 minute, 54 seconds


“Come a-riddle dear, riddle, dear father, dear mother
Oh tell me whether to marry fair Ellen or bring you the brown girl home.”

“Oh the brown girl she has house and land, Fair Ellender she has none
So the best advice I can give to you is to bring this brown girl home.”

He rode ‘til he came to Fair Ellender’s home, he tingled full loud at the ring
And none was ready, Fair Ellen herself to rise and bid him come in

“What news, what news, Lord Thomas, for me? What news have you for me?”
“I came to ask you to my new wedding,” “Bad news, Lord Thomas, for me”

She called up her merry maids, one, by two, or three
“And saddle for me my milk-white steed, Lord Thomas’ wedding I’ll see”

Sher rode ‘til she came to Lord Thomas’ home, she tingled full loud at the ring
And none was ready, Lord Thomas himself to rise and let her in

“Lord Thomas, Lord Thomas, is this your bride? I think she looks full wonderful brown
When you might of-a had as fair a young lady as ever the sun shone on”

Oh the brown girl she was standing by with a very keen knife in her hand
Between the long ribs and the short, she pitied Fair Ellender’s heart

“Lord Thomas, Lord Thomas, are you blind or neither can’t you see?
Can’t you see my own, my own heart’s blood come trickling down by me?”

He took the brown girl by her hand and led her from the hall
And with his sword cut off her head and kicked it against the wall

He set his sword against the ground, the point towards his breast
Saying, “Here’s the end of three dear lovers, God send their souls to rest.”



Bobby McMillon , “Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender,” Southern Appalachian Archives Mars Hill University, accessed May 23, 2024, https://southernappalachianarchives.org/items/show/991.