The Demon Lover Ballad

The Demon Lover By Unknown

“Oh, where have you been, my long, long love,
this seven years and more?”
“Oh, I’ve come to seek my former vows
Ye granted me before.”
“Oh, do not speak of your former vows,
For they will breed sad strife;
Oh, do not speak of your former vows,
For I have become a wife.”
He turned him right and round about,,
And the tear blinded his ee:
“I would never have trodden on this ground
If it had not been for thee.”
“If I was to leave my husband dear,
And my two babes also,
Oh, what have you to take me to,
If with you I should go?”
“I have seven ships upon the sea—
The eighth brought me to land—
With four-and-twenty bold mariners,
And music on every hand.”
She has taken up her two little babes,
Kissed them on cheek and chin:
“Oh, fare ye well, my own two babes,
For I’ll never see you again.”
She set her foot upon the ship—
No mariners could she behold;
But the sails were of the teffeta,
And the masts of the beaten gold.
She had not sailed a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
When dismal grew his countenance,
And drumlie grew his ee.
They had not sailed a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
Until she espied his cloven foot,
And she wept right bitterly.
“Oh, hold your tongue of your weeping,” said he,
“Of your weeping now let me be;
I will show you how the lilies grow
On the banks of Italy.”
“Oh, what hills are yon, yon pleasant hills,
That the sun shines sweetly on?”
“Oh, yon are the hills of heaven,” he said,,
“Where you will never win.”
“Oh, whaten a mountain is yon,” she said,
“So dreary with frost and snow?”
“Oh, yon is the mountain of hell,” he cried,
“Where you and I will go.”
He struck the top-mast with his hand,
The fore-mast with his knee;
And he broke that gallant ship in twain,
And sank her in the sea

The Demon Lover Summary


The Demon Lover has all the qualities of a good ballad. The language is simple and in a conversational tone; as is usually found in the construction of a ballad.
The question and answer pattern prevails throughout inviting the attention of the listeners. Demon Lover, is a love story highlighting the frailties of a woman, who inspite of being married and having two babes, getting succumbed to greediness for wealth, her former lover owned.
The poet shows clearly how extreme desire for wealth win over motherly affection and ultimately end up in misery. The rural folk admired and appreciated such incidents and the poet had catered for the mass when you sow with the wind you reap the whirl wind.

The fate of the woman is clearly shown, the fauxpas that could not be justified. The poet’s simplicity of diction, conversational tone and the usual old time magic delighted the majority of people, especially the rural folk. The love image and the tragic end punishment for the sins are highlighted in an effortless manner.
The stanzas contain four lines iambic tetrameter. The story is appealing and the verses could be sung. The auditory images are exquisitely brought out.
This third stanza with its cinematic effect is beautifully set to rhythm; portraying the image of the mystic lover.
The eighth stanza reveals the love of a mother to her children and the ninth stanza emphasises the greediness of the same mother for wealth and how motherly love gets tarnished by extreme avarice.
The fifteen stanzas relate the full story of the Demon Lover, set to rhythm. The narration of the story, the primitive setting, simple diction, relevant wording sensational set up and the rhyme pattern add much glamour making the ballad Demon Lover and its theme relevant even for today.

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