Herr Mannelig

STORY:

Herr Mannelig is a Swedish folk ballad that tells the story of a female mountain troll (bergatroll) who proposes marriage to a young knight. She believes that if she marries with Sir Mannelig, she can be human. I am not sure about this one but I think it is pagans what they call bergatroll back then. Throughout the song, she offers him many great gifts but at the end he refuses her.

I will not go into the history of the ballad as you can find it on Wikipedia.


VERSIONS:

There are several different versions sung by various bands. The most notable ones are;

  • Garmarna: A folk-rock group from Sweden who has recorded many ballads on their six albums. Garmarna’s sound is strongly influenced by the Scandinavian folk rock pioneers. Herr Mannelig is the opening track from their acclaimed 1996 album Guds Spelemän. Also, the song I put in the title is Garmarna’s version which I like the most.
  • In Extremo: A German band combining heavy metal and folk music. There is a live version of Herr Mannelig by them.
  • Haggard: An internationally known ensemble from Germany which was founded in 1989. Their style of music is an enchanting mixture of classical music, medieval music, and metal. The special thing: All instruments are played by real musicians on stage! They sing the Herr Mannelig in Italian.

LYRICS:

Herr Mannelig

Bittida en morgon innan solen upprann
Innan foglarna började sjunga
Bergatrollet friade till fager ungersven
Hon hade en falskeliger tunga
Herr Mannelig herr Mannelig trolofven i mig
För det jag bjuder så gerna
I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej
Om i viljen eller ej
Eder vill jag gifva de gångare tolf
Som gå uti rosendelunde
Aldrig har det varit någon sadel uppå dem
Ej heller betsel uti munnen
Eder vill jag gifva de qvarnarna tolf
Som stå mellan Tillö och Ternö
Stenarna de äro af rödaste gull
Och hjulen silfverbeslagna
Eder vill jag gifva ett förgyllande svärd
Som klingar utaf femton guldringar
Och strida huru I strida vill
Stridsplatsen skolen i väl vinna
Eder vill jag gifva en skjorta så ny
Den bästa I lysten att slita
Inte är hon sömnad av nål eller trå
Men virkat av silket det hvita
Sådana gåfvor jag toge väl emot
Om du vore en kristelig qvinna
Men nu så är du det värsta bergatroll
Af Neckens och djävulens stämma
Bergatrollet ut på dörren sprang
Hon rister och jämrar sig svåra
Hade jag fått den fager ungersven
Så hade jag mistat min plåga
Herr Mannelig herr Mannelig trolofven i mig
För det jag bjuder så gerna
I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej
Om i viljen eller ej

Sir Mannelig

Early one morning before the sun did rise
And the birds sang their sweet song
The mountain troll proposed to the fair squire
She had a false deceitful tongue
Sir Mannelig, Sir Mannelig won’t you marry me
For all that I’ll gladly give you
You may answer only yes or no
Will you do so or no
To you, I will give the twelve great steeds
That graze in a shady grove
Never has a saddle been mounted on their backs
Nor had a bit in their mouths
To you, I will give the twelve fine mills
That stand between Tillo and Terno
The millstones are made of the reddest brass
And the wheels are silver-laden
To you, I will give the gilded sword
That jingles from fifteen gold rings
And strike with it in battle as you will
On the battlefield, you will conquer
To you, I will give a brand new shirt
The lustrous best for to wear
It is not sewn with needle or thread
But crocheted of the whitest silk
Gifts such as these I would gladly receive
If you were a Christian woman
But I know you are the worst mountain troll
From the spawn of Necken* and the devil
The mountain troll ran out the door
She wailed and she shrieked so loudly
“Had I gotten that handsome squire
From my torment, I would be free now”
Sir Mannelig, Sir Mannelig won’t you marry me
For all that I’ll gladly give you
You may answer only yes or no
Will you do so or no

The header image is taken from the DeviantArt. You can find the creator here

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