Definitions

Glasgerion

Glasgerion

Glasgerion is Child ballad 67, existing in several variants.

Synopsis

Glasgerion is a king's son and a harper. He harps before another king, whose daughter arranges a tryst with him. He tells his servant to ensure that he wakes in time to make the tryst. The servant goes in his place and rapes the princess. She learns the truth and kills herself, sometimes because she can not offer herself as Glasgerion's bride. Glasgerion kills his servant and either kills himself as well or goes mad.

Motifs

The figure of Glasgerion was cited as a harper in Geoffrey Chaucer's The House of Fame and Gavin Douglas's The Palice of Honour.

Adaptations

In 1966 Bert Jansch included the song, in a variant known as Jack Orion where the harpist has become a fiddler, on his third album which took its title from that track. His voice is accompanied by his own guitar and that of John Renbourn; their collaboration here can be seen as one of the pinnacles of the so-called folk baroque guitar style. Jack Orion later became part of the repertoire of Pentangle, the band that they formed along with Terry Cox, Jacqui McShee and Danny Thompson, and appears on their 1970 recording Cruel Sister.

The British folk rock band Trees included one variant in The Garden of Jane Delawney, their 1970 debut album.

References

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