© Mikha Wajnrych
© Fabienne Cresens
Cie Mossoux-Bonté

Marianson's Rings

"Les anneaux de Marianson" - anonymous, Normandy, XVth Century 
Lyrics collected by Michel Faubert based on a Quebec version sung in 1916

Marianson, Beautiful lady, Where has your husband gone?
My husband has gone to war, Ah! I don’t know when he’ll be back
Marianson, Beautiful lady, Lend me your golden rings
Marianson, the ill-advised, Lent her three golden rings
When he had, the three rings, He went to the goldsmith,
Handsome goldsmith, handsome goldsmith, Make me three golden rings
When he had his three rings, He went to war
The first person he met, Was Marianson’s husband
Good news, in Paris, Marianson, Beautiful lady
She made me, her husband, Marianson, Beautiful lady
You lied, loyal knight, My wife is sufficiently faithful
If you believe it, I disbelieve it, Here are the rings of her fingers
When he saw, the three rings, He threw himself to the ground
After three days, on the ground, He got on his horse
Her mother who was, on the ramparts, Who saw him coming from over there
Marianson, Beautiful lady, I can see your husband arriving
He’s ill or angry, He’s approaching like, a madman
My mother introduce him to his son, That will cheer him up
Ah! my son, here’s your son, What name will you give your son?
I’ll give a name to the child, And to the mother a bad reputation
He took the child by both feet, Threw him to the ground
Took the mother by her hair, Attached her to his horse
Made three tours of Paris, Without looking behind him
There wasn’t a bush or hillock* That didn’t have Marianson’s blood on it
After three days and three nights, He looked behind him
"Marianson, beautiful lady Where are the rings I gave you?
They’re in a chest, at the foot of the bed, Here are the keys go and get them"
He didn’t need to turn the key three times, He found the golden rings
"Marianson,  beautiful lady, Which good surgeon do you need?
I don’t need a surgeon, It’s a white sheet to shroud myself in
Marianson, beautiful lady, May I have your pardon?
You will be pardoned my death, But not that of the new-born child

* Free interpretation from an opaque etymology in French. Michel Faubert sings "Y n’y eu de grache ni de grignon". "Grache" could be a phonetic evolution of "roche" (rock), whereas the term "grignon" remains mysterious. The English translation is a combination of two other variants in the oral tradition: "N'y a ni butte, ni button" (there wasn’t a hill or hillock) and "N'y avit brousse ni buisson" (there wasn't a scrub or a bush).