In the Middle Ages the most popular form of poetry was the ballad. Minstrels told their stories using rhymesand repetitions: musicality made easier and more memorable their tales. Ballads were originally meant for singing and dancing and were rediscovered and translated into English in the 19th century, when the interest in the past was revived . Geordie is surely one of the most popular which survives in our age thanks to song and adaptations made by singers like the Italian Fabrizio de André (1964) and the American Joan Baez (1967).It is the story of a pretty girl who goes to London on her white pony to ask pardon for her lover. Her man, Geordie, is accused of stealing sixteen deer from the king’s forest – a story similar to Robin Hood’s. In that period, the Normans established the forest laws that punished with death who poached in the royal woods. Unfortunately she is too late, Geordie is condemned and she is desperate: the hangman will hang Geordie from a golden chain because is of royal blood. There are many different versions of Geordie’s ballad and it still circulates in Great Britain for the implicit criticism towards the privileges of ruling classes.
Another famous British ballad of Medieval times is Lord Randall – or Randall – a traditional Anglo-Scottish border ballad. There are different variations but every one consists of a dialogue between the protagonist, usually called Lord Randall, and another character , for example his mother. In this conversation the young man tells he has been poisoned , usually by his sweetheart
This ballad has been find also in other languages Danish, German, Magyar, and Swedish.
In Italy there are two versions, one titled L’avvelenato (The Poisoned Man) or Il testamento dell’avvelenato (The Poisoned Man’s Will).