Thursday, 12 December 2013

Piedmontese Ballad of Baron von Leutrum in English

Piedmontese folksong
Ballad of Baron Von Leutrum 
rendered in English by Alison Bailey Castellina

This Piedmontese ballad tells of Baron von Leutrum, a German born military leader who fought for the King of Savoy during the 18th century. When he lay dying, The King offered him a noble tomb, if he became a Catholic. He chose instead to be buried in The Waldensian valleys, as a Protestant, near Angrogna. No other English version exists on online. It should be possible to match this to the recognised folk tune.

At Savoy's court, of stately earls,
Many a knight and lovely dame,
Dressed in high style in purest pearls,
Mourning von Leutrum's good fame.

When Savoy's King did sadly hear,
News of the Baron, now wasting.
He set out to see him, with all fear,
With coach and four horses, hasting.

At a small place near Cuneo, the town
Guns were saluting, trumpets blared,
Saluting the Baron, noise all around,
His noble deeds, voices declared.

The King did ask him, with a sigh
“Baron Leutrum, are you failing?”
“Of this illness, I shall die,
It is quite true that I am ailing.”

His Majesty, he answered so well.
“Here is my gold, here's my wealth.
I can make you mareshall!
This wealth will give you longer health!”

“I know no gems, nor worldly gold
The sting of death can hold away.
Death will soon take me to its fold,
Soon death itself will hold sway!”

“Oh, tell me, then, my faithful friend,
Do you want to be baptized?
For my Bishop, I will send,
I will be your sponsor prized”.

Weakly said, then, Baron Leutrum,
“May your throne be now enlarged!
Catholic I'm not, though still your good friend,
But a Waldensian barbet!”

“Where in Savoy will you find room?
Where will your grave, be deeply dug?
I will give you, an ornate tomb,
To demonstrate to you my love”.

“I have just stated, here in my Will,
Val Luserna it is my best.
They will put me, near to the hill.
There will my heart find perfect rest”.

Baron von Leutrum - he then expired,
Wept all the barons and all the dames.
Church bells rang out and cannons fired,
Mourning Von Leutrum's good name.

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