Pellinore and the Beast: a Broadside Ballad

(To the tune of ‘Barbara Allen’)

In Camlann town where I was born

There was a beast of iron

Three hundred years remained uncaught

But not for want of trying

Deep in the night it clanked and roared

It tore our town asunder

Of metal sheets, of bricks and stone

All building blocks did plunder

A price, a price, upon its head

A living wage forever

For any knight to strike it dead

Upon this grand endeavour

Go ready me my wheels of speed

My bandoliers and rifle

That I may ride to seek my prize

For all that’s just and rightful

For two score years I tracked it down

I would not be outwitted

Though many times my spirit broke

My quest could not be quitted

It was the merry month of May

I found its wondrous dwelling

A bower of brick and burnished steel

Formed from our own town’s felling

The beast of iron, in times gone by

Created all things useful

It could not cease when the stores ran dry

Its beauty yet was truthful

And though I tried with all my might

I’d not the heart to kill it

For few can take a dying world

And still with beauty fill it.