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Legend of lord Halewijn

Geplaatst op 24 juli, 2016 om 9:15

Legends based on ancient oral stories, modified over time to incorporate the predominant beliefs of the time, are fascinating. It is so interesting revisiting the world of legends and fairy tales as a mature adult. Today I bumped into the Legend of Lord Halewijn.

The legend of lord Halewijn about princess Machteld and the woman slayer, lord Halewijn, survived in ballad form but is based on a much older pre-Christian folktale. Unusual in this Flemish-Dutch version/original? is that the princess saves herself and takes control rather than waiting for a brother, knight or prince to save her.

Source: literatuurgeschiedenis.nl HET LIED VAN HEER HALEWIJN. Op muziek gezet en uitgevoerd door het Egidiuskwartet

Daer wierd gehouden een banket, Het hoofd werd op de tafel gezet, is de bizarre afsluiting van het Lied van heer Halewijn. Het lied vertelt het even gruwelijke als fascinerende verhaal over de vrouwenmoordenaar die ten slotte zelf wordt gedood. Heer Halewijn zingt een lied waarmee hij vrouwen verleidt. Op een dag hoort een koningsdochter daarvan en ze vraagt vader, moeder en zus of ze naar hem toe mag. ‘Doe dat maar niet’, antwoorden ze, ‘want niemand keert terug’. Alleen haar broer antwoordt: ‘Het is mij om het even wat je doet, als je je eer maar bewaart’. De prinses doet nu haar mooiste kleren aan, zoekt het beste paard en vertrekt naar heer Halewijn. In het bos treft zij hem en ze rijden samen verder. Uiteindelijk bereiken ze een galgenveld waar veel vrouwen hangen. Halewijn zegt: ‘Aan jou de keus hoe je wilt sterven’. De prinses kiest voor het zwaard, maar nu is zij Halewijn te slim af: ze vraagt hem of hij zijn overkleed wil uittrekken omdat het door het bloed besmeurd zal raken. Voor hij dat goed en wel doet, grijpt zij het zwaard en slaat zijn hoofd af. Het hoofd vraagt haar op een hoorn te blazen zodat zijn vrienden het horen, maar ze weigert. Als het hoofd vraagt zijn hals met zalf in te smeren doet ze ook dat niet. ‘Ik doe niet wat een moordenaar me aanraadt’, zegt ze. Ze neemt het hoofd en keert te paard terug naar huis. Onderweg komt ze nog Halewijns moeder tegen, en vertelt haar dat het hoofd van haar zoon in haar schoot ligt. Uiteindelijk komt ze thuis en haar terugkeer wordt uitbundig gevierd.


Lied van heer Halewijn


Heer Halewyn zong een liedekijn,

Al die dat hoorde wou bi hem zijn.

En dat vernam een koningskind,

Die was zoo schoon en zoo bemind.

Zi ging voor haren vader staen:

‘Och vader, mag ik naer Halewijn gaen?’

‘Och neen, gy dochter, neen, gy niet:

Die derwaert gaen, en keeren niet!‘

Zy ging voor hare moeder staen:

‘Och moeder, mag ik naer Halewyn gaen?’

‘Och neen, gy dochter, neen, gy niet:

Die derwaert gaen, en keeren niet!’

Zy ging voor hare zuster staen:

‘Och zuster, mag ik naer Halewyn gaen?’

‘Och neen, gy zuster, neen, gy niet:

Die derwaert gaen, en keeren niet!’

Zy ging voor haren broeder staen:

‘Och broeder, mag ik naer Halewyn gaen?’

‘'t Is my al eens, waer dat gy gaet,

Als gy uw eer maer wel bewaerd

En gy uw kroon naer rechten draegt!’

Toen is zy op haer kamer gegaen

En deed haer beste kleeren aen.

Wat deed zy aen haere lyve?

Een hemdeken fynder als zyde

Wat deed zy aen? Haer schoon korslyf:

Van gouden banden stond het styf.

Wat deed zy aen? Haren rooden rok:

Van steke tot steke een gouden knop.

Wat deed zy aen? Haren keirle:

Van steke tot steke een peirle.

Wat deed zy aen haer schoon blond hair?

Een krone van goud en die woog zwaer.

Zy ging al in haer vaders stal

En koos daer 't besten ros van al.

Zy zette zich schrylings op het ros:

Al zingend en klingend reed zy doort bosch.

Als zy te midden 't bosch mogt zyn,

Daer vond zy myn heer Halewyn.

Hy bondt syn peerd aen eenen boom,

De joncvrouw was vol anxt en schroom.

‘Gegroet’, sei hy, ‘gy schoone maegd,

Gegroet’, sei hy, ‘bruyn oogen claer,

Comt, zit hier neer, onbindt u hair.’

Soo menich hair dat si onbondt,

Soo menich traentjen haer ontron.

Zy reden met malkander voort

En op de weg viel menig woord.

Zy kwamen al aen een galgenveld;

Daer hing zoo menig vrouwenbeeld.

Alsdan heeft hy tot haer gezeid:

‘Mits gy de schoonste maget zyt,

Zoo kiest uw dood! het is noch tyd.’

‘Wel, als ik dan hier kiezen zal,

Zoo kieze ik dan het zweerd voor al.

Maer trekt eerst uit uw opperst kleed.

Want maegdenbloed dat spreidt zoo breed,

Zoot u bespreide, het ware my leed.’

Eer dat zyn kleed getogen was,

Zyn hoofd lag voor zyn voeten ras;

Zyn tong nog deze woorden sprak:

‘Gaet ginder in het koren

En blaest daer op mynen horen,

Dat al myn vrienden het hooren!’

‘Al in het koren en gaen ik niet,

Op uwen horen en blaes ik niet..’

‘Gaet ginder onder de galge

En haelt daer een pot met zalve

En strykt dat aen myn rooden hals!’

‘Al onder de galge gaen ik niet,

Uw rooden hals en strijk ik niet,

Moordenaers raed en doen ik niet.’

Zy nam het hoofd al by het haer,

En waschtet in een bronne klaer.

Zy zette haer schrylings op het ros,

Al zingend en klingend reed zy doort bosch.

En als zy was ter halver baen,

Kwam Halewyns moeder daer gegaen:

‘Schoon maegd, zaegt gy myn zoon niet gaen?’

‘Uw zoon heer Halewyn is gaen jagen,

G'en ziet hem weer uw levens dagen.

Uw zoon heer Halewyn is dood

Ik heb zijn hoofd in mynen schoot

Van bloed is myne voorschoot rood.’

Toen ze aen haers vaders poorte kwam,

Zy blaesde den horen als een man.

En als de vader dit vernam,

't Verheugde hem dat zy weder kwam.

Daer wierd gehouden een banket,

Het hoofd werd op de tafel gezet



Het lied van heer Halewijn vertelt het spannende verhaal van de prinses en de vrouwenmoordenaar dat eeuwenlang overal in Europa is doorgegeven. Mensen zongen het als een grimmig maar leerzaam sprookje. In allerlei landen zijn heel verschillende versies van het verhaal bekend. De meeste daarvan zijn pas in de negentiende eeuw genoteerd, toen het lied al eeuwenoud was. Wanneer het voor het eerst is gezongen, weten we niet, maar het moet al in de Middeleeuwen bekend zijn geweest. Ook het Nederlandse lied van heer Halewijn zoals we het nu kennen is pas in de negentiende eeuw voor het eerst opgeschreven. Het laat zien dat oude middeleeuwse tradities, waarbij verhalen van mond tot mond gingen zonder te worden opgeschreven, nog heel lang hebben voortgeleefd. Het feit dat de meeste verhalen in gepaard rijm (AA BB CC etc.) waren vormgegeven, droeg eraan bij dat ze gemakkelijk in het gehoor lagen en beter onthouden konden worden. Ook de regelmatige herhaling was daarbij een hulpmiddel. De mondelinge literatuur is langzaamaan vervangen door het geschreven woord. Toch bestaat ze hier en daar nog, bijvoorbeeld op schoolpleinen waar kinderen elkaar verhalen en moppen vertellen die bijna nooit op papier staan, en waarvan daardoor vaak heel verschillende versies de ronde doen.


Corine Timmer 24th July 2016

Categorieën: History and Legends

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