Thomas the Rhymour

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf:

The 10th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era: Part Deux.

“In the early 90’s, Elyse Tera, a former lover once dedicated a book to me called “Thomas the Rhymer” as I reminder her deeply of this historic figure. I recently re-read the book. Quite a few things clicked as a spirit within my being awakened during many different changes I am currently going through. Little did I know how insightful she was and that eight years later I would wake up with the realization that there was messages and mythos in this tale that I needed for understanding my life path. ”

The Tale of Thomas the Rymour

“Thomas the Rhymer”, “Thomas Rymour”, or “True Thomas” is the story of the 13th century Scottish laird and reputed prophet from Earlston (Erceldoune) named “Thomas Learmonth”. He lived approximated from 1220 – 1290 of the Common Era. He is the protagonist of the ballad known as “Thomas the Rymour” and is most likely the source of the legend of Tam Lin. During the 13th century, Thomas was born in Erceldoune, Berwickshire as a young lad who was gifted with prophecy and a tongue of honesty and charm. He was a well known author of many prophetic verses. Many attributed him with multiple supernatural powers. He was so popular for centuries after his death that many people have fabricated Thomas ‘prophecies’ to further the cause of the Scottish independence. He was known as “True Thomas” because he could not tell a lie. This was linked to his poetic ability and was a curse placed upon him by a Faerie queen. He apparently prophesized many great events in Scottish history including the death of Alexander the III of Scotland. The Ballad of “Thomas the Rymour” has to do with Thomas’ journey with the faerie folk. Thomas was a young lad that while lounging on a bank meets a beautiful woman atop a white horse. They immediately lust after one another. She tells him she is the Queen of the Faeries, takes him onto her horse, and seals his service to her with a kiss. They have a romantic love affair. A version states that the Queen turned into a hag immediately after sleeping with him and as a punishment to him but returned to her beautiful state once they arrived at her castle where her husband lived. He stayed at a party in the castle until she told him to return with her coming back to the mortal realm after seven years had passsed. He asked for a token from her to remember her by, and she offered him the choice of becoming a harper or a prophet and he chose the latter. He wandered the world revealing great prophecy and theoretically said farewell to his homeland and returned to Faerieland from whence he still has not returned. There is also the 14th century romance story of “Thomas of Erceldoune” with accompanying prophecies relating to the Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer telling a very similiar tale.

[ Comparing Tam Lin to Thomas the Rhymer ]   [ Oxford Book of English Verse reference ]   [ Thomas the Rhymer of Scotland ]


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