The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads. (Abridgement)

The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads. (Abridgement)

EDITED BY BERTRAND HARRIS BRONSON
Copyright Date: 1976
Pages: 578
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0vsj
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads. (Abridgement)
    Book Description:

    Francis James Child'sEnglish and Scottish Popular Ballads, published in ten parts from 1882 to 1898, contained the texts and variants of 305 extant themes written down between the thirteenth and nineteenth centuries. Unsurpassed in its presentation of texts, this exhaustive collection devoted little attention to the ballad music, a want that was filled by Bertrand Harris Bronson in his four volumeTraditional Tunes of the Child Ballads.

    The present book is an abridged, one-volume edition of that work, setting forth music and text for proven examples of oral tradition, with a new comprehensive introduction. Its convenient format makes readily available to students and scholars the materials for a study of the Child ballads as they have been preserved in the British-American singing tradition.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7267-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xiv)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xxi-2)

    Seventy years ago, George Lyman Kittredge published his invaluable (but tuneless) abridgment of the massive, learned collection ofEnglish and Scottish Popular Balladsserially issued by his revered master, Francis James Child, between the years 1882 and 1898. Child’s work first appeared in ten parts, constituting five big quarto volumes, in an edition of 1,000 copies. The tenth part contains, as a portion of the critical apparatus, an Index of Published Airs, “undertaken for me,” writes Child in a preliminary note, and compiled “by my constant friend Mr William Walker, of Aberdeen.” It is thus manifest that the Index of...

  6. 1 RIDDLES WISELY EXPOUNDED
    (pp. 3-6)

    Restoration broadsides of this ballad are directed to be sung to the tune of “Lay the bent to the bonny broom,” but no contemporary version of the tune has survived. We may, however, presume that the form of it appearing in D’Urfey’sPillsis true in the main to its predecessors. But the words of the refrain, which give the tune its name, seem more appropriate to a pastoral subject, and may have come over, along with their tune, from a different, if not earlier, song. “Fa la” was a current Elizabethan name for a “ballet,” such as Thomas Morley’s...

  7. 2 THE ELFIN KNIGHT
    (pp. 7-12)

    The musical records of this ballad fall into three main groups, each with its own style of verbal refrain. The oldest, one surmises, of the groups is wedded to a broadside graft upon earlier tradition. The text of Child’s A does not indicate a tune; but its relation to B is close, and B is directed to be sung “to its own proper tune.” B’s title—and hence the title of its “proper tune”—is “The Wind hath blawn my Plaid awa”—a form of its last refrain-line. This version has a four-line burden, which begins:

    My Plaid awa, my...

  8. 3 THE FAUSE KNIGHT UPON THE ROAD
    (pp. 13-14)

    Motherwell, in 1827, was the first to make this odd little song known to print. It is rooted in Scottish tradition, but has wandered as far as Nova Scotia, the Appalachians, Indiana, and may yet appear wherever Scots preserve memories from home. The tunes recovered seem at least distantly akin, but they are, as variants, noticeably diversified. Rhythmically, the basic pattern seems that of a reel, but it is interesting to see what sobriety a mountain soloist can impart to this intractable stuff. (See vt. 5.)

    Motherwell printed histextin a confusing manner, in which Child follows him faithfully....

  9. 4 LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF KNIGHT
    (pp. 15-23)

    This, one of the most impressive of all ballads for the geographical sweep of its popularity and vital tenacity on traditional life, makes nevertheless no appearance inourmusical records until the third decade of the last century; and Child’s earliestverbaltext is not much more venerable.

    The earliest tunes to appear are Scottish, and they give no clear indication of the main melodic lines as they have since consolidated in a large number of variants collected mostly within the present century, in England and the U.S.A. These variants display a remarkable unity in their variety, and a variety...

  10. 5 GIL BRENTON
    (pp. 24-26)

    This ballad, the non-Continental records of which are all Scottish, appears to have died out of tradition during the nineteenth century, although Motherwell speaks as if it were flourishing in his day. The scanty surviving records show no strong central current for either text or tune. It is unfortunate that the earliest tune, matched to the most interesting text, and going back in living memory beyond the middle of the eighteenth century, was set down by a confessedly inexpert hand, so that conjecture is inevitable as to the intention. Some melodic affinity between the extant tunes perhaps justifies a greater...

  11. 7 EARL BRAND
    (pp. 27-31)

    This impressive ballad exhibits a marked formal cleavage in tradition, the more ancient-looking type having, among several distinguishing traits, an interlaced refrain, the other having none at all. It is fresh evidence of the probability that ballads in tetrameter couplets originally had such a refrain, that although the Abbotsford-Heber copy (Child A* in the abridged edition) lacks it, the copy taken with its tune conforms to the expected pattern.

    Although placed late in his series, Child’s F-text is actually one hundred and fifty years older, by the record, than any of the others. Had the compiler of Percy’s Folio MS.,...

  12. 9 THE FAIR FLOWER OF NORTHUMBERLAND
    (pp. 32-33)

    This libel on the Scottish race seems to have had a considerable popularity north of the Border, and six out of the seven recorded tunes for it are Scottish. Scots singers contrived to give it a twist that flattered their nation’s sexual vanity; but the compliment still keeps an ugly side. The earliest English text may been printed before 1600. It is not altogether impossible that the Scottish was the original form, made over by the English for their own purposes. At least, the Deloney text shows much less of a traditional cast and was probably not a little altered...

  13. 10 THE TWO SISTERS
    (pp. 34-42)

    This ballad is still in active traditional life, especially in those regions of the U.S.A. where the “play-party” dancing custom has persisted. In many variants the words of the refrain affirm the association; and in connection with the dance, the ballad has generally kept hold of an elaborate interlaced form of refrain, combined with the thrice repeated first line of the stanza—a scheme which is relatively ancient, and found also in company with other ballads, notably “The Three Ravens” (Child No. 26), “The Wedding of the Frog and the Mouse,” “Sir Eglamore” (cf. Child no. 18), “The Friar in...

  14. 11 THE CRUEL BROTHER
    (pp. 43-45)

    As late as the middle of the last century, we learn from editors Aytoun and Dixon of that period, this ballad was popular in Scotland and the west of England. Its central idea, the murderous pride of an offended brother, was familiar in Scandinavian analogues. Folk-singers, however, are not likely to cherish ballads in the literal truth of which they do not believe. The present narrative turns for motivation not so much on a permanent trait of human nature as on a system of manners; and it was natural that with the dying out of a family code which could...

  15. 12 LORD RANDAL
    (pp. 46-54)

    This ballad now known as “Lord Randal” has held with extraordinary tenacity to its stanzaic pattern, wherever and whenever it has been found—in Italy in the early seventeenth century or in the Appalachians in our own day: the first half of the stanza a question repeated with only a change of address; the second half an answer, addressed to the questioner, and a premonitory assertion of desperate illness. The name of the protagonist, meanwhile, has changed with kaleidoscopic variety: a page could be filled with his aliases. Of a number of rather strange trisyllabic appellatives, beginning with T and...

  16. 12 APPENDIX BILLIE BOY
    (pp. 55-57)

    William Stenhouse (Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland,1839) and John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies,1900) both ascribe the first appearance of this song to The Bee, May 1791, an Edinburgh magazine. The words are said to be by Hector Macneill. They are a sentimentalized version of an older song of which Stenhouse deprecatingly quotes two stanzas. Glen observes that Macneill’s song appeared also in Napier’s, G. Thomson’s and Urbani’s collections before it was printed in the sixth volume of theScots Musical Museum,No. 502, 1803.

    There can be little doubt in anyone’s mind that the...

  17. 13 EDWARD
    (pp. 58-60)

    This ballad has mainly been confined in European traditional singing to the Scandinavian countries, to Finland, and to Scot land, whence it has traveled to take fresh root in the Appalachian regions. Archer Taylor has argued convincingly that the ballad passed from Britain to Scandinavia. (“Edward” and “Sven i Rosengård,” Chicago, 1931.) It appears to me that the most artistic and best-known version, first given to the world in Percy’s Reliques, is a literary rehandling of the traditional song. (Cf.SFQ,IV [1940], pp. 1-13, 159-61.) None of the traditional variants except Motherwell’s, which was possibly influenced by Percy, implicates...

  18. 14 BABYLON
    (pp. 61-63)

    In the English language, this ballad has a recorded history of about a century and a half, and the musical record, as seldom happens, is nearly as old and good. The tradition appears to have held pretty consistently to LM quatrains, rhyming alternately,* with interlaced refrain as the general habit. The words of the refrain vary considerably, as is often true of refrains which are rather musical than meaningful.

    It appears to me that there are at most two melodic families in the record for this ballad; but the divergence of copies is considerable. The rhythm seems originally to have...

  19. 16 SHEATH AND KNIFE
    (pp. 64-64)

    This ballad has been rarely found in British tradition, never outside Scotland. No new copy has appeared since the first half of the last century; and the only tune known is the plaintive one which Burns salvaged for Johnson’sMuseumin the last decade of the eighteenth century. Of this, a variant was published, with other words, in 1866.

    Of the very appropriate tune there is a manuscript copy, with no differences except for holds on the second and third phrase-finals, in Nat. Lib. Scotland MS. 843, fol. 18V. This MS. is of “Ballads, &c. from the Collection of the...

  20. 17 HIND HORN
    (pp. 65-69)

    All the tunes which have been recorded for this ballad are representatives of a single melodic idea. Save in one or two cases, there has been remarkably little variation, considering that together they span a century and an ocean. The same tune, in one guise or another (usually with greater variation), occurs with a number of alien texts, and especially with a song of which the Englishtextualrecord is a good deal older than that of “Hind Horn”—namely, “The Bird Song,” found among Restoration broadsides with the titles “The Woody Querristers,” and “The Birds Lamentation,” and directed to...

  21. 18 SIR LIONEL
    (pp. 70-74)

    The only orally transmitted form of this ballad that makes any effort to maintain a serious romantic tone is the one recorded by Christie, about 1850, from an old woman in Banffshire. Through her, Christie said, he could trace the song a hundred years further back. Still another century back (i.e., before 1650) lies the text of the Percy Folio—in its surviving state very defective, tuneless, and not known ever to have been sung. This version, also, is serious. All other versions that have yet been found, whether in Britain or America, are in varying degree farcical. About half...

  22. 19 KING ORFEO
    (pp. 75-75)

    That a tune should, in the middle of the twentieth century, be overheard along with this whisper out of the Middle Ages was as little to be supposed as that we should hear “the horns of Elfland faintly blowing.” The Shetlands seem to have proved to be the last retreat, in traditional memory, of this very delightful product of medieval recreative imagination. Clearly, the fragments before us stem from the same root as the fuller fragment given by Child from a printing of 1880. (A text of 21 from a number ofThe Shetland Times,of unspecified date but “written...

  23. 20 THE CRUEL MOTHER
    (pp. 76-82)

    For the number of beautiful melodic variations on a basically constant rhythmic pattern this ballad is exceptional. The binding element in the rhythmical design appears to have been the interlaced refrain at the second and fourth lines. This has suffered in the main only slight variation, and, where variations occur, has been usually able to find metrical equivalents for the supplanted syllables. Expressed in 4/4 time, it can be felt in the lines

    Such a scheme appears to have been a favorite of this ballad for the past two centuries. The melodic record is almost as long as the textual...

  24. 21 THE MAID AND THE PALMER
    (pp. 83-85)

    It was not to be expected that a traditional version of this ballad, which had barely survived in a fragmentary form in Scotland a century and a half ago, should have turned up in Ireland after the Second World War. But such is the case, and we have word of yet another variant in the same vicinity in the year 1970. The musical tradition is very unstable, and perhaps the tunes have been borrowed for the nonce, from material well worn in other connections. In the British Isles, the persons of the ballad are equally blurred and indistinct in identity....

  25. 24 BONNIE ANNIE
    (pp. 86-87)

    The metre of this ballad is sufficiently uncommon among the Child ballads to attract our attention. There are not, I think, more than a dozen or so in clearly dactylic measure, and this one may be unique in its consistently feminine line-endings. The evidence of the tunes convinces one that the texts should be printed, probably in all variants, as tetrameter couplets with feminine rhymes. This looks like an Irish habit, but, if so, it seems surprising that the influence is not a great deal more often exerted in this form.

    Neither Kinloch nor Motherwell, who provide us with our...

  26. 25 WILLIE’S LYKE-WAKE
    (pp. 88-89)

    Of this ballad, continental analogues are found in both northern and southern Europe, and the Danish records carry it up into the sixteenth century. But in English it has never (to my knowledge) been found outside Scotland, and no record of it is older than the nineteenth century. That, of course, is no reason for concluding that it did not exist in Scotland centuries before*; but it is perhaps allowable to infer a limited currency for a ballad that was not met by Herd, Scott, or Jamieson, to mention no lesser collectors. It has been recorded, however, by five collectors...

  27. 26 THE THREE RAVENS
    (pp. 90-93)

    The earliest text we possess of this moving elegy comes from Ravenscroft’sMelismata,1611, where it is given with the music, arranged for four voices. When Ritson reprinted it in 1790, he remarked that it was obviously much older than the date of first publication. No one who has studied it carefully will be likely to dispute the assertion. There exists a piece of collateral evidence which would move it back into the fifteenth century. That evidence is the now well-known “Corpus Christi” carol, still current, like the ballad, in oral tradition, and of which the oldest extant text was...

  28. 32 KING HENRY
    (pp. 94-95)

    Mrs. Brown of Falkland is again the sole preserver of this offshoot of Arthurian romance. Her tune has been saved in two manuscripts, the “Abbotsford” manuscript of Scottish songs in Scott’s library, and William Tytler’s manuscript at Aldourie Castle, long mislaid but lately recovered, of which a photostatic copy is now on deposit in the National Library of Scotland. Of the latter a careful copy had been made by the antiquary Joseph Ritson, who borrowed it for the purpose in the early 1790’s. Cf. the headnote to Child No. 5, for more on this transcript.

    It should be noted here...

  29. 34 KEMPION
    (pp. 96-96)

    Again Mrs. Brown is our only authority for a tune. The words of the first stanza are not written under the notes in the manuscript, and Robert Scott’s* inexpert notation leaves one uncertain of the time-values of theagrémentsor graces of Mrs. Brown’s singing. Instead of borrowing from the end of the previous bar for his upbeats at the beginning of a phrase, Scott sometimes writes a grace-note before the first beat, and sometimes an eighth note. In the face of uncertainty, it seems best to follow the manuscript reading here, since otherwise the reading is clear. The striking...

  30. 37 THOMAS RYMER
    (pp. 97-98)

    The single tune which has been preserved in two variants for this ballad may well be, as Scott calls it, “ancient.” Scott, or his musical editor, writes as if a modern tune was also current in his day; but, if so, it has not been recorded, any more than recent texts that might accompany it. The tune which has survived is a member of a large family, in use with a number of ballads and songs in the south of England as well as the north, many of them very beautiful, and flowering in quite diverse ways both melodically and...

  31. 39 TAM LIN
    (pp. 99-102)

    This fine ballad has made infrequent appearances since Robert Burns sent his copy to theScots Musical Museum,and seldom to the same tune. That is what we should expect, when a ballad rises to view at rare intervals; and in the present case the rule holds for at least a century after Burns. But in our own century a kinship between lately recovered Scottish variants and one recollected by Elinor Wylie (vt. 4 in the complete edition) from the singing of a nurse (“from the northern marshes”—presumably English) has emerged which is hard to gainsay, yet was certainly...

  32. 40 THE QUEEN OF ELFAN’S NOURICE
    (pp. 103-103)

    William Walker supplied both Greig and Child with copies of the only surviving tune for this ballad, which he had learned from his mother. His note in the manuscript copy is: “Perhaps an improvised adaptation of a pibroch tune.” He does not seem to have sent the words. The only text found in the Greig MSS. for the ballad is the one printed by Child from the Skene MSS. (early nineteenth century). Greig and Keith,Last Leaves,do not print this ballad.

    Another text was discovered in Wisconsin, with a stanzaic pattern that could not have been sung to the...

  33. 41 HIND ETIN
    (pp. 104-106)

    Many Continental texts of this ballad have survived, three Danish records as early as the sixteenth century. The rest are all of the nineteenth century; yet Child states that “the Norse forms of ‘Agnes and the Merman’ are conceded to have been derived from Germany”; and that the German ballad is some what nearer to the English—i.e. Scottish. The two surviving tunes have little in common except the last phrase, but perhaps that suffices to link them. Both come from the northeast of Scotland. Greig’s tune (vt. 2) has kinship with several other Child ballads: Motherwell’s “Lady Jean” (No....

  34. 42 CLERK COLVILL
    (pp. 107-108)

    It is disappointing in the extreme that a fine ballad like “Clerk Colvill,” whose analogues for upwards of four hundred years have covered the face of Europe from Iceland to Brittany, Spain, and Italy, and from Scotland to Bohemia, should yield, in the British musical record, but one solitary tune—and that through a cloudy glass. For it is again to Mrs. Brown and her nephew that we must resort; and this time they put us to no little trouble to divine a meaning. There are four copies (not to mention Spalding’s reading in Child’s Appendix) of Robert Scott’s record...

  35. 43 THE BROOMFIELD HILL
    (pp. 109-113)

    There is no evidence to connect this song with any early song-title or burden mentioning the broom in lyrical fashion, as the “Brume, brume on hill” ofThe Complaynt of Scotland,c. 1549, and Wager’s “The Longer thou Livest, the More Fool thou art,” c. 1568, or “All flowers in brome” in W. Ballet’s Lute Book, c. 1600. Setting aside poems and tales on the theme, some of which were recorded as far back as the twelfth century, there are Scandinavian, German, and Italian ballads, Danish copies of the mid-seventeenth century being the earliest that have survived. So far as...

  36. 44 THE TWA MAGICIANS
    (pp. 114-115)

    Only two British texts of this interesting ballad appear to have been recorded, although it is claimed to be extant in recent memory both in Ireland and in northern Maine (cf. Barry, Eckstorm, and Smyth,British Ballads from Maine,1929, p. 444). One of the texts is Scottish, of the first quarter of the last century; the other is English, found at Minehead in 1904. Although at first glance very different, it can, I believe, be demonstrated to fair conviction that the English text is remade from the Scottish. (Cf. the full edition of the present work, I, pp. 348-49.)...

  37. 45 KING JOHN AND THE BISHOP
    (pp. 116-119)

    The stuff of this ballad, as Child’s introduction makes very clear, is out of the storehouse of tradition. On the other hand, Child’s parallels—an impressive array—are almost wholly drawn fromtalesboth popular and literary. The earlier we get in the English records, the less does the ballad resemble traditional verse. Neither is there any later traditional form which I have seen that has shaken clear of its broadside associations. Here, then, we have a ballad that may have started its career, as a ballad, in close connection with writing, and that was refashioned and reprinted for broadside...

  38. 46 CAPTAIN WEDDERBURN’S COURTSHIP
    (pp. 120-123)

    For the theme of this ballad Child has cited ancient parallels in European and Eastern folk-tales. It is not clear, however, that any other people has made a song of it; and there is nothing to prove that the British ballad is very old. If it is so, it must have been thoroughly overhauled in quite modern times. Even in the earliest texts (Scottish, of the later eighteenth century), the talk of livery-men and butlers’ bells ringing supper has certainly a very incongruous sound mixed with the lady’s primitive riddling conditions. In view of the proven antiquity of these riddles...

  39. 46 APPENDIX RIDDLE SONG
    (pp. 124-126)

    One of the oldest songs in the language, this still keeps a strong hold on life. The earliest text of it that has come down is of about the same date as the earliest text of the first ballad in Child’s canon—that is, of the mid-fifteenth century. In this earliest shape, the song lacks all extraneous circumstance, either of narrative frame (except the bare suggestion in “my sister sent me from oversea,” &c.) or of refrain or burden. It is in long couplets, metrically so free and easy as to prove that their stress depended on the music which...

  40. 47 PROUD LADY MARGARET
    (pp. 127-128)

    Child this ballad appears not to have wandered often beyond the Scottish boundaries. Reed Smith announced it, by title only, as found in America, but his copy is not discovered. No American tune is as yet on the record.

    The three extant tunes are of dates approximately fifty years apart, and seem to have no relation to one another. The first sounds as if drawn out of eighteenth-century hymnody, in keeping with the moralizing tone of the ballad as we have it. On the other hand, this may be no more than a pious influence acting on folk material. Such...

  41. 49 THE TWO BROTHERS
    (pp. 129-133)

    This Scottish ballad was not known to the world until the beginning of the nineteenth century. It disappeared from Scot land for about a century, but has latterly reappeared in a number of melodically related variants there; and abundant copies have been found in America, along the Eastern Seaboard both South and North, in the Appalachians, and as far West as the Ozarks.

    The American variants show clear marks of family relationship wherever they have been collected, although they are by no means always close variants. Rhythmically, a slight preference is shown for triple measure, but usually compound, as 6/8,...

  42. 51 LIZIE WAN
    (pp. 134-135)

    This ballad, which might have been supposed to have died a hundred and fifty years ago, has surprisingly been recovered in late copies on both sides of the Atlantic. The theme is one not much affected in the last century. But the music gives evidence of a continuous and unbroken tradition, which would seem to indicate that where this ballad has been learned it has neither made a vague impression nor become confused. On the contrary, it may be much more generally known than appears from the record, and kept close from casual collectors—strangers at best.

    There appears to...

  43. 52 THE KING’S DOCHTER LADY JEAN
    (pp. 136-137)

    This is another ballad of which only a Scottish tradition is known. It is a little hard to see why Child did not rank it as a version of his No. 50 (“The Bonny Hind”), for it shows no more divergence from that ballad than do the versions of a number of others which he has united, e.g., “Lady Isabel” (4), “Leesome Brand” (15).

    Three of the seven recorded tunes were collected by Greig at the beginning of the present century, and another related Scottish variant quite recently. Surprisingly, an American version, perhaps a little too literary and reminiscent of...

  44. 53 YOUNG BEICHAN
    (pp. 138-150)

    This ballad, whatever its earlier history may have been, has enjoyed in the last century, and apparently still enjoys, a popularity as great as almost any ballad in the record. It is a popularity which has been frequently fortified in its verbal text by the broadside press; but the remarkably wide spread of a vigorous and consistent musical tradition proves with equal clarity that there has been no interruption in oral transmission. For access to a printed tune can only have been possible in very recent years, and then hardly among the class of singers from whom ninety-nine per cent...

  45. 54 THE CHERRY-TREE CAROL
    (pp. 151-153)

    The musical tradition of this charming and deservedly popular carol, or religious ballad, does not begin to appear in the record until about the beginning of the nineteenth century. From then on, it has been continuous, and, apart from a few anomalies, fairly consistent.

    The core of the musical tradition appears to be a rhythmical pattern basically as follows:

    It seems altogether probable that all the variants in the central tradition originally belonged to this type, and that those in duple rhythm are alterations of it. To the same metrical (and melodic) pattern belongs the old favorite, “Love will find...

  46. 55 THE CARNAL AND THE CRANE
    (pp. 154-155)

    The record for the singing tradition of this religious carol is meager. Only three tunes seem to have been collected, two of one type and one of another, all three between the years 1892 and 1912. The tunes from the West of England are plagal Æ/D.

    Carol-tunes have been handed about and borrowed indiscriminately for different texts as freely as almost any others. Or it might be better to say that carols can scarcely be claimed to possess any proper tunes of their own. Nothing is clearer than the fact that, as they have been sung in the last century...

  47. 56 DIVES AND LAZARUS
    (pp. 156-158)

    As Child’s note informs us, something on the order of this ballad was in print in early Elizabethan times, and seventy-five years later was still matter for common allusion as “the merry ballad of Diverus and Lazarus.” No early text survived, how ever, and Child had to resort to nineteenth-century reprintings of eighteenth-century broadsides for his copy. Unfortunately, the ballad also failed to give its name to a tune persisting with other texts.

    Nevertheless, the melodies traditionally associated with the ballad in recent times belong to a family which is very wide-spread indeed, and demonstrably ancient. The members of it...

  48. 58 SIR PATRICK SPENS
    (pp. 159-161)

    Child failed to find sufficient evidence to convince him of the “historicity” of this very celebrated ballad, and none has since been produced to tip the scales decisively in either direction. Its own recorded history begins with Percy’s preparations for theReliques.It was one of the group of admirable ballads transmitted to him from Scotland, presumably by Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, clearly a man with a remarkable nose for excellence. (SeeThe Percy Letters,Vol. IV, edited by A. F, Falconer, 1954, pp. 48, 50.) The ballad belongs to the Scots alone, and has come to America without...

  49. 61 SIR CAWLINE
    (pp. 162-163)

    This ballad, based on materials common to medieval romance, and preserved in a fairly full but yet fragmentary form in the Percy Folio, has been demonstrably current in Scottish oral tradition within the past two centuries. The two Scottish copies were not regarded as of equal authenticity, either with each other, or with the Folio copy: Child thought Buchan’s an obvious manufacture (“We may doubt whether [it] was ever sung or said”), and thought Mrs. Harris’s “most likely . . . put together by some one who was imperfectly acquainted with the copy in the Reliques” (Child, II, p. 61)...

  50. 62 FAIR ANNIE
    (pp. 164-165)

    This ballad, running back into the mists through Scandinavian and German analogues, does not appear in the Scottish record until the second half of the eighteenth century. As Child points out, the story—a story is not a ballad, though where there is a story there may be a ballad—is told by Marie de France before the year 1200, in theLai del Freisne.From Scotland the ballad appears not to have traveled South, but it has been brought West and is found both in New England and in the Southern mountains.

    All the tunes which we have are...

  51. 63 CHILD WATERS
    (pp. 166-168)

    This beautiful and moving ballad, which Child was willing to give preeminence over all other ballads in any language, appears to have maintained its popular favor, at least in Scotland, well into the nineteenth century, and has been lately found in North Carolina and Arkansas. There is a gap of over a century between the oldest text and the next. Mrs. Brown’s tune, unfortunately, was not recorded, although her text was taken down more than once. The two Scottish tunes, nearly a hundred years apart, seem to have but the most tenuous relationship, if any; and the Arkansas tune is...

  52. 64 FAIR JANET
    (pp. 169-170)

    The tune of Child’s A was preserved, along with the text, from the singing of an old woman in Perthshire. It appears to have been printed for the first time by G. F. Graham, in hisSongs of Scotland(1848-49, I, p. 92), and has been reprinted thence a number of times. The leading-note at the opening of the fourth phrase may be editorial, in which case the tune, although lacking its fourth, would show strong Mixolydian inclinations. The triple time seems to have been heard by the earlier collectors far more frequently than of late....

  53. 65 LADY MAISRY
    (pp. 171-173)

    The English records of the last fifty years present the most consistent picture of a melodic tradition for “Lady Maisry.” Nevertheless, they cover a wide modal ambit (from major to Æolian), and carry echoes of familiar songs—“The Sprig of Thyme,” “The Bailiff’s Daughter,” “The Wife of Usher’s Well”—and carol-tunes. They prefer the authentic range, with a favorite mid-cadence on the dominant, and first-phrase cadence on the tonic. All are in duple time.

    In contrast, the two earliest records, which are Scottish, are unrelated to each other and to the English or American tunes, but agree in a somewhat...

  54. 68 YOUNG HUNTING
    (pp. 174-178)

    This Scottish ballad, if it ever had any currency in England, seems to have left no trace there, but to have passed directly to America, where it has enjoyed a great vogue in our own century—at least in the Appalachians.

    The musical tradition, for which evidence remains from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as well as from recent dates, is perplexed and hard to make out. The records tend to fall into small groups of obviously related tunes, individual members of which strongly suggest, in one way or another, a connection with other groups. Thus it is...

  55. 69 CLERK SAUNDERS
    (pp. 179-180)

    The few tunes that have been saved for this admirable ballad are Scottish, and seem all to have been recorded while it still had a fairly vigorous currency; and although they have marked differences, are clearly all of the same rise. The rhythmic pat tern is characteristically and the melodic contour tends to the A B B A type, with the A’s concave and the B’s convex; that is, down-up and up-down. No two agree in the middle cadence; none agree in modality. The Motherwell tune is most artfully contrived in the way it handles the second and fourth phrases....

  56. 73 LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ELEANOR
    (pp. 181-188)

    The recent popularity of this ballad is attested by the very large number of variants that have been recorded—probably, after “Barbara Allen,” the largest number for any ballad in the canon. It is regrettable that the evidence is almost entirely modern, for we might otherwise have found in this abundance a most useful opportunity to study modal and rhythmic change. But very few of the tunes were set down even as early as the first part of the last century, and they are shared in common by other songs than our ballad. The music confirms the impression gained from...

  57. 74 FAIR MARGARET AND SWEET WILLIAM
    (pp. 189-192)

    The record of this ballad’s existence in a form approximating what we know is carried back as far as 1611 by the chance quotation of a few lines inThe Knight of the Burning Pestle.The first full texts, however, are on broadsides of the latter end of the seventeenth century. In one form or another, the ballad has been common since that time. It was lifted into literary prominence early in the eighteenth century by being “rewritten,” as Child says, “in what used to be called an elegant style”; and in such a form was long attributed to David...

  58. 75 LORD LOVEL
    (pp. 193-196)

    No light is thrown upon the beginnings of this too too insipid ballad by the musical tradition. Its great popularity for at least a hundred years is powerful testimony to the life-giving energy of a memorable tune. For the narrative is of the slightest, and there is no sign in any known version that it has lost much in its passage. The textual tradition is, like the melodic one, unusually compact and consistent. But it is impossible to believe that there is enough nutriment in the story alone to win friends on every hand. Though it dallies with the innocence...

  59. 76 THE LASS OF ROCH ROYAL
    (pp. 197-199)

    “The Lass of Roch Royal” must have been circulating freely before the middle of the eighteenth century, because Child’s A-text, from a manuscript of the second quarter of that century, is in a state obviously disordered by traditional transmission. Of the early music of the ballad we know nothing. The tune published in theScots Musical Museumin 1787 does not inspire confidence in its authenticity, although—perhapsjaute de mieux—it has been frequently reprinted. According to Stenhouse’s note it is a “very ancient Gallowegian melody”—a statement which has no support from MS. or print, so far as...

  60. 77 SWEET WILLIAM’S GHOST
    (pp. 200-202)

    For this apparently old and—in some of its variants—movingly beautiful ballad, no clear musical tradition can be delineated. The melodic records are few and, except for a handful of Newfoundland variants, distant from one another. Mrs. Harris’s tune, which presumably goes back in Perthshire tradition to the middle of the eighteenth century, has every appearance of authenticity, and is certainly to be preferred to the often reprinted tune in theScots Musical Museum.The latter has already appeared with “Fair Margaret and Sweet William,” No. 74, but there also without an assured right.

    The Newfoundland tunes of Group...

  61. 78 THE UNQUIET GRAVE
    (pp. 203-205)

    None of the extant texts of this ballad is older than the early nineteenth century. In view, however, of the stanza with which, in its many variants, it nearly always commences, there is a special interest in a moralizing carol of about the end of the fifteenth century which has a similar opening formula, and which we may reasonably conjecture to have been based on some secular folk-song. The carol remained unprinted until 1935, when R. L. Greene gave it (without citing the parallel) in hisEarly English Carols,p. 127 (No. 170) from Ashmole MS. 1379, p. 32. It...

  62. 79 THE WIFE OF USHER’S WELL
    (pp. 206-209)

    This admirable ballad has had a widespread currency in recent tradition in the Appalachian region. I am unable to trace the dominant melodic tradition (Group C) back into the nineteenth century, or back across the Atlantic ocean. The ballad appears to have all but died out in Scotland and England, and, so far as I know, has not been recorded in Ireland. The one musical record which antedates the opening of the present century—a Scottish variant (vt. I) printed in 1833—has no perceptible relation with later records; nor have the two recorded English variants (vt. 3) (themselves representing...

  63. 81 LITTLE MUSGRAVE AND LADY BARNARD
    (pp. 210-215)

    This ballad is one of those quoted in Beaumont and Fletcher’sKnight of the Burning Pestle(c. 1611), and it was entered in the Stationers’ Register in 1630. The Gosson broadside printed by Child is little later, the Percy Folio text is of about the same date, and the A-text is of 1658. There has also survived a Scottish text earlier than any of these in the Panmure MS., as yet unprinted.* None of these early texts, so far as I have learned, either preserves or names a tune. They are in ordinary ballad-quatrains, single or double, and without refrain;...

  64. 83 CHILD MAURICE
    (pp. 216-220)

    “Child [or Gil] Morice” received a large share of the literary limelight about the middle of the eighteenth century, when Home’s tragedy,Douglas,based on the ballad, made northern patriots ask, “Whaur’s yer Wully Shakespere noo?” The ballad was also the foundation of a now forgotten poem, “Owen of Carron,” by John Langhorne. Thomas Gray, without losing his head over its literary progeny, or his admiration for Shake speare, thought the ballad “divine.” What text he had secured to make him so exclaim is not clear; but it may most easily have been one or other of the two printed...

  65. 84 BONNY BARBARA ALLAN
    (pp. 221-228)

    This little song of a spineless lover who gives up the ghost with out a struggle, and of his spirited beloved who repents too late, has paradoxically shown a stronger will-to-live than perhaps any other ballad in the canon. It is still universally known. By one of those odd cycles of history, even as our first knowledge of its existence comes from Pepys’ happy record of hearing an actress sing it (January 2, 1666), so in our own day it has again been brought back to the stage and has acquired a fresh vogue in the singing—unco strange to...

  66. 85 GEORGE COLLINS (LADY ALICE)
    (pp. 229-231)

    So far as the music of this little song is concerned, the variants are all relatively close to one another and all stay within the ambit of π¹, the pentatonic lacking its fourth and seventh. This comprises the Lydian, Ionian, and Mixolydian modes and hexatonic forms lying between. The favored cluster-point for our ballad is probably the hexatonic pattern lacking the seventh, in the plagal range. It is an odd fact of probably little significance that in roughly a quarter of the total number of variants recorded the sixth is also lacking. This lack does not affect the modality. The...

  67. 86 YOUNG BENJIE
    (pp. 232-233)

    This ballad has not been found in tradition for the last century, so far as I am aware, and never outside Scotland, although the superstition it commemorates can hardly have been confined to that country.*

    Only once has a tune been recorded with the ballad, but that tune seems to have had some currency in Scott’s time, for it has been noted with several other ballads: Mrs. Brown’s “King Henry” (No. 32), Christie’s “Love Robbie” (No. 97), and Kinloch’s “Geordie” (No. 209). The last case is interesting, because the melodic tradition of “Geordie” is quite stable, and the present tune...

  68. 88 YOUNG JOHNSTONE
    (pp. 234-236)

    Apart from textual reprints, this ballad seems to have faded from traditional hearing after Motherwell’s day for about a century. The tune that he preserved was printed again by Robert Chambers in 1844, but has not since been found in tradition. David Herd’stext(1769 and 1776) was repeated by Joseph Ritson in 1794, without a tune. The tune was supplied in a reprint of Ritson in 1869 by the editor, “J-A.” (? Joseph Anderson), but again with Herd's text, and without traditional authority. It has not again been found with this ballad; but Greig and Duncan found it sung...

  69. 92 APPENDIX THE LOWLANDS OF HOLLAND
    (pp. 237-239)

    The lyric lament with which “Bonny Bee Horn” opens is a commonplace of popular poetry. Lacking a stable narrative core, it passes from ballad to ballad like the similarly floating stanzas about shoeing the foot and gloving the hand. (Cf. No. 76.) Properly, however, it occurs after, not before the tragedy; and we may regard the reverse order here as less primitive. The change, however, entails further modification in order to resuscitate the narrative: hence the device of overhearing, which makes possible a new farewell with the giving of magic gifts. (We recall that a new scene was made possible...

  70. 93 LAMKIN
    (pp. 240-244)

    Miss Gilchrist, in a valuable study of this ballad (JEFDSS, I, No. 1 [1932], pp. 1-17), distinguishes between two traditions, the Scottish and the Northumbrian. The Scottish, she believes, has been carried into the Appalachians, and the Northumbrian has circulated in England and been brought to the northern parts of America. Both kinds are habitually in triple-time; but she believes the Scottish tradition favours the gapped scales, and the English the heptatonic. If so, the difference would be what we should expect to find. Herd’s text is directed to be sung to the tune of “Gil Morrice” (1776, 1, p....

  71. 95 THE MAID FREED FROM THE GALLOWS
    (pp. 245-249)

    This ballad has been greatly loved in many parts of the world. It seems justifiable to make a broad division between two great groups on the basis of scene, although probably the second is but a decapitated form of the first. Along the Mediterranean coast and around the Baltic the ballad has been current in a form in which pirates or sea-marauders carry off a girl who appeals in vain for ransom to the various members of her family in turn, and finally to her lover with success. In the second group the maritime elements are absent. A prisoner, condemned...

  72. 99 JOHNIE SCOT
    (pp. 250-252)

    This agreeable piece of Scottish self-congratulation has for the most part naturally been resident north of the border, though it has found its way, in congenial company, to American shores. There is no need to consider the ballad, as we have it, to be much older than the eighteenth century. Sharpe called attention to a story attaching the incident of the swordplay to an actual person of Charles II’s day, and Child, who reports a similar story from Brittany perhaps centuries earlier, seems to think that that in turn may be based on something earlier still. Oral tradition, of course,...

  73. 100 WILLIE O WINSBURY
    (pp. 253-255)

    Child leaves us guessing as to his opinion of the antiquity of this ballad when, as his sole comment upon the question, he writes, “It was hardly an English (or Scots) ballad-maker of the sixteenth century that made this ballad.” (Child, II, p. 399.) Whoever invented it, it would seem peculiarly the stuff of sentimental old wives’ daydreams, and, though far from silly sooth, easily appropriated by free maids and knitters in the sun. But we learn that it is even today one of the best loved songs of Newfoundland, and it seems to have been sung with as great...

  74. 105 THE BAILIFF’S DAUGHTER OF ISLINGTON
    (pp. 256-259)

    The musical tradition of this greatly loved ballad has not suffered any sharp breaks, to judge by the extant records. Compared one with another, the tune-variants might appear very unlike; but there is a distinct family resemblance about the group as a whole, in the general layout and rhythmical character of all but one of the variants noted, which permits their being classed together. There are also relationships with “The Gypsy Laddie” (No. 200) and with the so-called “Lazarus” pattern (cf. No. 56). ,

    Chappell found the earliest record of the ballad’s tune inThe Jovial Crew(1731), where it...

  75. 106 THE FAMOUS FLOWER OF SERVING-MEN
    (pp. 260-263)

    Child appears to regard all extant copies of the text of this ballad (i.e., to the end of the last century) as deriving ultimately, either through oral channels or print, from the Restoration broadsides. The latter, modified more or less, appeared in various publications (e.g.A Collection of Old Ballads, 1723, Percy’sReliques, 1765,Ritson’s Select Collection of English Songs,1783, Kinloch’sAncient Scottish Ballads,1827), in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Child felt that the connection between this ballad and the analogous Scandinavian “Maid and the Stable Boy” was tenuous at best, though he thought that the...

  76. 110 THE KNIGHT AND THE SHEPHERD’S DAUGHTER
    (pp. 264-267)

    It is a valuable indication of the need to be sceptical about texts recited or printed without their tunes that, of Child’s texts, A-L, only A, H, K, and L—that is, one-third—have any hint of refrain; whileeverycopy collectedwithits tune has strong elements of refrain, ranging from a repeated last line to interlaced refrain and burden. The favorite pattern is a four-phrase tune; but the fifth phrase frequently extends beyond the normal four-pulse length and tends to become two phrases; and in several variants has become a four-phrase chorus or burden. A solitary instance occurs...

  77. 112 THE BAFFLED KNIGHT
    (pp. 268-270)

    From the days of the troubadours this gay song appears to have remained a favorite. It has been made over again and again by the broadside men—and others—following the manner of the day. But successive refurbishings have not entirely absorbed the old, and a variety of tunes has survived in the record. Those current in the seventeenth century seem to have been tossed aside in the eighteenth, although the earliest is probably only semi-popular in its printed form, and may have been known in a simpler guise. By the end of the seventeenth century another pattern had been...

  78. 113 THE GREAT SILKIE OF SULE SKERRY
    (pp. 271-271)

    Child owed the belated recovery of this extraordinary ballad to his friend and co-worker, William Macmath, who spotted it in theProceedingsof the Scottish Society of Antiquaries for 1852. A correspondent of Karl Blind (Contemporary Review,XL [1881], p. 404) quoted a stanza that appears below (5), and in the same form. The ballad was awkwardly introduced as the last item in Child’s second volume, in order to clear the way for the group of woodland ballads that fills the first half of Volume III. Child remarks that it properly belongs after No. 40, among the ballads of shape-changers...

  79. 114 JOHNIE COCK
    (pp. 272-274)

    Although Percy received a copy (Child A) of this very fine ballad in 1780, he did not introduce it into the fourth edition of theReliques,and it was left for Scott to publish it for the first time. Scott published a conflated text and it is significant that his version has no refrain line. Scott was not interested in it as song. Nothing could be more distinct than the consistent refrain-pattern in the musical tradition. Only two copies lack a repetition of the fourth line of each quatrain as refrain, and both of these seem to have been inexactly...

  80. 120 ROBIN HOOD’S DEATH
    (pp. 275-276)

    For the Percy Folio text of this ballad, Child A, there is no trace of a refrain, nor any clue to the proper tune, by name or note. Child Ba, nearly a century and a half later (1786), is directed to be sung to the tune of “Robin Hood’s last farewel, etc.” There is no extant Robin Hood ballad that bears this title, and no tune has survived with the text; so that we are still in the dark. Child Ba has a refrain interpolated as the second and last lines of the stanza: “Down a down a down a...

  81. 125 ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN
    (pp. 277-278)

    The earliest copies of this ballad which are now extant are of the eighteenth century, although Thackeray’s press is known to have printed it, late in the seventeenth, and doubtless it derives from early materials. The indicated tune is “Arthur a Bland,” for which see the next ballad (No. 126).

    Child has argued that the present ballad is that which must have been meant in references to “Robin Hood and the Stranger,” to which “Robin Hood and the Tanner,” “Robin Hood and the Beggar,” “Robin Hood and the Bishop” (Nos. 126, 133, and 143) are all directed to be sung....

  82. 126 ROBIN HOOD AND THE TANNER
    (pp. 279-282)

    All the early broadsides of this ballad are directed to be sung to “Robin and the Stranger.” If, by that title, “Robin Hood and Little John” (No. 125) be meant, as Child argues, the tune indicated is “Arthur a Bland,” which can only be the present ballad! If, as Ritson judged, No. 128, or “Robin Hood newly revived” be intended, the tune indicated is only “a delightful new tune.” In any case, and by any name, the characteristic refrain line coming after line one, and the internal rhyme in line three of each stanza, relate it to the group of...

  83. 132 THE BOLD PEDLAR AND ROBIN HOOD
    (pp. 283-286)

    This ballad was regarded by Child as a traditional variation of “Robin Hood Revived” (No. 128). I confess, this seems to me a very hasty assertion. The names Young Gamwell and Gamble Gold may be allowed a resemblance, especially if some version of the earlier ballad gave Gamwell the epithet ofbold; and the two men’s reasons for leaving home (murder), and their relation to Robin Hood (cousins) are alike. But with this the parallel concludes. Child himself finds more stanzas reminiscent of No. 136. The conduct of the present narrative is as far from that of No. 128 as...

  84. 139 ROBIN HOOD’S PROGRESS TO NOTTINGHAM
    (pp. 287-287)

    The tune indicated for this ballad in all copies that mention a tune is “Bold Robin Hood.” The stanzaic pattern is uncommon, but it occurs in Nos. 141, 147, and 153, in recent copies of 144, and in a MS. copy of 110 as well.

    The ballad must have been popular, as it has contributed a tune’s name for both No. 147 (i.e., “Robin Hood was a tall young man”) and No. 153 (“Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters”). Child is less careful than usual when he says that “Robin Hood and Queen katherine” (145) may be the ballad meant...

  85. 140 ROBIN HOOD RESCUING THREE SQUIRES
    (pp. 288-289)

    This ballad has had a vogue which is not yet quite extinct. All the copies found are in CM, without refrain. There are many eighteenth-century printings of a text, but no tune has been recorded as of so early a date. Ritson, in 1795, noted the fact that his friend Edward Williams, a Welsh bard, had told him that the song was well known in South Wales by the name ofMarchog glas(“Green Knight”), but nobody (I believe) has captured a copy, either text or tune. Rimbault remarks (Gutch,Robin Hood,1847, II, p. 439) of Child’s C type...

  86. 141 ROBIN HOOD RESCUING WILL STUDY
    (pp. 290-291)

    This ballad has the same stanza-pattern in the early copies as that of No. 139, q.v. The tune indication, however, is “Robin Hood and Queen Katherine” (No. 145). None of the three types of the latter ballad would sing to a tune that would carry the present text as it stands, and the direction would seem to be a reckless one. Rimbault’s mating of the ballad to the “Three Ravens” tune (Gutch,Robin Hood,1847, II, p. 435) is there fore equally ill-considered.

    This is one of three Robin Hood ballads that was recovered from Martha Davis’s grandmother in 1882,...

  87. 144 ROBIN HOOD AND THE BISHOP OF HEREFORD
    (pp. 292-293)

    The early copies of this ballad have neither refrain nor tune name. They are all in CM. Luckily, the ballad has survived in tradition. Four records of a tune are known. The first was printed by Rimbault (Gutch,Robin Hood,1847, II, p. 441) from a broadside printed for Daniel Wright, and later by Chappell (Popular Music[1855-59], II, p. 395), presumably from the same broadside (early eighteenth century?) with insignificant differences. The next was printed by Moffat and Kidson, 1901, p. 143, from a British Museum half-sheet engraved by T. Straight, c. 1780. It is the same tune, with...

  88. 155 SIR HUGH, OR, THE JEW’S DAUGHTER
    (pp. 294-298)

    The connection of this ballad with the legend of Hugh of Lincoln seems deep-rooted and genuine, but the main tradition of the ballad nevertheless appears to be Scottish, passing thence to Ireland and the U.S.A.

    Of Child’s twenty-one variants, the only one with a refrain (a repeated last line) is that from Motherwell’s Appendix, which alone has a tune. Among the variants with tunes—Scots, Irish, Nova Scotian, and U.S.—refrains of some kind occur more often than not.

    The unsuitable rainy opening occurs in the earliest text to reach print, Percy’s in 1765 (Child B): and again in Child’s...

  89. 156 QUEEN ELEANOR’S CONFESSION
    (pp. 299-300)

    This ballad first appeared in broadsides of the last quarter of the seventeenth century, “to a pleasant new tune.” It was included in the collection of 1723 and in Percy’sReliques,1765 and all subsequent editions. The oral circulation of it in Scotland seems to have followed in the wake of theReliques.Child thinks that print lies behind all his recited copies; but that oral currency may be presumed behind the earliest printed copies. Such an assumption is very plausible: it is just the little roughnesses of narrative, arising from oral transmission, that Percy was usually at pains to...

  90. 157 GUDE WALLACE
    (pp. 301-302)

    References in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries inform us that there were wandering ballads on the subject of Wallace in early days (cf. Child, 1882-98, III, p. 266). But there is no evidence that the present ballad has its roots in any of these. Judging by the close correspondence of the versions which Child has assembled, the subject took a new and late start, an Child asserts that Blind Harry’sWallaceis “clearly” the parent of this second crop. Child’s G and H, which add a second episode out of the same original, are, as he says, “plainly a late...

  91. 161 THE BATTLE OF OTTERBURN
    (pp. 303-304)

    The Battle of Otterburn, fought (probably) August 19, 1338, was a Scottish victory. Child declares that “it would be against the nature of things that there should not have been a ballad as early as 1400” on the event (1882-98, III, p. 293). Allusions inThe Complaynt of Scotland,1549, indicate that a Scottish ballad on the subject was current in the sixteenth century. The earliest surviving text, however, is of about 1550; and its narrative is from the English point of view. It is likely, Child thinks, to have been modernized from an early predecessor. But this, too, would...

  92. 162 THE HUNTING OF THE CHEVIOT
    (pp. 305-307)

    It was this ballad, rather than the preceding, which, Child thinks, evoked the familiar praise of Sir Philip Sidney. Since Sidney called it only “the olde song of Percy and Duglas,” it could, as Child admits, have been either; Child gives his vote for the present ballad on grounds of superior merit alone. Our earliest text is the one written down about the middle of the sixteenth century by Richard Sheale, a minstrel from Tamworth. Child supposes that Sidney knew a much older form of it than this, for reasons which I cannot follow. Sheale’s version, he writes, “if heard...

  93. 163 THE BATTLE OF HARLAW
    (pp. 308-310)

    The dependable singing tradition of this ballad is confined to the last century and the present, and, as is natural, is narrowly circumscribed in locality. The musical records are surprisingly close to one another; the chief variation lying in the elaboration of the refrain or burden, which varies from one to four phrases in length, but always comes at the end of the stanza and makes play with kindred vocables. The textual record, as we have it, is also confined to the last two centuries.

    There is, however, evidence enough that the Scots have long sung about this battle, which...

  94. 164 KING HENRY FIFTH’S CONQUEST OF FRANCE
    (pp. 311-311)

    The musical record for this ballad is fuller than one might have expected, and fairly continuous for the last century and a quarter. The earliest variants are Scottish, of the early nineteenth century; those of the mid-century belong to England; and the latest are from New England.

    All these belong to the same family, and are of a fairly common type. All except the American versions have an end refrain of one phrase.

    This group of tunes is so steeped in the common stuff of British folk-melody that it is very difficult to follow it back with any assurance. It...

  95. 167 SIR ANDREW BARTON
    (pp. 312-314)

    In accordance with the chances of tradition, which include refashioning into print and out of it again, and willful alteration by individuals as well as unconscious change, the life history of this ballad cannot justly be separated from that of its avatar, “Henry Martin” (No. 250). The present division is made only out of deference to Child’s example and for the sake of consistency of method.

    Apparently “Sir Andrew Barton” was already a very popular song in the sixteenth century; and this favor it retained, as many broadsides remain to testify, throughout the seventeenth, and well into the eighteenth, century....

  96. 169 JOHNIE ARMSTRONG
    (pp. 315-317)

    Whether or no “Ihonne Ermistrangis dance,” mentioned inThe Complaynt of Scotland,1549, had anything to do with the extant tune, no musical record has survived with this ballad which is not probably related to a single tune-family. The first record of a tune, called ‘Good night and God be with you,” appears in the Skene MS., No. 109, transcribed in Dauney,Ancient Scotish Melodies,1838, No. 16, p. 222. All our melodic records with clear textual connections are early nineteenth-century Scottish ones. The tune exists under a variety of later names. Cf. Stenhouse,The Scots Musical Museum,1853, IV,...

  97. 170 THE DEATH OF QUEEN JANE
    (pp. 318-319)

    All the tunes of this ballad are comparatively recent—so, indeed, are the texts as well—and all are closely related. Nearly all are in genuinely triple rhythm. The earliest record, full of accidentals, is that of Kinloch, 1827. Gilchrist has recovered one that goes back to c. 1845; and R. W. Gordon has recorded a version that can be traced to Ireland, c. 1880. The rest are later, and come from Devon, Somerset, and Dorset; and from Kentucky and Virginia. It should be observed that three of the Appalachian variants are in common time; but this would appear to...

  98. 173 MARY HAMILTON
    (pp. 320-322)

    This poignant ballad, whenever it arose, has been greatly favored in the last century and a half, particularly, of course, among the Scots and singers with Scottish connections.

    There are about a dozen and a half apparently independent records of a tune, of which perhaps half form a single close group (D), late in the records, the others appearing to be distinct and usually separate. It is a little odd that whereas all the verbal texts are in CM, three of the oldest musical records are in LM. Two of these unfortunately lack words; but the third shows that the...

  99. 178 CAPTAIN CAR, OR, EDOM O GORDON
    (pp. 323-324)

    Of this fine ballad, three tunes, all of the second half of the last century, have been recorded from tradition. There is, how ever, an older claimant for the place of honor: the Elizabethan tune supposed to be referred to inMuch Adoas the “sick tune” (III. iv. 42). A ballad called “Sick, sick, &c.” was licensed to be printed on March 24, 1578; another ballad on an incident of 1578, to the tune of “Sicke and sicke,” is, as Chappell notes (Popular Music[1855-59], I, p. 226), in theHarleian Miscellany, X, p. 272. The latter is in...

  100. 181 THE BONNY EARL OF MURRAY
    (pp. 325-326)

    It is odd that Child did not note that this ballad appeared in the second edition of Thomson’sOrpheus Caledonius,1733, II, p. 8, an earlier date by seventeen years than that of the text he prints. It is the same text, except for variant spellings, and the readingsha’eforhavein lines 2 and 3, andyeforyouin line 2. Since Child says the song was not in the ninth edition of Ramsay’sTea-Table Miscellany,1733, it would appear that Thomson is to be credited with its first printing, both text and tune. He was followed,...

  101. 182 THE LAIRD O LOGIE
    (pp. 327-328)

    The three tunes on record that I have seen for this ballad appear to have no kinship, nor can one do much for them in the way of illustration. They are of approximately the same era. Two are in duple rhythm, the other in triple. Mrs. Harris’s is a four-phrase, Motherwell’s a six-phrase, and Christie’s, as usual in his handling, an eight-phrase, or two-strain, tune. All three are hexatonic, but of different modes.

    Mrs. Harris’s tune is transparently a variant of the “Hind Horn” family. But it is odd in its revelation of kinship to the old “Duke of Norfolk”...

  102. 185 DICK O THE COW
    (pp. 329-331)

    As Child notes, Ritson called attention to an allusion in Nashe’sHave with you to Saffren Walden, 1596, which would indicate that this ballad, or something like it, was known at that date: “Dick of the Cow, that mad demi-lance northren borderer, who plaied his prizes with the lord Jockey so bravely.” A reference in 1613 and another in 1688 make up the sum of surviving seventeenth-century allusion to Dick. No other occurs till the copy of the ballad sent to Percy in 1775, from which Child prints his copy a. A second copy, Child’s b, was printed by Caw...

  103. 187 Jock o the Side
    (pp. 332-334)

    That there was a song on this subject known familiarly before the end of the sixteenth century is proved, as has been noted by Hyder Rollins, by a ballad in Bodleian Rawlinson MS. Poet. 185, fols. 9-10, the date of which is not later than 1592. It is to be sung to the tune of “Hobbinole and Iohn A Side.” For the sake of the stanzaic pattern, the first stanza is here given. Cf., for the rest, Rollins,Old English Ballads,1920, pp. 325ff.

    Assist me now, you dolefull dames,

    sing hevely now my ioyes do weare,

    Sound forth your...

  104. 188 ARCHIE O CAWFIELD
    (pp. 335-336)

    The first tune to be published for this ballad, which is perhaps arifacimento,or secondary form, of “Jock o the Side,” is Christie’s, which he got from his grandfather. It has resemblances to other Scottish songs, most notably, perhaps, to “The Beggar Laddie” (Child 280). Cf., e.g., Greig and Keith,Last Leaves,1925, pp. 228-29, especially if and 2; Christie, I, 1876, p. 100.

    The Maine editors, in a very interesting note, show that the ballad must have been brought over to this country as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century, and that it was re-modelled to...

  105. 191 HUGHIE GRAME
    (pp. 337-339)

    Child says this ballad “is not so old as the middle of the six teenth century” (1882-98, IV, p. 9). The earliest broadsides, which are the first surviving records of it, belong to the last quarter of the seventeenth century, and are English, though with one or two traces of Scots about them (Child A, 9⁴: thou’st ner gang doun). Some of them are directed to go “to a pleasant new northern tune.” In 1720, D’Urfey published the broadside copy (Pills, 1719-20, VI, p. 289), directing it to be sung to “Chevy Chase,” but without giving the tune. The Chevy...

  106. 192 THE LOCHMABEN HARPER
    (pp. 340-341)

    This ballad, except for gradual dilapidation as the nineteenth century wore on, shows a marked degree of consistency, both text and music. The extant tradition extends from the end of the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century, but we lack a late tune because of the fact that Bell Robertson, though she learned her vast store of ballads from singers, could not or would not “unlock her silent throat” in song even when death approached.

    Child notes that the Stationers’ Register for 1564-65-66 has entries of ballads about a blind harper or harpers. Whether these had anything to...

  107. 193 THE DEATH OF PARCY REED
    (pp. 342-343)

    James Telfer sent Sir Walter Scott a copy of this ballad “exactly as it is sung by an old woman of the name of Cathrine Hall, living at Fairloans, in the remotest corner of Oxnam parish”: this was said in 1824. Telfer further remarked that the ballad had its own tune, “a very mournful air” (Child, 1882-98, IV, pp. 520-21), but obviously did not enclose it with the text, or there would have been no need to describe it. Kitty Hall's text was nowhere printed at the time, and when in 1844 a text was published by Richardson at Newcastle,...

  108. 196 THE FIRE OF FRENDRAUGHT
    (pp. 344-345)

    The incident which gave rise to this ballad occurred in 1630. In the Skene MS., which has been dated in the preceding decade, there is a tune called “Ladie Rothemayis Lilt.” Dauney supposes that this was the tune to which the ballad would have been sung, on the principle that tunes already associated with a family would be used by minstrels when celebrating that family’s history. Such a rule would be hard to prove, but nothing forbids its happening now and again. In the present case, one may admit that it would be easy to fit two quatrains (CM) to...

  109. 199 THE BONNIE HOUSE O AIRLIE
    (pp. 346-348)

    A tune for this ballad appeared in print almost as early as printed records of the text. The differences between later copies, whether printed or traditional, and this earliest recorded version are so slight as to indicate that oral tradition has never escaped control by one or other publication. The mode is I/M and authentic, usually with a plagal initial upbeat on the lower fifth. In two copies, the seventh slips in unobtrusively, and Christie has varied his second strain with a flattened seventh-editorial y, we may assume.

    Latterly, however, the earlier form has tended to be supplanted by a...

  110. 200 THE GYPSY LADDIE
    (pp. 349-355)

    This great favorite is one of those ballads which, if we had the re-ordering of Child’s canon, might well be moved forward into the first hundred. Its connection with history is even more precarious than that of “Sir Patrick Spens” (No. 58), and only less so than that of “King John and the Bishop” (No. 45). For the tradition which associates the ballad with the Earl of Cassilis has, as Child shows, not a shred of historical fact behind it. At any rate, the romantic theme of “All for Love, or the World well lost” is one to the perennial...

  111. 201 BESSY BELL AND MARY GRAY
    (pp. 356-357)

    The historico-legendary event that gave rise to this fragmentary song would appear to assign its earliest commencement to the year 1645 or ’46. But, as Child failed to observe, or thought not worth noting, there was a song with the title “Bessy Bell” in existence as early as 1629, in which year, on June 22, Martin Parker’s “Fourepence halfepenney Farthing,” to be sung to that tune, was licensed to Francis Grove (Pepys Ballads, I, f. 274; reprinted Hyder Rollins,A Pepysian Garland,1922, pp. 323ff.). An alternative tune named for Parker’s ballad is “A Health to Betty,” and it could...

  112. 203 THE BARON OF BRACKLEY
    (pp. 358-360)

    Of this excellent ballad, the records, verbal and musical, are rather scanty. It seems not to have achieved more than a regional currency; but at least we are spared the spectacle of dilapidation that too often discomfits us in these walks.

    The tunes which are preserved have little in common, but perhaps enough, in metre and melodic contour, to relate them to a single family. (Miss Gordon’s tune surely derives from Christie’s.) Christie’s tune dates, he says, from about 1816 in Buchan tradition, and was “arranged”—whatever that may mean—by his father. In this case, at least, it is...

  113. 204 JAMIE DOUGLAS
    (pp. 361-362)

    Child has reprinted as an appendix a broadside of late seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century date, called “Arthur’s Seat Shall Be My Bed, etc.,” or “Love in Despair.” This is obviously a piece cobbled for print out of scraps of traditional song and invented stanzas. The first two stanzas are untraditional and serve ill as a prologue. The third has still less to do with the narrative and shifts the rhyme-scheme to couplets. The fourth is the true commencement, and starts with the title line. The fifth departs again from the narrative and drops again into couplets. Its first two lines...

  114. 206 BOTHWELL BRIDGE
    (pp. 363-364)

    Of the four tunes extant for this ballad, two are authentic, π¹, and nearly alike. The other two are respectively π³ and Æolian; but the last gives such slight notice to the sixth as to be virtually D/Æ. The second strain, also, of the Æolian tune looks trumped up and artificial: the simpler π³ tune looks genuine. This second pair is also closely related.

    It is harder to decide whether the two pairs themselves have any kinship. If we reduce them all to the same metre, we are tempted to imagine the plagal form as a counterpart to the other...

  115. 208 LORD DERWENTWATER
    (pp. 365-366)

    One of the most interesting things about this ballad is its thoroughly popular tone, in view of its late date. It is made, of course, out of the stuff of earlier balladry, produced and recombined in the interests of a new hero, who was beheaded February 24, 1716. Tradition can be traced back to about the middle of the eighteenth century, or a very little earlier. Child’s ten variants show that the ballad had a good purchase on life in the first half of the nineteenth century, in Scotland and the north of England. Lately it has been found in...

  116. 209 GEORDIE
    (pp. 367-370)

    Like the textual tradition, the musical tradition for this ballad is confused and crossed between the Scottish and English forms. If we accept Burns’s text (Child A) as approximating the old norm of Scottish tradition, we find that norm accompanied by a series of variant tunes all belonging to a very familiar family best identified as the “Gypsy Laddie” (No. 200). Child’s headnote, in fact, makes passing reference to a casual and prob ably accidental connection between “Geordie”” and the Earl of Cassilis, a leading figure in the “Gypsy Laddie” tradition. At any rate, the Scottish tunes seem not to...

  117. 210 BONNIE JAMES CAMPBELL
    (pp. 371-371)

    The tune which has the best claim to traditional association with this poignantly beautiful elegy appeared with it about fifty years after the first extant (fragmentary) text. Where it came from one cannot say, or even whether R. A. Smith arbitrarily set it to the words. It has been reprinted in later collections so often that it is unlikely to be dislodged. The rhythm of the song is so powerful in any case as almost to compel its tunes, despite varying contours, into a mutual resemblance.

    The first tune is clearly related to other Scottish melodies, in particular “Todlen hame,”...

  118. 211 BEWICK AND GRAHAM
    (pp. 372-374)

    The single tune which has been preserved for this fine ballad comes apparently from Northumbrian tradition, and is printed only in Bruce and Stokoe, without information as to source. It is not among James Telfer’s tunes in manuscript. What makes one more confident that it was derived from tradition is the fact that whoever set it down (?Stokoe) had trouble in noting the time of bars two and four. As they are given, they look like an attempt to fit free singing into the strait jacket of regular barring. If these two bars are lengthened to 4/4, we should probably...

  119. 212 THE DUKE OF ATHOLE’S NURSE
    (pp. 375-376)

    For all these late romantic Scottish ballads which employ the favorite feminine ending in the second and fourth phrases, we are very likely to find the same two or three tunes being handed about in abundantly variant forms. The commonest, probably, are the “Binorie” type and the “Gypsy Laddie.”

    The A-group of the present ballad belongs to the first of these, the “Binorie” family. All the tunes properly belong in the Æolian camp; they are plagal, but the lower range reaches sometimes to the octave and sometimes to lower III, and hence they may alternatively be regarded as authentic tunes...

  120. 213 SIR JAMES THE ROSE
    (pp. 377-379)

    Of this rather tasteless ballad, not popular but popularized, and apparently much affected in Scotland, the melodic tradition is fairly consistent and perhaps basically one. With the exception of Christie’s first tune (Christie, I, 16), which he claims to be able to trace back traditionally for a century and a quarter, it is obvious that all the tunes were meant for texts that had a masculine rhyme at 2 and 4—that is, for the ballad generally attributed to Michael Bruce.

    The main line of the melodic tradition belongs in the D to Æ province, inclining uneasily in a few...

  121. 214 THE BRAES O YARROW
    (pp. 380-383)

    Although the textual tradition of this ballad cannot be followed very far into the eighteenth century, it seems clear that a ballad lay behind Hamilton of Bangor’s overwrought piece on the subject (“Busk ye, busk ye”); and the ramifications of the tunes which in one way or another are connected with the ballad are ancient and honorable.

    It will be well to begin with the steadiest and best established, even if most recent, tradition. This is that of the North-East of Scodand, where Greig and Duncan collected no less than twenty-two examples, of which Keith printed six. The tune is...

  122. 215 RARE WILLIE DROWNED IN YARROW, OR, THE WATER O GAMRIE
    (pp. 384-385)

    Keith has pertinently declared that there is no compelling need to identify the song of “Willie drowned in Yarrow” with the ballad of “Willie drowned in Gamrie” (Greig and Keith,Last Leaves,1925, p. 145). But I find myself not disposed to part company with Child on the point. If we add to the fact that there is no water of Gamrie (unless the sea) the further significant, almost total, absence of rhyme in the Gamrie forms of the ballad, we shall conclude, I believe, that Child was not taking a long shot. There is the connection in subject and...

  123. 216 THE MOTHER’S MALISON, OR, CLYDE’S WATER
    (pp. 386-387)

    Elements of this ballad are common to certain other ballads earlier in the canon, and have foreign analogues as well. The most prominent is “Annie of Lochryan” (No. 76), with which, however, it would be too fanciful to claim a connection in the melodic tradition.

    For the present ballad there is clearly but one melodic family, and no useful purpose is served by subscribing to Keith’s four. But the tune-type is, as he says, met in other associations: “The Gardener” (No. 219), “Lang Johnnie More” (251), “Pitcaithly’s Wells,” “There cam a Laddie frae the North,” “The False Lover Won Back”...

  124. 217 THE BROOM OF COWDENKNOWS
    (pp. 388-389)

    When this ballad first began to be recorded, in the second half of the eighteenth century, it had, apparently, no refrain or burden. Had it had the old familiar burden, “O the broom, the bonny bonny broom,” etc., it seems probable that the transcribers would have set that down. The first appearance of a refrain in a dependable text is that in Child D, which was taken down by Motherwell from singing. There the refrain is merely a fifth-line repeat with a syllabic bridge: still no burden. The burden first appears with the ballad in Child G (from Scott’s Minstrelsy),...

  125. 218 THE FALSE LOVER WON BACK
    (pp. 390-391)

    Greig showed that this pretty ballad, as both Child and Keith have called it, had a firm hold in his region, although Child had recovered but two texts. We might say it had ‘sprung from the ashes,’ to use Child’s phrase for “Henry Martin,” of the old and too cruel “Child Waters” (No. 63).

    The main melodic tradition is perhaps plagal major. Christie’s tune, which he derives from a Buchan singer about the opening of the nineteenth century, is a charming pentatonic. Greig’s first tune (our variant 2), mixed I/M, is recognizably close, although of course lacking Christie’s second strain....

  126. 219 THE GARDENER
    (pp. 392-393)

    This piece rests uneasily in Child’s collection. It is both too little of a ballad, generating virtually no story, and too sophisticated and fanciful in symbolism. It will perhaps do for a folksong which has been framed as situation. He says, “Be mine, fair maid.” She retorts, “Indeed not!” For narrative this is hardly better than the dramatic prologue of which Joseph Addison was said to have been so inordinately fond: “A certain king said to a beggar, ‘What hast to eat?’ ‘Beans,’ quoth the beggar. ‘Beans?’ quoth the king. ‘Yea, beans, I say,’ and so forthwith we straight begin...

  127. 221 KATHARINE JAFFRAY
    (pp. 394-397)

    This ballad, in late reshaping, whether Scots or Irish or English, has enjoyed a widespread popularity, for reasons not hard to guess. It has been found in our century in Aberdeen, Somerset (or Devon), County Connaught, Massachusetts (from County Tyrone), Vermont (from County Cork), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

    Phillips Barry has a valuable note on this ballad in connection with Irish tradition (Flanders,et al., The New Green Mountain Songster,1939. pp. 143-44). In it he calls attention to a tune in Petrie,The Complete Collection of Irish Music,1902-05, No. 544, “The fairy troop.” This is probably the...

  128. 222 BONNY BABY LIVINGSTON
    (pp. 398-399)

    Child’s A-text of this ballad is from Mrs. Brown, and she gave it in two variant forms. It is another example of the re-creative practice of a singer immersed in oral tradition. (Cf. “Mrs. Brown and the Ballad,”California FolkJore Quarterly,IV [1945], p. 129.) Child remarks: “. . . the fact seems to be that, at the time when she recited to Jamieson [i.e., her version 222 Ab, printed in Jamieson,Popular Ballads and Songs,1806, II, p. 135], she was not in good condition to remember accurately” (1882-98, IV, p. 231). But it is not a matter of...

  129. 223 EPPIE MORRIE
    (pp. 400-401)

    Ewan Maccoll alone has recorded a tune for this very spirited, if brutal, ballad of bride-stealing. He learned his tune from his father; the text has come mainly from Maidment by way of Child, with some help from Samuel Wylie of Falkirk. The tune is certainly embedded in the folk idiom, as witness the triadic alternation of the first two phrases between tonic minor and subtonic major. Compare the first strain of “The Piper of Dundee.” Partial analogues are not uncommon: compare again the Macmath version of “Trooper and Maid” (Child No. 299). In MacColl’s vigorous rendition, the melody does...

  130. 226 LIZIE LINDSAY
    (pp. 402-403)

    The most characteristic and familiar setting of this still favorite song is the one contributed by Robert Burns to theScots Musical Museum(variant I). It is a major tune in triple time, the second phrase of which—elsewhere the first also—takes off on a plagal up-beat. There is something of “Ewe-Buchts, Marion” in this tune: that is, it has well-established traditional connections. Some copies lack the fourth, some the fourth and seventh, but the variations are not wide.

    In the other branch of the melodic tradition for this song, represented by Christie and Greig, the mode is D/Æ...

  131. 227 BONNY LIZIE BAILLIE
    (pp. 404-404)

    This ballad appears not to have held its ground so well in tradition as others intrinsically no better. So far as I know, no new copies have appeared since Buchan’s day, and Christie did not include it in his collection.

    For our copy of an air, we are indebted to Burns and theMuseum(No. 456). But according to Glen,Early Scottish Melodies,1900, p. 201, the tune and six stanzas had earlier appeared in William Napier’sSelection of Scots Songs,1792, Vol. II. Technically, if the final be tonic, the mode is Dorian; but the tune has more Æolian...

  132. 228 GLASGOW PEGGIE
    (pp. 405-406)

    The center of the melodic tradition for this ballad appears to be an authentic Dorian tune. Christie establishes this tradition with his tune from Banffshire. In succeeding examples collected by Greig there is a slighter emphasis on III and VI, and III is entirely absent from several copies. Greig’s Crighton (c) tune (variant 12), although technically M/D, has much more of a major feeling. It has extended its range another degree upward, and its strong emphasis on a major triad anchored on the fourth degree would cause it to be classified as an I/M plagal tune, if there were no...

  133. 229 EARL CRAWFORD
    (pp. 407-408)

    Greig did not find this ballad, and it has left but a meager record. To the unique tune preserved by Christie, one may be added from the Blaikie MS., of unknown provenience. These are certainly related, though not very obviously. The Blaikie tune, although it lacks its fourth, is distinctly Mixolydian; the other lacks the Mixolydian note and is I/M. Blaikie’s tune lacks the repetition of the second half which appears to be indicated in Buchan’s text, as also in Christie’s.

    Christie’s note on this ballad contains an interesting generalization, which will go far to justify his editorial practice. He...

  134. 231 THE EARL OF ERROL
    (pp. 409-409)

    The melodic tradition for this ballad falls easily into three groups—if we admit the Blaikie tunes to the canon on the strength of the title “Kate Carnagie.” The first group has the strongest claim to be considered the proper tune, although it is found elsewhere as well, as Keith has noted (“Laird o’ Drum,” No. 236; “Lang Johnnie More,” No. 251; and “Maybe I’ll be married yet”). Here there is always a second strain or burden. Both Christie’s tunes are intrinsically (barediting) π¹ plagal.

    The Blaikie tunes are very much alike. Here there is question of the true...

  135. 232 RICHIE STORY
    (pp. 410-411)

    All the tunes recorded for this ballad are related. They are mainly authentic major, but may lack either the seventh or the fourth, and may extend their range downward to the plagal limit. To the same family belongs “Galla Water” (Scots Musical Museum,No. 125), for which we should expect earlier records, there being apparently none prior to that in Oswald’sCaledonian Pocket Companion,VIII [1756],* p. 28, according to Glen,Early Scottish Melodies,1900, p. 102. To the same melodic tradition seem likewise to belong “Ay wakin O” (cf. Johnson’sMuseum,Nos. 382, 213, etc.) and a tune, undeniably...

  136. 233 ANDREW LAMMIE
    (pp. 412-414)

    According to Jamieson,Popular Ballads and Songs,1806, I, p. 128, the music to which this ballad usually went “is of that class which, in Teviotdale, they term aNorthern Drawl; and a Perthshire set of it, but two notes lower than is commonly sung, is to be found in Johnson’s ScotsMusical Museum[i.e., No. 175], to the song ‘How Iang and drearie is the night, &c.’”

    If Jamieson is correct, the recent tradition, which, thanks to Greig, is fairly full for this ballad, is not of great age. The tune to which he refers does conform to the...

  137. 235 THE EARL OF ABOYNE
    (pp. 415-416)

    Three types of melody appear to have been used for this ballad. The best established is our A group, found in the Blaikie and Harris MSS. of the early nineteenth century, and recorded by Christie in the form used by his maternal grandmother. The tune is major in tonality, of duple rhythm, and usually has a full authentic octave plus the plagal range. We may sub-divide the copies into three classes, of I/Ly, Major, and I/M, the last being plagal and of more recent vintage. As Keith points out, the type is affiliated with “The Mill, Mill O,” printed many...

  138. 236 THE LAIRD O DRUM
    (pp. 417-419)

    The main melodic tradition of this favorite ballad-version of King Cophetua is a lively tune in duple time, authentic, and basically π¹ even where the gaps are supplied either as Ionian or as Mixolydian. Of this type Greig collected a dozen examples, and these are given added weight by Christie’s fancy copy.

    Another half-dozen tunes are impossible to group, and have been ordered on the hypothesis that they would have conformed to the type except for deflecting influences from other tunes. D departs from the strong duple rhythm, and is a plagal Mixolydian variant of the tune which the same...

  139. 237 THE DUKE OF GORDON’S DAUGHTER
    (pp. 420-422)

    Formally, this ballad is somewhat anomalous, possibly unique. Other ballads which have a feminine ending on lines one and three are clearly dactylic or anapaestic, and generally (I believe) go to triple-time tunes of twelve bars instead of the usual sixteen. The evidence of the variants seems to prove that basically the present ballad is metrically of the same kind, and should be read as six-stress couplets (or three-stress quatrains). But the melodic tradition is clearly one, and none of the variants is in triple time: all are duple, either 2/4 or 4/4. The verbal rhythm is thus treated as...

  140. 238 GLENLOGIE, OR, JEAN O BETHELNIE
    (pp. 423-423)

    The melodic tradition of this ballad is remarkably consistent. All the variants are of one tribe, all are in triple time, most are π¹, or all but pentatonic. The first accent is always the tonic; the first cadence-point (really the middle of the tune) almost always on the second; the second half, or long phrase, invariably swings down from the tonic to the lower octave and back, like a hammock. It is something of an offense to the music to cut its phrases in two in order to make arbitrary quatrain stanzas. Long rhymed couplets (the second line sometimes repeated)...

  141. 240 THE RANTIN LADDIE
    (pp. 424-426)

    So Far as a musical tradition exists for this ballad, it belongs to the familiar “Binorie” type. Copies are preserved in two favorite patterns, both known in other connections. One was sent by Burns to theScots Musical Museum,and later repeated in R. A. Smith. The other was collected by Greig at the beginning of our own century. All are D/Æ plagal, and in common time. Keith cites alsoMuseum,No. 320 (“The Cruel Mother”) as a relative.

    Very lately, Ewan MacColl has given us a fine Mixolydian tune, distinct from all others, as from his own family tradition.

    Johnson,...

  142. 241 THE BARON O LEYS
    (pp. 427-428)

    Perhaps the most striking feature in this surprisingly lighthearted song of plenary indulgence is the instant forgiveness by the Lady of Leys for her husband’s escapade. All Child’s copies except Kinloch’s (B) display this tolerance; a fact which prompts the suggestion that Kinloch’s punctuation at the crucial point mistakes the intention of the ballad. Instead of:

    But word’s gane down to the Lady o’ Leys

    That the Baron had got a babie:

    ‘The waurst o news!’ my lady she said,

    ‘I wish I had hame my laddie,’

    we should read:

    The waurst o news my lady she said,

    ‘I wish...

  143. 243 THE DÆXMON LOVER (THE HOUSE CARPENTER)
    (pp. 429-434)

    The earliest copies of this ballad are English broadsides of the Restoration period. They are directed to be sung to three alternative tunes, of which the first was probably that most closely associated with the ballad—though not originally, since the wife in question here was from Plymouth, not Bristol. The Pepys broadside, IV, f. 101, given as Child’s A (another is Pepys, I, f. 502), is “To a West-country tune called ‘The Fair Maid of Bristol,’ ‘Bateman,’ or ‘John True.’” Copies in Brit. Mus. c.22 f.6, fol.24, and Bodleian Douce Ballads, II, fol. 249, omit “Bateman.” Child cites others,...

  144. 245 YOUNG ALLAN
    (pp. 435-437)

    For this ballad four fairly distinct tunes, or tune-families, have been recorded. Christie’s tune, which he says he can trace back to eighteenth century tradition, is unique, so far as the record goes. The characteristic fourth phrase is found as the opening of other ballads: e.g., cf. Nos. 32 86, 97, 209 (Kinloch).

    The second type occurs in a dozen examples collected by Greig and Duncan. The tune is usually π³, authentic, but occasionally includes also the plagal range.

    It may be observed that the ship endowed with human intelligence and purpose, noted by Child as “by far the most...

  145. 248 THE GREY COCK, OR, SAW YOU MY FATHER?
    (pp. 438-441)

    The text of this ballad is in no very satisfactory state. As it stands in the first printed form, Herd’s of 1769, there are but four stanzas (one, four, six, and seven of the text printed by Child) and it can hardly be maintained that the three added in 1776 are a great improvement, or do more than bridge the most palpable gaps in the readiest way. We still do not guess why the lassie asks after her father or mother—unless to throw some one off the track, or to make the conventionalthree,the first two of which...

  146. 250 HENRY MARTYN
    (pp. 442-445)

    “The ballad,” Child remarks, “must have sprung from the ashes of ‘Andrew Barton,’ of which name Henry Martyn would be no extraordinary corruption” (1882-98, IV, p. 393).Mustis more thanmayto so cautious a scholar and the observation would at first glance seem tantamount to saying that No. 250 is a secondary form of No. 167. Nevertheless, it is obvious that he regarded them as distinct ballads, or he would not have given them separate places in the canon.

    On what grounds, however, is not at all easy to determine. We should be able to assume that in...

  147. 251 LANG JOHNNY MORE
    (pp. 446-448)

    All the variants of this simple piece of Scottish pride belong together. Nearly all are plagal π¹ , or virtually π¹, tunes in a quick duple rhythm with a refrain. The mid-cadence is usually on V, the first cadence on II. Two subtypes may be distinguished, according as the tune uses the full authentic plus plagal range, or only the plagal.

    Child calls attention to the close parallel between this ballad and “Johnie Scot” (No. 99). The present improves upon the other by transferring the physical advantage of the King’s champion, a fearsome “Talliant” (Italian), to the hero himself.

    The...

  148. 252 THE KITCHIE-BOY
    (pp. 449-449)

    The Brown copy of this ballad differs from the rest in its metrical scheme, being in tetrameter quatrains (LM) instead of “ballad-metre” (CM). Mrs. Brown’s tune has not survived, but presumably it would have been in a different line of tradition from those we have.

    Greig’s second tune once includes an unaccented Dorian sixth (variant 2). It is also authentic. Mrs. Harris’s tune for “Sweet William’s Ghost” (No. 77) is a near relation in a different metre.

    Greig MSS., IV, p. 90; text, Bk. 769, LIX, p. 5. Also in Greig and Keith, 1925, p. 207(2); text, p. 206(B). From...

  149. 267 THE HEIR OF LINNE
    (pp. 450-451)

    So far as a melodic tradition can be made out for this ballad, it seems to lie adjacent to the “Cowdenknowes” tunes. Christie’s tune, which he claims to follow back into the eighteenth century, is another one of those with ambiguous finals. The second half is doubtless Christie’s drawing-room variation of the first half. The range is implausible. If the final be tonic, the tune is a plagal π²; but the final might, if the “Cowdenknowes” pattern were more closely followed, be A: then possibly π³ authentic. Christie quite properly refers to “0 Mary turn awa” (Scots Musical Museum,No....

  150. 269 LADY DIAMOND
    (pp. 452-453)

    The melodic tradition for this ballad is probably single, though there is considerable variety in the four recorded tunes. It can not, however, be claimed that there is much individuality in any of them.

    Christie’s tune is a clear plagal I/M, built in the order of “Gypsy Laddie” (No. 200) in the first strain, and allied in its second strain to the “Valentine’s Day” tribe. It is to be compared especially with Greig’s second tune (variant 4 below), and with Christie’s tune for Child No. 270.

    Duncan’s tune (1 in Greig and Keith; here variant 3) is a π¹ tune,...

  151. 272 THE SUFFOLK MIRACLE
    (pp. 454-456)

    All the oldest broadsides of this ballad are directed to be sung to the tune of “My Bleeding Heart.” I have not identified a copy of this tune. To judge by its use with broadside ballads, it accommodated best the iambic tetrameter quatrain in couplet rhymes, and was most favored in the latter part of the seventeenth century. But it may be Elizabethan, for all that. The name, as noted by Rollins, PepysBallads,III, 1930, p. 21, comes from the first line of a broadside called, “A Warning to All Lewd Livers. . . . To the tune of...

  152. 273 KING EDWARD THE FOURTH AND A TANNER OF TAMWORTH
    (pp. 457-458)

    The earliest extant broadsides of this ballad name no tune, but speak of “an excellent new tune”—the usual meaningless formula. That there was a favorite tune associated with the ballad in Elizabeth’s day is clear from a passage quoted by Chappell (Popular Music[1855-59], H, p. 392) fromNoctes Templariae,in the Harleian MSS., dated (he says) 1599: “Poet Natazonius saluted him to the tune ofThe Tanner and the King”; but no tune has survived under that name.

    It is possibly worth noticing that the early texts show abundant substitution of dactyls for trochees—which could most easily...

  153. 274 OUR GOODMAN
    (pp. 459-462)

    The melodic stuff of this ballad is so fluid that it is difficult to handle. It keeps taking the shape of, or borrowing phrases from, other and more familiar tunes, most of them popular, but not ballad, tunes. Especially in the American variants, traces will be noted of “Uncle Ned,” “Susanna,” “Ain’t goin’ to rain no more,” “Polly-wolly-doodle,” “Son of a Gambolier,” “Jingle Bells,” “The Derby Ram.” Yet it hardly seems necessary to separate the variants into different families, or to regard them as belonging to truly unrelated traditions. The Scottish, English, Manx, Irish, and American copies appear to show...

  154. 275 GET UP AND BAR THE DOOR
    (pp. 463-463)

    It seems very odd that this ballad has acquired no traditional currency in England. It has been popular in Scotland and is known in various forms,jabliauor folk-tale, in many parts of Europe and the Near East. From Scotland it has been brought to the United States, probably before the present century. It has been collected north and south in this country, and as far west as the Ozarks and Oklahoma. At any rate, theMuseumseems to have been the primary agent of dissemination into popular currency.

    All the other known copies of a tune are easily recognizable...

  155. 276 THE FRIAR IN THE WELL
    (pp. 464-465)

    The seventeenth-century broadsides of this ballad designate the melody not by name but descriptively: “To a merry tune.”This is reassuring, but not of much help. Better service is rendered by the stanza-pattern and refrain, which are identical with that of “Sir Eglamore,” a song already met in connection with “Sir Lionel” (No. 18). The tune of “Sir Eglamore” was very popular in the later seventeenth century, and many texts were set to it. It is usually a plagal major.

    In Playford’sDancing Master,1651, and thereafter in successive editions till 1684, according to Chappell,Popular Music[1855-59], I) P-274, is...

  156. 277 THE WIFE WRAPT IN WETHER’S SKIN
    (pp. 466-470)

    It appears sensible to make several classes among our materials for this still living and lively ballad. The first two are Scots tradition; the last three English (and American). In nearly all cases the verbal refrain has remained steady enough to locate it in one or another melodic tradition—a laudable if uncommon virtue in refrains.

    Class A corresponds with Child’s A and B texts and appears to have died out, giving way in Scotland to the “Cooper of Fife” form with its highly characteristic refrain. It may be observed in passing that Child’s Ab (from Miss Agnes Macmath) belongs,...

  157. 278 THE FARMER’S CURST WIFE
    (pp. 471-477)

    Of the various styles of verbal refrain exhibited in the copies of this still favorite ballad, it does not appear that any demarcate a strong and separate musical tradition. The majority of variants are four-phrase tunes, with the second and fourth phrases carrying nonsense syllables. About a third of the total are five-phrase tunes, with refrains of the same style, extended to a fifth line. About one-seventh elaborate into six-phrase tunes, of which a majority have refrains on the second, fifth, and sixth phrases, and fewer on the third and sixth. About a quarter of the total, also, give over...

  158. 279 THE JOLLY BEGGAR
    (pp. 478-480)

    Child, curtly dismissing the attribution of this piece to James V of Scotland, refuses to decide whether its antecedents belong more properly to Scotland or to England. He notes the existence of a seventeenth-century English broadside, but remarks that the Scottish form, although it makes its first appearance a century later, is “far superior.” At any rate, clearly, the ballad, in one form or another, has been current for at least three hundred years, and has been well liked in England, Scotland, Ireland, and latterly in this country. The oral and printed traditions are im possible to disentangle, and especially...

  159. 279 APPENDIX THE GABERLUNYIE-MAN
    (pp. 481-483)

    Child has relegated this favorite song to an appendix of “The Jolly Beggar.” It is difficult to guess why. The melodic tradition of the two, at any rate, lends no support to this determination, and on grounds of metrical and stanzaic pattern, as well as of plot, there would seem to be better justification for making the present ballad No. 280, and reducing Child's 280 to a later redaction of “Gaberlunyie-Man.” Indeed, Child himself calls his 280 “a sort of ‘Gaberlunyie-Man’ with a romantic conclusion.”

    The present ballad has had a long life, both textual and melodic. The earlier melodic...

  160. 280 THE BEGGAR-LADDIE
    (pp. 484-485)

    This ballad, so far as the record shows, seems to have had a very limited circulation, almost entirely confined to the north east of Scotland. Neither can its tradition be followed back beyond the nineteenth century, though Christie says the air has been a great favorite, sung from “time immemorial.” In connection with the preceding ballad, it was suggested that the present one, a “romantic” “Gaberlunyie-Man,” from which one of its stanzas “is taken almost bodily,” as Child remarks (1882-98, V, p. 116), might better be considered a derivative or secondary form of the “Gaberlunyie-Man” than an independent piece.

    Nevertheless,...

  161. 281 THE KEACH IN THE CREEL
    (pp. 486-489)

    This ballad has lived mainly in Scodand, but has been found also in Northumbria, Ireland, and in the northeast of the U. S. and Canada. Considering its subject matter, and the early analogues infabliauxpointed out by Child’s infallible finger, it is rather odd that we have no fuller traditional record.

    The melodic tradition appears to be at least double, and exceptional variants in Scodand, Northumbria, and Ireland make one wonder about other branches. One type is comparatively steady, I/Ly or major, with a range confined within the octave from lower to upper mediant. The time is 2/4, and...

  162. 282 JOCK THE LEG AND THE MERRY MERCHANT
    (pp. 490-491)

    To borrow Child’s expression, used of “Henry Martin” (No. 250), this ballad “must have sprung from the ashes” of the Robin Hood cycle. It is at any rate a late northern avatar of a greener original, somewhat soiled by a touch of industrialism. Child dates it from the last half of the eighteenth century, and consigns it to the pack of Autolycus.

    With the exception of Christie’s somewhat fancy copy, Greig’s, Duncan's, and Ewan MacColl’s from Galloway are the only known examples of the melodic tradition. They fall into two fairly distinct groups, neither of which has much in common...

  163. 283 THE CRAFTY FARMER
    (pp. 492-496)

    In his concern with story, Child paid very little attention to metrical considerations; but these may be significant where one is tracing lines of traditional descent. It is of considerable importance to the melodic tradition of the present family of ballads that each of the three types mentioned by Child has a different metre, to which it has pretty faithfully clung.

    “The Crafty Farmer,” or “Saddle to Rags,” is in quatrains of three-stressed lines, basically dactylic or anapaestic, and with or without an end-refrain or burden. The first and third lines do not ordinarily rhyme. “The Farmer’s Daughter,” or “Maid...

  164. 284 JOHN DORY
    (pp. 497-498)

    The earliest copy of this ballad, both text and tune, is that in Thomas Ravenscroft’sDeuteromelia,1609, sig. B, No. 1. From that copy, apparently, all later versions derive. But Ravenscroft's version was extended into a three-part song, or “Freemans Song of 3 voices”; and it is consequently a question whether the phrases of the tune have not been modified for the purposes of harmonization, quite apart from being dislocated from the stanzaic arrangement.

    Ravenscroft’s tune, at any rate, appears to be a straightforward major, of a style very popular in Elizabeth’s day, however deep in the past its roots...

  165. 285 THE GEORGE ALOE AND THE SWEEPSTAKE
    (pp. 499-500)

    The early broadsides of this vigorous song are directed to be sung to “The Saylor’s Joy.” Child (after Ebsworth) notes that a ballad of that name was registered January 14, 1595; but neither ballad nor tune appears to have survived (Child, V, p. 133n)·

    There is no musical record of our ballad earlier than the pres ent century, wherein it has been collected on both sides of the Atlantic. Its most typical style is a plagal D/Ǽ tune, in duple time (6/3 or 4/4), with a characteristic refrain rhythmically consistent with the earliest copies, on the second and fourth phrases....

  166. 286 THE SWEET TRINITY (THE GOLDEN VANITY)
    (pp. 501-505)

    Judging by the number of copies secured in this century, the present ballad was never more vigorously alive than now. It appears more than likely that, with the possible exception of a few intrusions of other (usually recognizable) tunes, a single melodic idea governs the whole tradition. To be sure, this assertion is open to challenge; yet perhaps it will seem especially questionable rather to those who have most acquaintance with a song-literature protected from rough handling than to those familiar with such flotsam as the melodic stuff here collected. The rhythmic element is perhaps the most constant part of...

  167. 287 CAPTAIN WARD AND THE RAINBOW
    (pp. 506-507)

    This ballad has been a favorite of the broadside press, and the nineteenth-century collectors, Buchan, Kinloch, Baring-Gould, found it in traditional copies. But the melodic tradition is scat tered and thin, hardly convincing one that there is any real core. The tunes that have been collected have little in common, and remind one too much of other songs.

    The tunes collected by Baring-Gould and Vaughan Williams, in Devon and Norfolk, look, in spite of considerable difference outwardly, as if they had the same basic melodic idea in mind, and perhaps in this B group we come closest to a tradition...

  168. 288 THE YOUNG EARL OF ESSEX’S VICTORY OVER THE EMPEROR OF GERMANY
    (pp. 508-508)

    The only surviving tunes for this thoroughly English piece are two Scottish variants of the same melodic tribe. The one from the Blaikie MS. has not, I believe, been hitherto printed. It is a plagal Ǽolian tune, and a very fine one, making provision for an end-refrain of only one line. As it happens, our texts are either for a six-phrase tune or a four-phrase, not one with five phrases. Greig’s tune in its stanza-phrases is in duple time (4/4), but in its burden goes to 6/8; if the whole be reduced to 6/8 the resem blance with Blaikie’s tune...

  169. 289 THE MERMAID
    (pp. 509-511)

    The musical tradition of this still favorite ballad has been unusually constant and widespread in one of its two main branches. Sung to varieties of the same tune-type, the piece is known in Scotland, England, and in many parts of America. It is nearly always an authentic major, and the great majority of copies have mid-cadences on V, a first cadence on I. There is difference in the treatment of refrain or burden. A common style has a fifth phrase with the last line repeated, with a bridge leading into the repetition. Some copies then repeat the whole tune, slightly...

  170. 293 JOHN OF HAZELGREEN
    (pp. 512-513)

    The musical tradition—let alone the surprisingly widespread circulation—of this rather too literary piece is somewhat puzzling. There appear to be two distinct lines, and a number of unrelated separate tunes.

    The line which seems to have had least to do with print is a simple π¹ plagal four-phrase tune, not very interesting, but per haps worn down from richer materials analogous to the beautiful “Drowsy Sleeper” tradition (for which cf., e.g., Sharp and Karpeles, 1932,I, pp. 358ff.: “Awake, awake”). Kinloch’s (variant é below) is the earliest example of this, an I/M tune going to Child B. It is...

  171. 295 THE BROWN GIRL
    (pp. 514-516)

    This is a very interesting ballad for the student of melodic variation. Reckless though it seem, it hardly belies the homogeneity of musical feeling to set the whole assemblage in one large class; but the differences are none the less striking.

    The English and in part the New England tradition rather favors duple time; the Appalachian generally prefers a triple time, and allies the tune with the type associated with “Lord Randall” (No. 12) in this country, and also with “Lamkin” (No. 93). Yet it is impossible to make a significant differentiation on grounds of rhythm, and it has seemed...

  172. 299 TROOPER AND MAID
    (pp. 517-520)

    All the copies of a tune for this tale of careless love appear to be related. To judge by the extant variants, the center of musical tradition in the U. S. inclines to the Ǽolian mode, in the authentic range; that of Scots tradition a little earlier is plagal, and closer to the Dorian. But latterly in Scotland a cheerful major form, oftenest hexatonic and authentic, seems to have swept the field.

    The good earlier texts probably had a characteristic burden commensurate with the stanza. This has survived in Greig’s b, but appears to have tried the patience of many...

  173. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL LISTS
    (pp. 521-526)
  174. INDEX OF TUNES AND BALLADS QUOTED
    (pp. 527-530)