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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Moira Cameron Women's Song Circle II (11) RE: Women's Song Circle II 09 Oct 97

Have any of you heard Martin Carthy's version of the "Famous Flower of Serving Men"? It isn't about dressing as a man to go to war. It is his own elaboration of the Child Ballad fragment of the same name. A young woman's lover and baby are murdered by men sent by her mother. In her grief, she cuts her hair and changes her name and finds work as a serving man for the king. He is so enamored with her (as a man) that he makes her a personal assistant. One day, the king goes off hunting on his own, leaving the 'Famous Flower of Serving Men' to watch over the castle. During his hunt, he encounters a talking dove who reveals the truth about his beloved servant. He hurries home, intent on ending the cherade, marrying the woman, and exacting revenge--on her behalf--against the mother. The mother is found and burnt at the stake. I would write out the song for you, but it is incredibly long. If anyone is interested in more details, I'll be happy to oblige.

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