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Abby Sale Murder Ballads in Squidoo (10) RE: Murder Ballads in Squidoo 12 May 08


Nice beginning. Good fun. I was pleased I got to sing a well-known one (well, only infanticide) on Mother's Day, "The Cruel Mother."

I'd recommend, if you haven't already considered it, Olive Woolley Burt's American Murder Ballads for when you start the scholarly part.

I guess it's usual to define such categories loosely in compilations - even in the most scholarly books. But I don't think of "Matty Groves" as really a murder ballad. You have a fair (or fair enough, considering) duel - Matty even gets choice of weapon and first blow.

As to the Lady, Bernard may only be sneering at her asking who she likes best now and is going to off her regardless of her answer. But I think of him as acting in his lordly capacity as judge, not just husband. He's (maybe) offering her a chance to show remorse and would (like modern judges) show leniency - even forgive her. But no, she figuratively spits in his eye and he executes the proper penalty for adultery.

No murder there - just two legal deaths. My humble opinion.


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