Mudcat Café message #3515089 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #150417   Message #3515089
Posted By: Steve Gardham
14-May-13 - 04:14 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
Looking at the Suffolk version in Child Vol 5 p 304 it seems now quite possible that parts of Child 277 have been grafted onto The Slattern Wife quite early on in their evolution, possibly as early as the 18th century before they started to be noted down. This would explain the similarity of chorus and the first few stanzas in some American versions.

Just for the record, the original Slattern Wife came from a very long and crude broadside of the 17th century. It has nothing of the wether's or Morrel skin in it and consists of just a catalogue of the slattern wife's laziness in not sweeping the house, not milking the cows, dirty habits in making the cheese, and allowing the children to befoul themselves. BTW, the original is far worse than this in graphic detail.