Mudcat Café message #3608433 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #153915   Message #3608433
Posted By: Richie
09-Mar-14 - 08:16 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 7
Subject: RE: Origins: Origins: US version Child Ballads Part 7
Here are two quotes by Motherwell and Child about Western Country:

Motherwell: A fuller set of this is given by Mr. Sharpe in his Ballad Book, taken from recitation ; but I have seen a printed stall copy as early as 1749, entitled "The Western Tragedy," which perfectly agrees with Mr. Sharpe's copy. I have also seen a later stall print, called "The Historical Ballad of May Culzean," to which is prefixed some local tradition that the lady there celebrated was of the family of Kennedy, and that her treacherous and murder-minting lover was an Ecclesiastick of the monastery of Maybole. In the parish of Ballantrae, on the sea coast, there is a frowning precipice pointed out to the traveller as "Fause Sir John's Loup." In the north country, at the Water of Ugie, I am informed by Mr. Buchan, there is a similar distinction claimed for some precipice there. The same gentleman has recovered other two ballads on a similar story—one called "The Water o' Wearie's well," and the other, from its burden, named "Aye as the gowans grow gay," in both of which the heroes appear to have belonged to the Elfin tribe.]

Child describes D in a footnote: "This ballad appears modern, from a great many expressions, but yet I am certain that it is old: the present copy came from the housekeeper at Methven." Note by Sharpe, in Laing's ed. of the Ballad Book, 1880, p. 130, xvii. Motherwell, in his Minstrelsy, p. lxx, n. 24, says that he had seen a stall ballad as early as 1749, entitled 'The Western Tragedy,' which perfectly agreed with Sharpe's copy. But in his Note-Book, p. 5 (about 1826-7), Motherwell says, "The best copy of May Colean with which I have met occurs in a stall copy printed about thirty years ago [should we then read 1799 instead of 1749?], under the title of 'The Western Tragedy.' I have subsequently seen a posterior reprint of this stall copy under this title, 'The Historical Ballad of May Collean.' In Mr. Sharpe's Ballad Book, the same copy, wanting only one stanza, is given."

Richie