Mudcat Café message #3835988 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161381   Message #3835988
Posted By: Steve Gardham
31-Jan-17 - 05:01 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love: Sources: PART II
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love: Sources: PART II
Looking at the 16th/17th century versions of 18829 I think an attempt should be made to separate 'Waly Waly' from 'The Unfortunate Swain'. In their earliest forms they only have 1 stanza in common and that is the 'leaned my back against an oak' stanza. The probability is that the English lament borrowed this from the Scottish but it could be the other way round.

The seminal 'Unfortunate Swain' seems to have been pieced together sometime in the middle of the 18th century. At least 4 of its stanzas come from 17th century ballads. The first 4 stanzas and the 9th are all aabb pattern and 5 to 8 are all abab. Whilst the narrator in printed versions can be male or female in roughly equal numbers the earliest seem to be the male narrator ones. In later versions as one would expect the order of stanzas starts to break down, and goes completely to pot in oral versions.

'The earliest 'Waly Waly' I have is 1727 Ramsay in 5 double quatrains. Orpheus Caledonius of 1733 with tune is in quatrains and has one quatrain different to Ramsay. 'Oh wherefore should I busk my head' is replaced by 'When cockle shells turn silver bells' stanza. Herd/Percy etc. follow Ramsay.

Before looking closer at oral versions where there are lots of hybrids can you add to these 16th/17th century versions?