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Child Ballads: US Versions

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Steve Gardham 18 Feb 12 - 09:30 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 18 Feb 12 - 10:09 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Feb 12 - 05:24 PM
Richie 29 Feb 12 - 10:40 AM
Richie 29 Feb 12 - 10:48 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 Feb 12 - 02:41 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Feb 12 - 05:42 PM
Richie 29 Feb 12 - 09:45 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 01 Mar 12 - 03:23 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 01 Mar 12 - 03:30 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 12 - 01:01 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 12 - 01:31 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Mar 12 - 01:37 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Mar 12 - 04:18 PM
Richie 06 Mar 12 - 08:53 AM
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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 09:30 AM

Haven't got Barry but it might be repeated elsewhere. I'll check.
There's a version in JH Cox's FS from the South at p33 but not in his West Virginia book. Is the former what you're after? If that is so, it's your turn to post, Mick.

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 10:09 AM

I haven't heard any differently, so following Steve's suggestion, I'll assume these are the versions you wanted from Cox: Folk-Songs of the South.


(Child, NO.49)

Two variants have been found in West Virginia under the titles: "The Two Brothers" and "Little Willie" (reported by COX, XLV, 160). A, although more or less fragmentary and confused, is pretty clearly related to Child B. No proper names are given. In B there are the names John and Willie, days of the week mentioned, the references to stone-throwing and ball-playing, and the deliberate use of the knife. In all these there is a strong similarity to Child G. Some striking likenesses in language are also to be noticed.

For American texts see Child, I, 443 (Massachusetts, New York); Journal, XXVI, 361 (Pound; Nebraska by way of Missouri); XXIX, 158 (Tolman; Indiana); XXX, 294, Kittredge from Belden; Missouri); McGill, p.54 (Kentucky); Campbell and Sharp, No.11 (North Carolina, Virginia); Sharp American English Folk-Songs, 1st Series, p.8 (Kentucky); Pound, No.18 (Missouri by way of Washington); Journal of the Folk-Song Society, VI, 87; Belden's Missouri collection. For references see Journal, XXX, 293. Add Bulletin, Nos.7, 9, 10.


"The Two Brothers." Communicated by Professor Walter Barnes, Fairmont, Marion County, April, 1915; obtained from Mrs.Charles Snider, Spencer, Roane County.

There were two brothers in a foreign land,
Their lessons for to learn;
Said the elder brother to the younger brother,
"Dear brother, let us play ball."

"I am too little, I am too young,
Dear brother, please leave me alone."

He had a knife all by his side,
Which was both keen and sharp;
He ran it through his brother's breast,
Which bled him to the heart.

"Now take my shirt all off my back,
And rip it from gore to gore,
And bind it round my bleeding side."
But still it bled the more.

"Now take me all upon your back
And carry me to yon churchyard,
And there dig me a fine big grave,
Which is both deep and wide.

"And if my father should ask for me,
Dear brother, when you go home,
Tell him I'm at school with my playmates,
And early I'll be home.

"And if my mother should ask for me,
Dear brother, when you go home,
Tell her I'm at school in a foreign land,
And early I'll come home.

"And if my schoolmates should ask for me,
Dear brother, when you come go home,
Tell them I'm dead and in my grave,
As cold as any stone."


"Little Willie." Contributed by Mr.John B. Adkin, Branchland, Lincoln County, April 1, 1916.

Two little boys a-going to school,
Two little boys were they;
I've often wished myself with them,
Their playmates for to be,
Their playmates for to be.

On Monday morning they started to school,
On Saturday they returned,
A-combing back their olivewood locks,
To see their parents at home,
To see their parents at home.

"O Willie, can you toss the ball,
Or can you throw a stone?"
"I am too little, I am too young,
Pray, brother, O leave me alone."

John pulled out his long, keen knife,
It being both keen and sharp;
Between the long ribs and the short
He pierced it to his heart,
He pierced it to his heart.

He then pulled off his olivewood shirt
And tore it from gore to gore;
Although to wrap the bleeding wound,
But still it bled the more,
But still it bled the more.

"Pick me up, dear brother," said he,
"And lay me out so straight;
O pick me up, dear brother," said he,
"And lay me at the gate,
And lay me at the gate.

"If you meet mother on the way
And she seems uncearned, [1]
Just tell her I'm going to the old campground,
My prayer book there to learn,
My prayer book there to learn."

[1] For concerned

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 05:24 PM

Have you got the 4 versions in Flanders, Ancient Ballads Traditionally Sung in New England, Vol 1? Some of these are Edward hybrids and one is collected by Barry but in Vermont. The first version has a wonderful 27 stanzas. It's from George Edwards of Burlington, Vermont. The same version appeared in 'Ballads Migrant in New England'. This Barry version is also in Bulletin of the Folk Song Society of the North East Vol XI 1960.

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Richie
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 10:40 AM


Thanks for the versions. Haven't posted since the slowdown.

I'm on child 53, Young Beichan which is a monster. I have a couple English version not found on the web and have reproduced The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman w/illustrations here:

Young Bicham- Jamieson-Brown c.1783 Child A
Young Brechin- Glenriddell 1791; Child B
Young Bekie- Jamieson-Brown 1783 Child C
Young Beachen- Skene MS c.1802 Child D
Young Beichan and Susie Pye- 1806 Child E
Susan Pye and Lord Beichan- c.1817 Child F
Lord Beekin- Walker (Mt Pleasant) pre-1873 Child G
Lord Beichan and Susie Pye- Kinloch 1827 Child H
Young Bechin- Dodds (Haddington) c.1873 Child I
Young Beichan- Robertson c.1829 Child J
Lord Bechin- Dickson (Rentonhall) c.1873 Child K
The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman- 1839 Child L
Young Bondwell- Buchan MS c.1828; Child M
Susan Py, or Young Bichen's Garland- 1815 Child N
Earl Bichet- Greenwood (London) 1806 Child O

Lord Bateman- Withington (Edgmond) c. 1870s
Lord Beichan- (Aberdeenshire) 1876 Christie
Ye Loving Ballad of Lorde Bateman- Crawhall 1883
Lord Bateman- Holt (Alderhill) 1891 Kidson
Lord Bateman- Wray (Lincolnshire) 1904 Grainger B
Lord Bateman- Kidson (Two Melodies) pre-1904
Lord Bateman- Larcombe (Somerset) 1906 Sharp
Lord Bateman- Taylor (Lincolnshire) 1906 Grainger A

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Richie
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 10:48 AM


Here's the link to Dickens/Thackeray The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman w/illustrations:

I'm missing two English versions anyone have lyrics?

1.A copy in Rev. John Broadwood's 'Sussex Songs,' 1840, and reprinted in 'Sussex Songs,' Lucas and Weber."

2. One in 'Northumbrian Minstrelsy,' 1882, 'Lord Beichan.'

The tradtional US versions I have so far are here:

There are over 70, haven't counted them yet. Don't have Barry's Maine Ballads or Flanders, Ancient Ballads Traditionally Sung in New England.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 02:41 PM


Here's the version from the Minstrelsy. You can actually download a copy from In fact I used a djvu copy I'd downloaded from there to get the main text below; but as the ocr has inevitable errors I proofread it against my paper copy of the book.



Lord Beichan was a noble lord,
A noble lord of high degree;
He shipped himself on board a ship,
He longed strange countries for to see.

He sailed east, he sailed west,
Until he came to proud Turkey,
Where he was ta'en by a savage Moor,
Who handled him right cruellie.

For he viewed the fashions of that land,
Their way of worship viewed he;
But to Mahound or Termagant
Would Beichan never bend a knee.

So on each shoulder they've putten a bore,
In each bore they've putten a tye,
And they have made him trail the wine,
And spices on his fair bodie.

They've casten him in a donjon deep
Where he could neither hear nor see;
For seven long years they've kept him there,
Till he for hunger's like to dee.

And in his prison a tree there grew,
So stout and strong there grew a tree,
And unto it was Beichan chained,
Until his life was most weary.

This Turk he had one only daughter,
Fairer creature did eyes ne'er see;
And every day as she took the air,
Near Beichan's prison passed she.

And bonny, meek, and mild was she,
Tho' she was come of an ill kin;
And oft she sighed, she knew not why,
For him that lay the donjon in.

O! so it fell upon a day,
She heard young Beichan sadly sing;
And aye and ever in her ears,
The tones of hapless sorrow ring —

"My hounds they all go masterless,
My hawks they flee from tree to tree,
My younger brother will heir my land,
Fair England again I'll never see."

And all night long no rest she got,
Young Beichan's song for thinking on;
She's stown the keys from her father's head,
And to the prison strong is gone.

And she has ope'd the prison doors,
I wot she opened two or three,
Ere she could come young Beichan at —
He was locked up so curiouslie.

But when she came young Beichan before,
Sore wondered he that maid to see !
He took her for some fair captive —
"Fair ladye, I pray of what countrie?"

"Have you got houses? have you got land?
Or does Northumberland 'long to thee?
What would ye give to the fair young ladye
That out of prison would set you free?"

"I have got houses, I have got lands,
And half Northumberland 'longs to me —
I'll give them all to the ladye fair
That out of prison will set me free.

"Near London town I have a hall,
With other castles two or three;
I'll give them all to the ladye fair
That out of prison will set me free."

"Give me the troth of your right hand,
The troth of it give unto me,
That for seven years ye'll no lady wed,
Unless it be along with me."

"I'll give thee troth of my right hand,
The troth of it I'll freely gie,
That for seven years I'll stay unwed,
For kindness thou dost show to me."

And she has bribed the proud warder,
With golden store and white money,
She's gotten the keys of the prison strong,
And she has set young Beichan free.

She's gi'en him to eat the good spice cake,
She's gi'en him to drink the blood-red wine;
And every health she drank unto him —
"I wish, Lord Beichan, that you were mine;"
And she's bidden him sometimes think on her
That so kindly freed him out of pine.

She's broken a ring from off her finger,
And to Beichan half of it gave she:
"Keep it to mind you of that love
The lady bore that set you free."

O she took him to her father's harbour,
And a ship of fame to him gave she;
"Farewell, farewell to you, Lord Beichan,
Shall I e'er again you see ?

"Set your foot on the good ship board,
And haste ye back to your own countrie,
And before seven years have an end
Come back again, love, and marry me."

Now seven long years are gone and past,
And sore she longed her love to see,
For ever a voice within her breast
Said "Beichan has broken his vow to thee."
So she's set her foot on the good ship board,
And turned her back on her own countrie.

She sailed east, she sailed west,
Till to fair England's shore came she,
Where a bonnie shepherd she espied,
Feeding his sheep upon the lea.

"What news, what news, thou bonnie shepherd ?
What news hast thou to tell to me?"
"Such news I hear, ladye," he said,
"The like was never in this countrie.

"There is a wedding in yonder hall,
(I hear the sound of the minstrelsie),
But young Lord Beichan slights his bride
For love of one that's ayond the sea."

She's putten her hand in her pocket,
Gi'en him the gold and white monie —
"Here, take ye that, my bonnie boy,
For the good news thou tell'st to me."

When she came to Lord Beichan's gate
She tirled softly at the pin,
And ready was the proud warder
To open and let this ladye in.

When she came to Lord Beichan's castle,
So boldly she rang the bell —
"Who's there? who's there?" cried the proud porter,
"Who's there? unto me come tell?"

"O! is this Lord Beichan's castle?
Or is that noble lord within?"
"Yea, he's in the hall among them all,
And this is the day of his weddin'."

"And has he wed another love,
And has he clean forgotten me?"
And sighing, said that ladye gay:
"I wish I was in my own countrie."

And she has ta'en her gay gold ring,
That with her love she brake so free —
"Gie him that, ye proud porter,
And bid the bridegroom speak to me.

"Tell him to send me a slice of bread,
And a cup of blood-red wine,
And not to forget the fair young ladye
That did release him out of pine."

Away and away went the proud porter,
Away and away and away went he,
Until he came to Lord Beichan's presence,
Down he fell on his bended knee.
"What aileth thee, my proud porter,
Thou art so full of courtesie?"

"I have been porter at your gates,
Its thirty long years now, and three,
But there stands a ladye at them now
The like of her I ne'er did see.

"For on every finger she has a ring,
And on her mid-finger she has three,
And as much gay gold above her brow
As would an earldom buy to me;
And as much gay clothing round about her
As would buy all Northumberlea."

Its out then spak' the bride's mother —
Aye, and an angry woman was she —
"Ye might have excepted the bonnie bride,
And two or three of our companie."

"O hold your tongue, ye silly frow,
Of all your folly let me be,
She's ten times fairer than the bride
And all that's in your companie.

"She asks one sheave of my lord's white bread,
And a cup of his red, red wine;
And to remember the ladye's love
That kindly freed him out of pine."

Lord Beichan then in a passion flew,
And broke his sword in splinters three—
"O, well a day," did Beichan say,
"That I so soon should married be;
For it can be none but dear Saphia
That's crossed the deep for love of me."

And quickly hied he down the stair,
Of fifteen steps he made but three,
He's ta'en his bonnie love in his arms,
And kist and kist her tenderlie.

"O, have you taken another bride,
And have ye quite forgotten me,
And have ye quite forgotten one
That gave you life and libertie?"

She looked over her left shouther,
To hide the tears stood in her e'e —
"Now fare thee well, young Beichan," she says,
"I'll try to think no more on thee."

"O! never, never, my Saphia,
For surely this can never be,
Nor ever shall I wed but her
That's done and dreed so much for me."

Then out and spak' the forenoon bride —
"My lord, your love is changed soon;
At morning I am made your bride,
And another's choose ere it be noon!"

"O sorrow not, thou forenoon bride,
Our hearts could ne'er united be,
You must return to your own countrie,
A double dower I'll send with thee."

And up and spak' the young bride's mother,
Who never was heard to speak so free —
"And so you treat my only daughter,
Because Saphia has cross'd the sea."

"I own I made a bride of your daughter,
She ne'er a whit the worse can be,
She came to me with her horse and saddle,
She may go back in her coach and three."

He's ta'en Saphia by the white hand,
And gently led her up and down,
And aye as he kist her rosy lips,
"Ye're welcome, dear one, to your own."

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand,
And led her to yon fountain stane,
Her name he's changed from Saphia,
And he's called his bonny love Lady Jane.

Lord Beichan prepared another marriage,
And sang with heart so full of glee —
"I'll range no more in foreign countries,
Now since my love has crossed the sea."

There are several versions of this highly popular and apparently
ancient ballad in the works of Jamieson, Kinloch, Motherwell, &c,
and in the "Local Historian's Table Book,"vol. II., p. 20, New-
castle-upon-Tyne, 1842, the last being an English traditional version
communicated by Mr. J. H. Dixon, of Seaton Carew.
Jamieson suggests that the name of the hero should be not
"Beichan,"but "Buchan;" and another editor or annotator (Percy
Society Publications, No. 43) surmises "that the hero was one of
the ancient and noble border family of 'Bertram;'" whilst Mother-
well refers the ballad to an incident in the life of Gilbert, father of
the celebrated Thomas a Becket. In this opinion he is supported
by Professor Child, of Boston, U.S.A. There is also the popular song
of "Lord Bateman,"a ludicrously corrupt copy of this ballad, an
edition of which (in the Cockney vernacular, with comic illustrations
by George Cruickshanks, and notes of a burlesque character) was
published by Tilt, of London, many years ago, containing the air to
which the ballad was sung in the South of England — totally different
from the Northern melody, which is here given.

Source: Bruce & Stokoe: Northumbrian Minstrelsy, 1882.

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 05:42 PM

The burlesque version which seems to have dominated in England is derived from broadsides which in turn derived from the Cruikshank publication. Like many of the burlesques of serious traditional ballads the burlesque got back into oral tradition via the broadsides and so became serious again in some cases. Those that had been rendered in some comic dialect form remained comic ballads.

I collected a version of Lord Bateman which was half sung, half recited, which can be found on the British Library National Sound Archive website. It is pretty much verbatim the broadside.

If I get time over the next few days I'll post the Broadwood version and the Flanders ones, unless someone beats me to it.

I'm still without a scanner. My new computer doesn't recognise my Lexmark X1150 all-in-one.

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Richie
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 09:45 PM


Mick- I did look in the internet archive, maybe there's a different search engine for other parts of it. I'd like to find the original to see if I can copy the music.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 03:23 AM

I'll try and get the link for the Minstrelsy. In the meantime, the tunes are available in abc format from our own Jack Campin's site: Northumbrian Minstrelsy tunes. Lord Beichan in X:13.


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 03:30 AM


Here's a link for a copy of the Minstrelsy at A Collection of the Ballads.... (Searching for Northumbrian Minstrelsy didn't find it; I did an advanced search for Bruce Stokoe in the Creator field.)


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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 01:01 PM

The Broadwood one is quite easy. The note says 'The 1843 and 1889 versions contain only the first verse. The other 19 verses are taken from a Catnach broadside.'

No point in giving you the broadside verses as I'm sure they'll be on the Bodl or you'll already have them. Here's the first verse from Lewis Jones's 1995 reprint:

Lord Bateman he had a mind to travel
Into some foreign country;
Where he was taken and put in prison,
Till of his life he was quite weary.

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 01:31 PM

Flanders, 'Ancient Ballads' is the direct opposite of Broadwood. There are 22 pretty full versions. Sorry to bow out here but even with a scanner that's 60 pages. I think you'll have to pay a visit to the library. That's a shitload of versions.

Thanks for the printer advice by PM, Mick. I've emailed Lexmark for advice.

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 01:37 PM

I'm not sure about the mechanics and ethics of such things, but this thread is obviously going to run and run. The longer it gets the longer it takes to download, even on my much faster new computer. Anyone with a computer stuffed up like my old one might give up before they get to the bottom. Have you considered starting a new thread, Child Ballads: US Versions Part 2?

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 04:18 PM

Thanks to Mick's advice I now have my scanner back in operation.
You may already have some of the texts in Flanders. What I could do is send you a list of versions and sources then you could tell me which ones you haven't already got, rather than try to scan all 60 pages.

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Subject: RE: Child Ballads: US Versions
From: Richie
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 08:53 AM


The only Flanders text I have is Lord Bakeman- Kennison (Vermont) 1930 Flanders.

If you get rought text scanned you can email it to me and I'll fix it. I'll try to get a copy of the book too.

I'll start another thread today- please put additional there.



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