The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #11606   Message #2679861
Posted By: MartinRyan
14-Jul-09 - 08:33 AM
Thread Name: Lyr ADD/Origins: The Bard of Armagh
Subject: RE: Bard of Armagh
As mentioned in my earlier post and referenced in the link, this is the traditional account of the story. How true it may be is hard to judge in the absence of evidence about the origins of the song.

The tone just seems very literary - more so than the usual run of broadside ballad material IMHO. Yet I've not seen any other printed source - and I've seen lots of 19C. collections, primary and secondary. On the other hand, it doesn't sound like something that's been "in the mouths of the people" for generations - which tends to have a wearing effect, as we know! With the exception of the verse that drops in and out, the text seems very stable.

So what are its origins? I'll have a look in Hughes's books to see what, if anything, he says - but I may not have a chance for a few weeks at least.