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John Minear Lyr Req: Demon Lover in New England? (182* d) RE: Lyr Req: Demon Lover in New England? 13 Jan 12


Part VIII

There is one other version from the Northeast left to consider. It is the one published by Flanders from Edith Ballenger Price of Rhode Island, collected in 1945. Supposedly, she learned it " as a young girl from "a lady living in Massachusetts, whose forebears came from England." For the sake of this discussion I am going to reprint this version.

The Daemon Lover

"I've seven ships upon the sea,
Beaten with the finest gold,
And mariners to wait upon us;
All this she shall behold."

She set her foot unto the ship,
No mariners did she behold;
But the sail was o' the....
And the mast o' the beaten gold.

They hadna' sailed a league, a league,
A league but only one,
When she began to weep and to mourn
and to think on her little wee son.

"Now hold ye tears, my dearest dear;
Let all your weeping be:
For I'll show you how the lilies grow
On the banks of Italee.

They hadna' been a league, a league,
A league but only two,
When she beheld his cloven foot,
From his gay robe thrusting through.

They hadna' sailed a league, a league,
A league but only three,
When dark and fearsome grow his looks
And gurly grow the sea.

"Now hold your tears, my dearest dear,
Let all your weeping be
And I'll show ye how the white lilies grow
At the bottom o' the sea."

They hadna' sailed a league, a league,
A league but only four;
When the little wee ship ran 'round about
And never was seen more.

It is not hard to see how different this version is from everything else we have looked at! I have to say that I tend to agree with what Bryan Peters has said above about this version. He says that the transcription

"from Edith Price of Newport, RI, looks an awful lot like a collation from the two versions of the ballad in Motherwell's 'Minstrelsey'. If the singer did indeed give it the title 'Daemon Lover', that alone would be grounds for suspicion."

I have not gone back through all of Bronson but I think this is the only American version of this ballad to contain many of these unique characteristics. I would suggest that either it came over quite late in written form, or was appropriated directly in written form by somebody in Massachusetts. It seems suspicious to me as well. I would welcome some counter arguments. In the next post, I will put up Clinton Heylin's counter argument so you can see what he thinks about this text.


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