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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
John Minear Lyr Req: Demon Lover in New England? (182* d) RE: Lyr Req: Demon Lover in New England? 14 Jan 12


Part X

Now that we've got the versions from the U.S. in some kind of order, perhaps it would interesting to look at the two Canadian versions that we have in our "collection." One comes from Newfoundland, collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1961 from Mary Ann Galpin of Codroy, and the other one comes from Toronto, Ontario, from LaRena Clark, also 1961. She recorded her version on "LaRena Clark: A Canadian Garland," Topic 12T140.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about these two versions which they agree upon and which is different from all of our New England versions is that the woman ends her part of the story by committing suicide. Here is the verse in Clark's version:

She had not sailed on sea three weeks,
I'm sure not sailed on four,
Till overboard her fair body she threw,
And her weeping was heard no more.

And here is the Galpin version:

'Twas just a short time after that, I know,
This lady she was distracted and forlorn.
Then she soon ended her life into the sea
By jumping overboard at the height of the storm.

The Galpin version is quite developed in relation to all of our other versions and shows local reference and creativity and is in a more literary style. The story has been made "coherent" with an orderly beginning and end. The young wife of a ship's carpenter in England is seduced away from her family by a rogue from Newfoundland who promises her the good life back there. She goes with him but several days out on the return trip she begins to have major regrets. She weeps and then jumps overboard. Back in England, when the ship's carpenter learns what has happened, he "swore and tore his hair," and cursed all mariners and especially the sea captain who stole away his wife.

The Clark version is much closer to the oral traditions that underlie our New England editions. It begins with the "Well met," and ends with the curse verse. The "king's daughter" has become a "queen's daughter." And the seducer has "refused a crown of gold." There is the response about "If you could have married a queen's daughter, Then she should have married thee," which leaves out the "blame" part. He's going to take her "down where the grass grows green, On the banks of the River Dee." And she asks how he will "keep her from slavery?" In this version, the lady has "two pretty babes, for whom she weeps. While Clark's version has the overall structure of the broadside version, it has a lot of the tell-tale signs that we have been seeing before that are different from the broadside, and probably comes out of the same streams as many of the versions just over the border to south in NY, NH, VT, and ME.


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