Date: 21 Mar 22 - 09:35 AM
This is all very interesting.
I must admit to having some skepticism initially regarding John Reilly's well-known version of such a rare ballad.
I'm very pleased someone is studying this currently and summarising what is available.
That the ballad must have been extant in Scotland during the 18th century, whether in literary circles or oral tradition, must have been, as some literary hand decided to tag on the penance verses to the Cruel Mother, not found in purely English versions or the presumed original. It does seem possible that some of the ballad writers in Scotland (Scott for instance or Jamieson or Lord Hailes) would have had access to the Percy Manuscripts. They were certainly in touch with Percy.
I would be interested in your opinions once you have completed your study. Please pm me if you don't want to air your thoughts here.