The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19415   Message #253611
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
07-Jul-00 - 03:38 PM
Thread Name: Penguin: Long Lankin
Subject: RE: Penguin: Long Lankin
False Lamkin is almost identical in text and melody to the version collected by Cecil Sharp on 11th. September 1911, from Yarrow Gill (aged 72) at Ely Union, Cambridgeshire, and most recently printed in The Crystal Spring (ed. Maud Karpeles, OUP paperback, 1987).  Lesley Nelson also has a version at her Child Ballad Website,  False Lamkin, which is again virtually identical, though she couples it with a different tune.  Did the "Cambridge Crofters" credit their source?

From the notes to the Penguin Book (1959):

"In Scots versions...the hero is a mason who builds a castle, is cheated of his payment, and makes a terrible retaliation.  In the English versions this idea is lost, and Lambkin, Longkin or Lankin is merely a lawless ruffian.  Yet he is no ordinary robber, for it is not booty that he is after, but revenge.  Is he perhaps a runaway serf with a grudge against his master?  Or is he, as has been suggested, a desperate leper seeking the old folk-cure of the blood of an innocent, caught in a silver bowl?  It is hard to guess the age of this ballad.  Bishop Percy printed a version from Kent in 1775, and in the following year Herd published a Scottish text.  The two versions differ in several details, and it is likely that the ballad was already old then.  The strongest Scots tradition names Balwearie Castle as the scene -and its building in 1464 as the occasion- of the crime.  Tradition is not evidence, but the song is probably based on a real event...Further versions will be found in the Folk Song Journal from Surrey (I, pp 212-3), and Hampshire (II, pp 111-12).  The ballad is studied in the Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society vol. I, pp 1-7."  -R.V.W/A.L.L.

This version was collected by Cecil Sharp, from Sister Emma, a nun, at Clewer, Berkshire, in 1909.

Child #93

@revenge @murder @deadbaby @death

Other versions on the DT:

Lamkin
Bo Lamkin
Young Alanthia.

There is a broadside version, including a fragment of staff notation, at the  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads,  printed between 1819 and 1844 by J. Pitts of Seven Dials, London:  Lambkin  (large image).

There is also an entry at the Traditional Ballad Index:  Lamkin

Malcolm