The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119745 Message #2600655
Posted By: Matthew Edwards
30-Mar-09 - 03:17 PM
Thread Name: Walk-on characters in songs.
Subject: RE: Walk-on characters in songs.
Pride of place should surely go to the legion of little footpages who had to spend their days running up and down the country telling their masters and mistresses that their loyal lovers were:-
a) dying of a broken heart
b) sleeping with Little Musgrave
c) being put to death by cruel parents
d) burning alive in their castles
or (e) all or most of the above.
These poor lads ran hard for their very lives; and where the bridges were broken down they had to take off their shoes and swim (which tells us a lot about the lamentable state of bridge construction in the Early Ballad Era).
None of these poor messengers are named beyond a credit such as "the sisters youngest son", but in the days before the internet the Ballad Country depended on these young men to carry the news from one end of the kingdom to the other in the space of a single stanza.
Let us salute these anonymous messengers whose stalwart achievements have enabled simple ballads to continue for many extra verses while the rest of us went to order more pints at the bar!