The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #135672   Message #3098553
Posted By: GUEST,Shimrod
19-Feb-11 - 11:15 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Shepherd's Daughter
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Shepherd's Daughter
Here's my theory about this ballad:

Somewhere around the 15th/16th century the European royalty and nobility discovered the pastoral poetry of the Ancient Greek/Sicilian poet, Theocritus (c. 310 - 250 BC) - which was all about shepherds and shepherdesses poncing about in idealised rural landscapes.

Once the said royalty and noblity had discovered this stuff they developed a voracious appetite for 'nouveau-pastoral' poetry (Sir Philip Sidney, Spenser, Drayton, Shakespeare etc.) and even resorted to dressing up as shepherds and shepherdesses and poncing about in real, but idealised, rural landscapes. Sometimes, in an effort to create the idealised landscapes to ponce about in, they first drove the ordinary inhabitants out of them - probably using force if necessary.

Now of course, in those days, royalty and nobility didn't marry for love but in order to form alliances (they had mistresses and 'toy boys' for the romantic stuff).

So perhaps the 'Shepherd's Daughter' really was a Duke's daughter and said Duke wanted to form an alliance with Knight William's family - but KW was too dim and befuddled with drink to take the hint.

So the Duke says to his daughter: "Right, put on that 'Shepherdesses' outfit - you know, that outrageously revealing one that I usually forbid you to ponce about in - and go and wait for KW at the crossroads."

So, the 'Shepherd's Daughter' accosts the befuddled KW (he is on his way home from the tavern) and says: "Well, hello, big boy, what a big horse you've got!"

And you know the rest.