The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161176   Message #3828170
Posted By: Richie
22-Dec-16 - 10:19 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Died for Love: Sources and variants
Subject: RE: Origins: Died for Love: Sources and variants

Thought I'd post my favorite version of "Love Has Brought Me To Despair," Laws P25. I've come to the conclusion that this and the other versions are based on, or similar to, a broadside that Ebsworth calls "Oxfordshire Tragedy." It's in two parts but the first part (The Constant Lady and false-hearted Squire; Being a Relation of a Knight's Daughter near Woodstock Town in Oxfordshire) has these opening stanzas:

Near Woodstock town in Oxfordshire,
as I walk'd forth to take the air,
To view the fields and meadowa round,
methought I heard a mournful sound. [This was included in the first ballad Steve emailed me)

Down by a crystal river side, a gallant Bower I espied,
Where a fair Lady made great moan, with many a bitter sigh and groan.

"Alas!" (quoth she), "my Love's unkind;
my sighs and tears he will not mind;
But he is cruel unto me,
which causes all my misery.

"My Father is a worthy Knight,
my Mother is a Lady bright;
And I their only child and heir:
yet Love has brought me to despair. [and also]

The Lady round the meadow run,
and gather'd flowers as they sprung;
Of every sort she there did pull,
until she got her apron full.

"Now there's a flower," she did say,
"is named Heart's-ease, night and day;
I wish I could that flower find,
for to ease my love-sick mind.

"But oh, alas! 'tis all in vain
for me to sigh and to complain;
There 's nothing that can ease my smart,
for his disdain will break my heart."

The green ground served as a bed, and flowers,
a pillow for her head;
She laid her down, and nothing spoke:
alas! for love her heart was broke.

* * * *

LOVE HAS BROUGHT ME TO DESPAIR (sung by Berzilla Wallin c.1963, my transcription)

My father he was a rich old jay
My mother she was a lady fair
And me a-bein' the only heir
So love has brought me to despair.

It's when I wore my long silk gown
He follered me from town to town
But now my apron just won't tie
He passes my door and he won't stop in

There is a street in yonders town
Where my true love walks up and down
He takes another girl on his knee,
And tells to her what he won't tell me,
He takes another girl on his knee,
Oh ain't awful grief to me

There is some flowers I've heard them say,
That' would cure false love both night and day
And of these flowers I did pull,
Until I got my apron full.

I gathered black, I gathered blue,
But none of these flowers could I find;
That would cure false love
Or ease my mind.

It's out of these leaves I made a bed
And out of the flowers a pillow for my head
It's down she lay and nary word spoke,
Until her achin' heart was broke,
And in green meadows 'round
I thought I heard some doleful sound.