The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #43706   Message #3972251
Posted By: Steve Gardham
19-Jan-19 - 03:41 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req/Add: Brian O'Lynn & Tam o' the Linn
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Brian O'Lynn & Tam o' the Linn
Let's look at pre-1800. Please add any in I have missed.

I'm dismissing the 1630 Bassus reference as apart from the name 'tomlyn' the rest of the line bears no resemblance to a verse of our song. I'm assuming that 'Tomlyn' was a common name, the common surname 'Tomlinson' would imply this.

Complaynt of Scotland (1549) we only have a title 'Thom of Lyn' which I think most scholars are agreed upon is very likely our song. We know the song existed about then anyway. It also doesn't tell us the song was Scottish as there are several English pieces mentioned in The Complaynt. (How many 'Lyn's are there? Norfolk? Pure conjecture.)

Wager's play of 1569 gives us the name 'Tom-a-lin'. I'm assuming the play was written in London. Where was Wager from? He gives us probably the most stable stanza, 'over the bridge' (along with the first) and the regularly used format for other stanzas.

If I've got this right 'The Pinder of Wakefield' 1632 is the first reasonably full version 'Tom a Lin' is first then a 'Welch man' so our earliest recorded first verse is a skit on the Welsh. We need to know more if possible about this version if I've got the date right.

Realistically we now have a great jump to the late 18th century....