The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #43706   Message #3972258
Posted By: Steve Gardham
19-Jan-19 - 04:37 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
I've seen 2 copies of The Distracted Sailor's Garland in the BL and copied out the text, but unfortunately I don't have a copy of the garland itself to hazard a guess as to the date. The Opies in ODNR say c1765 which seems a little early to me, very likely before 1788 when Saint of Newcastle died, who likely printed it. Not all of the garlands in the John Bell Collection are mid-century. I'd have to have a good look at the illustrations and typography to give an estimate. The ballad with it mentions an 'Admiral Lake' going off to fight in Spain, which could be Admiral Leake who died in 1720. (not much help). This is a 'Tommy Linn' but all of the other late 18th century copies are 'Bryans'.

Anyway this version (9 stanzas) has 5 stanzas in common with the 1632 one (9 stanzas). 7 of the 1632 stanzas survive in later versions and all of the TDSG stanzas are found in later versions, so we are heading towards some stability around this period.

The rewritten version (1794) in Commander Gardner's reminiscences can only really tell us the ballad was well-known by then as only 2 of the 9 stanzas relate to other versions. All of the stanzas start with 'Bryan O'Lynn and his wife, and wife's mother'. The 3rd is the broken bridge, and the 4th is them going to chapel and being shut out.
He claims to have left out 4 stanzas which were 'rather out of order'. I strongly suspect he was making most of them up, or perhaps the old gunner did.

We can't date accurately the 3 printed texts, but there are some clues to chronology. The slip in the Madden Collection 'Bryan O'Lin' (14 sts) without imprint is almost verbatim the Aberdeen version (13 sts) with same title except that it has one more stanza:, (7th)

Bryan O'Lin had no hat for to wear,--
You shall have one, I vow and declare;
They bought him one of the riddle too thin,-
It's the rim of the world, says Bryan O'lin.

The start of the slip version is the usual 'Bryan O'Lin was a Scotch-man born' and the Aberdeen (copy?) has 'Bryan O'Lin was a Connaught man born'. All of the stanzas in these 2 versions are found in some form in later versions.

Then we have the 'Siege of Gibralter' garland with 5 stanzas, 'Bryan O'Lynn', again no imprint but very likely printed in Scotland or Newcastle. The first, second and 5th stanzas occur elsewhere but the other 2 I haven't seen elsewhere yet (not checked oral versions)
St 1.
When B O'L would a wooing ride,
He'd a good Scotch Woola hung by his side:
Its sheath it was made of a good elk's skin
I'm a huffring young fellow, says B O'L. (as already suggested perhaps the influence of Bryan Bohru here)

St 2 the church door shut as already mentioned

St 5 the broken bridge stanza.
If I get time I'll have a look at the early 19th century versions tomorrow.