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'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'-Pamela Dean novel

DigiTrad:
BONNIE BROOM (questions)
JENNIFER GENTLE
JENNIFER GENTLE (modern)
RIDDLES WISELY EXPOUNDED (2)
RIDDLES WISELY EXPOUNDED (CATHER BANKS)
RIDDLES WISELY EXPOUNDED 3
THE DEVIL'S NINE QUESTIONS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary (22)
LYR clarify -- Bent to the Bonnie Broom? (34)
Lay the bent to the bonnie broome? Meaning? (24)
(origins) Origins: The Devil's NINE Questions (48)
Pete Coe's Juniper, Gentle and Rosemary (4)
The Tailors Bonnie? or Ninety Nine and N (11)


MLCVamp@aol.com 29 Jul 99 - 03:26 PM
katlaughing 29 Jul 99 - 03:57 PM
MMario 29 Jul 99 - 04:02 PM
MMario 29 Jul 99 - 04:08 PM
katlaughing 29 Jul 99 - 04:10 PM
Art Thieme 29 Jul 99 - 10:01 PM
Art Thieme 29 Jul 99 - 10:04 PM
MMario 30 Jul 99 - 09:09 AM
MLCVamp@aol.com 30 Jul 99 - 03:12 PM
Art Thieme 30 Jul 99 - 11:14 PM
katlaughing 31 Jul 99 - 12:56 AM
kddlc@tin.it. 31 Jul 99 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Bethwaltn 25 Jan 01 - 10:33 AM
Sorcha 25 Jan 01 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Becky 25 Jan 01 - 12:42 PM
Hollowfox 25 Jan 01 - 01:10 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Jan 01 - 01:20 PM
Nynia 25 Jan 01 - 11:08 PM
Sorcha 26 Jan 01 - 01:13 AM
harpgirl 13 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM
Hollowfox 14 Feb 02 - 09:47 AM
Mrrzy 14 Feb 02 - 11:38 AM
The Borchester Echo 24 Apr 04 - 05:01 AM
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Subject: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: MLCVamp@aol.com
Date: 29 Jul 99 - 03:26 PM

This is the title of a recent book by Pamela Dean. Cover blurb says it's based on a traditional ballad, but unlike her novel TAM LIN (highly recommended!), it doesn't include the text of the ballad or any kind of explanatory foreword or afterword. Does anyone know what ballad this might be? I haven't read far enough into the novel to find out what the plot is actually about (the supernatural element hasn't entered the story yet, although there is a distinct oddness about the new house that "suddenly sprang up," as it were, next door). I can't find anything in the database using either "juniper" or "gentian" as keyword.


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jul 99 - 03:57 PM

According to a website I found for the book and author you mentioned, it is based on Child Ballad No. 1, which is called Riddles Wisely Expounded, but for the life of me, I cannot find that Child Ballad at any of the sites I know of.

If someone doesn't wander in here and know it, you might want to start a new thread with the title of the ballad and/ Child Ballad No. 1, in the title of the thread.

I'll keep looking, too.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: MMario
Date: 29 Jul 99 - 04:02 PM

KatL - fershame! Have you been in the Tavern a wee bit too much lately?

Search the DT using #1;

multiple versions derived from Child #1

AND I do believe there was a thread about this a while back.

MMario


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: MMario
Date: 29 Jul 99 - 04:08 PM

One of the versions is "Jennifer Gentle"

I have seen confusion before between Jennifer/Geniver/Juniper.

gentle=gentain?

Rose Marie becomes Rosemary?

MMario


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jul 99 - 04:10 PM

MMario, just found it. I didn't use the #1 and it didn't come up, for me, under just CHild Ballads. Go figure!

Anyhow, there are two versions of Riddles Wisely Expounded in the database and it didn't come up under that name, either! Unless it was my typing???**BG** Either that of the fumes from the Tavern are doing me in; I've been teetotalling for a day or two!

Oh and I did do a forum search but none of the threads which came up mentioned this one.

Just type in Child #1 and go to the 6) and 7) versions.

There, MMario, see, I am purrfectly shober....uh, zzzzoburr, oh, well, ya know what I mean!

katlaughing@herself


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Subject: Lyr Add: JENNIFER, GENTLE, AND ROSEMARIE^^
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Jul 99 - 10:01 PM

from Bertrand Bronson---__The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads__---1975

JENNIFER, GENTLE, AND ROSEMARIE

There were 3 sisters fair and bright,
Jennifer gentle and Rosemarie,
And they 3 loved one valiant knight,
As the dew flies over the mulberry tree.

The eldest sister let him in,
And barred the door with a silver pin.

The second sister made his bed,
And placed soft pillows under his head.

The youngest sister fair and bright,
Was resolved to wed with this valiant knight.

And if you can answer questions 3,
Then fair maid, I will marry thee.

What is louder than a horn,
And what is sharper than a thorn.

Thunder is louder than a horn,
And hunger is sharper than a thorn.

What is broader than the way,
And what is deeper than the sea.

Love...
Hell...

.......................................
And now fair maid I will marry thee.


Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Jul 99 - 10:04 PM

In my mind I can almost hear Ed Tricket singing lead on this ballad with Gordon Bok and Anne Mayo Muir. It's on Folk Legacy.

Art


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: MMario
Date: 30 Jul 99 - 09:09 AM

With most humble apologies to the feline-fem; I did a forum search as well and couldn't raise anything, though I am SURE I remember seeing it discussed. It could have been somewhere else though.....

Actually, there are THREE versions of riddles wisely expounded in the database, and they will come up if you search on RIDDLE....

sometimes I just don't understand computers. But that's what keeps me employed, so I shouldn't complain.

MMario


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: MLCVamp@aol.com
Date: 30 Jul 99 - 03:12 PM

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity by posting the words of the ballad. It's clear how some of it relates directly to the plot of Pamela Dean's novel. ALthough the middle sister (Gentian) is the protagonist, it is indeed the eldest (Juniper, in the novel) who "lets him in." The boy next door is clearly non-ordinary in some way, probably supernatural, and, one suspects, dangerous. How closely the ending will relate to the riddle ballad, I don't know, but I'm almost there. Readers' opinions of this book on Amazon vary widely; some loved it, others thought it was far below Dean's other work in quality. I stand with those who find it enthralling. I enjoy her portrayal of gifted, literate young people and find it as fascinating here as I did in her TAM LIN. (One of the commentators said the characters reminded him/her of those in "a bad Madeleine L'Engle novel," a clear sign that I can discount this person's opinion. As far as I'm concerned, there IS no such thing as a bad L'Engle novel.) However, several people who liked the book overall found the ending rushed, incomplete, and unconvincing. So I am bracing myself to be let down .


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 Jul 99 - 11:14 PM

Another version is "The Devils Nine Questions". It's definitely dangerous and supernatural. It ends with

You have answered my questions nine,
Sing 99 & 90,
You're one of God's, you're not of mine,
And you are the weaver's bonny.

Burl Ives did it and it's also in Bronson in a collected traditional version.


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Jul 99 - 12:56 AM

According to my Burl Ives Songbook, the Devil's Nine Questions is an example of a singing dialogue which mummers danced to when picturing the devil trying to win a soul.

If they aren't in the DT and somebody wants the lyrics, I'll post them sometime this weekend.

kat


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: kddlc@tin.it.
Date: 31 Jul 99 - 03:53 AM

A very good version of the song n°1 in Child collection is by Jean Redpath, in "Lowlands", Rounder/Philo I think, with text: it is sung on the tune the Pentangle used for their version of "The Cruel Sister". But a refrain of this type is common in the Elfin Knight/Scarborough Fair versions(Child n° 2).Bye. Roberto.


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Subject: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: GUEST,Bethwaltn
Date: 25 Jan 01 - 10:33 AM

I just read a book with this name that is supposed to be based on a folksog; about three sisters and the devil? I don't recognize the song and wondered if anyone else did. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Jan 01 - 12:27 PM

This rings a vague bell with me, and one of the reviews said "based on an old Scottish ballad" so it almost has to be Child, but I can't find which one. Bruce O, this one's for you.


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: GUEST,Becky
Date: 25 Jan 01 - 12:42 PM

There are others who will give more complete answers with lots of lovely blue clickies (links) to specific examples and sundry references, but here's a start.

It looks to me like the author was thinking of some version of Child Ballad #1, "Riddles Wisely Expounded," wherein the devil (possibly in disguise) or a lover quizzes one or more persons (and sometimes they quiz each other) with riddles such as "what is taller than a tree? What is wider than the sea?" having answers like "Heaven is higher than a tree. Hell is deeper than the sea." The reward for answering correctly is either escaping the devil or getting the knight. In 3 sisters versions, the eldest and middle sisters don't know the answers, but the youngest answers correctly and wins the handsome knight. The American Appalachian song "I Gave My Love a Cherry" is a fragment of this ballad group, with the riddles and answers, but without the introduction and conclusion about who's asking and who's answering.

Some of these songs have refrains with floral or herbal references, like the familiar "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" (Although the "Scarborough Fair" you know this from is in a different song family -- the elfin knight or lover asks not riddles but for impossible tasks). Flowers and herbs often have (or used to have) various symbolic meanings. As the songs migrated, sometimes local flora got substituted for the symbolic flora, so there's a lot of variation. "Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary" sure sounds like it fits in there.

In the Ballad Index, here's the start: http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/ballads/C001.html

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: Hollowfox
Date: 25 Jan 01 - 01:10 PM

It is based (verry loosely) on a version of Child #1. I've only read the version with Jennifer, etc. , so I can't point you to a performer or tune. Jean Redpath (among others) does a lovely job with a version called "Lay the Bent to the Bonney Broom" which has the supernatural riddler contending with three (unnamed) sisters, rather than a schoolboy, only one lady, etc.
Pamela Dean really disappointed me with this book. I kept slogging through, hoping to find something more than a tenuous connecion to the ballad. Her treatment of Tam Lin (same title for the book) was better. I liked other books in the Faery Tale series, though.


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Jan 01 - 01:20 PM

There have been two earlier discussions of this song here, brought up by the book's title, which may easily be found by entering juniper gentian and rosemary in the "Digitrad and Forum Search" box on the main Forum page.  They are:

Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary

Entering child #1 will get you a list of references in the Database and the Forum.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: Nynia
Date: 25 Jan 01 - 11:08 PM

Becky that was a great link thank you very much. Here's the link to the main page it's worth a look for the folklore too. Click here


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 01:13 AM

Becky, I am glad you knew which one it was. I am just not that familiar witht the plots yet.


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM

sutra


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: Hollowfox
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 09:47 AM

Sutra?


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Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 11:38 AM

Kama!


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Subject: RE: 'Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary'
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 05:01 AM

I first came across this as 'Jennifer Gentle and Rosemary' when trawling Cornish libraries as a teenager. I did it to death 40 years ago under the misapprehension that I'd made a great discovery until I realised that Francis James Child had in fact got there first.

A really excellent version by Magpie Lane under the title 'Juniper Gentle and Rosemary' appears on their CD 'Six For Gold' BEJOCD-42.


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