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Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co

DigiTrad:
CAPTAIN HANLEY AND SWEET MAZIE
CAPTAIN WEDDERBURN'S COURTSHIP
THREE DISHES AND SIX QUESTIONS


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Deneb 04 Jul 10 - 08:29 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Jul 10 - 01:50 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jul 10 - 01:54 PM
Gutcher 05 Jul 10 - 05:36 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Jul 10 - 02:33 PM
Gutcher 08 Jul 10 - 07:10 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jul 10 - 04:25 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co
From: Deneb
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 08:29 AM

Hi!

I promise, I looked for previous threads on this topic before starting a new one, but none of them answered my questions exactly... So here it is - a new thread. :)

I am currently learning the famous Child 46 ballad, and I am singing it unaccompanied (as it always happens to me, being too lazy to pick up my guitar). I had discovered this beautiful ballad thanks to Maddy Prior and Tim Hart's album "Folk Songs of Olde England (Vol. 2)". Their version, "Captain Wedderburn's Courtship", is wonderfully sung and accompanied. When I found the lyrics, I thought "Hmm, looks a bit like 'I gave my love a cherry'". This is a link to these lyrics:

http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/steeleye.span/songs/captainwedderburnscourtship.html

Then I bought Joe Rae's record "The Broom Blooms Bonny" - I was interested in his version of "Achnachie Gordon" - and thus listened to his version of the Child 46 ballad, "The Laird o' Roslyn's Dochter". In the meantime I had also looked for the "Riddles Widely Expounded" lyrics. To have a look at Joe Rae's lyrics, you can maybe look for Musical Traditions Records' website and look for "MTCD313" (to identify the record). Otherwise, I will copy them here. :)

Now: I am slightly confused. Why are the lyrics of Prior and Hart's version so different from Joe Rae's? "Captain Wedderburn's Courtship" actually seems to be a mixture of lyrics, some of which are exactly the same as in "Riddles Widely Expounded". But "The Laird o' Roslyn's Dochter" has nothing to do with both of these ballads.
Moreover, I fear I have some problems in fully understanding the lyrics used by Joe Rae. In his version there are no real "riddles" - the young lady makes requests, such as a winter fruit growing in December, or a priest unborn (help, this one makes no sense to me! - I am not English mothertongue, if this can explain some of my problems).
I love Joe Rae's tune and would like to sing the ballad that way, but I would also like to better understand the meaning of this version (for the moment I just fitted Prior and Hart's lyrics to Rae's tune, but still am curious about the story and its variants).

Thank you in advance for your help!

Best wishes,

Gaia


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 01:50 PM

Tried posting twice to this thread but nothing's come through yet, Joe.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 01:54 PM

Okay 3rd time lucky.

Gaia,
You can get nearly all the versions of Child 1 and Child 46 in Volume 1 of Bronson 'Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads' from Dick at a very reasonable price.

Mixing and matching in ballads is a tradition all of its own going back to at least the 18thc and some beautiful songs have resulted from it(IMO). For instance Cecilia Costello's magnificent (IMO) Grey Cock is actually a concoction of 3 different ballads, one of them a Child ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co
From: Gutcher
Date: 05 Jul 10 - 05:36 PM

Gaia
An item of historical interest. The ballad first appeared in print
around 1735, collected from oral sources.
In 1696 Grizelda [Grizzie] Sinclair daughter of the Earl of Roslyn
was married to a Captain Wedderburn.
In his own lands, in Scotland, a Duke,Earl,Baron or Landowner
would be referred to as "The Laird".
I understand that the present Earl of Roslyn is a police officer in
London.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 02:33 PM

Just to add to Joe's excellent local information above, I've had a closer look at child's notes. The riddling portions are obviously based on much earlier tradition than the ballad itself, having been found in 15thc mss with equivalents also on the continent in folk tales.

On the Wedderburn/Sinclair connections Child gives a much earlier connection, but I must say I would go for Joe's.

'There were, no doubt, Grissels enough in the very distinguished family of the Sinclairs of Roslyn to furnish one for this ballad. I see two mentioned among the Sinclairs of Herdmanstoun. even a Wedderburn connection, as I am informed, is not absolutely lacking. George Home of Wedderburn (1497), married the eldest daughter of John Sinclair of Herdmanstoun: Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, ed Wood, 1813, II, 174.'

Joe,
Child gives earliest printing as 1785 in the New British Songster. There are 2 versions in Herd's Mss but unprinted from about the middle of the 18thc. In what was it printed c1735, a garland perhaps? I don't think Ramsay published it did he?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co
From: Gutcher
Date: 08 Jul 10 - 07:10 PM

Steve
I do not know what a garland is.
On finding the date c1735 I then checked up on the Roslyn family
history knowing that an occurance as detailed in the ballad would
not be too far back as I believe that in that era these productions were composed
                         shortly after the events detailed in them.
"Facts" from many sources, if of interest, stick in my mind & I
clearly recall immediately reaching for the "tome" to check out
the Sinclair/ St Clair family history.
I shall continue my search for the relevant reference.
Joe.

P.S. The bakers account book for Stirling Castle c1500 has an entry
    for supplying bread to "Two Mores" Moors?? Gypsies??


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jul 10 - 04:25 PM

Possibly. Or maybe even two real Moors brought back from the Crusades, or traders from Spain? If we believe the film makers Britain was swarming with adventuring Moors in the middle ages.

Garland. One variety of those little booklets of ballads from the middle of the 18thc to the early 19thc.


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