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Origins: The Silk Merchant's Daughter

DigiTrad:
SILK MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER


Related thread:
Lyr Add: Silk Merchant's Daughter 2 (3)


Judy Cook 18 Oct 99 - 07:46 PM
Lesley N. 18 Oct 99 - 08:22 PM
18 Oct 99 - 08:42 PM
Bruce O. 18 Oct 99 - 09:44 PM
Bruce O. 18 Oct 99 - 10:47 PM
18 Oct 99 - 10:53 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 18 Oct 99 - 11:52 PM
Lesley N. 19 Oct 99 - 12:28 AM
Bruce O. 19 Oct 99 - 12:49 AM
Bruce O. 19 Oct 99 - 12:58 AM
Stewie 19 Oct 99 - 01:52 AM
Bruce O. 19 Oct 99 - 02:22 AM
John Moulden 19 Oct 99 - 07:21 AM
Judy Cook 19 Oct 99 - 10:15 AM
Judy Cook 19 Oct 99 - 10:23 AM
Bruce O. 19 Oct 99 - 11:43 AM
Bruce O. 19 Oct 99 - 02:14 PM
John Moulden 19 Oct 99 - 02:19 PM
Stewie 19 Oct 99 - 06:39 PM
Lesley N. 19 Oct 99 - 10:37 PM
bigJ 20 Oct 99 - 05:49 PM
Stewie 22 Oct 99 - 09:40 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Jan 05 - 12:02 AM
Charley Noble 24 Jan 05 - 03:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Jan 05 - 06:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Jan 05 - 07:51 PM
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Subject: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Judy Cook
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 07:46 PM

I'd like to find out a bit more about "The Silk Merchant's Daughter", an American trad. ballad from a British broadside. I'm especially interested in the verses about the Indians. Laws' summary says, "On her way she kills one of two heathens who attempt to murder her." All of the versions I've looked at are US versions and, where the verses are included at all, say "Indians". Are they Indians in British versions? In the original broadside? When did this broadside come out? The verses don't seem to have a very strong connection to the main story line; they just give her a specific incident to tell the sea captain to show what a brave person she is. Is there a stronger link in some other versions? Is this a side-story that got popped in from some other ballad or for some other reason as sometimes happens? Is this *at all* interesting to any other mudcatters? (she asks a bit nervously).

Cheers, Judy Cook


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Lesley N.
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 08:22 PM

The Silk Merchant's Daughter at the Bodleian Library (http://erl.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/acwwweng/ballads/image.pl?ref=Harding+B+11(3744)&id=04669.gif&seq=1&size=0)is the story of a ship that sank on the way to New England - leaving out all the Indian stuff entirely. But the end result is the same - they are going to have to to resort to cannibalism to survive - but just in time another ship arrives...

Most of the broadsides at Bodleian aren't dated as yet - this one isn't. It's printed by Harding and I don't know when Harding printed.. someone else here might (Bruce?)

It shows up in Sharp's Southern Appalachian book with Indians and he references the Folk Songs of Somerset No. 79 as a text without tune. I have a ton of other listings for it - mostly American sources though. The earliest in 1841 (Gardner & Chickering, Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan pp.176-177). Unfortunately I don't have the texts so I can't say if any of these have Indians or not.

Is this at all interesting to catters? I love this sort of stuff!! I'll have to see if I can persuade a friend to make an midi arrangement of it - I'd love to put it on my page - I have several transvestites, but no would-be cannibals!


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From:
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 08:42 PM

C. N. H. Harding was the American collector that lived in Chicago, and sold his songbook and broadside and music collections to the Bodleian, sometime around 1970.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Bruce O.
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 09:44 PM

Laws mentions a broadside edition dated 1794. There are many long songs of the 18th century, often called "Garlands' about which little is known as yet. We know a bit about "The Gosport Tragedy", but little about "Catskin" (Scarce Songs 2 on my website), "The Berkshire Lady's Garland", "The Bristol Bridegroom", "The Four [American] Indian Kings". "Henry and Ruth/ Seaman from Dover", "The Unhappy Lady of Hackney". Some may be found in my broadside ballad index, and more in Steve Roud's broadside index (for which see the short notice at the beginning of the broadside index on my website). Some of these are also in later volucmes of the Douce collection, and may be available on the bodley ballads website. I've only indexed the 17th century ones in the Douce collection.

Leslie Shepherd has some information on publishers date in a couple of his books, but some of the printing companies lasted about 50 years, so that isn't always very helpful. It was rare for a 17th century broadside ballad to have a publication date, and rarer for an 18th century one. 18th century 'garlands' also did not give a tune citation except in rare cases (The Gosport Tragedy is the only one I can think of at the moment that did). Judy, somewhere I have the Four Indian Kings, and could get you a copy if you're interested in something to do with Indians. It's very long. "Alknomook" on my website had its basis in a real Indian song (and tune) and has been collected, but not published as a folksong.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Bruce O.
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 10:47 PM

On the Bodley ballads website, one of the two Harding collection copies [B11(3744)] was published by J. Harkness of Preston, 19th century, and the other lacks imprint. Both look like rather short forms of the song Laws described. The Douce Collection copy [4(3)] looks like its longer, but is unreadable, and I don't even know if its the right song. I've already got one request in for a better photo-copy at the Bodleian website, how about someone else requesting a new one of Douce Ballads 4(3)?


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From:
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 10:53 PM

That should have been W. N. H. Harding in the third message above.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 18 Oct 99 - 11:52 PM

A version (words only, no music) appeared in E.C. Perrow, "Songs and Rhymes from the South" The Journal of American Folk-Lore, Volume 28, Number 107, January-March, 1915, page 129-190. Indians appear early in the story, but they don't last long. After seven lines the heroine has killed one and driven off the other. Their literary purpose seems to be to provide a way to establish the heroine's strength and courage early in the narrative.

Have you seen this version ?

T.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Lesley N.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 12:28 AM

I have so much to learn... good thing I don't mind being ignorant.. But I think I'm figuring out the Bodley a bit now.. The collection not being the same as printer - duh... I am always in too much of a hurry...

Douce 4(3) comes up as the Chester Merchant in 4 parts. Is that the right one? Which e-mail did you make the request to - the enquiries? I'd be glad to request it.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 12:49 AM

I contacted Mike Heaney directly, but he said he'd pass it along, so maybe 'inquires' is just as good. I also told him I can't get any of the GIFs for the Rawlinson collection, shelfmark 4o Rawl. 566(n). I didn't come up with the 'Chester Merchant' title, I just put 'silk' in the first line of the search box, and looked at what turned up. I'll go back and check the Douce collection title.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 12:58 AM

Douce ballads 4(3) is a chapbook with more than one song. The one I tried to see was "The silk mercer's daughter's garland", which, from the keywords, is probably a version of "The Silk Merchant's Daughter". Another in the chapbook is "The Chester Merchant".


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 01:52 AM

Lesley N, I have a version on an old Peter Nalder LP 'Narsty Tales'. There are no Indians, but canniblism interruptus is there, so it's probably your Bodleian text. A great little performance, Nalder with deadpan voice and Dick Preston on jaunty banjo - I love it.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 02:22 AM

Sorry, my mistake, "The silk mercer's daughter's garland" is Douce ballads 4(3*), not 4(3), which is "The Chester Merchant".


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: John Moulden
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 07:21 AM

Unless one of the "British" garlands tells a longer story than that I've been able to see by going to the Bodleian site, no British version that I know of has the "heathen" episode reported by Laws. There are several Silk Merchnats Daughters in the Madden collection but my surmise is that they, being most likely nineteenth century printings, also lack this feature.

No English, Irish or Scottish traditional version that I have seen has this aspect either:

Recordings Tom Lenihan (Paddy's Panacea - Topic 12TS363), Walter Pardon (Our Side the Baulk - Leader LED2111)

Notations Stubbs and Richards : The English Folksinger Ord: Bothy Songs and Ballads Greig Duncan Collection vol 1 HED Hammond collected a version in Dorset which is in Frank Purslow's - Constant Lovers There are also several in Cecil Sharp's Collection (ed Karpeles) but I haven't seen them.

It seems the heathens are a feature mainly of the versions which were found in America. Not having seen older sets from Britain or Ireland I can't say whether this is a retention or an accrual. But whichever it is it speaks of differing conditions which led to the difference.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Judy Cook
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 10:15 AM

This is wonderful. Thank you all! I have versions from Gardner(MI), Brewster(IN), Brown(NC), Cox(just a few lines from WV), Doerflinger(ON), Hudson(MS), Morris(FL), Randlolph(MO), Sharp(NC), and the Journal of American Folklore(NC), a few I have here, but mostly the result of a lovely afternoon at the Library of Congress.

After reading John Moulden's message I ran to vol.1 of Greig Duncan (sure enough, there it is!) and to Walter Pardon's recording "Our Side of the Baulk" (we won it at the raffle at the Bodmin Folk Club in 1987). Couldn't find the song on the record - I skimmed the lyrics in case it was under a different title.

This interest came up because Kathy Westra, another mudcatter, asked me to sing a broken token ballad at her workshop at NOMAD next month. Not all the versions have the broken token - I guess maybe that's an accrual as well? So far the one I like best is in Sharp, so I'll probably learn that one.

Again, thanks! I'm new to the mudcat, though I have been hearing about it from friends for a long time.

Judy Cook


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Judy Cook
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 10:23 AM

I've never explored the Bodleian Library's ballad website. Is that the same as the Bodley ballads website that Leslie & Bruce are talking about? How does it work?


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 11:43 AM

Just go to www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ballads

Click onr 'Browse/Search' in the column on the left, and you have several options for browing or searching.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Bruce O.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 02:14 PM

Browsa and Search seem to have gone down now at the Bodley ballads website.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: John Moulden
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 02:19 PM

Walter Pardon's song he called, The Old Miser, as did most English singers but it is quite a distant relative.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 06:39 PM

There is also a song, collected in Maine, called 'The Silk Weaver's Daughter. Her cruel parents also banish the true love to sea and she ends up in Bedlam, wringing hands and tearing hair. However, her noble sailor returns to bribe the porter and save her from picking her straws and a-rattling her chains. Obviously, silk industry connections were downright dangerous for damsels.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Lesley N.
Date: 19 Oct 99 - 10:37 PM

Funny you should mention that I just sequenced it from Lucy Broadwood's collection (she has it as "Through Moorfields." It's at Through Moorfields (http://www.contemplator.com/folk6/moorfield.html). In her version (1890s) the hero sailor has been replaced by a hero silk mercer. They must have been getting better press than sailors at that point...


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: bigJ
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 05:49 PM

The Cecil Sharp Collection (Karpeles) has three versions - song No.91 in Volume One, all under the title of 'The Miser's Daughter or The Silkmerchant's Daughter'. None of these versions mentions the indians. There are two versions collected in Bridgewater, Somerset and one from Tewkesbury, Goucestershire. In her notes Maud Karpeles suggests comparing the song with 'The Ship in Distress'


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Subject: RE: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 09:40 PM

There is an interesting performance of part of the song (she could not remember the whole story) by Mrs Dellie Norton of Sodom NC. It was collected by John Cohen and appears on 'High Atmosphere' Rounder CD 0028.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SILK MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 12:02 AM

From Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, Harding B 11(3744).

THE SILK MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER

As I was a-walking up New London Street,
A handsome young lady I chanced to meet.
"Where are you going, sailor, o sailor?" said she.
"I'm bound for New England, New England," said he.

"It's unto New England, love, I fain would go,
But how to get over I do not well know.
But amongst all your sailors, if you want a man,
I will work my passage and do all I can."

Our ship being well rigged and ready to sail,
We sailed away with a prosperous gale.
We sailed away with our hearts content,
But our ship sprung a leak and to the bottom she went.

Forty-five of our seamen got to the long boat,
And on the wide ocean were forced to float.
Provisions being scarce and pale death drawing nigh,
They'd try to cast lots to see who should die.

The lots they went round, and all cast about,
And every young seaman his lot he drew out;
But amongst all those lots, I vow and protest,
It fell on this young female for to feed all the rest.

The lots they went round by one, two and three,
For to see who among us the butcher should be;
But amongst all those lots, it fell upon he.
The man whom she loved, her butcher must be.

"O young man, o young man, can you thus cruel be,
To murder an innocent victim like me?
I'm a rich merchant's daughter in London," said she.
"You see what I'm brought to by the loving of thee."

He says, "My dear jewel, now, since you have been just,
In hopes of your long life, my dear, I'll die first.
Be quick in your motion. Let business go on."
A stroke was not given till we heard a gun.

"Hold your hand, butcher!" the captain did cry.
"Some light I do see and a harbour were nigh."
So we sailed away with a full flowing tide
Till we came to a harbour down by the side.

So now this young couple has got married, we hear,
And the sailor lives happy along with his dear;
And for ought that we know, she's his own dearest wife,
And the sailor he loves her as dear as his life.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 03:59 PM

Ahhhh!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 06:13 PM

The version in the DT, "Oxford Book of Sea Songs," is taken directly from E. C. Perrow, 1915, VIII Songs of Love, No. 17. North Carolina, "mountain whites;" MS, given to E. N. Caldwell, 1913.
Mentioned by T in Oklahoma, back in '99.

Is this the only version with "Indians"? I haven't checked the other American versions yet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Silk Merchant's Daughter
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 07:51 PM

The Indians also appear in Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 1, no. 43. Similar to the version in Perrow and DT.Was there an American broadside?

One day as she was walking on one even tide,
A viewing of the levee, two Indians she spied,
Two blood-thirsty heathen, you've often heard them say,
Resolved to take this fair maid's life away.


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