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Origins: Rose-Briar Motif

DigiTrad:
LORD LOVEL


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Lord Lovel (Child #75) (103)
Lord Lovel, lyrics query (17)


Suzy Sock Puppet 06 Apr 13 - 11:24 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Apr 13 - 12:29 PM
Don Firth 06 Apr 13 - 03:37 PM
Susan of DT 06 Apr 13 - 04:00 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 07 Apr 13 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Mark Steinhardt 10 Apr 13 - 07:52 AM
Susan of DT 10 Apr 13 - 04:16 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 10 Apr 13 - 04:24 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Apr 13 - 05:59 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Apr 13 - 03:42 AM
Richard Mellish 11 Apr 13 - 08:25 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 09:32 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 09:44 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Apr 13 - 12:41 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 01:43 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 13 - 02:04 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 13 - 02:22 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 13 - 02:32 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 02:56 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 03:15 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 13 - 04:23 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 05:13 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 13 - 05:19 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 05:40 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 13 - 05:41 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 05:58 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 11 Apr 13 - 11:16 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Apr 13 - 01:43 AM
GUEST,Susan 12 Apr 13 - 05:19 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 13 - 10:19 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 13 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Apr 13 - 11:02 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 12 Apr 13 - 11:10 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Apr 13 - 11:47 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 13 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Susan 12 Apr 13 - 03:16 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 13 - 03:36 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Apr 13 - 04:10 PM
GUEST 12 Apr 13 - 04:35 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 13 - 04:50 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Apr 13 - 05:31 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 13 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Susan 12 Apr 13 - 10:15 PM
MGM·Lion 13 Apr 13 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,Susan 13 Apr 13 - 02:44 AM
GUEST,Susan 13 Apr 13 - 02:48 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 13 - 03:46 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 13 Apr 13 - 04:22 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 13 - 05:38 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 13 Apr 13 - 09:38 AM
MGM·Lion 13 Apr 13 - 09:47 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Apr 13 - 10:28 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 13 Apr 13 - 04:00 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Apr 13 - 05:42 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Apr 13 - 03:10 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 13 - 04:20 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 13 - 08:26 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 14 Apr 13 - 09:56 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 13 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Susan 14 Apr 13 - 01:24 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Apr 13 - 02:15 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 13 - 02:39 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Apr 13 - 03:35 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 13 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Susan 15 Apr 13 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Susan 15 Apr 13 - 11:43 AM
dick greenhaus 15 Apr 13 - 03:52 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Apr 13 - 07:39 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Apr 13 - 10:35 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Apr 13 - 03:56 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 16 Apr 13 - 11:22 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 16 Apr 13 - 11:30 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Apr 13 - 01:45 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Apr 13 - 01:59 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Apr 13 - 02:02 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 16 Apr 13 - 02:02 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 16 Apr 13 - 02:22 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Apr 13 - 02:23 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Apr 13 - 02:30 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Apr 13 - 02:32 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Apr 13 - 03:06 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Apr 13 - 04:34 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Apr 13 - 06:24 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Apr 13 - 03:37 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Apr 13 - 03:41 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 17 Apr 13 - 07:57 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Apr 13 - 11:00 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Apr 13 - 11:15 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Apr 13 - 02:50 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Apr 13 - 03:31 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Apr 13 - 03:39 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Apr 13 - 04:39 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Apr 13 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Cookieless Mrrzy 17 Apr 13 - 09:14 PM
GUEST 17 Apr 13 - 09:18 PM
GUEST 17 Apr 13 - 09:43 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 13 - 03:33 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 13 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Aileen 18 Apr 13 - 05:03 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 18 Apr 13 - 08:14 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 13 - 09:07 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 18 Apr 13 - 09:55 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 18 Apr 13 - 09:58 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Apr 13 - 11:14 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 13 - 12:36 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Apr 13 - 02:12 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 18 Apr 13 - 02:22 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 13 - 03:37 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 13 - 03:39 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 13 - 03:49 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 13 - 03:53 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 13 - 04:00 PM
Lighter 18 Apr 13 - 04:04 PM
Lighter 18 Apr 13 - 04:10 PM
Lighter 18 Apr 13 - 04:28 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Apr 13 - 05:22 PM
GUEST 18 Apr 13 - 05:47 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 18 Apr 13 - 05:58 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 18 Apr 13 - 06:26 PM
MGM·Lion 19 Apr 13 - 01:39 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 02:19 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Apr 13 - 02:37 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 04:26 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 04:53 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 06:13 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Apr 13 - 09:52 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Apr 13 - 09:58 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 19 Apr 13 - 10:57 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 19 Apr 13 - 12:36 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 12:49 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 19 Apr 13 - 12:53 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 01:00 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Apr 13 - 01:30 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 13 - 02:19 PM
Don Firth 19 Apr 13 - 02:20 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 13 - 02:21 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 13 - 02:28 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 03:46 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 13 - 03:59 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Apr 13 - 05:38 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 13 - 08:49 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 13 - 09:00 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 13 - 03:57 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 13 - 04:39 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 13 - 09:59 AM
MGM·Lion 20 Apr 13 - 10:35 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 20 Apr 13 - 10:41 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 13 - 12:52 PM
Lighter 20 Apr 13 - 02:28 PM
Don Firth 20 Apr 13 - 03:49 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 13 - 04:30 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 20 Apr 13 - 05:40 PM
Don Firth 20 Apr 13 - 07:46 PM
GUEST 20 Apr 13 - 08:32 PM
GUEST 20 Apr 13 - 08:34 PM
MGM·Lion 21 Apr 13 - 01:28 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 13 - 04:01 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Apr 13 - 10:44 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 21 Apr 13 - 10:50 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 21 Apr 13 - 10:56 AM
Lighter 21 Apr 13 - 12:27 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 13 - 12:53 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 13 - 12:55 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Apr 13 - 01:21 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Apr 13 - 01:24 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Apr 13 - 01:49 PM
MGM·Lion 21 Apr 13 - 02:14 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 03:06 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 03:42 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Apr 13 - 04:24 PM
Lighter 21 Apr 13 - 04:36 PM
Lighter 21 Apr 13 - 04:43 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Apr 13 - 04:54 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 04:56 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 13 - 10:31 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 13 - 04:18 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 13 - 06:52 AM
Lighter 22 Apr 13 - 07:54 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 22 Apr 13 - 08:33 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 13 - 08:47 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 13 - 09:47 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 10:08 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Apr 13 - 10:21 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 10:24 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 13 - 10:28 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Apr 13 - 10:39 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 10:47 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 13 - 11:19 AM
Lighter 22 Apr 13 - 12:22 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 13 - 02:12 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 03:11 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 03:16 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 03:22 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 04:49 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 22 Apr 13 - 05:09 PM
Lighter 22 Apr 13 - 05:28 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 06:32 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 13 - 06:33 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 13 - 10:47 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Apr 13 - 11:16 AM
GUEST 23 Apr 13 - 02:07 PM
Lighter 23 Apr 13 - 02:42 PM
Lighter 23 Apr 13 - 02:44 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 13 - 03:19 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Apr 13 - 06:01 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Apr 13 - 06:12 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 13 - 09:07 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 13 - 03:39 AM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 09:32 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 13 - 10:38 AM
Lighter 24 Apr 13 - 10:45 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 13 - 11:06 AM
Lighter 24 Apr 13 - 12:26 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 12:29 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Apr 13 - 12:46 PM
Lighter 24 Apr 13 - 01:11 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 13 - 01:17 PM
Lighter 24 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM
Lighter 24 Apr 13 - 01:34 PM
Mrrzy 24 Apr 13 - 01:46 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 02:12 PM
Don Firth 24 Apr 13 - 02:40 PM
Don Firth 24 Apr 13 - 02:57 PM
Lighter 24 Apr 13 - 03:01 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 13 - 03:31 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 03:38 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 03:45 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 13 - 04:01 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Apr 13 - 05:38 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Apr 13 - 06:25 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 07:13 PM
Lighter 24 Apr 13 - 07:41 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 09:25 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 13 - 09:52 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 13 - 04:08 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 13 - 04:31 AM
Steve Gardham 25 Apr 13 - 09:25 AM
Lighter 25 Apr 13 - 09:34 AM
Lighter 25 Apr 13 - 09:54 AM
GUEST 25 Apr 13 - 10:29 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 13 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Apr 13 - 02:34 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 13 - 03:12 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 13 - 03:55 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Apr 13 - 06:06 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Apr 13 - 07:01 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Apr 13 - 07:10 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Apr 13 - 07:18 PM
GUEST 25 Apr 13 - 08:37 PM
GUEST 25 Apr 13 - 09:57 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 13 - 03:56 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 13 - 06:39 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 26 Apr 13 - 10:51 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 13 - 11:18 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 13 - 11:24 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 13 - 01:31 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 13 - 01:53 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 13 - 02:52 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 26 Apr 13 - 03:22 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 13 - 03:24 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 13 - 03:33 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 26 Apr 13 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 13 - 04:08 PM
Lighter 26 Apr 13 - 04:16 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 13 - 04:22 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 13 - 04:46 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 13 - 04:59 PM
GUEST 26 Apr 13 - 09:07 PM
GUEST 26 Apr 13 - 09:18 PM
GUEST 26 Apr 13 - 10:52 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 13 - 04:25 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 13 - 04:54 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 13 - 07:49 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 27 Apr 13 - 11:01 AM
GUEST 27 Apr 13 - 12:31 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 13 - 12:53 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 27 Apr 13 - 02:55 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 28 Apr 13 - 09:38 AM
Steve Gardham 02 May 13 - 02:50 PM
Lighter 02 May 13 - 04:00 PM
Steve Gardham 02 May 13 - 06:54 PM
Lighter 02 May 13 - 07:20 PM
Steve Gardham 04 May 13 - 04:14 PM
Steve Gardham 04 May 13 - 04:35 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 04 May 13 - 06:30 PM
Steve Gardham 05 May 13 - 01:53 PM
GUEST 05 May 13 - 09:15 PM
GUEST 05 May 13 - 10:17 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 06 May 13 - 09:56 AM
Lighter 06 May 13 - 10:40 AM
Steve Gardham 06 May 13 - 11:03 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 06 May 13 - 01:15 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 06 May 13 - 01:51 PM
Lighter 06 May 13 - 02:21 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 07 May 13 - 06:17 AM
Lighter 07 May 13 - 07:25 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 07 May 13 - 07:44 AM
Lighter 07 May 13 - 01:27 PM
Steve Gardham 07 May 13 - 01:37 PM
Lighter 07 May 13 - 03:48 PM
Lighter 07 May 13 - 04:20 PM
Steve Gardham 07 May 13 - 04:31 PM
GUEST 07 May 13 - 04:47 PM
GUEST 07 May 13 - 06:13 PM
GUEST 07 May 13 - 07:01 PM
Lighter 07 May 13 - 08:54 PM
GUEST 07 May 13 - 10:05 PM
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Subject: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 06 Apr 13 - 11:24 AM

The publication this Sir Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border turned Selkirk into a romantic tourist site and Sir Walter Scott into a folk hero overnight!

http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/scott/douglas_tragedy.htm

It is also the reason that ballads collected in that immediate area (Kilbarchin, Roxburgh)which might have contained the rose-briar motif floating verse ending within that immediate time frame after publication had a tendency to leave it off. They wanted the ending to be attached to their local legend only- The Douglas Tragedy. The names of the tragic couple- Margaret and William seems to suggest also that the story is the basis for the fairy ancient ballad of Fair Margaret and Sweet William.

There was a great competition regarding which ballad gets to claim the coveted rose-briar ending. It seem obvious to me that Barbara Allen won out over the others on the sheer strength of its enduring popularity as a love ballad. However, in Tom Munnelly's Mount Callan Garland, Irish traditional singer Tom Lenihan is reported to have insisted that the rose-briar ending belongs to Lord Levett (Irish variant of Lord Lovel) and Lord Levett alone! My money's on Tom :-)

What would any of you have in terms of backing up this proposition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Apr 13 - 12:29 PM

Harry Cox insisted similarly. An interview with him by Bob Thomson and me in Catfield Norfolk shortly before his death in May 1971, transcript published in Folk Review for February 1973, contained the following assertions from him:--

~~~'Barbara Ellen' now, I remember it. Some people sing that different to what other people do. You might know a different tune. And there's some put another two verses at the end. I never could. 'And from her grave grew a rose'. The other one come in 'Lord Lovely' ? 'Where they tied together in a true-love's knot, For true loves all to admire.' That's in another song. They get mixed up, that shouldn't come in 'Barbara Ellen'. That don't belong in that. They belong in 'Lord Lovely'. My uncle used to sing that. I never did go in for that, I don't know why. That was out of my line. That was sung by another fellow, and I didn't want to mix up too many bits.~~~

But it is surely vain to insist that any floating verse belongs in only one ballad, whoever the authority (Tom Munnelly, Harry Cox, whoever!) to urge it.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Apr 13 - 03:37 PM

I've been told that on the end of "Barbara Allen," most people tend to get the rose and briar bass-ackwards, singing it as the rose growing from her grave (feeling that the rose is a more feminine image), with the briar growing from his.

But a genuine ballad scholar (Dr. David C. Fowler) said that the rose symbolizes true love, hence, it grew from his grave, whereas the spikiness and conditionality of her love produced the briar.

A bit subtle, perhaps, but in "the language of flowers," it makes better sense.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Susan of DT
Date: 06 Apr 13 - 04:00 PM

The rose and briar verses are not part of Barbara Allen (Child #84) in Child, but they certainly are present by the time Bronson was collecting tunes - in 67 of the 198 versions of Barbara Allen he found.
The rose and briar verses were in
Earl Brand (Child #7),
George Collins (Child #85),
Fair Janet (Child #64),
Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor (Child #73),
Lord Lovel (Child #75), and
Fair Margaret and Sweet William (Child #74), and mentioned in the original post.

Child #65 Lady Maisry/Susie Clelland has the verses in Bronson, but not in Child, as does one version of Matty Groves, Child #81.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 07 Apr 13 - 11:29 AM

Thank you, especially you Michael, that was very helpful! I believe the total number of ballads that have included this ending in one or more variants is 10. It is the nature of folk music to borrow, make changes, adapt to regional preferences etc. For me, the origin of the rose-briar motif is not a question of propriety; it is strictly a question of scholarship.

Btw, the idea of plants springing from the graves of ill-fated lovers is ancient and universal. The theme is somewhat embedded in the human psyche, however, the rose and briar in particular can be traced to Medieval romance of Tristan and Iseult which mirrors and yet predates the Arthurian storyline of Sir Lancelot and Guinevere. Ethnically speaking, Tristan and Iseult (and Lord Levett as well)can best be described as Hiberno-Norman (Irish-French). Originally, it was just a briar that sprang from Tristan's grave and crept toward Iseult's grave. This idea eventually evolved into a rose and briar intertwining into a true lover's knot. This is vivid maritime imagery. The true lover's knot was once a popular style of wedding ring for sailors!

My research thus far has led me to conclude that Lord Levett as sung by Nora Cleary of "The Hand," Miltown Malbay, Ireland (in Jim Carroll & Pat Mackenzie's "Around the Hills of Clare", is the closest of any to a truly authentic ancient ballad with rose-briar motif ending. Other Irish versions, some of which use the name Lord Donegal and even the version from Tom Lenihan who lived in the same vicinity as Nora, seem to have been influenced by the Lord Levett "remake" "Lord Lovel." Although I might be being a bit hasty here. I have a few more to track down and analyze.

If you listen to Nora's version, you can hear the sea. There is this rhythm and melody like rocking back and forth and the lyrics are filled with references to the sea. You can almost imagine that it survived through women just like Nora singing it while rocking their babes. Also, I have heard the plot of Lord Lovel described as "too, too insipid" (Bronson) or who suggest the lord is a cad for abandoning his lady. To me, that's out of context, written by someone who does not understand the culture of men who go to sea and the women who love them :-)

                                                 ~Susan~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Mark Steinhardt
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 07:52 AM

Interesting thread. I am studying the Tristan and Isolde story at the moment (why I found this thread) and I would like to ask Susan if she thinks Tristan is the first appearance of the two-plants-gtowing-from-the-grave-and-entwining motif, or whether we can go further back.

The reason I ask is this: All sorts of earlier stories are suggested as sources for T and I but the links all seem weak. It seems increasing likely to me that T and I is an original story, created at one time by one writer/storyteller/singer and all later versions come from that single act of creativity.

Mark

Mark


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Susan of DT
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 04:16 PM

Tristan and Isolde are rather older than we can find proof of the ballads existing. I will ask a story teller friend what he knows of the rose & briar in stories older than the ballads. (I know you were asking the other Susan on this thread)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 04:24 PM

Child discusses the theme of plants intertwining in the commentary for ballad #7 Earl Bran. It will help you to read that. You may also find Joseph Campbell's book "The Power of Myth" helpful.

I believe Tristan and Iseult appeared in the mid-12th century, I agree those links seem pretty weak and that it was an original story created around that time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 05:59 PM

Ms Lepak,
I'm interested in your theory that Lord Lovel is a 'remake' of Lord Levett. Personally I see Lord Lovel as a burlesque of some earlier lost ballad, like a few other Child Ballads. Perhaps you would be kind enough to post the text of Lord Lovett or perhaps Jim could do this for us so we can draw our own conclusions.

As most of the English language ballads that use this motif can't be pushed back any further than the 18th century I think it more likely the ballads picked up this motif from continental translations than directly from T&I.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 03:42 AM

"I see Lord Lovel as a burlesque of some earlier lost ballad"
Why "burlesque" and why "lost"?
I really have no idea where "burlesque" comes into the picture at all.
Lord Lovell, Levett, whatever was extremely popular with traditional singers here in the West of Ireland and continues to linger here in the memories of a handful of local singers - Back in the 70s you couldn't "throw a stone around here without hitting somebody" who sang Lord Levett, and every one of them took it deadly serious - not a humorous send-up in sight.
Norfolk singer Walter Pardon's family version was a beautifully tragic one - again, no parody.
The ballad has survived in oral tradition as a serious song right up to the present day all over the English speaking world, why should that form ever have been "lost".
It is highly speculative and misleading to assume that an earliest printed version of a song is any indication that this is its origin and that it hadn't been in oral currency before that time. We simply don't know and can only speculate on the basis of what little information we have.
This must include the tendency of people from whose communities we have taken traditional songs to make local songs themselves, many of which were never taken down or recorded because they didn't fit into the national repertoire and so could not be counted as 'Traditional'.
This part of the rural West of Ireland was rich in such songs, which were still being found in abundance up to the 1980s and some of which still linger on (particularly in the case of emigration songs - a theme which still impacts on everyday life here).
As with 'Lord Lovell' in Clare, it was virtually impossible when in the company of Travellers to "throw a stone without hitting somebody" who sang recently-made Traveller songs dealing with events that involved or had been witnessed by the people who made them - the Stewarts of Blair referred to them as "makie-ups".
The fact that our song tradition was a creative one as well as a medium for passing on earlier made songs really should not be lost sight of.
We really should have that "little talk" sometime Steve.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 08:25 AM

Steve said
"I see Lord Lovel as a burlesque of some earlier lost ballad"
and Jim responded
"Why "burlesque" and why "lost"?"

Perhaps "burlesque" isn't quite the best word, but personally I agree with Bronson's "too too insipid". I'm reminded of GUEST,Ktesibios's comment on Anachie Gordon
"At the insistence of her parents Jeannie marries Lord Saltoun and drops dead. Her sailor boyfriend comes home, hears of it and he drops dead. So now it's everybody dead and it's taken us forty-seven verses to get to such an unsatisfying conclusion." There's even less to the plot of Lord Lovel: he goes away and comes back to find that his wife has died. I would like to believe that the surviving ballad derives from an earlier version with more meat to it.

And yet Jim is absolutely right about how the ballad has endured, and (presumably) been taken seriously.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 09:32 AM

Comparison of Lord Levett & Lord Lovel

Here is a line by line comparison of Nora Cleary's "Lord Levett" and Child's Scottish ballad 75D "Lord Lovel" (75D is the version of Lord Lovel that most resembles Lord Levett in form and content). It is evident that this particular version is not a parody or burlesque but rather a negative commentary on "Lord Lovel." To those on the Lancastrian side of the War of the Roses, Viscount Francis Lovel was notorious. Lovel was not a neutral name like Levett but rather highly controversial. People must take into account that the entire territory of what is now known as the UK, was divided politically and religiously from roughly the beginning of the War of the Roses (1455) to well after the so-called "Glorious Revolution"(1688) when the question of the political and religious character of the entire region was supposedly decided. This Scottish derivative of Lord Levett does not have the rose-briar motif, probably because the motif is associated with Irish-French Catholicism and no self-respecting Protestant Scot would have anything to do with that. Note that the snow-white steed appears in Celtic legend (pre-Arthurian). Milk-white steed on the other hand, found in most versions of Lord Lovel, is Arthurian, Grey steed indicates that Lord Lovel is not a hero at all but a villain. This is the only version in which a grey steed appears. In fact, Lord Lovel is ultimately named as a "discourteous squire." Of those collected thus far for comparison, this is the only version of a ballad by either name in which this happens?

                              1/1
Lord Levett, he stood on his own stable door,                                                    Lord Lovel stands at his stable-door,

And he mounted his snow-white steed                                                                            Mounted upon a grey steed,

Lady Anne Sweet Belle stood by his side,                                                          And bye cam Ladie Nanciebel,

For to bid him his last god-speed.                                                                                    
And wishd Lord Lovel much speed   

Note: Nan or Nancie is derived from the name Anne, Anne is never derived from Nan or Nancie, "Nanciebel" has obviously replaced "Anne Sweet"
                                                               
                            2/2
"Ah, where are you going Lord Levett?" she said,                                                         
'O whare are ye going, Lord Lovel?

"Ah, where are you going from me?"                                                                  
My dearest, tell unto me:'

"I am going to a land beyond the sea;                                                               
'I am going a far journey,

Strange countries I'd like to see."
'Some strange countrey to see.

                               3/3

"How long will you be, Lord Levett?" she said,                                                             ************************************************************

"How long will you be from me?" 'How long will you be from me?'
******************************************************************

"All for the sake of three long years,                                                                      'But I'll return in seven long years,

Lady Anne Sweet Belle", said he                                                                                              Lady Nanciebel to see:'

                            4/4
"Ah, that is too long for true lovers to part;                                                                      'Oh seven, seven, seven long years,

And that is too long for me;                                                                                              They are much too long for me.'

And that is too long for true lovers to part                                                          *********************************************************

And never again to meet."                                                                                       
**********************************************************

                           5/5

As he was passing St Mary's Church,                                                                  He was gane about a year away,

A thought ran into his mind.                                                                                    A year but barely ane,

He thought he had a true lover at home,                                                                                     Whan a strange fancy cam intil his head

And indeed, he dreamt she was dead.                                                                That faire Nanciebel was gane.

                         6/0

"If she is dead", the captain replied,
"It's her you ne'er shall see."
"But I'll never sleep three nights of my life
'Til I see her dead or alive."

                         7/6
As he rode in to Saint Mary's Church,
It's then he rade, and better rade,

And from that, to Erin Square,                                                                                          Untill he cam to the toun,

It was there he heard the ring of a bell                                                               And there he heard a dismal noise,

And the people were mourning there.
.For the church bells au did soun.

                         8/7
"Oh what is this, this pretty fair maid?   
He asked what the bells rang for;

Oh what is this?" he said.                                                                                  They said, It's for Nanciebel;

Is it any of your friends that's going from home                                                      ***************************************      
                                                
Or is it any that's dead?                                                                                       
"*************************

                         9/7
"Oh yes, oh yes", the captain replied;                                                                  

"The king's daughter is dead,                                                                                     **********************************

And she died for the sake of a noble young man,                                                             She died for a discourteous squire,                                                                  
Lord Levett, she called his name."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And his name is Lord Lovel.

                         10/8
"If she is dead", Lord Levett, he cried;      
The lid of the coffin he opened up,

"It's her you ne'er shall see;                                                                                 The linens he faulded doun,

But I'll never sleep three nights of my life,                                                                         And ae he kissd her pale, pale lips,
                                       
'Til I see her dead or alive."                                                                                                    And the tears cam trinkling doun. ?

                        0/9

'Weill may I kiss these pale, pale lips,
For they will never kiss me;
I'll mak a vow, and I'll keep it true,
That I'll neer kiss ane but thee.'         

                        0/10

Lady Nancie died on Tuesday's nicht,
Lord Lovel upon the niest day;
Lady Nancie died for pure, pure love,
Lord Lovel for deep sorraye.


                        11/0


He was buried in Saint Mary's Church,
And she in Erin Square.
One of them grew a red, red rose,
The other a bonny briar.

                        12/0

They grew, they grew to the church steeple top,                                                
Till they could not grow any higher,                                                                     
With a laugh and a tie in a true lover's knot,
And the red rose covered the briar


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 09:44 AM

Oops! When I cut and pasted it from a word document, it came out all messed up! I will repost the messed up verses. Sorry, hope you can follow what I'm doing.

1/1

Lord Levett, he stood on his own stable door,
Lord Lovel stands at his stable-door,

And he mounted his snow-white steed
Mounted upon a grey steed,

Lady Anne Sweet Belle stood by his side,
And bye cam Ladie Nanciebel,

For to bid him his last god-speed.
And wishd Lord Lovel much speed


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 12:41 PM

I can't honestly remember ever hearing a burlesque version of the ballad; some wonderful parodies though - "Abe Lincoln Stood at his Stable Door" being among my favourites.
I do agree with Richard's "insipid" Bronson comment though, though when put into the mouth of good singers like Tom Lenihan or Walter Pardon it takes on an authority of its own..
Apropos of nothing, one of the other favourites in this part of the world is 'The Suffolk Miracle" - can't throw a stone..... - again.
I've been digging into the "rose - briar" motif - fascinating reading, certainly as far as roses go.
Funk and Wagnall gives a load of information - it seems to be extremely old and widespread - back to Roman and Greek mythology.
It is surprising if it is true that it only dates back to 18th century; as a folklore symbol it goes much further than that.
Happy to put up or pass on the Funk and Wagnall article if anybody wants it.
By the way, Tom Munnelly listed 50 Child Ballads still being sung in Ireland up to the end of the 90s (we added our 4 verses of of Famous Flower to the list) - might come as a surprise to some people. Happy to pass on this as well.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: Lyr Add: LORD LEVETT
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 01:43 PM

I went all the way through the comparison and it did not post!!! This is not my day. Anyway Steve, here is your complete set of lyrics to Nora Cleary's "Lord Levett."

12-1 Lord Levett (Roud 48, Child 75)
Nora Cleary, The Hand, near Miltown Malbay.
Rec. July 1976

Lord Levett, he stood on his own stable door,
And he mounted his snow-white steed.
Lady Anne Sweet Belle stood by his side,
For to bid him his last god-speed.

"Ah, where are you going Lord Levett?" she said,
"Ah, where are you going from me?"
"I am going to a land beyond the sea;
Strange countries I'd like to see."

"How long will you be, Lord Levett?" she said,
"How long will you be from me?"
"All for the sake of three long years,
Lady Anne Sweet Belle", said he.

"Ah, that is too long for true lovers to part;
And that is too long for me;
And that is too long for true lovers to part
And never again to meet."

As he was passing St Mary's Church,
A thought ran into his mind.
He thought he had a true lover at home,
And indeed, he dreamt she was dead.

"If she is dead", the captain replied,
"It's her you ne'er shall see."
"But I'll never sleep three nights of my life
'Til I see her dead or alive."

As he rode in to Saint Mary's Church,
And from that, to Erin Square,
It was there he heard the ring of a bell
And the people were mourning there.

"Oh what is this, this pretty fair maid?
Oh what is this?" he said.
Is it any of your friends that's going from home
Or is it any that's dead?"

"Oh yes, oh yes", the captain replied;
"The king's daughter is dead,
And she died for the sake of a noble young man,
Lord Levett, she called his name."

"If she is dead", Lord Levett, he cried;
"It's her you ne'er shall see;
But I'll never sleep three nights of my life,
'Til I see her dead or alive."

He was buried in Saint Mary's Church,
And she in Erin Square.
One of them grew a red, red rose,
The other a bonny briar.

They grew, they grew to the church steeple top,
'Til they could not grow any higher;
With a laugh and a tie in a true lover's knot,
And the red rose covered the briar.

And Steve, if you do end up having that talk with Jim, you might ask him to explain the following which appeared in the Irish Music Review:

"The twelfth song on the first CD is Lord Levett (sometimes also called Lord Lovel[24](l) or Lord Donegal). Unfortunately, one of the most intriguing aspects of this song has not been mentioned in the notes. Roud records no fewer than four hundred and seventy-five references to the song having been collected in other English-speaking countries whereas hardly any versions have been found in Ireland. Jim and Pat write that the song's 'popularity has been put down to the ballad's simplicity of sentiment' which makes it even harder to understand why it has been so rarely heard in Ireland. Was there some as yet unidentified element in the song which deterred Irish singers from learning it?

The answer is probably not, for the more one delves, the more one discovers. Jim and Pat only cite one other recording, that of Walter Pardon, forgetting that Tom Lenihan also recorded the song on The Mount Callan Garland[25]. Yet, as Tom Munnelly recounts in the accompanying book[26], he had also recorded the song from Lenihan's friend and neighbour Tom 'Grifty' Griffin and from Nora Cleary who lived a couple of miles away (indeed the Lenihan version incorporates some of Nora's). (Plus, there may be other versions in the Department of Irish Folklore, which Roud hasn't yet accessed.)

Then, additionally, the song has been recorded by Con Greaney[27] and, perhaps most significantly of all, by Sarah and Rita Keane[28]. The latter's seven-minute version, under the Lord Donegal title, is magnificent in its intensity and utterly negates the quotation employed by Jim and Pat at the head of their notes that the song is 'too, too insipid'. Why our authors have chosen to ignore the Keanes' version is incomprehensible."

And then I went back to the actual liner notes and, lo and behold, that thing about Lord Levett being rarely heard is missing! :-))) Btw, Tom Lenihan's version sounds a bit closer to the modern "traditional" Child's influenced versions. I've heard lots of versions, and so far Nora's is unique. It sounds just like a lullaby. There's nothing quite like it so far.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 02:04 PM

Thanks for chipping in, Jim.

Note I was very careful to make it clear all of my comments were opinions based on close study of all versions at my disposal, which clearly didn't include the versions mentioned by you and SJL.

My opening comment in which SJL seemed to be saying that she thought the English and Scottish versions derived from the Irish was my main interest here and your comment on the imaginative interpolations of the travellers seems to go against this.

Lord Lovel WAS very popular as a burlesque (and parodied)(I have several copies and can if you wish scan them for you) in various forms in Britain in the early 19th century, but yes I was going further than this and wouldn't be the first enthusiast to suggest that even the earliest versions extant looked like burlesques.

It is also fairly well-known that the folk song burlesques of the early 19thc soon returned to oral tradition as serious songs. Billy Taylor, Lord Bateman, Barbara Allen. Not all burlesques involved seriously altering the words, some were simply burlesqued in the grotesque delivery, a la Grimaldi, Sam Cowell, Fred Robson, J W Sharp etc.

Susan or Jim,
I look forward to reading an orderly text of Lord Levett.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 02:22 PM

'It is surprising if it is true that it only dates back to 18th century; as a folklore symbol it goes much further than that.'

Jim,
Nobody suggested that. I simply said that most of the ballads quoted that use the motif can't be traced back any further, but some of them can be traced back to the 17thc. I can't say that I've seen any of the quoted ballads that can be traced back further than this though, not in English anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 02:32 PM

A little extract from Child's headnotes.

'LL is peculiarly such a ballad as Orsino likes and praises: It is silly sooth, like old age. Therefore a gross taste has taken pleasure in parodying it, and the same with 'Young Beichan'. But there are people in this world who are amused even with burlesques of Orthello.'

There is also a lengthy footnote to go with this statement commenting on the lack of a burden, the cheerfulness of the tune in contrast to the text, and the like anomalies in Norwegian similar ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 02:56 PM

Steve, it sounds like you are familiar with "Folk Songs of the Catskills" Cazden et al. pg. 136 - 139:

"But reaching beyond the influence of such publications have been the numerous comic parodies of Lord Lovell. Barry notes the earliest among them to have been sung in 1836 by comedian James Howard of Niblo's Garden (Hadaway). Every-body's Songster in 1839 included another, sung by Thomas Hadaway himself, called Sukey Soapsuds. A sheet music publication of 1844, issued in Edinburgh by Wood and Co., contained The Pathetic Historie of Lord Lovell and Nancy Bell, as sung by Sam Cowell, who made it a spectacular success. Barry further mentions the 1857 sheet music issued in Boston by Oliver Ditson, listed also thus by Dichter, with the title The Celebrated Lord Lovel and Lady Nancy Bell, Comic Ballad, arranged by J.C.J. Finally, Barry notes the Joe Muggins treatment, which may be termed a parody of the parody.

Sam Cowell's comic parody of Lord Lovell was published twice, no later than 1855, in the Musical Bouquet series of London sheet-music issues. The earlier copy (#789) contains spoken interludes, as well as the comic ballad form proper. Information on the song copy (#857) states that both the comicked Lord Lovel and the even more famous Vilikens and his Dinah were sung in Sam Cowell's music hall show called The Ratcatcher's Daughter. One of the many instrumental medleys in which the tune of Lord Lovel appears, also published in the Musical Bouquet series (#787), was arranged by J. Harroway, and called Sam Cowell's Comic Quadrille.

All three copies show the same splendid color engraving on their covers. It depicts Sam Cowell, dressed in the character of Lord Lovell. He wears a formal morning suit, complete with top hat, but his trouser cuffs are turned up as though for wading a muddy stretch. Over one shoulder he carries a travel pack. His theatrically woebegone expression is shown full face, gleaming eyes peering from beneath exaggerated beetle brows.

Variant as well as newly improvised wordings were sure to develop during later performances of such a music-hall success, and some of them were incorporated into their published prints. Cowell's text, as it appeared in Davidson's folio of 1861, contains the slightly altered line:

All true-loviers to admire ?rire-rire

Which draws hilarity from the ballad conceit of repeating syllables, such as in truth arises rather from musical structures when these are applied relentlessly to texts that will not support them???

In H.M.S. Pinafore, verse 8 of Lord Lovell in the Davidson's Musical Library folio reads:

Then he flung himself down by the side of the corpse
With a shivering gulp and a guggle
Gave two hops, three kicks, heav'd a sigh, blew his nose
Sung a stave, and then died in the struggle?uggle-uggle,
Sung a stave, and then died in the struggle.

Cowell's parody form continued to be reprinted in London during the 1860's in Charles Sheard's Great Comic Volume, and in 1876 in D'Alcorn's Musical Miracles.

According to Barry, the Joe Muggins parody text was also introduced by Sam Cowell in the period about 1850. In an 1869 parody by E.F. Dixey, Lord Lovell is left not only with a broken heart but with broken kneecaps, the result of his smashing into a post while riding his velocipede.

Besides both a serious and comic text of Lord Lovel, the Edwin Ford Piper Collection contains a Civil War parody called A New Ballad of Lord Lovell, the brave defender of New Orleans. The item is mentioned by John Harrington Cox, and fragments of other texts are given by Horace M. Belden. Four stanzas have been recorded by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger (ZDA 70). In this New Ballad parody, the original?

?narrative has dropped out, but the tune and the familiar pattern remain, to produce an ending with telling reference. This Lord Lovel was a "rebel swell," who "sat in St. Charles hotel," a-waving his sword on high:

He swore by the black and he swore by the blue
He swore by the stars and the bars
He would never fly from a Yankee crew
While he was a son of Mars, Mars, Mars
While he was a son of Mars

Inevitably, the dénouement to so swaggering an opening was that the hero and his 50,000 men fled, without firing a shot, at the first sighting of Farragut's fleet. But in faithful ballad fashion, the fateful end is satirized with an additional fillip:

When Lord Lovell's life was brought to a close
By a sharp shooting Yankee gunner
From his head there sprouted a red, red rose
From his heels a scarlet runner, runner, runner
From his heels a scarlet runner

Except for Barry, ballad scholars unfortunately appear either to have been oblivious to, or disdainful of, the documented history of these distinctly comic forms of Lord Lovell, while they have seemed hesitant as well to recognize the implications of their music-hall origins. Sandy Paton states (FSA 36F) that Child himself had a comic text, but would not print it with the others. At least nine of the versions compiled by Bertrand Bronson may be identified as comic treatments. Bronson does not single them out or mark them so, and while he does acknowledge that some humorous texts are known, he seems not to sense either that their humor is satirical or that it is stagey. Instead, he thinks of them as children's treatments or "nursery degenerations": "The high seriousness of the parents is the children's favorite joke." The obtuseness of ballad scholars in this regard must be appreciated as a very difficult feat, since the material available to them is hard to pass by without notice. Diversion of the humorous aspects onto this tack means overlooking their theatre-piece beginnings, and it means also ignoring their service as symptoms of the necessary wide previous audience acquaintance with the "straight" versions, such as satire requires.

Tristram P. Coffin mentions "burlesques" of the ballad, and to account for them, he finds no better explanation than a vaguely humorous inclination, somehow implicit in its tune. To this effect he quotes Arthur Kyle Davis, who in truth hardly qualifies as an expert on such musical subtleties: "The melodies are too light for the story and mitigate the tragedy. For this reason, the song has often been subject to parody." Reed Smith also, while otherwise taking note of five printings of the ballad in American songsters between 1836 and 1865, infers nothing from them as evidence of comic theatre forms, but attributes the comic effect to a "lilting tune." So speculative a "reason" becomes less persuasive as we observe that, while most known versions of both the serious and the comic text forms of Lord Lovell have been sung to the tune strain found in #33, which by this definition is "too light" to support a serious text, the identical "light" tune strain is found in use also for numerous versions of Child # 4 Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight; for one version of Child #25, Willie's Lyke-Wake (Greig); and for many versions of Child 73 Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor. For none of these have comic parodies appeared such as would supposedly have been induced by the tune.

Conversely, such "reasoning" or rationalization likewise cannot account for comic parodies of other ballads not known to have been afflicted with "light" tunes. Thus Davidson's Musical Library (ix 1862) contains a "comicked" treatment of Child 84, Barbara Allen, showing the ready application of the practice to "serious" sentimental themes. The common Billy McGee Magar form of Child 26, The Three Ravens (see notes to #99) is another for which neither the oldest nor the most familiar tune strains suggest "lightness."

Apart from the facile pitfall of attributing to a musical tune the verbal meanings and connotations of its associated text, we might do better to adduce rather a contrary principle ? namely, that for successful parody, an obvious conflict between tune character and text is eminently desirable. For example, the rather lugubrious minor tune sung by Comical Brown for Billy Vite and Nelly Green helps to emphasize its satire of #66, The Arsenic Tragedy. The slow and mournful manner, in which Marvin Yale sang #142, Missie Mouse, made the ordinarily bouncy tune hilariously funny. It would be fair to say that the speculations of even the most reputable ballad scholars on musical matters, when they are not infused with the needed musical insights, may at times prove nothing short of childish.

Yet the approach they have taken reflects less an academic obtuseness on their part than a underestimation and a misapprehension of the role played by touring theatrical performers in developing and disseminating what later came to be idealized as an archaic oral tradition, romantically immune to such contamination. Instead, the notable uniformity among numerous collected versions of a ballad ought to have alerted students at once to the probability that organized means of mass distribution must have been responsible, rather than the localized, spontaneous, slow, and sporadic process of oral tradition.

Particularly is this evident with regard to ballad and song tunes. For wherever a tune can be located for any of the comic parodies of Lord Lovell, it always belongs to the same tune strain. Barry's designation of this tune as the "vulgate" form is confirmed by the additional examples we have noted, and by the tune of #33. How much this kind of musical uniformity may result in part from the many publications containing the notated music has often escaped consideration; it has been assumed that "the folk" is, by definition, musically illiterate.

George Davidson's Modern Song Book of 1854 contains no tunes. But included with its text (275-76) of Child 275, Get Up and Bar the Door, is a dutiful notice, "music at Duff & Hodgson's." Not only does that imply that the ballad must have been receiving popular notice and acclaim in the music hall sufficient to support the hope of selling the printed copies at a profit; it also implies that word-of- mouth tradition alone may not at all account for the numerous similar versions of the ballad "recovered" at a later date.

A further way in which tunes become familiar is their adaption for dancing. It was common practice, during the heyday of Lord Lovell as a stage hit, to use the latest music-hall numbers in the ballroom. The Musical Bouquet published the tune as part of three quadrilles and in three other instrumental medleys. The rival Musical Treasury in the same period was content with a single waltz adaptation. Other instrumental dance treatments were published during the 1860's by Boosey and Co., by William Chappell and B. Mackenzie in London, and by Elias Howe in Boston. Boosey's Musical Cabinet #5 contains Lord Lovell's Waltz, a salon piece for piano by Henri Laurent."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 03:15 PM

And one more thing Steve: Google "Lord Lovel and Lady Hounsibelle" - just like that in quotes-and view what comes up. Note the date.

                                  ~Susan~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 04:23 PM

Hi Susan,
An excellent though not exhaustive summary of the burlesque situation. I'm not sure I fully agree with Cazden's use of the term parody. I would understand 'parody' as introducing some other element to the plot whereas burlesque simply takes the micky out of what already exists. It may use a different dialect or add comic features but generally doesn't change the basic meaning as parody does. 'Joe Muggins' is a parody; 'Villikins' is burlesque as I see it.

I do have the basic Catskills book, but not the supplement. It's one of my most oft-consulted tomes, very thorough on the songs it includes.

This meaning of 'burlesque' of course is a lot older than the 19thc, although it did reach a peak of popularity in the mid 19thc.

We mustn't forget also that these burlesques were endlessly printed as street lit, sometimes alongside the straight versions. It is quite possible that the English Barbara Allen is an early burlesque of the pseudo Scots version, no doubt the one heard at the theatre by Pepys.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 05:13 PM

Yeah, I think the English regularly made fun of the Scots and the Irish- oft times tongue in cheek as it were so the humor may be very subtle. The date on Walpole's letter to Percy was early February 1965 and the first published ballad of Lord Lovel is credited to Percy (1770). I don't think Percy or the Reverend Parsons who supposedly sent Percy the ballad in May of 1770 had ever heard of Lord Lovel before- and I believe I can make this case because I obtained the original documents from Harvard and the Percy-Parsons connection looks pretty sketchy. My theory is that Percy tried to pass Walpole's burlesque, parody, what have you, with a few minor changes, as a "Northumbrian ballad." Percy was at that time in the employ of a wealthy Northumbrian family. Percy was very ambitious and it was due, in no small part, to his publishing credits that he eventually attained the status of Bishop of Dromore.

About the subtlety of the humor...Review Child 75A, that's the variant credited to Percy, and ask yourself whether you see the same innuendo in the same lines as are found in Walpole's obvious parody:

75 A.2 'That is a long time, Lord Lovill,' said she,
       'To live in fair Scotland;'
       'And so it is, Lady Ouncebell,
       To leave a fair lady alone.'

Sounds to me like these lines are hinting at infidelity. This is not a ballad, it's a rehashed anti-Jacobite tavern song! The true ballad of Lord Lovel, which I believe was inspired by Lord Levett (Nora's version) is the version 75E, contributed by a reknowned and well loved Scottish folklorist John Francis Campbell aka "Young John of Islay."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 05:19 PM

Susan,
Many thanks for the references to the Percy Mss versions. I wasn't aware of these online. What they demonstrate is that the ballad was quite popular among the high stratas of English society in the mid-18thc. Child chose to print as his A version only one of these versions dated 1770 and 1775 but at least one version online is dated 1765. These early versions bear the hallmarks of burlesque for me, despite what Jim says, the jig metre, the very clipped phrases such as 'And buried 'em both in a grave' remind me of the definite burlesque versions of Cowell et al.

Another interesting point is the correspondents mention 'the exact counterpart' of this ballad as 'Giles Colin'. Precisely. Giles Collins is another ballad that I think is a burlesque. It has the same ludicrous very clipped language and has some of the same motifs in it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 05:40 PM

Which version is dated 1765 online besides Walpole's? I must know!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 05:41 PM

Susan,
Thanks for the Nora Cleary version. I'm sorry I can't agree with you though. No matter what it sounds like when sung the text looks like a refacimento due to the forgetting of some parts. The lack of rhyme in places would also point to this. What I would call a typical traveller version. Before anyone jumps in on this I am not running down traveller versions in any way. They can be and often are just as beautiful as any other version, often to me more beautiful because they have evolved further down the line. As to this being precedent to any of the other British versions, highly unlikely.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 05:58 PM

Maybe this "forgetting" has to do with the omission of verses that have to do with suicide and coffins? Different times have different sensibilities regarding such issues. Guess we'll never know if anyone keened at these funerals :-)

And, you didn't answer my question. I honestly don't think there is any other version dated 1765 except Walpole's.

I must go out now. Catch you later I hope...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 11:16 PM

OK. While I was out, I gave it some thought...

While one might say that "Lord Lovel" has two traditions - tragic (ballad) and comic (parody or burlesque). One might also say that "Lord Lovel" has two traditions - folk and, as Steve asserted, upper-class. I thought as much myself. One must take care to separate the two. For example, in the original folk version, the protagonist has a premonition. This can indicate either chronological age OR educational level at a given time in history.

As I mentioned before, the Kinloch ballad, Child 75D, is missing the rose-briar motif ending and I have also suggested that, since it so closely resembles Nora Cleary's "Lord Levett," that it was left off due to either Protestant influence or the fact that it was "taken down from a lady in Roxburghshire" very close to Selkirk, home of the Black Douglas of "The Douglas Tragedy," major tourist attraction.

Sir Walter Scotts's (1803) version of "The Douglas Tragedy" involves a Lady Margaret and a Lord William which seems to imply a connection to the ballad, "Fair Margaret's Misfortune," also known as "Fair Margaret and Sweet William." In fact, "The Douglas Tragedy" seems to incorporate both "Earl Bran,""Fair Margaret and Sweet William," and "Lord Lovel."

Now this is the interesting part: I could have said that it was a synthesis of "Earl Bran" and "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" only. That is because "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" have had the rose-briar motif ending at least since c.1720 Douce BalladsI(72a). In this aforementioned version of "Fair Margaret and Sweet William," it says that one was buried in the high chancel and one in the lower. That's very refined and so forth, very symmetrical and all, but not very accurate...

It so happens that in 1547 during the "Rough Wooing," English forces set fire to St. Mary's church in Dundee Scotland and when it was over all that remained was the high chancel and the choir, exceedingly unorthodox burial sites. Too much of a coincidence.

To be thorough, one might speculate that the pun was derived from "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" except for one thing: "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" are ENGLISH and "Lord Levett" is IRISH-FRENCH. Whether we are talking about Nora Cleary's "Erinn's Square" or Tom Lenihan's "St. Mary's Square," the word is SQUARE- that is until it became CHOIR- and finally HIGHER. The town square and the church are community centers- no surprise there. You'll find that in later versions of ballads that contain this motif, balladeers strove to make sense of this nonsensical (out of context) floating verse by changing it. Many modern versions of Barbara Allen say that she was buried in the old churchyard and Sweet William was buried beside her or nigh her... You get the drift.

If it weren't for Campbell's version, I would have concluded that "Lord Lovel" had entered the scene as a parody but Campbell's version is aesthetically perfect as a ballad. Looks like a Jacobite ballad. And just think, the most fun anti-Jacobites could ever have is to turn a serious Jacobite ballad into a choice parody. I love Horace Walpole by the way. He's so clever. His pet name for his friend George Montague's sister was "Hounsibella."

As I was saying, Nora Cleary is the real McCoy :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 01:43 AM

Sometimes, tho, the lovers are buried in one grave, to imply even closer connections in life ~~ even, where there has been rivalry, all three concerned: in some versions of Lord Thomas & Fair Annet*, Child #73, social implications even arise in the proposed disposal of the corpse, (as in some versions of Little Musgrave/Mattie Groves, #81, &c,) whereby the one of 'the nobler kin' must be buried in the most favourable position. This is one of the conventions parodied in Villikins And His Dinah, who were 'laid in one grave', for the sake of which a doggerel rhyme is contrived, making her mourning father first 's[i]ng a short stave'. It is not always realised btw that there is a burlesque element even in the form of the eponymous father's 'comic-Cockney' name ~~ he was actually, of course, called Wilkins.

~M~

*I have often wondered btw why Child chose that title, as she is far more frequently called Elinor.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 05:19 AM

True. I notice that some of the Lord Lovel variants indicate reconciliation between Catholic and Protestant Scots- like Romeo and Juliet:

Gar deal the white bread and the wine
Gar deal the biscuit and the beer ...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 10:19 AM

Susan,
I actually said 'at least one version' meaning I hadn't checked all the references thoroughly. Looking more closely the two pieces I printed off are the same ballad but posted at different times, both of them to Horace Walpole. One has been simply scanned so there are typos.

If by the Campbell version you mean Child E it is pretty obvious to me this corrupt version is derived ultimately from Child A or a version thereof. As someone has already stated the rose-briar motif is so widespread internationally in ballads and elsewhere to draw any hard and fast conclusions about precedence. It is quite possible that some of the English language ballads picked it up from separate translations of different continental ballads. It would to take a pretty exhaustive study to determine this of course.

Personally I think you're reading far too much into these versions. I will take a lot more convincing and the aesthetic value of any of these doesn't tell us much in scholarly terms.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 10:47 AM

Michael,
Child probably chose to use 'Annet' because he was following his A version from Percy and as a professor of literature he would have been more inclined to use a title that was familiar to his target audience. Also his abhorrence of street literature might lead him to avoid the 'Eleanor' title despite it having chronological precedence.

Wilkins is an endearment version of William, as I'm sure you know, as in the serious broadside original 'William and Dinah'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 11:02 AM

I can't contribute to scholarship here, but if anybody wants to have a good time, you can find "Sweet Willie and Lady Margot" in the Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles. That is available for free at Google Books. The song is on page 157.

It has a great tune and good story, and yes, a rose and a briar appear at the end.

I'd like to add that I have been fighting a briar in my front yard since 1977. I've beaten it down to the point where all it does it send up an occasional shoot, yet it is obviously a tenacious plant which is ready to take over the world. Every millimeter of the stem sprouts thin, very sharp thorns. The thorns of a rose are nothing compared to the thorns of a briar.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 11:10 AM

Hmmm..."It is highly speculative and misleading to assume that an earliest printed version of a song is any indication that this is its origin and that it hadn't been in oral currency before that time. We simply don't know and can only speculate on the basis of what little information we have."

That said, that is, the master having spoken, no Steve. 75E is exquisite. The only way it could be inauthentic is if "Young John" made it up himself. And, you're right. I am reading a lot into this because, unlike uncomplicated ballads like "Barbara Allen', there's so much there to read. Lots of historical insight to gain.

And believe it or not, a lot of research is intuition. When I heard Nora Cleary, I could look clear across the ocean. No gay little parlor song there. The other modern day versions, so far anyway, are clearly post-Victorian, primarily text derived :-))) If you have never heard Nora Cleary, you need to buy that collection. It's very important work.

And I can be as passionate about this itsy-bitsy ballad as I wanna be. At least I'm not like Margaret Thatcher putting everybody out of work, eh? Eh?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 11:47 AM

Quite, Steve. My point was that I have come across many people who didn't even realise that 'Villikins"="Wilkins" in mock-Cockney ... which (Wilkins) is, of course, also a very familiar surname as well as a pet form of "Little-Willie".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 02:16 PM

Hi, Susan,
I hope I didn't sound too dismissive.

Like you I enjoy presenting opinions based on a lifetime of research.

Jim's statement which you quote is fair comment. Of course we can never be fully certain that any work of art is original unless we have just produced it. However every work of art must have had a point of origin and it is reasonable in my mind to suppose that a ballad appearing for the first time with no prior indications of its existence is at least likely to be of that period. Certainly the opposite can't be proved.

I don't remember suggesting that 75E is 'inauthentic'. 'Exquisite' is to my mind way over the top. Anyone else following Susan here?

As for intuitive research, absolutely! But once you've had the intuition you've got to back it up with facts if you want any credibility.

I'm pretty certain that if I heard Nora Cleary sing this ballad I would be enraptured, but that would not convince me that this was some archaic throwback.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 03:16 PM

Ok Steve. You wore me out :))) No offense whatsoever taken. I love debate. Thank you for all your communications!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 03:36 PM

Thank-you!
I too love debate, especially when it involves ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 04:10 PM

"Jim's statement which you quote is fair comment. Of course we can never be fully certain that any work of art is original unless we have just produced it."

Then why do you insist on presenting your theories as facts and describing your opponents as "romantics" who "believe all this nonsense" or other such insulting dismissals of our work?

Short of a hidden trove of information being found we will never know for certain who made the songs and ballads, so we have to rely on what little information we have and as much common sense based on what we do know to arrive at an intelligent guess - paper pushing by tracing earliest versions isn't going to do it, not for me anyway.

It is inconceivable that an anonymous non-co-operating school of "broadside hacks" would ever come up with a repertoire of songs containing background information, folklore (before the discipline was ever recognised), vernacular or all the other beautiful insights they gave us into the lives and experiences of the people they are about and a general familiarity of the communities that gave rise to them; certainly not enough to fool the generations that carried the songs that they were "Norfolk", or "Somerset" or "sailor" or "military".

The making of local songs that never made it onto the collectors' notebooks or tape recorders because they didn't fit into the national repertoire in Ireland and Scotland is an indication that people felt compelled to express themselves in song and verse ? we know about well over a 100 that were made in this village alone ? I know the same happened in England in spite of your claims that "English people were far too busy earning a living".

One of the problems is that many of the early scholars, despite their magnificent contribution, wouldn't recognise a traditional singer if one placed a hand over his ear and burst into a 25 verse version of Sir Patrick Spens ? this includes Child.

Paper knowledge is no real guide unless you have enough of it.

Even more up-to-date collectors seem to have neglected to find out if the singers knew anything other than the songs.

You know my opinion of Phillips Barry's dismissive to the verge of contempt in his note to 'The Lake of Col Fin', in New Green Mountain Songster.

"Popular tradition, however, does not mean popular origin. In the case of our ballad, the underlying folklore is Irish de facto, but not de jure: the ballad is of Oriental and literary origin, and has sunk to the level of the folk which has the keeping of folklore. To put it in a single phrase, memory not invention is the function of the folk"

One Canadian collector wrote in her memoirs that she "couldn't wait for the songs she had collected from traditional singers to be taken up by "proper singers" ? again, verging on contempt.

If there is any way of learning about the songs and their origins it is through the singers to whom they "sank to the level of".

The suggestion that the singers were "too busy" so they contracted the job of song-making out to hacks shows equal contempt as far as I'm concerned.

Jim Carroll

Susan ? haven't been in touch yet, but will do so as soon as it starts raining ? bloody garden!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 04:35 PM

I must be mixing with the wrong people, Jim. These scholars! I don't know! They don't know nuffin! That Professor Child, who was he anyway!

I'm sorry, Jim, but you're way out of touch.

'certainly not enough to fool the generations that carried the songs'.

Why does 'fooling' come into it?

I can't comment on the origins of 'Lake of Culfin' but by and large Barry is only expressing what the vast majority of scholars of the last 50 years have been saying on both sides of the pond.

Of course the country folk made/make their own songs. I gave you plenty of examples. I've recorded plenty myself but they simply don't get the coverage that print gives to the hacks and rarely do they make it into general circulation.

I'm disappointed that you think that my beliefs show contempt. Like you I have spent many hours in the field and always had great respect for the singers whatever they were singing. Some of them were my own family.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 04:50 PM

Sorry, Jim
As you will have guessed that was me. Cookie expired again.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 05:31 PM

Barry might well indeed have been simply expressing the scholarly views of his time, Steve; but you would surely agree that, even in such a context, the phrase "sunk to the level of the folk" is, to put it with all due moderation, an unfortunate choice of words?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 06:08 PM

Perhaps, Mike, but if he simply meant coming down the social scale isn't this just the case with much of the material, especially the flowery stuff that came down from the theatres and pleasure gardens? Not so much in the case of the broadside ballads as most of the hacks were on a pretty low social scale already, at least in the 19thc.

'sunk to the level of' is nowadays a derogatory idiom, but was it so in Barry's day?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 10:15 PM

Jim, speaking of gardens, here's a link for you:

http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/m_garden/SM-MAMFGWII-TKMG.html

Briar is "Queen Mary's Rose" - on a short list of plants dedicated to the Virgin Mary. And the rose is a fairly universal symbol of her as well.

Much ado about St. Mary's Church but it all makes perfect sense to me. Lord Levett has a special devotion to Mary. Not uncommon for sailors.

Not to mention this business of plants laughing as they tie a true lovers knot. That' s about as Irish as it gets :-) I don't believe I'm reading too much in. I am simply analyzing content. It's there...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 02:19 AM

"descend/sink/stoop to someone's level
: to behave as badly as someone who has treated you wrongly
▪ Despite my opponent's personal attacks against me, I refuse to stoop to his level. [=I refuse to behave as badly as he has by attacking him personally]" Merriam Webster Dictionary

.,,.
I think it would always have been a phrase with a pejorative or contemptuous overtone, Steve. Barry was surely talking of, and meaning, the degeneration the song had undergone.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 02:44 AM

Ok. Historically the enlightened of the upper class has always been interested in the artistic endeavors of the lower classes, albeit it often resembles the interest shown to a conquered indigent group. Conversely, artists of the lower class have aspired to gain acceptance by their "betters."

All that Jim was trying to say is that there is no room for snobbery in the study if ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 02:48 AM

Oh yeah, and bartender, bring me another whiskey, will ya?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 03:46 AM

"I must be mixing with the wrong people, Jim. "
Sorry Steve; like other arguments we have had, you answer nothing.
In the past you have dismissed my arguments as being about "strapping ploughboys and fair maidens", called me a "romantic" or something on that level, and you have given 'character references of the "scholars" who subscribe to your ideas rather than deal with those arguments - doesn't hack it for me I'm afraid.
To turn what we think we know on its head you need to produce solid proof of what you claim rather than a collection of dates of the earliest printed versions and character references from academics.
I was surprised to learn that you, who have apparently done masses of work in your paper-trail, had never heard of David Fowler's 'The Literary History of the Popular Ballad', one of the major works on ballad origins.
I was astounded when you had to ask "does anybody take Lord Lovel seriously?" apparently unaware of Walter Pardon's, Jeannie Robertson's, Ethel Findlater's Charlotte Higgins's, Emily Bishop's, version or of its popularity in Ireland..... and all the other 'po-faced' versions which have been taken from our traditional singers.
Barry's comment was as dismissive of the singers as yours is of other researchers who happen not to agree with you.
You have all but admitted that you are unable to provide proof of one single song appearing on a broadside hadn't been taken down from a traditional singer first, yet you claim that 90-odd% of them originated in print; you even suggest that later versions also started life in such a way - writing off the singers as composers all-but completely.
You dismissed the composition of local songs as "the occasional scribbling of retired old people" (paraphrase), ignoring the mass of anonymous songs that didn't make it into the collections because they didn't fit into the national repertoire.
You claim that the English rural working classes were "too busy earning a living to make songs" ? compared to whom ? their Irish counterparts fighting wars of independence, civil wars, experiencing famines, evictions, mass emigration?.. come on Steve, you can do better than that.
When you were pinned down to agreeing that the bothy songs were made by the farmworkers, you claimed that their special circumstances of existence were unique, yet the description you outlined was identical to life at sea, or in the army, the songs of which you claim to be print-originated.   
If you want to dismiss the conclusions of others, you really are going have to do a little better than that Steve.
For your interest, this is Barry's somewhat off-the-wall note to one of the most beautiful and popular songs of a domestic tragedy, 'The Lake of Col Fin', in all its glory.
And you call me a "romantic"!
Jim Carroll

"From Lilith, the wild woman of perilous love, and Morgain la Fee, to the mood of a street ballad about one of the many Irish youths who have lost their lives in fresh water, is a long leap. But "The Lakes of Col Fin" takes it. Irish singers understand the lore of the ballad perfectly: Willie was not "drowned"; he was taken away to Tir fa Tonn, "Fairyland-under-wave," by a water woman who had fallen in love with him. Legends of similar content are frequent in Middle Irish literature and have survived into modern popular tradition. We may compare Motherwell's, "The Mermayden," whose "bower is biggit o' the gude ships' keels, and the banes o' the drowned at sea"?a grim picture of the supernatural woman's cruelty in love, which the poet nicely caught?and Leyden's "The Mermaid of Corrievrekan," with a happy ending wrought by a clever hero who inveigles the mermaid into taking him back to bid farewell to his former love, "the maid of Colonsay."
Both poems were based on local traditions and legends.
Popular tradition, however, does not mean popular origin. In the case of our ballad, the underlying folklore is Irish de facto, but not de lure: the ballad is of Oriental and literary origin, and has sunk to the level of the "folk" which has the keeping of folklore. To put it in a single phrase, memory not invention, is the function of the folk.
"The Lakes of Col Fin" was first printed by Dr. P. W. Joyce in 1872, in a version, with the air, obtained from a County Limerick singer. A full history of the ballad and of the folk tradition pertaining to it is in FSSNE, Bulletin No. 8, pp. 9?12.
Mrs. Flanders met this ballad as "The Lakes of Champlain" while talking about old songs with Mrs. Herbert Haley of Cuttingsville, Vermont. Mrs. Haley sang the words to the tune of "The Dying Cowboy" and had been told that the drowned boy was "Willie Lanard."
New Green Mountain Songster, Yale University Press 1939


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 04:22 AM

Home again, home again, jigitty jig :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39Z80oHUZOw


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 05:38 AM

Handy 'flower' site Susan - had a problem with the other link - kept getting a woman's voice advertising "brawband" - presumably the Scots equivalent of Broadband - what is happening to the English language?
Will persevere.
It takes a bit of space, but here is the 'Funk and Wagnall Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend' entry for 'Rose' - might be something for somebody.
Jim Carroll   

ROSE
The national flower of England, once divided between the followers of the white rose of the House of York and the red rose of Lancaster in the War of the Roses. In the United States it is the state flower of New York, Iowa, and North Dakota. Originally from Persia, the rose is said to have been brought to the West by Alexander. To the Arabs the rose was a masculiine flower. It was anciently a symbol of joy, later of secrecy
and silence, but is now usually associated with love.
The rose, as one of the most beautiful of flowers, has always been associated in one way or another with Venus. Various legends ascribe its origin to her tears or as a gift of the gods to celebrate her rising from the sea. Some say it became red because Venus (Aphrodite) pricked her feet on the thorns as she sought her slain lover, Adonis. Other legends link it with her son, Cupid, e.g. the roses became red when he mischievously emptied a cup of wine on them, or once, when he stopped smell a rose, he was stung by a bee which had been admiring the same rose. Cupid was so angry that he
shot an arrow into the bush; this accounts for the thorns.
Another tale says that Bacchus was chasing a nymph when he was stopped by a thorn hedge which he commanded to become a hedge of roses; the nymph doubled back, and when he saw that the rose hedge would not stop her, he commanded it to be thorn again. The magic was not wholly effective and so now they grow together.
In Algonquian Indian etiological story the thorns were added by Gluskabe to prevent the animals from eating the flowers.
When Eve kissed a white rose in the Garden of Eden, it blushed with pleasure and has been pink ever since.
The 4th century Bishop Basil said the rose was thornless until the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Many of the attributes of the rose were inherited by the Virgin Mary. In common with many other thorny plants it is said to have formed the "Crown of Thorns," the tree on which Judas hanged himself, and Christ's blood is said to have turned the rose red at the time of the Crucifixion.
Throughout the Teutonic area the rose belongs to the dwarfs or fairies and is under their protection. In many places it is customary to ask permission of their king before picking lest one lose a hand or foot. The Arabs say that the white rose sprang from the sweat of Mohammed on his journey from heaven. A Rumanian story tells of a princess who was bathing in a secluded pool. She was so beautiful that the sun passing overhead was stopped in his tracks. He stopped so long that the moon complained to the gods, who turned the princess into a white rose. Next day when the sun passed, the princess was embarrassed and she blushed; the flowers on top of the bush turned a deep red, those in the middle became pink, while those near the earth remained white. In Persia the nightingale cries out when a rose is picked and sings because of its love of the red rose which is stained with its blood. In India at one
time Brahma and Vishnu were of equal rank. One day they were discussing flowers and Brahma said that the lotus was the most beautiful of flowers. Vishnu showed Brahma the rose and he had to admit defeat.
In Persia the infant Zoroaster (Zarathustra) was placed on a bed of burning logs to die, but they turned into a bed of roses. Red roses were often connected in story with lire, and the ashes on which several Christian martyrs were burned turned into roses, but in their cases, too late. However, Zoroaster's couch was not the original "bed of roses" which refers to the Sybarites who slept on mattresses stuffed with rose petals.
In Rome at the time of the Empire roses were lavishly used to add to the luxury of banquets, often in quantities comparable to such modem fetes as the Festival of Roses in Los Angeles. The rose garden of King Midas was one of the wonders of the ancient world.
Anciently in Greece, Rome, and China, and more recently in Europe and England, the rose has become a funeral flower; in Switzerland the cemetery is often referred to as the Rosengarten, which in this allusion is a kind of cross between churchyard and heaven. In England it is customary to plant a rosebush at the head of the grave of a deceased lover who died before the wedding. In Wales a white rose is planted on the grave of a virgin and a red one on the grave of any respected person. A rose is often used in the decoration on the tombstone of a virgin.
Sub rosa, under the rose, means in secret, and refers to the ancient custom of hanging a rose over the council table to indicate that all present are sworn to secrecy.
This in turn may have sprung from the legend that Eros gave a rose to Harpocrates, god of silence, to keep him from revealing the indiscretions of Venus. At any event it is known to have been in use as early as 477 B.C. Up to quite recent times a rose in the decoration of the dining room ceiling was a gracious invitation to talk freely without fear, but this custom is no longer observed.
There are various references in story to persons being enchanted and turned into animals who regained their human form by eating a rose, as Apuleius in the Golden Ass (see ASS), and St. Denis, the patron of France. At one time in England the officiating clergy wore wreaths of roses on St. Barnabas' Day; in Rome there was a Rose
Sunday. In Germany the associations of the rose are not always happy. It has been worn as a punishment for immoral conduct. In much of Europe the red rose is an evil omen. Seeing the petals fall is a sign of death although in Germany this may be counteracted by burning some of the fallen petals. In Wales and parts of England, it is an ill omen when roses bloom out of season. In British Columbia, the Thompson Indians pass widows and widowers four times through a rose bush so that the thorns will purify them of the spirits of their dead mates. Whether singly or in chaplets, roses have been used as a chastity test (H432.1), signifying infidelity by fading or changing color. In parts of the southern United States, a folded petal is sometimes struck against the forehead; if it cracks, the person in mind loves you; if .it does not, your love is one-sided.
The use of the rose medicinally has continued unabated from tiie time of Hippocrates to the present day British Ministry of Health. The fruit, or hips, contain more than twenty times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges. Almost every part of the plant is used (root, bark, leaves, petals, fruit) and prepared in every conceivable way from delicious confection^ with sugar and honey to the bitter root-bark tea. Rose petals from the altar of Aphrodite w'ere used to cure Cyrus, King of the Medes and the Persians. In Greece the petals were used both internally and externally to cure the bite of mad dogs. Gerard recommends rose-petal conserve for "shak- ings and tremblings of the heart." The Romans believed that the rose would prevent drunkenness either by its presence, or by floating a petal in the cup. The North American Tewa Indians powder the dried petals and use them in a salve for sore mouth. Only a generation ago a sillabub of roses was recommended for sore throat, and a pint of claret in which a handful of rose petals had been boiled was considered a good compress for a sprain. In 1943 the people of England gathered 500 tons of rose hips and hundreds of pounds of dried petals for the manufacture of needed drugs, [JWH] rosemary According to Culpeper, an herb of the sun under the dominion of the Ram. Ophelia's famous line, "Rosemary, that's for remembrance," expressed the common knowledge of the day; for rosemary has been symbolic of remembrance, fidelity, and friendship since early times and in this connection was most frequently used as a funeral wreath and in wedding ceremonies. In medieval Germany, however, some brides wore it to guard against pregnancy. In ancient Greece, students wore rosemary twined in their hair while studying for examinations also "for remembrance" (i.e. to strengthen their memory) and because it was believed to bring success to any undertaking. It was one of the early strewing herbs both because of its pleasing odor and because it kept out moths, vermin, and evil spirits. A sprig under the bed induced sound sleep and protected from harm and nightmare. The Romans used rosemary to crown the heads of their guests and of their household gods. Some say this herb will thrive only for the righteous or where the woman rules the household. In the Netherlands it is called elf-leaf, and is a favorite haunt of these little people. Christian legend says that the rosemary opened up to give Mary and the infant Jesus shelter from Herod's soldiers on their flight into Egypt, hence its dull white flowers were given the blue color of the Virgin's mantle. Another Christian legend states that the shrub does not grow higher than Christ's height on earth, and that at the age of 33 it ceases to grow and increases only in breadth. This plant was probably introduced into England by the Romans, but it is also said to have come to England with Queen Philippa of Hainaut in the 14th century. In any event it has flourished there and is said to be more fragrant in England than in any other land. Making a box of rosemary wood and smelling it keeps one young; in Wales, cooking-spoons of the wood are believed to make everything more nutritious.
Because rosemary is a plant of remembrance, it is a sovereign remedy for all diseases of the brain and is strengthening to the mind in all forms. But its uses seem to have spread to the whole head, for besides the brain, a decoction of rosemary in wine is good for loss of speech, sore eyes, and to clear the complexion. The ashes or charcoal of rosemary wood were used in England to clean the teeth, and to this day it is used in preparations for the hair to prevent baldness. Culpeper recommends cigars rolled from the leaves to smoke for coughs and consumption. He also recommends the flowers with bread and salt the first thing in the morning to dispel wind, and a flower conserve to comfort the heart and prevent contagion. Bathing in rosemary water makes the old young again. The boiled leaves bound to the leg with linen cloths are good for gout. A tea brewed of the leaves is good for fevers, pains, and colds, and taken cold with an equal amount of wine it is excellent to restore lost appetite. A decoction of rosemary put into the beer barrel secretly was said to be a sure cure for drunkenness. See ST. AGNES EVE. [JWH]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 09:38 AM

That's a lot of rose lore Jim :-) Unfortunately, they attach advertisements to youtube videos now. It takes a few moments for the song to begin.

It is the song "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass, a one-hit wonder I think. Try to track it down and listen to it if you do not already know it. I think you'll understand why I posted it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 09:47 AM

The interesting long extract copied & pasted by Jum above ~~ for which many thanks, ~~ unfortunately gets a bit confusing late on, by appearing to segue into 'rosemary', which is a herb allied to mint, and not a plant or flower related to the rose at all. Still, the piece as a whole was enlightening in many ways with regard to symbolic significances and so on.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 10:28 AM

As most of your reply, Jim, is going over old ground repeated endlessly elsewhere I'm passing over it. I'm quite happy with the many people who agree with my findings, but I do find it interesting that you don't.

However, in view of Mike's comments and your expansions I'm also happy to distance myself from Barry. I was trying to be generous, if misguided on this point. Obviously I don't fully disagree with the final summing up phrase of memory over invention. But even here Barry misses an important point, the 'invention' part is what happens in the oral process.


"the occasional scribbling of retired old people" (paraphrase),

I do strongly object to your paraphrasing though. I have never written anything like this or implied it. One of the last farm workers I recorded a couple of years ago had a wealth of his own wonderful songs about his own life written in his youth. The thing is they were never likely to enter oral tradition for only he and I knew about them. Jim, if you're going to quote me in future I'd be obliged if you'd use my actual wording in context.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 04:00 PM

Steve,stop being so mean to Jim! I went over to your website. Very nice and what a splendid voice you have!

Still, I am surprised you do not seem recognize the significance of the white rose from Campbell's version 75 E. It's your rose Steve! Jim, thanks for that tidbit about the rose being associated with secrecy and silence. I'll be reading that in now as well :-)

Whoever composed Campbell's version was high born and well-educated. They knew about the history of Viscount Lovel and the War of the Roses (btw, Lovel's wife was also named Anne). They knew, even before historical documentation was uncovered (fairly recently) that Lovel was received by the king of Scotland as opposed to the gothic tale that he was holed up in Minster Lovell where he ultimately died of starvation. They knew about the "Rough Wooing" and the fire set by the English to St. Mary's in Dundee- in detail. They knew of the ballad Lord Levett- obviously.

75E is about what happened to St. Mary's but it's also about the ongoing struggle from Lovel's time to ??? (had to be after the fire in 1547) of people who were allied and associated with the white rose. This was an ethnic mix of English, Scottish, French and Irish, on the whole with Catholic sympathies although later it was more a matter of loyalty to a system of monarchy than a particular religious outlook per se. To me this sophisticated version is where the crossover occurred. And then, once the name Lovel was attached, it was on!

I said in a previous post that the Levett name was not controversial. I was wrong about that. As it turns out, that's not the case at all. There was a William Levett who was very close to King Charles I (beheaded in 1649) and who played a key role in restoring the monarchy. That's all very controversial but I think it provides even more insight into Lord Lovel.

I think the names themselves, rather than associations to specific historical personages, are what's really important here. Think about it. If I were a balladeer who decided that I would use the ancient Irish sea ballad Lord Levett as my inspiration, the first thing I would do, in order to tip off my audience that it was a new creative effort, is change the name. Levett and Lovel have a few significant things in common. Both descended from the Normans (which is why they sound French) and both are bonafide members of the "white rose party" - so to speak. Lovel then becomes a perfect pseudonym for Levett. Now if, on the other hand, I were writing a parody, I would use Levett. I would need people to make that association in order for it to hit the mark. There are no parodies of Lord Levett, only Lord Lovel. The fact is that Lord Lovel is a ballad that was inspired by Lord Levett and from there became a parody or burlesque.

I'm sure you have heard of the Pilgrimmage of Grace right? Just checking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 05:42 PM

Susan,
Thanks for your comments. Don't worry about Jim and me. We enjoy this sparring. This has been going on for some time on different threads, and I apologise for the thread drift.

If your theories carry any weight they are very important and well worth studying in detail looking at all versions of the ballad. What I can't understand is how such important interpretation has escaped the notice of the scholars of the past 120 years. I look forward to the publication of your thesis.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 03:10 AM

Okay, so you caught me off guard. I've now had a chance to look more closely and I've spotted the hoax. You can reveal your true identity now 'Susan'. Ha, ha!

For anyone else who thinks there's any milage in this at all, the only differences between Child E and A are 1) the suicide in E8 which is unique (in English versions) to child E and crops up in various continental versions, and 2) the changing of an insignificant rose to white which is red in some later versions. These type of colour changes are very common in ballads of all kinds (White, blue, purple, black, green, yellow Cockades for instance).

As for the Irish traveller versions, that's all they are, typical traveller versions of the English piece.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 04:20 AM

"by appearing to segue into 'rosemary', which is a herb allied to mint"
Puzzled me to, especially as the next entry in the dictionary is "rosemary".
Taking up a bit more space - below is from Rev. Thisleton Dyer's 'Folk Lore of Shakespeare d. 1883, indexed as "customs connected with roses".

Steve;
Will reply later.
Jim Carroll

Rose.?As might be expected, the rose is the flower most | frequently mentioned by Shakespeare; denoting in many cases the symbol of all that is fair and lovely. Thus, for instance, in " Hamlet " (iii. 4), the queen says :?
Such an act?.        takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
And sets a blister there."

And Ophelia (iii. 1), describes Hamlet as?

" The expectancy and rose of the fair state."

In days gone by the rose entered largely into the customs and superstitions of most nations, and even now-a-days there is an extensive folklore associated with it.
It appears that in Shakspeare's time one of the fashions of the day was the wearing of enormous roses on the shoes, of which full-length portraits afford striking examples. Hamlet (iii. 2) speaks " of two provincial roses on his razed shoes."? meaning, no doubt, rosettes of ribbon in the shape of roses of Provins or Provence. Douce favours the former, Warton the latter locality. In either case it was a large rose. The Province or damask rose, was probably the better known.
Gerarde in his " Herbal," says that the damask rose is called by some "Rosa provincialis." Mr Fairholt quotes from Friar Bacon's Prophecy, 1604, the following in allusion to this fashion:?

" When roses in the gardens grew,
And not in ribbons on a shoe:
Now ribbon roses take such place
That garden roses want their grace."

Again, in King John (i. 1), where the Bastard alludes to the three-farthing silver pieces of Queen Elizabeth, which were extremely thin, and had the profile of the sovereign, with a rose on the back of her head, there doubtless is . A fuller reference to the court fashion of sticking roses in the ear:?

"My face so thin,
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose,
Lest men should say, ' Look, where three-farthings goes.' "

Shakspeare also mentions the use of the rose, in rose-cakes and rose-water, the former in "Romeo and Juliet" (v. I), where Romeo speaks of " old cakes of roses," the latter in " Taming the Shrew " (induction, sc. 1):?

Let one attend him with a silver basin
Full of rose water and bestrewed with flowers."

Plants.
Referring to its historical lore, we may mention its famous connection with the "Wars of the Roses." In the fatal dis-
pute in the Temple Gardens,'Somerset, on the part of Lancaster, says,
(" I Henry VI." ii. 3) :?

" Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me."

Warwick, 011 the part of York, replies :?
" I have no colours, and without all colour
Of base insinuating flattery
I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet."

The trailing white dog-rose is commonly considered to have been the one chosen by the house of York. A writer however, in the " Quarterly Review " (vol. cxiv.), has shown that the white rose has a very ancient interest for Englishmen, as, long before the brawl in the Temple Gardens, the flower had been connected with one of the most ancient names of our island. The elder Pliny, in discussing the etymology of the word Albion, suggests that the land may have been so named from the white roses which abounded in it. The York and Lancaster rose, with its pale striped flowers, is a variety of the French rose known as Rosa Gallica. It became famous when the two emblematical roses, in the persons of Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York at last brought peace and happiness to the country which had been so long divided by internal warfare. The canker rose referred to by Shakspeare is the wild dog rose, a name occasionally applied to the common red poppy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 08:26 AM

"Don't worry about Jim and me. We enjoy this sparring"
Speak for yourself Steve ? I find it most unpleasant, upsetting and time-wasting.
It was not my intention to misrepresent what you said; if I have, I have misremembered and I apologise, though I do think you have a bit of a nerve to complain after your sneery rejections of my beliefs as "romantic nonsense", 'merry ploughboys' and all. Thirty years of ploutering around rat-infested Traveller sites, or sitting for many hours over many years, with small farmers sometimes in homes with no running water or, in one particularly lucrative, songwise and extremely pleasurable case, no electricity, tends to knock any romanticism out of you pretty sharpish.
The fact remains you did dismiss the suggestion of people making songs which reflect their feelings and experiences as having no significance to our understanding of the oral tradition by confining them to a handful of (I'm sure you said "retired") individuals writing in isolation and having no part in that tradition.
For me, the fact that those songs are still being sung a century or so later is an indication of the likelihood that many/most of our traditional songs originated from the people who experienced firsthand the subject matter of them and were compelled to set them down as part of the human condition as they experienced it.
We will never really know who and how these songs were made, but even with what little evidence we have, we can take an educated guess. This, I am convinced can only be achieved by tackling the problem holistically; by examining the makers familiarity with and use of vernacular language, phrases and sayings, trade practices and tools, folklore and superstition; the identification of the singers to their songs, subject matter and the reason for choosing it. You also need to look at literacy and the attitude to it contemporary to the probable period they were made ? extremely complicated, even within living memory. It needs to be remembered that a significant proportion of our ballads were preserved by Irish and Scots Travellers who were non-literate and whose pariah status made it highly unlikely that they could have had any access to the printed word.
The "ownership" claimed by the singers to songs that were in oral circulation; "Norfolk"songs, "Traveller" songs, Miltown Malbay" songs, "our" songs; or the identification of being "true", which was a common one in our experience.
The state of the tradition when the songs were caught is a major factor; most English songs were being 'remembered being remembered' rather than being taken from a living tradition, or even being 'remembered being remembered, being remembered'; while in Ireland a living tradition was well within living memory of the singers. With Irish and Scots Travellers they were being passed on from a tradition which was, while not thriving, certainly a living part of their culture, including the active act of song - making.
I think Pat and I were extremely lucky to have known and recorded Mikeen McCarthy, the Kerry Traveller who described the mechanics of getting the 'ballads' (songsheets) printed and then selling them around the fairs and markets of rural Ireland in the 1940s ? the broadside industry 'writ small'.         
There are so many more factors that, if approached carefully, can fill in the massive gap in our knowledge; none of these should be treated in isolation.
I have always regarded the songs as part and parcel of our oral history ? If you want to know how many took part in the Battle of Trafalgar, what the ships were, how many guns they had, who were the commanders... etc, you can go to the Naval Records Office; but if you want to know how it felt to be a ploughboy ripped from his home by a press gang and stuck in the middle of a murderous sea battle, you have to go to the songs and ballads because very few people ever bothered to record that experience in any other way.
Taking your logic to its conclusion, these songs have no more historical or cultural significance that the outpourings of the latest boy band (I think you have already stated this is your opinion), in which case the people who went through these experiences have no history of their own ? no voice.
I was persuaded to lift the corner and look underneath our song tradition (with the inspirational help and encouragement of people like Bob Thomson and MacColl and Seeger, and the generosity of collectors like Mike Yates) by the idea that it represented a significant and extremely neglected part of our history. You will also have scuppered the idea that working people have a creative culture of their own. Theser are the aspects of folksong you will be removing from our understanding of the tradition ? so get it right otherwise you will have done an enormous amount of damage
If you are right and the songs were merely a money-spinning business, then I have been wasting my time over the last, all-too-rapidly approaching half century ? you had better have done your homework if you are going to persist in stating your theories as facts, especially if you are managing to persuade others to your ideas.
I'm not suggesting for one minute that you are one of them, but I've become a little tired of degree-chasing kite-flyers who, at best, might have nipped around to the local folk club occasionally, but who otherwise have never lifted their heads from a book ? (somebody else's, of course). Their quaint 'dog-on-its-hind-legs' attitude at first used to amuse me, then it began to irritate me, finally it made me realise that it was barrier to getting the information we had recorded to a wider audience, so we came to the conclusion it was better to leave it to posterity to sort out.
Doesn't mean I'm not going to continue fighting my corner.
If you have solid evidence of your claims, put it up for consideration and stop writing our conclusions off as naive, romantic nonsense.
When I have time I intend to search out all our little head-to-heads in order to not misrepresent what you have said, also to put to you from time to time the somewhat arrogant and insulting way you have presented your claims.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 09:56 AM

Steve, actually I already have a MS in Recreation and Leisure Studies. What I am doing now is out of pure interest. I want to write a good Wiki piece about the ballad - for posterity :)

Jim, where do you find, say, a song that describes the experience of a man at sea and his lady love waiting in some harbor town? The answer is, if you're a land lubber, they are few and far between. You'll probably find more about shipwrecks. The youtube link I posted is a relatively modern pop song which expresses the same ideas about love in a maritime culture that are found in Lord Levett. I would not use the word obscure, I'd use rare. They are around but not exactly dropping from the sky. I really think that Nora Cleary's version of Lord Levett is such a gem.

Now, the asterisks in a certain part of the text of Lord Levett indicate that Nora believed she was missing a part or parts. In Mount Callan Garland, Tom Munnelly tells us that he believed that he was missing something from his version also and was very interested in learning about Nora's. Personally, I don't believe Nora's version is missing anything. All those floating versions you see tacked on to Lord Lovel and indeed other ballads- about coffins etc. do not seem Irish to me. To me it seems more Irish to not supply the answer as to whether Lord Levett's bad dream was real or just a dream and then cut right to the chase and reassure the listener that our couple was ultimately united in eternity.

Jim, I think what happened is that when "Lord Lovel" eventually drifted back into Ireland, some people said, "Hey, wait a minute, this is ours!" and proceeded to refashion it. In some cases, they added back certain elements that were taken out or altered- such as the name Levett and the name of the church and so forth- and in the case of Lord Donegal, made a fresh start and chose a new name altogether. They sort of reclaimed it and this involved setting it to a delightful Irish melody like the Keane sisters version of Lord Donegal or Tom Lenihan's lovely tune. Tom Lenihan insistence that the rose-briar motif belongs to Lord Levett alone is based on "oral currency."

Two questions: Does this make sense to you? And do you ever get over to Dublin? Go and check out the following because I cannot get there obviously and you're just a few hours away.

LORD LEVIET / Donnchada Ó Cinnéide / Mairtín Ó Mainín / Galway 1939 / IFC617:134-6

LORD LOVELL / ? / ? / London*1957 / IFC1500:98-100 / [Incomplete text with prose summary of the missing verses in Irish. *Originally from Waterford.]

[Where are you going Lord Névin? she said] / Galway 1943 / IFC405:100 / [2-verse fragment.]

LORD LOVEL / Joe Coneely, (50) / Knocknaskeagh, Kilshanny / Tom Munnelly / Cl12-1-1972 / IFC2219:12-14. (12v) / TM35/B/1

LORD DEVITT / Micky 'The Pounder' Moloney, (59) / Carrowduff, Miltown Malbay / Tom Munnelly / Cl31-8-1972 / IFC2224:80-2. (14v) / TM92/A/3

LORD LEVEL / Tom Griffin, (80) / Killernan, Miltown Malbay / Tom Munnelly / Cl. 29-7-1974 / Interim vol. 15:117-9 (14v) / TM324/A/4

That is what they currently have in their data base. There might be more that have not been input yet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 10:45 AM

Sorry Susan; can't respond fully at present - up to my **** in photograph editing.
"Now, the asterisks in a certain part of the text of Lord Levett indicate that Nora believed she was missing a part or parts."
Assuming you are talking about 'Around the Hills of Clare', what asterisks - Nora sang a full version for us?
Don't know how L.L. got "back" to Ireland - don't think it originated there. The entry of Anglo Irish songs into the Southern Counties is many-faceted; emigration, British soldiers, Travellers, brought from the North... being only a few.
Our visits to Dublin are regular nowadays, good films don't make it this far west - due for a visit there in a couple of weeks (the Israeli film 'The Gatekeepers' being the main purpose this time).
I assume your list is from the U.C.D. archive; we usually only make it to ITMA in Merrion Square - try looking on their site.
We have the Joe Coneely recording, The Pounder is a neighbour but never heard him sing it, we nearly met and should have recorded Tom Griffin.
Will do our best when we visit next.
Do you have a copy of Tom Munnelly's/Hugh Shields's cassette, Early Ballads in Ireland?
Must go - photos call.
PM me a home address please.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 01:24 PM

Yes sir. As soon as I get back to my regular computer, will do. I never store passwords on mobile devices.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM

No, Jim, no matter how hard you search you won't find any references from me of songs being made by retired country people. What you will find are my several apologies for my initial 'sneery rejections'.

I must remind you that all of my references referred to that corpus of material collected in the last few years of the 19thc and the early 20thc by the likes of Sharp, Baring Gould, Hammond, Gardiner etc. There isn't a great deal in there that includes specialised knowledge of anything other than the human condition, which is open to all adult humans. Your experiences with Irish travellers in the mid 20th century whilst having obvious overlaps is quite different and you seem to be saying this yourself. We have covered all of this ground before.

I'm sorry if you don't enjoy these discussions. It is usually you who jumps in on my postings, so I assumed you were quite happy with the situation.

Again, I personally don't think it matters one jot where the songs originated. It's what happened to them when they got into the oral tradition that gives them their appeal.

I don't have any feelings either way about kite-flying degree chasers, whatever they are, but I do know academia has contributed a lot to the understanding of these songs and I certainly wouldn't dismiss it.

I will, however, continue to offer my opinion when unsubstantiated romantic nonsense rears its head.

Best wishes as always,
Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 02:15 PM

'We will never really know who and how these songs were made, but even with what little evidence we have, we can take an educated guess. This, I am convinced can only be achieved by tackling the problem holistically; by examining the makers familiarity with and use of vernacular language, phrases and sayings, trade practices and tools, folklore and superstition; the identification of the singers to their songs, subject matter and the reason for choosing it. You also need to look at literacy and the attitude to it contemporary to the probable period they were made ? extremely complicated, even within living memory.'

I couldn't have put it better myself, Jim. These are some of the major factors I have used in coming to my conclusions, with perhaps the exception of one point.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 02:39 PM

"Again, I personally don't think it matters one jot where the songs originated."
That is fairly obvious from the shortcomings of your research which leaves you happy to remain one of the merry choir that proclaims that English working people are not creative because they were too busy earning a crust - nice one!
"It's what happened to them when they got into the oral tradition that gives them their appeal."
But your claim is the opposite, that they originated on the broadside presses and then enterered the tradition - you really need to write that down so you'll remember next time.
"But I do know academia has contributed a lot to the understanding of these songs and I certainly wouldn't dismiss it."
I was referring to the academics who did no such thing - the "kite-flyers, please don't misrepresent my words.
"I will, however, continue to offer my opinion when unsubstantiated romantic nonsense rears its head."
I have yet to see you do this; all I've seen are knee-jerk insults to cover up the flaws of your theory - amply back up by your failure to respond to one single argument put to you so far.
Good luck with the paper chase.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 03:35 PM

Jim,
Sorry but I'm totally flummoxed by your second statement.

And I'm not familiar with the phrase 'Kite-fliers' so I apologise yet again.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 03:56 PM

"Sorry but I'm totally flummoxed by your second statement."
Sorry - I thought you were claiming that 90%# of our traditional songs originated on the broadside presses = many of the variants - is this not the case?
"No, Jim, no matter how hard you search you won't find any references from me of songs being made by retired country people."
Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany From: Steve Gardham - PM Date: 22 Apr 12 - 04:48 PM
"On that last point there is no contradiction. I stand by what I said originally. Just as today, the vast majority of people neither have the time nor the inclination to write songs. My ancestors were ploughmen who got up at 4 in the morning and were working with very few and short breaks through to 7 or 8 at night on a daily basis. All that guff about whistling happily behind the plough while the birds are sweetly singing is straight out of the pleasure gardens in the late 18thc. The examples I have are from a few latterday writers/singers written in their retirement. In the early 19th century not many made it to retirement, and if they did the workhouse was waiting for them, or parish relief if they were lucky."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 15 Apr 13 - 10:12 AM

Not home just yet. Very soon.

Steve, shhhh. I got to tell you something...

Let say I was a balladeer who wanted to write something that would appeal to a very select audience, like Jacobites for instance, people who might appreciate it at their closed meetings where they toast the king over the water. What sort if content would it have? What sort of references would I make?

Well, if I was a Jacobite worth my salt, I would reference the greatest Jacobite hero of all- the Bonnie Dundee. So the reference is to much more than the church or the city, it alludes to the man himself.

Jacobites were secretive people who often communicated in a rather cryptic fashion. Thanks for that secret rose thing Jim. It might have rehashed rambling to Steve but as you see it worked for me :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 15 Apr 13 - 11:43 AM

So that narrows down the time frame. Lord Lovel was composed sometime between 1689 when Bonnie Dundee was killed at the moment of victory in the battle of Killiecrankie and 1765 when we know Horace Walpole had a hold of it for parody or burlesque or whatever (I have scrolled back and reread where you explained the difference).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Apr 13 - 03:52 PM

Just a comment about the lack of time available to the peasantry---farming, especially plowing, is seasonal work. THere's not a helluva lot to do during the winter months. Singing (and composing) seems to be a reasonable thing to do on dark winter's evenings with no lighs, no books, no radio and no TV (not even internet).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 13 - 07:39 PM

Sorry, Jim, I'm still flummoxed. I stand by the 2 statements you quote AND I stand by the 90% figure. I don't see how they contradict each other in any way?????

Okay so I used the word 'retirement' but if you look at it carefully the crucial statement is saying exactly the opposite to what you were criticising. ........'not many made it to retirement' so how could I be saying they made them up in their retirement?

Dick,
The main thrust of my argument was NOT that the country people didn't make songs, but that there was little incentive for them to do so as there were plenty of songs coming out of the towns and coming down from above in the period under discussion. Clearly some country people did make songs, those with a modicum of literacy, but for whatever reason only a small percentage made it into the national corpus that remained to be recorded by the likes of Sharp.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Apr 13 - 10:35 PM

Steve ~~ Surely we are talking of the ORAL tradition, however we consider its contents and artefacts to have originated or entered it. So what is the relevance of this 'modicum of literacy' to the discourse? Surely the whole point is the possibility that the words and tunes originated orally, and were originally so transmitted, before being committed to paper at all ~~ so 'literacy' would not have been a necessary [or even, perhaps, from the pov of some, a desirable] factor?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 03:56 AM

"but that there was little incentive for them to do so as there were plenty of songs coming out of the towns and coming down from above in the period under discussion."
You miss the point Steve.
People made songs, not because they lacked entertainment, though the 'entertainment' factor was always the main one, but because they felt it necessary to record in some way what they saw and experienced, and how they felt about it; the hardship that was part of their lives acted as an incentive, not a barrier to making songs.
To suggest that people would be happy to 'contract out' the recording of these experiences is as nonsensical as suggesting that sailors didn't bother making songs and spinning yarns because Herman Melville and Richard Henry Dana had done the job for them - this goes for mining, the textile industry, agricultural labour.....
Walter Pardon preserved a small number of locally made songs and squibs on the re-establishment of the Agricultural Workers Union in East Anglia in 1906, he said there were more he never learned - the one that 'made it to the charts' so to speak was 'The Old Man's Advice'.   
Irish, Scots and English Travellers, as well as the large number of Traditional songs they preserved (in their case, without the aid of literacy), hundreds of songs we know about which recorded everyday incidents of their lives - nobody knows how many disappeared as these incidents faded from the communities along with memory of the events.
I worked in Manchester Library in the 60s on their collection of campaigning newspapers, many of which ran a regular song and poetry column - hundreds of songs by textile workers that never survived beyond the events they dealt with, apart from the few that were published by worker poets like Axon. Laycock and Bamford.
This area in the West of Ireland has produced hundreds of local songs, a few of which have survived in living memory, but many more we only know existed because somebody remembered they did - unfortunately not the songs.
This overlooked repertoire is part of our oral history and, I believe, our song tradition, and it is an indication of the fact that working man is a compulsive song-maker.
Our extensive knowledge of that tradition dates back to the end of the 19th century when song collecting began in any sort of organised and extensive way.
It has always been assumed that our oral traditional repertoire was made by the people whose lives it recorded, hence the reference "country songs".
Nobody is denying that the broadsides played a part in circulating a great many of these songs, and even produced some of them, but if you are going to claim that they account for the making of 90% plus of them it is up to you to prove your case beyond the first printed examples - to show that they couldn't have existed beyond the earliest broadside.
You also have to show how a bunch of poor poets (hacks) obtained their skills and insider knowledge to fool people into believing that they were East Anglian, Traveller, Clare..... however the singers regarded and described them, "the genuine article".
You owe it to all of us who care about these songs and believe them to be important to do the job properly and fully - 'earliest' doesn't hack it.
Good luck with that one!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 11:22 AM

"To suggest that people would be happy to 'contract out' the recording of these experiences is as nonsensical as suggesting that sailors didn't bother making songs and spinning yarns because Herman Melville and Richard Henry Dana had done the job for them - this goes for mining, the textile industry, agricultural labour....." So true. Jim, do you teach? You should.

I do a lot pondering over the broadside phenomenon and exactly what it's impact has been on the oral tradition. I was deeply fascinated when I learned that the words Danny Boy had not always been married to the ancient Irish melody. In that case, the broadside effect was this:

The tune was so beautiful, there was a certain competition among lyricists. Many broadsides came out with same tune, different lyrics. The Irish knew this was their tune but their attitude toward all these lyrics was, "If we like 'em, we'll sing 'em, if not, we won't." Eventually, it was the Irish themselves who chose the lyrics to Danny Boy. They picked the ones that resonated in their Irish soul.

Although I have learned much through careful text analysis, I believe melody is a much greater indicator of oral currency (love that term :-)Jim, I note that anything from any sort of underground group stands a better chance of being the kind of material we are looking for, due to their unpublished, unbroadcasted status, don't you?

So Steve, going back to the Jacobites (and I love how you ignore me by the way), there are roughly two things to consider here.

1.) Jacobites were a secret group, very oppressed in their own way. When you belong an endangered group, you don't stand on the street corner and sing about how much you hate your oppressors. I remember when I learned about the banning of pipes in Ireland and Scotland, it struck me as absurd. I thought, "How ludicrous to take pipes away from a Celt. How unnatural is that!" But they did it because it had been determined by the powers-that-be that it gave Celts an advantage on the battlefield. And indeed it did!

But the point I am making here is that oppression is real, not abstract. Oppressors do not allow you to express yourself or declare your identity.

2.) The real reason Lord Lovel as a ballad never made it to the top ten is because it was such a screaming hit as a parody, burlesque, comic version, whatever (Who cares? You pedantic nuisance! :)) is because the people who were in power, the Jacobite's oppressors, the Horace Walpole set, buried it in ridicule- so that it's published legacy reflects mainly that. It was one of their special favorites to poke fun at and the loud legacy they created, that one of ridicule, carried forth into the future long after origins were "forgotten." When the North found themselves with a Confederate officer named Mansfield Lovell? Oh, you bet they did! Time for another round. So even though the time, place and other circumstances change, this ridicule tradition persists.

In my mind, what did Lord Lovel the greatest damage as a ballad were the efforts of those who attempted to pass it off strictly as a ballad with the gay tune and "silly sooth" lyrics. It is not. When a man goes to sea, he may not return. She may not be there when he gets back. The tone in Nora Cleary's voice and melody is solemn and haunting, not silly.

But back to these ballad destroyers. Percy, Childs, most definitely the "Percy Society" who told us that Lord Lovel should be sung to the tune of Johnny Cocklesmuir. I don't think so. They were probably rolling around on the floor laughing when they wrote that one. This artful composition might even have fallen right down the memory hole had it not turned into a tavern joke.

So you have in Lord Lovel 75E, a perfect Jacobite text in mint condition from a reputable dealer. John Francis Campbell was no ordinary song catcher. More like an anthropologist. He learned Gaelic and faithfully recorded the stories and songs of a vanishing point of view and way of life. The people of Islay loved him. They did not want to be forgotten. I love the way he slipped LL into the record under Child's nose, without saying anything about Jacobitism. He knew certain people would get that.

Also. I think it was written as a period piece. Go look this one up on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cyvYI_DDJg

It's not a good quality link unfortunately but the performance is exceptional so bear with. It would not be the same melody of course, but in terms of tone and style, I believe that this is how it came across in song. What do you think?

And one more thing, this whole "she died, he died" thing does not belong to Lord Levett. Lord Levett is being haunted by a dream. And if you take a look at tragic love ballads that truly belong to the British, that "she died, he died" thing comes up a lot. That link above, The Three Ravens, same thing. And naturally the composer of LL is English because Campbell said he learned it from the singing of an Englishman. He told you. It's like when Tom Lenihan says the rose-briar motif belongs to Lord Levett. Heck, you have to believe somebody, right? And it stands to reason that this Englishman is without a doubt, a Yorkshire type. And do we know that? The white rose. Thank you. And if you don't claim this poor defamed Jacobite ballad for the House of York, you're a bigger fool than I thought.

He's a mess, isn't he Jim?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 11:30 AM

And let's not forget Steve. Viscount Lovell is one of YOUR guys, one of the original defenders of the House of York...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 01:45 PM

No, Jim, it is you who is missing the point. Most of what you say at 03.56 is absolutely correct, but very little of this material features in the corpus of material collected and published by the likes of Sharp in the early years of the last century, which you are well aware is the corpus that is and was under discussion. I have made this clear on numerous occasions. I fully agree with your 'overlooked repertoire' but unfortunately very little of this material until recently featured in the accepted national corpus of folk songs.

I still deny your 'insider knowledge' except for a few of the sea songs, and my understanding of this is that during the late 18th and early 19thc most males were abroad fighting or at sea. When the wars ended they were unemployed and the few who were literate enough could have found employment as hacks.

Why do you keep going on about 'fooling' people? I'm not sure where this is leading.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 01:59 PM

Michael,
We are discussing the probable origins of the corpus collected in England and published by the likes of Sharp in the early 20th century. I have spent many years studying multiple versions of oral and printed ballads and have arrived at the conclusion that the vast majority of them actually originated either in the theatres and pleasure gardens in the towns, or were produced by the hacks that lived near the printers in the towns. In 89% of the corpus under consideration the earliest surviving example is from sheet music or street literature. Based on the comparative study of many versions and those we definitely know to have originated in this way I arrive at my conclusions. As Jim quite rightly states, I can't prove this beyond all reasonable doubt just as he or you can't prove they were made up by country people in rural settings.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 02:02 PM

Susan,
I apologise.
We seem to have hijacked yet another thread!

And yes, I'm a bigger fool than you thought!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 02:02 PM

Found a better link to that performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z9TBsCvZ2o


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 02:22 PM

...and a snob and pedantic nuisance :)))


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 02:23 PM

I take your point, Steve, about the corner you are fighting; but, in the context in which you used it - a concession that there might be something to be said for the opposite view - it seems to me that the req


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 02:30 PM

I appreciate your point, Steve, as regards your view of the matter. But at the point I commented on, you appeared to be conceding* that there might be at least some virtue in the counter-view; and it seemed to me that, in that context, your conditioning for the necessity of 'a modicum of literacy' was misplaced. Why should such a 'modicum' be required for a song to originate in oral tradition?

~M~

*'Clearly some country people did make songs, those with a modicum of literacy'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 02:32 PM

Sorry about that aborted first post above.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 03:06 PM

"but very little of this material features in the corpus of material collected and published by the likes of Sharp in the early years of the last century"
No Steve - it is you who missing, or deliberately avoiding the point.
I am well aware of the songs we are talning about; I have pointed out the existence of local songs as an example of working people as songmakers, making nonsense of your "the vast majority of people neither have the time nor the inclination to write songs". I have already pointed out to you numerous times that they were not included in the main collections, I believe because they did not fit into the national repertoire and/or their references did not make sense outside the immediate communities.
It is both incorrect and demeaning to suggest that working people did not make songs, certainly up to and far exceeding the quality of those made by broadside hacks.
It is far more likely than not that workers songs were taken up by the hacks and changed (to the extent of being made unsingable0 by the hacks.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TRIP TO GOUGANE
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 04:34 PM

An example of the type of song I'm talking about; full of local references and humour -
Synopsis:
Bunch of local men from a beautiful village in rural West Cork, club together and hire a horse and carriage to spend a day out in a renowned local beauty spot they had never visited before, Gougane Barra, get drunk and come home unimpressed at what they had been told would take their breaths away:

"We thought we'd see sights that would dazzle our eyes
But the divil a bit, only mountains and skies."

A minor masterpiece that never moved from the area in which it was made; certainly never entered the national repertoire.
Jim Carroll


THE TRIP TO GOUGANE
(Recorded from Diarmid O'Sullivan)

I'm one of those jolly young chaps from the Cross;
I'm fond of amusement and fond of a glass.
With a thirst I can't quench and a heart that is free,
And everything else plays the devil with me.

CHORUS: Rally ra fal the da, rally racks fol the dee

'Twas the fifteenth of August of this present year,
'Tis a day I'll remember for long, never fear.
To famed Gougane Barra we went for the day
With the boys of the village, light hearted and gay.

There was Buckleys and Healys and Sullivans too,
A Leary, two Connells, a Roche and a Drew;
Such a crowd of McCarthys I ne'er saw before,
And the Cronins were counted by the dozen or score.

This holiday morning just after first Mass,
We started away on our trip from the Cross.
Two handsome long cars we had hired for the day
Were waiting there ready to take us away.

The people were standing at every crossroad;
They came to the windows and more to the doors,
Saying, 'Who are these boys who are dressed up so swell ?
They must be the grandees from Williams's Hotel.'

Going towards Ballingeary and as we drew near
We moistened our lips for our first taste of beer.
We started again just as fleet as the fawn
And before twelve o'clock, we sailed into Gougane.

We were well tired and thirsty ere the horses did stop
And each man was smacking his lips for a drop.
We jumped from the cars and a song we struck up
And we marched in a body straight into the pub.

Some went boating all day in the lake close at hand;
While others went drinking till they could not stand.
We thought we'd see sights that would dazzle our eyes
But the divil a bit, only mountains and skies.

Some girls were there and indeed they were fine;
We were standing them glasses of whiskey and wine.
We paid for them all without caring a taste
And the worth of our money knocked out of their waist.

We started for home them before it got late,
And the horses were going at the divil's own rate.
I thought they would surely fall down on the road
Before they could carry such a drunken old load.

Then Cornelius O'Connell lost his new Sunday cap,
And Dan Buckley, on seeing it, jumped out of a hop.
The horses wouldn't stop till the cap was too far,
He had to run three and a half miles to keep up with the car

When we reached Ballingeary, we asked for some bread,
But boxes of biscuits they gave us instead,
And the stomachs being empty with each mother's son,
Sure we finished twelve boxes before we were done.

And O'Porter, the owner at Innes Hotel
Bought a bad brand of stout that he wanted to sell,
And, in order to cheat us, the clever old coon,
The barrels were up in his private back room.

We were half the time standing on each other's toes;
Tadgh Buckley thanks God that he still have his nose;
He was met by an elbow with the divil's own thud,
By my soul but he lost half a gallon of blood.

We got back to the Cross when the day it was o'er,
And we filled ourselves up with good porter once more
We recovered our senses next morning round dawn,
And that was the end of the trip to Gougane.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 06:24 PM

I take your point, Michael. Certainly many of those songs that (IMO) make up the relatively small percentage of songs in the corpus most likely to have originated in rural communities would need very little literacy as they generally consist of the catalogue type songs, rather than the longer ballad type. In my experience they are of the type that can be added to easily by the community.

Jim,
You may well be able to point out plenty of examples of gifted individuals in rural communities making songs. I gave some examples myself. Ireland seems to have been one of those places, but I would contend that there is very little evidence that such activities were rife in southern England in the early 19thc, or if there was then the collectors totally ignored it when they came to record that material in the late 19thc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 03:37 AM

"gifted individuals"
You are once again reducing the making of these thousands of songs to "individuals" - it is becoming distastefully dishonest of you.
We don't know who these "individuals" were - the songs were absorbed into the community and became part of their traditional repertoire, distinguished from the 'Lord Batemans' and 'Green Weddings', 'Banks of the Nile' and 'Captain Woodburrens'   (all current in this part of the country) only by their 'local' references.
We included nine of these local songs on our West Clare collection 'Around the Hills of Clare', over half of them dealing with incidents which had taken place during the lifetimes of the singers; yet we were unable to give authors to only one of them, by a local poet who published a collection of his poems.
All of our traditional songs must have been given a push start by "gifted individuals" at one time or another, yet you would put that (and the later remakes) down to what you describe as "hacks" - how 'frightfully illogical' of you.   
You are twisting what facts that we do have and rejecting the most likely explanation for the creation of our traditional songs to fit your theory - this really is shoddy scholarship.
A wonderful example of this twisting is your latest classic; "could have found employment as hacks." You are substituting "what ifs" for necessary research. Do you have any examples of specific hacks who went to sea or joined the army or worked on farms...... or any of the other occupations covered by our songs, and if you do, can you tie them in with any specific songs relating to their former occupations? If not, this is nothing more than defensive speculation - an attempt to artistically disenfranchise the rural working population from the song-making that has always been attributed to them.
Your arguments are little more than putty to fill in the holes in your theory.
It echoes perfectly Barry's "sunk to the level of the folk which has the keeping of folklore", except, of course, that you have gone a step further than him by casting doubt on the 'folk' having even re-creating the songs by crediting the hacks with the versions also.
This really is a re-appearance of the old and long-rejected idea that the ballads and folk-songs are too good to have been created by the folk.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 03:41 AM

Sorry - that should read "yet we were able to give an author to only one of them"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 07:57 AM

Jim, minor masterpiece and many more where that came from :)

I think I figured out what's really wrong with Steve. He is utterly devoid of the kind of imagination it takes to empathize with anyone except the person he sees in his mirror. The true ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes, see with their eyes, is what is required to formulate any solid theories and/or conclusions in this area. It is a thousand times more a cultural anthropological endeavor than a "literary" or "musical" one. It is a much wider world than Steve IMAGINES. There, I've made my point.

Jim, I've always had a bit of a problem with the Anglo-Saxon folk soul, that is if there is such a thing. It seems like they always want to kill you, steal your stuff, and take away your heritage. They do this to their closest neighbors, and to everyone in the world. Then they turn around and help to win some big WWI against a monster who looks suspiciously like them and call it even.

Well, I'm satisfied that Tom Lenihan is correct about the origin of the rose-briar motif. I'm going to leave this thread now and start a new one soon called LORD LOVEL: Jacobite Ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 11:00 AM

"Tom Lenihan is correct about the origin of the rose-briar motif."
You have to be careful about ascribing 'origins' to anything in folk-song (that's what has caused a number of problems here). In the end it boils down to what is 'right' for the singer; where he first heard it, or what his source had told him about it, for example.
An incident that took place when we had recorded a song from him once put it in perspective for us.
When he finished singing he said, "That's a true song".
We asked him when and where he thought the story of the song had taken place; he looked puzzled and said "do you think it really happened?"
His concept of "true" wasn't quite what we thought he meant.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 11:15 AM

Ah, but following up that motif, remember the man from whom Dorothy Scarborough recorded The Seven Sleepers, a version of Earl Brand or The Douglas Tragedy, who said after singing it ~~ "That was a true song. It happened way back yonder in Mutton Hollow. I was there myself. Somebody got killed over the girl. I was there soon after it happened. Another man was after the girl and one man shot him".

[cited in M J C Hodgart, The Ballads, Hutchinson, London 1950, p.139]

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 02:50 PM

You want to hear 'truth' listen to Texas Gladden's magnificent description of Mary Hamilton going to her execution on her album included in the Lomax collection.
Walter Pardon used to point to the farm opposite his house and say, "that's where the Pretty Ploughboy was working", then provide a full description, complete with appropriate costume.
Mind you, Walter treated everything like that - he once told us that "the two greatest crimes ever committed were the hanging of Tess and the drowning of Maggie Tulliver".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 03:31 PM

When it comes to origins, there seems to be an implicit assumption that a song printed in a broadside must have originated in that broadside, T'aint necessarily so.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 03:39 PM

"T'aint necessarily so."
Welcome to the team Dick, though you might notice from some quarters that "implicit" isn't the right word.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 04:39 PM

My belief that the vast majority of this corpus originated either in popular entertainment of the middle classes or was specifically written for the printers in the towns is based on studying the content of the songs themselves. The fact that 89% of them first appeared in this form simply adds to that belief. It doesn't drive it.

The bits that I can follow of your rant, Jim, are misrepresenting what I have said once again. I'm well aware of the interaction between oral tradition and print. Of course some of the ballads once established were reworked and remade by the hacks. I can give plenty of examples of this.

Jim,
We always come back to the same basic brick wall. My studies lead me to believe what I believe. Yours lead you in the opposite direction. Neither can ultimately prove the other wrong.


Susan,
I wish you well with your LORD LOVEL, Jacobite Ballad thread. I promise to avoid it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 08:19 PM

A question re Lord LOvell. While it may be a burlesque (or a parody) cn anyone explain its notable popularity? Not much of a story.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Cookieless Mrrzy
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 09:14 PM

there is an old Hungarian folk tale where when the red rose and the briar grow out of the lovers' graves the mother of the woman comes and tramples them, so they grow back, so she burns them, but they grow back, so she does something else and finally destroys them (the flowers)... I have seen very old, medieval stained-glass illustrations.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 09:18 PM

Lord Levett could well be a remake of the other. They tend to do as they please when it comes to music. But at least it's a true song. Look what it did to me right? I fell in love with it, I saw everything I saw in it. And I spent time with my Irish grandmother. Which brings to mind, they haven't figured out which one of the Dromore Castles inspired the lullaby. They might better wonder why there are four of them. And I hear there is a high chancel in Ludow...

We could talk about the other 9 which have this motif attached. I would argue first of all that Child ballad 73 & 74 should have been classified as the same ballad.

Now Steve, you know I was sparring with you right?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 13 - 09:43 PM

Cookieless, I know that one! It's Prince Robert! I think Sir Walter Scott and his "near relative" had a strange visitor to the house.

Also, feel that I need to mention at this time, that the rose and briar was might well be a popular image that spread all throughout the Medieval UK, you know, just sort of added liberally to certain types of ballads with the tragic ending for lovers.

Tristan and Isolde. One from Ireland and the other from Cornwall. They do a lot of sailing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 03:33 AM

"We always come back to the same basic brick wall. My studies lead me to believe what I believe. "
That would be fine Steve if you were prepared to put up arguments for your claims beyond earliest dates - so far you have not.
You have agreed that to take into consideration all aspects of the song tradition (a holistic approach) is a way forward, yet you have never gone beyond arguing that you have managed to trace the earliest printed version, then arrogantly declared (not argued) that this must be the source, and when challenged you provide 'what ifs' rather than results of research (which appear to have been made up on the spot).
Throughout these arguments you have claimed you must be right because of the number of who agree with you.
On this basis you have swept aside all previous work on the subject and sneered at the work of others as 'naive' and 'romantic'.
You appear to have done no fieldwork on the subject yourself; if you have, you have never produced it.
You appear to be unaware of the numerous functions of the tradition to the people who passed on these songs, in the case of Lord Lovel you had to ask if there were singers who took Lord Lovel as anything other than a burlesque song, ignorant of the fact that some of our best traditional singers did so.
You have passed off with a feeble on-the?spot excuse the fact that historically our traditional songs have always been regarded as "country songs" that have made their way onto broadsides.
Put up your "studies" for consideration; put up your reasons for rejecting ideas that have been held since folk-song and folklore became a serious study, put your claims into the wider context of the lives of the people who sang and passed on the songs.
You have been given evidence of their having made and remade songs; show us why they couldn't have made our folk-songs, otherwise your theories are desk-bound speculation and nothing more.
Elsewhere on this forum I'm involved in an argument on religion at present - this argument has remarkable similarities - you are asking us to take your beliefs on trust/faith, without tangible evidence.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 04:22 AM

"which one of the Dromore Castles inspired the lullaby"
The "Clan Eoan" reference makes it almost certainly the County Tyrone one.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST,Aileen
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 05:03 AM

Dear Jim,

Any chance you could post the list of Child Ballads you mentioned in an earlier post in this thread that Tom Munnelly identified as being sung up to the 90's here? And you mention in one of your posts (which i can't find at a glance right now) a song sung here called Captain W(something) - I assume a version of Captain Wedderburn, have you collected this? And by "here" I mean Ireland.

And, actually, how can I get my hands on a copy of "Around the Hills of Clare" - dying to hear Nora Cleary sing Lord Levett.

Went on mudcat 2 nights ago after listening to the Keane sisters sing Lord Donegal, thinking it sounded like something Child might have collected - couldn't believe my look to find this thread as a current topic.

Aileen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 08:14 AM

That's a good question Aileen. I bought mine several years ago. I'd post it on youtube except that Jim would probably come over the sea and give me a good thrashing for it :)

I love the Keane sisters Lord Donegal. There is another version by Rita Weill. She went to Ireland as a young folkie back in the 60's and met the Keane sisters, then she did her own version, Lord Duneagle (spelled that way so that it will be pronounced correctly by Americans). That's available on a vinyl record, difficult to find. Then Nuala Kennedy does her own modern version and it is splendid! I love it. You should find Dervish's modern version of Lord Levett as well. That is equally as splendid.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 09:07 AM

Aileen
List below.
Captain Woodburren is indeed Captain Wedderburn and we got it from from both Tom Lenihan and Pat McNamara latter on 'Hills', Tom's should be on " Mount Callan Garland", Willie Clancy also sang it - fairly popular in Ireland.
Re. Around the Hills of Clare - where are you?
Jim Carroll

CHILD BALLADS PRESERVED IN PART OR WHOLE BY SOUND RECORDINGS PROM ORAL TRADITION IN IRELAND.
A: COLLECTED BY TOM MUNNELLY.
NO        CHILD'S TITLE.                                                                                

2        THE ELFIN KNIGHT.                                                                                      
4        LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF-KNIGHT.                                                
12        LORD RANDAL. (Appendix: BILLY BOY)                                                        
13        EDWARD.                                                                                        
20        THE CRUEL MOTHER.                                                                        
21        THE MAID AND THE PALMER.                                                        
44        THE TWA MAGICIANS.
46        CAPTAIN WEDDERBURN'S COURTSHIP.
49        THE TWA BROTHERS.
53        YOUNG BEICHAN.
56        DIVES AND LAZARUS. (Appendix: RYE-ROGER-UM.)        
68        YOUNG HUNTING.        
73        LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ANNET.
74        FAIR MARGARET AND SWEET WILLIAM.
75        LORD LOVEL.
76        THE LASS OF ROCH ROYAL.
77        SWEET WILLIAM'S GHOST.
84        BONNY BARBARA ALLAN
87        PRINCE ROBERT.
92        BONNY BEE HOM. (Appendix: THE LOWLANDS OF HOLLAND.)
93        LAMKIN.
95        THE MAID FREED FROM THE GALLOWS. (Appendix: THE STREETS OF DERRY.)
100        WILLIE O WINSBURY.
112        THE BAFFLED KNIGHT
200        THE GYPSY LADDIE.
209        GEORDIE.
214        THE BRAES OF YARROW.
221        KATHERINE JAFFRAY.
272        THE SUFFOLK MIRACLE
274        OUR GOODMAN.
275        GET UP AND BAR THE DOOR
279        THE JOLLY BEGGAR.
281        THE KEACH I THE CREEL.
286        THE SWEET TRINITY.
295        THE BROWN GIRL (Appendix: SALLY THE QUEEN)

By other Collectors
3        FALSE KNIGHT ON THE ROAD
12        LORD RANDALL
24        BONNIE ANNIE
39        TAM LIN
54        CHERRY TREE CAROL
99        JOHNNY SCOTT
106        FAMOUS FLOW OF SERVING MEN
115        SIR HUGH or THE JEW'S DAUGHTER
148        THE GREY COCK
178        THE FARMER'S CURST WIFE
293        JOCK OF HAZLEGREEN
243        JAMES HARRIS

For a list of Child ballads from Irish sources, see Hugh Shields' 'Old British Ballads in Ireland, in Folk Life vol 10, 1972 p 78. This invaluable listing contains references to ms. And printed tradition. The list of sound recordings is now out of date.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 09:55 AM

Ok. So I think 73: Lord Thomas and Fair Annet and 74: Fair Margaret and Sweet William should have been classified as the same ballad because they have the same plot, just a different ending. Lord Thomas and Fair Annet, the Scottish version, involves murder and has strong racist and Protestant overtones. With Fair Margaret and Sweet William, the English version, it's the usual death of love sickness. I prefer to go primarily with plot when it comes to classifying a ballad...

Below is the Scottish variant of the rose-briar motif which appears in five out of four versions of Lord Thomas and Fair Annet:

Sweet Willie was buried in Mary's kirk,
And Annie in Mary's quire,
And out o the ane there grew a birk,
And out o the ither a brier.

And ae they grew, and ae they threw,
Until the twa did meet,
That ilka ane micht plainly see
They were true lovers sweet

A birk is a birch, however, it also refers to a broom. I like that last it's a nice alternative floating verse. When I see this particular ending, I believe I am looking at a group that views or has identified the original rose-briar motif as Catholic, Norfolk Catholic as a matter of fact. There's an altar tomb in the high chancel of Ludlow Church where lies a Knight of "popish sentiments" and his Lady Alice. And, Walter Pardon's version of Lord Lovel has burial in the "high chancel" just like in "Fair Margaret and Sweet William." None of Child's versions of Lord Lovel have "high chancel" and "lower". Hmmm...Looks like an alternate theory for the origin of the rose and briar motif could be formulated and tested...But my money's still on Tom.

I think also that these two ballads 73 & 74 are analogous to the idealized English "Three Ravens" and the pragmatic Scottish "Twa Corbies." Most scholars believe "Twa Corbies" was derived from, or should I say that it is a Scottish reply to, "Three Ravens." I think the same thing has happened here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 09:58 AM

Excuse me, that should have read:

Below is the Scottish variant of the rose-briar motif which appears in five out of NINE versions of Child's ballad 73: Lord Thomas and Fair Annet:


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 11:14 AM

But why on earth should 'your money be on' anyone? It's a pointless game, & a silly bet. Trying to establish an incontrovertible 'ur' version of any folk motif, or any orally transmitted folkloric theme or artefact, is a vain endeavour; nothing but vanity and vexation of spirit, surely?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 12:36 PM

It's a figure of speech Michael. Why vexed? I had a very brilliant professor who taught me that most ideas originate somewhere. I am not vexed but rather intrigued by mysteries, even if they don't offer a definitive answer. If you go on an archeological dig, you're bound to find artifacts that may indeed raise new questions.

I don't know where you are getting vain from the mental processes of a natural detective. Believing that just because you may not arrive at some definitive answer, you shouldn't look, well, it just doesn't appeal to me. Because in that case, I'll just sit around and enjoy the fruits of the labors of people like yourself without having the slightest need for discussion.

Vain. Are you serious? Is Tom Lenihan vain? I think not. The Irish have never been the sort that lay claim to things that are not theirs. They have no problem whatsoever in adopting whatever appeals to them and giving full credit to whomever it is due. The words to Danny Boy and (since I brought it up) the Dromore lullaby were both written by Englishmen. The Irish don't care. If they like 'em they'll sing 'em. On the other hand, if they say a thing in an adamant way, you can take it to the bank.

Btw, that's a figure of speech for people who don't like gambling.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 02:12 PM

I use 'vain' in the sense of being 'in vain', not as a synonym for conceited. And I repeat that it is 'in vain' to attempt the sort of 'detective work', as you metaphorically call it, on which you appear to have embarked. The very act of offering to lay bets on the solution shows that you think there may be an establishable solution out there somewhere. I say you might as well try to stop a bandersnatch as to try and 'prove'[!] or 'discover' that rose·&·briar appeared in Lovell before it did in Barbara Allen, & so 'properly' belongs there [pace Munnelly's informant Mr Lenihan & Harry Cox to me & Bob], when earlier related instances, back to classical times, have been adduced.

I wonder why I should be reminded of what Bernard Levin wrote once of someone who had thought it might be possible to establish a notional value for infinity, to which Levin replied "Oh? Why, all you will have to do is to say 'plus one'."

~M~


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Subject: Lyr Add: FAIR MARGARET AND SWEET WILLIAM
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 02:22 PM

It's not a problem to put Lord Thomas and Fair Annet & Fair Margaret and Sweet William as variants of the same ballad (which I would file under the name Fair Margaret and Sweet William)into the same category, however, you really need to do this first:         


       74: FAIR MARGARET AND SWEET WILLIAM

74D.1        LADY ALICE was sitting in her bower-window,
        Mending her midnight quoif,
        And there she saw as fine a corpse
        As ever she saw in her life.

74D.2        'What bear ye, what bear ye, ye six men tall?
        What bear ye on your shoulders?'
        'We bear the corpse of Giles Collins,
        An old and true lover of yours.'

74D.3        'O lay him down gently, ye six men tall,
        All on the grass so green,
        And tomorrow, when the sun goes down,
        Lady Alice a corpse shall be seen.

74D.4        'And bury me in Saint Mary's church,
        All for my love so true,
        And make me a garland of marjoram,
        And of lemon-thyme, and rue.'

74D.5        Giles Collins was buried all in the east,
        Lady Alice all in the west,
        And the roses that grew on Giles Collins's grave,
        They reached Lady Alice's breast.

74D.6        The priest of the parish he chanced to pass,
        And he severed those roses in twain;
        Sure never were seen such true lovers before,
        Nor eer will there be again.


There is also a 74E and a 74F but I won't bother to put all the lyrics down here. So now Fair Margaret and Sweet William have 6 variants instead of only 3. Three each? What's up with that? It's like they severed them in twain. Very poetic. But anyway "Lady Alice" is just a bit further on in the Margaret and Sweet William story. Different names means nothing. That could be a regional influence, and, (here I am betting again), I bet it is.

Now that Lady Alice belongs with Fair Margaret and Sweet William. Now we have gone from 10 to 7 ballads. Btw, the motif was added to Barbara Allen and Lady Maisry after Childs so that brings it down to 5 and here they are:

Fair Margaret and Sweet William
Lass of Roch Royal
Prince Robert
Fair Janet
Lord Lovel

With me so far? I have to run the cleaner but I'll be back in a bit to finish our little game of pool :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 03:37 PM

'You have agreed that to take into consideration all aspects of the song tradition (a holistic approach) is a way forward, yet you have never gone beyond arguing that you have managed to trace the earliest printed version, then arrogantly declared (not argued) that this must be the source, and when challenged you provide 'what ifs' rather than results of research (which appear to have been made up on the spot).'

>>Jim,
You are a member of the TSF. If you go to the TSF website you will find a reasonably detailed summary of the paper I delivered at the first Broadside Day run jointly by the EFDSS and TSF at Cecil Sharp House.

>>I might also remind you that on at least 2 occasions I have offered/challenged you to choose an agreed number of ballads at random from the aforementioned corpus and we will discuss their probable origins together. That offer is still open.

    'Throughout these arguments you have claimed you must be right because of the number of who agree with you.'

>>Not so. I simply mentioned that a lot of very clever people agreed with it. My conviction is based on my own research, not their approval.


   'sneered at the work of others as 'naive' and 'romantic'.'

>>Guilty as charged!!!!


    'You appear to have done no fieldwork on the subject yourself; if you have, you have never produced it.'

>>Not sure what you mean by this, most of the results of my fieldwork in the 60s and 70s can be listened to on the British Library Sound Archive website. I thought you were aware of this. Published book 'An East Riding Songster 1982. Co-edited the new edition of 'Marrow Bones' with Malcolm, 2007, which you would do well to read. (Numerous articles in English Dance and Song and on the Musical Traditions website.)

   'You appear to be unaware of the numerous functions of the tradition to the people who passed on these songs, in the case of Lord Lovel you had to ask if there were singers who took Lord Lovel as anything other than a burlesque song, ignorant of the fact that some of our best traditional singers did so.'

>>You are not reading my postings. Not once have I stated that all versions of LL are comic. I'm well aware of multiple meanings of songs found in oral tradition. You didn't seem to be aware of the burlesque side of things.   

   'You have passed off with a feeble on-the?spot excuse the fact that historically our traditional songs have always been regarded as "country songs" that have made their way onto broadsides.

>>This is the political stance set up in the early 1900s by the likes of Sharp in order to sell his wares and put over the idealised world of merry England. These people all had their own collections of broadsides and were well aware where the songs originated. It didn't suit their purposes to make this widely known at the time. As I said, Jim, you are somewhat out of touch with current thinking. About a century behind.

'you are asking us to take your beliefs on trust/faith, without tangible evidence.'


>>And this is exactly what you're doing. Snap!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 03:39 PM

Note from Funk and Wagnall:
In the Scottish ballad, 'The Wife of Usher's Well' (Child 79,) the dead sons return to their mother in the winter-time with hats of birch. These were taken from the tree beside the Gates of Paradise: a sign (as suggested by Robert Graves in The White Goddess) to the living that these ghosts will not haunt the world but wear the birch in token that they will return to their heavenly abode.
"I think also that these two ballads 73 & 74 are analogous"
"Three Ravens!!!"
Sorry, don't get that one.
I agonised over which number to put on this one when we were doing the notes for 'Around the Hills of Clare' - I seem to remember seeking Steve Roud's advice - can't remember the reason for the final choice.
A story about this ballad we were told by Tom Munnelly who introduced us to the singer, Martin Howley, shortly after he'd found him.
Martin had a stack of songs and Tom was pretty pressed for time so he began recording what he believed to be the most important ones in case he was delayed in returning.
Tom had taken a list of Martin's songs down and as Martin had given the title of F.M... as "The Old Armchair" because of the first line: Knight William was sitting in his old armchair", Tom kept avoiding it.
As the session was drawing to a close Tom hadn't recorded it, so Martin, in a very determined voice said "I'm going to sing The Old Armchair" - Tom nearly fell off his chair when he launched into the only version of Child 74 ever recorded in Ireland.
Martin, a road labourer, was a lovely old man, a nice old-style concertina player too; we spent several years visiting him (during our holidays).
He told us that he got the song from a Travelling woman named Mrs Sherlock (a common name among Clare Travellers). Her nickname was "Mrs Stotered" as she was often heard in the area rather the worse for drink, saying "I'm stotered (drunk) again"
The last time we met Martin we had been told he was quite ill, so we called up to see him to wish him well.
Although he was not at his best he invited us in , and after a while he said, "do you have the tape recorder with you?"
Pat said, "no Martin, we're going home tomorrow, we called up to see how you were".
He told her, "I'm a poor man; I have nothing to leave only my songs; I'd like you to have them all"; and proceeded to sing another dozen for us - still get a lump in the throat when I think of that.
He died a few months later; it transpired that he had cancer of the eye and, rather than go to the doctor he visited the local St Joseph's Holy Well, reputed to be effective for eye problems.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 03:49 PM

"I might also remind you that on at least 2 occasions I have offered/challenged you to choose an agreed number of ballads at random from the aforementioned corpus and we will discuss their probable origins together. That offer is still opeN.
There seems to be little point if you are not able to prove there wre no earlier versions in the oral tradition - your somewhat patronising answer and everything you have said since indicates that you can't, still no point unless things have radically changed.
" I simply mentioned that a lot of very clever people agreed with it."
Please don't make me go looking for them again; you have said it several times, including your heavy handed -"I must be mixing with the wrong people, Jim. These scholars! I don't know! They don't know nuffin! That Professor Child, who was he anyway!"
Wasn't Child the feller who described broadsides as a 'dunghill containing a few diamonds'; I've certainly never read of him claiming broadside origins to the vast majority of ballads - but maybe I'm wrong.
Morelater (tomorrow probably).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 03:53 PM

That's a lovely story, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 04:00 PM

Regardless of Child's dislike of broadsides, again many of the ballads have a broadside as their earliest extant version, almost all of the Robin Hood ballads for instance. Not the vast majority by all means but a sizable number. Apart from which not that many Child ballads feature in the corpus we were discussing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 04:04 PM

> during the late 18th and early 19thc most males were abroad fighting or at sea.

Surely a slip. For example, Wellington had about 72,000 men at Waterloo, but the male population of Britain was in the millions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 04:10 PM

> a sign (as suggested by Robert Graves in The White Goddess)

If Graves suggested it in "The White Goddess," it's almost certainly wrong.

The book has no standing among folklorists and anthropologists.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 04:28 PM

> These people all had their own collections of broadsides and were well aware where the songs originated. It didn't suit their purposes to make this widely known at the time.

Singly or in tandem, Jim and Steve know far more about this than I do, but my impression has been that Sharp et al. were so romantically committed to the idea of "Merrie England" that they simply refused to believe the evidence of their own eyes.

As I've said many times, one can always assert - and believe - on the basis of "the folk tradition" that any song is far older than its first reference in print.

Undoubtedly this is true of many songs, but simply assuming it to be the case for any given example tells us nothing.

If the "folk tradition" (in other words, creative singers) had been as powerfully influential as many believe, broadside songs would have tended to improve rather than decay, and I expect there would have been far more truly excellent variants of words of the ballads than there really are.

In my view, it cannot be an accident that so many of the most satisfying ballad texts seem to have been processed by literarily sophisticated individuals like Burns, Scott, and Anna Brown of Falkland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 05:22 PM

"...the motif was added to Barbara Allen ... after Childs" SJL 02.22pm
.,,.
Dubious. Oddly it does not appear in any of Child's main entry on the ballad; which,indeed, for so widespread a ballad, gives remarkably few versions, and only mentions Pepys' having heard it in C17 in passing. But Bronson has it in the vast majority of the versions he gives, mostly, unsurprisingly, of a later date than Child; but note particularly his attribution of his version #159, which contains it: "Sung by Mrs Chandler, Farmington, St Francis County, Mo, 1912; from her mother, who learned it from an aunt." If it was traceable in a family for two generations back from 1912, that will surely demonstrate that the motif existed in the ballad well prior to the time Child was compiling, rather than being "added ...after". And his version #103, from Roan Mountains, NC, was published in Journal of American Folklore, vol VI, in 1893, so must date before that in tradition. It seems, therefore, that although Child did not include the motif, it can scarcely be convincingly sustained that it was 'added to Barbara Allen after Child'.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 05:47 PM

Dear Jim,

Thanks so much for the post above of Tom Munnellys list, I'm in County Wexford - I can post cheque if you can stick Around the Hills... in post to me?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 05:58 PM

Oops! I forgot to mention that little gender switch thing. In Fair Margaret Sweet William, it's the woman who dies of love-sickness first - because she has lost him to another. In Lady Alice, he is presented to her already deceased. These are superficial details, especially when there is no real plot. For both Fair Margaret & Sweet William and Lady Alice, either he dies or she dies and then the other dies of love sickness and plants grow afterward. It's all the same thing. If you want a real story with action and so forth, you'll have look to the Scots.

So these two are one complete ballad in a sense. Child claimed Lord Lovel and Lady Alice were counterparts. Nope. It's these two met and recognized the other and fell in love. Then everybody dies of love-sickness etc. and then this happened:

85[C.8]        Giles Collin was laid in the lower chancel,
        Lady Alice all in the higher;
        There grew up a rose from Lady Alice's breast,
        And from Giles Collin's a brier.

85[C.9]        And they grew, and they grew, to the very church-top,
        Until they could grow no higher,
        And twisted and twined in a true-lover's knot,
        Which made all the parish admire.   

It appears that Lady Alice started out with one type of ending where a plant, a rose or a lily, springs from his grave in the "East" and touches her breast at her grave in the "West". This is more of an outcome of a classic Medieval romance. The love knot is actually a twist on that theme. Therefore, the rose-brier motif is most likely not indigenous to "Lady Alice" even though we might get some versions in which it is attached. It seems to have come by the "high chancel/lower/rose/brier" sequence by way of Fair Margaret and Sweet William.

The other thing about Lady Alice, what I meant by it being further on in the story, what makes 84A looks like a fragment of some sort, like it skipped by the plot and went straight to the ending, is that 84B and 84C, say that he went to visit his mum with a head injury and that, apparently since he died a short time later, his mother was unable to help him. In 84A, she is merely presented with a dead knight. There's looks to be almost an attempt to add some sort of a plot. But if you want a real story, you'll have to look at the Scottish ballad Lord Thomas and Fair Annett.

Ok, even though posterity chose the rose-brier motif for the finale for all ten of these ballads, It wasn't always that way. I say the Scots preferred either no plant motif ending at all or their own ending which I would call the birk-brier motif, and which I think is lovely in itself, however, since it is derived from the rose and brier, it's not indigenous. The Scots did not get up one morning and decide they needed to change what already existed in, say, Lord Thomas and Fair Annett, but rather when they saw the rose-brier popping up all over the place, they said, "We can come up with one to suit us better!"

And ae they grew, and ae they threw,
Until the twa did meet,
That ilka ane micht plainly see
They were true lovers sweet

I don't believe there should be any book where you classify Scottish and English ballads, put them together in the same book. There is a definite relationship between Lord Thomas & Fair Annett and Fair Margaret & Sweet William, sure, but the Scots liked to spin things their own way. I'm going to let them. And I stand by what I have said in the past about it probably being some sort of Protestant retort- or not. But it's clear that it's a derivative and that all we need to worry about here.

Anyway, let's put the Scottish ballads in their own book. That would be Lord Thomas and Fair Annett, Lass of Roch Royal, Prince Robert & Fair Janet, all those with a Scottish birk-brier motif. That leaves Fair Margaret & Sweet William, Lord Lovel, and Earl Bran (which I accidentally forgot about before). But anyway, we're down to three.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 06:26 PM

~M~,


Nope. The rose and brier are not indigenous to Barbara Allen.


                                                         ~S~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 01:39 AM

Define 'indigenous', And demonstrate. & whether or not, you will surely admit that I have cast much doubt on your 'added to Barbara Allen after Child'? It might not have been there [tho can you be certain?] when Pepys heard Mrs Knipp sing it on 2 Jan 1666; or even later. And it might have been there ab origine in those ballads you take to 'qualify', tho who & how's to say? But it was certainly there in most of the 100+ variants of B.Allen which Sharp so famously found in early C20 in Virginia alone; it had by then become a much-loved traditional part of the ballad amongst those who sang and preserved it; and, in US at least, we can surely extrapolate [see Bronson's #159] had been so for at least several generations.

Yep?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:19 AM

"Regardless of Child's dislike of broadsides, again many of the ballads have a broadside as their earliest extant version,"
I went through three volumes of Child last night and "many" of them certainly do not give broadsides as their "earliest extant version," - in fact hardly any do


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:37 AM

I should add that I have never sung the 'sympathetic plants' verses at the end of Barbara Allen [which I have long sung - happens to have been the first song, 'Scarlet Town' version, that I ever taught myself to accompany when I began learning the guitar in 1956]. They have never 'felt' right to me there, but always as if they have floated in from elsewhere; so thus far I agree with sentiments expressed by SJL. But I feel that their obvious long-term embracing there by the folk, even if not ultimately authentic [insofar as such a word has any rational referent in talking of traditional folklore] gives their inclusion more - 'respectability' is the word that comes to mind - than might have been suggested.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 04:26 AM

Where I left off last night.
"You are a member of the TSF."
Many others here are not, this is a public discussion.
From what I know of your work and from your arguments here, you are 'paper-based' and there is no indication that you have drawn your conclusions from other aspects of the tradition ? the importance and identification, use of vernacular, knowledge of folklore, intimacy with area and work, access and attitude to literacy.... all part of the making of and the inspiration for the songs in the first place.
"Guilty as charged!!!!"
This attitude really isn't conducive to open-minded research and has led, I believe, to the rejection of facts that don't fit into pet theories ? sorry to be harsh Steve, but this is how it has appeared throughout our arguments ? pushing on a closed and heavily bolted door.
It's not just you, I hasten to add; I've met it from many 'academics' over the years. I was told one by a quite respected researcher holding quite a responsible post that I couldn't tell her anything about Travellers because she'd "studied them for her degree" ? it transpired that she had done no collecting and had never set foot on a Travellers site ? wouldn't have recognised a gypsy if they'd tried to sell her a clothes-peg.
I am aware of, but not particularly familiar with your collecting work, which, as far as I can see, shows no great attempt to obtain information on the whys and wherefores of singing from your sources, which I believe to be the important features of the tradition, (certainly no attempt to pass it on); if I am wrong about this, accept my apologies and show me where I am mistaken.   
Very few collectors have recorded such information other than the basics, the folk song equivalent of 'name, rank and serial number!
I was lucky in being given access to (mainly MacColl and Seeger's and Charles Parker's) recordings of actuality and interviews with Harry Cox, Sam Larner, the Stewart's the miners and the road workers, et al (mainly for the Radio Ballads), which made me realise how much information had been missed by adopting a 'headhunting' approach to collecting.
An old friend, Bob Thomson, told me about the work that was being done in the US by Ken Goldstein, with singers like Sarah Cleveland, and previous work by Lomax and others with greats like Texas Gladden.   
All this led me to the conclusion that collectors had treated singers as song bearers and little more.
".....which you would do well to read."
Now you are sounding like a schoolteacher again ? I have read 'son of Marrowbones' ? I was touched to receive it as a gift from Malcolm Douglas shortly before he died, and I enjoyed it immensely, particularly the extended 'notes to the songs', but I couldn't help but notice it does not contain a corresponding 'notes on the singers' chapter ? no context again.
"Not once have I stated that all versions of LL are comic"
True, but you asked "does anybody take Lord Lovel seriously" (will dig out the exact quote if you wish) which suggests to me that you were unaware that virtually all the recorded versions indicated that all the singers did just that.
I am aware of Sam Cowell's version, but I am not aware of any traditional singer adopting his approach.
'Multiple meaning' ? I never said that ? I was referring to the multiple functions of song-making and the information the songs .
"This is the political stance set up in the early 1900s by the likes of Sharp in order to sell his wares"
This is simply not true ? Isaac Walton was referring to 'country songs' in relation to the broadsides he saw on the walls of inns in the 1600s, Hindley in his works on broadsides wrote about 'country songs'; I can't find the quote but somewhere he talks about the songs coming from 'the countryside, to the towns and cities, to the presses then to the streets' ? or words to that effect.
The last time we discussed this you claimed that the term 'country songs' referred to broadside printers from outside the cities ? consistency wins the day Steve.
"As I said, Jim, you are somewhat out of touch with current thinking. About a century behind"
There you go with your patronising again Steve, it really does bring out the worst in me. I'm fully aware of some of the work that has been done in recent years ? much of it from the 'throw out the baby with the bathwater' school of thought, which you appear to be a fully paid up member of.
If there is one thing I have learned is that you throw nothing away ? we even recorded a couple of songs that were 'communally composed' ? shades of the much dismissed Francis Gummere ? forget or reject nothing!!.
A good long bath in traditional songs from traditional singers would do you the world of good.
Our song tradition is all but dead; Sharp et al were saying that over 100 years ago; even they were collecting from singers who were remembering songs their predecessors had learned from a rapidly disappearing tradition.
The BBC project in the 1950s was acknowledged as a mopping-up campaign ? songs being 'remembered being remembered' rather than being taken from a living tradition, or even being 'remembered being remembered, being remembered' - your own East Riding Songster very much reflects that.
We were forever being told how many singers and songs we had missed.
Tom Munnelly, without doubt the most prolific song collector in these Islands with something like 22,000 songs under his belt, described his work in the mid 1970s as "a race with the undertaker"; a decade and a half later he was all but desk-bound because the singers were gone.
The best chance we have we have of understanding the tradition is to re-visit and examine what has been recorded and written down and see if we have missed anything important ? everything else is paper-shuffling.
Last point ? at last
"And this is exactly what you're doing. Snap!"
No it is not ? I have tried to apply our field researches to what I have read and picked up over the half century I have been involved in folk song and have presented my conclusions here as well as I am able. I do not ask for 'faith' or blind acceptance, I ask for my conclusions to be examined, considered and, if disagreed with, argued against ? not bloody well dismissed out-of-hand and sneered at as you have done throughout and just admitted having done so ? I give my reasons for disagreeing with what I believe to be wrong, please have the good manners to do the same.
Sorry about the length of this ? big subject.
Will try to respond to other points later.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 04:53 AM

Aileen
"I can post cheque if you can stick Around the Hills"
Better to e-mail me - would like to pass on some other things.
I'm reluctant to put an address up on site due to nasty experiences with the BNP not so longs ago.
Trying to think if I know anybody from Wexford - I have a sort of facebook entry but haven't a clue how to use it.
Why not become a member here - you get used to the shouting after a time.
Failing all - Pat Mackenzie and I are known to ITMA in Merrion Square and they should be able to pass on an e-mail address or contact number.
Thanks,
Susan -
"thrashing" - hmm - now there's a thought....!
Can I say that all proceeds of all our published material goes to the Irish Traditional Music Archive. I'm more than happy that our stuff is passed on - the freer the better, but published material isn't ours to give away as we have had help from others to make it available -
Our entire Irish collection has been given to Clare County Library in Ennis, who are doing sterling work on their website in making recordings of traditional music available - take a look.
One of the great advantages of living in Ireland up to the recent bankers/politicians shennanikins has been the support by the establishment here for the traditional arts.
Our collection should be on line sometime in the near future - they are working on it now.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 06:13 AM

Do I remember a song with the rose-briar motif where the hero/villain uproots them and throws them into St Mary's Loch - Earl Brand perhaps?
'sympathetic plants'
Sort of Prince Charles in reverse
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 09:52 AM

Can't recall where I first came across the phrase 'sympathetic plants' for the rose-briar thingy. Hodgart's The Ballads, perhaps? Or does Child use it somewhere? Does it ring a bell with anyone else? I think it a useful phrase. I have known it for some time: I find on checking that I used it in an article I had published on the significance of the 'brown-ness' of Lord Thomas's bride in Child #73, in Notes and Queries for March 1994.

~M~

BTW ~~ It hasn't happened on this thread; but I have noticed that American singers will often call Lord Thomas and Fair Annet/Elinor, #93, "The Brown Girl" ~~ Hedy West always did so, I recall; which is confusing, because there is another ballad in Child, #295, which has that very title.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 09:58 AM

"It's a figure of speech Michael. Why vexed?"---
.,,.
Sorry I neglected to reply to this question of yours yesterday, Susan. I wasn't saying I was vexed. The phrase I used, following my suggestion that it was in vain to hunt for ur-versions, comes from the book of Ecclesiastes: "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities. All is vanity," it begins; and later on, the Preacher varies the assertion to "All is vanity and vexation of spirit", which was of course what I was quoting.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 10:57 AM

First let's actually define what elements are part of this motif. I would say that burial places are incidentals and that the motif proper includes a ROSE, a BRIER and a TRUE LOVER'S KNOT.

The Scots "variation" consists of two lovely floating verses that lack 2 of the 3 elements that define this motif. There is no ROSE and no TRUE LOVER'S KNOT. This disqualifies it from being identified as such. One out of three doesn't cut it. The Scots simply do not favor this ending. Perhaps they saw it as a subtle means for others to appropriate their ballads. They came up with their own which is quite charming IMO, but it is clearly a derivative of the other.

Bottom line: the Scots did not attach the ROSE-BRIER MOTIF to any of their ballads. Other people did that. Some of them might even have been Scots who have forgotten how Scottish they were. And that's fine. My favorite versions of Barbara Allen are the ones that came from the Appalachian tradition and they usually have it.

Once again, they either left it off, or tacked on their own. I'm not saying it shouldn't be there, I'm just saying it didn't start out there. Not at all. That's what I mean when I say "indigenous." It might be there now but in days the rose-brier motif was really making the rounds, no way.

To answer the question I'm trying to answer, you would really have to exclude the Scottish ballads. I also suspect that they may have come up with the alternate ending and attached it as a pre-preemptive measure, in order to prevent the rose-brier motif from being added to any of their ballads.

That leaves three: Earl Bran, Fair Margaret and Sweet William (I have included Lady Alice in this grouping as regards the motif) and Lord Lovel. But first, I will look at any Irish versions of any of these songs. Obviously, because of its connection to Lord Thomas and Fair Annett, we should look at that one first. If I see the motif, that will be no surprise, butI bet you anything I won't find an Irish remake of a Scottish ballad with that Scottish birk-brier ending...

Now look at some highlights of this Irish version of Lord Thomas and Fair Annett:

h. An Irish version, recited by Ellen Daily, Taunton, Massachusetts.

Come riddle me all at once.
Or the bonny brown girl.
He dressed himself up in a suit of fine clothes,
With merry men all in white;
And there was not a town that he rode through
But they took him to be a knight...

...To Lord Thomas's wedding I'll go.'
She dressed herself up in a suit of fine clothes,
With merry maids all in green;
And there was not a town that she rode through
But they took her to be a queen.

He took her by the lily-white hand,
And led her along the hall;
He handed her to the head of the table,
Among the ladies all...

...Then out spoke the bonny brown girl some words with spirit, saying:
'Where did you get the water so clear,
That washed your face so white?'
'There is a well in my father's yard
That is both clear and spring,
And if you were to live till the day you die
That doon you never shall see.'..

(the burial sites are missing in this one)

.......................................
.......................................
Out of Fair Ellen there grew a red rose,
And out of Lord Thomas there grew a sweet-briar.
They grew so tall, they sprung so broad,
They grew to a steeple top;
Twelve o'clock every night
They grew to a true lover's knot.

:-))) First plants are laughing, now having midnight rendezvous! There's yet another Irish version in Child's end-notes. The motif is there as well. Like I said, this is no surprise but where's the birk? Why do the Irish not favor the "birk-brier motif"? Why does that only come out of Scotland?

And of course a reminder that any ballad can become Irish or Scottish or what-have-you once they have worked it over and made it their own. Robert Winslow Gordon collected a "Kentucky Irish" version from Nellie Galt called "Milk White Steed" and the couple was buried in St. Patrick's church and the choir. But origins are another matter.

Jim, that's the Douglas Tragedy, a variant of St. Mary's Loch is an actual place and there was once a St. Mary's Kirk there also. The villian is the Black Douglas. 7:Earl Bran and 74:Fair Margaret and Sweet William have strong local traditions. One in the area near St. Mary's Loch and the other in Norfolk...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 12:36 PM

Prince Robert I think it is really an Irish-Scots ballad. I think Prince Robert with the birk at the end is just a fluke, a phenomenon cause by publishing. To this I would add that I suspect persons like Thomas Percy and Sir Walter Scott of tampering with these ballads to suit their own agendas so when Sir Walter says that Prince Robert is "from a recitation of a lady very nearly related to the editor," I say Hmmm...

But in any case, the ending here is a tacked verse. It doesn't belong with the ballad. It was published in 1803, which probably accounts for that fact that a few more versions appeared in the near vicinity- Kilbarchin, Dunlappie. Nothing here...

Btw, I love the way Al O'Donnell sings it :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 12:49 PM

"Jim, that's the Douglas Tragedy, a variant of St. Mary's Loch"
We know St Mary's Loch well - we used to stop at MacColl and Seeger's house outside Lockerbie and pig out visiting all the placed with ballad names.
Ewan and Peggy had a large map of the area with all the ballad locations marked on it - Earl Brand, Yarrow, Wamphrey, Hermitage, Carterhaugh, Lochmaben, ....
One freezing cold afternoon we climbed the path beside 'The Grey Mares Tail' the steep downfall stream running out of the loch - wonderful to arrive at the top at eye-level with the water.
Beautiful part of Scotland.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 12:53 PM

That sounds wonderful Jim. You're so lucky to be over there!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 01:00 PM

'sympathetic plants'
Just looked it up - Hodgart uses it extensively - didn't register when I read it years ago.
Lovely phrase; thanks for the heads-up.
"You're so lucky to be over there!"
Not the same in Ireland I'm afraid, which is pretty much ìn the same situation regarding walking as Britain was when MacColl wrote The Manchester Rambler' - desperately in need of a 'Mass Trespass'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 01:30 PM

Jim,
(Taking deep breath!)

      'From what I know of your work and from your arguments here, you are 'paper-based' and there is no indication that you have drawn your conclusions from other aspects of the tradition ? the importance and identification, use of vernacular, knowledge of folklore, intimacy with area and work, access and attitude to literacy.... all part of the making of and the inspiration for the songs in the first place.'

>>My work over the last 10 years has been largely, but not exclusively 'paper-based' as you call it, but all of the items you mention I have studied in earlier years. I once had a large library of folklore items before I decided to specialise in song study, and as an English teacher for 30-odd years I studied and taught many aspects of language and literature - particularly vernacular. As for 'intimacy with area', you can't get much more intimate than with one's own family.

      'facts that don't fit into pet theories'

>>I could just as easily turn this back on you. I only attack daft romantic theories without any substance. When I said 'Guilty as charged' I was referring to some of the dafter romantic theories like some of these on this thread, not our argument over the origins of 'folk song'. Believe it or not I do respect your stance. I just happen to stand at the opposite end of the spectrum.

       'I am aware of, but not particularly familiar with your collecting work, which, as far as I can see, shows no great attempt to obtain information on the whys and wherefores of singing from your sources, which I believe to be the important features of the tradition, (certainly no attempt to pass it on); if I am wrong about this, accept my apologies and show me where I am mistaken.
Very few collectors have recorded such information other than the basics, the folk song equivalent of 'name, rank and serial number!'

>>Surely both methods have their pluses. We would have lost a great deal of songs recorded by the likes of Sharp had they stopped to record the life histories of every singer they came across. In the 60s and 70s I was holding down a full-time job as a teacher, had to rely on public transport and had no backing whatsoever. Add to that the belief you mention yourself that we were collecting the last remnants. Despite that at least 2 singers we visited on numerous occasions and recorded their life histories along with the sources of their songs and what they thought about them. When I retired and went out recording again I spent a great deal of time recording this sort of material. It does not appear on the BL site because these were later recordings.

    'I have read 'son of Marrowbones' ? I was touched to receive it as a gift from Malcolm Douglas shortly before he died, and I enjoyed it immensely, particularly the extended 'notes to the songs', but I couldn't help but notice it does not contain a corresponding 'notes on the singers' chapter ? no context again.'

>>The new edition of Marrow Bones was meant to be the start of the publication of all 4 volumes. The Wanton Seed was finished some years ago but EFDSS haven't published it yet. EFDSS wanted to include the singers' bios in the third volume. Not my decision.

      'True, but you asked "does anybody take Lord Lovel seriously" (will dig out the exact quote if you wish) which suggests to me that you were unaware.....'

>>If you read my postings carefully I stated clearly that many of the burlesques have reverted back to being serious songs. Some burlesque versions of LL were only burlesque in the delivery not in the text so that those printed on a broadside would show no sign of the comic element. Only the sheet music called them 'Comic'.

>>Hindley was specialist in cheap print. I have not seen anything of his that even pretends to know anything about the 'country' songs themselves, but he did know a lot about the hacks who made them and the social history behind the town songs. (See his 'Life and Times of James Catnach')

>>'Communal composition'. I have sent you examples of this from my own collection. The problem with Gummere was he was trying to convince people that even ballads were composed in this way, and quite rightly he was soon shot down well over a century ago. Of course the method exists but very very few examples exist in the corpus we're discussing.   

    'A good long bath in traditional songs from traditional singers would do you the world of good.'

>>I'd say my CD collection is about 80% traditional singers, then add to that my own recordings and I bathe in them regularly. Just off to have a bath now.
Cheerio, Jim!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:19 PM

Steve,

Sorry to interupt your bath but I wonder if you would like to see the Percy papers relative to Lord Lovel 75A. I would think that as an English teacher, you would find them interesting. They are attachments however so they must be sent by email. Also I would ask you to keep in mind that Horace Walpole's parody did not reach publication until 1904. Percy's letter from Walpole was acquired by the British Museum in 1884.

Jim, my maternal grandfather, Albert Wyllie was a proud laddie from hell. We had bagpipes at his funeral. I never mourned as well for anyone as when I heard those pipes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:20 PM

The first version of Barbara Allen that I heard contained the rose and briar and love-knot verses. The next two versions that I encountered, very similar, were in song collections of a scholarly nature, and they also had the verses. These two versions were transcribed from field recordings.

Now, my criterion is this:   if some coffee house folk singer or some singer-songwriter, who occasionally sings a traditional song or two, sings the verses, that's one thing. But?if that particular version comes from a field recording or is transcribed by a song collector such as John Lomax or Cecil Sharp, then it's legit.

The rose, briar, love-knot motif, wherever it originated, was probably a "floater," and attached itself to any number of songs.

It's my understanding that the verses
Who will shoe my pretty little foot,
Who will glove my hand ?
Who will kiss my ruby red lips
When you're in the far off land?

Your papa can shoe your pretty little foot,
Your mama can glove your hand.
I will kiss your ruby red lips
When I come home.
appeared first in The Lass of Roch Royal. These verses managed to detach themselves and became what's known as a "floater," and are often attached to other songs?or is expanded a bit and becomes a "stand-alone" song.

So?what's the beef?

By the way, a broadside is not necessarily the earliest version of a a song or ballad. As I understand it, the first printed copy found of Greensleeves was on a broadsheet hawked in the streets of London for a penny, and at the top it said, "New Words to the Olde Tune of My Ladye Greenfleeves."

So what were ye olde words?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:21 PM

Married an Irish Catholic and ditched the Masons :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 02:28 PM

Don,

Did you ever hear Eliza Carthy "Mother, Go Make My Bed" ? A bit of everything and the rose-briar motif without any mention of burial places. Interesting,


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 03:46 PM

"As for 'intimacy with area', you can't get much more intimate than with one's own family."
Sorry ? haven't got a clue what this has to do with who made the songs, which is the subject here.
Not talking about our intimacy with area, but that of the composer.
"I could just as easily turn this back on you".
No you can't Steve, I challenge your claims by reason of their lack of logic ? you choose not to answer those challenges other than to dismiss them out of hand; I have never at any time done that.
Thumbing through Child last night to find how many of his first texts were broadsides (as I said, very few) I noticed how many examples of Peter Buchan's he used. Inspired by this, I re-read what Hunsvedt wrote about Child's attitude, and was surprised at exactly what he said about the controversy ? I suggest you read it.
In the past you have made ridiculously definitive statements on Buchan which you cannot possibly verify ? could it be that accounts of the findings of this 'collector', packman, Blind Jamie Rankin, undermines your theory of 'broadside origins' I wonder?
" I only attack daft romantic theories without any substance. "
Don't know whose, in particular you were referring to here, but it has been a running theme of yours throughout all our arguments, here and elsewhere and specifically aimed at me.
Want me to dig out your "do you honestly believe that guff" ? paraphrased again I'm afraid.
"Surely both methods have their pluses."
Not taken individually they don't ? I wouldn't dream of discussing folk song transmission without taking into consideration the effect of broadsides, yet by attributing 90+% of or songs to broadside hacks you all but exclude them as having been based on personal experience by the communities from which the singers came ? utter nonsense.
" We would have lost a great deal of songs recorded by the likes of Sharp had they stopped to record "the life histories of every singer they came across. "
I am in no way attempting to blame the collectors ? simply stating why we know so little.
"Despite that at least 2 singers we visited on numerous occasions and recorded their life histories along with the sources of their songs and what they thought about them."
Then use this information in your arguments ? I have, including that recorded from a sogsheet seller.
But this in no way alters the state of the tradition in Britain when you/we were recording.
Walter Pardon was exceptional as he gave us his own memories as a singer (he didn't sing until he was found by the revival), but also that of his Uncle Billy, his main source, who also gave him information from his forbears ? three generations of information.
Walter said he knew nothing of broadsides until he read about them in Folk Review, he certainly never saw one.
"Not my decision."
Not trying to lay blame ? just pointing to the facts.
"reverted back to being serious songs".
This is no evidence that they ever abandoned the form they "reverted back to" ? you seem very fond of dealing in either/ors - why can't Jeannie Robertson's approach have always existed alongside Sam Cowell's?
"I have not seen anything of his that even pretends to know anything about the 'country' songs themselves"
It really doesn't take a PHD in folksong to know that these were generally referred to as "country songs" ? Walton was doing it in the 17th century, and he spent a great deal of time in the country, including in the company of country singers.
He did know a lot about the hacks who made them and the social history behind the town songs. (See his 'Life and Times of James Catnach')
Have got 'Life and Times of James Catnach' in front of me, he may have known a lot about hack, but he hardly ever mentions them; not here anyway.
"Gummere was he was trying to convince people that even ballads were composed in this way"
Not advocating for Gummere's theory ? just emphasising the dangers of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and ? in your case ? making definitive statements.
"I'd say my CD collection is about 80% traditional singers"
From a moribund, if not long dead tradition that now has very little to offer other than name, rank and serial number.
Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 03:59 PM

"he life histories of every singer they came across"
Sorry - missed a bit.
Nobody here has mentioned "life histories' other than you - I am referring to an attempt to find out what the songs meant to the singers and their communities.
We do know that many of Hammond and Gardiner's singers were discovered in unions (workhouses) - an important point, I believe.
"a proud laddie from hell"
Im sure you know the origin of the nickname - if not, look up "Ladies From Hell".
Did you know that Brendan Behan once wrote of the Scots warpipes that "the only thing to be said in their favour is that they don't smell"?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 05:38 PM

Hi Jim
Perhaps one of these days we'll get round to starting our own thread instead of hijacking other people's.

I have everything in HUSTVEDT annotated and all of his remarks on Buchan are derivative and paraphrased from the likes of Walker etc.
He is just plain wrong when he says Child eased off on Buchan. I have just spent weeks annotating all of Child's comments on Buchan and he saves his best for last. See Vol 5 p182.

Jamie Rankin had nothing to do with Buchan's publications. He didn't meet Rankin until after all his published works were prepared for the press. Rankin only contributed to Secret Songs and the later BL manuscript as Hustvedt and Walker rightly say. What the hell Rankin has to do with broadsides I don't know.

I'll get back to you on the Child broadsides question. I'm preparing you a list which is already sizeable and I haven't yet got onto the more obvious stuff in Vol 5.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 08:49 PM

I think yes the symbolism of the rose being positive and the briar being negative is obvious. 'Thorny issues' is still part of common speech meaning something difficult, 'a rose between two thorns', etc. In at least some of the many ballads that use the rose entwining briar motif one of the two lovers has been bad and the other good (Barbara Allen, though it is likely an add on to this particular ballad). Of course the best example of single negative is 'Bridgwater Merchant/Murdered Servantman/Bruton Town/Bramble Briar'. I spent several days last week at my sister-in-laws newly aquired mansion trying to pull out entangled 3-metre long briars, rose and bramble, all overgrown into the trees. Fell over twice, 2 dodgy eyes and covered in scratches. I'll have a look in Wimberley and Fleming Andersen. I would say if you wanted to look for likely origins, the Scandinavian ancestors of many of them might hold the answer.

Hmmm who said that? Do you think you might reading too much into it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 13 - 09:00 PM

Seeing as this motif appears to be one of the very oldest it's almost impossible to say what the 2 original plants were or whether even at some early stage they were the same plant. Some songs that use these 2 symbols actually state 'the rose upon the briar'. As far as I know a briar is simply a thorny stem of almost any thorny plant, rose briar, bramble briar etc.

It's actually like a wild rose with millions of tiny thorns, Steve. Very tenacious.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 03:57 AM

Sorry to have 'hijacked' this thread, but I am convinced that these aspects of ballads and songs are essential to our understanding of them before we end up down yet another blind alley.
Another bit of 'hijacking' to hopefully add a little light relief to the gloom these arguments invariably throw on the proceedings - you might like to try it yourselves sometime - good fun.
When I moved to London in 1969 to join The Critics Group, a number of members took me under their wings to make me feel at home and show me how the group worked; these included John Faulkner and Sandra Kerr, who regularly invited me to go with them to clubs where they were booked to perform.
Occasionally this involved longish trips out of London, so to relieve the tedium and keep ourselves awake we played and even invented word games to break the tedium of the journey, one invention was the re-titling of ballads and songs such as, 'Folk creatures' like 'The False Kite on the Toad' or 'The Outlandish Kite' or 'Terrapin Hero'
or:
'Folk Foods' like;
'The Dowie Dens of Marrow' or 'The Unquiet Gravy' or 'Scarborough Pear' or 'The Derby Yam' or 'Turra Meercat' - all good harmless fun until we nearly came off the road when somebody came up with 'Hang Down Your Head Tandoori'.
Peggy Seeger had not long written a rather delicate anti-racist song entitled 'Hello Friend', which had a first line "Hello friend, I see you're a stranger" - I don't think she ever found out that this became "Hello fiend, I see you're a strangler".
Dozens and dozens of these on several subjects which went on for quite a while until one night we were heading to a club a fair way out of London in particularly heavy traffic, when we decided to relieve the boredom by 'doing a job' on an entire song - 'Riddles Wisely Expounded' which, with very little effort, we turned into a crude cum bawdy cum erotic piece verging on a rugby song - fine, except John and Sandra had it on their list to sing that night and, rather unwisely decided to include it because they needed a longish song with a chorus that would involve the audience.
In front of a somewhat bemused crowd they corpsed their way though half a dozen verses, breaking down at every bit of the ballad we'd changed.
We laid off the game after that.
Sorry to have interrupted - carry on.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 04:39 AM

While the 'rose and briar' motif stands out, some of the other symbolic motifs are, I think, well worth discussing as they make the ballads as powerful and as beautiful they are.
I particularly like the personification of the moon in 'Sir Patrick Spens'; "I saw the new moon late yester e'en with the old moon in its arms".
One of the most beautiful symbols for me is to be found in 'Gil Morice'; "I once was full of Gil Morice as the hip is of the stone"; when you think of the very thin layer of flesh around the stone of a rose hip it is a perfect description of pregnancy in its later stages.
Not to labour a point, these echo the everyday speech of working people.
I was lucky enough to be given access to some of the actuality recorded for 'The Radio Ballads' which is full of examples of poetic use of speech; Sam Larner in particular with his "shimmer of herrings" and "living gales"; Belle Stewart's "There'll always be Travellers on the road... till Doomsday in the afternoon".
In 'John Axon', one railway worker described being a railwayman thus, "railways run through you like Blackpool runs through rock" (probably not very comprehensible to a non-Brit).
Miners speech was exceptionally rich with their stories and descriptions of work, mainly un-broadcast; their off-hand and often very humorous funny attitude to death sticks stood out.
I remember such use of language when I was an apprentice on the docks in Liverpool - the overhead railway that ran the length of the dock system (like the New York El) was referred to as "The Docker's Umbrella" because that's where they sheltered when it was raining; because of its shape, when the new Catholic Cathedral was built it was given the name, "Paddy's Wigwam".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 09:59 AM

Okay, here's another definitive statement, Jim.

Without checking for more recently discovered early broadsides there are 92 of Child's ballads that jump out at us as having their earliest version on broadside.

2,4,20,43,45,(46),54,55,56,73,74,76,81,84,(91),104,105,106,(109),110,112,116,117,120,(122), (123), (124),126-136, 138-9,141,(142),143-4,(145), 146-54, 156,157,164,(167),168-9, 199,200,(201),(209),211,213,227,233,(236),237,243,248,250,271,272,273,274,276,278,279,281,284,285,286,287,288,289,292,295,299.

Those in brackets are where the earliest version could be broadside or Percy Folio Manuscript. I'd say 'a lot' was a fair description.

Enjoyed your lighter anecdotes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 10:35 AM

Nice drift, Jim. Peter Bellamy used to stay over with Valerie & me when he had a gig round about Cambridge or thereabouts, & we would always give him a lift to the venue as he didn't drive. He intro'd us to a similar game, which involved saying a song title [not necessarily folk] suggested by anything we saw as we went along. I remember once, going thru Stamford Hill and seeing a man with beard and earlocks & black hard hat & those odd sort of stockings they wear, suggesting "Here's a Jew, sweet lovely Nancy". And passing a dirty Leyland car brought out "Staines Morris"...

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 10:41 AM

Don Firth,

Regarding your first comment on this thread:

"I've been told that on the end of "Barbara Allen," most people tend to get the rose and briar bass-ackwards, singing it as the rose growing from her grave (feeling that the rose is a more feminine image), with the briar growing from his.

But a genuine ballad scholar (Dr. David C. Fowler) said that the rose symbolizes true love, hence, it grew from his grave, whereas the spikiness and conditionality of her love produced the briar.

A bit subtle, perhaps, but in "the language of flowers," it makes better sense."

Hmmm... Aren't you and your friend the "genuine ballad scholar" reading too much into this?

Steve, the theme of plants springing from graves is universal. The rose, brier forming a true lovers knot is a very unique example of this theme. And, it is not that the rose is "good" and the briar "bad." How silly. The briar protects the rose. Nobody messes with a briar.

But I do see "gender analysis" in my notes because of you comment. I'm pretty sure it's mostly neutral, the "one" and the "t'other" but I made a note to myself. Thanks Don.

Hijack away you guys. What you have to say is interesting to me whether on topic or not :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 12:52 PM

From your list - as far as I got two nights ago - according to Child.
Have no way of knowing if the refs he gave were taken from broadsides, but will, of course, take you word for it if you say they were.
This brings us no nearer to knowing if the first printed versions were not taken from an oral tradition, so back to where we were.
Nor does it change Child's antipathy towards broadsides, which started all this.
Jim Carroll

First entries
4         Buchan
20         Herd
43         Scott
54        Sandys
55        Sylvester's Christmas Carols
73        Percy
74        Douce Ballads
76        Cochrane's Songbook
81        A Wit Restored
84         Tea Table Miscellany
91        Lovely Jenny's Garland
104        A Jovial Rake's Garland
109        Percy Ms
112        Ravenscroft


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 02:28 PM

> Hmmm... Aren't you and your friend the "genuine ballad scholar" reading too much into this?

Not at all. The rose *is* a conventional symbol of true love (as in Burns and on greeting cards), and it's hard to imagine what it would be doing in the song otherwise. And briars are indeed thorny and discouraging. Logically the rose should come from the lover's grave and the briar from the jilt's. Versions that confuse the source of the two may be rationalized ad hoc, but they're still confused.

There is no suggestion in the song that the dying and absent-minded lover had either the ability or the desire to "protect" Barbara with his spikes. She seems, moreover, to have needed no protection from anyone.

The point of the rose/briar symbol is simply that the pair are united after death, suggesting the happy ending that heaven is better than the hellhole we're living in now.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 03:49 PM

SJ Lepak, Dr. David C. Fowler was one of my professors in the English Literature department at the University of Washington. He has done a number of scholarly works, especially on older English literature, including both "The Venerable Bede" and "The Popular Ballad." Not one of the "biggies" like Sharp or Child, perhaps, but a recognized authority in the field.

And no, I don't think he was reading too much into it. If one looks up the Language of Flowers, the rose generally means true love, with various colors or configurations of roses (e.g., pink rose bud meaning young love, red rose meaning true love, etc.), "fine tuning" what kind of love is being talked about.

The briar, with its thorny or prickly stem, generally doesn't make it in most books of "language of the flowers," not being a flower as such, but in some of the older ones, it signifies rejection, or at best, ambiguous love or conditional love.

So that interpretation makes very good sense in the context of Barbara Allen.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 04:30 PM

Susan, you seem to have got the idea that I have been criticising the conjectural meanings of the plant symbols of the pretty near universal motif that terminates many ballads. This has been dealt with thoroughly by Child and other scholars and I'm pretty happy to accept their findings, particularly those Don and Jon mention.

My scorn was being poured on the suggestions that LL was somehow an Irish-French ballad and some versions had been appropriated for political purposes.

Jim,
Child's antipathy towards broadsides is perfectly understandable given his background. I have a love-hate relationship with them myself. I would have loved to have seen an exclusive version of Child as opposed to his inclusive set, but I fear it would have all fitted into a single volume!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 05:40 PM

Hellhole? Lighter! My advice to you is to view the dog and pony show we call the news with a coldly critical eye (now the US is allied with Putin in the war on terror? Nice...) don't let it grow any tentacles in your brain -and get a golden retriever! In my neck of the woods -literally- it's a beautiful world for me and Teddy.

Don, I respect your professor's analysis of the motif as it pertains to Barbara Allan. The motif was obviously applied to Barbara Allen in a way that made sense to the ballad and your teacher's assessment reflects that, however, the motif did not originate at the end of the Scottish ballad Barbara Allan, nor any other Scottish ballad.

Aye they grew and aye they threw! I just love that!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Jilted? Hmmmmmm...no. Barbara Allan jilted Sweet William, Sweet William jilted Fair Margaret and Lord Thomas jilted Fair Annett. Other story lines include a poisoning, a burning, a drowning, a forced marriage and a slaughter involving 7 brethren. Lord Lovel 75E had an urgent mission to visit the King of Scotland and Lord Levett is one of those men who craves adventure on the high seas. He means to return. You could call that abandonment if you like, but not a jilting.

Lord Lovel is a JACOBITE ballad Steve. The white rose. And yes the rose means true love. But the briar protects the rose precisely because it's hidden underneath so that when you try to pluck the rose...OUCH! Of course, that didn't stop the Black Douglas:

But bye and rade the Black Douglas,
And wow but he was rough!
For he pulld up the bonny brier,
And flang't in St. Mary's Loch.

Bwhahahahahahahahahah! (That's my impression of the Black Douglas' insanely evil laugh :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 07:46 PM

SJ Lepak, let us be clear about the fact that it was not just my professor's analysis. He didn't pick it up out of thin air. He found it cited in several different prior sources, but he agreed that the assessment made perfect sense.

Once again, let me point out that whether or not the rose and briar motif was connected with "Barbara Allen" when the ballad came into existence in the first place, it got added in some variants as the ballad moved through the folk process, in the same way that other "floater verses" ("Who will shoe my pretty little foot," for example, as cited above) attached themselves to various other songs and ballads.

That's the nature of folklore and the folk process.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 08:32 PM

The whole idea of a true lovers knot is togetherness in death. It is not to identify the personalities involved as either like a rose or a briar. Persons who can't imagine these plants laughing or having midnight rendezvous will certainly lack the imagination it takes to view a briar in anything other than a negative light.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths of the lovers as well as other incidentals such as burial sites are inconsequential. Child and others are hardly infallible. In fact I cringed when Child gave such high praise to Lord Thomas and Fair Annett as such a BEAUTIFUL ballad. What? Jealousy over fair skin and a double. Child's point of view is heavily influenced by racism. Why wouldn't the brown girl be happy in her own skin?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 13 - 08:34 PM

Double murder that is...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 01:28 AM

"incidentals such as burial sites are inconsequential"
.,,.
Not always so, Susan. In that very ballad you quote, as well as others like 'Little·Musgrave/Matty·Groves', burial sites are in many versions indicative of social precedence; with instructions for burial in one grave combined with such an injunction as to bury one of them in a superior position "for she came of the nobler kin".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:01 AM

"Child's antipathy towards broadsides is perfectly understandable given his background."
Again a red herring Steve ? we are not discussing 'why' Child described broadsides as "veritable dunghills", just that he did ? you will remember, of course that you cited him as one of your referees!
"These scholars! I don't know! They don't know nuffin! That Professor Child, who was he anyway!"
You really can't rely on these character witnesses, can you?
This is from a paper I gave at one of the several conferences I attended in the 1980s when I was desperately trying to improve the fact that I was "somewhat out of touch with current thinking. About a century behind."
It was published along with other papers in Ian Russell's 'Singer, Song and Scholar in 1986 and it describes our meeting Mikeen McCarthy, a Travelling man who became one of our closest friends and who we recorded over thirty years up to his death in 2005.
We recorded much more on ballad selling and on the passing on of songs up to the 1950s in rural S.W. Ireland ? he fill well over 100 tapes in all with songs, stories and information.
I have also included the transcript of the track from our Travellers double CD, 'From Puck To Appleby', where he talks about the act of selling 'The Ballads'.
Sorry about the space taken up by this.
Jim Carroll

One evening, after a long period of doing very little recording, we were drinking in a pub to the west of London when one of the travelers pointed out a man engaged (we thought) in conversation with several other men. We approached the group and found that in fact he was singing to them. We introduced ourselves and asked if he would be prepared to sing for us. He agreed and the following evening we began working with Mikeen McCarthy, work we have not yet completed after eight years.
Mikeen (Little Michael) McCarthy was born fifty years ago in Cahirciveen, a small town on the Inveragh Peninsula in County Kerry in the south west of Ireland. His parents followed the traditional travelling trades: tin-smithing, horse dealing, hawking, chimney sweeping and, like a number of travelling families, spent eight months of the year on the road and rented a house for the winter, thus enabling Mikeen and his four sisters to get a little education. In addition to these trades, Michael McCarthy, senior, spent some time abroad as a soldier in the First World War and as a miner and bare-fist prizefighter in South Wales. Both of Mikeen's parents were singers, his father being in great demand as one, among travellers and in the settled community in Kerry. His mother was an Ullagoner, one of the women who were called on to keen or lament at funerals.
Mikeen took up tin-smithing as his first trade but later became skilled as a caravan builder. Some of the beautiful barrel-topped vans that are now used to haul holidaymakers around the roads in the south west of Ireland were built by him.
During his youth, he worked with his mother at the fairs and markets selling 'the ballads', the song sheets that were still being sold in rural Ireland right into the fifties. These sheets, measuring about 12 inches by 5 inches, were printed on coloured paper and contained the words of one song. The trade was carried on almost exclusively by travellers. The songs appearing on the sheets were by no means all traditional. titles mentioned to us were 'Little Grey Home in the West', 'Smiling Through', 'Home Sweet Home', and 'No Place Like Home', as well as 'Rocks of Bawn', Sailor's Life', 'Betsy of Ballentown Brae', and 'Willie
Reilly and his Colleen Bawn'.
Mikeen was able to describe to us in great detail how these ballads were primed and distributed. Although, as I have mentioned, he had received some education, his writing ability was somewhat limited; his mother is still unable to read and write. They would go into a town or village where a market was to take place and approach a local printer.
The words of a selected song would be recited to the printer who would take them down and an order would be placed for the required number.
In Kerry, where the McCarthys traded, the sheets were illustrated with a picture that related to the song: 'A man's song would have the picture of a man at the top, a woman's would have a woman's head'. This does not appear to have been the case throughout Ireland; in County Clare we have been told that the sheets contained the words only, with no illustration.
When they were printed they were taken around the fairs, usually to the bars, and sold at a penny each, though sometimes, towards the end of the day, they would be sold for less. A seller had to be able to supply tunes for the songs on sale; quite often a transaction depended on this.
Mikeen described how, at a fair in Tralee, a customer was so anxious to learn a song that he pushed a pound note into Mikeen's top pocket every time he sang the song through: 'I went home with eleven pounds that time'.
Attitudes to ballad selling appeared to have differed among travellers.
Athough it was carried out almost exclusively by them, by many it was regarded as no better than begging: 'They thought it was a low trade, but I didn't, I was glad to do it. I still would if I had the chance.' Even Mikeen's parents disagreed about it: 'My mother thought it was okay, but my father didn't like the idea of his songs going on them; if he found out there'd be trouble.'
The songs that were selected for the sheets would depend on where they were to be sold: 'Some would sell well in one place and some in another... If you could get a song that nobody knew in that place, you had a winner.' Quite often Mikeen would be asked if he had any of his father's songs for sale. Such a request would be complied with the next time that place was visited.
The practice of ballad selling appears to have died out some time in the late fifties. One of the last songs to have appeared on a ballad was 'Bar With No Stout ? (parody on The Pub with No Beer)'. These ballad sheets, along with the song page in the weekly magazine, Ireland's Own, have exerted a very strong influence, for good or ill, on the singing tradition in Ireland over the last fifty years. We have yet to meet an Irish traditional singer who has not learned songs from them.
We were interested to find that a song entered in the Stationers Register in 1675 was still being sold on a ballad sheet right into the 1950s. Moreover, it is still popular among Irish Travellers today as in example 1 (The Blind Beggar), which was recorded in 1975.   

Selling the Ballads (The Blind Beggar)   Mikeen McCarthy
Well er, around where my father came from like, he was very well known as being a singer, not a singer now for his living like, but a fireside singer, we'll call it, and what we call céilidhing now, going to houses. Well they were very fond of that song where he came from, he'd be like the young people today singing, buying those records, you know. But it got that popular around that area, travelled from parish to parish then; where he got it from I do not know.
So when I used be selling the ballads then like, and my mother, they used ask me, "Have you any of your father's songs?", you know, when we went in to where we were reared now, "Have you the Blind Beggar?", and I used say, "No."
"Why don't you get those printed?", they'd say, "Those are the songs you'd sell, and if you get them printed I'll buy about a dozen of them off you next time I meet you."
So that's how I got them in print then myself. My father write them out for me and I'd go in to the printing office then, then I'd get them printed.
Well they were the songs that did sing, and many a time after I went into the pubs after selling ballads like and things like that and I'd hear all the lads inside on a fair day now, we'll say markets and meetings, well when they'd have a few pints on them, 'tis then you'd hear my songs sung back again out of my ballads.
But I remember one day I was in Listowel Fair and I was selling ballads anyway. So I goes into a pub, I was fifteen years of age then - actually, I never wanted to pack it up, it was ashamed of the ladies I got, you know - but there was an American inside anyway, he wasn't back to Ireland I'd say for thirty years or something, he was saying.
So I sang that song now, The Blind Beggar, and he asked me to sing it again and every time I sang it he stuck a pound note into my top pocket.
He said, "Will you sing again?"
So I did, yeah. The pub was full all round like, what we call a nook now that time, a small bar, a private little bar off from the rest of the pub.
"And, will you sing it again?"
"I will; delighted" again, of course, another pound into my top pocket every time anyway. And the crowd was around, of course, and they were all throwing in two bobs apiece and a shilling apiece and I'd this pocket packed with silver money as well.
So he asked me, "Will you sing it for the last time."
Says I, "I'll keep singing it 'til morning if you want."
I'd six single pound notes in it when I came outside of the pub. I think I sold the rest of the ballads for half nothing to get away to the pictures".

The selling of printed song sheets, 'ballads', as they were known, was still very much a part of life right into the 1950s in rural Ireland. The trade at that time seemed to be fairly exclusively carried out by travellers who could be seen at the fairs and markets singing and selling them.
Not all the songs that appeared on these sheets were traditional; sentimental songs like Smiling Through and There's No Place Like Home, have been mentioned to us as being 'best sellers', and among the last titles to appear was The Pub with No Beer. However, they did have a profound effect on the preservation and circulation of many traditional songs. In Mikeen's case, one of the sources for the songs he sold, such as Bessie of Ballentown Brae andBonny Bunch of Roses, was his father, Michael, who had a large repertoire of traditional songs and stories and was recognised as a singer and storyteller by members of both the travelling and settled communities around Cahirciveen in Co Kerry.
In his youth, Mikeen, along with his mother and other members of the family, sold the ballads around the pubs and fairs of Kerry and he has given us a great deal of valuable information regarding the production and distribution of these, which he started to sell around the age of twelve some time in the nineteen forties.
Ref: Michael McCarthy, Singer and Ballad Seller. Singer, Song and Scholar, Sheffield Academic Press,1986.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 10:44 AM

Jim,
I'm sorry you have gone to so much trouble. I have had the book in question for many years. I'm quite familiar with your work. I even have some copies of the ballads that were sold in this way.

We've been over this ground before. IMO what the travellers were doing in Ireland in the mid 20th century does not relate closely to the situation in southern England in the early 19thc. Most of what you describe is the case in that someone wrote a ballad and took it to the printer, got his shilling, and in most cases that was end of the matter for him until he'd written another ballad. The street sellers came to the printer, bought a batch of ballads, then sold them in the streets for a penny, often singing the song on the sheet, but not always. Now I'm sure occasionally the street singer would cash in on this extra money by keeping an ear to the ground as to what was selling well with ballads from other sellers and printers. I have never denied there was interaction between print and oral tradition in both directions. In fact I have lots of examples that didn't survive until the collectors came along. But these were all commercial transactions which was my original point.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 10:50 AM

~M~

The rose-briar motif, for the purposes of this thread, consists of the rose, the briar, and the true lover's knot. Other elements are indeed important but in a strictly relative sense...

~D~

OK let's talk about these gendered plants and about Barbara Allen.

It is interesting to note that all occurrences of the Scottish variation, the "birk-briar motif" as it were, do not ascribe gender to the plants at all. Ascribing gender, like the theme of death by love-sickness, seems to fall more in line with English tradition. Although generally referred to as a Scottish ballad, Barbara Allen obviously descends from a courtly tradition and bears the influences of English (and French) ideas about courtly love. This death by love-sickness is simply not a folkish sentiment of the Scots. Recall the Twa Corbies. That's how the Scots think.

We know that ultimately Barbara Allen became the most popular ballad of them all. Why wouldn't such a popular motif eventually end up on the most popular ballad? But it didn't start out there. Your friend Child indicated that the rose-briar motif was NOT attached to Barbara
Allan originally by not including any variants that have it. I happen to agree with him there. The earliest printed broadside is from 1690, it is English, takes place in the "merry" month of May and the "young man" is not named. There is no motif in any of the early versions.

The version that is generally referred to as Scottish, takes place during Martinmas (11/11)and the young man's name is John Graeme. That is interesting to me because Bonnie Dundee is the soubriquet for John Graham, 7th Laird of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee, who with the help of the Catholic highlanders led the three main Jacobite risings in 1689 and thus became known as a Jacobite hero. Could there be a connection? Oh, most certainly I would think. The timing is right. I believe also that there is a tradition in folk music, generally speaking, that tends to put the name of notable persons or families into folk songs and ballads.

Anyway, gender occurs with the plants in this motif in English traditions: Fair Margaret and Sweet William, some variants of Lord Lovel, and some variants of Earl Bran- and nowhere else. I am satisfied that the motif did not originate on any of the other 7 ballads that it has been associated with.

Another thing Don, while I'm perfectly willing to take what "established" ballad scholars have to say into account, I'm a bit leary of strict reliance on "authoritative" sources. I like to do my own thinking. Why did Child, for example, exclude the comic tradition of Lord Lovel? Is it because he's not the be-all and end-all of ballad scholarship? Was it because he was interpreting from his own stodgy, prudish Victorian, racist mindset much of the time? I would say so. He collected a lot of information, however, he really was a bit limited in the analyses department. He missed a lot, ignored a lot, rejected a lot.

And one more point, only so much can be "proven" by citing high ranking academics in the field. This is not law, we don't base things purely on precedent do we? That's a system where a bad decision generally leads to several more bad decisions. I hope that's not how we do things around here. Some things are obvious as in common sense, we shouldn't have to wait for some important academic to point such things out to us that seem to be staring us in the face. Like the John Graeme thing. How do I "prove" it? Why the hell should I have to? It's right there!

                                              ~S~


Btw, I do that little flourish on my initial because I'm very vain :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 10:56 AM

Jim,

Eleven pounds? That's a good night! I love these little stories :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 12:27 PM

"Ballad study," such as it was, fell into disrepute fifty years ago even among folklorists because conjecture is too easy and pertinent evidence almost nonexistent.

I personally prefer to think that the rose and the briar symbolize the Romulan-Klingon alliance against people of Earth. I don't care what anyone has to say about it, either, because I believe what I what I want to from evidence that pops into my head (R stands for Romulan, and K is a spiky, briary letter. Prove me wrong.)

It puts the "folk" back into folk scholarship.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 12:53 PM

You have no grounds whatever for (once again) dismissing what was happening in Ireland because it doesn't fit your pet theory.
I gave an example of how traditional songs got into circulation via print yet you have failed to provide one single scrap of evidence of a broadside hack composing one traditional song.
It is far more likely in England that something of the sort went on there rather than the fanciful idea of the existence of a school of (pretty ham-fisted, judging by the published collections of broadsides) hacks managing to compose the "gems from a dunghill" that went to make up a traditional repertoire that managed to survive for centuries, while the rest of their dross appeared to have disappeared within... how long?
You have even dismissed, again out of hand, the descriptions of Hindley and Walton of these songs being "country" even though they they were writing at the time when the broadsides were being produced.
This description of Walton seeing and hearing ballads and songs, a little flowery perhaps, but from somebody on the spot.

"In Walton's ' Angler,' Piscator, having caught a chub, conducts Venator to an ' honest ale house, where they would find a cleanly room, lavender in the windows, and twenty ballads stuck about the wall.' 'When I travelled,' says the Spectator, ' I took a particular delight in hearing the songs and fables that are come from father to son, and are most in vogue among the common people of the countries
through which I passed.' The heart-music of the peasant was his native minstrelsy, his blithesome carol in the cottage and in the field."

I have searched for any form of confirmation that these anonymous hacks produced hardly anything of lasting merit - Hindly, Ashton, Lilley, Henderson, Wardroper, Rollins, Holloway and Black, Euing the Bagford and Roxborough collections..... all pretty crudely composed and in most cases unsingable stuff, interesting academically certainly, but hardly deathless verse, yet you claim they come from the same stable as those Walter Pardon, Tom Lenihan, Harry Cox, Sam Larner gave us, a stunning repertoire of beautiful songs that they got from the mouths of earlier generations which fitted the singers like a Saville Row tailored suit - come onnn!
So we are left with what? - first printed editions and no more.
We once asked Mikeen McCarthy did he know of anybody having made songs to sell to the printer - he said "why bother; there was enough around without having us go to that trouble".
Makes sense to me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 12:55 PM

PS "I'm sorry you have gone to so much trouble."
I'm not doing it for you Steve - you obviously don't want to listen - maybe others do.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 01:21 PM

Jim,
I've given you lots of examples of ballads that made it into folk tradition where we even know the names of the writers, never mind all the anonymous ones. Like John Morgan (See Hindley) they lived in towns near to the printers who also lived in towns. Nobody mentioned any SCHOOL except you. It's very possible they never even met each other. They were simply trying to turn a quick shilling. Some of them even became well known poets and writers in later life. Of course much of what they produced was of its time and for the bottom of the market. Occasionally the odd one clicked and this entered oral tradition. Flowery, and even true in some countries at certain times and maybe even true to some extent in Walton's time in England but unfortunately by the time the 'country' people of the early 19thc were learning their songs the mass market was the printed broadside and related street literature.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 01:24 PM

Okay, Jim, it's showdown time.

You keep going on about 'insider knowledge'. Let's have 20 well-known 'country' examples from the English corpus that contain substantial 'insider knowledge'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 01:49 PM

Nice one, Jon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 02:14 PM

Other common names to be noted are Young Jemmy Grove and Sweet William ~~ and you omit to note, Suasan, that he was Sir John Graeme of the West Country, which location doesn't sound very Scottish, altho I acknowledge that the name does. As for it's being thought of early on as a Scotch song; that is how Pepys described it in what is generally taken as the first ref to it, in his record of having heard the actress Mrs Knipp sing it:
--- A diary entry by Samuel Pepys on January 2, 1666 contains the earliest extant reference to the song. In it, he recalls the fun and games at a New Years party:[3]
    "...but above all, my dear Mrs Knipp with whom I sang; and in perfect pleasure I was to hear her sing, and especially her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen."--- wikipedia


I have signed like this

~M~

for years. I got there first and URA copycat!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 03:06 PM

That's funny because the most memorable quote I remember regarding the ballad Barbara Allen were written by Irish poet Oliver Goldsmith who said "The music of the finest singer is dissonance to what I felt when our old dairy-maid sung me into tears with "Johnny Armstrong's Last Good Night," or the "Cruelty of Barbara Allen." End quote.I will stuff that treasure right into my little book bag, and take it on down to the bank. But, I will hang to to a bit of my oral currency just in case anybody is in a betting mode because Lord Levett's snow-white steed and Lord Lovel's milk-white lovely is chomping at the bit. Pretty horsies.

Never fear Jim, others do.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 03:19 PM

Although, if you cornered me as to whether I preferred Twa Corbies to Three Ravens, I'd have to say Three Ravens. It appeals to a woman's psyche. I wept. Then she has to play the Twa Corbies just to cheer herself up.

You Englishmen really know what you're doin. Charletan bastards!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 03:42 PM

I just want to say also that I am very grateful to all who have been willing to converse with me. Especially you Steve because I have been rude to you as I should not have been. That's ditto for Michael.

Jim,

One of the things I love most about Irish music is the ability of a woman to take on a man's point of view and the reverse. I love the way the Irish cut through barriers to connect with the human spirit in song.

My boys? U2, Shawn Mc Gowan... When I die, I'll be good as long as the Edge is playin in the background. In fact, if he is, I might decide to live a little bit longer...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:24 PM

Susan,
You have encouraged people to think about and discuss a very interesting and vital topic (IMO) and that in itself is of value.
Despite some of your more romantic notions you have inspired me to go back now and have another look at all the different variations of this motif. I mentioned the possibility that the motif has come to English in translation perhaps on different occasions and I now want to pursue that possibility. I am deeply interested in motifs and commonplaces.

Regarding 'Scotch' songs, I have read on more than one occasion that to the London Society world of the 17th century anything from 20 miles north of London not in standard English was referred to as 'Scotch'. I probably read that in Child but I couldn't swear to it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:36 PM

But isn't "Barbara Allen" usually in "standard English"?

Anyway, would Pepys have known a real Scotch song if he heard one?

Perhaps Mrs. Knipp/Knepp had a Scottish accent (unlikely). Or sang the song in Scottish character (more likely). Or introduced the song, based on hearsay, as "Scotch" (possible). Or perhaps that version mentioned a Scottish locality - perhaps the "North Country" instead of the West (quite possible, particularly if a Graeme was involved).

We may never know. The point is that based on what we *do* know, which is next to nothing, Pepy's informal characterization of the song as "Scotch," all by itself, has little value as evidence for anything.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:43 PM

If I understand the ongoing debate between Jim and Steve, the issue is what proportion of the "folk repertoire" originated in the countryside and what proportion originated among ballad printers in the city.

Traditional songs originated in both places.

However, the question of *proportions* and ultimate inspiration (not to mention relative quality) is unanswerable by its very nature. Theoretically any broadside could have come from the country, and any rural song could have come from a ballad sheet, known or otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:54 PM

I wondered if what Pepys heard was the 'Graeme' version. I've even looked at the possibility that the 'Reading' version was a parody of this and that 'scarlet' being the pun on 'Reading' was a further parody. All absolute conjecture and fancy. The 'Graeme' version does have more of the art song in it.

Jon,
No, the 'Graeme' version is in what I would call 'stage Scots', i.e., 'hooly, hooly' 'gin' for 'if' etc., the sort of stuff that abounds in Ramsay's works. However that very inventive fellow Peter Buchan managed to come up with a 41 stanza version in broad Doric. Needless to say, Child ignored it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 04:56 PM

I meant Shane Mac Gowan. Not good with names. Don't tell my good friend Dan Lovell. He's the one who introduced me to the Pogues. Kiss my ass and all that. And the funny story of how Shane broke into Bono's house, broke out of rehab and drank all Bono's booze. Now that's a funny story.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 13 - 10:31 PM

Steve,

"Stage Scots?" Are you kidding me? Sir Walter Scot is the stagiest Scot on the face of the earth!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 04:18 AM

"Let's have 20 well-known 'country' examples from the English corpus"
Seems more than a little impertinent to demand such detailed work on something most of us have taken for granted throughout the time we have been involved, when you have not produced a single example of your own other than dates on paper, but OK- but will do it bit by bit so as not to mess everybody else about.
These stand out for me.
MAID OF AUSTRALIA a: very popular in Norfolk, sung by the three greats, Sam, Harry and Walter - we recorded it from Winterton man Bob Green.
I've always assumed that Oxborough was an Australian river, but I could never get any hits for it on Google Earth. An old friend, Bob Thomson researched the song and found that Oxborough, due west of Norwich once included a settlement of returned Australian convicts. Bob, (now almost certainly retired, left Cambridgeshire to become a professor of English in Gainesville, Florida) was convinced that due to this reference the song probably originated there. Before he left the UK his specialist subject was broadsides and he worked at length on the Madden Collection.
Staying in Norfolk:
BUTTER and CHEESE and ALL - Sam and Harry.
I was always puzzled by the idea of being able to scramble up a chimney in a hurry to hide.
Sam told Charles Parker and Walter Pardon told us of the closely kept secret custom in Norfolk of 'press gang rails', iron rods built into the chimneys to create a bolt hole for those wishing to avoid the attention of the press gangs that plagued the Norfolk coast in the early part of the 19th century - both Sam and Walter Pardon linked it to the prectice - I think it is included on Sam's Now Is The Time For Fishing album - it certainly is in his actuality recordings.
THE MOWING MATCH (recorded from Becket Whitehead)
Speaks for itself; couldn't possible have been made by an outsider, with all its detailed local references to names, work, sporting rules and judging practices.
Breakfast calls; will try to do some more later - bloody exhausting way to start the day.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 06:52 AM

"Sir Walter Scot is the stagiest Scot on the face of the earth!"
Sir Wal was said to having sent a servant out to to find a skull to put on his desk while he was working on supernatural ballads.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 07:54 AM

Jim, the Hawkesbury River flows north and west of Sydney.

Could sound like "Oxborough" to the uninitiated.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 08:33 AM

Jim, do you get the feeling Sir Walter made a few enemies in his lifetime?

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=ODT18940618.2.38

Saints preserve us!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 08:47 AM

"Could sound like "Oxborough" to the uninitiated.
It could, of course, and what you say might be a clue to the song's origins; none of this is in any way definitive, but it certainly makes better sense to me than proclaiming that 90+% of our songs originated on the 'English' broadside presses - who knows; Steve might have discovered the first version to have come from Australia.
While I have a minute - another (this time) genre of song

BROKEN TOKEN SONGS
I have always had difficulty with the motif of breaking a (particularly gold) ring in half; it always conjured up the picture of a young man rambling around the countryside armed with a hacksaw, just in case.
While Pat and I were working on the notes for 'Lady' in Her Father's Garden on 'From Puck to Appleby' she linked the motif with a custom popular up to the 17th century of 'gimmal rings'.
While the custom seemed to have died out, it was still to be found in odd places in rural England; if my memory serves me right Sergeant Troy gives one to his lover Fanny in 'Far From The Madding Crowd'.
Would such an outdated custom be part of the hacks armoury or would it be part of the experience of the few places that retained it - would it have any relevance to any potential customer; if not, why base a whole genre of songs on it?
This is the the note we did for Wexford Traveller Mary Cash's version of the song - again, nothing definitive, just an attempt to make sense of something we didn't really understand.

This is probably one of the most popular of all the 'broken token' songs, in which parting lovers are said to break a ring in two, each half being kept by the man and woman. At their reunion, the man produces his half as a proof of his identity.
Robert Chambers, in his Book of Days, 1862-1864, describes a betrothal custom using a 'gimmal' or linked ring:

" Made with a double and sometimes with a triple link, which turned upon a pivot, it could shut up into one solid ring... It was customary to break these rings asunder at the betrothal which was ratified in a solemn manner over the Holy Bible, and sometimes in the presence of a witness, when the man and woman broke away the upper and lower rings from the central one, which the witness retained. When the marriage contract was fulfilled at the altar, the three portions of the ring were again united, and the ring used in the ceremony".
These 'broken token' songs often end with the woman flinging herself into the returned lover's arms and welcoming him back, but the above version has it differently and, Mary Delaney, who also sang it for us, had the suitor even more firmly rejected:

"For it's seven years brings an alteration,
And seven more brings a big change to me,
Oh, go home young man, choose another sweetheart,
Your serving maid I'm not here to be."

Ref: The Book of Days, Robert Chambers, W & R Chambers, 18133-64.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 09:47 AM

Sorry ? cross-posted.
"Jim, do you get the feeling Sir Walter made a few enemies in his lifetime?"
He seemed to have his critics ? they didn't take prisoners in those days, did they?
From Hodgart's 'The Ballads:
"His (James Hogg's) mother, Margaret Laidlaw, was an unlettered folksinger, and it was she who spoke the famous words to Scott which make a fitting comment on his work: "There was never ane o' my songs prentit till ye prentit them yourself, and ye hae spoilt them a'togither. They were made for singin' and no for readin', but ye hae broken the charm now, and they'll never be sung mair.""

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:08 AM

Jim
Maid of Australia. Insider knowledge???

Butter and Cheese and All. The insides of chimneys in many large houses in towns and country had these rungs for the cleaners to ascend. Some even had little sections where one could hide from religious persecutors like Priest Holes.

The Mowing Match is not part of the corpus under consideration. I'm not aware of any versions being collected in Sharp's time or by his contemporaries. There were plenty of songs about mowers but these do not contain any 'insider knowledge' unless you count sexual euphemisms as insider knowledge.

The Broken Token was as you say very common during the period when these songs were being made and common knowledge to all. Very definitely NOT insider knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:21 AM

Margaret Hogg née Laidlaw's famous complaint to Scott was, however misplaced. I wrote in my entry on 'Folklore' in The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature (NY 2003): "Her words have been called prophetic, but the resultant decline in living folklore was probably a factor of the same influences that led to the folkloric researches of Scott and others in the first place ? awareness that urbanisation and the spread of easily accessible forms of popular entertainment (pleasure gardens, music hall; later radio, cinema, television) were undermining those popular roots on which the uninhibited spread of living folkore depends, and a consequent desire to preserve what could be saved before it vanished entirely. Although the folk forms have turned out tougher than this pessimistic view suggested, it is true that, from the invention of printing onward, every technological and popular artistic development had tended to fix the form. Mrs Hogg, alas, was too late."

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:24 AM

Jim,
Your labours would be more convincing if you chose your examples from the corpus we were discussing, Sharp, Hammond, Gardiner, Broadwood, Kidson, Baring Gould, Vaughan Williams, etc., and their publications. I know you have a copy of Marrow Bones. That would be a good start.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:28 AM

"The Mowing Match is not part of the corpus under consideration. "
Why not Steve - who is deciding what is "under consideration" - you claimed "all folk songs....?"
"Maid of Australia. Insider knowledge???"
Where you aware of the Norfolk ex-convict community - I certainly wasn't? If you were, on what grounds have you rejected the possibility
"The Broken Token was as you say very common during the period when these songs were being made"
Are you saying the they were made in the 18th century?
Tell you what - how about some qualifying some of your own claims beyond "earliest dates" in exchange or are you insisting on rigging the match? Have got plenty more examples but if you're going to behave like this, I'm taking my ball home?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:39 AM

But who said it was your ball, Jim?

Just asking ~~ not taking sides!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:47 AM

Jim,
You need to check back again. At no point did I mention ALL folk songs. I deliberately said over and over again that my researches applied to that corpus of material collected and published c1890-1920 by the likes of Sharp. If I was to consider every item of English folk song, fragments, one-offs, peripherals it would take more than a lifetime, and then there would be the old debate about what constitutes a 'folk song'. I've deliberately avoided this all along and repeatedly so.

Some were certainly made in the 18thc. Many of the flowery ones that came out of the theatres and pleasure gardens were mostly 18thc.

I have done that, Jim. I have given you the names of authors from 17th to 19th century and I can even think of a few early 20th. I'm happy to give you plenty of examples of those from broadsides. No problem.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 11:19 AM

"At no point did I mention ALL folk songs."
Very true - you only said 90+% - you also included versions in your claim.
And I said over and over again that your researches didn't hold water because our knowledge of the oral tradition didn't extend back beyond the beginning of the 20th century - you have applied the same arguments to the ballads, which go back much further than that.
You dismissed Isaac Walton's (1593-1683) evidence in his referring to songs he heard as "country songs" on the grounds that he was talking about "country printers".
And while we're at it, can you link me to evidence of ladders inside chimneys - damned if I can find anything other than little boys being lowered down them 9seem to remeber Charles Kingsley had something to say on the matter - this didn't help me; maybe you'll have better luck   
http://www.ruchalachimney.com/history.html
Harking back to the gimmal rings - can you point me to anybody who has linked broken token songs to them - if not, why not if they where a common phenomenon.
Understand what you're saying Mike, but Steve has chosen to challenge me to put up - can't really see the point in travelling up this one-way street if its going to turn out to be a cul-de-sac.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 12:22 PM

> Oxborough, due west of Norwich once included a settlement of returned Australian convicts.

Interesting, of course. But it's likely enough that whoever created the lyrics simply wanted to write an erotic song set in the romantic South Seas. Ah, the Hawkesbury banks! Why not? Particularly if it was written in Sydney.

Surely this is just as probable as any suggestion that the song originally referred to the "Oxborough" banks.

FWIW, a search of Google Books for "Oxborough + Australian" fails to confirm the existence there of a settlement of returned lags.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 02:12 PM

"But it's likely enough that whoever created the lyrics simply wanted to write an erotic song set in the romantic South Seas."
Possibly true - don't think there's much to be drawn from this other than the coincidences of the ref to Australia, there having been a returned convict colony and the song being particularly popular in Norfolk may have some significance - none of this should be set in stone, just part of the information to be assessed before you make up your mind.
I was thumbing through Roy Palmer's 'Everyman's Book of Country Songs last night - I'd forgotten how good his research was.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 03:11 PM

Funny you should mention Roy, Jim.
He was at the presentation I gave at C#H. He actually complemented me on my presentation. I'd be quite happy to ask Roy to adjudicate on this one. He's pretty much an expert on broadsides himself.

Butter &CAA, otherwise known on broadsides as 'Cook's Courtship'. The cook is obviously the cook in the kitchen of one of those old houses with a 'master' who discovers her little bit of fun. These old houses generally had a large open fire place to burn wood, the type you could walk into. Not the type you could climb up using spread hands and feet but some form of climbing aid like rungs or protruding bricks.

Broken Token
Again, Jim, I'm not sure what you're saying here. A broken token is precisely what it says on the bottle, a token of some sort that is roughly broken in half so that when placed together only these 2 pieces will join exactly. The item was usually a ring for pretty obvious reasons, but occasionally a coin or something similar, and they were just as common in the 18th century as the 19th and I wouldn't be surprised if even earlier though I can't think of an example off-hand. (unintended). If you're asking if there are broken token songs from the 18th century I'd say I'm pretty certain yes, but I'd have to go and check.

On several occasions I have stated that my conclusions are largely based on stylistic qualities within the ballads themselves. This obviously varies from ballad to ballad, which is why it would be better to select and discuss individual ballads as examples and this is why I have been offering for you to choose those examples yourself.
More shortly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 03:16 PM

Jim,
Here's a small simple example from your own area of expertise.

Bear with me. I'm not being facetious.

Your Irish travellers often call broadsides 'ballets'. They also have a 3-word phrase they use to describe them which is common knowledge. Can you remind me of this short phrase please?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 03:22 PM

Jim,
A rather unfortunate choice of song for you in Butter and Cheese and All. The copy I have in front of me ends as follows:

Now to conclude my ditty,
I hope I have not kept you long,
So we'll all proceed to harmony,
If you'll BUY up my song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 04:49 PM

Susan,
Had a close look at Douglas Tragedy. Not that many versions include the burial stanzas and the American ones seem to have mainly the rose from HIS grave. All of these finish with the true love knot forming. The earliest English version has the end cut off but we are told there was probably room for about 9 more stanzas. Pure conjecture but if you take the last verse of Percy Folio version and match it to the equivalent stanza in I, the stall copy c1795, it would suggest these burial stanzas weren't present in the earliest version.

Look carefully at the headnote to Scott's version in Child. It says 'the three last stanzas from a penny pamphlet and from tradition.' By 'penny pamphlet' one presumes he means the stall copy, I, which he didn't have access to when he made the notes. The stall copy indeed finishes with the 2 stanzas 18 and 19 in Scott and Scott's version follows the stall copy pretty closely. Scott's final verse about 'Black Douglas' is found nowhere else in this ballad's tradition. In fact no other version goes beyond the lover's knot. I know some uses of the motif in other ballads have someone sever the knot, but not in this ballad. I leave you to draw your own conclusions from this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 05:09 PM

It seems to me that "The Douglas Tragedy" was crafted out of Earl Bran. All variants of Child #7 in which the name Earl Bran is used have no motif. That's 7 out of 10. The 3 that have it of course use the name Douglas. Interestingly, these versions use the rose and briar but then switch to the second part of the variation (aye they grew etc.)This doesn't happen anywhere else. The Douglas is an example of a ballad that was tailored to fit the legend and a locale. No big mystery here. We can scratch this one off I think.

I like what Mrs. Laidlaw said. It's folk wisdom for the ages. Publishing ballads is like reducing a motion picture to a still. But I also respect your analysis Michael. It's brilliant. I've got some good stuff to ponder out in the woods where I'm a-going right now :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 05:28 PM

> It's folk wisdom for the ages.

And, like most "folk wisdom," quite wrong. People are still singing the songs, even if they did learn them from print and plastic. Did large numbers of 19th C. ballad singers quit singing because Scott fancied up some of their ballads for print? Why on earth would they?

If Mrs. Hogg could come back, even she might be delighted by some modern performers.

Once she got used to our world.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 06:32 PM

Too true, John. Many of those ballads 'tidied up' even 'concocted' by the antiquarians have quickly fallen back into oral tradition. Look at Burns' stuff as well.

'It seems to me that "The Douglas Tragedy" was crafted out of Earl Bran'. Highly unlikely, Susan. Earl Brand is a different ballad to Douglas Tragedy. They have no text in common. They have a common origin in Ribold and Guldborg, yes, along with Erlinton. I think if Child had had access to all of the versions before he published he would have given EB and DT different numbers as he did with Erlinton. There is really only one version of EB with a few minor differences and my bet is it was made up quite recently after 1814 and based on Jamieson's translation of R&G. The stall copy of DT from which all other versions are derived barring Percy's has actual text in common with Percy though not much. It is a great pity that so much of Percy's Ms version was lost.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 06:33 PM

Go on then 200. Sorry, couldn't resist. Slaps own wrist.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 13 - 10:47 PM

Steve, love, Ribold and Guldborg and Earl Bran are the same story. And they both include the informant Carl Hood whom we don't see in the Douglas Tragedy at all. You mean to tell me that with all those Vikings assimilating all throughout those parts, not one could ever translate or teach a ballad to the natives? No. They had to wait for Jamieson's translation to do anything at all. Think about how ridiculous that line of logic really is, Steve, my knight in shining armour :-)

There's a statue of Sir Walter Scott in Selkirk, home of the Black Douglas, because Sir Walter put them on the map. Who knows? Maybe he wrote the Douglas Tragedy himself. He certainly could've. All he would have had to do is get Mr. Sharpe to agree to be his "supplier." Easy.

And I think also that the last verse about Douglas pulling up the briar is telling. Douglas was anti-Jacobite. I think this particular treatment of the the motif might be pointing to the fact that the motif was recognized by some as having been attached to a Jacobite love ballad of small stature. There is one version of the Douglas Tragedy that does have the love knot:

These twa grew, and these twa threw,         
Till they came to the top,
And when they could na farther gae,
They coost the lovers' knot.

For the most part in Douglas Tragedy, however, there is no love knot and technically this not the correct motif as it only meets 2 out of 3 of the criteria. Had there been a love knot, it would have been impossible for the Black Douglas to pull the briar up without also pulling up the rose.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 11:16 AM

So, Susan, when were these Vikings wandering around Scotland then? If you are saying what I think you are saying you are way off the mark, about a thousand years or more.

I'm quite happy to go along with your theory that Scott substantially rewrote it, but he couldn't have written all of it because some of it was in the 17th century version 'The Child of Elle' and Scott didn't have any access at all to the Folio Ms. In fact it wasn't available to anyone but Percy and a few well-chosen friends until Child persuaded Furnivall to publish it by putting up some of the money in 1867. DT absolutely could not have been crafted out of EB. If your theory is correct then Scott or one of his suppliers must also have written the stall copy!

You're looking for logic in ballads??? Ye Gods!

Nearly finished my analysis.
On what grounds does Bronson include all of those short English songs in Lady Maisry? They are completely made up of commonplaces and could belong to any of a dozen ballads, if any.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 02:07 PM

Steve, "Earl Bran" is faithful to the Scandinavian. And, "Ribold and Guldborg" is so old, it has links to Norse mythology. A thousand years sounds about right. If you have parallel stories in two cultures, you can safely assume they were transmitted and passed down orally. Sheesh! What do you want? A handful of runes?

Recall what you just said Steve. Child put up money to have something published. Money is key in such endeavors is it not? So something is more authentic once printed is it? Reality is validated by documentation only?

Percy's "Scottish" ballad "Lord Thomas and Fair Annett" is also suspect to me. The documentation for "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor" 73D is much better. Earliest dates from 1677.

So, the rose-briar motif was not originally part of "Earl Bran" or "Lord Thomas and Fair ELLINOR."

I don't care if a million broadsheet copies of "The Douglas Tragedy" were blowing down a London street before one word of Earl Bran reached publication. The ballad is Earl Bran. The motif was stuck on the Douglas Tragedy. The Douglas Tragedy was adapted from Earl Brand.

Can we talk about Percy Steve? Let's talk about Percy abd then later we can sibg.
O Lilly Lally. O Lilly Lally...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 02:42 PM

> If you have parallel stories in two cultures, you can safely assume they were transmitted and passed down orally.

Not necessarily, and certainly not for a thousand years. What evidence makes you think otherwise?

The story of "The Three Musketeers" exists in both French and English, as well as in other languages.

It was not passed down orally.

It has not existed for a thousand years in oral tradition.

If you have closely corresponding *oral stories* in two *nonliterate cultures*, they probably do descend from a common ancestor, but where is the evidence that a complicated, unwritten story will survive in its early form even in outline for over a thousand years? And the ballads under consideration show no evidence of being remotely as old as you suggest they are.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 02:44 PM

Besides Robert Graves, the writings of Joseph Campbell and Bert Lloyd come distressingly to mind....

Romantics all (to be kind about it).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 03:19 PM

Oops. b=n :)

First if all, I do not see much resemblance at all between Earl Bran and Child of Elle. Where are the 7 brethren? Where's the lilly lally? No, the Douglas Tragedy was in no way derived from Child of Elle. It's from Earl Bran. Child of Elle is not a folk ballad. It's some sort of long complicated verse.

On Percy. I think this sums it up. This is from "Old Ballads," Frank Sidgwick:

"Afterwards he used it to help him in making the Reliques, though he altered its texts freely, and even tore some pages out (including KingEstmere) to send to the printer of the Reliques. These pages have of course disappeared, and we shall never know what was written on them, or how much Percy altered their contents to print in his book. But the manuscript, torn and incomplete as it is, still remains one of the ballad-collector's most valuable documents. After long concealment in private hands, it is now safe in the British Museum, where it can be seen any day exhibited in a case in the King's Library. Such is Percy's 'Folio Manuscript.'

Percy was Sir Walter Scott's inspiration,
O Lilly Lally...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 06:01 PM

Whilst the ballad form existed during the medieval period only a handful of examples survive in manuscripts. The ballad as we know it can only be traced back to the early modern period. Most of the ballads in Child, for instance, can't be traced back any earlier than the 18thc and even the historical ones are mostly 16th/17thc based on the events described. Again a handful of these are about earlier events but that doesn't mean they were written then as ballads.

As I said before (Pay attention or at least look at your texts) DT has text in common with Child of Elle. It has NO TEXT in common with EB.
The Child of Elle is at least mid 17thc. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest EB is any older than the 1820s.

R&G may well have links to previous literature but as a ballad it can't be traced back to any earlier than the early-modern period. Syv I think, 1597.

Susan, you're starting to babble!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 06:12 PM

A good friend of mine used to sing EB in the 60s and I fell in love with it, but I don't let that cloud my judgment on its likely origins.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 13 - 09:07 PM

Percy's "Child of Elle" was published in the reliques, that is, after Percy extended 11 stanzas into 50. But that's ok because as Sir Walter Scott himself observed, it was done in the "true style of gothic embellishment." If some of that text made it into "The Douglas Tragedy," that doesn't mean Earl Bran is not a real ballad from oral tradition.

You know what "phatic" means don't you English teacher? It is language that does not serve an informational but rather a social function. Often phatic phrases are nonsense words that are included in a folk song to enable people to join in the singing without having to know lyrics.

Aye lilly, O lally...

Derry, derry down...

Sometimes certain memorable floating verses can also serve that same function. Earl Bran has a definite oral (singing tradition), it has a real melody. It 's a real ballad. Why did Child classify "Child of Elle" and "Douglas Tragedy" under the title "Earl Bran"?

Gotta have those 7 brothers too. They are an integral part of the story...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 03:39 AM

"I'd be quite happy to ask Roy to adjudicate on this one. He's pretty much an expert on broadsides himself."
Is there any chance of your coming out from behind the protection of your referees and fighting your own battles here Steve?
I'd have thought you'd have learned your lesson in not hiding behind referees after the fiasco of choosing Child as one of your supporters, then having to dismiss him as being a product of his times.
As much as I admire the work done by Roy Palmer I have not the slightest interest in him providing you with 'references' to your case ? if you are going to challenge the idea that the rural working class ever created their songs, or, as you have dismissed the idea that they even re-created them by claiming the hacks were even responsible for the later versions. Whoops sorry ? did I say challenge, my mistake, you don't challenge, you dismiss, you don't argue your case, you arrogantly state it as fact ? examples available if you want me to dig them up ? don't have to go further than this thread.
If you are going to turn existing scholarship on its head by taking the creation of folk song out of the hands of 'the folk' you are going to have to do so on the basis of far more research than you have been able to produce so far.
By relying on researched dates you have removed these songs out of the context of the communities that made (IMO) and circulated them.
The first chapter of Palmer's 'Everyman' collection includes half-a-dozen songs which contains both seasonal and daily work routines that would be part of the everyday life of the farm worker.
Songs like The Treadmill Song give the daily/hourly prison routine.
Sea songs like Coasts of Peru show a familiarity with nautical equipment and its uses.
Songs from the textile industry reproduce pictures of the daily life of spinners and millworkers; the list is endless.
There is an authenticity in these songs that I refuse (without evidence) to believe to be within the capabilities of people you yourself have described as hacks most of whose other works have virtually died at birth.
All of this is easily verifiable ? look at works by Samuel Bamford, Joseph Arch, George Sturt with his Bettsworth's Book', 'Alfred Williams, George Bourne..... and all the other writers of the time.   
Later works by researchers like the Hammonds, George Ewart Evans and Reg Groves verify the authenticity contained in any of our folk songs.
Put Stan Hugill's 'Shanties of the Seven Seas' alongside his 'Sailortown' and you see how the sea songs fit into the environments the describe.
It seems to me your 'research' goes nowhere near the work needed to back up your outrageous 90+% claims, and your constantly scurrying behind 'people who agree with you' is becoming tediously pathetic.
"Butter &CAA, otherwise known on broadsides as 'Cook's Courtship'."
Will you please stop patronising me ? I've been singing the damn song for the last thirty-odd years and I've collected it twice from traditional singers - unlike you, I've done my homework on it, and I have not had to resort to non-existent 'facts' to explain it.
"some form of climbing aid like rungs or protruding bricks".
The process of cleaning chimneys in those times was to lower a small apprentice with a brush, down on a rope ? every child who has read Kingsley's 'The Water Babies' knows that; to draw attention to this barbaric practice was one of the purposes of the book. The fact that you haven't been able to produce a single example of "ladders" or 'climbing bricks' backs it up.
"Broken Token"
Again you insist on your patronising tone ? I am well aware of what a "broken token" is ? sing them and have collected them.
I'll do you a deal ? take a coin the size of a sixpence or a gold ring and try to break one in half and I'll make a donation to your favourite charity every time you succeed ? a gimmal ring is obviously what is being referred to.
Not for the first time do you show inconsistency in your arguments ? on the one hand you say:
"The Broken Token was as you say very common during the period when these songs were being made and common knowledge to all - NOT insider knowledge" ? now were back to breaking sixpences in half.
The detail contained in these songs make them far more likely to be the work of the people whose experiences they describe rather than desk-bound hacks if this is not the case, produce your evidence rather than hiding behind references and made-up historical facts .
"If you'll BUY up my song"
Why "unfortunate"? I have never challenged the idea that these songs were taken from the tradition and sold on the streets ? where on earth does "unfortunate" come into it.
"Your Irish travellers often call broadsides 'ballets'."
Not in my presence they didn't and I've never heard of it happening elsewhere ? they called them "ballads" creating a three-level confusion (if not more); narrative songs, songs out of the "Ballad Boom (the Irish revival) and the song sheets are still referred to as "ballads" (not to mention the outpourings of the 40s and 50s crooners like Sinatra et al).
If you really want "more later" please start behaving like a serious researcher and not a punter at a racecourse by trying to involve "adjudicators" ? adjudication all-but killed Irish music not too long ago.
By the way ? a favour; we could really do without the patronising arrogance and presenting far-fetched theories as facts ? from your own point of view, it always leaves the impression that you are blustering to hide ignorance and poor (or non) research. We've all been around far too long to be taken in by it anyway.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 09:32 AM

"There was never ane o' my songs prentit till ye prentit them yourself, and ye hae spoilt them a'togither. They were made for singin' and no for readin', but ye hae broken the charm now, and they'll never be sung mair.""

If were teaching a course on these ballads, I would write that up on the board on the first day and spend the whole period talking about it. What does that mean?

Earl Bran has 3 lovely singing traditions in the Child TOME :-) Here let me blow some dust off.

7A is sung like this:
--------------------
Ay lally, O lilly lally
--------------------
All i the night sae early

7G is sung like this:
-------------------
Faldee faldee fal deediddle a dee
--------------------
And the brave knights in the valley

& in 7H it shifts a bit each time but is basically sung thus:
----------------------
Aye lally an lilly lally
----------------------
And the braw knights o Airly

I think that lilly lally thing is lovely. Lilly of the Valley is my favorite flower. I have a large patch of them. They will be up soon. Jim, did you know that lillies of the valley only release their scent directly into the air? You can't extract it like you do other flowers.

Child 7B, C, D, E, F & I are the Douglas Tragedy. They are texts that were turned into "ballads," not part of a singing tradition. The rose-brier motif was tacked on when the Douglas Tragedy was published along with the romantic legend that surrounds it (and the printer was paid I imagine). 75A, G & H don't have the motif because they don't need it. They have lilly lally :-)

The power of publishing to influence posterity is immense. It has been abused. Where is this copy of the Douglas Tragedy supplied by Sharpe? Does it exist? Even if it did, what could prove? That the printer was paid? That Blackhouse is a tourist attraction to this day because of Sir Walt? Excuse me while I don some gardening gloves and take a dive to the bottom of St. Mary's Loch. There's something down there that doesn't belong there...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 10:38 AM

"If were teaching a course on these ballads, I would write that up on the board on the first day and spend the whole period talking about it. What does that mean?"
One of the things we noticed was that singers who had learned songs from bound books tended to sing them exactly as they had learned them, while those printed on "ballads" were treated as "changeable" at the whim of the singer - a sort of respect for the published word.
Similarly, if the person who had passed on the song to another, either by teaching it or writing it down, was still living, the song remained unchanged.
The older singers tended to respect 'ownership' of songs in their community, certainly while their sources were living.
I understand that this was the case with Norfolk singer Harry Cox.
These were observation in passing; we never followed them up as far as I remember, so no hard-and-fast conclusions can be drawn from them.
This is part of what I mean by the effects of literacy on the tradition being by no means as straightforward or simple as some people would have us believe.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 10:45 AM

> singers who had learned songs from bound books tended to sing them exactly as they had learned them, while those printed on "ballads" were treated as "changeable" at the whim of the singer - a sort of respect for the published word.

Sounds like the "book" singers may have been better educated (more books in their lives). Did "book" singers also learn many songs from broadsides? On the average, do we know about how many songs the "book" singers sang in contrast to the "sheet" singers?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 11:06 AM

All unknown territory I'm afraid Lighter.
It certainly wasn't a case of 'book singers' being better educated; on the contrary, the lesser literary skilled ones tended to be in awe of the published word.
Many singers learned the songs from ballad-sheets, but some of the bigger repertoire ones, (Tom Lenihan being an outstanding case) though he might have filled out part songs from them, always said that he didn't "trust them".
Again - no hard and fast rules.
Just a point - Walter Pardon, the last of the English 'big repertoire singers', made a point of writing down the songs his family songs - his main source being his uncle Billy, who was born in the 1860s I think.
Walter told us he never saw or heard of a broadside.
Harry Cox had a large collection of broadsides - Bob Thomson sorted them out for him before he left for America.
According to Bob, Harry was quite adamant that he never learned any of his songs from them - make of that what you will, but there was no reason for him to lie - it didn't matter to him one way or the other if people knew where he got his songs from.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 12:26 PM

Interesting questions that no early collector could have been expected to imagine.

The study of sociology and communications has changed everything.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 12:29 PM

And while I was down in St. Mary's Loch I found something else! It's a broken token! A ring broke in 3 and I realized something...

There never was a legitimate "Prince Robert." I don't believe that Lord Abore is a mondegreen for Robert. Abore is a word that refers to how much has been born, tolerated, abided - that's what the word means. What do you think it would be like living all those years with a mother who was so cruel that she would rather see you dead, poisoned, than to allow you to marry your sweetheart? She couldn't have become that cruel just in time to poison him. He's Lord Abore. It was a perfectly good Irish-Scots ballad until Sir Walter Scott and his "near relative" Mrs. Christian Rutherford got a hold of it.

Strike Sir Walter Scott from the record. That means:

Child #7 Earl Bran (A, G, & H Only)
Child #87 (Does not belong in a book of E&S popular ballads)

The rose-brier motif is not part of either of these two singing traditions. Any fine singer who wants to add it, be my guest. Just sayin' it didn't start out there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 12:46 PM

I mentioned accompanying Bob on a visit to Harry Cox above [2nd post on this thread], later on publishing a transcript of the conversation & songs we recorded in Folk Review ~~ including Harry's view of the rose-briar motif in 'Barbara Ellen' and 'Lord Lovely' [as he called the two songs in question]. I went with Bob a couple more times, once I remember with another local Cambridge folksinger who was much gratified to meet Harry Cox. As a matter of historical record, the sorting out of many of the broadsides was done on the last of these visits, on which we were accompanied by my late wife Valerie. She and Bob did the sorting out together of the sheets, spread out on the big table in the middle of the room, while I sat opposite Harry beside the fireplace and engaged him in conversation. Whether Valerie and Bob got all the sorting done on that occasion, or whether Bob went back later to finish it off, I am not sure; but I think not, as he had come to rely on me as driver to take him over there as he could not drive at that time. It was our friend Roy Palmer, a Birmingham headmaster at the time as well as a noted folklorist, and folk critic for The Teacher newspaper of which Valerie was Features and Literary Editor, who put me in touch with Bob in the first place.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 01:11 PM

> Abore is a word that refers to how much has been born, tolerated, abided - that's what the word means.

Not according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It isn't there.

And why should it be any more than a fanciful name?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 01:17 PM

The singer's take on the song from an article by Tom Munnelly in Irisdh Folk Music Studies 1972-1973
Jim Carroll

(Spoken) Frank Feeney : He was going with Mary Flynn, do you see, and the mother got jealous, do you see, and she poisoned him. Because he wouldn't throw her up, do you see? . . .
Tom Munnelly : Is that name used, Abore? It's a very unusual name . . .
F.F. : 'Tis really a name like... do you know what I mean?        
Just that they put the . . . He was a        great lord, you know?. But?. Bore, I mean, that's a common name.
T.M. : Is it lord O'Bore or lord A-bore? . . .
F.F. : Lord O'Bore.
Hugh Shields Do you know) where your wife got that song? . . .
F.F. : She got it from her own mother.
T.M. : Have you any idea who Mary Flynn was? . . .
F.F. : She was a lady Eagar out of Blessington, out of Glending . . .
The mother didn't . . .
Paddy Tunney : That pair was a bit young, I suppose.
Recorded in the home of the singer, Frank Feeney (aged approximately 68), Leopardstown, Co. Dublin, December 1970. Melody notated by Hugh Shields.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM

> Abore is a word that refers to how much has been born, tolerated, abided - that's what the word means.

Not according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

It isn't there.

How can you be sure it isn't just a fanciful name? Or a distortion of "Aboyne" or something?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 01:34 PM

Sorry for the duplication.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 01:46 PM

In "O Mother go and make my bed" they aren't named, the true lovers, and we don't know why the man died, but the woman is singing of following to the grave, and then the red rose and the briar finish the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 02:12 PM

Lighter, I don't know why it's not Oxford's Dictionary. In wiktionary it's: v. Simple past of abear. (carry, bear; develop; put up with, thole, tolerate, abide). I think it is some older way of speaking.

Jim, O'Bore is a mondegreen for Abore and Mary Flynn is a common name. Notice how he looked to commoness of certain names to validate his response which means he don't really know. He's just pretty sure someone who lives nearby knows. The important thing here is that it's not Robert. You know, when Sir Walter published Prince Robert in 1803, he gave this preamble (capitals his):

PRINCE ROBERT
NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED
FROM THE RECITATION OF A LADY, NEARLY RELATED TO THE EDITOR*

That's two ballads so far that he has misappropriated.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 02:40 PM

Having reread some of this thread after a day or so's hiatus, I have two additional points:

First, I did NOT say that the rose and briar motif originated with the ballad "Barbara Allen" as someone here seemed to be wanting to argue about with me. I made the point that it was undoubtedly a "floater" that was appended sometime later.

And second, if you check a number of books dealing with "The Language of Flowers," you will find that they do not always agree on which flower means what, and it is conceivable that one could get into knock-down-drag-out wrangles over this issue that would rival the endless "what is folk music?" arguments.

So being dogmatic and inflexible on the subject leads folks to chasing each other in endless circles.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 02:57 PM

Also:

Whether "book" singers sing a folk song exactly as written in the songbook, as contrasted with feeling free to modify a song if learned by listening to it, is moot.

Early on, I learned about the "folk process," and that singers make changes in songs and ballads, sometimes inadvertently (as Pete Seeger said, "Not because of their memory, but because of their 'forgettery.'"). So I felt free to alter a word or a line if it sang awkwardly, or for other reasons. But NOT indiscriminately. I had to have a good reason to do so, and make sure that I didn't change the meaning.

And I know other singers, both well-known and obscure, who do the same thing and for the same reasons.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 03:01 PM

Now I see. You meant the verb to "abear," not, as your post seemed to suggest, a nonexistent noun "abore" supposedly meaning "how much has been born, tolerated, abided."

"Prince Borne," "Prince Abided," or "Prince Tolerated" would mean that *he* is the one being tolerated by someone else.

If it means anything at all. And why should it? His name seems to be of no particular importance. We have real no idea of how it got there, and no reason to assume that contains any hidden meaning that one should be aware of in order to comprehend the story. And the story is what ballads are about.

"Abore" could simply be an invention, or it could have been a mishearing of something other than "Robert." If Frank Feeney assumed that "O'Bore" had no meaning beyond being a name, why should any other singers, including us, think differently about "Abore"?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 03:31 PM

"Jim, O'Bore is a mondegreen for Abore and Mary Flynn is a common name". Abore"
Careful about making definitive statements Susan - too many problems with that one. As far as I'm concerned, the first stop in all this is the information you have immediately at hand.
The singer, Frank Feeney, from Leopardstown, South Dublin (home of the famous horse races) gives the information that "She was a lady Eagar out of Blessington, out of Glending" - Blessington is in Wexford - south west of Dublin.
According to 'Joyce's Place Names', just over the border in Co. Carlow, is a townland named Both or Bough, giving its name to 'Rathbough, among other local features - literally 'Hill of the Cow'.
Taking all these facts together - I am tempted to guess at Lord O'Bore = Lord of Bore = Lord Of Bough (possibly pronounced Baugh) - by no means definitive, but a clue to the rationale of the singer - maybe.
If Frank Feeney had been a non-literate Traveller, either this, or Burr, in County Offaly, would have been my strong guess.
It is dangerous to arrive at definitive explanations for these things.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 03:38 PM

I know. The sweet briar is a sacred flower for devotees of Mary. I might have to plant some near my statue, next to my roses, see if they do anything :-)

I just saw Steve on another thread and he says he knows of a London broadside c.1685 "Fair Margaret and Sweet William." He's always holding out in me. Well Steve, I have Douce Ballads I (72A) Fair Margaret's Misfortune. C.1720 with a notation that it should be sung to the tune of Lord Thomas. That would be Douce Ballads (120b) Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor. c.1677.

Steve, wouldn't that mean that Fair Margaret and Sweet William was derived from Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor, that it could best be described as a kinder gentler text to fit the same tune? Wouldn't one text need to predate the other in order to provide the tune for it. If Lord Thomas has his own familiar tune in 1677 and Fair Margaret and Sweet William are still directing the singer to the other tune in 1720, that's as pretty slow growth period, don't you think? Not to worry. Percy took care of that.

You should try to see if you can locate the part of Percy's folio that has "Lord Thomas and Fair Annett." I wonder if it's one of the parts that is missing- or if he alterred it in any way. It's supposed to be at the British Museum. I haven't gotten around to writing them yet. Sometimes these curator librarian people are helpful. Sometimes they're not :-)

Remember "Danny Boy" Steve. You had alternate texts floating around for the same tune. Eventually one prevailed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 03:45 PM

Douce Ballads I (120b). How I hate typing on this tiny keyboard! Typos constantly :-(


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 04:01 PM

Sorry - missed the essential ingredient of all this - Frank Feeney learned the song from his wife - a Carlow woman.
Must go - Murdoch awaits.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 05:38 PM

The earliest extant English ballad that contains the rose/briar motif is indeed Fair Margaret's Misfortune etc. a variant of Child 74 printed by Sarah Bates at the Sun and Bible. I have seen estimates of the date of this as 1700 and 1720 but Wm Chappell who is usually very reliable with these dates gives it as 1685. The Bates family were printing over quite an extensive period but the S. for Sarah and the address make the dating more precise.

Here are the final 3 stanzas as printed. I've given them letters A B C for later reference.

A
Margaret was buried in the lower Channel (Chancel)
Sweet William in the higher
Out of her breast there sprung a rose
And out of his a briar.

B
They grew as high as the church-top
Till they could grow no higher
And then they grew in a true lover's knot
Which made all people admire.

C
There came the clerk of the parish
As you this truth shall hear
And by misfortune cut them down
Or they had now been there.

Looking at ALL of the English language uses of the motif I see nothing that couldn't have derived easily from this, including the Scottish birk variants.

Jamieson's lengthy notes (1814 'Illustrations' on the net in Google Books) on Ribold and Guldborg, including much information on other Nordic variants such as the HildeBRAND versions, were available to whoever put together EB. Why would Scott or your proposed writer of DT take only part of the story from EB?

Whilst Child does indeed mention the connections of 74 with 73 'Lord Thomas and Fair Annet' I don't think he mentions that on the Douce copy someone has written 'To ye tune of Lord Thomas and Fair Annet'.
The early broadside copies of 73 don't contain the birk/briar motif but the later Scottish copies do, the earliest being one sent to Percy in 1765.

Of the other ballads that have picked up the motif, Child 76 'The Lass of Roch Royal' has a version that can be traced back to c1730, and one version of Child 75 'Lord Lovel' can be traced back to 1770. All of the others can be traced back no further than the 1820s and are likely derivative, not necessarily directly from FM&SW, but ultimately (IMO).

When we see the Scottish 'birk/briar' in stanza A, stanza B always has the plants growing near and 2 lovers dear, lacking the 'true lover's knot', whereas the earlier (IMO) 'rose/briar' is always consistently followed by the 'true lover's knot' in stanza B.

The latter combination is remarkably consistent in Barbara Allen versions considering the large number of variants, even including the 5 English versions given in Bronson that have the motif. The who gets the rose and who gets the briar situation is fairly consistent with the behaviour of the baddy/goody of the piece. In BA the rose is frequently red but there are 3 versions where it is white. It would appear that Campbell's politics have spread into America!

Stanza C is rare in oral tradition but crops up in the A version of Lord Lovel where an old woman cuts the plants down; Lady Alice A version has a priest do the honours (B has the wind doing it). A version of Fair Janet sent to Scott by Laidlaw has a French lord pull up the plants (possibly what inspired Scott to make Black Douglas chuck them in a pond). Incidentally, none of these seem to be implying that the cutting down/pulling up was a vicious act, except for Scott.

I'll hang onto my notes in case anyone wants further info, but it all looks fairly straightforward to me, nothing astounding.

For a much more in-depth analysis of this motif and many others I can recommend Fleming Andersen's 'Commonplace and Creativity'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 06:25 PM

'fiasco of choosing Child as one of your supporters, then having to dismiss him as being a product of his times.'

Jim
Only a fool would pretend that Child was perfect. He didn't have access to a mountain of stuff we have today and as you imply he was sometimes hampered by his own background, but I don't know anyone, academic or otherwise who thinks that the work he did has ever been surpassed. Even the great Svend Grundtvig in his own day thought Child was the man for the job. Bronson did a marvellous job with the tunes but for understanding of the ballads Bronson doesn't come anywhere near the depth of scholarship.

You continue to go way over the top in misquoting me, Jim. I have never challenged the fact that the rural working class made songs and as for re-creating them nor did I deny this. I even gave you examples of both. What I said yet again was the rural working class did not create the bulk of the songs in the corpus collected by the likes of Sharp. And on the other matter I simply stated that SOME of the re-creation was done by the hacks taking some material from oral tradition or from other print sources and reworking them, and there are plenty of examples of this. This doesn't mean that I don't believe much of it was altered in oral tradition.

Jim,
The climbing boys were employed in the cleaning of the ordinary town house chimneys which were narrow. The chimneys I'm referring to would not have been climbed in this way because they were far too wide to use this method. You could actually walk into most of them. In the examples I have read the CLIMBING boys had to actually climb UP the chimney, but I've been reading factual accounts not fiction.

Where did you get your 'desk-bound' hacks from? Certainly not from me. They most likely wrote their pieces out in the tavern.

Some of the songs you quote definitely fall into the insider knowledge bracket and some would come into the other 10%, but some, 'Treadmill Song', would not fall into insider knowledge (except literally of course!) Some of the hacks might well have got that 'insider knowledge' first hand. But seriously, don't you think that everyone from the lower classes at that time would know exactly what went on in the prisons?

Okay you neatly sidestepped my leading to 'Come-all-ye', and I'll add in all of the variants of the first line that goes something like ' As I walked out'. If you go to the Bodleian Ballads website and type in the first line search box say 'Come all...' and 'As I...' you will find hundreds of songs that fit this. Have a look at how many actually made it into the corpus under discussion. Quite a small proportion, but a large percentage of the corpus under discussion do start like this. This is just one of the stylistic devices much more common on broadsides. (However I am well aware that this stylistic device was also used extensively in Ireland by the hedge poets)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 07:13 PM

Sorry Jim, I was being kind of flip there. My point was that it is probably not a mondegreen for Robert. However, when I first saw it on an Irish ballad I thought, "Abore? They must mean O'Bore." People always strive for things to make sense. When they lack a knowledge of some detail in a song, some reference, they usually alter or fill it in with something that works for them. Phonetically, Abore and O'Bore are akin. Because of that, in a land where so many names are preceded by O', it's the most natural assumption to make. That's why I question why a mondegreen like Abore would persist if it had no basis in tradition, even if it were something lost in immediate memory. In any case, neither sounds like Robert.

Lighter, forget about the a entirely. It is simple past tense of bear, tolerate etc. So it's like Lord bore, as in he bore. Unusual. Maybe something Gaelic? I found this in MacBain's dictionary:

abar- confluence; only in Pictish place names: Old Gaelic (Book of Deer) abbor; Welsh aber, Old Welsh aper, Celtic ad-bero-, root ber; See beir. Modern Gaelic pronounces it obair (so in 17th cent.), which agrees with the Old Welsh oper; this suggests od-bero-, "out flow", as against the "to flow" of ad-bero-. The od is for ud, allied to English out. Aporicum: *ati-boro-n (Holden).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 07:41 PM

The Picts quit giving place names around the fourth or fifth century. If "Abore/O'Bore" is from a place name, where is it?

Not that it much matters. Short of startling additional information, it would still just be a place name.

I don't think it affects the story or the song in any way, especially since singers - then and now - impose whatever "meaning" they like on the events of a ballad story.

As I once showed, "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye" (written in 1867) started out as slapstick comedy. Within a hundred years it was universally accepted as tragedy.

Ergo, almost anything is possible in folk song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 09:25 PM

Steve, Douglas Tragedy is an amalgamation. It seems to have drawn from multiple sources:

I understand there were two traditional singing versions of Earl Bran courtesy of the Laidlaws at Sir Walter Scott's disposal. That's a good start.

You mentioned Jamieson's translation of Ribold & Guldborg, however, I don't see any direct relationship there-just the detail of the 7 brothers. You have to remember that just because Jamieson published, doesn't mean he's the only person capable of translating Danish. Whether brothers or King's men pursued is probably not as big a deal as I first thought. It is more likely that the publication of the Douglas Tragedy inspired the translation. Who knows? In it's time, "Minstrelsy" made a big splash.

Fair Margaret & Sweet William were definitely invoked as the names for the unhappy couple. The name of Douglas was invoked as well. "Child of Elle" in Percy's Reliques was used (as you point out they have text in common). Sir Walter Scott was a great follower of Percy and had plenty of exposure to "Reliques."

At the time the Douglas Tragedy materialized, the motif was in circulation, so the person who performed this synthesis attached the motif as well. Because it says "kirk" and "quier" and not "higher chancel" and "lower" (as consistently appears in Fair Margaret and Sweet William), I'd say he took it from Lord Lovel.

The motif itself in the Douglas Tragedy is likewise an amalgamation. Half traditional and half variation.

It's a contrived piece Steve. Prince Robert is contrived as well. I think Sir Walter is a more of a carnival barker than a song collector. We should talk about Fair Margaret and Sweet William.

Actually 1685 sounds about right for Fair Margaret and Sweet William. Here's a link to view the Douce ballad:

http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/view/sheet/30012

Note where it says "MS annotations of title: To the tune of Lord Thomas or Lord Thomas he was..."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 09:52 PM

Actually it was one version of Earl Bran that Sir Walter Scott had courtesy of the Laidlaws. To be clear, here it is:

Earl Bran- Laidlaw- (22 d. Abbotsford) Child A
Child A."Scotch Ballads, Materials for Border Minstrelsy," No 22 d. In the handwriting of William Laidlaw. Scott has written at the head, Earl Bran, another copy. At the time when Sir Walter Scott was collecting the materials for this work, the farm of Blackhouse was tenanted by the father of his attached friend, and in latter days factor (or land-steward), Mr. William Laidlaw.

             EARL BRAN

1 Earl Bran's a wooing gane;
    Ae lalie, O lilly lalie
    He woo'd a lady, an was bringing her hame
    O the gae knights o Airly

2 . . . . .
    They met neither wi rich nor poor.

3. Till they met wi an auld palmer Hood,
    Was ay for ill, an never for good.

4. 'O yonder is an auld palmer Heed:
    Tak your sword an kill him dead.'

5 ' Gude forbid, O ladie fair,
      That I kill an auld man an grey hair.

6 'We'll gie him a an forbid him to tell;'
    The gae him a an forbad him to tell.

7. The auld man than he's away hame,
    He telld o Jane whan he gaed hame.

8 'I thought I saw her on yon moss,
    Riding on a milk-white horse.

9. 'I thought I saw her on yon muir;
    By this time she's Earl Bran's whore.'

10 Her father he's ca'd on his men:'
    Gae follow, an fetch her again.'

11 She's lookit oer her left shoulder:'
      O yonder is my father's men!

12 'O yonder is my father's men:
      Take my cleadin, an I'll take thine.'

13 'O that was never law in land,
      For a ladie to feiht an a knight to stand.

14 'But if yer father's men come ane an ane,
       Stand ye by, an ye'll see them slain.

15 'If they come twae an twae,
       Stand ye by, an ye'll see them gae.

16 'And if they come three an three,
      Stand ye by, an ye'll see them die.'

17 Her father's men came ane an ane,
      She stood by . . .

18 Than they cam by twae an twae,. . . . .

19 Than they cam by three an three,. . . . .

20 But ahint him cam the auld palmer Hood,
      An ran him outthro the heart's blood.

21 'I think I see your heart's blood:''
      It's but the glistering o your scarlet hood.'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 04:08 AM

Steve
"Only a fool would pretend that Child was perfect"
I mentioned Child only because you used him as a defence for your arguments - quote in full.
"I must be mixing with the wrong people, Jim. These scholars! I don't know! They don't know nuffin! That Professor Child, who was he anyway!"
You chose to introduce them into the argument, not me, and now, just as you have done with Hindley and his knowledge of the" country songs" he was describing, you are choosing to question Child's scholarship to make your case ? personally I find that more than a little arrogant to undermine the abilities of our greatest ballad scholar in this way.
Child was familiar with the broadsides and his description showed that he not only didn't he reckon them very much, but he differentiated between their style and that of the ballads he was working on.
"I have never challenged the fact that the rural working class made songs and as for re-creating them nor did I deny this"
Throughout this you have put down the local song traditions as the work of "gifted" and "retired individuals" and have attempted to isolate the practice to Ireland, suggesting the English rural working class was too busy "earning a living" to make songs ? I will dig out your original statement if you insist, but you're putting me to a great deal of bother for somebody who is offering nothing in return except a few made-up-on-the-spot 'facts':
"You may well be able to point out plenty of examples of gifted individuals in rural communities making songs. I gave some examples myself. Ireland seems to have been one of those places."
These local songs were in no way different from our traditional songs other than in the local nature of their subjects, they were part of our oral tradition and they existed all over the English-speaking world and beyond; some of them even ended up on broadsides ? give you an example of one of the finest and most epic if you like.
"What I said yet again was the rural working class did not create the bulk of the songs in the corpus collected by the likes of Sharp."
No you didn't Steve ? you said 90-odd percent of our folk song repertoire started life on the broadside presses, you included the centuries-old ballads in this ridiculous claim and you sneered at and described as 'naive romantics' those who disagree with you; in my case suggesting that my knowledge was a century out of date.
Your goalposts seem to be fitted with wheels going by the regular way you move them to suit your arguments.
"I gave some examples myself."
Where did you do this ? I must have missed that one?
"And on the other matter I simply stated that SOME of the re-creation was done by the hacks"
Again you try to dodge responsibility for your claims ? by bringing in the argument that the hacks created the later versions of the songs when you did, you undermine the whole idea of an oral tradition ? the hacks re-wrote virtually every traditional song they got their hands on ? their clunky ham-fistedness is all over their end-products. It is fairly easy to spot unchanged broadside versions of the songs by their poor use of the language ? in my opinion they earned the sobriquet "hack" ? a term you regularly use.
"I've been reading factual accounts not fiction"
Oh ? for crying out loud!
You have been given a link to the history of chimney sweeping ? I could easily have given you Mahew or any other contemporary social historian ? if these accounts are wrong give us your alternative history.
"Some of the hacks might well have got that 'insider knowledge' first hand. "
More "what ifs" again.
"Okay you neatly sidestepped my leading to 'Come-all-ye'"
I sidestepped nothing Steve ? now you are deliberately distorting my position -I DO NOT "SIDESTEP" - THAT IS WHAT YOU DO ? how dare you suggest otherwise.
I pointed out that there was no argument in the claim that traditional songs were used for the broadsides ? stop lowering my arguments to your level.
"As I walked out"
There is no indication whatever that commonplaces such as "As I roved out" were borrowed by the folk from the broadsides or vise versa
"However I am well aware that this stylistic device was also used extensively in Ireland by the hedge poets"
Were they?
I think you will find that the hedge schools drew their inspiration from Greek and Latin classical literature and not from the "Come-all-ye's" ? a term still widely used in Ireland ? very much chalk and cheese and not unsimilar to the stilted language of many of the broadsides.
I've included an example below from the excellent little book 'The Hedge Schools of Ireland by P J Dowling ? still available.
I indulged you in your 20-song challenge ? your somewhat ingenuous objections to the few I have put up so far suggests that neither of us will live long enough to get halfway thought the list ? how about some solid facts to back up your case rather than the "makie-ups you have given so far?
Jim Carroll

'Long has been my weary wandering, without one living soul to bear me company,
I have come from the distant North, from far Bananloch, I have journeyed thence on foot,
I longed to reach the dwellings of the sages, whose houses are in Killamey, by the waters of Lough Lein;
I longed to hear them utter the music of their verses;
I longed to study with them - to be guided by their lore.
'When I left my home in Galway, high hopes surged within my breast;
I reckoned on my talents and on my learning too.
I brought this lore, these talents, To the highminded, open-hearted sons of the land of Kerry.
But I lost the sweet boon of health.
I made no friends by the way; I became an outcast from kith and kin.'

There are touching references to the kindness and hospitality shown him. He tells us:

'With tenderest compassion they helped me in my need;
A noble beauteous lady... snatched me from the grave.'

And again he says:
'Though long I tarried,
None would let me feel the burden of a boon conferred.'
His hostess was a lady of good family, and for those days comparatively wealthy.

He addresses her:
'Gracious and illustrious lady, whom the Son of God
Loveth for bounteous deeds
Thy charity is not in vain.
The priest, the monk, the scholar bless thee!
Thou hast the blessing of the maids who seek no earthly spouse.'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 04:31 AM

Lighter
"If "Abore/O'Bore" is from a place name, where is it?"
Rural Ireland is divided into ancient 'Townlands', which don't appear on regular maps - sort-of old postal or zip codes; they are usually bordered by rivers or streams.
From Joyce's description in his 'Irish Names of Places' "Bough" is possibly one of these in County Carlow - where Frank Feeney's wife came from - he learned the song from her.
'Townlands' have been in continual use for centuries and still are - our post lady swears by them!
We live in Knockliscrane (The hill where corn was burned -according to Joyce) and our next townland is Poulawillan (William's hole - don't ask!)
Wherever Mrs Feeney got the song from it is probably a localised rationalisation - it happens all the time and is an indication of the level of involvement and ownership the singers placed on the songs.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 09:25 AM

Jim,
'Sea songs like Coasts of Peru show a familiarity with nautical equipment and its uses.'

Some sea songs indeed do just that, but if you can find me a BRITISH version of 'The Coast of Peru' let alone an English one I'd be greatly obliged. We currently sing this American song in the group I sing with.

"I gave some examples myself."

'Mutton Pie' a cornkister from my native East Riding.

Jim, it was you who moved the goalposts over to including the Child Ballads and I pointed out that there weren't that many Child ballads in the corpus under discussion.

I UNDERMINE nothing of the oral tradition and am insulted by your suggestion. What goes on in the oral tradition has very little to do with origins.

I have not refuted any of your suggestions about climbing boys. See my latest comments on this. By the early 19thc most chimneys in ordinary houses were of the narrow type but there were still plenty of the old type in the larger houses where they could affords to employ a cook and probably several other servants. A grown man would have had a job getting up one of the narrow chimneys used by climbing boys and considering there was already a fire lit....I can't believe I'm actually arguing the toss over a fictional ballad obviously originating in the supper rooms in the towns.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 09:34 AM

> I can't believe I'm actually arguing the toss over a fictional ballad

They do have that effect on people, as this entire thread demonstrates.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 09:54 AM

Jim, Joyce also mentions a townland of Bough in Monaghan.

He derives the name from Irish "both," a hut, cabin, tent, etc. Were people in the habit of referring to each other by their townland? Would a "Prince" of one sound plausible even in a story? Or would it sound more like "Mayor of Zip Code 10022 in Manhattan"? (Of course, any answer might be conjectural at this point.)

Unsurprisingly, there seems to be no Pictish connection, and probably, IMO, no connection to the original text of the ballad. But "Prince of the Tents" may fire the imagination.

("Prince of the Huts," not so much....)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 10:29 AM

Jim, this idea of ownership I believe is on the whole a good thing. Unlike most people around me, I believe change is supposed to happen as slowly and deliberately as possible. You always want to make sure you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I mentioned earlier I believe melody is much more important than "text" when it comes to the question of ownership of a song (a popular or familiar melody points to a singing tradition). So I was a little vexed when I saw this written in a review of Dervish's album "Travelling Show" in the Irish Music Review:

"Indeed, the only traditional song on the entire album is a rendition of the Child ballad Lord Lovel, given its alternative title here of Lord Levett. Yet, for some obscure reason, Jordan has decided to set this to her own air rather than the one generally used for the last two centuries ? and it just doesn't work."

Huh? Don't you wish you could talk back to these people sometimes?

So there's s traditional tune for Lord Levett? OK, let's hear it! I liked Cathy Jordan's rendition of Lord Levett. This is pretty harsh criticism for people who probably can't compose and sing like her.

And the moral of this story is, if you change the name to Donegal like they did over in Galway, they'll let you sing a different tune. Ah, but different than what?

One little thing I liked about Cathy Jordan's approach is that she did not name the lass. Instead of "Lady Anne Sweet Belle stood by his side" she says, "And by his side stood his own true love." She has a different melody and thus different phrasing. In Nora's phrasing that might be something like "Standing there by his side, his own true love.." But anyway, I like the innovation, don't you? Anne Sweet Belle, Oonzabel, Hounsibelle, Nancybell who needs it? :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 01:28 PM

"find me a BRITISH version of 'The Coast of Peru'"
If you don't know you damn well should that English language sea songs, because of the nature of the work and their transmission, were international, the only ones that could be identified as belonging to any specific nation were ones that were in 'German' and 'French' and 'Russian', and even these were suspect suspect if that particular nation had ever had a nation - read your Hugill.
"I gave some examples myself."
Then you should know better than to make stupid claims like "the English were too busy earning a living to write songs" - or was this somebody else?.
I have been pointing out that working people have always made songs and you have been putting it down to "a few talented (retired) individuals in order to justify your claim.
"...undermined nothing of the oral tradition and am insulted by your suggestion."
You undermine everything about the oral tradition starting with that it was created by the equivalent of today's boy bands (I'm pretty sure you acknowledged that this was your view, but it doesn't matter - you have constantly insisted that the English rural workers bought their songs rather than made them themselves - amounts to the same thing).
When somebody questioned you about versions you claimed they were largely created on the presses too, leaving the people to have purchased their culture. This also removes any value in the songs as part of our oral history.
You talk about me being out-of-date yet you are busy chipping away at the idea of a creative English working class culture, having admitted that the Irish and Scots are a creative people.
By the way - I have never included the Welsh in these discussions because I have no knowledge whatever of that culture even they were near neighbours to my native Liverpool for 25 years of my life - out of my depth there.
Chimney sweeps
Of course you have denied it - you've described the idea of boys going up chimneys as "fiction"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimney_sweep
More later
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 01:32 PM

"had ever had a nation"
Should read "empire"
Meant to add - no ladders or climbing bricks in chimneys - just lads sent up or down them - you would have produced evidence had there been any.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 02:34 PM

Of course you have denied it - you've described the idea of boys going up chimneys as "fiction"

Jim, you're ranting!

So how did they clean these big wide chimneys in those big old houses then, Jim?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 03:12 PM

"So how did they clean these big wide chimneys in those big old houses then, Jim?"
Been there - done that - they "footed and backed" their way up as described in the links you were given - chimneys narrowed and bent as soon as they rose above the level of the fireplaces - diagrams included in links. Where the tops were unreachable the child was lowered by rope from the roof - Mayhew, the history of chimney sweeps and the wiki link all point this out. This was also was described in the Kingsley novel you dismissed so offhandedly - the author was a Christian Socialist who campaigned on childrens' issues and The Water Babies was part of the campaign.
You really are twisting on this one Steve; if you have any evidence of ladders or climbing bricks produce it - otherwise leave it - you are beginning to be both insulting and embarrassing
Point I missed earlier
"moved the goalposts over to including the Child Ballads"
Now you are just lying Steve. Our first argument was about The Cruel Mother - I was attracted by your sneery and dismissive tone, I was told by you that it was produced by a hack.
You did the same with 'The Demon Lover' where you stated that most of the ballads originated in print.
You asked did anybody take Lord Lovell seriously - back once again to the ballads.
You never claimed any limitation when I mentioned David Fowler - again ballads.
When I gave you the broken token songs you offered to substantiate your claims by going back to the 18th century
When I pointed out that you couldn't possibly have compared broadside texts because our knowledge of the oral repertoire only goes as far as the end of the 19th century, you brushed that aside and continued to insist that your 90odd% figure was right - no mention of only restricting yourself to the Sharp and co material - that became an addition by you at a very late stage.
Now go away and get your story straight.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 03:55 PM

Lighter
Townlands appear to have always been part of identifying people in rural Ireland as far as I can see note the quote from Frank Feeney above]
"She was a lady Eagar out of Blessington, out of Glending"
I'm not trying to make any more of this than to point out how singers claimed ownership and identify with there songs - as this is the only version of the song in Ireland it seems logical to suggest that this is what has happened here, in this case by somebody along the line which ended with Mrs Feeney of Carlow.
You are right about Joyces' "hut, cabin, tent, " - he mentions hill of the cow, but rejects it - my mistake.
Below is the full quote from volume one of Joyce.
Susan.
Ownership is very much a mixed blessing - Norfolk singer Walter Pardon was once approached by another singer from a few miles away and was warned off giving them away because "once you do they're no longer yours"
His reply - "They're not my songs, they're everybody's and it would be wrong to let them die with me".
Jim Carroll

Bough, which is merely an adaptation of Both, the name of a townland in Carlow, and of another in Monaghan. Raphoe in Donegal is called in the annals Rath-both, the fort of the huts. In the Tripartite Life it is related that while St. Patrick was at Dagart in the territory of Magdula, he founded seven churches, of which Both-Domhnaigh (the tent of the church) was one;
which name is still retained in the parish of Bodoney in Tyrone. There is an old church near Dungiven in Londonderry, which in various Irish authorities is called Both-Mheidhbhe [Vevn], Maive's hut, an old pagan name which is now modernised to Bovevagh. Bohola, a parish in Mayo, takes its name from a church now in ruins, which is called in " Ily Fiachrach," Both-Thola, St. Tola's tent; and in the parish of Templeniry, Tipperary, there is a townland called Montanavoe,
in Irish Mointean-a'-boith, the boggy land of the tent.
We have the plural (botha) represented by Boho, a parish in Fermanagh, which is only a part of its name as given by the Four Masters, viz., the Botha or tents of Muintir Fialain, this last being the name of the ancient tribe who inhabited the
district: Bohaboy in Galway, yellow tents.
Almost all local names in Ireland beginning with Boh (except the Bohers), and those also that end-with -boha and -bohy, are derived from this word. Thus Bohullion in Donegal represents the Irish Both-chuillinn, the hut of the holly, i. e.
surrounded with holly-trees. Knockboha, a famous hill in the parish of Lackan, Mayo, is called in " Hy Fiachrach," Cnoc-botha, the hill of the hut; and Rnocknaboha in Limerick and Tipperary, has the same meaning.
There are two diminutives of this word, viz., Bothdn and Bothog [bohaun, bohoge], both of which are in very common use in the south and west of Ireland, even among speakers of English, to denote a cabin or hut of any kind. Bohaun is the name of four townlands in Galway and Mayo ; and we find Bohanboy (yellow little hut) in Donegal. The other, Bohoge, is the name of a townland in the parish of Manulla, Mayo.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 06:06 PM

I have all of Stan Hugill's books. I take it you are referring to Shanties FTSS. Sea shanties, yes, but very few American ballads figure in English repertoires. I repeat, in which English collection is there an English version of Coast of Peru?

Jim,
As pointed out before, the 'straight story' is on the TSF website of which you are a member.

In this thread I merely pointed out to you that nearly a third of the Child Ballads had their earliest version as street literature, which at first you denied. Incidentally I've found a couple more since then.

I'm going to be off-line for a while after tomorrow, and after that I suggest we stop hijacking other people's threads and start our own cutting out all the sniping and detours. I'll start off if you like by stating my case in a short simple summary and then you can take what you like from that. I'm happy to include those Child Ballads that occur in the corpus under discussion, but if you want to discuss the Child Ballads as a whole I suggest we do this in a separate thread as it can get quite confusing otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 07:01 PM

This might be my last word on the matter of rungs for a while.

Jim,
either Google 'rungs in large chimneys'
or 'British Chimney Sweeps: Five Centuries of Chimney Sweeping.' It's on Google Books?isbn=1566633451

No need to apologise.

Can't do blue clickys


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 07:10 PM

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WllChMIBGM8C&lpg=PA74&dq=ru

Okay I tried following the blue clicky thing. Hope this works.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 07:18 PM

I should add that the information on rungs and protruding bricks is on p74.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 08:37 PM

Steve, google book results with key words "ballads Percy Parsons"

An entry should come up, pg. 38, Victorian Songhunters: The Recovery and Editing of English Vernacular Ballads and Folk Lyrics by E. David Gregory.

Please read the two paragraphs and tell me what you think.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 09:57 PM

The two paragraphs that deal with Reverend Parsons that is...

Btw, the link below shows what you get when you begin with a text and compose an unmemorable tune as an afterthought. It uses the name Earl Bran but it is actually the Douglas Tragedy (no lilly lally):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWu8t1yfXPQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Ugh! And what's more, the rose-briar motif is only on the "Douglas Tragedy" and "Prince Robert" because Sir Walter Scott put them there. He passed off his own design as part of a folk tradition.

Chapter 1- The Douglas Tragedy (This is where I expose Sir Walter Scot as the P.T. Barnum of "folk artifacts." In the process knock off two contenders for my precious motif :-)))


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 03:56 AM

"Sorry Steve, life really is too short - go and read a few books.
"Child Ballads had their earliest version as street literature, which at first you denied."
No Steve - another dishonest distortion
My argument throughout has been and remains that first printed versions are no indication whatever that this is where the ballads and songs originated - which has been your arrogant and unsubstantiated claim throughout - I have taken a fair amount of trouble to give reasons for my opinions - you have fallen back on telling us who backs your claims; the shape of scholarship to come I presume?
"I should add that the information on rungs and protruding bricks is on p74"
So you want me to purchase a book or join a club in order for you to make your point on information that runs contrary to that available elsewhere, how helpful of you, it compares with all the other responses to requests for information to back up your claims - Sorry, I don't buy it - literally, and no apologies forthcoming.
You demand 20 songs that give indications that the folk made their own songs - you fight every one you have been given so far, often with dishonest and evasive objections.
You do not respond to any other points, you move the argument away from your original claims when the going gets tough, you ignore the obvious contradictions to "commercial origins".... - you refuse to make your case which is indication enough for me that you do not have one.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 06:39 AM

"I should add that the information on rungs and protruding bricks is on p74."
Finally got through to your book Steve - which reads "pages 73 to 74 are not available in this preview".
Nevertheless, the pages that are available carry enough description to back up every other account (such as this one http://histclo.com/act/work/area/work-sweep.html ) of the trade having no aids whatever for the young boys who worked at it.
"Inexperienced sweeps sometimes stuck fast in perpendicular flues This was likely to happen when a flue branched off (see Appendix).
The flue, instead of being the same width throughout its length, contained wider sections. Problems arose when the climbing boy descended. He unconsciously allowed his knees to rise in the enlarged section of flue, and in that position slid down into the more constricted part and became wedged, remaining for many hours with his knees and back pressed against the sides of the flue. Extraction was painful; another boy had to tie a rope to his ankles and draw his legs down, or pull his arms up from above. If this failed, then a portion of brickwork was removed. Master Sweeper H. Chidlow" reported that when he was young he had stuck fast in a flue for seven hours and that his brother had lost his life in a flue at Wolverhampton."
Still no apology forthcoming
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 10:51 AM

May Day coming up. May Day is a special day for chimney sweeps. Jim. Jack-in-the-Green :)

Steve, I wrote to Dr. David Gregory, the author of that book Victorian Songhunters, and received a reply! I think I may be able to interest him in looking at the communication between Percy and Reverend Parsons. Btw, he's a lot like you Jim, "We have to be very careful..." etc. :)

But I want to point out Steve that we really can't look to Percy for Fair Margaret and Sweet William. The copy he received from Reverend Parsons has a pointed reference to Newcastle (Northumberland)(no motif). I would remind you that Percy rose up in the ranks of the clergy by bringing honor to his Northumbrian patrons. In fact, Horace Walpole complained in his diary about Percy's ambition and about being pestered by Percy to put in a good word...

Parsons claimed to have collected his ballads from all his "poor parishioners" who sang them at their spinning wheels. Personally, I think the old vicar kissed the blarney stone :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 11:18 AM

Jim,
You are perfectly entitled to your opinions and I am perfectly entitled to mine.

I had no problem finding p74 for free. The climbing boys and what they did are as usual a total red herring to the description of this song and I assure you I am 100% right on this one. No opinions needed!
If you can't find p74 you'll just have to take my word for it, or wait till I come online again and I'll copy and paste it and email it to you.

The difference between our researches amounts to the fact that you are basing your opinions largely on the study of oral tradition. I am basing mine on a very wide study of many thousands of broadside ballads and the history of popular music in the centuries prior to 1900, as well as a deep study of oral tradition which can well match yours if not surpass it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 11:24 AM

Susan,
I'll have to check out your very interesting Parsons info later on. You've got my attention now!

I totally agree with you re Scott but I know how defensive some people can be on Mudcat so I'm glad you said it first. I'm currently carrying out a study on all of Child's comments on the veracity of many of the ballads with particular emphasis on Peter Buchan, but I'm also taking note of all the other 'editors' as I go along. Personally and this is just my own opinion I think Child was very understated on the matter, but when you're publishing books that you want to sell in Scotland you've got to be rather reserved about what you criticise. I will be publishing online, and I won't be holding back!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:31 PM

"I am 100% right on this one. No opinions needed!"
You usually are Steve Doesn't make the slightest difference that whatever your book says contradicts all the other evidence
"You are perfectly entitled to your opinions and I am perfectly entitled to mine."
True, but I've always taken the view that those of us who have become involved in research have a responsibility to those we have collected from to get it right - and not make unsubstantiated and definitive statements unless we are prepared to defend them with facts - you are attempting to undermine the whole idea that the English working people were incapable of creating their own musical traditions and were forced to farm them out to indifferent to bad writers.
You have also attempted to undermine the oral tradition by suggesting that they were not even responsible for the versions - that is as destructive and as irresponsible as it gets - if you are going to make such profoundly destructive statements (you have never given them as opinions) you have the responsibility to back them up with hard facts and not unsubstiated and unprovable paperwork - or, at the very least, disprove by logic what scholars and researchers have always believed (including Child and Hindly, respectively leading experts on ballads and broadsides - bith of whol you have dismissed as being "wrong".
You have totally failed to respond to challenges to your ideas other than with unthought-out "what ifs", relying totally on a paper chase and a list of those who support you - that is appalling scholarship.
"basing your opinions largely on the study of oral tradition"
That is a claim of something you could not possibly.
I have based my conclusions on bringing together my knowledge of the tradition, gathered from the work of others, with thirty years of collecting from as many of the remaining source singers we could find and spend time with, to see if the the two made sense - we found that much of it did.
The one thing we are sure about above all other things, working people were natural composers and poets who recorded their life experiences - not as old people sitting at home in their retirement, but as whole communities. This you have passed off as unimportant "nuiffin' to do with England, they were too bust".
You have reduced our song traditions as being indistinguishable from the output of the latest boy bands, and you have admitted as much, (I'll pull that up for you if you insist).
You have shown no understanding of the oral tradition - deep or otherwise, you have all but dismissed it as a creative form, while at the same time conceding that both Ireland and Scotland have creative traditions - why on earth do you think that is - do they both have something the English don't have?      
By the way - you even got it wrong on your own "Mutton Pie" being a local song in the sense I described "local" - it was also recorded in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire - part of the national repertoire.   
Sorry I can't with you luck in your enterprise.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:53 PM

"I had no problem finding p74 for free. "
BTW - I would be grateful for a link to a full text of this - should it prove me wrong I will of course apologise unreservedly
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 02:52 PM

Okay, Jim
Click on the blue clicky at my 25th April 7.10 posting
Scroll down to the CONTENTS
Click on the 4th chapter APPRENTICES
Scroll down to p74.

Happy reading!

Mutton Pie
A few scattered versions were recorded in surrounding counties near the border with Yorkshire. Every farm hand in the East Riding knew the song in the first half of the 20th century and there was one version reputed to have been 50 verses. Singers who we recorded in neighbouring counties knew that their versions came from the East Riding. The earliest version also came from Yorkshire but I know this counts for nothing in your book.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 03:22 PM

Aye lally, O lilly lally. All in the night so early :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 03:24 PM

Frank Kidson wrote it down in Liverpool and Fred Hamer recorded it in Lincolnshire - there is no indication that the Hamer informant "knew that their versions came from the East Riding" - I helped produce and annotate the notes of 'The Leaves of Life' from the Hamer collection and know that to be the case - can't speak for the Huddleston version.
As I said - it had entered into the national repertoire - nothing like I described as being 'local'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 03:33 PM

Nope - no page 74 available, and sorry, as your claim contradicts every other account of 19th century chimney sweeping and there is not a single reference to climbing bricks or ladders, I'm afraid I am not prepared to take your word for it.
As page 74 has been removed with a note stating that fact, it seems a little odd that you were able to make your claim from it - must be losing my touch.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 03:48 PM

You're right Jim. But Steve will never admit it :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 04:08 PM

Could some kind Mudelf please put Jim out of his misery for me. The link works perfectly well for me every time. I think you're pulling my leg, Jim.

Kidson collected 'Mutton Pie' from a T. C. Smith in Scarborough. Last time I looked Scarborough was in Yorkshire! I'm well aware of a few variants in Lincolnshire and the West and North Ridings. A relative of mine , Mo Ogg, from Lincolnshire had a version. It doesn't appear in any of the big collections from the likes of Sharp and such a distribution hardly puts it into the league of such as 'Dark-eyed Sailor', 'Green Bushes','Indian Lass','Seventeen Come Sunday', those well-known components of the national corpus.

Where does your Liverpool info come from?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 04:16 PM

Here's what I see:

"Techniques

"Large chimneys and stacks were easily climbed. They were often built with stepped sides, iron rungs, metal pegs or protruding bricks, inserted inside the flue to aid the sweeper. Evidence of this could be seen until recently at The Buck's Head (Little Wymondley), Hertfordshire. This small 17th-century inn has a central chimney stack with four flues. Two inglenook fireplaces on the ground floor contain iron rings set up the interior of the chimney. Basement chimneys in Knightsbridge were fitted with ladders.

"Narrow chimneys, however, required considerable skill. Novice sweeps practiced on straight flues. They climbed with elbows and legs spread out, feet pressing against the side of the flue. An older boy or journeyman hoisted the younger boy up the chimney, remaining below him as he climbed...."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 04:22 PM

Okay, tried to cut and paste but it wouldn't allow me to, but it's only a brief para anyway so here it is.

Techniques

Large chimneys and stacks were easily climbed. They were often built with stepped sides, iron rungs, metal pegs or protruding bricks, inserted into the flue to aid the sweeper. Evidence of this could be seen until recently at the Buck's Head, Little Wymondley (Herts). This small 17th-century inn has a central chimney stack with four flues. two Inglenook fireplaces on the ground floor contain iron rungs set at intervals up the interior of the chimney. Basement chimneys in Knightsbridge were fitted with ladders.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 04:46 PM

Thanks, Jon.
I don't know, you wait half an hour for a bus and 2 come along at once!
(English idiom)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 04:59 PM

Susan,
I don't put any trust in Percy whatsoever. All it tells us is that the ballad was in circulation in his day.

However I do put lots of trust in his Folio Manuscript, not as any sort of evidence of oral tradition, but I see no reason to doubt the texts were genuine and from the middle of the 17th century. In fact looking at the language and spelling I'd say they were considerably earlier.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 09:07 PM

Please. Children actually died doing that job. Have some respect. Look up Jeremy Bentham. Or, read a novel by Charles Dickens.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 09:18 PM

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon

No, not the Wikipedia that glosses him over. See him for who he is.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 10:52 PM

Hey, look yonder, tell me what's that you see
Marching to the fields of Concord?
It looks like Handsome Johnny with a musket in his hand,
Marching to the Concord war,
Hey marching to the Concord war.

Hey, look yonder, tell me what you see
Marching to the fields of Gettysburg?
It looks like Handsome Johnny with a flintlock in his hand,
Marching to the Gettysburg war
Hey marching to the Gettysburg war.

Hey, look yonder, tell me what's that you see
Marching to the fields of Dunkirk?
It looks like Handsome Johnny with a carbine in his hand,
Marching to the Dunkirk war
Hey marching to the Dunkirk war

Hey, look yonder, tell me what you see
Marching to the fields of Korea?
It looks like Handsome Johnny with an M1 in his hand
Marching to the Korean war,
Hey marching to the Korean war.

Hey, look yonder, tell me what you see
Marching to the fields of Vietnam?
It looks like Handsome Johnny with an M15,
Marching to the Vietnam war,
Hey marching to the Vietnam war.

Hey, look yonder, tell me what you see
Marching to the fields of Birmingham?
It looks like Handsome Johnny with his hand rolled in a fist,
Marching to the Birmingham war,
Hey marching to the Birmingham war.

Hey, it's a long hard road,
It's a long hard road
It's a long hard road,
Before we'll be free.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 04:25 AM

"Large chimneys and stacks were easily climbed"
Ca


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 04:54 AM

Whoops.
"Large chimneys and stacks were easily climbed."
Can we put this in context
The chimneys referred to in the quote are those of the rich and are in the city "Knightsbridge" - places where farmworkers would would have no access and no familiarity whatever - nor would broadside hacks for that matter.
The song is obviously dealing with the home of a big farmer of the type to be found all over East Anglia - Walter Pardon always compared it to the home of the farmer John Blanchford for whom his family worked for, where the harvest suppers were held where the singing was done.
Whoever made these songs, they were rural - songs of the countryside.
I have no argument with the idea that such luxuries might have existed in Knightsbridge, Chelsea or Belgravia, but these are not the environments described in any 19th century folksong, and the idea of farmworkers ploutering around such a house would never occur to me in a million years - nor the singers.
The same would go for rural Northern Ireland, where this song was also found.
The known conditions the sweepers worked in would have generally been the ones described in the links above, the ones that were publicised by Lord Salisbury in his campaign to improve the working conditions for children, certainly not the ones pertaining in the seven houses owned by the Duke of Westminster in the Greater London area.
You have been given the information on the general conditions existing and widely known to be the reality, along with the drawings that the boys worked in. The fact that you have gone to such lengths to score a minor point in order to prove that English rural workers were incapable of making their own songs says volumes and the two points are, as far as I'm concerned, are complementary to one another and dismissive of the people we are discussing - as 'Guest' says - "Please. Children actually died doing that job"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 07:49 AM

Sorry about the grammar slips in that one.
Just to try to put an end to this long-running farce.
These type of songs were largely based on perception rather than experienced reality.

The perception of chimney sweeping would have been based on the articles and illustrations published and widely distributed in The Illustrated London News, which also immortalised the images of The Irish Famine - still in constant use.
Probably the most widespread impression of boy chimney sweeps was that given by Charles Kingsley's 'Water Babies', popular right up to the present day and even used as a cartoon feature film.
This is from the first chapter of his book:
Jim Carroll

"He cried when he had to climb the dark flues, rubbing his poor knees and elbows raw; and when the soot got into his eyes, which it did every day in the week; and when his master beat him, which he did every day in
He never had heard of God, or of Christ, except in words which you never have heard, and which it would have been well if he had never heard. He cried half his time, and laughed the other half and when he had not enough to eat, which happened every day in the week; and when he had not enough to eat, which happened every day in the week likewise....
How many chimneys he swept I cannot say: but he swept so many that he got quite tired, and puzzled too, for they were not like the town flues to which he was accustomed, but such as you would find?if you would only get up them and look, which perhaps you would not like to do?in old country-houses, large and crooked chimneys, which had been altered again and again, till they ran into one another, anastomosing (as Professor Owen would say) considerably. So Tom fairly lost his way in them ; not that he cared much for that, though he was in pitchy darkness, for he was as much at home in a chimney as a mole is under-ground ; but at last, coming down as he thought
the right chimney, he came down the wrong one...."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 11:01 AM

And how are you this fine day Jim Carroll?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 12:31 PM

And Steve. I downloaded all your stuff this morning and synced it my little Sony. I'm not going to tell you how good you are. I'm just going to say I love it. Most definitely a keeper.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 12:53 PM

"And how are you this fine day Jim Carroll?"
Bloody exhausted, longing for the bad weather - damned garden - but very much looking forward to our forthcoming trip to the Pompeii exhibition in London
Sorry you asked?
How are you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 27 Apr 13 - 02:55 PM

No not at all. You have my email address. You should send me a picture or two of your garden later on when it's looking it's best. Pompeii exhibition huh? I looked it up. My son Tom the anthropologist who flips over everything having to do with the ancient world would love to trade places with you.

Have you ever heard Steve's singing? I ended up listening twice through and it has put me off arguing for the whole day :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 28 Apr 13 - 09:38 AM

Ok Steve, I have a question for you:

If on the 1720 broadside of Fair Margaret and Sweet William it says it should be sung to the tune of Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor (1677), doesn't this mean that the latter preceded and was fairly well known already? Fair Margaret is very much the same story as it's predecessor- except purged of murder, more suitable to the changing tastes of the British in the area of romance.

Btw, doesn't matter is not an answer :-)

There is a copy of the "William and Margaret, an Old Ballad" dated 1711 in the British Museum which has been used to prove Mallet plagiarized when he took credit for the ballad. No motif on this "old" (what's old?) ballad.

The motif was added on to the "fairy" ancient ballad of William and Margaret (typo in my opening post, I meant fairly :-). The motif probably first debuted on this ballad in a broadside, perhaps even the 1720 Douce ballad- but somewhere around then.

Yet we know the motif was already in use in Horace Walpole's parody of "Lady Hounsibelle and Lord Lovel" in 1765.

Motif belongs on Lord Lovel as in Lord Levett and Lord Levett alone :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 13 - 02:50 PM

Susan,
I'm back!

I'd say your first question is probably so. That is, in all the cases I know of where ballad B designates ballad A's tune then ballad A has precedent.

Your last statement has confused me, however. How can 1765 predate 1720?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 02 May 13 - 04:00 PM

Since the printed sheet says "To an Excellent New Tune" and the ref. to "Lord Thomas" was handwritten later, there's really no telling whether "Lord Thomas" came first.

Is there some reason for ruling out the possibility that the annotation may have been made years later?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 13 - 06:54 PM

You're right, Jon.
Caught me on the hop there. I'd forgotten it was written on.

The only obvious clue as to when it was written on would be 'to YE tune of ....'. Presuming it was genuine, I don't think they were still using 'ye' in writing in the 18th century but I may be wrong on that.

Susan,
The motif was used on a broadside ballad in 1685.

I have some original correspondence on 'William and Margaret' between Chappell and Ebsworth. I'll check it out when I have time to see if it throws any light on the matter, also Chappell's and Ebsworth's notes in Roxburghe.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 02 May 13 - 07:20 PM

Steve, from the Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories:

"Ye...was still commonly used by writers in the nineteenth century. Jane Austen, for example, in a letter of 8 February 1807 wrote '...& means to be here on ye 24th.'"

If my experience is any guide, "used by writers" means "used in handwriting rather than in print." I'm not so sure about that "commonly," but M-W is essentially the last word on these matters (aside from OED, of course, with which it is almost always in agreement).

In any case, if Jane Austen was writing "ye" in 1807, the argument that the ballad annotation must have been written around 1690 unfortunately goes out the window.

Perhaps there's another clue in the shape of the handwritten letters?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 May 13 - 04:14 PM

Jon,
My copy of the Douce sheet is not a very good print off, but the writing looks early 19th century to me, so probably written on by one of the collectors. You can see the copy at the Bodl. Douce 1.72. The writer's source for this information might be around somewhere. These 17thc Black-letter sheets have long commanded a high price even since the 18thc so I would say a collector like Douce wouldn't have written on one in ink and defaced it, but that's just an opinion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 May 13 - 04:35 PM

Had another look at the clear copy of Douce 1.72 on the Bodl site and I'd say this writing was most likely 18thc but I'm no expert on handwriting. Incidentally there is another copy in Douce printed in the early 18thc which corrects 'channel' to 'chancel'. I also got the 'Black Letter' wrong. It's printed in italic, but the cuts are definitely 17thc. I spent a day in the BL this week looking at the Roxburghe and Luttrel sheets and some were printed by Bates. I'll check my notes and see if I can verify Sarah Bates' dates.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 04 May 13 - 06:30 PM

You're absolutely right Steve. 1720 comes before 1765. What was I thinking? I plead battle fatigue. But I do believe the motif first appeared on Fair Margaret's Misfortune c.1720. It is not on the 1711 held at the British museum or the version or the one attributed to Mallet.

As far as I'm concerned, the earliest copy of Lord Lovel is actually Walpole's parody of 2/1765. And the way it links directly to Percy, I think tells the tale. By the way, what was clever Horace making fun of if not 75E? Walpole was rabidly anti-Jacobite, writes gleefully of Jacobite executions in his letters. Then we have Bishop Percy & Reverend Parson's half-assed do-over. Tell me what poor lass spinning at her wheel would come up with a text like 75A?

Kinloch's 1827 version 75D has no motif and that's to be expected. Roxburghshire is Black Douglas territory. And who is this lady from Roxburghshire? Why doesn't she have a name? The other 1827 Kinloch version, from Lesmahagow, 80 miles away, has the birk and brier.

So why when Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor was made over by the Irish did they change it to rose and briar- even though there are no English or Scottish versions that have it? It's because the motif itself is Irish- not the idea of plants growing from graves and behaving in an extraordinary manner per se, which occurs in many places, but these particular plants and the true lover's knot? Irish.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 13 - 01:53 PM

Whilst we're confessing, I think the 1720 date for the earliest broadside of FMM is right. The 1685 date comes from a general comment by Chappell in Roxburghe Vol 1. The general concensus (Mudcat earlier thread, online book on printers and Bodleian)is that Sarah was Charles Bates' widow and he was still printing in 1714. Pepys has lots of sheets printed by Charles B and none by Sarah. This and the fact that it isn't in Black Letter would point to the 1720 date.

Basically we have insufficient early evidence on LL. My own opinion that the earliest extant versions look like burlesque to me could point to an even earlier ballad. The fact that even these versions were burlesqued and parodied in the 19th century is only relevant in that several artistes of the 19th century thought it worthy of further burlesque and parody. However it is possible that whoever came up with the earliest version was not burlesquing a particular ballad but the whole genre. We must remember that what we see as charming and wonderful in these ballads was seen by sophisticated literary people as crude and laughable, hence one reason why Percy and later editors felt it necessary to tamper heavily with them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 13 - 09:15 PM

Steve, can't you see that the great divide that began when Henry VI and Richard III went at it and continued on until well after the Jacobites were officially defeated is real? You're really missing something in your analysis if you don't think these people weren't expressing their viewpoints. It is all subtext and not face value. In order to deconstruct the text, well, nevermind... Just remember this: There are no disinterested writers, nor readers- only readers and writers who put on such airs. Cultural history is the key to interpreting any text. For Christsake! Even working class Jim knows that.

Jim, ugh, reading again? Hey, get in that garden and pull some weeds! And when you're done with that, sweep the chimney! Workhouse!

Has either if you ever heard of Mikhail Bakhtin?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 13 - 10:17 PM

As I was saying, Lord Lovel, the Jacobite ballad (75E) was nothing spectacular. It was just an insignificant little love ballad, written for a lady with similar sentiments, until the other side got hold of it. It was always more popular as parody or burlesque than ballad therefore running in unofficial circles in a manner that quite trumps Jacobite secrecy.

Sung in open arrogant drunkeness. How did Horace Walpole, rabid anti-Jacobite get his hands on it? Don't you think that Lady Hounsibelle and Lord Lovel (Percy's title) is Horace Walpole's perfected masterpiece sent deliberately to Percy for possible publication? Of course it was. But alas, people like Percy and Childs transmogrified comic tradition into new "ballad" tradition. Ugh!

Rather unfortunately, Percy was ahead of Horace Walpole and used Reverend Parsons as a ballad laundering service. Hey, they were all playing James Bond back then- politically, socially, even religiously. Far as I know they still are. God bless the Brits- and their American cousins. Eh?

But if it's all the same to you, if I have to deal with any gay little parlor songs, I'll take the green bourgeoisie. Thank ye kindly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 06 May 13 - 09:56 AM

Eating eggs and marrowbone,won't make your old man blind;
So if you want to do him in,you must sneak up from behind.
Ti me fal-the-doo-ra-lido, fal-the-doo-ra-lay.

It was a little too quiet so I thought I'd sing to myself. That's really catchy Steve. Are you sure it's not Irish?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 06 May 13 - 10:40 AM

"All subtext" means you can make it mean whatever you want to, though I suppose there are some limits.

But as a supposedly meaningful method, "deconstruction" by its very nature yields no meaning that anyone should accept or care about.

It's all just "the play of signs." Including what the deconstructionist says.

And deconstructionists are not "disinterested readers" either.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 13 - 11:03 AM

Susan,
Have you got any of Norman Iles' books on the 'Cock Robin' theme? You'd really enjoy them.

Henry VII and Richie 3's going at it was the END of a great divide, not the beginning. There are plenty of ballads with a distinct political theme in oral tradition, but they are overt enough. There are also many many political ballads that were double entendres but very few of these survived their own period, at least not in oral tradition. I've just spent a full day in the BL leafing through some and not one item is still remembered today.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 06 May 13 - 01:15 PM

Lighter, perhaps I should have made myself more clear. When I say deconstruct I mean Foucault, not Derrida. I am a critic and an historian, not a nihilist. You can't just derive any meaning you please. Subtext must be grounded in factual history and one must temper speculation to that end. Don't be such a relativist. One cannot even arrive at one's own point of view by being an extreme relativist.

Steve, I will certainly take your suggestion, but I respectfully disagree it was not the end. It was just the beginning...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 06 May 13 - 01:51 PM

You know Steve, I was just thinking...

How funny would it be if someone such as yourself were to sing "The Old Woman from Yorkshire" at a Renn Faire -and at the end, some bedraggled beggar woman with mudcaked hair pipes up from somewhere in the crowd to sing that extra verse? OMG, that would be sooo funny :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 06 May 13 - 02:21 PM

Glad to hear it! That's a relief!

Foucault, however,....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 07 May 13 - 06:17 AM

Madness and Civilization and Discipline and Punish. Both highly recommended.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 13 - 07:25 AM

Odd, I had just the opposite reaction.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 07 May 13 - 07:44 AM

And what might that be?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 13 - 01:27 PM

It's been so many years since grad school that I can't give you a detailed rundown.

Phrases that come to mind, however, include:

"endless deductions from baseless or questionable premisses, each increment more likely to get farther from the truth rather than closer"

"tendentious arguments against a straw-man Enlightenment Project"

"unhelpful, unwarranted reductionist view of post-Hobbesian human life and society as a cynical power struggle"

"caters to his own paranoid leanings and encourages the same in others"

"ingenious enough to open up a new but largely sterile field for doctoral candidates and played-out junior faculty members in need of tenure"

"impenitently obfuscatory"

"attacks the very liberal humanism which, even if epistemologically illusory, has freed a billion people from absolutist, pre-Englightment-style rule"

"If he's correct, should we prefer political and linguistic anarchy?"

Etc.

Of course I realize that by claiming the emperor has no clothes (or, in Foucault's case, no more than a tattered Nehru jacket) I prove myself to be one more zombie brainwashed by the manipulating gatekeepers of knowledge - and the more shadowy powers behind them.

Unlike Foucault's own, more trusting brainwashees.

(I won't argue with his idea that semantic categories constantly shift but he didn't come up with that one himself, and we have proof it's true.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 13 - 01:37 PM

Wow, Jon!
Can you translate all that into layman's terms? Very impressive!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 13 - 03:48 PM

Rather a challenge, Steve. We're talking about a major philosopher and psychoanalytical and cultural theorist, beloved by millions. (Well, by many thousands at least.)

In a nutshell, and SJL may wish to correct me, Foucault held that the search for "scientific" knowledge is little more than a search for power. (Remember the old saying, "Knowledge is power"? That's Fookie all over!) The Big-Brother elites who "know" - or, in F's interpretation - *claim* to know, develop the power to subjugate everyone else. They determine what's "true" or "false," "right" or "wrong," "normal" or "sick." If you resist, especially by being gay, or a so-called "schizophrenic" or "criminal," they overt and subtle vays of making you conform, like putting you in prison or the looney bin. "Objectivity" is the self-interested subjectivity of the wielders of knowledge and power. And Big Brother (the imaginary God or his cynical or unwitting human stand-ins) will, one way or another,be keeping an eye on you. (Ever notice those surveillance cameras? They're meant to catch Winston Smith-type resisters - oops! I mean - heh-heh - criminals.)

According to Foucault, the science-and-reason-driven Enlightenment, and the liberal humanist philosophies and political systems it inspired, are no truer or freer or fairer or better than Pharaoh or the Spanish Inquisition. It's all about the survival of the fittest, whether you know it or not, and fittest means strongest or most ruthless - subtly or overtly.

Everybody has a power-driven agenda. "No innocent texts" means that books and movies are sending you hidden messages (from the conscious or unconscious of their creators, or the unconscious of your sick society as a whole) that Foucault's followers will happily decode for you.

(Foucaultians either have no power-driven agenda - so you can trust them; or else they openly proclaim that they do - which makes them equally trustworthy! Of course, a real Foucaultian ultimately trusts no one: see "The X-Files.")

"No innocent readers" means that your understanding of anything you read (or see or hear) is based on your own unconscious power-driven agenda or else own your unconscious Freudian desires, which - perhaps unbeknownst to you - also constantly evaluate everyone your eyes fall upon as a potential sex partner. Because sex, like knowledge, is Power! Baby!

To give Foucault his due, he'd read a lot and had facts at his fingertips (of course, he had no reason to trust them, since they came from other people's books - but that's another story).

And what an imagination, eh?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 13 - 04:20 PM

Foucault's main constructive contribution to knowledge (uh-oh!) is the emphasis he puts on the subtle and unconscious influence of social norms on what we believe.

I don't believe that was a new idea. But if it was, kudos!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 13 - 04:31 PM

Looks reasonable to me, especially the sex bit!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 13 - 04:47 PM

In regard to your first post, Lighter, I declare the following "inadmissable," or, perhaps a better word, "unworthy":

"caters to his own paranoid leanings and encourages the same in others"

"Ingenious enough to open up a new but largely sterile field for doctoral candidates and played-out junior faculty members in need of tenure"

"impenitently obfuscatory" 

I was not raised to insult brilliant professors :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 13 - 06:13 PM

Relativism is the bad faith of the conqueror, who has become secure enough to become a tourist.

                                                 Stanley Diamond

And if I were to tell the story of someone- or a people- whose point of view should I tell it from? Should I tell it from the point of view of those who have already had their say? Or will I try to find out what life was like for the voiceless and then apply my own human empathy? Of couse I should do the latter.

I have never come across a scholar who was as extensive and as thorough as Foucault, as adept at invoking cold hard facts and documentation to illustrate what reality was like for the poor and disenfranchised, or for madmen and the condemned who were particulary at risk in this category. Voiceless entities.

"An edict of the King, dated June 16, 1676, prescribed the establishment of an "hôpital général in each city of his kingdom."

Directors, appointed for life, exercised power throughout Paris: (1967 p.40)]"They have all power of authority, of direction, of administration, of commerce, of police, of jurisdiction, of correction and punishment over all the poor of Paris, both within and without the Hôpital Général"

Argue with that. What do you suppose it was like for those people? It just might be that I care and you don't. To each their own. I know Jim does. It's what his whole life has really been about. Although I don't think he ever expected an internet stranger to happen along and sum it up just like that :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 13 - 07:01 PM

"The directors having for these purposes stakes, irons, prisons, and dungeons in the said Hôpital Général and the places therto appertaining so much as they deem necessary, no appeal will be accepted from the regulations they establish within the said hospital; and as for such regulations as intervene from without, they will be executed according to their form and tenor, notwithstanding opposition or whatever appeal made or to be made, and without prejudice to these, and for which, notwithstanding all defense or suits for justice, no distinction will be made"

Argue with that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 13 - 08:54 PM

For every example of that kind, one of the opposite kind could be produced.

You'll believe, says Foucault, what your unconscious wants you to believe - and that unconscious has been created by the elite-controlled society around you. (Apparently his argument didn't apply to what he himself wrote, because he claimed that what he wrote really *was* true. Which, I suppose, would be possible, but only by accident.)

So if you accept Foucault's argument, you have to believe that all you believe is irrational. Foucault says your beliefs either serve your own unacknowledged will to power, or else they're determined (against your will, if you have one) by the controllers of knowledge, Foucaultian or non-Foucaultian.

Or, of course, both.

Argue with that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 13 - 10:05 PM

Lighter, in regard to your second post on Foucault which I just read over. It's obvious to me that you haven't read Foucault.

"No innocent readers" means that your understanding of anything you read (or see or hear) is based on your own unconscious power-driven agenda or else own your unconscious Freudian desires, which - perhaps unbeknownst to you - also constantly evaluate everyone your eyes fall upon as a potential sex partner. Because sex, like knowledge, is Power! Baby!"

Really? Hmmm, that's why I must now leave this conversation. How can I hang around people who are basically just mocking me. I can't. It's a waste of time.

See ya mean boys! Playground's all yours!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 13 - 10:24 PM

"Your analysis of Foucault is skewed and totally off the mark but I think you know that," she said on her way out.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: Lighter
Date: 08 May 13 - 10:32 AM

Since Foucault tells me that "constructed knowledge" is meaningless except as a method of control, I'd better get back to my day job of using my understanding of Foucault to resist those trying to crush me while I try to crush all the others I can.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose-Briar Motif
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 13 - 08:02 PM

Undistorted Summary of Foucault 


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