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Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6

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Steve Gardham 19 Feb 14 - 06:12 PM
Richie 19 Feb 14 - 08:01 PM
Richie 19 Feb 14 - 08:01 PM
Richie 19 Feb 14 - 08:08 PM
Richie 19 Feb 14 - 11:37 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Feb 14 - 03:45 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Feb 14 - 09:07 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 14 - 09:14 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Feb 14 - 09:51 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 14 - 09:55 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Feb 14 - 10:32 AM
Richie 20 Feb 14 - 04:35 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Feb 14 - 05:53 PM
Richie 20 Feb 14 - 06:32 PM
Richie 20 Feb 14 - 07:54 PM
Richie 20 Feb 14 - 08:40 PM
Richie 20 Feb 14 - 09:34 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 14 - 10:38 AM
Steve Gardham 25 Feb 14 - 01:42 PM
Richie 09 Mar 14 - 10:27 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Mar 14 - 01:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 06:12 PM

Richie if you look closely enough this has elements of Child 295B and is therefore a forgery following the forgery by Baring Gould and therefore cannot be any older than 1890. If you want to be generous the likely source is ESPB itself. Indeed it can't be anything else unless Dawson had access to the Baring Gould-Child correspondence at Harvard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 08:01 PM

Hi,

It seems likely that this too is a forgery- as you say. But it's fairly unsually to publish family names as in the following. Any and all of these family members would likely read this:

"According to Winnifred Brown Scott, who sang this song in 1969, her aunt, Sarah Brown Connolly, and her father, Emery Ellsworth Brown of Ritchie County, sang it too. They said the brothers in the family sang it to tease their sisters. The song went back to the family of John Brown who came to what is now Lewis County in 1784 and built the old Fort Mongue on White Oak Flats."

Why would anyone publish something like this - if it were a complete lie? It was published in 1971 only two years after the informant gave the possible false version- but that seems beyond careless- which it may have been. There exists the possibility that someone in the family got it from Child's book in 1890 or later- since the verses are of Child A, B and two verses are also closer to Cruel Nymph.

Here's what I've found after analyzing the verses:

The Bonny Brown Girl- Verses compared to Child 295A, The Cruel Nymph and 295B; Sung by Winnifred Brown Scott; 1969. Collected by Juanita Dawson.

1- I am as brown as brown can be,
My eyes are black as a sloe,
I am as brisk as a nightingale
And as wild as any doe. [Child 295A- Verse 1; Cruel Nymph is same; Child B doesn't have "nightingale."]

2- My love he was so high and proud,
His fortune too so high,
He for another fair pretty maid,
He left me and passed me by. [Child 295B- Verse 2; Child A and Cruel Nymph missing this verse.]

3- Me did he send a love letter,
He sent it from the town,
Saying no more he loved me,
For that I was so brown. [Child 295B- Verse 3 and Child 295A- verse 2 same as Cruel Nymph; closer to 295B;]

4- I sent his letter back again,
Saying his love I valued not;
Whether that he would fancy me,
Whether that he would not. [Child 295b- Verse 4; Child 295A- Verse 3; slightly closer to 295B]

5- When a six months,
Were overpassed and gone
Then did my lover, once so bold,
Lie on his bed and groan. [Child 295B Verse 5; not found in 295A]

6- First sent he for the doctor-man;
"You, Doctor, me must cure,
These terrible pains do torture me,
I can not long endure." [Child 295B Verse 7 exactly; 295A does not have stanzas about the doctor]

7- Next did he send from out the town,
Oh next he sent for me.
He sent for me the brown, brown girl
Who once his wife should be. [Child 295B Verse 8 exactly]

8- When I came to my sick love's bedside
Where he lay so dang'rous sick,
I could not for laughing stand,
Upright upon my feet. [Child 295A- verse 6 not in first person; The Cruel Nymph, verse 6 is almost exact; compares not as well to 295B- verse 11]

9- The white wand I held in my hand,
And stroked it on his breast;
"My faith and troth I give back to thee,
So may thy soul have rest. [None except cruel Nymph in first person; closest to 295B but in first person]

10- I've done as much for my true love,
As other maidens may,
I'll dance and sing on your grave
A whole twelve month and a day." [Closest to Cruel Nymph and close to 295A; while 295B isn't close]


I guess the only thing to do is track down the informant to see if she's still living and see if the information is accurate. That doesn't mean it wasn't taken from Child's book but it means the whole family story is accurate- that other people from the family sang it that way. And I understand your contention Steve that it has to be a forgery.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 08:01 PM

Hi,

It seems likely that this too is a forgery- as you say. But it's fairly unsually to publish family names as in the following. Any and all of these family members would likely read this:

"According to Winnifred Brown Scott, who sang this song in 1969, her aunt, Sarah Brown Connolly, and her father, Emery Ellsworth Brown of Ritchie County, sang it too. They said the brothers in the family sang it to tease their sisters. The song went back to the family of John Brown who came to what is now Lewis County in 1784 and built the old Fort Mongue on White Oak Flats."

Why would anyone publish something like this - if it were a complete lie? It was published in 1971 only two years after the informant gave the possible false version- but that seems beyond careless- which it may have been. There exists the possibility that someone in the family got it from Child's book in 1890 or later- since the verses are of Child A, B and two verses are also closer to Cruel Nymph.

Here's what I've found after analyzing the verses:

The Bonny Brown Girl- Verses compared to Child 295A, The Cruel Nymph and 295B; Sung by Winnifred Brown Scott; 1969. Collected by Juanita Dawson.

1- I am as brown as brown can be,
My eyes are black as a sloe,
I am as brisk as a nightingale
And as wild as any doe. [Child 295A- Verse 1; Cruel Nymph is same; Child B doesn't have "nightingale."]

2- My love he was so high and proud,
His fortune too so high,
He for another fair pretty maid,
He left me and passed me by. [Child 295B- Verse 2; Child A and Cruel Nymph missing this verse.]

3- Me did he send a love letter,
He sent it from the town,
Saying no more he loved me,
For that I was so brown. [Child 295B- Verse 3 and Child 295A- verse 2 same as Cruel Nymph; closer to 295B;]

4- I sent his letter back again,
Saying his love I valued not;
Whether that he would fancy me,
Whether that he would not. [Child 295b- Verse 4; Child 295A- Verse 3; slightly closer to 295B]

5- When a six months,
Were overpassed and gone
Then did my lover, once so bold,
Lie on his bed and groan. [Child 295B Verse 5; not found in 295A]

6- First sent he for the doctor-man;
"You, Doctor, me must cure,
These terrible pains do torture me,
I can not long endure." [Child 295B Verse 7 exactly; 295A does not have stanzas about the doctor]

7- Next did he send from out the town,
Oh next he sent for me.
He sent for me the brown, brown girl
Who once his wife should be. [Child 295B Verse 8 exactly]

8- When I came to my sick love's bedside
Where he lay so dang'rous sick,
I could not for laughing stand,
Upright upon my feet. [Child 295A- verse 6 not in first person; The Cruel Nymph, verse 6 is almost exact; compares not as well to 295B- verse 11]

9- The white wand I held in my hand,
And stroked it on his breast;
"My faith and troth I give back to thee,
So may thy soul have rest. [None except cruel Nymph in first person; closest to 295B but in first person]

10- I've done as much for my true love,
As other maidens may,
I'll dance and sing on your grave
A whole twelve month and a day." [Closest to Cruel Nymph and close to 295A; while 295B isn't close]


I guess the only thing to do is track down the informant to see if she's still living and see if the information is accurate. That doesn't mean it wasn't taken from Child's book but it means the whole family story is accurate- that other people from the family sang it that way. And I understand your contention Steve that it has to be a forgery.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 08:08 PM

Steve- I know you've written an article where you point out the stanzas Baring-Gould used from "Sally" that he added to 295A to create 295B.

In his book, The Late Victorian Folksong Revival: The Persistence of English Melody, 1878–1903, E. David Gregory explored your article and comments that Baring-Gould's 295B, ascribed to John Woodrich, could have been combined with "Pretty Dorothy" another ballad that John Woodrich knew.

I looked at "Pretty Dorothy" online and I'm not sure if Gregory is right. What version did Baring-Gould use? I assume it's a broadside.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 11:37 PM

Here's some information about the informant: the late Winnifred June Brown Scott of Harrisville, WV was born June 20, 1914, she married Paul J. Scott and they had at least two children: Paul Wakefield Scott b. 1941 and James Lee Scott b. May 12, 1955. Their children may be alive.

The names of her ancestors on the Brown side check out- the references seem to be legitimate and book has presented accurate information so far.

Neither the collector or the author knew what the ballad was- the author Marie Boette thought it was a version of Child 73, which may have obscured this version until now.

The title of Scott's version is not found in the text but is the title of Child 295A also similarly titled.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 03:45 AM

Will investigate more thoroughly later today.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 09:07 AM

Haven't got Gregory but will be looking for a copy shortly.

The closeness to 'Cruel Nymph' is curious and I'll be analysing this in detail later today.

If both the author and collector were not aware of Child 295 and seemingly 73 I wouldn't put much weight on their authority.

The most generous ascription I can give at the moment is that the family's perception of how far back the ballad goes in their family is wrong and the likeliest scenario is that their version derives from Child.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 09:14 AM

"and is therefore a forgery following the forgery by Baring Gould "
This thread keeps catching my eye, but whenever I dip into it I find that we're still in the Alice in Wonderland world of "forgeries" - as if we knew the origins of these songs and ballads for certain - ah well - back to the "romanticism" and "naivety" I suppose!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 09:51 AM

Gregory doesn't get very favourable reviews, but what I have seen of the work on Google Books looks very interesting and I will eventually get hold of a copy. Can't justify the expense at the moment. If you have a copy, Richie, could you please let me have a scan of the 3 relevant pages 150 to 152? If he quotes my work I ought to have a look at what he has to say.

Hi, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 09:55 AM

Hi Steve
Carry on pontificating
Jim Caroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 10:32 AM

Can't quite agree with your analysis, Richie, particularly the last verse. It is far closer to 295A than the version of Cruel Nymph I have before me. Will check others later. The only other thing that brings any further affinity to Cruel Nymph is the change to first person and as we both know changing person from version to version is very common and is but a moment's alteration.

Apart from all of this, as I point out in my article, the ridiculous language Baring Gould employed in concocting his hybrid is such a give-away and the supposed oral version follows this almost to the letter. Had this forgery ever been in oral tradition for any length of time such ridiculous language would have been ironed out quickly (IMO) that okay, Jim?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 04:35 PM

The last verse is in first person as is the Cruel Nymph version- that's why I consider it closer than 295A.


You can read most of The Late Victorian Folksong Revival: The Persistence of English Melody, 1878–1903 by E. David Gregory on-line on google books. I don't have a copy.

Gregory seemed to think Baring-Gould did not falsify and create ballads- at least that's his position. He did talk in some detail about 295-B and seems to think it is authentic- and attributes the "Sally" verses to "pretty Dorothy" a copy of Woodrich's version in Baring-Gould's hand is available to be viewed on-line at the Vaughn Williams web-site.

As far as "The Bonny Brown Girl" as sung by Winnifred Brown Scott; 1969, and collected by Juanita Dawson. It seemed unlikely that it is a recently (as in circa 1970) concocted forgery given the names that are supplied. If her parents sang it that would take it back to circa 1890 . It's certainly possible it was taken from Child's books but that seems unlikely. Because it so accurately follows the 3 known ballad texts it should be added to the known versions until more is known about it- if that's possible.

I would like to know the "Sally" text that Baring-Gould used to make Child 295B.

It's also almost impossible (according to Gregory) to prove conclusively that Baring-Gould recreated the ballad- if there's any doubt it should be noted.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 05:53 PM

Of course it's impossible as it is with many Child Ballads but that didn't stop Child from slating them, quite rightly in my opinion. By all means add it to the known versions. That is right and proper, but make sure you add in the other overwhelming evidence that makes it look extremely suspicious. I still maintain that 'Cruel Nymph' (which has 2 extra verses unknown to SBG and Child) is not part of the equation.

SBG also has previous. Look at the text he sent Child of The Gipsy Laddie which Child quite rightly rejected. He was also a known forger and hoaxer. SBG's biographers freely give this information, some of them his relatives.

Remember also Brown Girl/Cruel Nymph are also extremely rare, copies being found only in 18th century print in 4 copies. It is highly unlikely Woodridge or anyone else in his situation had access to these texts in the BL. We know SBG had access to one because he sent it to Child.

I'll investigate the Pretty Dorothy text. I'll be at the VWML on Saturday anyway giving a presentation on 17th century broadsides.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 06:32 PM

On page 152, E. David Gregory says that "There is no evidence that Baring-Gould was familiar with either this broadside [Brown Girl] or 'Sally and her True Love Billy.' Neither of them appear in his broadside collection."

However is you look at Baring-Gold's notebook, he wrote "The Brown Girl" by hand and on opposite page is "Pretty Dorothy" collected from Woodrich. "Pretty Dorothy" is a version of "Sally." I see no way that (as Gregory postulates) "Pretty Dorothy" can somehow become 295B- that's ridiculous.

Here's the link- see for yourself:

http://www.vwml.org/search/search-full-english?qtext=%22pretty%20dorothy%22&ts=1392938916599&collectionfilter=HHA;SBG;JHB;LEB;GB

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 07:54 PM

You need to scroll down a couple inches using the tool bar on the right of the gray box until you see the two media items. The first one has both "The Brown Girl" (Child 295A) with "Pretty Dorothy" on the opposite page.

I'm not sure what Baring-Gould used to recreate 295B, maybe Steve will enlighten us. It doesn't seem like it's taken directly from a broadside because of the odd language.

Gregory does look at Baring-Gould collected songs and his informants, he just didn't apparently look at Baring-Gould's notebooks,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 08:40 PM

The reason I used "The Cruel Nymph" even though it was not known by Child or Baring-Gould is it has two additional verses. Broadsides are sometimes just versions of folk songs that are captured and printed.

Without deciding which is a forgery, we have "The Bonny Brown Girl" which is child 295A; Baring-Gould's "The brown, brown girl" Child 295B and "The Cruel Nymph," an earlier c. 1750 broadside.

Adding to this we have "The Bonny Brown Girl" from West Virginia circa 1874, which clearly is a version and is remarkably close to all three.

If deemed authentic, the WV version would corroborate Child's selection of this ballad and also Child 295B.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 09:34 PM

After looking at Baring-Gould's version (Child 295B) in his notebook as sung by Woodrich in 1888- it certainly doesn't appear to be a forgery.

After Woodrich text attribution, this is added, "also imperfect from Will Setter, Two Bridges, 1990." Then later when Setter's tune is given it says:

Setter sang it to the tune for "Green Bed."


Considering the tune for Woodrich's text is also given, it seems at first glance that everything is on the "up and up."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 14 - 10:38 AM

I think you've got all the info you need, Richie. 295B is a hybrid of 295A and what Woodrich sang, a version of Sally and Billy. What more evidence do you need?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Feb 14 - 01:42 PM

Right, Baring Gould used both Woodrich and Setter's versions in his hybrid. Almost all of the Sally and Billy extracts in 295B come from Woodrich's version. The broadside is substantially longer and 295B contains none of this extra material proving that he only used Woodrich's version APART FROM one stanza, which in my original paper I assumed was a linking stanza made up by Baring Gould. However, it turns out that this stanza (9 in 295B) comes from Setter's version. (It is unique to Setter, or was at the time he collected it). Surely the evidence is now overwhelming!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Richie
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 10:27 PM

Hi Steve,

I don't doubt that Baring-Gould recreated the ballad as he has been known to merge different versions (Sharp).

I am curious about the West Virginia version and don't know what to make of it - unless it's dismissed as a forgery.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 01:55 PM

Hi Richie,
I'm sorry but it can't possibly be anything else, as it's definitely based on mixing Child A, a very rare ballad, with Child B a known forgery. Perhaps 'forgery' in the case of the second event is too strong a word. We don't know there was actually an intent to deceive.
The writer could just have been trying to make what they thought was a good song out of what was available in Child. They had very poor taste in my opinion but that's irrelevant. Baring Gould's concoction was appalling.

I must also admit that for a song to be rewritten and then enter oral tradition anew is very plausible. From 1894 to 1968 is an awful long time!


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