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Origins: Lord Thomas in North America

Richie 27 Nov 14 - 03:43 PM
Richie 27 Nov 14 - 03:48 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Nov 14 - 04:05 PM
Richie 27 Nov 14 - 04:22 PM
Richie 27 Nov 14 - 04:29 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Nov 14 - 06:10 PM
Richie 27 Nov 14 - 08:27 PM
Richie 27 Nov 14 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 28 Nov 14 - 12:42 PM
Richie 28 Nov 14 - 01:49 PM
Richie 28 Nov 14 - 02:19 PM
Richie 28 Nov 14 - 02:34 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Nov 14 - 03:53 PM
Richie 28 Nov 14 - 07:50 PM
Richie 28 Nov 14 - 08:49 PM
Richie 28 Nov 14 - 09:19 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Nov 14 - 04:33 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Nov 14 - 04:49 PM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 02:01 AM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 02:14 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 14 - 07:44 AM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 01:15 PM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 14 - 01:20 PM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 14 - 01:36 PM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 14 - 01:51 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Nov 14 - 02:46 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Nov 14 - 02:57 PM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 14 - 03:18 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Nov 14 - 05:18 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Nov 14 - 05:22 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Nov 14 - 06:08 PM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 06:57 PM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 07:14 PM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 07:38 PM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 07:48 PM
Richie 30 Nov 14 - 08:15 PM
MGM·Lion 30 Nov 14 - 11:52 PM
Richie 01 Dec 14 - 12:31 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Dec 14 - 01:32 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Dec 14 - 05:17 AM
maeve 01 Dec 14 - 07:25 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Dec 14 - 12:27 PM
Richie 09 Dec 14 - 07:18 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Dec 14 - 04:22 PM
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Subject: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 03:43 PM

Hi,

I've started working on putting North American versions of Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-73-lord-thomas--fair-annet.aspx

I have several questions, which I've pondered.

1) What does 'riddle my sport' mean? Belden says in 1940 that it's 'riddle my sword' but that's not it.

2) Why are there no Scottish versions (A-I except for D) in North America? Child gives eight Scottish versions (A-I except for D).   

3) Since the North American versions are similar to the English broadside Child D, isn't the broadside a rewrite of the traditional versions - but in this case (stanzas added or not included) the broadside is not completely accurate?

Just wondering--

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 03:48 PM

Here's one of a dozen examples of "riddle my sport".

"O mother, O mother, come riddle my sport,
Come riddle it all as one,
Whether I shall marry Fair Ellender,
Or bring the Brown Girl home." [Davis TBVa, K]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 04:05 PM

Hi Richie.

Just my own ideas based on experience and wide reading on the subject.

'Riddle my sport' doesn't have to have a meaning. Many phrases in far-travelled ballads have been sung by singer A who sings what he/she thought he/she heard. As the item is far from its origins, rather than sing nothing the singer picks a word, sometimes that doesn't make sense, just to complete the line. This is then passed on verbatim to other singers who don't get chance to question it, or who are given the reply 'well that's how I heard it. Can't tell you what it means.' Of course more inventive singers will alter the phrase so that it does make sense to him/her which is part of the oral process.

3) I would say (as a non-romantic) that the broadside takes precedence. The oral versions are much later. This view also accords with academic writers like David C Fowler. There is no evidence with most of these romantic Child Ballads in their oral versions that they are any earlier than the 18th century when most of them were either rewritten from the broadsides or made up from legends, stories etc.

The majority of the Child Ballads are no older than the 18th century though the romantics will tell you different. Can I prove it? No. can anybody disprove it? No.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 04:22 PM

Hi Steve,

Regarding the 19 stanza broadside c.1670 also printed with changes in the US in the Forget-Me-Not songster c.1844- question 3):

The same ballad as found in tradition does not have stanza 4- it simply is not found in tradition (with several rare exceptions).

4    And as it befell on a high holidaye,
As many did more beside,
Lord Thomas he went to Fair Ellinor,
That should have been his bride.

Since this stanza is not found in tradition what does that tell us?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 04:29 PM

Also missing from the broadside is the stanza that replaces it- as found only in tradition:

He dressed his merry maids all in blue,
Himself all in white,
And every town that they rode through,
They took him to be a lord or knight. [Nora Hicks, Mast's Gap, NC]

This is very important because it is mirrored later by Fair Eleanor when she rides to see Lord Thomas.

This is found in most complete versions but not in any broadside- what does this mean?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 06:10 PM

In answer to your first query the likelihood is that the oral versions derive from another printed version, perhaps now lost, that omits this stanza. I'll have a look when I get more free time. The Santa Barbra site probably has most of the early printed versions.

The second query would need checking carefully to see in which versions it occurs before making any guesses as to where it came from. Again I'll have a look. Off the top of my head if an equivalent stanza occurs later in the ballad in printed versions it is not beyond the skills of the singers to interpolate the later stanza into a new stanza that helps the story along in an earlier part of the ballad. Peter Buchan was an expert at this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 08:27 PM

TY Steve,

I haven't looked at all the broadsides just Child D: "A Tragical Story of Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor. Together with the downfall of the Brown Girl."

I was thinking that there was ur-ballad that was established in tradition that had not changed much and that the broadside was written based on the extant traditional ballad with an additional verse added (stanza 4) to add to the continuity of the story.

The ballad has remained fairly consistent and stanza 4 is not part of it. If the broadside was being sung this would not have happened. So the broadside influence is minimal- the traditional ballad remained the same throughout- which I image was by the early 1600s.

There are so many "riddle my sport" versions in the US from diverse locations that it seems hardly to be an accidental mishearing although I agree that most of the singers didn't know what it meant- or for that matter do we!!!

It seems a mystery that Child would collect 8 Scottish versions, yet none are found in North America. Not one- Yet there are over 200 version found in North America, some with a few elements of the Scottish version but no variants.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 27 Nov 14 - 11:49 PM

Steve,

I checked the Lord Thomas broadsides at the Bodleian and Santa Barbara collections.

They all have stanza 4, which is not sung in tradition. There are all missing the stanza where Lord Thomas dresses in fine attire and rides to visit Fair Eleanor.

I still assert that this broadside does not represent the traditional ballad but was rather "written down from tradition" with a stanza that was not sung in tradition (stanza 4) and is missing a stanza sung in tradition (traditional stanza 4 where Lord Thomas rides to visit Fair Ellinor).

Therefore few versions were actually based on this broadside- and they don't exist. If they did, stanza 4 would be present.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 12:42 PM

'riddle my sport' is probably a corruption. In this case the poet obviously used the term riddle as meaning to ask somebody's advice.

As Doug Wallin's splendid version had it:

'I riddle to you, my own dear mother,
And ask as your dear son.
Would you marry fair Eleanor now,
Or bring the brown girl home?'(x2)

'I riddle to you, my own dear son,
My own beloved one.
If you ask for my advice,
You'll bring the brown girl home'.(x2)

Fair Eleanor and Lord Thomas. Sung by Doug Wallin at Crane Branch, Madison County, NC. 24.5.83. From Far in the Mountains, vols 3&4. Musical Traditions. MTCD323-4.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 01:49 PM

Is this Cas Wallin or related to Dellie Chandler Norton's? There aren't many Madison county full versions- Sheila Adams did one but I don't know her source. Mary Sands 1916 version is only one stanza. Jane Hicks Gentry sang the Hicks/Harmon version

Back to "Riddle my sport"--two Georgia versions (Rawn to Campbell to Sharp) have "O mother, O mother, go roll a song," which also means to advise.

The Fuson version is similar to Child A which begins:
'O rede, O rede, mither,' he says,
'A gude rede gie to mee;

"O mother, O mother, come rede me,
Come rede me as your own,
Whether I must marry fair Ellendar dear
Or bring the Brown girl home." [Fuson, Kentucky 1931]

I know "sport" is a slang word used as a term of endearment as in "old sport".

When there's a dozen versions you think it would have some specific meaning,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 02:19 PM

Also from Yates, Doug's father, Cas Wallin sang:

'Oh mother, oh mother, come riddle or sport,
Come riddle us both as one.
Must I marry Fair Ellender,
Or bring the Brown Girl home?
Or bring the Brown Girl home?'


Mary Sands, who Sharp collected a number of ballads is Cas' step-aunt. She sang, possibly a 2nd verse:

I'll riddle to you, my younger son,
And advise you all as one.
The brown girl she's got house and home,
Fair Ellinder she's got none,
Fair Ellender she's got none.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 02:34 PM

Correction: Doug's father was Robert Lee Wallin called "Lee" and his mother was Berzilla.

Cas Wallin was Doug's uncle,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 03:53 PM

Hi, Richie, in the light of modern scholarship I think you're stretching a point too far to suggest that there were 17thc oral versions of a ballad that didn't appear in an oral form until the late 18th century. At least without any evidence.

We need further reasoned discussion but you'd be better off on the Ballad List for that.

To quote Child himself from the headnotes (The English broadside version)...'has become traditional in Scotland and Ireland', so it's pretty clear what he thought.

Though there's nearly a century between us I very rarely disagree with what he had to say. He got 20 and 21 hopelessly mixed up but his summary here was reasonable on the evidence he had to start with.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 07:50 PM

Steve and all,

Here's my point on my question number 2- What are there 8 Scottish version but none found in North America?

It seem possible and even likely that the traditional English ballad represented by the broadside and "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" are two similar but distinct ballads.

One of the Scottish version was given by Robert Jamieson who says, "...I think it extremely probable, that, in their origin, they were perfectly independent of each other.

Percy who printed both or them says, "LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ANNET seems to be composed (not without improvements) out of two ancient English ones, printed in this volume."

And Percy also says about Lord Thomas and Fair Annet, "In the same collection may be seen an attempt to modernize this old song (broadside), and reduce it to a different measure: a proof of its popularity.

This may be the reason no versions are found in North America.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 08:49 PM

The second ancient ballad Percy refers to is "Fair Margaret's Misfortunes, or Sweet William's frightful Dreams on his Wedding Night; with the sudden Death and Burial of these noble Lovers."

This is Child 74, of course. It seems to me that these are three separate ballads and parts of each have bleed into one another.

For example, Child 74:

He called his merry men all,
By one, by two, and by three;

is found in US versions of Lord Thomas.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 28 Nov 14 - 09:19 PM

Here's one of a half-dozen US variants:

He called out his waiting men,
He called them by one, two, and three,
Saying, "Go a saddle my stage white horses,
Fair Ellender I'll go see." [Davis C, Virginia 1921]

Both Child 73 (rarely) and 74 share the rose/briar ending which is more common in Barbara Allen (64).

The assertion being that there are three separate ballads:

Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor
Lord Thomas and Fair Annet (Sweet Willie and Fair Annie)
Fair Margaret and Sweet William

that share common stanzas and phrases.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Nov 14 - 04:33 PM

Richie,
You need to get hold of a book called 'Commonplace and Creativity' by Flemming G Andersen. At least half of the Child ballads contain these commonplaces or floaters that drift from ballad to ballad as they are being reworked. One of the most common commonplaces is the sequence where an aggrieved party asks for a page boy to take a vital message, the page boy's response and his subsequent journey and arrival to the receiver and the receiver's response. Commonplaces can be phrases, single lines, whole verses or a sequence of verses. Many of them were commonplaces as part of oral tradition, but the literary editors also latched onto them and used them freely in their own remaking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Nov 14 - 04:49 PM

Okay, here's my quick answer to question 2.

Both versions were widely printed on broadsides. I disagree with Percy. Experience with other ballads where an English 17thc printed version occurs and a Scottish 18thc printed version occurs, the Scottish version is usually accepted to have been a rehash of the earlier version. This is reasonable to suppose. In the majority of cases there is no reason to suppose that there were earlier versions than those printed in England in the 17thc. For instance those with some historical basis can usually (not all) be dated to either the late 16thc or early 17thc, some even later.

There could be various reasons why only the English version was found in America. The most likely is that the English version was much more widely printed right up into the 19th century. Apart from the usual suspects Motherwell/Kinloch etc the ballad isn't that common in Scotland. Greig Duncan only gives 4 versions and one of them is the English ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 02:01 AM

Steve,

You're disagreeing with both Jamieson and Percy. This still doesn't answer the question of why stanza 4:

And as it befell on a high holidaye,
As many did more beside,
Lord Thomas he went to Fair Ellinor,
That should have been his bride.

is not found in tradition. If people were singing the broadside stanza 4 would show up in America. It's not found in North America. Its rarely found in the British Isles. Doesn't his show that the broadside was not sung - and that the traditional ballad was sung. And that the broadside author presented the traditional ballad but changed a verse.

Consider also that the ballad was in the Virgina colony probably at the time or before the broadside was printed. It was also in Boston very early though the Soper family.

There are no version of "Sweet Willie and Fair Annie" the proper title of Child 73 because Child focuses on the Scottish versions. Child D, reflected by the broadside has a very consistent tradition and a widespread one. Child D is much different that the Scottish versions - which are rare.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 02:14 AM

Correction: There are no American versions of "Sweet Willie and Fair Annie," the proper title of Child 73, and Child focused on the Scottish versions.

I think the Scottish versions should be considered related but different ballads, at least that's what Percy and Jamieson said and no one challenged them. Child who had the information said nothing.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 07:44 AM

Not clear to me what you mean by "the proper title", Richie.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 01:15 PM

It's "Sweet Willie and Fair Annie" in six of the eight Child versions. I believe the other two, the name Lord Thomas bled over from the older English ballad.

Child named it after Percy's "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" I think the proper name is "Sweet Willie and Fair Annie."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 01:20 PM

But "proper" in what sense, and in whose opinion, and by what criteria?

Sorry, but I still don't understand what you mean by trying to attribute a "proper" title to a widespread and multiversional artefact.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 01:36 PM

Can anyone be bothered to do a survey of the versions in Child & Bronson, & any other collection perhaps, and count up comparative numbers of, respectively, Annie, Annet, Elinor, Eleanor, Ellen [either in own right or as variant of Elinor/Eleanor sometimes intro'd to fit the rhythm], or any other names that might occur?

And even then, whatever the result, I can't see that the one with most instances [or appearing in what might be established as versions earlier than others] can be authoritatively declared the "proper" one.

The very term seems to me, as will be apparent, to be a catachresis in a traditional context. As well try to establish a "proper" version of Barbara Allen.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 01:51 PM

Just a slight drift while on this ballad:-

It is rather confusing that many collectors and performers (Hedy West, for instance) give this ballad the title The Brown Girl. One so-named is an important character indeed; but it is confusing because there is another ballad to which Child attributed that exact title [#295]. A young man rejects his affianced because she is "too brown" for him after all. When he has a further change of ❤ and declares he will die for love if she does not return to him, she replies that when he does her mourning will take the form of dancing on his grave. Lovely feisty lady, one of my very fave ballad heroines!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 02:46 PM

Ooh, lots of issues here, and I'll soon be offline for a week!

Firstly I agree with Mike, you shouldn't strictly be going round using phrases like 'proper title' but we both know what Richie means, so that, in a sense, is another one of your pieces of pedantry, Mike. Perhaps Richie should have written 'more appropriate title' but Child's Child Ballad titles are pretty arbitrary anyway and weren't really meant to be the be all and end all, just a convenient tag in discussion, much like my Master Titles for folksongs or Roud or Laws Numbers.

Child generally used the title which was best known in the literary circles where he dwelt.

As for focussing on Scottish versions and titles; the vast majority of his ballads came from Scottish collections which were all that was available to him at the time. That's not rocket science.

Many of the English broadside versions he didn't come across until he'd already published the first tranch of a ballad.

Disagreeing with Percy and Jamieson takes no effort at all. Both of them had nothing like the vast array of information we now have at our fingertips. All that can be said for them is that they were closer to the origins of these ballads chronologically than we are.
Much more relevant is modern scholarship.

Richie, the issue of the extra verse proves nothing either way. 'Probably' isn't good enough here and anyway 'possibly' is nearer to what you should be saying. I need more time to look at all of the versions to come up with a possible answer to your question. Keep the pot boiling till I can get back to you, or email me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 02:57 PM

Mike,
When you mention The Brown Girl 295 are you referring to 295A which occurs only on slips and garlands of the late 18thc or 295B which is a fabrication of Baring Gould (proven)?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 03:18 PM

Not that worried about provenance. Just like sentiments...

To answer question, the A version. BG's B version is a typically officious expansion of it, with some of his made-up magic added in, like striking the breast with white wands to undo the sworn oaths, and suchlike portentous carryings-on!.

But also have in mind the versions sung by Frankie Armstrong, Martin Carthy, Steeleye, et al. It's the dancing on the grave bit that particularly appeals to me. Serve the faithless, dithering young bounder right, wot-wot!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 05:18 PM

Almost every word in B either comes from A or from 2 versions of Sally and her Truelove Billy he had collected from oral tradition. All 3 items stand side by side in the Full English Archive online. Obviously he had to alter the metre of one of them. As I think Child states, the final verse is a straight borrowing from The Unquiet Grave.

WARNING! THREAD DRIFT.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 05:22 PM

Richie,
What evidence have you that the ballad was circulating in oral tradition in America in the 17thc?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 06:08 PM

Richie
I haven't got time to look now in detail but a short survey of printed ballad lengths might give you a clue.

All printed versions contain your verse 4.
The earliest printed versions ranging from about 1670 to about 1750 have only 19 stanzas. Some time about 1780 it acquired 2 fresh stanzas which could be referred to as commonplaces. These are sts 13 and 19 of the new 21 st version which continued to be printed into the mid 19thc and beyond. This includes American printings such as The Forget-me-not Songster c1848. Unusually there is an 18st version printed in 1776 which lacks not v4 but v5. If a version could be printed which lacked v5 then that begs the question could an American version have been printed about the same time that lacked v4. It seems likely that Deeming or Coverley would have printed such a popular ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 06:57 PM

Here's the evidence about the date- again this is not proof - we know that the ballad crossed the ocean, we don't know exactly when but we do know when the families that sang the ballad came and assume that they brought the ballad.

Certain older ballads we can assume came with the early colonists. In the case of Virginia the House of Burgess was established in 1619 well before the broadside.

We know that Virginians and all Americans did not sing the broadside because stanza 4 is missing. The only version sung in America is the old English version which obviously predated c. 1670. Out of the 250 version in collection there is only one example of stanza 4 being sung and it was probably taken from the Forget-Me- Not- Songster.

The traditional English ballad that predates the broadside was sung in America- and I contend that the print version never caught on because the old English version has remained consistent.

In North America the traditional ballad too has 19 stanzas, but extra ending stanzas are common and opening stanza is sometimes missing.

Here are two early versions traced back, through family lies:

The Soper version: The Soper family (BBM; BFSSNE 7 In Memoriam) was known as a singing family. Susie Carr Young (1862-1933) documented her grandmother Mary Soper's versions by compiling nearly 68 ballads around 1900. Her Grandmother Mary Soper (b. 1791) of Orland, Hancock, Maine, married Hugh Hill Carr of Bucksport, Hancock, Maine (b.1790) in 1813. The ballad of Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor (according to Barry, BBM) came from Mary Soper, no date given. Mary died when Susie was only 7 and the ballad may have come from her mother and other family members. Mary's father was Justus Soper (b.1760 in MA and married Elizabeth Viles) and her grandparents were Samuel Soper Jr. and Katherine Ruggles (ref. Ancestry.com). Justus Soper's grand father was Samuel Soper Sr. (ref. Ancestry.com) and his great-grandfather was Joseph Soper (1656, ref. BFSSNE) who was 1st generation in American his parents believed to be from London.

The Hicks/Harmon version: The history of this ballad family has been given before (Smith: Jane Gentry) however some curious references have been made to the lineage. Here's what Mellinger Henry wrote (1938):

       "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender." Sung by "Uncle" Sam Harmon, Cade's Cove, Blount County, Tennessee, August, 1928. He learned it from his grandfather in Watauga County, North Carolina, who had learned it in England before emigrating to North Carolina.

Before examining Henry's statement (which clearly he got from Sam Harmon in 1928), let's look at the family line. Sam's grandfather was Council Harmon, the main purveyor of ballads, in his family line. Council Harmon (1807-1898) married Nancy Tester (1809-1850) around 1830. Sabra Hicks (1785- ) was his mother and Andrew Harmon (1789-1814) was his father. When Counce was five, his father Andrew was killed by a falling tree and his mother Sabra went to live with her father, Big Sammy Hicks. The eight-year-old Council, his younger brothers Goulder and Mathias and his sister Rachel. Big Sammy's son, Little Sammy was fourteen and he learned ballads and tales from his grandfather, Big Sammy Hicks, his uncle Little Sammy and also his aunt Fanny Hicks. When Elizabeth Harmon died, her husband Duke Ward, married Sabra. When Ward moved to Illinois with his four sons, his new wife Sabra took Rachel her youngest and left Council, Goulder, and Mathias with Andrew's sister, Susan Harmon and her Susan's husband, John Mast.

Now let's go back to Sam Harmon. The ballad was passed from his grandfather Council to Sam before the family moved to Tennessee. Council did not immigrate from England to North Carolina- Sam just didn't know much about his grandfather and his family heritage. It was most assuredly through his great grandmother's family (Sabra Hicks) that this ballad was learned-- that would be "Big Sammy" Hicks, Counce's grandfather. Sammy was named after his grandfather Samuel Hicks (b. 1695) who was from Tuckahoe Creek Virginia (along the James River) in Henrico County, in what is now Goochland County. No one knows who Samuel's father was but John Hicks, the Doorkeeper or his son are candidates. Samuel's grandfather would have immigrated to Virginia circa 1650 and Samuels' father would be born in Virginia around or by 1675. That seven generations from Council Harmon through his mother to England.

We have several Hicks/Harmon versions to study including Sam Harmon, Jane Hicks Genry (Maud Long her daughter), Nora Hicks (Mast's Gape Hicks) and Alice Hicks.

Did the ballad of "Lord Thomas" come to Virginia in the 1600s? There's a good chance the ballad came to Virginia in the mid to late 1600s-- it was a popular ballad and remained popular in the Appalachians where Cecil Sharp collected nearly 40 versions between 1916-1918.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 07:14 PM

MGM: Regarding the Brown Girl title- it's used as a title in approximately 25% of the North American versions of Lord Thomas.

Regarding the The Brown Girl; Child 295- it completely different however the stigma attached to being brown is the same. Steve has dome research on the ballad and has uncovered and earlier broadside, The Cruel Nymph, not known by Child.

As far as I can tell Child 295 is been changed to "Sally and her True love Billie" "Rich Irish Lady" and "Sailor from Dover" because Child B from Baring-Gould had stanzas of this ballad in his version (which may or may not be authentic).

I know of only one version of 295 in the US- it's titled "The Bonny Brown Girl" and is traditional in West Virginia. this version and Baring-Gould's are the only two in existence (if they are authentic).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 07:38 PM

MGM: As far as a survey of titles, in the US/Canada its very consistently Lord Thomas and Ellen/Ellender/Eleanor- another clue that all the Scottish versions are a different ballad- they are Sweet Willie (sometimes Lord Thomas) and Annie. Parts of then are the same but "Sweet Willie and Annie" would be an Appendix to the more popular and different Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor.

I've put almost 250 North American version on my site and I'm still not finished- it's taken me a week to add the texts and I'm almost done- have about 20 more to go.

The ballad is very consistent that why I can say with some certainty that the broadside was never sung here- stanza 4 of the broadside is not sung --except for one version (Flanders). The broadside version was brought over and it never caught on.

What was disturbing was that not one of the Scottish versions ("Sweet Willie") was found in America- not one- nada- zip -out of 250 versions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 07:48 PM

I'll share part of an article I'm writing regarding the name The Brown Girl, which is amusing:

Only in American is the Brown girl, a girl named Brown, that's right?her name is Brown, Sally Brown:

Lord Thomas he was a gay young man,
He was a lord of many a town.
He courted a girl called "pretty fair Ellen,"
And another called "Sally Brown."[1] [Cambiaire, 1934]

Yes, that's from the Southern Appalachians, back in the time when the ballad was so well known that Mrs. Maude Minnish Sutton who ironically collected this ballad for the Brown Collection[2] from the singing of Mrs. Brown of Beech Mountain, Watauga County, said this was "one of the twenty-odd singers in the Blue Ridge from whom I collected this ballad."[3]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 08:15 PM

After checking Bronson there are only two versions out of about a dozen texts from the British Isles that have stanza 4.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 11:52 PM

I published an article in Notes & Queries [OUP], March 1994, on the derogatory use of "brown" to describe female protagonists in balladry; so am aware of the implications.

Regret I overlooked "Ellender" above as one of variants of the name.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 01 Dec 14 - 12:31 AM

Hi,

Is your article available on-line or can you email me a copy? There are some quotes on this ballad from Reed Smith and others about Anglo-Saxons preferring blondes, lol.

There are a half dozen informants in Appalachia the though Brown was her last name- clearly that is not the implication here,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Dec 14 - 01:32 AM

I think a PDF should be available by googling Notes and Queries Oxford Journal and following links to issue for March 1994. The article [which was a follow-up to a previous one by another contributor] is called MORE ON 'BROWN-UGLY?'

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Dec 14 - 05:17 AM

... Or, if any difficulty with that, if you e-mail me your home address to

- mgmyer(at)keme-dot-co-dot-uk -

I could send you a copy by steam-mail. Regret I do not have the scanning facilities to email it direct to you.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: maeve
Date: 01 Dec 14 - 07:25 AM

PDF is here- One must subscribe:
http://nq.oxfordjournals.org/content/41/1/20.full.pdf+html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Dec 14 - 12:27 PM

Thank you very much for link, maeve.

Richie, if you do not feel like subscribing to get access to PDF, my offer to steam-mail you a copy if you email me your home address still stands.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Richie
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 07:18 PM

Hi,

I want to thank everyone who posted to this thread. I've finished putting 284 traditional versions of the Lord Thomas ballad on my site here:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-73-lord-thomas--fair-annet.aspx

There are a few unusual versions, like Mance Lipscomb's blues version, but most of the texts stay close to the standard ur-ballad form as exemplified by Child D, the broadside.

I found two versions of the broadside sung in North America (out of 284) and both were from New England. I think it's safe to say the broadside was never traditional and that print versions never really influenced the traditional ballad- a conclusion that opposed what Child said and what is generally written about this awesome ballad.

There are some notes on my site however they aren't well organized yet. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. I am writing an article on my findings which hopefully will be published (if not I'll put it on my site),

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lord Thomas in North America
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 04:22 PM

Richie,
I still think your theory about the ballad predating the broadside and existing in America since the 17thc is wishful thinking, but nobody can prove you wrong. Equally the only thing that can prove me wrong is hard and fast evidence!

Regarding 295B it is definitely beyond any shadow of doubt a hybrid forgery. You can see for yourself if you go to the Full English website and search for either Brown Girl or Pretty Dorothy. On the opposite pages you will find all 3 songs Baring Gould spliced together. Absolutely no doubt. I challenge you to demonstrate otherwise!


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