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Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74

DigiTrad:
LADY MARGARET AND KING WILLIAM


Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Req: Little Margaret (7)
(origins) Origins: Fair Margaret and Sweet William (12)
Lyr Add: Lady Margaret (19)
Lyr Req: Fair Margaret and Sweet William (6)


Richie 18 Dec 14 - 05:13 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 05:26 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 14 - 06:47 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 07:27 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,# 18 Dec 14 - 07:45 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 07:47 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,# 18 Dec 14 - 07:56 PM
Lighter 18 Dec 14 - 08:02 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 09:04 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 09:17 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 09:28 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 09:32 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 10:01 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 10:44 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 10:50 PM
Richie 18 Dec 14 - 11:07 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 14 - 04:09 AM
Richie 19 Dec 14 - 09:53 AM
Richie 19 Dec 14 - 03:13 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 14 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Dec 14 - 04:40 PM
Lighter 19 Dec 14 - 05:00 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 14 - 05:22 PM
Lighter 19 Dec 14 - 06:42 PM
Richie 20 Dec 14 - 01:38 AM
Richie 20 Dec 14 - 11:04 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 14 - 06:22 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Dec 14 - 06:56 PM
Richie 21 Dec 14 - 11:38 AM
Richie 21 Dec 14 - 11:44 AM
Richie 21 Dec 14 - 12:00 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Dec 14 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Dec 14 - 09:48 PM
Richie 21 Dec 14 - 11:08 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Dec 14 - 04:03 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Dec 14 - 04:46 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 14 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Lighter 22 Dec 14 - 08:57 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Dec 14 - 09:09 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Dec 14 - 03:27 PM
Richie 22 Dec 14 - 04:02 PM
Joe_F 22 Dec 14 - 06:19 PM
Richie 22 Dec 14 - 07:18 PM
Richie 22 Dec 14 - 09:44 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 14 - 06:01 AM
GUEST 23 Dec 14 - 10:01 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 14 - 10:49 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 14 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Lighter 23 Dec 14 - 11:58 AM
Richie 23 Dec 14 - 12:54 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Dec 14 - 01:04 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Dec 14 - 01:57 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 14 - 02:05 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Dec 14 - 03:07 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Dec 14 - 03:08 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Dec 14 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Lighter 23 Dec 14 - 03:13 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Dec 14 - 03:27 PM
Richie 23 Dec 14 - 03:51 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Dec 14 - 04:08 PM
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Subject: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 05:13 PM

Hi,

I'm looking at Child 74 "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" and have a few questions. Any help will be appreciated.

Child A the broadside- "Fair Margaret's Misfortune":

1) Chappell has the date as c.1685 and recently Atkinson has the date as c.1720. Anyone have info on this date?

2) Child has:

1    As it fell out on a long summer's day,
Two lovers they sat on a hill;
They sat together that long summer's day,
And could not talk their fill.

Shouldn't it be "take their fill." ? "talk" to me is not the right word.

3) Child has:

6    'God give you joy, you two true lovers,
In bride-bed fast asleep;
Loe I am going to my green grass grave,
And am in my winding-sheet.'

Shouldn't it be "green grass grove," ?

I know there are different broadsides but it seems like these 2 spots have been arbitrarily changed. By a printer?

4) It's also my contention that this broadside was printed from tradition-- part of which was established by the 1613 "Burning Pestle". Agree?

5) That Mallet's work (or the broadside it was based on) has little in common with the traditional ballad - other than one stanza, (the 5th in the broadside) which is similar to the stanza found in "Burning Pestle". Agree?

When it was grown to dark midnight,
And all were fast asleep,
In came Margaret's grimly ghost,
And stood at William's feet. [1613 Burning Pestle]

Ty in advance for your responses.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 05:26 PM

Child A a, the broadside, is named: "Fair Margaret's Misfortune, or, Sweet William's Frightful Dreams on his Wedding Night. With the Sudden Death and Burial of those Noble Lovers." It was printed for Sarah Bates, at the Sun and Bible, in Giltspur Street.

John Ashton (A Century of Ballads) for example, has "take" stanza 1 and "grove" stanza 6.


Child has 1611 (is it 1613?) for "Burning Pestle":

As Percy has remarked, the ballad is twice quoted in Beaumont and Fletcher's 'Knight of the Burning Pestle,' 1611.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 06:47 PM

Richie,
I'm sure we have discussed the date somewhere before. I'm not sure where David got his dating from but Sarah was probably Charles' widow. It is Charles who was printing c1685 so Child was wrong. Charles seems to have had several outlets over the years c1685-1702. The only concrete date I have for Sarah is 1714 so of the 2 I'd say David was the closest and anyway you would expect someone studying currently and in London to be more accurate than someone studying over a century ago in Boston. Child was possibly taking his dates from Chappell/Ebsworth who tend to be rather hit and miss.

Talk/take. I don't follow your reasoning. You can't alter historical documents just on a whim or hunch.

grove/grave
Grave certainly fits the rest of the sentiments in the verse, and may well be a folk-poetry-abbreviated version of 'green grass growing over the grave' very common in traditional balladry.

Arbitrary changes: the apprentice compositors who put together the type weren't too fussy about accuracy. These sort of mistakes are common on broadsides from one pressing to another.

4) 'From tradition'. To which tradition are you referring? If you mean oral tradition perhaps but not necessarily. There is insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions here other than 2 of the stanzas can be found in KotBP. These stanzas may have been written for the play and incorporated into a later ballad, but there are many other possibilities.

I haven't got a record of when the ballad was first registered but I don't have access to the full registers.

5) I have the original correspondence between Chappell and Ebsworth about Mallet's ballad and as soon as I get time I'll check it for you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:27 PM

Hi Steve,

Atkinson's article came out earlier this year and focuses on Mallet, not the traditional ballad. He dates "Fair Margaret's Misfortune" at c. 1720.

The 1685 date is from Chappell, who initiated the forgery accusation against Mallet about 1880.

What I'm referring to is that there are a number of editions that have "take" instead of talk" and "grove" instead of "grave" so which is correct - in your opinion. For me "take" seems right. Have you ever seen "talk your fill"?? really!!!!!

In his article Fair Margaret and Sweet William by A.E.H. Swaen 1917, he says,

"Thus far the result of this investigation is, that B & F (Beaumout and Fletcher) represents an older and better version; that A, B and C are versions which had suffered in the course of about seventy years, and from popular ballads had deteriorated into broadsides."

Again it seems the broadside is a weak rendition of the traditional ballad, which unfortunately we don't have many good early examples.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:32 PM

Hi,

After checking: Robert Chambers; John Chappell (Roxburghe), John Ashton and Frank Sidgwick all have "take."

"Take" makes sense "talk" doesn't- in my opinion. I'm not trying to change "talk"- they have already changed "talk."

R-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST,#
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:45 PM

"They sat together that long summer's day,
And could not talk their fill."

I took that to mean that the lovers had so much to say to each other that they couldn't get it all said on that day.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:47 PM

As a bit of ballad trivia; What are the three references to Child 74 found in Beaumont and Fletcher's "The Knight of the Burning Pestle"?

Child gives two of them- what is the third?

Where I'm going with this broadside discussion is that I believe as Swaen does that there is an early traditional ballad (the ur-ballad) that the broadside is based upon.

This again can be found in part through many of the versions from North America. Because the ballad was popular in North America we can surmise that early versions that predate the broadside were brought to the Virginia settlement, New England and also Maritime Canada where it is found less frequently.

Is the broadside sung in tradition? Yes but not as written. The traditional versions found in North America have stanzas from the broadside but also,

Sweet William he rose one morning in May,
Himself he dresses in blue.
His mother asked him about that long, long love
[That] Lies between Lady Margaret and you. [Sweet William- Nora Hicks]

this stanza which is critical in establishing the relationship between Margaret and William. This is common in North America and is found in Child B. The stanza that follows of course is the fragment (in brackets) from the 1611 "Burning Pestle".

["I am no love for you, Margaret,
And you are no love for me;]
Before to-morrow at eight o'clock,
A rich wedding you shall see."

The broadside's "I see no harm by you, Margaret," is similar in meaning as are a number of lines such as "I am no man for you" which was collected in California. What happens is William is trying to ignore his deep feelings for Margaret because he is marrying "the brown girl" and it's clear that she knows something about this relationship, because he asks his new wife's permission to see Margaret after his dream. The broadside skips the "he dressed himself in blue" stanza and when the that happens the ballad makes little sense afterward.

It's easy to understand that the "he dressed himself in blue" stanza would be part of the ur-ballad and that many of the ballad versions came to North America in this stanzic form.

The other point I'm interested in establishing the is close relationship between Child 73 and 74 as noted by both Percy and Jamieson.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:52 PM

Hi guest,

That's what it means if you use "take" -- however is this normally something lovers do when when they meet (especially in ballads)? I assuming since so many versions have "take" that it should be "take" which means "they made love but could not satisfy all their desires."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST,#
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:56 PM

Thanks, Richie. I'm just a layman and certainly not knowledgeable about ballads, especially ballads dating back to the time of James I.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 08:02 PM

Mary Rowlandson, "The Sovereignty and Goodness of God," 1682: "When they had talked their fill with him, they suffered me to go to him."

"The Spirit of the Public Journals," 1826: "O'Connell came and talked his fill."

Walter Farley, "The Black Stallion Revolts," 2011, ch. 8: "It was as if he had talked his fill, and now wanted to be left alone again."

Just three examples.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 09:04 PM

OK Lighter,

It could be "talk" is so why did Robert Chambers; John Chappell (Roxburghe), John Ashton and Frank Sidgwick all have "take."

Since you're so smart:

What is the third reference to Child 74 found in Beaumont and Fletcher's "The Knight of the Burning Pestle"?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 09:17 PM

This is from Percy's Reliques: Since the first edition some improvements have been inserted, which were communicated by a lady of the first distinction, as she had heard this song repeated in her infancy.

As it fell out out on a long summer's day
Two lovers they sat on a hill;
They sat together that long summer's day,
And could not take their fill.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 09:28 PM

Here's Douce Ballads 3(27a):
http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/20000/15601.gif
Edition - Bod18681
Imprint Names: Aldermary Church Yard
Imprint: Printed and Sold at No. 4, Aldermary Church Yard, Londo
Title: Fair Margaret's misfortunes; or, Sweet William's dream on his wedding night, with the sudden death and burial of those noble lovers

First stanza: As it fell out upon a day
Two lovers they set on a hill;
They set together a long summer's day
And could not take their fill.

It has "set" instead of "sat". I'm not sure what broadside Child used.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 09:32 PM

Click on it to enlarge. It also has "green grass grove" in stanza 6- not sure how it got changed to "green grass grave."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 10:01 PM

Edition - Bod23669; Douce Ballads 1(72a)
http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/DouceBallads1/asa0142-m.jpg
Imprint Names: Bates, S.
Imprint Locations: London
Date [c.1720]
Imprint: Printed for S. Bates, at the Sun and Bible in Gilt-spur- street
Title: Fair Margaret's misfortune, or, Sweet William's frightful dreams on his wedding night: with the sudden death and burial of those noble lovers
First Line: As it fell out on a long summer's day

Here's Child A a. it does have "talk" and "grave." I guess my question is the same- unanswered.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 10:44 PM

The following version supports my theory that Child 74 is simply Child 73 with a different ending. Lord Thomas (Sweet Willie) marries the brown girl, but his wife does not stab Ellinor (Margaret). The different ending is child 74.

"Sweet Willie and Fair Annie" from Greig MS, IV, p. 26; text, Bk. 761, LI, p. 101. Sung by Mrs. Dunbar; learned from her grandmother.

1. What think ye, O father dear,
Has Willie slighted me;
He bids me come to his marriage
And nae his bride to be.

2. It's I've as mony men in my smiddy, Annie
As wad buy a weed to thee;
It sanna be o' the dowie black,
Nor yet o' the dowie grey;
But it sall be o' the scarlet red
And ye'll wear it daily day.

3. Annie gaed in the heid o' the hill,
And Willie gaed in the glen;
And Annie had mair show her lane
Than Willie and a' his men.

4. When they came to the bridal house
And a'were dighted in,
And fa was sae ready as Willie's ae sister
To welcome fair Annie in?

5. Willie's ta'en aff his hat o' silk,
And placed it on Annie's heid,-
Ye'll wear that hat yersel', Willie,
Ye'll wcar it wi' muckle glee;
Ye'll wear that hat yersel', Willie,
For ye'll never get mair o' me.

6. Oot then spak the nut-broon bride,
And she spak oot in spite,
Faur got ye the water, Annie,
That washes you sae fite?

7. I got the water in my father's garden,
Where ye will never get nane;
I got it in my father's larden
Beneath the greentree's spring.

8. But ye've been washen in dinnie's well,
And dried on dinnie's dyke;
And a' the water in the warld
Will never wash ye fite.

9. Bu1 thc nut-broon may has coos and yowes,
Fair Annie she has nane;
The nut-broon may is Willie's bride,
Fair Annic maun lie her lane.

10. When-night was come & mass was sung,
And a' men bound for bed,
Willie & his nut-broon bride
Were baith in ae bed laid.

11. They had not been but weel laid doon,
Not yet weel fa'en asleep,
Till up there started Annie's ghost
Just close at their bed-feet.

12. How do you like your blankets, Willie,
Or how do you like your sheets?
Or how do you like your nut-broon bride,
So ready in your arms she sleeps.

13. Weel do I like my blankets,
And weel do I like my sheets,
But I'm afraid that Annie's ghost
It stands at my bed-feet.

14. Lie still, Willie, lie still, Willie,
Lie still this nicht wi' me;
For it's only the shadow o' Annie's glove
That glimmers in your et.

15. Some drew to them their stockin's, their stockin's
And some drew to them their shoon,
But alas for poor Willie,
And clothing he sought nane.

16. He has ta'en his licht mantle,
And he's awa to Drumhill;
And fa was sae ready as Annie's ae Sister
To welcome young Willie in.

17. Come in, Willie, come in, Willie,
And lock up a' the deid;
For red & rosy were her cheeks last nicht,
And the nicht they're but a weed.

18. He laid his heid upon his hands,
And oh, his hert grew sair;
At the morn at this same time
It's sae will ye be at mine.

19. The ane was buried in St. Mary's kirk;
And the ither in St. Mary's quire;
And oot o' the ane there grew a birk
And oot o' the ither a brier.

Richie (hope my bad typing didn't butcher this)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 10:50 PM

Left off the last stanza. Stanza 9 starts: But the. . .

20. It's they grew on & they grew on,
Till they grew very near;
And every one that passed them by
Said: There lies lovers dear.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 11:07 PM

Hi,

Perhaps the carry-over of the nut-brown bride (brown girl) is not a mistake- it's simple the same principle characters with a very different ending.

Good night!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 04:09 AM

This came from North Clare singer Martin Howley (in his mid 70s when it was recorded in the mid 1970s
He learned it from a local Travelling woman who ws known as "Mrs Stotered" (the Irish slag word for "drunk), as whenever anybody met her on the road she's say, "I'm stotered again".
Martin referred to it as 'The Old Armchair'.
It was included o the double CD, 'Around the Hills of Clare
Jim Carroll

The Old Armchair (Fair Margaret and Sweet William) (Child 74; Roud 253)
Martin Howley, Fanore, north west Clare, Recorded July 1974

Knight William was sitting on his old armchair,
Lady Margaret was sitting on his knee.
"My father", she said, "would think it a disgrace   
To have me get married unto thee".

"If that be the way, Lady Margaret", he said;
"If that be the way", said he;
"For in three weeks time till [t'will] all be at an end
And my brave royal wedding you shall see".

Lady Margaret was sitting on her top room window
And she combing down her yellow long hair.
Who would she spy but Knight William and his newly-wedded wife,
And they going for to take the fresh air.

Then she threw away her ivory combs
And tied up her yellow long hair.
She threw herself down from her top room window
And was never seen there any more.

It was at the dead, dead, dead hour of the night
When all souls, they were asleep.
In comes the ghost of Lady Margaret
And she stood by Knight William's bed side.

"Knight William, Knight William, Knight William", she said,
"How fast you were asleep.
It's now you're enjoying your newly-wedded wife,
And you left me all in my winding-sheet;
Whilst the lily and the rose, or the covering in my clothes,
My true-love has sent me to sleep".

Knight William caught [got?] up and he called his merry men,
He called them by one, by two and three.
He dressed them all up in a scarlet of red,
And himself in a suit of green.

They rode, they rode to Lady Margaret's house
And tipping so gently at the ring.
But none was as ready as Lady Margaret's brother
For to go up and let Knight William in.

"It's often and often I kissed those ruby lips,
And it's fondly thou has kissed mine;
But I vow and declare, Lady Margaret", he said,
"That I never shall kiss any one but thine".

Lady Margaret was buried in Lady Mary's Church,
Knight William was buried in a bow [bower];
And it's over Lady Margaret grew a red rose,
And it's over Knight William grew a briar.

They grew, they grew for seven long years,
Until they could not grow no high.
They grew, they grew to a true lover's knot,
And the red rose covers the briar.

The ballad of Fair Margaret and Sweet William was first quoted in part in the Beaumont and Fletcher play 'The Knight of the Burning Pestle' in 1611, the first full text being a broadside or stall copy published in Percy's 'Reliques' in 1767.
While it has been found in the oral tradition in England and Scotland, it seems to have survived best among singers in the United States; all other sound recordings are American. The only other version to have turned up in Ireland was in the Percy manuscripts and had been written down by the mother of the Bishop of Derry in 1776.
Martin learned his version "when I was very young" from a travelling woman named Sherlock some ninety years ago.
Ref: 'The English and Scottish Popular Ballads' (vol 2), Francis James Child (ed) Dover edition 1965
This recording was featured on 'Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection' (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.
Other recordings: Evelyn Ramsey, (Little Margaret), 'Far in the Mountains', Musical Traditions MTCD321-2; Almeda Riddle (Lady Margaret), 'Battles and Hymns from the Ozarks', Rounder 0017


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 09:53 AM

Here's the answer to the ballad trivia question as provided from British Ballad from Maine- 1929:

Twice it is quoted in Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle-act II, sc. 8; act III, sc. 5-and we are of the opinion that in addition to the two well-known snatches so often cited there is still another reference to it in the same play, in act IV, sc. 1. where the Citizen's Wife arranges a scene in the play for her favorite Ralph to act in:

"an let him be very weary, and come to the King of Cracovia's house, covered with black velvet; and there let the king's daughter stand in her window, all in beaten gold, combing her golden locks with a comb of ivory; and let her spy Ralph and fall in love with him."

The ivory comb, the golden locks, the maid in the window, all belong to the ballad of "Fair Margaret and Sweet William," already twice quoted in the same play.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 03:13 PM

Here's another line which I'm unsure of:

Lady Marg'ret died on a Whitsun Monday,

It appears in 3 of 4 US versions, anyone know what Whitson/Whitsun Monday is?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 04:11 PM

Whit Monday is an event still very much celebrated in the Church calendar. You can easily Google this as with much of the other info you require.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 04:40 PM

Whitsun is another name for the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles after Jesus' death. I suppose Whit Monday is the day after it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:00 PM

The assertion of two quotations in the play from the ballad looks to be erroneous. In his edition of 1908, H. S. Murch avers that the reference identified by the play's 1778 editors is "from a different ballad, now lost." Of course, with no full contemporaneous text to compare, we can't be sure.

The doubtful lines are: "You are no loue for me Margret,/ I am no loue for you."

The play was first performed in 1607 or '08. It was published by Walter Burre in 1613. The safest dating for the ballad stanza is thus "1607-1613."

By the way, the play is now believed "quite certainly" to have been written by Francis Beaumont alone.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:22 PM

Excellent stuff, Jon! Perhaps you can answer some of Richie's other queries on the play's content.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 06:42 PM

> so why did Robert Chambers; John Chappell (Roxburghe), John Ashton and Frank Sidgwick all have "take."

Roxburghe prefers "take" but allows "talk" as an alternative reading.

Conceivably Percy altered "take" to "talk" to make the situation rather less erotic. No way to know. Oral tradition could have changed either to the other, and more than once.

Presumably the Roxburghe text is the most earliest and most authoritative.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 01:38 AM

I surmise it should be "take" as I've stated. Child Aa has "talk" but the other Douce ballads broadside 3(27a) has "take." Percy has "take" and it could be either but I think originally it was "take."

I believe the "ballad now lost" at one time referred to Mallet and broadside Mallet is alleged to have copied.

In this case it should refer to the "ur-ballad" from which the broadside was erected. Or is that too erotic?

I was wondering about the title Margaret, since it's always or nearly always sung in two syllables= Marg'ret or Margret and a host of other pronunciations. Should the name be written as sung?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 11:04 AM

Two additional questions:

1) What is the cause the death of William, the death of Margaret?

2) Is William's bride; the brown girl?

Please supply any documentation (ie. stanzas ) that support your conclusions.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 06:22 PM

We are not told the specifics of Margaret's death but the implication is that she died for love, i.e., a broken heart, as in all good romances and in many ballads. Don't forget one of the prime characteristics of these ballads is the leaping and lingering. Here we have a good example of leaping. As in lots of similar ballads likewise William predicts his own death on the morrow, dying of a broken heart. The whole ballad is really a brief version of some of its contemporaries.

Yes, as in other similar ballads the brown girl is his bride (Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor) usually arranged by his parents as she has wealth which means more to the parents than beauty.

There's no need to supply any stanzas. It's all there in the ballad and indeed in other ballads. I'm not going to insult your intelligence by spelling it out.

These are Mills and Boon stories we are dealing with. They don't have to be realistic or in some cases even make sense. Many of us who love these ballads see this as part of their great charm.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 06:56 PM

Hi Richie
That last post was me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 11:38 AM

Hi,

Did William die because he kissed her cold-clay lips? Is this a typical ballad legend? Is it applicable here?

Did Margret jump from her bower window?

These were my immediate questions about their death.

The difficulty of titling this and other ballads should perhaps be the topic of another thread. If there is no local title - what title should be assigned and should a generic "Fair Margaret and Sweet William," in this case, be assigned?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 11:44 AM

The kiss of death is found, for example, in Child 49, Two Brothers in Child B and C (Motherwell c. 1825) his sweetheart (usually Susan/Susie) finds the location of his burial and sings, plays or weeps him from his grave where she asks for a final kiss. The murdered brother warns her that to kiss him would prove to be fatal for her and she sees him no more. In Child 74 after William kisses Margaret's cold clay lips, he dies.

Does this kiss cause his death?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 12:00 PM

Here are some of many examples of Margret's suicide;

4 She tossed down her ivory comb,
In silk wrapped up her hair,
And she pitched out of her own bowing-door
And never was no more seen there. [KY]

4 'T was down she threw her ivory comb,
And back she threw her hair,
And from her dormer window she fell,
And was no more seen there. [VA]

Some are not explicit, as in Maybird McAllister's ancient version:

4. Down she tossed her ivory comb,
And back she tossed her hair;
And down from the high-bounded window she came,
And she never was more seen there.

But other's are explicit:

4 Oh down she threw her ivory comb
and down she threw her hair,
And down she fell out of that high window
And never was no more seen there.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 01:42 PM

Richie,
The suicides in these cases are rationalisations by later oral tradition. The older ballads invariably imply she simply DIES OF LOVE which is a commonplace in romantic ballads and not unknown in reality.

There is generally no direct link between the kiss and the death of the surviving lover.

Kissing one's dead lover is also a commonplace and in the vast majority of ballads, even more recent ones, there is no implication of catching anything or having a supernatural death, so unless the ballad actually states this you should accept it simply as a desire of a lover. (Stow Brow, The Bramble Briar). What does occur occasionally in older ballads is the supernatural element of weeping at a lover's grave or just mourning generally which makes the ghost, who's shroud is being soaked, appear and admonish the living lover.

There is a tendency from the 18thc onwards to insert explanations into ballads where none previously existed. Many of those who are aware of the older ballads leaping and lingering accept the leapings as leaving the gaps to the listeners' imaginations. The late 18thc and early 19thc Scottish editors were prone to this and it often occurs in oral tradition. Particularly in America there are 2 processes going on in oral tradition. Where a ballad has passed through the hands of mainly passive singers they tend to get whittled down to the basic story and superfluous stanzas are dropped or shunted together. Where it gets passed through the hands of creative people they tend to want to put their own interpretations in and instead of getting shorter they get longer. Myself I prefer those ballads that have been cut back to the bone. The absolute opposite of Peter Buchan's output.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 09:48 PM

Yes, I agree with Steve, they died of love. The main reason for short life expectancy in the olden times is that people were constantly dying of love.

I sing a version that says:

Her father budged the coffie lid;
her brother unwound the sheet.
And after he kis-sed her many, many times,
Sweet Willie lay dead at her feet.

Of course,it's possible that the father or brother ran a poniard between his ribs or whacked him with a cudgel, but I'm convinced he died of love.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 21 Dec 14 - 11:08 PM

I agree that William may have died of sorrow, however Margret did, in some versions, jump/fall from her high bower window- these versions are in the minority.

The revenant kiss in Child 49 is explicit - in this ballad it is not.

TY for your thoughts,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 04:03 AM

'The main reason for short life expectancy in the olden times is that people were constantly dying of love.' Hi Leenia. I take that as a tongue-in-cheek statement. Personally I doubt if that has changed very much over the last millennium.

Yes, in any piece of fiction...anything's possible!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 04:46 AM

Will always has the mot juste -

As You Like It
, Act IV, "Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love"!

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 05:47 AM

"Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love"
Like the old Dick Bentley story - he said, "If you don't marry me I'll die, she wouldnt, and sure enough, fifty years later, he died.
A seasonal warning
The discussion here appears to be based on the established belief that the printed versions of these ballads are autoomatically the earliest.
Two things we know for certain are that our knowledge of the oral tradition dates back only to the end of the nineteenth century and song making by the unlettered and uneducated is, like 'the Rose-red city of Petra - half as old as time itself' and certainly predated literacy by yonks.
Happy whatsits all
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 08:57 AM

Isn't it as likely to mean that though worms have eaten them, they didn't do so because they loved them?

It is, after all, not as factually debatable as the popular interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 09:09 AM

No


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 03:27 PM

'The discussion here appears to be based on the established belief that the printed versions of these ballads are autoomatically the earliest.'
Not quite, Jim. We're simply expressing opinions based on looking at many many examples.

'our knowledge of the oral tradition dates back only to the end of the nineteenth century'
Again, not quite. I've seen many examples on older printed broadsides of items that have obviously come from oral tradition. However, that doesn't stop me from believing that even in these cases the original first appeared on a broadside.

'song making by the unlettered and uneducated is, like 'the Rose-red city of Petra - half as old as time itself' and certainly predated literacy by yonks.
I completely agree with you here, Jim. I just don't believe that what was floating around in oral tradition in the 17thc is the same stuff that is floating around now or even in the 19th or 20th centuries, by and large. You can believe what you like.

Happy whatsits to you as well,
Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 04:02 PM

In North America is earliest date given by and informant is c. 1820 and this appears in Child ESPB volume ten, Additions and Corrections. Obviously the informant's source learned it earlier and their source would date the ballad back to the 1700s.

It's also clear that the fragments from the "Burning Pestle" 1611, suggest it was in oral tradition in the early 1600s.

Does anyone know the source(s) of a more recent US version titled "Little Margaret (Little Margret; Little Marget)"? I suppose it was first titled this by Lunsford in 1929. He recorded it in 1953. I assume "little" is derived from "liddy" and back to "lady." There are literally dozens of versions mostly cover version with this title.

Recent covers include Carolina Chocolate Drops (source?) and Sheila Kay Adams (source?) who can be heard on Youtube as well. Does anyone know the sources?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 06:19 PM

Here are my very naive answers to two of the original questions:

(2) I have never heard "talk their fill" *or* "take their fill", but I have heard (like most of us) "cry my fill", which suggests to me that " my fill" has long since broken away from its metaphorical connection with "eat my fill" and can mean "as much as one wanted to" with any verb, including "talk". They were so in love that no amount of conversation seemed enough -- why not?

(3) If I were in my winding sheet, I might very plausibly say I was on my way to the grave.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 07:18 PM

Here's what one ballad singer believes about William's death. From Southern Appalachian Storytellers; Page 195- Betty Smith interview:

In "Little Margaret" it says he kissed her lily white hand, her cheek, and then he kissed her clay, cold lips. If you kiss a dead person, you die; and he falls in her arms asleep. It means he died when he actually kissed her.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 22 Dec 14 - 09:44 PM

Hi Joe F,

I appreciate you going back and replying. I agree that either one could be correct and both early Douce broadsides have it differently. I am of the opinion, following Percy, that it should be "take" - it's not only a gut feeling but if I were to check exhaustively - I think it would be take.

So "grave" makes more sense than "grove" - I think it should be and was "grove." Because "grave" makes sense it was changed in some version and the c. 1720 broadside which is child A a.

Again I'm talking about the ur-ballad - what it was and should be in tradition, not what printed broadsides or what a single version is. I believe we need to try and understand what the ballad means by comparing all sources and analogues.

Ty for your thoughts Joe F,

R-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 06:01 AM

"Again, not quite."
I should, of course, said a comprehensive knowledge" - which doesn't alter things in any way in the 'chicken or egg' argument.
The fact that 'the folk' have been creating songs forever must be a factor taken into consideration when working out who composed our folk songs - up to comparatively recently it was taken for granted - pity to abandon it on such flimsy evidence.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 10:01 AM

Richie, textual scholarship is a well established and rigorous (though not infallible) discipline. The standard texts we have today of Shakespeare all resulted from intense scrutiny, by many scholars of the two or three variant versions of most of the plays that were printed in the 17th century. The typesetting and proofing were mostly awful.

Even though Shakespeare and his contemporaries wrote an enormous amount with which disputed readings can be compared for plausibility, an occasional word is still uncertain, and unless something new is discovered, we have to be satisfied with that.

When you have to rely on gut feelings and personal preference, you're saying that there's no way to be sure, and it would be a mistake to claim anything more and list the possibilities.

That's especially true since *any* folksong text (or tune) may have been altered intentionally or otherwise by someone along the way.

My experience with broadsides is that some of them - possibly not 74, I'm just making a general observation - were so hastily written or carelessly printed that not even the original printing makes complete sense.

That leads to a very subtle editorial pitfall: the assumption that because your own reading makes better sense, or is more appealing or even more artistic, it must be the original. That is not necessarily so. You may have a better feel for words than did the broadside poet - or, as Jim might insist, his immediate source.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 10:49 AM

"last week I looked at one and found that you were trying to mislead us"
We spent over twenty years recording a Traveller singer/storyteller/lore-bearer from County Kerry, in the South West of Ireland.
As a young man he, along with his mother, was involved in 'ballad' selling - the last knockings of the broadside trade in Ireland, which lasted up to the 1950s.
Mikeen could struggle a little with reading but His mother was totally non-literate.
He described how they would go into a printers and recite the words of his father's songs over counter, who would then make ballad sheets from them, to be sold around the fairs and markets of South West Munster.
Whatever state the songs left their source (Mikeen's father, in this case) the somewhat haphazard process of putting them into print certainly didn't guarantee them being passed on intact.
Non literate Travellers have been one of the major passers on of traditional songs throughout twentieth century Ireland, their taste for a "good story" has been the saviour of many of the rarest Child ballads - this is why I'm so insistent that the connection between literacy and traditional song is not as straightforward as some people seem to think it is.
If you add to this the information we have been given from many settled singers and their mistrust of the printed word, the whole process really is a minefield.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 11:02 AM

Sorry about the rather enigmatic opening to the last posting - belongs elsewhere
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 11:58 AM

GUEST was me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 12:54 PM

I agree Lighter that there needs to be documentation- so when I suggested changing the works "take" and "grove" it was because I already knew that they appeared in other version and that Percy and others had published/printed.

Many broadsides capture a traditional version, at that moment in time. Because they were edited we aren't sure of the degree of authenticity- which of course is the reason Child used "collected" traditional versions over print.

Also the oldest traditional version would be given more authenticity because of the folk process itself.

So we are in a sense trying to discover the ur-ballad, or the original story sung in tradition- and the story had to be created at its inception, even though it may have been improved along the way (Lord Thomas and Fair Annet).

Certainly there's more evidence to be examined than in Child's time. Some new conclusions may be reached,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 01:04 PM

We GUE$T as much, Jon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 01:57 PM

'Many broadsides capture a traditional version, at that moment in time. Because they were edited we aren't sure of the degree of authenticity-'

Let me just change one word and see what it looks like.

'Many collected/printed versions capture a traditional version, at that moment in time. Because they were edited we aren't sure of the degree of authenticity.' This applies to the vast majority of the items Child published!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 02:05 PM

Surely this applies to most published version prior to 1900, which is why I always find criticism of Peter Buchan somewhat ludicrous.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 03:07 PM

Not quite, Jim.
At least Scott, Motherwell, Jamieson admitted some of their creative additions to the corpus and regretted it. Peter took what they had done to a far greater level and swore blind that every word came from oral tradition. So 'ludicrous' is somewhat over the top as Child would have quite rightly told you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 03:08 PM

And I could add your friend David Fowler to that last statement!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 03:11 PM

Jim,
I'm aware we're starting to take over someone else's thread again, so if you want to continue our old sparring I suggest we continue in private or start another thread, as ever.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 03:13 PM

Reconstructing something four hundred years old on the basis of oral tradition and careless printings is hit or miss at best.

Sure can be interesting though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 03:27 PM

'Sure can be interesting though.' Can't argue with that, Jon.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Richie
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 03:51 PM

Hi,

A bit of thread drift is OK. You can only work with the ballad info that you have!!!

I've just finished putting over 140 version from North America on my site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-74-fair-margaret--sweet-william.aspx

To recap these versions:

I have one traditional version of Mallet's "William and Margaret" which is likely from a print source.

Of the traditional version about 10 versions attribute Margret's death to falling out of her window or jumping from her window. Less than 1/2 have the important opening stanza

Sweet William he rose one morning in May,
Himself he dresses in blue.
His mother asked him about that long, long love
[That] Lies between Lady Margaret and you. [Sweet William- Nora Hicks]

which is found in Child B but not in the broadside.

A more recent adaptation named "Little Margret" first collected by Bascam Lamar Lunsford and published in 1929 has become popular and there are dozens of cover versions and some traditional versions found in the Madison County/ Sodom Laurel area in North Carolina. Sheila Kay Adams; Betty Smith; Obray Ramsey and others (including the Wallin family) have recorded this short version. Another popular rendition is the Carolina Chocolate Drops' version.

Betty Smith has commented (above) that William died from kissing the corps of Margaret, the revenant kiss, as found in other ballads (Child 49).

TY for your help and I've about "taken my fill" with this ballad.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Fair Margaret & Sweet Willliam- Child 74
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Dec 14 - 04:08 PM

It is very possible, indeed probable, that a great many oral versions found in America derive not so much from broadsides but from published collections. You gave me a very good example of a version of 295B which can only be derived from Child's volume itself.

On the other hand much better(dependant on your viewpoint) versions of ballads can be found in America, and some much longer earlier versions. For instance, not a Child Ballad but argued by some should be, the Bramble Briar has American versions much closer to the original than any British ones. All of the British ones are fragmentary by comparison


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