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Origins: Barbara Allen

DigiTrad:
BARBARA ALLEN
BARBARA ALLEN (2)
BARBARA ALLEN (5)
BARBARA ELLEN (3)
BAWBEE ALLAN


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Lyr Req: Barbara Allen (7)
Barbarra Ellen (15)


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Subject: Origins: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 01:21 PM

Hi,

Rather than tack this onto an existing thread I thought I'd start a new one. I need your help trying to understand this ballad. To this end I've written down some thoughts here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/84-bonny-barbara-allen.aspx

and about North America here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-84-bonny-barbara-allen.aspx

Following this will be a rather long excerpt of the main page (first link) which may have overlooked some available sources (listed from A-J) and needs comment.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome,

TY in advance,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 01:23 PM

Please read and comment:

With some trepidation I will give a partial analysis or summary of this ballad here, realizing the daunting task of sorting through the many collected versions to reach any conclusions. With regards to the study of this ballad several sources must be consulted:

1) Early sources: including Pepys; Golsmith; Ramsay and Owsald - then continuing to Charles K. Sharpe, Kidson and Chappell. An important early copy by Buchan (Harvard Library) has never been published. This 41 stanza version was referenced by Charles Sharpe and later Child and contains stanzas of the toucher (gifts) to Barbara Allen from her love. Some rare versions (especially the Irish versions - see for example Barry BFSSNE 1933; also my US and Canada version headnotes).
2) Child- English and Scottish Popular Ballads (see below). The A version (Scottish) and B version (English) and their variants are fundamental early versions.
3) In the early 1900s the headnotes to several collections must be considered including Belden, Cox, Davis, Randolph (1946).
4) Recent (after 1950) articles:

A) The British Traditional Ballad in North America by Tristram Coffin 1950, from the section A Critical Biographical Study of the Traditional Ballads of North America

B) Bonny Barbara Allen by Joseph W. Hendren in Folk Travelers: Ballads, Tales and Talk. Dallas, Texas. Boatright, Mody Coggin. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38314/m1/53/

C) "Barbara Allen" in Tradition and in Print- Riley 1957

D) Flanders-Ancient2, pp. 246-292, "Barbara Allen" 1961 Headnotes by Coffin (see also A by Coffin).

E) Bronson: Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads (2)- 1962

F) Versions & Variants of the Tunes of "Barbara Allen"- Seeger 1966 with COMMENT ON THE WORDS by Ed Cray

G) Ed Cray, "''Barbara Allen': Cheap Print and Reprint" article published 1967 in Folklore Internation.

H) "Barbara Allen": Tonal versus Melodic Structure, Part I by Mieczyslaw Kolinski Ethnomusicology, Vol. 12, No. 2 (May, 1968), pp. 208-218 (also followed by Part 2).

I) The Traditional Ballad Index c. 1990

J) Roud Index No. 54 Bonny Barbara Allen (1169 Listings) c. 2000 but updated- also see Keefer's Folk Index, and Child Collection.

This list does not cover in detail the recordings but some of them are found referenced in A-J. It is safe to say that no detailed study of the ballad has been made since the 1960s. Perhaps the best references for the study of the texts would be Coffin (1950) Hendren (1953) Riley (1957) and Cray (1966). I have the texts here and links to the originals (for Hendren and Riley).

So how do we know the ur-ballad, the original ballad from whence the Scottish (Child A) and English (Child B) versions were formed? Riley compares A and B then notes the similarities of both. Hudson, followed somewhat by Riley and then Cray, has sorted the version by opening lines and assigned approximate dates to these versions.

Riley (and I concur) has given the primary area of original dissemination in North America as the Virginia Colony which established the House of Burgess in 1619 a date that probably preceded the ballad landing on the James River's fertile shores. It is important to note the early ballads in that region (extending later to the Appalachians) predate the publication of both Child A and B (and broadsides) from which some influence on the tradition of the ballad was established (Child C Motherwell, 1828).

Dolph in Sound Off! NY, 1949, says that the song was well known in Colonial America and that the tune was borrowed for "Sergeant Champe," a long ballad about an unsuccessful attempt to kidnap General Benedict Arnold. Although this may be true, Dolph provides no actual evidence of its popularity. Dating the ballad back by using individual versions shows that it can be traced (Davis R) to the late 1700s. Barbara (or more properly Barb'ra) certainly arrived on American shores many years earlier and an early date of the late 1600s is not unreasonable-- although conjecture. Lacking evidence, since the early settlers didn't focus on writing down their musical offerings, we must use family lineage to provide an assumed early date for many of the ballads found in North America.

The influence of printed version (Reliques, Miscellany to broadsides) is in my opinion overrated. Tracing traditional versions back to Child A and B may and should be done however, it is likely that they represent traditional versions which eventually may be traced back to the ur-ballad, and should not be considered based on print necessarily. This is an important distinction:

The traditional versions found in the 1900s (and even rarely today) are based mainly on tradition and not on print.

This has become clear in my research on Lord Thomas and other ballads where a large number of print versions were made. It is my postulation that ballads by the folk and of the folk tend to remain with the folk through oral circulation and are passed down from generation to generation through the extended family circle (which includes friends and neighbors).

There is no doubt (and this is sometimes hard to recognize) that some versions were influenced by print and later recordings (from 1927). Other ballads are recreations by informants and collectors (authors). However, the number of ballads based on print or that have been recreated are relatively small. In most cases these untraditional versions will be commented on in my blue-font headnotes (See, for example, US and Canada Versions).

It will be noted that even our earliest versions (Child A and B) have been recreated to some extent (by Percy for example) and do not represent the true ur-ballad. Some of Percy's additions have been uncovered by Riley and others. Riley gives the following:

An examination of the text at the end of this chapter will show phrases that Percy introduced into subsequent history of the ballad. Some of the moat significant are:

Made Every youth cry wel-aways,

Green buds they were swellin'

Young Jemmye Grove

And o'er his heart is stealing

O lovely Barbara Allen

And slowly she came nigh him.

What needs the tale you are tellin'

When ye the cups were filian

As deadly pangs he tell in

As she was walking o'er the fields

She turned her body round about

Her cheeks with laughter "wallin'

Her heart was struok with sorrow

    and the following stanzas:

She on her death-bed as she laye
Beg'd to be Buried by him;
And sore repented of the dye
That she did ere denye him.

Farewell she sayd ye vergins all,
And shun the fault I fell in,
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.

Thus we have a chance to uncover the traditional and those influenced by print. Because of the length of any analysis I will not give additional details here but will write an article detailing my thoughts which eventually will be found attached to the Recordings & Info page.

-----------

TY Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 04:29 PM

Richie:

> It is important to note the early ballads in that region (extending later to the Appalachians) predate the publication of both Child A and B (and broadsides).

Do we know that?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 06:14 PM

Hi, Richie -
"Barbara Allen" is one song that really mystifies me. I've heard a lot of theories about the song that I just plain don't believe. It will be interesting to see what you come up with.
I've made the thread a PermaThread so you can edit it, so y'all take note that what you post can be edited by Richie. I can't think of a better editor.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 10:22 PM

Hi, TY Joe. That's good, I make a bunch of silly typos!!!

Lighter- certainly this is conjecture. I assume you don't agree with Dolph in Sound Off! NY, 1949, who says that the song was well known in Colonial America and that the tune was borrowed for "Sergeant Champe," a long ballad about an unsuccessful attempt to kidnap General Benedict Arnold.

My theory about the date: The ballad would have to be known in Scotland (Child A) and England (Child B) to be brought over. If Pepys date of 1666 is correct, we can assume the ballad was in fact sung then by Mrs Knipp, the actress, and others. The broadside date can be assigned c. 1690 (Bruce Olsen) so we can assume the ballad was circulating in the British Isles from the mid to late 1600s.

Virgina, the main repository of the ballad in North America (Riley 1957) had its governing body (House of Burgess) in place by 1619 and certainly by the date 1690 when nearly 100,000 settlers were in the region, there's a good chance the ballad was present.

Certain ballad families, like the Hicks family show that the patriarch Samuel Hicks (2nd or 3rd generation in US) was born c. 1695 in Goochland, Virgina and that he and his children carried the ballads into NC and later Beach Mountain, NC before the Revolutionary War. That these ballads which include Barbara Allen have remained there isolated since that time and have spread to different family members is provable.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 10:37 PM

The broadside of c. 1690 is titled "Barbara Allen's Cruelty, or the Young Man's Tragedy; with Barbara Allen's Lamentation for her Lover and Herself, to the tune of Barbara Allen." This copy, preserved in the Roxburghe Collection II, 25, is a stall ballad printed for "P. Brookeby, J. Deacon. J. Blare, J. Bach." Chappell who edited the collection, considered this copy contemporary with Pepys.

That the broadside is to be sung to the "tune of Barbara Allen" proves that at that time (c. 1690) Barbara Allen was a known and circulating ballad with a tune. Thus it predates c. 1690.

Inquiry into the history or the publishers listed reveals that the broadside was probably printed between 1683, when Joseph or Josiah Blare Mean to do business in London and 1696, when Philip Brookaby ceased to do business as a bookseller. [Henry R. Plomer, A Dictionary of Printers, 1922]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 11:03 PM

"If Pepys date of 1666 is correct"
.,,.
How could it not be? He wrote and dated his diary entries on the day they occurred. Why should he have got them wrong?

Samuel Pepys Diary -- January 2, 1666 -- on the fun and games at a New Years party:

    "...but above all, my dear Mrs Knipp with whom I sang; and in perfect pleasure I was to hear her sing, and especially her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen."


Seems clear enough to me.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 11:19 PM

I agree MGM Lion, and there's also the Goldsmith reference (sung by a dairy maid) although nearly a century later.

The issue is whether the ballad was known enough at that time mid-1600s to be carried to America. The broadside, Barbara Allen's Cruelty (which is Child B) was to be sung to the tune Barbara Allen further establishes the mid to late-1600s date.

I'm including the text (see Child Ba) as it appeared when first published:

Barbara Allen's Cruelty:
OR, THE
Young-man's Tragedy.
With Barbara Allen's Lamentation for her Unkindness to her Lover, and her Self.
To the Tune of Barbara Allen. Licenced according to Order.

IN Scarlet Town where I was bound,
      there was a fair Maid dwelling,
Whom I had chosen to be my own
    and her name it was Barbara Allen.

All in the merry Month of May,
    when green leaves they was springing,
This young man on his Death-bed lay,
      for the love of Barbara Allen.

He sent his man unto her then,
    to the Town where she was dwelling,
You must come to my Master dear,
    if your name be Barbara Allen.

For Death is printed in his face,
    and sorrows in him dwelling,
And you must come to my Master dear,
    if your name be Barbara Allen.

If Death be printed in his face,
    and sorrows in him dwelling,
Then little better shall he be,
    for bonny Barbara Allen.

So slowly, slowly she got up,
    and so slowly she came to him,
And all she said when she came there,
    Young man I think you are a dying.

He turnd his face unto her then,
    if you be Barbara Allen.
My dear said he, come pitty me,
    as on my Death-Bed I am lying.

If on your Death Bed you be lying,
    what is that to Barbara Allen.
I cannot keep you from Death,
    so farewell, said Barbara Allen?

He turnd his face unto the Wall,
    and Death came creeping to him;
Then adieu, adieu and adieu to all,
    and adieu to Barbara Allen.

And as she was walking on a day,
    she heard the Bell a Ringing,
And it did seem to Ring to her,
    Unworthy Barbara Allen.

She turnd her self round about,
    and she spyd the Corps a coming;
Lay down lay down the Corps of Clay,
      that I may look upon him.

And all the while she looked on,
    so loudly she lay laughing;
While all her Friends cryd amain,
    Unworthy Barbara Allen.

When he was dead and laid in Grave,
    then Death came creeping to she
O Mother! Mother! make my Bed
    for his death hath quite undone we.

A hard-hearted Creature that I was,
    to slight one that lovd me so dearly,
I wish I had been more kinder to him,
    the time of his Life, when he was near me.

So this Maid she then did dye,
    and desired to be buried by him,
And repented her self before she dyd,
    that ever she did deny him.

FINIS.
Printed for, P. Brooks by J. Deacon, J. Blare J. Back.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 11:35 PM

Hi,

There is some conjecture (esp. Riley 1957) that the Scottish version of 1740 (Child A) is a rewrite of the English broadside, presumably by James Oswald who published the version along with Ramsay in 1740.

Riley writes p. 62: "that the "Scotch" text is probably a literary reworking of an English text, perhaps by James Oswald."

Riley compares the two texts and notes their similarities. I believe that both are similar because they are derived from the ur-ballad, the earliest prototype, which can be examined remotely by these two texts (Child A and B) as well as other early texts from North America.

The establishment of antiquity has been assigned first by Hudson (Brown Collection 1952) to the opening lines and this has further been examined by Hendren (1953), Riley (1957) and Cray (1966).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,#
Date: 25 Apr 15 - 12:52 AM

The song receives mention in Songs of the Carolina Charter Colonists (1663-1763) on p 3 which can be viewed at the following link:

https://archive.org/stream/songsofcarolinac1962huds#page/n0/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Apr 15 - 08:36 AM

>I assume you don't agree with Dolph in Sound Off! NY, 1949, who says that the song was well known in Colonial America and that the tune was borrowed for "Sergeant Champe,"

I admit to being skeptical, simply because like so many amateur editors and collectors Dolph can not be expected to avoid presenting reasonable conjecture as bedrock fact.

It would be perverse to insist that "BA," first reported in 1666 and later seen to be possibly the most popular Child ballad, was *not* "well known" in America by 1780. But perhaps it was revived through extensive broadside printings in the 19th century? Perhaps it was known but not "well known"? We simply don't know.

What we *do* know is that "Sergeant Champe" goes very well to the *meter* of "BA." That doesn't mean it was sung to the same tune, or that it was intended to be sung at all.

What we know also is that the the earliest discovered appearance of "Champe" in print (source unknown) is in Frank Moore's "Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution" (1856), Dolph's most likely source. Moore asserts that "Champe" was "sung very generally, at home and in the camp, during the last years of the Revolution."

But since the country was awash in patriotic verses about the Revolution right through the Mexican War and beyond, the late appearance of "Sergeant Champe" suggests that the possibility that it was actually a 19th century creation - perhaps written to commemorate the fiftieth (or seventy-fifth) anniversary of Champe's exploit. (More conjecture, of course.) I can find no evidence in various huge databases to support Moore's claim of its antiquity and popularity.

The point is that we since we don't know if the author of "Sergeant Champe" was tapping his toe to the melody of "Barbara Allen" while he wrote, *and* we have no proof that "Champe" existed before the 1850s, we can't use it as evidence that "Barbara Allen" was "well-known in Colonial America."

Perhaps it was, but "Sergeant Champe" cannot be used to prove it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 25 Apr 15 - 10:04 AM

And, of course, we can't tell if the little Scotch song that Pepys referred to wasn't a completely different song with the same name.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Apr 15 - 11:12 AM

No, but the odds are better.

At least it was a song, and it was about "Barbara Allen."

"Sergeant Champe" appears in the 1850s, and "Barbara Allen" may have had nothing to do with it.

Nice try, Dick!

Many song histories would benefit from an increased use of words like "presumably," "likely," "possibly," "seems to be," and "it's tempting to conclude that."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 15 - 03:14 PM

Hi,

I don't believe Dolph has any factual information to back up his claim that Barbara Allen "was well known in Colonial America. . ."

And, although it was likely one of the "Songs of the Carolina Charter Colonists (1663-1763)" songs, I believe there is no proof that it was.

The difficulty as pointed out by Lighter is deciding if the print versions- Barbara Allen's Cruelty (before 1790), Bonny Barbara Allen (1740 Ramsay/Oswald) and Percy's "edited" English version (1765) and then the many print versions in the US (Pearl Songster; Forget-Me-Not Songster) - influenced tradition and how much?

To decide the influence, I'll add some of the significant print versions (I've already given the c.1690 broadside). It is my belief that most unique broadsides and print version were taken from tradition (although edited). A good example of a traditional version that was printed is Barbry Allum (Charley Fox, 1863).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 15 - 08:57 PM

Below is "Scotch" version Child Aa: Bonny Barbara Allan (Ramsay, 1740) followed by Child Ab: Sir John Grehme and Barbara Allan (Percy 1765). Note the footnote by Percy, who printed a version with "Young man, I think ye're lyan'."

From: The tea-table miscellany: or, A collection of choice songs, Scots and ... By Allan Ramsay

Bonny Barbara Allan.               

I. IT was in and about the Martinmas time,   
When the green leaves were a falling,
That Sir John Grœme in the west country   
Fell in love with Barbara Allan.

II. He sent his man down through the town,
To the place where she was dwelling,
O haste and come to my master dear,
Gin ye be Barbara Allan.

III. O hooly, hooly rose she up,
To the place where he was lying,
And when she drew the curtain by,
Young man, I think you're dying.

IV. O its I'm sick, and very very sick,
And 'tis a' for Barbara Allan.
O the better for me ye's never be,
Tho' your heart's blood were a spilling.

V. O dinna ye mind young man, said she,
When ye was in the tavern a drinking,
That ye made the healths gae round and round,
And slighted Barbara Allan.

VI. He turn'd his face unto the wall,
And death was with him dealing;
Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all,
And be kind to Barbara Allan.

VII. And slowly, slowly raise she up,
And slowly, slowly left him;
And sighing, said, she cou'd not stay,
Since death of life had reft him.

VIII. She had not gane a mile but twa,
When she heard the dead-bell ringing,
And every jow that the dead bell geid,   
It cry'd, Woe to Barbara Allan.

IX. O mother, mother, make my bed,
O make it saft and narrow,
Since my love died for me to day,
I'll die for him to morrow.

-----------------------------------------------

From: Percy's Reliques, 1765, III, p. 131 (Child Ab)

SIR JOHN GREHME AND BARBARA ALLAN.

A SCOTTISH BALLAD.

Printed, with a few conjectural emendations, from a written copy.

It was in and about the Martinmas time,
When the greene leaves wer a fallan:
That Sir John Grehme o' the west countrye,
Fell in luve wi' Barbara Allan.

He sent his man down throw the towne,   5
To the plaice wher she was dwellan:
O haste and cum to my maister deare,
Gin ye bin Barbara Allan.

O hooly, hooly raise she up,
To the plaice wher he was lyan;       10
And whan she drew the curtain by,
Young man, I think ye're dyan'. [1]

O its I'm sick, and very very sick,
And its a' for Barbara Allan.
O the better for me ye'se never be,    15
Though your harts blude wer spillan.

Remember ye nat in the tavern, sir,
Whan ye the cups wer fillan;
How ye made the healths gae round and round,
And slighted Barbara Allan?            20

He turn'd his face unto the wa',
And death was with him dealan;
Adiew! adiew! my dear friends a',
Be kind to Barbara Allan.

Then hooly, hooly raise she up,       25
And hooly, hooly left him;
And sighan said, she could not stay,
Since death of life had reft him.

She had not gane a mile but twa,
Whan she heard the deid-bell knellan; 30
And everye jow the deid-bell geid,
Cried, Wae to Barbara Allan!

O mither, mither, mak my bed,
O mak it saft and narrow:
Since my love died for me to day,    35
Ise die for him to morrowe.

Footnote:

1. An ingenious friend thinks the rhymes dyan' and lyan' ought to be transposed; as the taunt, 'Young man, I think ye're lyan',' would be very characteristical.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 15 - 09:16 PM

Another important early version is Percy's version of the c. 1690 broadside which is Child Bd:

Barbara Allen's Cruelty- (Eng) c.1765 Child B d. Percy

[About B d. Child says: d. was "given, with some corrections, from an old printed copy in the editor's possession." That these corrections were considerable, we know from the *** at the end. The old printed copy is very likely to have been c, and, if so, the ballad was simply written over. It does not seem necessary to give the variations under the circumstances. In 23 Percy has Yong Jemmye Grove.]


V. BARBARA ALLEN's CRUELTY- Thomas Percy 1765

Given, with some corrections, from an old printed copy in the editor's possession, intitled "Barbara Allen's cruelty, "or the young man's tragedy."

IN Scarlet towne, where I was borne,
There was a faire maid dwellin,
Made every youth crye, wel-awaye!
Her name was Barbara Allen.

All in the merrye month of may,
When greene buds they were swellin,
Yong Jemmye Grove on his death-bed lay,
For love of Barbara Allen.

He sent his man unto her then,
To the town, where shee was dwellin;
You must come to my master deare,
Giff your name be Barbara Allen.

For death is printed on his face,
And ore his hart is stealin:
Then haste away to comfort him,
O lovelye Barbara Allen.

Though death be printed on his face,
And ore his harte is stealin,
Yet little better shall he bee,
For bonny Barbara Allen.

So slowly, slowly, she came up, go
And slowly she came nye him;
And all she sayd, when there she came,
Yong man, I think y'are dying.

He turnd his face unto her strait,
With deadlye sorrow sighing;
O lovely maid, come pity mee,   
Ime on my death-bed lying.

If on your death-bed you doe lye,
What needs the tale you are tellin:
I cannot keep you from your death;   
Farewell, sayd Barbara Allen.

He turnd his face unto the wall,
As deadlye pangs he fell in:
Adieu! adieu! adieu to you all,
Adieu to Barbara Allen.

As she was walking ore the fields,
She heard the bell a knellin; is
And every stroke did seem to saye,
Unworthy Barbara Allen.

She turnd her bodye round about,
And spied the corps a coming:
Laye down, laye down the corps, she sayd,
That I may look upon him.

With scornful eye she looked downe,
Her cheeke with laughter swellin;
That all her friends cryd out amaine,
Unworthye Barbara Allen.

When he was dead, and laid in grave,
Her harte was struck with sorrowe,
O mother, mother, make my bed,
For I shall dye to morrowe.

Hard harted creature him to slight,
Who loved me so dearlye:
0 that I had beene more kind to him,
When he was live and neare me!

She, on her death-bed as she laye,
Beg'd to be buried by him:
And sore repented of the daye,
That she did ere denye him.

Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in:
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 02:33 PM

This is the early traditional Scottish text 'Barbara Allan'- Child Version C; from Motherwell's Manuscript, p. 288; from Mrs. Duff, Kilbirnie, February 9, 1825.

1    It fell about the Lammas time,
When the woods grow green and yellow,
There came a wooer out of the West
A wooing to Barbara Allan.

2    'It is not for your bonny face,
Nor for your beauty bonny,
But it is all for your tocher good
I come so far about ye.'

3    'If it be not for my comely face,
Nor for my beauty bonnie,
My tocher good ye'll never get paid
Down on the board before ye.'

4    'O will ye go to the Highland hills,
To see my white corn growing?
Or will ye go to the river-side,
To see my boats a rowing?'

5    O he's awa, and awa he's gone,
And death's within him dealing,
And it is all for the sake of her,
His bonnie Barbara Allan.

6    O he sent his man unto the house,
Where that she was a dwelling:
'O you must come my master to see,
If you be Barbara Allan.'

7    So slowly aye as she put on,
And so stoutly as she gaed till him,
And so slowly as she could say,
'I think, young man, you're lying.'

8    'O I am lying in my bed,
And death within me dwelling;
And it is all for the love of thee,
My bonny Barbara Allan.'

9    She was not ae mile frae the town,
Till she heard the dead-bell ringing:
'Och hone, oh hone, he's dead and gone,
For the love of Barbara Allan!'

This version is important for the reference in stanzas 2 and 3 of the "toucher good" which Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe commented upon and also Child who mentioned Buchan's 41 verse version. Sharpe also mentions the "seven ships" which will be found in early print versions in the US before 1850.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 02:53 PM

Identifying characteristics of the early British Isles versions:

Child Ba- The 1690 English broadside Barbara Allen's Cruelty:

1. In Scarlet Town
   There was a fair maid dwelling,
   Whom I had chosen to be my own,

2. All in the merry Month of May
    when green leaves they was springing,

(her lover is not named)

Child B d Percy's "Barbara Allen's Cruelty- (English) 1765:

1. In Scarlet towne, where I was borne,
There was a faire maid dwellin,
Made every youth crye, wel-awaye!

2. All in the merrye month of may,
When greene buds they were swellin,
Yong Jemmye Grove on his death-bed lay,

(Jemmy Grove is lover)

16. Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in:
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.


Child Ba: Scotch version- Bonny Barbara Allan (Ramsay 1740):

1. It was in and about the Martinmas time (Nov. 11),   
When the green leaves were a falling,
That Sir John Grœme (Graham) in the west country         

Child C: toucher or gifts to Barbara Allen- present in Irish versions, some US versions and Buchan

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 04:33 PM

"Note the footnote by Percy, who printed a version with "Young man, I think ye're lyan'.""

Well, not exactly. He just says that an "ingenious friend" of his thought it ought to say that because it would be "very characteristical" (not because he had actually heard anyone singing it that way, or anything like that). He doesn't say anything to suggest that such a version actually existed.

Basically Percy's "Sir John Grehme" version looks to me like Ramsay's text gone over by someone who wanted to make the language look more Scots ("fallan", "dwellan" etc. for "falling", "dwelling" etc., "Ise die" for "I'll die", "hooly, hooly" instead of "slowly, slowly" in stanza 7, and some spelling changes in the same direction) -- perhaps it was the same person who gave Percy the "written copy" that he took it from. Otherwise the only significant differences are in the first two lines of the tavern stanza.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 04:50 PM

"Child C: toucher or gifts to Barbara Allen- present in Irish versions, some US versions and Buchan"

It seems to me that the tocher (dowry) and the gifts are two quite different motifs. In Child C, the issue is the man's motives for wooing Barbara. He's more interested in her dowry than in her beauty – or at least so he says, and she takes him at his word. In versions where the man leaves her gifts, these may sometimes, as apparently in Buchan's long text, be intended to supply a dowry so that she can marry someone else in the future. However this isn't always given as a reason, and the gifts often include things of symbolic rather than monetary value like bloody clothes or a basin full of his tears, which would be of no use in a dowry.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 06:10 PM

If you can stand it, check out "Jimmy Grove and Barbara Ellen" as crooned by the New Christy Minstrels in the late '60s.

Haven't heard it in years. Jimmy comes home from war. It can't be as bad as I remember.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,#
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 06:36 PM

Good Jesus . . . The NCMs sing the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 07:23 PM

Consider the aesthetic implications of the posted comment:

"All the versions that I had found were just wrong and painted Barbara Ellen as hardhearted."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Little Robyn
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 09:12 PM

Slightly off topic, my 3xGreatgrandmother was named Barbara Ellen Colson. She was born in 1810, in Woolwich, Kent. She married Thomas Slucock and their 1st daughter was named Barbara Ellen also, born in 1834, also in Kent, in Chatham. She married Richard Williams and they emigrated to New Zealand in 1860.
I'm guessing/hoping that Barbara Ellen's parents were familiar with the song in the early 19th C, hence their choice of the name. It wasn't a family name - before that there were mainly Elizabeths, with Janes, Eleanor, Ann, a Rachael and a Mary.
But I don't think our Barbara Ellen was hardhearted.
Robyn (nee Williams)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 11:40 PM

Hi,

Thanks for the posts Jim, Percy did publish the changed text in a later edition- (I'll try and find it). As for the toucher/gifts I think they are different- and part of the gifts are "seven ships" - a stanza which closely resembles The House Carpenter (Child 243).

This info about the gifts is from Riley p. 37-38 who has taken it from Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe's notes in James Johnson, The Scots Musical Museum IV- 1853:


Charles Kirkpatrick Sharp identifies himself as the "learned correspondent" referred to by Stenhouse:

In this note Mr. Stenhouse alludes to me. Unluckily I lost the paper I found at Hoddam Castle, in which Barbara Allan was mentioned.

He adds the observation that the peasants of Annandale sang many more verses than have appeared in print, "but they were of no merit, containing numerous magnificent offers from the lover to his mistress--and among others some ships in sight, which may strengthen the belief that the song was composed near the shores of Solway. I need scarcely add that the name of Grahame, which the luckless lover generally bears, is still quite common in and about Annan."

TY Lighter for New Christy Minstrels version.

Little Robyn- it's interesting that many English versions (and many US versions as well) have the name --Barbara Ellen.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 15 - 11:46 PM

Before following the "seven ships" which sailed to the US and appear in the Pearl Songster and the Forget-Me-Not Songster (c. 1844), I'd like to get some opinions about the Scotch version- Child A.

Is it traditional? What traditional versions are based on it? Was it composed, in fact by James Oswald. Does anyone have Oswald's version which was published in 1740 the same year as Ramsay's?
--------------

Also- where did Percy get his changes for his English version of 1765 in Reliques?

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 06:11 AM

"Is it traditional? What traditional versions are based on it? "

There's a north-east Scottish version in Albert Friedman's Penguin Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World that includes all the stanzas of the Ramsay version (with fairly minor differences), but also has 1) his request for and her refusal of a kiss; 2) the gifts episode (his gold watch, his prayer book, and a napkin full of his heart's blood) before she leaves him and hears the bells; and then, 3) three stanzas of dialogue between Bawbie and her father, her brother, and her sisters, in which each tells her to take Sir John Graeme and she has to admit that it's too late ("ye know his coffin's makin", "his grave-claes is a-makin", "my heart it is a-brakin"), leading up to the final "O mother dear, o mak my bed" stanza. Friedman reproduces it from Gavin Greig's Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads, 1925, so there may be other similar texts there, or in the Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection volumes, but I don't have access to these just now to check.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 07:09 AM

"Percy did publish the changed text in a later edition."

Sorry, I should have thought of that possibility. But even then, isn't the source still his "ingenious friend's" proposal? On the other hand, "lying" appears in place of "dying" in Child C, which, being from William Motherwell's MS, has better credentials to be traditional. So at least Motherwell's Mrs Duff in Kilbirnie (or an earlier singer, or the publisher of some broadside or chapbook), must have thought it fitted too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 11:30 AM

Hi Jim,

The version is reprinted from Grieg (his A version) and was collected in 1905 from Mrs. Gillespie- Grieg says it was "learnt in Buchan in her early years." Grieg p. 68, Last Leaves.

It is Ramsay's "Scotch" version with several stanzas inserted; her name is given as Bawbie Allan. The inserted stanzas are the gifts (gold watch an' my prayer book- etc) that Grieg calls "the legacies."

About it Riley says, "It is reasonable to assume that this lengthening of Ramsay's ballad is the work of some hack writer who made these alterations for a stall print. Tradition does not deal with material in this way."

Riley's position will be given later in this thread. Here are the changes added:

After stanza five of Ramsay's version:

"A kiss of you culd do me good.
My bonnie Bawbie Allan."
But a kiss lie you sanna get,
Though your heart's blood were a-spillin."

After stanza six of Ramsay's versions:

"Put in your han' at my bedside,
An' there ye'll find a warran,
Wi' my gold watch an' my prayer book,
Gie that to Bawbie Allan.

"Put in your hand at my bedside,
An' there ye'll find a warran
It napkin full O my heart's blood
Gie that to Bawbie Allan."

Between stanzas eight and nine of Ramsay's:

In then cam her rather dear,
Said, "Bonnie Bawbie, tak hlm."--
It's time to bid me tat him noo
When ye know his coffin's makin."

In then own her brother dear,
Said, "Bonnle Baw-bie, tak him
It's time to bid me tak him noo
When his grave-cloes is a-makin."

Then in cam her sisters dear,
Said, "Bonnie Bawbie, tak him,"
"It's time to bid me tak him noo,
When my heart it is a-brakin."

[From: Gavin Greig, Last Leaves; 1925]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 11:54 AM

Hi,

The first US broadside I have access to is a reprint of Ramsay titled, Bonny Barbara Allan- Sold wholesale and retail, by L. Deming, corner of Merchant's Row and Market Square, Boston., 1829.

Percy's English version (Child Bd) is reprinted in The United States Songster: a choice selection of about one hundred and seventy of the most popular songs; Cincinnati OH, 1836.

The next US print version dated c. 1844 is given in full. Read footnotes below:

Barbara Allan- Forget-Me-Not Songster (MA) c. 1844 The Forget Me Not Songster, Containing a Choice Collection of Old Ballad Songs, as Sung by Our Grandmothers

It fell about the Martinmas day,
When the green leaves were falling.
Sir James the Graham in the west country
Fell in love with Barbara Allan.

She was a fair and comely maid,
And a maid nigh to his dwelling,
Which made him to admire the more,
The beauty of Barbara Allan.

O what's thy name my bonny maid,
Or where hast thou thy dwelling,
She answer'd him most modestly,
My name is Barbara Allan.

O see you not yon seven ships, [1]
So bonny as they are sailing,
I'll make you mistress of them all,
My bonny Barbara Allan.

But it fell out upon a day,
At the wine as they were drinking,
They toasted their glasses around about,
And slighted Barbara Allan.

O she has taken't so ill out,
That she'd no more look on him.
And for all the letters he could send,
Still swore she'd never have him.

O if I had a man, a man,
A man within my dwelling,
That will write a letter with my blood,
And carry't to Barbara Allan.

Desire her to come here with speed,
For I am at the dying.
And speak one word to her true love,
For I'll die for Barbara Allan.

His man is off with all his speed,
To the place where she is dwelling,
Here's a letter from my master dear,
Gin ye be Barbara Allan.

O when she looked the letter upon,
With a loud laughter gi'd she,
But e'er she read the letter through,
The tear blinded her eye.

O hooly, hooly,[2] rose she up,
And slowly gaed she to him,
And slightly drew the curtains by,
Young man I think you're dying.

O I am sick, and very sick,
And my heart is at the breaking,
One kiss or two of thy sweet mouth,
Would keep me from the dying.

O mind you not young man, said she,
When you sat in the tavern,
Then you made the health go round,
And slighted Barbara Allan.

And slowly, slowly, rose she up,
And slowly, slowly left him,
And sighing said she could not stay,
Since death of life had reft him.

She had not gone a mile from the town,   
Till she heard the dead bell knelling,
And every knell that dead bell gave,
Was wo to Barbara Allan.

Now when the virgin heard the same,
Sure she was greatly troubled,
When in the coffin his corpe she view'd,
Her sorrows all were doubled.

What! hast though died for me, she cried.
Let all true lovers shun me,
Too late I may this sadly say,
That death has quite undone me.

O, mother, mother make my bed,
O make it soft and narrow,
Since my love died for me to-day,
I'll die for him to-morrow.

1. This is the distinctive stanza also found in the Pearl Songster of 1845. This stanza was mentioned by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe as being sung in Annandale. See quote earlier in this thread- above.

2. Scottish for slowly, slowly (sometimes sung "slow-lie"). The fact that this is "hooly" instead of slowly" shows that it was taken from an earlier print source such as the Tea-Table Miscelleny (Child Aa, printed in Glasgow) which has that stanza and is nine stanzas total. Additional stanzas have been added and the first line and other places have been changed slightly. Neither version has the rose-and-briar ending.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 12:13 PM

Hi,

It will be noted now that all the main early "print" versions (Allingham published a hybrid version which we will look at later along with several other broadsides from the British Isles) have been posted as well as one (Child C- Motherwell) traditional version.

The "rose-brier" ending is not present and can be considered a traditional addition.

The "warning" ending (English version similar to Child B) given by Percy in 1765, may or may not be traditional - depending on Percy's source(s) for his addition. It's only found in a few versions- see Barry A for one.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 12:34 PM

"The "rose-brier" ending is not present and can be considered a traditional addition."
Assuming that the broadsides predated the traditional versions - dare I mention?
We have no idea whether the song existed in the oral tradition prior to it being printed and probably never shall
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 03:56 PM

Hi Jim,

This brings up an excellent point and I'm glad you mentioned it:

That print versions in this case are based on the ur-ballad, which is an unknown traditional ballad.

One way we know this is, the first print version of circa 1690 was to be sung to the tune of Barbara Allen, which means that the ballad pre-dates print and it also implies that the ballad was sung enough for the tune to be known.

In my opinion the print versions would be based on known traditional versions, unless of course, the print version was composed and newly printed. Since Barbara Allen was in circulation (Pepys 1666) and the tune and I assume the ballad was commonly known about that time, I am looking to recreate the traditional ur-ballad by using print and traditional versions.

It is, as you point, out possible that the rose-brier ending was sung but not included in print (instead of added later), however unlikely that would be.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: BigDaddy
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 04:15 PM

The song has been sung in my family for at least six generations. I learned it from my mother, who learned it from hers, and so on, and so on. The cool thing about this (well, one of the cool things) is that none of the singers in my family had ever heard a recorded version of the song until after my mother and her aunts sang it for me. We were surprised to hear a recording by Pete Seeger (circa 1962). The reaction of three generations of my family was, "where did he ever learn that one?" Fun thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 15 - 08:06 PM

Hi Big Daddy,

Can you supply the text please along with the location and if possible a name?

Very cool,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 03:16 AM

"This brings up an excellent point and I'm glad you mentioned it:"
The oral tradition/printed version link has become n increasing fascinated me from our work at recording Irish Travellers who, though as a community, were non-literate, had the greatest influence in preserving Child Ballads in Ireland than any other social group - Lamkin, Lord Bateman, Maid and the Palmer, Young Hunting, Lord Gregory, Sweet William and Fair Margaret (Child 74), Famous Flower, Thomas of Winesbury, Outlandish Knight, to name but a few - all found in the Irish Traveller repertoire in the latter half of the 20th century - some of them the only surviving oral versions.
The last remnants of the broadside trade here - the ballad sheets continued into the 1950s and was carried out by non-literate Travellers.
We interviewed a Kerry Traveller Mikeen McCarthy who sold the Ballads and described that, along with 'Little Grey Home in the West', Patsy Fagan, etc, e also sold "my father's songs", which included 'The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green', which he described as the oldest song he knew.
He described how he would go with his mother to a local printer and recite the songs over the counter to the printer, who would then run off the required number to be sold at rural fairs and markets.
The link between print, the oral tradition and literacy has never been fully discussed and it seems to me that we are far too ready to attribute the origins of these ballads and songs to printed versions.
Any knowledge we have of the oral traditions dates back only to the end of the 19th century and that is, to say the lest, extremely flimsy and based on singing traditions that largely were disappearing and being remembered rather than thriving.
Hardly grounds to base firm conclusion on origins on.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 12:01 PM

TY Jim,

Do you have any information regarding Irish versions, I know the reference by Goldsmith (mid 1700s) and Joyce (c 1883) gives only a scant two lines?

It's been postulated by Barry (1934 BFSSNE) and others (through Irish versions collected in the US) that blood letting and gifts are usually present in Irish versions. Do you agree? Are there other identifying characteristics?

Do you have any Irish Travellers texts you can contribute? Are there any lists of Irish versions?

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 12:15 PM

"There is some conjecture (esp. Riley 1957) that the Scottish version of 1740 (Child A) is a rewrite of the English broadside, presumably by James Oswald who published the version along with Ramsay in 1740."

I'd be interested to know if anyone has actually seen what it was that Oswald published in 1740 in "A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes". Did he publish the words, or just the melody? Riley says she hadn't seen the book (p. 45) and she relies on Hendren. But Hendren says he hadn't seen any of Oswald's books (p. 71 note 3) and had "pieced together" what he knew of them from the comments of other editors. Bronson mentions it as a possible earlier source for the tune he gives as 84.40, but also says he hadn't seen it. I've found the full title cited as: "A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes for a violin, bass viol. or German flute, with a thorough bass for the harpsichord, and also a sonata of Scots tunes in 3 parts and some masons' songs with the words, for 3 voices, to which is added, a number of the most celebrated Scots tunes set for a violin or German flute", which seems to suggest that it is a collection of instrumental music (apart from the "masons' songs", but I'm not sure how "Barbara Allen" would fit into that category). Oswald's later collection, "The Caledonian Pocket Companion" is certainly just a collection of tunes, and indeed includes "Barbara Allan" (melody only). It can be found online at archive.org, but unfortunately not the "Curious Collection", although I understand it has been reissued recently on CD-ROM.

In any case, Riley's argument for Oswald as the likely author seems rather weak – basically that some comments by his contemporaries suggest that he had some literary skill, therefore he could have written it. Quite possible he could, but given that Allan Ramsay, who certainly published the words (without the tune) in 1740, is a well-known poet, if either of them was the author (which of course is a very big "if"), I would have thought Ramsay rather than Oswald would be the obvious candidate.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 12:27 PM

Hi Jim Brown,

I'll put a link to Riley's thesis (unedited- mostly raw text) titled, "Barbara Allen" in Tradition and in Print- 1957 which is on my site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/barbara-allen-in-tradition-and-in-print--riley-1957.aspx

The thesis may be viewed at:

http://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2435&context=luc_theses

Riley did not have Oswald's version either. It is curious that both came out in 1740 which makes it clear that one was taken from the other.

I don't agree with Riley's statement either, but it goes to her point that there are no legitimate traditional versions based on the 1740 Scotch version (Child A). She also believes that the Scotch version was a rewrite of the English broadside and names Oswald as the likely recreator.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 12:31 PM

I'll include a few Irish versions from the US, the first is from Flanders; Ancient Ballads 1961, dated pre-1867.

G. Barb'ry Allen- Mrs. Ellen M. Sullivan, of Springfield, Vermont, who came as a young child to America in 1867, a native of County Cork, Ireland, sang this version. H. H. F., Collector; July 12, 1932.


It was in the springtime of the year
When flowers they were blooming,
A young man came from the north country,
Fell in love with Barb'ry Allen.

He sent his footman to her house,
Unto her house and dwelling,
Saying, "Arise, arise and come with me
If your name be Barb'ry Allen."

It's slowly, slowly she got up
And slowly she Put on it
And slowly, slowly, she arose
And slowly she went with him.

Until she came into his house
And to his house and dwelling,
And the very first words that e'er she spoke
Was, "I fear, young man, you're dying."

"A dying man I am not yet,
One kiss from you will cure me."
"One kiss from me you ne'er will get
If your poor heart was breaking."

"You remember last Saturday night
When in the tavern drinking,
You drank a health to all fair maids
And slighted Barb'ry Allen."

"Yes, I remember last Saturday night
When in the tavern drinking,
I drank a health to all fair maids
But remembered Barb'ry Allen.

"Look up, look up at my bed's head,
You'll see a gold watch hanging,
My gold watch and precious chain,
Give them to Barb'ry Allen.

"Look down, look down at my bed's foot,
You'll see a basin standing,
It overflows with my heart's blood,
I shed for Barb'ry Allen."

As she walked in her father's woods
She heard the dead bell ringing
And every toll the death bell gave
Was "hard-hearted Barb'ry Allen."

As she walked in her father's lawn
She saw the corpse a-coming.
"Lay down, lay down the corpse," she said,
"That I may look upon him."

The corpse was laid down at her feet.
There she stood a-laughing.
"Oh, fie, for shame," her friends all cried,
"Hard-hearted Barb'ry Allen!"

"Go make my bed, mama," she said,
"Oh, make it soft and mellow
For a young man died for me last night
And I'll die for him tomorrow."

"Oh, dig my grave, papa," she said,
"And dig it deep and narrow,
For a young man died for me last night
And I'll die for him tomorrow." [1]

One was buried in the middle of the church,
The other, in Mary's Abbey.
Out of one there grew a rose
And out of the other a briar.

And every night at twelve o'clock
They twined in a true lover's knot
The red rose and the briar.

1. On July 13 the last two lines of this stanza were given as,

"And plant it o'er with laurel leaves
That you may think upon me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 01:25 PM

> It can be found online at archive.org, but unfortunately not the "Curious Collection."

One page of the "Curious Collection" is viewable at the ECLAP website. (For tens of thousands of Euros you can access the entire book as well as the entire collection of of the "E-Library for the Performing Arts.)

The page shows music only and its instrumental-friendly format suggests to me that no lyrics were included. It is a "tune" book after all.

Inconclusive, of course, but an indication of what someone with access to the book might expect to find. Or not.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 01:27 PM

This last version includes the Rose-Briar "Sympathetic Plants" floating motif, which occurs in versions of several ballads. Just to reiterate [I have mentioned it before] the great Harry Cox hated these lines being included in this ballad, insisting that they belonged in 'Lord Lovell' ('Lord Lovely', as he called it).
An interview with him by Bob Thomson and me in Catfield Norfolk shortly before his death in May 1971, transcript published in Folk Review for February 1973, contained the following assertions from him:--

~~~'Barbara Ellen' now, I remember it. Some people sing that different to what other people do. You might know a different tune. And there's some put another two verses at the end. I never could. 'And from her grave grew a rose'. The other one come in 'Lord Lovely' — 'Where they tied together in a true-love's knot, For true loves all to admire.' That's in another song. They get mixed up, that shouldn't come in 'Barbara Ellen'. That don't belong in that. They belong in 'Lord Lovely'. My uncle used to sing that.~~~

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 01:33 PM

Hi,

This will be my last Irish version from the US for now. It likely dates back to the 1800s in Vermont where it was learned from an Irish immigrant- taken from Flanders; Ancient Ballads 1961. The interesting features include the blood-letting stanza and the last stanza is Percy's 1765 "warning stanza" which is his version of the English broadside "Barbara Allen's Cruelty."

H. Barbara Allen- The words of this song were furnished by Adam Johnson of Mooer's Forks, New York. Thomas Armstrong of Springfield, Vermont, knew the tune. Mr. Johnson learned this ballad, when a child, from a lady in Mooer's Forks who was
born in Ireland. See H2 and H3. H. H. F., Collector; March 20, 1935

It was early, early in the month of May,
When the trees were ripe and mellow,
That a young man lay a-dying on his bed
For the love of Barbara Allen.
That a young man lay a-dying on his bed,
For the love of Barbara Allen.

Then quickly, quickly she came to him
At the place where he was dwelling
And said as she drew the curtains aside,
"Poor boy, I am sorry you are dying."
(Repeat last two lines for each verse)

"Not dying yet, not dying yet,
One kiss from You will save me."
"One kiss from me you never shall receive,
White on your death-bed lying.

"Do you remember last Saturday night,
When in the ale-house drinking,
You drank your health to all the pretty maids,
And you slighted me, Barbara Allen?"

"Yes, I remember last Saturday night
White in the ale-house drinking,
I drank my health to all the pretty maids
And I slighted you, Barbara Allen.

"Look down, look down at the foot of my bed,
There you'll see a basin setting,
And in it is poured my heart's pure blood,
Which I shed for you, Barbara Allen."

As she was going from the room,
She turned and said unto him,
"I cannot keep you from your doom;
Farewell," said Barbara Allen.

He turned his face unto the wall,
As deadly pangs he fell in;
"Adieu! Adieu! Adieu to you all,
Adieu to Barbara Allen."

As she was walking o'er the fields
She heard the bell a-knellin',
And every stroke did seem to say,
"Unworthy Barbara Allen."

She turned her body around about
And spied the corpse a-comin',
"Lay down, lay down the corpse," she said,
"That I may look upon him."

With scornful eye she looked down,
Her cheeks with laughter swellin'
Whilst all her friends cried our amain,
"Unworthy Barbara Allen."

When he was dead and laid in grave,
Her heart was struck with sorrow;
"O mother, mother, make my bed
For I shall die tomorrow.

"Hard-hearted creature, him to slight
Who loved me oh, so dearly,
Oh, had I been more kind to him
When he was alive and near me!"

She on her death-bed as she lay
Begged to be buried by him
And sore repented of the day
That she did e'er deny him.

"Farewell," she said, "ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in;
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 01:42 PM

Hi MGM,

There is a whole thread from several years ago on the "rose-briar" ending on Mudcat which was started by Susan Lepak.

Personally, I ascribe the "rose-briar" ending to the ancient ballad, Child 74, Fair Margaret and Sweet William.

The ending is very common in the US and is associated with Barbara Allen here.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 01:53 PM

Hi Richie: Indeed it certainly frequently occurs in #74 also. But it is surely, as I say, a "floater", which can furnish an appropriate coda to any of the several [or indeed many] ballads which end with the deaths of the two main protagonist lovers. I should think it a somewhat chimerical search to attempt to establish in which it made its first appearance!

I am always intrigued that Harry Cox, who was well aware of the existence of multiple versions ("Some people sing that different to what other people do. You might know a different tune") should nevertheless in this instance have accused those who included matter he knew in the context of another song, of getting "mixed up".

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 01:59 PM

You will note BTW that the second post in the Susan thread you ref'd above was from me, purveying the precise Cox quote I have [as I admitted] reiterated above.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 03:06 PM

Are there any lists of Irish versions?
Not as far as I know, but as in Britain and the US, it it probably the most popular Anglo Irish Ballad to be found here.
Jean Richie remarked back in the 50s that, if you were looking for traditional songs in ant area, you only had to ask did anybody know Barbara Allen, and the songs came rolling in.
Tom Lenihan's version, with it's particularly fine tune, is to be found here on the Clare County Library website
Carroll Mackenzie Collection
We must have got around half a dozen versions from Travellers - all similar in structure.
In all, fifty one Child ballads were still being sung by source singers in Ireland up to the 1980s
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 04:22 PM

Tom Lenihan's fine tune is, to my ear, closely related to the familiar "In Scarlet Town where I was born" one; and the text also [which, note, lacks 'rose-briar']: with addition of the three-line refrain, in form — last line, followed by two last lines, repeated.
Interesting how it characteristically begins as a first-person narrative, the narrator himself occupying the "Young·Jemmy·Grove/Sir·John·Graeme/Sweet·William" role; but segues into third-person after his death. Beautiful, and fascinating, version indeed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 05:41 PM

> Riley did not have Oswald's version either. It is curious that both came out in 1740 which makes it clear that one was taken from the other.

Perhaps not so curious. Edinburgh wasn't such a big place in 1740, and Ramsay and Oswald must have known each other. (Ramsay is generally considered to be the author of an anonymous poem lamenting the loss to Edinburgh musical life when Oswald left for London.)

Like Lighter, I would guess that Oswald's book is most likely music only, and Ramsay's is certainly words only. If Oswald did indeed publish the "Barbara Allan" tune in 1740, around the same time that Ramsay published the words, one explanation would be that the song was already circulating in something like the form that Ramsay published it, and was sung to that tune. But I suppose the possibility that Ramsay wrote the words and Oswald composed a suitable tune, or borrowed an existing tune, isn't excluded.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Apr 15 - 08:31 PM

> In all, fifty one Child ballads were still being sung by source singers in Ireland up to the 1980s.

Really remarkable, Jim - at least in the context of earlier, narrower scholarship that observed how rare were Child ballads in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 12:16 PM

Hi,

Another source may be read online: Bonny Barbara Allen by Joseph W. Hendren in Folk Travelers: Ballads, Tales and Talk. Dallas, Texas. Boatright, Mody Coggin; 1953. UNT Digital Library:

http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38314/m1/53/?q=barbara%20allen

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 12:48 PM

And don't forget "John Minton's "That Amazing Texas Version of Child 84, `Boberick Allen'. Southern Folklore (1993)50, 1-17.

Seriously.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 02:58 PM

Hi,

TY Lighter, another similar read is: Moses Platt and the Regeneration of "Barbara Allen" by Charles Clay Doyle and Charles Greg Kelley;
Western Folklore, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 151-169.

I'm going to ask some questions and any help would be appreciated:

What is the motive for Barbara Allen slighting her lover as found in the early print versions (texts posted above)?

What is the young man's defense for slighting her? When has this been introduced into the ballad?

What, in your opinion, is the origin of the name William? It is not found in the early print versions?

Could the ur-ballad, which predates the print versions, have blood letting and gifts which are found in many Irish versions?

Is the rose-briar ending original to this ballad or has it been added? If added, from where?

Are Barbara's parents part of the "slighted" motive? Are these stanzas added on or are they part of an early tradition?

Are their any characteristics that determine early versions- and what are they? (time of year, town name, youth's name etc.)

Is the final "warning" stanza introduced by Percy (Child Bd) in 1765 traditional?

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 03:45 PM

Good luck with all of this, Richie. I certainly look forward to your final conclusions.

Just one comment for the moment. The fact that a 17thc ballad says 'to the tune of' which is indeed the actual ballad itself. This is quite common and in no way presupposes an earlier ballad of the same name. It could however be referring to an earlier printing of exactly the same ballad. It was just a common quirk of the genre.

The BDBB printing of c1690-96 is indeed the earliest extant printing and I haven't seen it registered in the Stationers Register, but I only have access to Rollins's book. I do believe there is a scarce more comprehensive listing available that might throw something up. Either way it is quite likely that there were earlier printings of the same ballad. Back, Deacon etc did frequently reprint material from earlier copies of the monopolistic printing houses.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 03:59 PM

TY Steve,

I can see that the reference 'to the tune of Barbara Allen' might mean that it has it's own melody- rather than meaning 'the melody is already known.'

Any light you can shed on early print versions from the British Isles that differ from Child B (the c. 1690 version)would be appreciated.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 04:30 PM

Minor point. The database Early English Books Online dates the Brooksby [sic] et al. broadside (Child's Ba) more specifically to "1688-1692."

To this text (with a couple of trivial differences) an otherwise unidentified ca1750 printing adds as final:


As she was lying down to die,
A sad feud she fell in;
She said, I pray take warning by
Hardhearted Barbara Allen.


I can't account for the word "feud."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 04:46 PM

maybe it was a feud with her conscience, which is better than a freud with her conscience


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 04:56 PM

'feud' probably had a wider meaning in the 18thc other than the later more specific falling out between two parties.

Yes 18th century printings are known. In the Madden Collection there is a printing by White of Newcastle that has the 16 sts and Davenport of London printed this same version in the early 19thc. All of these have the same first line 'In Scarlet Town where I was bound'. I still think there is possible milage in 'Scarlet' being a theatrical pun on 'Reading'. That would then suppose there was an earlier version that had 'Reading' as the place, but even if that was the case it doesn't mean anything but the town name was different. There are of course versions with 'Reading' as the place of apprenticeship.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 06:41 PM

The White version has 'feu'd'. Curiouser and curiouser!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 07:45 PM

TY Lighter and all,

The last stanza compares somewhat to Percy's last stanza, and maybe the word 'feud' could be misprinted 'fau't' for 'fault'.

16. Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in:
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.

I'm going to present some observations soon based on the questions I asked. I assume the pun is for "Reading"="Redding," implying the color red which is Scarlet. Didn't Chappell comment on that in detail? Several broadsides begin:

Verse 1

In Reading town, where I was born,
A fair maid there was dwelling,
I picked her out to be my wife,
And her name was Barbara Allen.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 07:56 PM

Here's the Chappell quote from "The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time: Volume 2; by W. Chappell 1859

BARBARA ALLEN.

Under this name, the English and Scotch have each a ballad, with their respective tunes. Both ballads are printed in Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry, and a comparison will shew that there is no similarity in the music. It has been suggested that for "Scarlet" town, the scene of the ballad, we should read "Carlisle" town. Some of the later printed copies have " Reading" town.

In the Douce Collection there is a different ballad under this title,—a Newcastle edition, without date.

* * * *
So far as the placename is concerned, Robert Bell (Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England, 1857) additionally comments: "In Percy's version of Barbara Allen, that ballad commences 'In Scarlet town,' which, in the common stall copies, is rendered 'In Redding town.' The former is apparently a pun upon the old orthography - REDding."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 07:59 PM

No explanation of "feud" is afforded by the OED.

"Fault," however, makes sense in the sense of "transgression" (OED).

That suggests the likelihood that the broadside postdates Percy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 08:24 PM

Hi,

Rather than wait for answers to the questions posed earlier today, I'll throw out some observations and let you comment on them.

1. Both the English (Child B) and Scotch (Child A) versions are based on a similar earlier unknown traditional ballad (the ur-ballad) which was probably known around the mid 1600s.

2. The changes by Percy of English broadside version (Child Bd) are based on an unknown traditional version and rewrites by Percy. The two important changes that I believe are from another source are the name, "Young Jemmye Grove" and the last stanza:

Farewell she sayd ye vergins all,
And shun the fault I fell in,
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.

3. The rose briar ending has been borrowed from an older ballad: Child 74, Fair Margaret and Sweet William. The reason I believe this is that the lovers name "Sweet William" (or a derivative) has also been borrowed from "Fair Margaret and Sweet William."

4. The motive for Barbara's rejection (found first in Child A) is this stanza from Ramsay 1740:

"0 dinna ye mind, young man," said she
"When ye was in the tavern a drinking,
That ye made the healths gae round and round,
And slighted Barbara Allan?"

5. His typical response to her accusation which may or may not have been added to the UR ballad is:

Oh yes, I remember the other night
When I was in town a-drinking,
I drank a health to the ladies all around
But gave my love to Barbara Allen.

More to come,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 03:49 PM

Hi,

I'm giving this print version from the US from c. 1863. Barry says this is based on tradition. It is short but has the "warning stanza" found in Percy (Child Bd):

Barry D. "Barb'ry Allum. A Pathetic Ballad. As sung by Charley Fox." Charley Fox's Musical Companion, c. 1863.

1 In Scarlet-town where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwelling,
Made every youth say well aware,
And her name was Barb'ry Allum.

2 All in the merry month of May,
When the green buds they were swelling,
Young Jimmy Groves on his death-bed lay,
For love of Barb'ry Allum.

3 He sent his man unto her then,
To the town where she was dwelling;
You must come to my master dear,
If your name is Barb'ry Allum.

4 For death is painted on his face,
And o'er his heart is stealin'.
Yet little better shall he be
For lovely Barb'ra Allum.

5 Hard-hearted creature him to slight,
Who loved me so sincerely:
Oh that I had been more kind to him,
When he was live and near me.

6 When on her death-bed as she lay,
Begged to be buried by him,
And-so repented of the day,
That she did ever deny him.

7 Farewell, she said, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in;
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barb'ry Allum.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 05:18 PM

Hi,

I'm going to start providing information about the opening stanza(s) of this ballad. Ed Cray in his article "Comment on the Words" further categorizes the ballad by the placename, Barbara's lover's name and also the time of year (May, Martimas etc.). Following are several paragraphs from Cray's article:

Conjecturally, the oldest texts are those which begin: "It fell about a Martinmas time /When the green leaves were a- fallin'." These "Martinmas" versions , more specifically the traditional Scottish variants represented by Child C, may contain a legacy motif where in the dying lover leaves Barbara a series of gifts, including a bowl of his heart's blood. (Child thought the legacy mean stuff and did not print an available text which contained it. No "Martinmas" texts were found among the AAFS recordings available for this study.

Two other variants of the "Martinmas" group are less old: Child A, which in spite of a lively history in print has rarely been collected from oral tradition; and a Forget-me-not Songster text, identifiable by the hero's offer to make Barbara mistress of seven ships This latter variant has entered oral tradition in the United States - a tribute to the popularity of the songster which reportedly had multiple press runs in the 1840's totaling one million copies. The Child A text, from Allan Ramsay's Tea- table Miscellany, seemingly has been most reprinted in those literary collections of "olden ballads", which rarely were distributed among the folk; the Forget-me -not Songster, on the other hand, was aimed at the mass, and therefore the folk, market.

[Cray's article confirms the postulation by Riley 1957 that there are few or no traditional texts based on Child A. Although covering the "Martinmas" there is no mention of additional texts with the "fall" setting.

Richie]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 05:47 PM

Whilst applauding your very ambitious attempt at comparing all versions I can't help thinking there is very little evidence for most of your observations so far. The various rewritings, additions and omissions will very rarely throw up anything conclusive. Any one of a number of versions could be the original which existed in the same form earlier and has since disappeared. The idea of an earlier ur-text is therefore pure conjecture. However, if you do come up with something even likely it will be very useful.

I don't think you've yet considered the burlesque texts. Some of the forced rhymes in some stanzas smack of burlesque and it's quite possible even some of the earlier texts were burlesques or parodies. Certainly in later centuries songs passed back and forth between burlesque and serious song. William Taylor, Lord Lovel, George Collins, The Drowned Lover etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 08:18 PM

Ur-texts, I think, are more often discussed than they are reconstituted.

And the great difficulty with them is that short of some amazing discovery - as of the actual original text itself - there's no way of verifying your conjectures.

If you have the known ur-text (a holograph of a poem by Burns, for example), it can be interesting to compare it with later versions and, in some cases, published distortions to show what errors have crpt in and how.

On the other hand, it's very difficult to go in the opposite direction.

I think the best one can do is to make an educated guess at the themes and motifs that may have been in the ur-text rather than at its precise words.

I attempted to get close to a plausible ur-text of "Rolling Down to Old Maui" on this thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=33324#3653848

With dubious success.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 08:22 PM

Hi Steve,

Conjecture is right, since we don't have a time machine!!! The question is what can be eliminated and what can be kept in order to produce an approximation of the UR-ballad? There's quite a bit to sift through to obtain a few kernels of truth.

I know of the 1855 parody, Barbara Allen, the Cruel. Are there others?
When Barbara laughs upon viewing his corpse- this seems to be the main difference between tradition and parody in Barbara Allen the Cruel. Do you agree?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 08:25 PM

TY lighter,

I'm going back to the opening stanzas with a quote from "Barbara Allen" in Tradition and in Print- Riley 1957:

There are, besides these texts which are obviously from printed versions, just six texts which begin with the autumn setting. Three of these are from North Carollna (Brown Z, AA, DD), two from Virginia. (Davia G, BB), and one from Georgia (Morris A). These texts show some relationship with other traditional texts which have a spring setting. Three of these (Brown Z, AA, and Davis G) are obviously related texts, Brown Z begins.

It was the fall season of the year
The yellow leaves were falling.
Sweet William he was taken sick
For the love of Barbara Ellen.

The name is "Barbara Allan" in Davis G.

All three texts have Barbara, a reproach, and William's justification is in Davis G and Brown AA. In Davis G the insult occurs in "yonders town," and in Brown A it is "last Tuesday night." Both phrases occur in other texts. The curtain around the bed is retained from Ramsay's or is superimposed. Barbara weeps when she sees the corpse. In Brown Z and AA, Barbara. asks her rather to dig her grave and all end with the rose-brier motif.

Brown DD is deseribed by Hudson as "a full normal text with autumn setting." It has thirteen stanzas and the girl is "Barbara Ellen." The remaining text (Davis BB) has some interesting variations but it is obviously contaminated by Percy's "English" version. It begins:

'Twas late-lie, late-lie in the fall,
'Twas when the leaves were dying,
That Johnny from the back countree
Fall in love with Barbara Allen.

[Richie]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 01 May 15 - 05:57 AM

> The version is reprinted from Grieg (his A version) and was collected in 1905 from Mrs. Gillespie

Thank, Richie. Yes, that's the one. Friedman doesn't give the date and the singer, so thanks for that information too. As Riley says, nine stanzas are basically the same as in Ramsay, including the give-away change from "hooly, hooly" to "slowly, slowly" the second time round. It's certainly too close for it to be taken evidence of an independent tradition of this version not derived from Ramsay's text.

As for the additions, the kiss stanza seems to be fairly common and I imagine it could easily have been slipped in, perhaps even unconsciously, by a singer who knew other versions than the Ramsay text. I guess the gifts and the family dialogue stanzas could have been inserted by a hack writer, as Riley suggests, but I presume she is just speculating here about a hypothetical printed text that might have existed. On the other hand, couldn't a version like this equally well have been created in singing tradition, in an environment where singers knew and respected the printed Ramsay text but also knew other parts of the story that were not in Ramsay? That sort of interaction of print and orality might not pass as "traditional" for Riley, for whom I guess "tradition" = purely oral tradition, but maybe a more inclusive understanding of tradition is called for, not least in a region like Lowland Scotland with a long tradition of promoting literacy and a rich stock of printed song books.

Quibbles about what counts as "tradition" apart, I agree that the "Last Leaves" text is no help if you're looking for indications that something very like the Ramsay text might have been in continuous oral circulation before and after 1740. (But actually I wonder how the existence of an independent oral tradition of a version similar to Ramsay's could ever be demonstrated, given that we know that his text was readily available as a potential model from 1740 onwards.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 01 May 15 - 07:46 AM

> But actually I wonder how the existence of an independent oral tradition of a version similar to Ramsay's could ever be demonstrated, given that we know that his text was readily available as a potential model from 1740 onwards.

I doubt that it could.

But why is that even important. Many, many years ago I too was caught up in the idea of a "pure" oral tradition that had produced numberless masterpieces.

But the number of real masterpieces is limited and the best - which are unlikely to have circulated very far beyond the family circle - usually from "questionable" (i.e., rather literate) sources.

Steve and I have recently been in discussion about MacColl's "Sir Patrick Spens," which he claims to have learned from his father. Did he really? Or did he cobble it together mostly on his own?

The real question is what difference does it make? If learned from his father, where did his father's source learn it? Somebody put it together at some time, and that somebody had a very special talent for Scottish balladry.

The result, which to me is a "timeless" as a song can be, is possibly of greater interest than exactly when it appeared - which at the moment is about 1950, with little influence until it began to be "covered" by others in the 1960s.

The possibility that MacColl's may be the "ur-text," miraculously recovered from oral tradition in the twentieth century is close to zero. And we'd have know way to know it without written documents.

What lies behind individual texts of "Spens" and "Barbara Allen" would be nice to know, but even informed conjecture can only go so far. We don't even know just how much of "Tam Lin" came from Robert Burns. In theory most all of it, even though it's based on a folk tale.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 May 15 - 08:25 AM

"The possibility that MacColl's may be the "ur-text," miraculously recovered from oral tradition..."
According to Salford historians, Ruth and Eddie Frow, MacColl's father had hundreds of ballads and queer old songs, many in bits and pieces, which he sang everywhere he went - Trades Union socials, in the pub....." wherever.
MacColl was reported by the BBC man who first recruited him for the radio, to have been discovered busking for pennies from a cinema queue in Manchester , singing ballads and songs, in English and Scots Gaelic, in the hungry 1930s - long before the folk song revival was ever a twinkle in anybody's eye.

"Ewan MacColl was himself a victim of the Depression. The son of an unemployed Glasgow steelworker, who had moved to Salford in search of work during the twenties, he had suffered every privation and humiliation that poverty could contrive for him from the age of ten. His memories of his early years are still bitter—like his recollection of how to kill aimless time in a world where there was nothing else to do: "You go in the Public Library. And the old men are there standing against the pipes to get warm, all the newspaper parts are occupied, and you pick a book up. I can remember then that you got the smell of the unemployed, a kind of sour or bitter-sweet smell, mixed in with the smell of old books, dust, leather and the rest of it. So now if I pick up, say, a Dostoievsky—immediately with the first page, there's that smell of poverty in 1931."
MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs. One night while queueing up for the three-and-sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audi¬tion for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly.
PROSPERO AND ARIEL (The rise and fall of radio, a personal recollection – D G Bridson 1971)"

MacColl certainly did learn ballads and songs from his parents - many of them he supplemented with published texts.
I would have thought that following the fiasco of attempting to attribute Irish Traveller, John Reilly's ballads as having been learned from a book, academics would have learned their lesson - apparently not.
Some of the rarest ballads imaginable have been turning up from some of the most 'unlikely' sources - Maid and the Palmer', 'Prince Robert', 'Young Hunting' 'The Suffolk Miracle', 'Johnny Scot' - all within the last 40 years.
There is no reason at all that MacColl's father should not have been such a source - I can't think of one anyway.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 01 May 15 - 10:46 AM

Thanks, Jim. My point was not there's anything wrong with MacColl's "SPS," but quite the opposite: that as it is, IMO, the finest known version of the song in both text and tune, its very excellence might suggest to some that it is actually the "ur-text," miraculously preserved for at least two hundred years with scarcely a change.

That would surely be wishful thinking.

The secondary point, which is more relevant to Richie's "Barbara Allen" project, is that it isn't easy to determine just when and how a presumably orally transmitted version of a song came into existence. The crucial early evidence is usually lacking.


And just to put it on record before it slips my mind:

Some would claim that MacColl's "SPS" would be "inauthentic" if he, as a literate student of balladry, put it together himself - even if some of it came from his father, a lifelong traditional singer. But undoubtedly like his own sources, William Miller made conscious changes as well (putting a new tune to "Calton Weaver," for example). Some alterations may even have been influenced by print. In this case, I'd say that whatever MacColl may or may not have done to his father's song or fragment, the result would still be in "the tradition," since MacColl (unlike Lloyd) grew up with such songs - and his "SPS" is stylistically indistinguishable from both the bulk and the best of them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 May 15 - 11:23 AM

Print and person adaptation has always been a feature of song transmission as far as we know - Anna Brown and all those cited by David Buchan in 'Ballad and the Folk' are worth bearing in mind in this respect.
Duncan Williamson had an extremely fine repertoire of traditional ballads - inauthentic?
Many of the singers we recorded supplemented their songs from printed garlands and ballad sheets Tom Lenihan and Martin Reidy in particular (see Clare County Library collection above)
Walter Pardon gathered together his 2 uncles' songs and, where they were incomplete, filled them in from wherever he could get them.
The problem is in all this that we have no idea of how the oral tradition worked as the songs were treated as artifacts and the singers were never asked their opinions - this, I believe, has left the field open for all sorts of unsubstantiated speculation. to be presented as fact when there are no grounds for doing so.
In our experience, the oral/print question is an extremely complex one.
That 'the folk' were capable of creating good songs themselves has become beyond doubt since we began our work with Travellers and here in West Clare - in the case of the latter, we have found dozens withing a ten mile radius of this fairly remote one-street town and have been told of many more which have disappeared.
As for the quality of a song being an indication of validity - I suggest that you seek out Roscommon Traveller, Martin McDonagh's exquisite version of 'Lady Margaret' (Young Hunting) or Mary Baylon of Louth's 'Johnny Scot' or the County Dublin version of Prince Robert ('Lord Abore').
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 15 - 06:35 PM

Just a simple question for you, Jim. You probably don't know the answer but an opinion would do.

MacColl during his lifetime published many books of songs. The only one which (in my opinion) is fully reliable as being totally what was sung by source singers is 'Traveller's Songs'. Having published all of these excellent books, and taking into account what you say about his father's songs, it seems very strange to me that he should put all that effort into these books with no scholarly collection of his father's or his mother's songs! Can you think of why this might be so?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 15 - 04:10 AM

Actually, he didn't publish that many books - some which were aimed at providing revival fodder and two, which in my opinion, were among the most important collections, 'Doomsday in the Afternoon' and 'Songs of the Travellers'
MacColl was not a scholar as such and he mistrusted academia - quite often his scholarship was somewhat dodgy and tied to his interested in promoting singing and encouraging others others to sing - the description of his speed-reading a book or article in preparation for a Critics Group meeting (can't remember if we used it in our programmes on him) was a revealing one.
The work he did on singing was, in my opinion, groundbreaking (and virtually impossible to discuss on forums like this due to the infighting that is one of our sad legacies of the early days of the revival).
I honestly don't know why he didn't publish his parents songs, or why academics like Goldstein, who was aware of them and referred to them often in song notes, didn't encourage him to do so or follow them up himself (he even produced an LP of Ewan and his mother).
I don't know if he remembered enough of them to make the exercise worthwhile - he remembered them being sung around the house and, as I said, many, possibly all of them were fragmentary and added to (Eddie Frow's description seemed to be a fairly accurate one).
MacColl wrote very little - articles mainly, even his autobiography was tossed off over a shortish period, then laid aside and eventually, published posthumously.
Face-to-face teaching, interviews and a very occasional radio programme, rather than the printed word were his thing (still reckon 'The Song Carriers has never been bettered in over half-a-century)
Sorry I can't be more help than that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 02 May 15 - 09:14 AM

Hi,

A bit of thread drift here. Some traditional performers needed additional songs and ballads that they wanted to perform that were outside the scope of their and their family repertoire. Since they are labeled "traditional" performers for whatever reason they felt that these new songs and ballads need to be attributed to them or their family- and not be covers of another persons song or ballad. MacColl had his father- this is my opinion. The number of questionable attributions is vast and this is nothing new or surprising.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 15 - 09:37 AM

"and not be covers of another persons song or ballad. MacColl had his father"
According to those who knew MacColl and his father, the songs were being sung in the family long before MacColl "needed" such validity - I'm sure the cinema queues in Manchester in the 30s did't care one way or another.
The indication was that MacColl knew these songs all his life in one form or another.
The need for such "validity", to my recollection, is very much part of the latter days of the revival, where many people are claiming to be traditional performers o the flimsiest evidence.
MacColl, at no time in my hearing, claimed to be a traditional singer, as many revivalists have on the basis that they heard "me Granny sing 'Knock 'em in the old Kent Road' at one time'
The somewhat spiteful claim that he invented them has no evidential validity and, compared to songs that were being found throughout the latter half of the 20th century, there is no reason at all why they shouldn't have been sung.
I certainly heard his mother Betsy sing on numerous occasions - or was it all a dream maybe?   
Jim Carrroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 02 May 15 - 09:43 AM

Going back to the original concern -- can there be an Ur-version of a ballad?

IMO, the answer can only be 'maybe', because almost certainly these story songs were being sung before they were being printed. (A cynical view of hack writers would have them feeding off existing stories/songs rather than creating new themes themselves.)

But with regard to recent comments about MacColl and his version of Sir Patrick Spens -- I firmly believe that any singer NOT brought up in the oral tradition is quite entitled to seek out what constitutes the best version (most complete or satisfactory) in his/her opinion: this may involve adding stanzas from other versions, or tidying up lines to make a more appealing listening experience.

(I'm one of several people -- Ronnie Clark and Gordeanna McCulloch-- who offer ballad workshops in which we actively encourage people to make their own choices about fitting text to tunes, and choosing verses from a selection of alternative texts.
So I'm not really in thrall to the notion of an Ur-text, but more than delighted with the grand proliferation of versions collected over centuries!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 02 May 15 - 11:10 AM

Jim,

It's not that his parent didn't know traditional ballads, that has nothing to do with attributing fully formed ballads to fragments and dim recollections. He might have remembered his father's singing-- these familial attributions are something that happen to perpetuate traditional versions as being completely "traditional". There are only so many ballads a singer knows from his family. I have made no detailed study- but it has been something I've sensed for a while. I have no problem with ballad recreation- only with ballad recreations that are attributed as traditional- the numbers are staggering.

John Jacob Niles learned a number of ballads from his father :)

Anne,

My postulation is that when writers refer to a ballad going back to an original print version, they are actually referring to, in some cases, a traditional version that has been printed. Obviously some print versions are merely copies or edited copies of another print version.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 15 - 11:19 AM

"IMO, the answer can only be 'maybe', because almost certainly these story songs were being sung before they were being printed."
Couldn't agree more - all we can say for certain about printed versions of songs and ballads is that they have been around at least since..... whenever.
"is quite entitled to seek out what constitutes the best version"
Again , agree wholeheartedly.
The problems arise when singers make claims beyond the evidence they have on the songs they have adapted - MacColl seldom did this (I can't remember him doing so) - Bert Lloyd did it all the time and left a minefield of problems in his wake.
Bert was one of the most entertaining speakers I have ever heard, but quite often his desire to entertain and impress made some of his statement quite unreliable.
With MacColl, the opposite was the case - he seldom divulged his own input into a song, but he made none of the claims of 'authenticity' that Bert was in the habit of making.
I remember sitting though a talk Bert once gave on Irish instrumental music and, even with my limited knowledge of the subject back then thinking, "hang on a minute..!!) - I enjoyed the talk immensely.
The difference between the two, it seems to me, is that Bert didn't always live up to the reputation he had built up for himself, while Ewan didn't always meet the reputation others had given him.
Aside from this, the quality of what we have been given by source singers and storytellers is often underrated.
We once recorded a magnificent long version of an Irish legendary tale from a Clare storyteller (The Gille Dacker and His Horse)
I knew it had been included in P W Joyce's 'Old Celtic Romances', and assumed that this is where it had come from.
When I mentioned that Joyce had published it, the storyteller replied, "I know, but he got it all wrong" - when we checked, he had!
I still find one of the most offensive statements ever made by a collector/academic was that made by Phillips Barry (who should have known better), to the song Lakes of Col Finn in the New Green Mountain Songster:

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


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 15 - 03:18 PM

A Scots song picked up in London in 1666 must have been extant, in one form or another, in Scotland prior to that date, the question being how long would it take at that period for a ballad/song to become so well known as to merit a mention by Pepys.

Fau"t would fit better than fault from a Scottish singers point of view.

Martinmas was the time of year when a "mart" ie. a steer was slaughtered and salted down to see the family through the winter and may have suggested to a Scots composer the mention of blood letting.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 15 - 03:53 PM

Hi GUEST
The song referred to was 'Scotch' not 'Scots'. I have it on reliable historical authority that the word 'Scotch' was used in 17th/18th century London to describe any song that used pseudo dialect from anywhere north of Watford. It was similar to what we might call 'stage Irish' nowadays. Or 'Bumpkin'songs of the 19thc. They were mostly written in London using pseudo dialect and often written for plays and pantomimes.

It always reminds me of the so-called Scots version which as Richie says featured heavily in anthologies but is rarely given from oral tradition and when it is it varies very little from the book version. I have no proof for this at all. Just a hunch.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 02 May 15 - 06:31 PM

"Scotch" simply may also mean typical of the Scots or related to Scotland. All it would take to make a "Scotch song" might be a setting in Scotland or in "the North Countrie." The stage song may have been composed in London, as Steve suggests.

While it's tempting to see "faut" as the garbled word, which would make the song at least presumptively of Scots origin, it would seem odd to me that a text Scottish enough to include one Lowland word would not include at least one or two others.

We all share a fairly consistent idea of what "traditional" means, but at times it can be almost as misleading as "folk." A song in the abstract is "traditional" if most of its known texts/tunes have been subjected to usually gradual changes over time within a community of some size. But when a specific version is called "traditional," that can seem to imply that it has come down with little change practically from time immemorial.

"Sir Patrick Spens" is "traditional." Yet MacColl's or anyone else's version, including those of the 19th century ,may not be strictly "traditional" in the sense that they are virtually intact survivals of something very old.

Just so we know what we're talking about.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 15 - 10:06 AM

The word 'traditional' is only useful when both the user and the audience have a good idea which 'tradition' they are referring to, and in fact that both parties are referring to the same tradition. For instance one party might be referring to the print tradition and the other to oral tradition. Then of course there are the folk scene tradition, literary tradition and a whole host of others.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 15 - 10:31 AM

"The word 'traditional' is only useful when both the user and the audience have a good idea"
Thankfully we have a literature, a history of research and a pedigree to fall back on to sort out the wheat from the chaff as far as folk/traditional song is concerned.
There may come a time when those who would have us accept the misuse and misunderstanding of the terms as valid, produce their own literature and scholarship - not in my time, I hope.
Then we'll have to follow Bert Lloyd's advice:
"If "Little Boxes" and "The Red Flag" are folk songs, we need a new term to describe "The Outlandish Knight", "Searching for Lambs" and "The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 15 - 02:54 PM

In which tradition would you place 'The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife', Jim? Bert was rather cute with this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 May 15 - 03:08 PM

"Bert was rather cute with this one."
Yes he was, but his point remains the same.
As I said, Bert's scholarship was problematic- but the, considering some recent claims on "folk", the song would have no problems fitting in with today's non-definition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 15 - 03:29 PM

Richie,
Apologies for thread drift once again. We ought to have a special section for marked thread drifts like this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 15 - 04:39 PM

Scots came into general use in the 19th C. prior to that Scotch was the accepted term.

It surprises me that Pepys with his expertise and who was a ballad collector/expert? should name a production, claimed to be from somewhere South of Watford, as Scotch.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 15 - 10:31 PM

Hi,

While the thread is drifting, I'm trying to sort out my versions to organize some conclusions - there are many versions and I'm trying to give the older ones preference.

This verse from Nora Hicks MS., which has never been public, has an additional motive for Barbara's rejection:

The more she looked, the more she wept
Till she bursted out crying.
I'll bid farewell to my mother dear,
For she would not let me have him. [Nora Hicks c. 1880 Mast's Gap NC]

This family line dates back to the late 1600s in Virginia.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 04 May 15 - 08:48 AM

Pepys collected broadsides but he was an enthusiast, not an "expert" or "ballad scholar."

Since Elizabeth Knepp (or as Pepys has it "Knipp") was a well-known London actress, what evidence there is makes it unlikely that her song (or version of it) actually came from Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 15 - 11:22 AM

Note the question mark.

I hold no regard for the self confessed rapist Pepys but surely some credence may be accorded to his statement that this was a Scotch ballad. He after all made the statement at the time and was in a better position than most to make an informed comment.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 May 15 - 11:27 AM

Hi Guest,
Please read my posting 2 May 3.53, and Lighter's following posting.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 15 - 12:16 PM

Hi,

The "Scottish" ballad by Knipp has been discussed in some detail by Lighter, Mick Pierce, and others in another thread. We'll never know positively because we don't have the text. It is important since it places a date, 1666, to the ballad which predates the c.1690 broadside.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 15 - 03:48 PM

Correct Ritchie-----we"ll never know positively so the field is wide open for all sorts of speculation by people with all kinds of agendas


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 May 15 - 05:47 PM

Richie
I'm going to email you what Chappell has to say on the matter in Roxburghe Ballads. I'm also doing a quick comparison of all the broadside versions I have copies of and will post the results as soon as I finish.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 May 15 - 06:48 PM

Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 03 May 15 - 10:31 AM

"The word 'traditional' is only useful when both the user and the audience have a good idea"
Thankfully we have a literature, a history of research and a pedigree to fall back on to sort out the wheat from the chaff as far as folk/traditional song is concerned.
There may come a time when those who would have us accept the misuse and misunderstanding of the terms as valid, produce their own literature and scholarship - not in my time, I hope.
Then we'll have to follow Bert Lloyd's advice:
"If "Little Boxes" and "The Red Flag" are folk songs, we need a new term to describe "The Outlandish Knight", "Searching for Lambs" and "The Coal-owner and the Pitman's Wife".
Jim Carroll
I would rather not follow Lloyds advice, his statement is bollocks, he lumps together two songs, one of which is social comment song[ little boxes], the other was the song sang at labour party conferences,they have little in common, it is exactly the nonsense that has reduced Lloyds credibility as a scholar.
please tell me why little boxes cannot be considered a folk song, but the coalminer and the pitmans wife can.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 May 15 - 06:56 PM

Okay here's a summary of what I found.
We start with the 1690 printing which has several copies but all the same printing house (Scarlet town-bound, 15v)

Then the mid 18thc reprints of this which are fairly numerous and carried on to about 1800 with the extra v on the end. Printed by the likes of the Diceys, White of Newcastle, and then Davenport c1800 (16v, again, Scarlet - bound)

Percy then publishes his slightly altered version c1765. The significant difference is changing 'bound' to 'born' in the first line, otherwise the differences between his and the Dicey copy are trivial. We have this version then by Fowler of Shaftesbury and some without imprint but 18thc (16v, Scarlet - born)

Then we get a longish rewrite some time in the 18thc that changes 'Scarlet' to 'Reading' a sort of reverse pun. My only copy of this is no imprint and mid 19thc unfortunately but I would say it seems to have given rise to both the Scots version and the later c1800 widely printed broadside. I will post this version later. (14v, Reading - born) This version is the only one to introduce the rose/briar motif)

Seemingly from this was made the Scots version which may first have appeared in a 1740 edition of Ramsey. It lacks the first verse. ( 9v)

Then we have the widely printed 19thc version which seems to appear c1800 with Pitts, Swindells, Kendrew followed by all the usual suspects like Catnach and all the Pitts/Catnach successors. (10v, Reading - born)

The Philadelphia Forget me not Songster c1842/3 version is the Scots version filled out with all sorts of commonplaces and repeats very much in the Peter Buchan style. (18v)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 04 May 15 - 07:23 PM

Hi, Steve.

Thanks for your clarification of publication dates, but I'd like to ask if you have any explanation as to how these various versions evolved into what singers were actually singing in later collections.

Please note that this is not in any way a criticism of your posts, but I'm coming to this as a ballad singer and I include Barbara Allan in my repertoire (in a version from the Scottish Greig-Duncan Collection which begins 'In Scotland I was born and bred/In London I was dwelling').
My version includes the bequests -- a guinea gold watch on a silver chain and, a china basin fu' o tears.

I'd very much like to hear your thoughts on how these accretions became part of ballad text, and I'd also love to know if you've ever been a singer of these great stories.

(This isn't an attempt at entrapment! I'm just curious to explore the connection between scholars and singers.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 15 - 08:16 PM

Hi,

Anne--I won't talk for Steve but it's interesting that the bequests are not part of the print versions (except for the "seven ships" stanza).

I've contacted the Houghton Library and will get them to send Buchan's 41 stanza version with, I assume, 20 stanzas devoted to the "gifts." This may take a few weeks tho.

So is your version similar to Grieg A that was discussed earlier in this thread? would you mind posting the text?

Steve- I'd also like you to list the parodies. I have a copy of the 1855 parody which doesn't much like a parody -- except for the laughing at his corpse-- which is rarely found in tradition.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 15 - 08:24 PM

Hi,

I'm posting this version that was submitted by BigDaddy- I assume for this thread, and the excellent family lineage that precedes it. It is traced back to 1700s in Virginia. I did change her name to "Barbry Allen" since it was sung that way. TY BigDaddy, here it is:

Here is the song as I transcribed it from the singing of my mother and great aunts. This was handed down from at least as far back as my great-great-great grandmother Rebecca (Hubbard) Johnson (b. 1792 in VA). From her it was passed to my great-great grandmother Ona Lacey (Johnson) Bishop, to my great grandmother Adeline (Bishop) Puckett, to my grandmother Lula (Puckett) Turner (and her sisters), to my mother, Ruby (Turner) Clark. And then to me. The Johnsons and Pucketts were originally from Tennessee. By around 1855 they were living in Southern Illinois. They all, of course, pronounced it as "Barbry" Allen. This was one of several songs handed down through the same women. Others include "The Butcher Boy," "Gypsy Davy," "The Farmer's Wife and the Devil," and "The Farmer's Wife wrapped in Sheepskin."

Barbry Allen- from Rebecca (Hubbard) Johnson (b. 1792 in VA)

In Scarlet Town where I was born, there was a fair maid dwellin'
Made many a youth cry well a day, her name was Barbry Allen.

"Twas in the merry month of May when green buds they were swellin'
Young William came from the west country and courted Barbry Allen.

He sent a servant unto her, to the place where she was dwellin'
Saying, "My master sick bids me call for you, if your name be Barbry Allen."

Slowly, slowly got she up, and slowly went she nigh him,
But all she said, as she passed his bed, "Young man I think you're dyin."

He turned his pale face to the wall and he began a'cryin'
"Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all. Be kind to Barbry Allen."

Slowly, slowly she went home; she saw his pale corpse comin'.
"Lay down, lay down that corpse of clay that I may look upon him."

"Oh Mother, Mother, go make my bed. Go make it long and narrow.
Sweet William died for me today. I'll die for him tomorrow."

They buried William in the old church yard, they buried Barbry beside him.
Out of his grave grew a red, red rose, and out of hers, a briar.

They grew and grew up the old church wall, 'til they could grow no higher,
And at the top, twined in a lover's knot, a red rose and a briar.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 15 - 08:34 PM

Hi,

The letter printed in "Old Songs from Clarksburg, W. Va., 1918" dates Barbara Allen back to 1777.

Letter to Anna Richardson:

dear friend May God bless you i take the time to rite you a few lines
we are all well as usual and hope you the same dont think hard for me not riting soner. Well, i will send you your song ballets, the song of littel jonie Green it is one a hunderd years old it was sung 1777 as near as i can guess.


Rachel Fogg, West Virginia

Richardson says, "Other ballads sung for me were "The Sad Ballet of Little Johnny Green" (a version of "Barbara Allen"), . . "

Unfortuately, as far as I know neither Richardson or Cox (his version J, no text given) printed it from Fogg or McAtee, two singers who knew it under that title. Does anyone know of a version under this title? Cox says only that it's similar to his version C.
I believe that versions from the US/Canada rival the broadside version of c. 1690, although this may not be proven. I am compiling
North American versions by age to get some results on the opening stanzas which may be the key for dating this ballad.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 05 May 15 - 05:56 AM

Richie, my version is actually Greig-Duncan's B version -- which appears with full text in Bronson as his no.127; he also makes the comment that the second part of the tune "suggests Rio Grande".
G-D's A version (from Duncan's sister Mrs Margaret Gillespie) has the Martinmas time opening, whereas the B version (which Greig got from Mrs Cruickshank of Greciehill) opens with "In Scotland I was born and bred". In his notes to the song, Greig says, "Our first version seems to derive from Bishop Percy's copy. The second represents a traditional version." He goes on to say "the air usually recorded in the traditional field is a different one, with more character, and having a quaint repeat in true folk-song style."

Here are my words, which over a period have deviated slightly from the original text.

1) In Scotland I was born and bred.
    In London I was dwelling.
    I fell in love with a nice young girl
    And her name was Barbara Allan, Allan,
    And her name was Barbara Alla.

2) I courted her for seven long years
    Till I could court no longer.
    Then I grew sick and very very ill
    And I sent for my false true lover etc.

3) Oh slowly she put on her clothes
    And slowly she came nigh him
    And when she came to his bedside
    She said, 'Young man, you are dying etc.'

4) 'Dying, my love, that canna be;
    One kiss from you would cure me.'
    'One kiss from me that ne'er call be
    Though your hard heart lies aching etc.'

5) He turned his back toward the wall
    And his face to Barbara Allan,
    'Adieu to you, and adieu to all
    And adieu to Barbara Allan etc.

6) It's look ye up at my bedhead --
    There ye will see hanging
    A guinea gold watch and a silver chain
    And gie that to Barbara Allan etc.

7) And look ye soon at my bed foot --
    There ye will see standing
    A china basin fu' o tears
    And gie that to Barbara Allan etc.

8) She hadna gone a mile or twa
    When she heard the dead bell tolling
    And every toll it seemed to say
    Hard-hearted Barbara Allan etc.

9) Oh mother, mak' my bed for me,
    Ye'll mak' it lang and narrow.
    My true love died for me today --
    I will die for him tomorrow etc.

10) Her mother then she made her bed
      Wi' muckle grief and sorrow.
      She laid her doon to rise nae mair
    And she died for her ain true lover etc.

Spelling inconsistencies are entirely mine!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 May 15 - 07:47 AM

What key is it usually played in? Just so we can refer to it as the Barbara Allen Key...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 05 May 15 - 07:54 AM

It's like the Francis Scott Key.

But you knew that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 05 May 15 - 10:41 AM

> I have a copy of the 1855 parody …

Is that "Barbara Allan THE CRUEL" on the Glasgow Broadside Ballads site? Dated 1855 and apparently "drawing crowded audiences at all the different theatres and concerts in the kingdom". Barbara laughs and then lives on to find "another spark". But she is eventually buried beside the young man (born in Reading town) who died for love of her: "They buried him in the church porch, / When she died laid her beside 'un, / For she wished to be his bride in death, / Though in life she could'nt abide 'un, / Though in life she could'nt abide 'un."

It also has a verse that maybe hints at the legacy motif (?): "When she was gone he gave a grunt, / In expression of his sorrow; / In his will left Barbara all his blunt, / And then he died to-morrow, / And then he died to-morrow."

It's printed alongside Ramsay's text, which comes with an introductory paragraph arguing that the "old Scottish set" of the ballad is the original and Percy's is a fabrication derived from it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 10:59 AM

Or even the Dave Allen key.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 11:16 AM

I don't think the word 'parody' is accurate here. A parody usually introduces another theme or element. I think the word 'burlesque' is much better. A burlesque either alters the words slightly in some way to make them comic but retains the same plot and theme, or keeps the song pretty much as was and the burlesque is all in the performance. Of course there are different degrees of this. There are burlesques of many of the more common Child Ballads, like George Collins, Lord Lovell and Lord Randall. I will look into this when I have more time but my point was that apart from the proclaimed burlesque of the 19thc already mentioned the early versions show other hallmarks of burlesque, but this is only my opinion.

Richie,
I don't think Buchan's version is in the Harvard Ms. It's in the BL ms.
It's titled 'Bonny Barbara Allan' FL 'In Scarling town where I was bound' 41v and in the ballad she is referred to as 'Babie Allan'. I didn't have time to copy it out but I have seen it. The last verse mentions a 'Captain Green'. Peter had an extensive library and seems to have drawn on multiple copies for his heavily edited versions. He will have had a copy of the 18thc versions as one was printed in Aberdeen in 1775 (BL 1346 m 7 16b). Child had a copy of Peter's version but chose not to include it. I wonder why!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 11:24 AM

Hi Anne,
I'm afraid as you will know, BA is the most widely sung and published of all the ballads, and whilst I spent an evening looking through the printed copies I don't have the time to do the same with the hundreds of oral copies. Richie is doing an admiral job with this.

I do sing the ballads but I've never been attracted to ballads like BA. I prefer the more magical ones like Tam Lin, Two Sisters, Cruel Mother, Maid and the Palmer.

Generally speaking in answer to your question, a lot of editing, rewriting and mixing and matching of the ballads went on in the 18th and early 19th centuries, by hacks, by sophisticated amateurs like Mrs Brown and Elizabeth St Clair, and indeed by the ballad editors themselves. Most of the ballad editors eventually confessed to this but poor old Peter was reviled because he insisted every word was from the source singers which of course is ludicrous.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 12:13 PM

Richie,
I'm probably stating the obvious but Little Johnny Green is very likely a development of 'Sir John Grehme'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 05 May 15 - 12:26 PM

> the bequests are not part of the print versions (except for the "seven ships" stanza).

But maybe a case of the exception that proves the rule. As far as I can see, the seven ships in the Forget-Me-Not Songster version and the similar stanza in Child C are not actually bequests left by the dying lover like the gold watch, tears, blood, etc., but promises of the wealth that Barbara could share in if she would accept him. The Annandale versions mentioned by C.K. Sharpe sound the same: "… containing numerous magnificent offers from the lover to his mistress—and among others, some ships, in sight…" (quoted in The Scotish (sic) Musical Museum, 1839 edition, vol. III p. 300, available at archive.org). We'll have to wait and see what the Peter Buchan MS text reveals if you can get a copy of it, but so far the ships look like part of the wooer's attempt to win Barbara by impressing her with his wealth, before he falls sick, not bequests left to her when he knows he is dying.

By the way, on the same page of the SMM where C.K. Sharpe is quoted, there is a four-stanza military parody of BA from 1752. (I think this one really is a parody, not a burlesque.) The model seems to be Ramsay's version or something like it – it starts "It fell about", which seems to come from songs with a Martinmas setting (for example "Get Up and Bar the Door"), although it's not actually how Ramsay's first line is worded (does it suggest that Ramsay's text was subject to a bit of variation in singing?) and later on has a line with "dinna ye mind" like Ramsay's accusation stanza.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 12:37 PM

Here is the promised version. I'd certainly like your thoughts on this one, Richie.

Barbara Allen.

In Reading town, where I was born,
A fair maid there was dwelling.
I pick'd her out to be my wife,
Her name was Barbara Allen.

It was in the month of merry May,
When green leaves they were springing
A young man on a sick bed lay,
For the sake of Barbara Allen.

He sent to her a servant man
To the place where she was dwelling,
Saying, fair maid, to my master come,
If your name be Barbara Allen.

So slowly, so slowly she walk'd on,
So slowly she got to him,
And when she got to his bed-side,
Young man, she said, you're dying,

Nothing but death is painted in your face
All joys are flown from thee,
I cannot save thee from the grave,
So farewell, my dear Johnny,

He turn'd his face unto the wall,
And turned his face from her,
And as he turned those words he said,
Hard hearted Barbara Allen.

Don't you remember the other day,
You in the ale-house was drinking,
Where every lad drank to his lass
You slighted Barbara Allen.

As she was walking in the fields
she heard the bells a ringing,
And as they rang they seem'd to say
"Hard hearted Barbara Allen.

As she was walking up the town
She saw the corpse a coming;
You little hearts come set him down,
And let me look upon him,

The more she look'd the more she laugh'd
The farther she got from him,
Until all her friends cried, Fie! for shame,
Hard hearted Barbara Aleen.

Then when she came unto the grave
She bursted out a crying,
I wish I had more kinder been
When I was nearer to him.

Twas he that died on one good day,
And she died on the morrow;
And Johnny Groves he died for love,
Barbara Allen died for sorrow.

The one was buried in the chancel top,
The other in the choir;
On Johnny Groves there grows a rose,
On Barbara Allen a brier.

The brier it growed to the chancel top,
Until it could grow no higher,
And there it met in a true lover's knot,
For thousands to admire.

Madden Collection 5095. As I said it has no imprint and looks to be second half of the 19thc. It could though easily be a copy of something much earlier. When I suggested it could be the original of the Scots version and the 19thc well-known broadside, equally it could be a pastiche of those 2. It certainly reads as being very folky and may have been subject to oral tradition as opposed to the earlier print versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 01:12 PM

My 1763 edition of TTM has the same version as in my reprint of SMM with just a few minor alterations to spelling, e.g. Graham/Graeme. It's at Vol 1 p230 but I can't see a parody. I don't think it's in my edition. If it's only 4 stanzas could you post it for us please?

Regarding the line
It fell about the Martinmas tide, Scott made good use of it in his 'Jamie Telfer'.

Of course 'Lammas' soon translates into 'Martinmas' as the doughty Douglas would know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 05 May 15 - 02:33 PM

Hi,

Anne- Thanks for posting the version.

Jim Brown- The 1855 parody is that "Barbara Allan THE CRUEL." I think an excellent point you made is:

"are not actually bequests left by the dying lover like the gold watch, tears, blood, etc., but promises of the wealth that Barbara could share in if she would accept him."

I think this is accurate, also I think "the gifts" are part of tradition and they should be part of the ur-ballad, which at some point I'll construct using parts of different versions. I'm still sifting through my US/Canada/Jamaica versions, but need more time to reach any conclusions.

Steve- thanks for the Madden version. Is this one of the first broadside (British Isles) with the rose-briar ending?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 05 May 15 - 03:09 PM

> there is a four-stanza military parody of BA from 1752

A parody usually implies the audience's expected familiarity with the original.

That makes the parody better evidence for the popularity of the original in the mid-18th Century than would, say, another broadside printing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 04:20 PM

Absolutely, Jon. A burlesque wouldn't necessarily require that or mean that the model was popular. You could burlesque something very obscure and the burlesque would still work because much of it lies in the performance, although in many cases it is still taking the micky out of a model. In some cases the burlesque would have been taking a rise out of a genre rather than an individual work. For quite sophisticated artistes like Cowell traditional ballads were prime targets with their sentimentality, simple structure and cartoon-like narratives. Some were delivered in exaggerated dialect and charicature but others were delivered almost verbatim as the model albeit with an incongruous style. Hence the fast jolly tunes for the likes of Lord Lovell and Billy Taylor. Read Cowell's song book and you wonder where the enormous popularity came from but much of it was in the delivery.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 05 May 15 - 05:40 PM

Thanks, Steve.

I seem to recall reading long, long ago that American minstrels in their with their blackface and exaggerated dialect would adopt a very formal "recital" style when singing, again for the humor of incongruity.

Unfortunately I can't absolutely confirm this. It would be somewhat comparable what you say about the English music-halls, however.

An unfortunate current example is the rugby version of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," sung verbatim but accompanied with gestures that create a bawdy double-entendre where none exists in the words.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 05 May 15 - 06:43 PM

>If it's only 4 stanzas could you post it for us please?

Gladly, Steve. The author is identified as Sir Robert Murray Keith, 1732-1795. According to the author of the annotation (William Stenhouse, I think), it was written in 1752, when Keith was an officer in a regiment of foot raised in Scotland for the Dutch service, and was published in "a collection entitled " The Caledoniad," London, 1775, 3 vols. 12mo; which contains several other poems by the same hand, and written about the same time." I'm sure the parody would only work for people who knew the ballad intimately – I wonder if BA was a favourite in the officers' mess. Anyway here it is, as given in the 1839 annotated SMM:


A Paraphrase of the first four verses of Barbara Allan ; made on Lord D[ouglas]'s regiment receiving orders to march from Maestrecht to Sas van Ghent, in Dutch Flanders. By Sir R—t M—y K—h.

It fell about the month of June,
Or in the month of July,
That Jan de Back,* in the Low Countrie,
Did use us very cruelly.

A letter by the post he sent
With news that was right dreary,
That we must march to Sas van Ghent,
Of which we'll soon be weary.

Rise up, Rise up, young men," he said,
" 'Tis time that ye were stepping ;
" Of the bad air be not afraid,
" Take aye the t'other chappin.

" For dinna ye mind as well as me,
" Breda, where ye were lying ;
" The lads that drank came off Scot free,
" When the sober folk lay dying ?"

* Secretary at War.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 15 - 06:58 PM

Having been published earlier in the century by Ramsay and then anthologised to death it would have been very familiar to all of the well-heeled Scottish class later in the century. Thanks for this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 05 May 15 - 07:57 PM

Steve,

I'm not sure (as you said) if the Harvard Library has a copy of Buchan's 41 stanza version (they are checking 2 folio boxes). How can I get a copy from the British Library? It's also in Motherwell's MS.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 06 May 15 - 03:37 AM

> Having been published earlier in the century by Ramsay and then anthologised to death …

Yes, by the time the parody was published in 1775, Ramsay's version would have appeared in several more editions of the TTM, plus Herd and Percy and maybe others. But in 1752, when we are told the parody was written, would it have been in anything except the 1740 and 1750 editions of TTM, (plus perhaps Irish and American editions)? Not to mention that BA was only one among a good few hundred songs in TTM, and perhaps not the most obviously attractive to readers looking for the new songs that Ramsay seems to make the main selling point of the book.

On the other hand, I don't think the parody is necessarily to be taken as evidence that the Ramsay version was widely known in Scotland in 1752. It looks to me like the kind of thing that wouldn't have been particularly meaningful beyond the narrow circle of those directly affected by the event it describes, so for it to be effective as a parody when first written it could have been enough for BA to be well known among the author's fellow officers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 15 - 12:04 PM

Hi,

On a lighter note (not you Lighter- haha) from Eastern Tennessee and Western Virginia Mountain Ballads- Cambiaire, 1934. He says:

"* This ballad must have a very old origin. and its story was known perhaps in prehistoric times."

Haha- "prehistoric times" makes me think of a cave man swinging his spear and singing, "All in the merry month of May. . ."

His version, likely taken from one of his students, manages to combine both the Percy ending "Farewell" and the rose-briar:


35. BARBARA ALLEN- Cambiaire, 1934

IN the Scarlet Town here I was born,
There was a fair maid dwelling,
And every youth cried, "Well a-day!"
Her name was Barbara Allen.

All in the merry month of May,
When the green buds were a-swelling,
Poor William on his deathbed lay,
For the love of Barbara Allen.

He sent his man unto her then,
To the town that she did dwell in,
Says: "You must come to my master,
If your name be Barbara Allen.

For death is painted on his face,
And o'er his heart is stealing,
Then haste away to comfort him,
Oh, lovely Barbara Allen."

"Though death he painted on his face,
And o'er his heart is stealing,
Yet, little the better will he be
If I am Barbara Allen."

But slowly, slowly she came up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
And all she said when thus she came,
''Young man, I think you're dying."

He turned his face unto her straight,
With deathly sorrow, sighing,
"Oh, pretty maid, come pity me,
I'm on my deathbed lying."

He turned his face unto the wall,
And death was with him dealing,
"Adieu, adieu, my clear friends all,
Adieu to Barbara Allen."

As she was walking o'er the fields,
She heard the death bell knelling,
And every stroke it seemed to say,
" Unworthy Barbara Allen."

She turned her body round about,
And spied the corpse a-coming,
"Lay down, lay down the corpse," she cried,
"That I may look upon it"

With scornful eyes she looked down,
Her cheeks with laughter swelling,
And all her friends cried, "Out away,
Unworthy Barbara Allen."

As on her deathbed she did lay,
Her heart was stricken with sorrow,
" Oh, mother, mother, make my bed,
For I shall die to-morrow."

"Hard-hearted creature, him to slight,
Who loved me so dearly,
Oh, that I'd been more kind to him,
When he was alive and near me."

She, on her deathbed as she lay,
Begged to be buried by him,
And so repented of the day,
That she e'er did deny him.

"Farewell," she said, "ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in,
Henceforth take warning by the fall,
Of cruel Barbara Allen'"

They buried poor William in the church-yard,
And Barbara Allen by him,
Out of his grave sprang a red rose,
And out of hers a brier.

They grew till they grew to the church-house top,
And they could not grow any higher,
They locked and they tied in a true lover's knot.
And a rose hung on the brier.*


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 15 - 01:33 PM

Hi,

I just put Sam Harmon's version (North Carolina then Tennessee) on my site. Does anyone know any other versions beginning (same second line):

In Scarlet Town where I did dwell,
That's where I got my learning,
A maiden lived that I knew well,
Her name was Barbara Allen.

Away down South where I came from
Is where I got my learning.
I fell in love with a pretty little miss,
And her name is Barbery Ellen. [Sam Harmon c. 1929]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 15 - 04:17 PM

Here are some other examples. It's better to see the second stanza also:

Sandburg 1927:

1 In London City where I once did dwell,
there's where I got my learning,
I fell in love with a pretty young girl,
her name was Barbra Allen.

2 I courted her six months or more.
Was about to gain her favor;
'Oh wait! oh wait, oh wait!' she said.
'Some young man's gained my favor.'

LaRena Clark Ontario

1. In London city where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwelling,
And she had every youthful grace;
Her name was Barb'ra Allen.

2. "I courted her for four long years;
She swore she would not have me.
Then straightway home as I could go,
And like unto a-dying."

Anderson F. Hard-hearted Barbery Allen. Mrs Flora Havens of Binfield, Blount County has long been familiar with this song.

1. Away low down in London town,
In which three maids were dwelling.
There was but one I call my own,
And that was Barbery Allen.

2. I courted her for seven long years
She said she would not have me,
Poor Willie went home and took sick
And there he lay a-dying."

I'm just wondering if these versions have a print analogue and what the earliest traditional or print example is. They sometimes have Willie write her a letter, which the servant takes.

I'm stuck somewhere in Tennessee, putting versions on my site (Cambiaire, McDowell, Crabtree, Anderson etc.). Hopefully I'll get to another state soon!!!

TY,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 06 May 15 - 05:23 PM

>the early versions show other hallmarks of burlesque

Is it possible, then, that the song actually started out as a burlesque, the sort of thing people like Pepys and his friends could smile at, and then became more serious as it evolved -- perhaps starting with Ramsay's version and Oswald's solemn tune?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 15 - 06:16 PM

Jim 3.37. Yes you have a point, Jim. I think there was a musical equivalent of Ramsay that published the tunes which may have had some influence, but it does suggest to me that the standard song was well-known in polite circles perhaps before Ramsay's printing.

Richie, the letter writing is in the Forget-me-not Songster version which has lots of extra verses. When these people claim that their family version goes back several centuries they are not factoring in the likelihood of influence from other versions, some from more recent print like the FMNS version, especially with such a widespread popular ballad as this.

'That's where I got my learning' of course is an echo of 'where I was bound'

Jim, you may well be right about it starting out as a burlesque. I certainly think that's how pieces like Lord Lovell and George Collins started out. However these ballads slipped easily in and out of comedy and tragedy. One man's tragedy is another man's comedy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 15 - 06:18 PM

Jim
Sorry I didn't spot it. It's getting late. You actually mention Oswald, the musical equivalent of Ramsay.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 15 - 09:49 PM

Hi,

Steve-- you point to the Forget-Me-Not-Songster as having some of those elements (and I agree). Isn't it possible that instead of the print version having an influence that the editor took traditional elements and added them to the Forget-me-Not Songster to give it additional stanzas? The "ships" stanza was already mentioned by Sharpe Before it was incorporated as a stanza. The letter writing could also be traditional -- added to the Forget-Me-Not.

Let's not forget the influence that tradition has had on print. As an editor wouldn't you try to find other versions in order to add stanzas? Just as Percy added the "Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all," stanza which I believe is traditional from another source.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 15 - 09:56 PM

Hi,

I'm now going to add representative traditional ballads which I believe point to the ur-ballad or in this case ballads- since there are several different openings and endings.

The first is from Lena Harmon and Hattie Presnell and is part of what I believe is the evolution of Child B and tells the complete story. Comments as always are welcome.

Barbara Allen - sung by Lena Harmon and Hattie Presnell on March 21, 1969, Beech Mountain North Carolina. Collected by my friend Thomas Burton, of Tennessee.

1. In Scarlet town where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwellin'
Made every youth cry "Well a-way,"
Her name was Barbara Allen.

2. All in the merry months of May,
When the green buds they were swellin',
Sweet William came from the western states,
And courted Barbara Allen.

3. Then in the lovely month of June,
When all things they were bloomin',
Sweet William on his deathbed lay
For the love of Barbara Allen.

4. He sent his servant to the town
Where Barbara was a-dwellin';
"My master's sick, and he sends for you
If your name be Barbara Allen."

5. "For death is printed on his face
And o'er his heart is stealin';
Oh, come away to comfort him,
Oh, lovely Barbara Allen."

6. So slow, so slowly she got up,
And slowly she came nigh him;
And all she said when she got there,
"Young man, I think you're dyin'."

7. "Oh, yes, I'm sick and very sick,
And death is on me dwellin';
No better, no better I never will be
If I can't have Barbara Allen."

8. "Oh, yes, you're sick and very sick,
And death is on you dwellin';
No better, no better you never will be
For you can't have Barbara Allen."

9. "Oh, don't you remember in yonders town,
In yonders tavern a-drinkin'?
You drank a health to the ladies around
And slighted Barbara Allen."

10. "Oh, yes, I remember in yonders town,
In yonders tavern a-drinkin';
I drank a health to the ladies around,
My heart to Barbara Allen."

11. He turned his face unto the wall;
He turned his back upon her,
"Adieu, adieu to all my friends;
Be kind to Barbara Allen."

12. As she was walkin' through the field,
She beard the bells a-ringin';
They rang so loud they seemed to say,
"Unworthy Barbara Allen."

13. As she was walkin' through the town,
She heard the birds a-singin';
They rang so clear they seemed to say,
"Hardhearted Barbara Allen."

14. She looked to the east, she looked to the west;
She saw the corpse a-comin',
"Lay down, lay down the corpse," she said,
"That I may look upon him."

15. The more she looked, the more she moaned;
She fell on the ground a-cryin',
"Oh, pick me up and carry me home
For I feel like I am dyin'."

16. "Oh, Mother, oh, Mother, go make my bed;
Go make it long and narrow.
Sweet William died for me today;
I'll die for him tomorrow."

17. "Oh, Father, oh, Father, go dig my grave;
Go dig it long and narrow."
Sweet William died for true, true love,
And I will die from sorrow."

18. They buried her in the old churchyard,
And he was buried nigh her.
On William's grave grew a red, red rose;
On Barbara's grew a green briar.

19. They grew to the top of the old church wall;
They could not grow any higher.
They linked and twined in a true love's knot,
And the rose grew around the briar.

This version of the ballad is very well balanced and complete. Many of the representative lexicons are included (Fair maid dwellin'/western states/o'er his heart is stealin'/nigh him/ etc). I say evolution because it has elements that have evolved through time. The name, "Sweet William," for example, is taken (in my opinion) from Child 74 along with the rode/briar ending. The sick stanza ("yes, I'm sick") and the response ("yes, you're sick")- perfectly balanced. The motive for her rejecting him (slighting her at the tavern) and his defense (gave a health to the ladies, but his love to Barbara Allen)- again balanced. The mother making the bed and the father digging the grave- balanced. The two rose/briar stanzas- balanced. In my opinion, this is an example of an excellent version of the ballad.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 07 May 15 - 03:38 AM

> The first is from Lena Harmon and Hattie Presnell

Hi, Richie. Yes, it's a beautiful version. Up there with the best. I've never seen what Lena Harmon sang before, so I'm grateful to you for posting it, but I recognized her name because I found interesting her comments on what the ballad meant to her, which I came across in Christine A. Cartwright's article "'Barbara Allen': Love and Death in an Anglo-American Narrative Folksong" -- quoted there from Thomas Burton's book "Some Ballad Folks", so if you know Thomas Burton, this will not be news to you.

There's probably more in the book, but from what Cartwright quotes, it looks as if Lena Harmon puts the blame pretty firmly on Barbara, who "caused a lot of this by her pride and stubbornness" because "she didn't think that she loved this boy". But she concludes: "I think it shows that love is stronger than death," which seems to nicely sum up the paradoxically satisfying effect of adding the true lovers' stanza about the rose and briar stanza at the end of a ballad that on the surface seems to be about refusal of love.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 15 - 07:38 AM

> As an editor wouldn't you try to find other [oral] versions in order to add stanzas?

Probably not. Songsters were produced for cash, not scholarship or even for the serious collection of orally transmitted songs.

Apart from that of a few academics, there was little 19th century interest in oral tradition as an object of general study.

Baring-Gould was the leading pioneer in taking folk songs seriously, but even he had little respect for the verbal integrity of what he collected or published.

Were an editor already familiar with an additional stanza, he might well have included it. But going out of his way to find "traditional" lyrics? Extremely unlikely.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 15 - 08:12 AM

Richie,
First of all, yes an excellent version. No doubt someone in the family was talented in making a good version. I concur with your use of the word 'balanced' in terms of pairs of stanzas but don't read too much into this, that method is one of the simplest (and effective) ways of polishing/extending a ballad. I have got Burton. However off the top of my head all of these stanzas here are either of the common stock or derived therefrom.

The extra stanzas in the FMNS version have all come from other ballads (as I stated earlier very much in the style of Peter Buchan) and this led me to think that it had been put together in Scotland, but on reflection it could have been composed anywhere. The extra stanzas could have come from oral tradition as you suggest, but as they come from different ballads, it's more likely they were concocted from an anthology. I haven't checked but they could just as easily have come from other ballads printed in FMNS.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 15 - 09:34 AM

> they could just as easily have come from other ballads printed in FMNS.

Also true.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 07 May 15 - 11:19 AM

Hi,

Jim: My point being -not that publishers in the US were worried about it at this time (c1845)-- that you wouldn't want to publish the exact same text from another print version if you have additional material you could add. It would give the printer a unique version that is an improvement over already printed versions.

Since Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe indicated that the "ships" stanza was traditional in Annandale as well as the "gifts" or "bequeaths" stanzas- the ships stanza being included in the FMN Songster would have come from tradition. It is found in other traditional versions in the US that clearly are not based on the FMN Songster.

Added to (or part of) the ballad we have:

1) ships gift stanza (also Child C from Motherwell, where it appears):
'Or will ye go to the river-side,
To see my boats a rowing?'
2) blood letting stanza (bowl of blood) found traditionally in many Irish versions -as well as Greig/Keith "Last Leaves- A" (and other English/Scottish versions) - and some US/Canada versions.
3) other gifts stanzas (gold watch etc. which culminate in Buchan's excessive 41 stanza version- which I assume he pieced together from traditional versions which usually only have one stanza of gifts.

Steve: I realize that balance is a normal part of a ballad and makes the ballad easier to remember. It's just rarely found in tradition without missing stanzas. Both women that sang the ballad come from an oral tradition method and many members of that family could not read or write. This version (posted above) came from her father, a Baptist preacher.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 15 - 03:19 PM

My point really was that this singular ballad is so popular that the likelihood of hearing lots of different versions in the Harmon family is very likely. Not all source singers just learn and pass on what they have heard. The more creative ones will try to improve and if as in this case there are many versions to choose from a creative singer will mix and match.

Buchan didn't just piece together, he created a lot. It's such a pity for us he was such a deceiver. Some of his creations are pretty good and went into oral tradition almost immediately. His poetry is pretty poor stuff but he knew very well all the characteristics of a good ballad. His oft-quoted fall guy, Jamie Rankin, was not capable of creating according to people who knew him. No doubt some of the material sent to him was spurious, but the vast bulk of it is of his own re-creating and creating.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 May 15 - 03:36 PM

" It's such a pity for us he was such a deceiver. "
Sorry to interrupt - not really interested in paper chases, but.....
The Buchan controversy has never been confirmed one way or another and it is a little disingenuous to suggest that such a divided issue had.
As far as Rankin's capabilities, we've recorded singers whose friends and neighbours weren't even aware they sang - one was a 'dancer' who gave us seventy songs - "Did Mikey now songs..." was a regular response.
As far as I know, the question of Rankin's abilities as a song-maker is equally a mystery.
The Buchan question remains as big a mystery as whether the b#roadside came before the song, or vise-versa - thought there are those who seem to consider they know something the rest of us don't.
Back to your muttons gentlemen.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 15 - 01:21 AM

Hi,

Steve- You are right. As far as I know the family knew at least three versions (Frank Proffitt and Nathan Hicks only gave the opening stanza to the Brown Collection- they resemble version 3 textually), 1) an archaic version known by Sam Harmon, 2) the Nora Hicks/Jane Hicks Gentry (collected by Sharp- melody only, in 1916 and the text has been taken from her daughter Maud Long in 1947) version which begins, "So early, early in the spring," and 3) the complete text which I posted above sung by Harmon/Presnell.

Lena Harmon who sang the version I posted also knew the archaic version. This version was passed by Sam Harmon to three sources, so the ballad is fairly accurate. Similar versions were published by Carl Sandburg (Gordon MS) and Edith Fowke (LaRena Clark from Ontario). Lena knew this was the old family version which would have been passed by Council Harmon to Sam before Sam moved to Cades Cove, TN where Mellinger Henry collected it around 1929 from Sam's daughter. I'll now post that version:

B. "Barbery Ellen." Collected by Geneva Anderson from Mrs. Sam Harmon, of Varnel, Georgia, formerly of Cade's Cove, Blount County, Tennessee in 1931. She learned it from her husband, Sam Harmon. This would be an old family version possibly dating back to the late 1600s in Virginia.

1. Away down South where I came from
Is where I got my learning.
I fell in love with a pretty little miss,
And her name is Barbery Ellen.

2. I courted her for seven years,
And asked her if she would marry.
With a bowed down head and a sweet little smile,
She never made no answer.

3. Early, late, along in the spring,
When the red roses were blooming,
A young man on his death bed lay
For the love of Barbery Ellen.

4. He sent his servant down to town
To a place where she was dwelling:
"My master is love-sick and sent for you,
If your name is Barbery Ellen."

5. She slightly talked and slowly walked
She slowly went unto him.
"Young man, young man, I hear you were sick,
For the love of Barbery Ellen."

6. "Yes, I am sick, and very sick
And with me death is dwelling
And none the better will I be,
Till I get Barbery Ellen."

7. "Yes, yes you are sick, and very sick,
And with you death is dwelling,
But none the better will you be
While my name is Barbery Ellen.

8. "Don't you remember the other day
When we were all drinking,
You passed the glass [to] the ladies all around,
But you slighted Barbery Ellen?"

9. "Yes, I remember the other day,
When we were all drinking:
I passed the glass to the ladies all around,
But all for Barbery Ellen."

10. He turned his pale face to the wall,
His back he turned towards them:
"Adieu, adieu, to all this world,
Be kind to Barbery Ellen."

11. She had not ridden five miles from town,
Till she heard the death bells ringing,
And every stroke, they seemed to say:
"Hard-hearted Barbery Ellen."

12. She looked to the east, she looked to the west,
She saw the pale corpse coming:
"O, lay him down, O lay him down,
And let me look upon him."

13. The more she looked, the worse she got
Till she burst out crying:
"Young man, young man, you died for me today,
I will die for you tomorrow."

14. They buried Sweet Willie in one churchyard,
And Barbery in the other,
And out of Barbery's breast sprang a red, red rose,
And out of his a brier.

15. They grew and grew to such a length of height,
Till they could not grow no higher;
And there they tied in a true-lover's knot
And the rose around the brier.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 09 May 15 - 09:28 AM

Hi,

I'll be making some conclusions, after our brief discussion of Barbara Allen. According to Ed Cray who studied all the extant print versions and traditional versions up in the 1960s:

Conjecturally, the oldest texts are those which begin: "It fell about a Martinmas time /When the green leaves were a- fallin'." These "Martinmas" versions, more specifically the traditional Scottish variants represented by Child C, may contain a legacy motif where in the dying lover leaves Barbara a series of gifts, including a bowl of his heart's blood.

The "It fell about a Martinmas time" versions are represented by Child A and Child C. These are the "Scotch" versions, Child A was published in 1740, Child C was taken from tradition c. 1823 by Motherwell. We can assume by Pepys, however, that Mrs. Knipp's Scotch version "Barbary Allen" could be part of this group and bring the date to 1666. These versions include the gifts stanzas, found in traditional Child C and according to C.K. Sharpe, the gifts stanzas are traditional to the ballad and were found in Annadale.

The important stanza that establishes Barbra's motive for rejecting her dying love is part of the tradition of Child A:

5. O dinna ye mind young man, said she,
When ye was in the tavern a drinking,
That ye made the healths gae round and round,
And slighted Barbara Allan.

and not found in the broadside, Child B. We know that Child A is rarely found in tradition and the "It fell about a Martinmas time" is found in a few versions in the US and others have a fall setting - as does Child C which has the derivative, "Lammas". Martinmas would be Nov. 11 and represents the fall or harvest.

We know Child B, the English broadside, predates the 1740 version by at least 50 years. It begins with "In Scarlet Town" which is also "In Reading Town" and according to Chappell "Scarlet" was derived from the earlier "Carlisle" town (although he offers no proof). Percy's "English" version offers a name for the dying love, Sir John Graeme (also Graham) and an additional ending stanza.

Neither Child A or B have the rose/briar ending, or use the name 'Sweet William' or William/Willie for the dying love. It is likely that these stanzas and the name Sweet William were adapted from Child 74, which likely originated in the late 1500s.

I will make several posts examining the opening stanzas and exploring different versions. In the US/Canada the ballad has been traced to the 1700s through family lines and was printed circa 1830. Several of the "Martimas" opening versions can be traced to The Forget-Me-Not Songster dated c. 1844 (Flanders A and B; Mackenzie A for example) and are clearly taken from print.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 May 15 - 05:06 PM

Hi Richie,
I was at a Traditional Song Forum meeting in Newcastle today and Vic Gammon, retired professor of the Newcastle University Folk Degree, declared an interest in completing a study on Barbara Allen. I told him about your work

'We can assume by Pepys, however, that Mrs. Knipp's Scotch version "Barbary Allen" could be part of this group.' Richie, if you don't believe what we've told you about the meaning of 'Scotch' to Londoners in earlier centuries, I'll try to find the references. it might have come from Chappell.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 09 May 15 - 06:16 PM

Hi Steve,

I've read the comments in the other thread, and there is no way we can know definitively about the 1666 version. However, it's possible that it could be similar to the 1740 "Scotch" version by Ramsey/Oswald. We will never know, I'm aware of both positions. Also Child gives it some antiquity by placing it before the 1690 broadside as his A version.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 09 May 15 - 06:18 PM

Hi,

The half dozen or so versions from the US/Canada with the "It fell about a Martinmas time" opening (Child A) are either taken from the 1844 Forget-Me-Not Songster version or are based on an earlier, possibly traditional, ballad which the Songster appropriated. The key stanza is the 'seven ships' stanza which is also traditional (C.K. Sharpe reference). An argument, besides Sharpe, that the songster was printed from tradition is the Davis R version, which begins like Child and has the "seven ships" stanza. Davis R has been dated through the family as coming "from Ireland in either 1798 or 1800." This predates the FMN Songster by about 50 years. As mentioned in the last post, this "Songster" version is found in Flanders A-C, Davis O and R, as well as at least two from Canada: Mackenzie A and Fauset B.

Additionally there are versions with a fall setting that don't have the "It fell about a Martinmas time" opening. The following is an excerpt from Riley's thesis in 1957:

There are, besides these texts which are obviously from printed versions, just six texts which begin with the autumn setting. Three of these are from North Carolina (Brown Z, AA, DD), two from Virginia. (Davis G, BB), and one from Georgia (Morris A). These texts show some relationship with other traditional texts which have a spring setting. Three of these (Brown Z, AA, and Davis G) are obviously related texts, Brown Z begins.

It was the fall season of the year
The yellow leaves Were falling.
Sweet William he was taken sick
For the love of Barbara Ellen.

The name is "Barbara Allan" in Davis G.

All three texts have Barbara, a reproach, and William's justification is in Davis G and Brown AA. In Davis G the insult occurs in "yonders town," and in Brown A it is "last Tuesday night." Both phrases occur in other texts. The curtain around the bed is retained from Ramsay's or is superimposed. Barbara weeps when she sees the corpse. In Brown Z and AA, Barbara. asks her rather to dig her grave and all end with the rose-brier motif.

Brown DD is described by Hudson as "a full normal text with autumn setting." It has thirteen stanzas and the girl is "Barbara Ellen." The remaining text (Davis BB) has some interesting variations but it is obviously contaminated by Percy's "English" version. It begins:

'Twas late-lie, late-lie in the fall,
'Twas when the leaves were dying,
That Johnny from the back countree
Fall in love with Barbara Allen.

And oh, he hired a little boy
To run for him an errand,
To run for him to strawberry town
To fetch him Barbara Allen.


I'll be looking at some other standard openings which are distinct.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 09 May 15 - 06:55 PM

As Anne Neilson indicates, some texts place the action in Scotland. One more is that printed in John Harrington Cox's "Folk Songs of the South" (coll. in Va. in 1916), which begins,

"In Scotland I was bred and born."

Cox follows this up with "In London was my dwelling."

Such opening lines might easily have led Pepys casually to describe the song he heard as "Scotch." They would certainly fit well with a song sung on the London stage. But of course we don't know whether such lines are 250-year-old survivals or later developments. Since only two lines are involved, either is possible.

"Scotland" might easily have become "Scarlet Town"; but unfortunately the reverse might be the case as well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 09 May 15 - 09:18 PM

Ty Lighter,

There are a number of versions that have this opening. Sometimes the second line in the US is "That's where I got my learnin'," instead of "dwellin'."

Some versions from the British Isles, for example, Granger's 1906, "Barbara Hellen" and Kidson's 1891, "Barbara Allen" (Wardhill), both have Scotland in the first two lines.

The second stanza begins, "I courted her for . . . " There are an estimated two dozen versions with this opening. Sometimes it's ,"in London City" Gordon/Sandburg 1927 or Wilkinson's has "scornful town."

This is a unique variant.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 10 May 15 - 12:35 AM

Hi,

I received a copy of Buchan's MS from the Harvard Library and I'll be posting it soon. It's a bit hard to read the handwriting so if anyone want to have a go at it, I'll email a copy of the MS which is 7 pages on 4 scans.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 10 May 15 - 01:39 AM


Bonny Barbara Allen --Buchan's MS, p. 90-96; from a handwritten copy commissioned by Child. Received from Harvard Library 5-10-15; transcribed by Richard Matteson with a little help from my friends.

p. 90--

1. In Scarlingtown where I was born[1],
There was a fair maid dwallin',
Whom I did choose to be my spouse,
And her name was Babie Allan.

2. But as I with some young men sat,
In the oak-tavern, dwallin',
A het dispute did there fa' out,
Streave[2] me an' Babie Allan.

3. Their tauk gaed roun' thro' a' the room,
This fair maid's praise a tellin';
In a' this place, there's nae sic face,
As bonny Babie Allan.

4. But I was shy, and naught said I,
For a' their boasts an' brawlin';
Thinks I you make ower much ado,
Concerning Babie Allan.

5. Sir James Whiteford then filled a glass,
O' gude brown liquor swallin';
Ordering the same aroun' to pass,
An' drink to Babie Allan.

p. 91--

6. Miss Morton sitting by my side,
while they this maid were extollin'
Said I to her, ye are mair fair,
Than that maid, Babie Allan.

7. These news then spread thro' a' the town,
O' thus my brags and brawlin';
And sin' that time I've naught but frowns,
Frae bonny Babie Allan.

8. O when I'd spent some time in vain,
My tender heart was failin';
I then took bed, in love's bands laid,
For bonny Babie Allan.

9. My servant man gaed thro' the town,
For this fair maid was dwallin';
Says, ye mawn speak wi' Captain Green,
Gin your name be Babie Allan.

10. O, is it for my tocher great?
Or for my boasted beauty?
Or is it for my comely face,
He sends sae aft about me?

11. It is not for your tocher great,
Nor for your boasted beauty,
But for the luve he bears to you,
He sends sae aft about you.

p. 92--

12. Then heally, heally gaed she aff,
To the room where he was lyin';
An' a' she said when she came there,
I think, young man, ye're dying.


13 I'm lying sick, an' very sick,
An' death is on me callin';
But ae kiss o' thee wou'd comfort me,
My bonny Barbie Allan.

14 If ye are sick, an' very sick
An' death is on you callin';
Ye might have sent for Peg Morton,
An' nae for Babie Allan.

15. O my dear, ye are too severe,
To ane whose heart is failin'
Although I spake to her in jest,
I mindit on Babie Allan.

16. When ye into the tavern sat,
Wi' a' the rest a drinkin';
Ye fill'd the cup an' drank about,
An' slighted Babie Allan.

17. Put in your hand at my bed stock,
An' there ye'll find a warran';
Ye'll find my watch, an' my gowd ring,
Gie that to Babie Allan.

p. 93--

18. Put in your hand at my bed head,
An' there ye'll find a warran';
Yell find my bible an pen-knife,
Gie that to Babie Allan.

19. O see ye not yon thirty ploughs,
Sae merrily's they're eering [3]
The rents o' them are coming in,
To tocher Babie Allan.

20. O see ye not yon nine meal-mills,
Sae merrily's they're shealin';
The rents o' them are coming in,
To tocher Babie Allan.

21. O see ye not yon seven ships,
Sae merrily's they're sailin';
The freights o' them are coming in,
To tocher Babie Allan.

22. Win[4] up, win up, young man, she said,
Gae to the kirk an' marry;
He turned about an' gae a sigh,
I hinna time to tarry.

23. Then turn'd his white face to the wa',
Wi' dreadfu' pangs were failin'
Says, Fare ye well, my kinsfolk a',
Be kind to Babie Allan.

p. 94--

24. Then out it spake his mother dear,
As she was a sorry woman;
Says, wae be to your comely face,
Hard hearted Babie Allan.

25. She wasna' twa miles frae the town,
Till she heard the dead bells knellin';
An' ilka stroke the dead bells gae,
Unworthy Babie Allan.

26. When she did there return again,
Where her parents dear were dwallin';
Then every ane began to spier,
The news at Babie Allan.

27. Out it spake her father dear,
Says, Babie will ye take him?
Its vain to spier, my father dear,
When the bells are on him ringin'.

28. Out it spake her brother dear,
Says Babie, will ye take him?
Its vain to speir, my brother dear,
When's corpse are at the liftin'.

29. As I went out to take the air,
She spied his corpse a comin';
Set down the corpse, the maid she said,
That I may look upon him.

p. 95--

30. When the corpse they were set down,
Her face began a swallin';
An' when she look'd the corpse upon,
Right pale grew Babie Allan.

31. In the church-yard he was interr'd,
Wi' muckle grief an' wailin';
The girls a' then began to say,
Gae drown her, Babie Allan.

32. Then out it spake Sir James Whiteford,
While on the green was standin';
I wou'd fain see the face that's here,
Dare trouble Babie Allan.

33. Then he has taen her by the hand,
Says, Dear, leave off your weepin';
If ye will gang alang wi' me,
Ye'll hae my heart a-keepin'.

34. Ye shall hae ha's[5], ye shall hae bowers,
An' gold ye'se hae a plenty;
A' that's mine love, shall be thine,
In the town o' Ayr, right dainty.

35. I gie you thanks, ye courteous knight,
For this my praises tellin';
But there is nae ae man alive,
Can comfort Babie Allan.

p. 96--

36. This fair maid's dane her hame,
Wi' muckle grief an' sorrow,
Sin my luve's died for me to-night,
I'll die for him tomorrow.

37. O mother, mother make my bed,
Ye'll make it lang an' narrow;
There is nae ane in James' steed,
Shall ever be my marrow.

38 He mother she did make her bed,
And made it lang an' narrow;
And her luve died for her that night,
She died for him ere morrow.

39. When Sir James Whiteford heard the news,
His heart was sair an' swallin';
Says Captain Green's been a' the cause,
O' the ruin of Babie Allan.

40. She was a girl baith meek and mild,
Her features worth the tellin';
There's nae a flower that buds in May,
Sae fair as Babie Allan.

41. But Captain Green, wi' haughty words,
His haughty boasts an brawlin';
Was basely slain by his ain sword,
An' nae by Babie Allan.

Comments and footnotes: Title should be "Babie Allan." Sometimes it's "frae" sometimes it's 'for". Sometimes it's "an' " and sometimes its "and".
Stanza 2 "het dispute" = "hot dispute";

1. "born" may be "bound" in MS
2. "Between," not sure of the literal translation of "Streave" or possibly spelled "Shreave" found in MS is.
3. "eering," an archaic word for ploughing and occurs in the blackletter broadside version of The Elfin Knight v12 'For thou must eare it with thy horn'[Gardham]
4. Win= Get
5. Assume it's "has" for may be written "ha's" in MS for "halls"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 10 May 15 - 03:24 AM

Hi Richie, This looks interesting. I'd be glad to have a look at the scans and see if I can add anything to your reading. I've just sent you a PM with my email address if you want to send them to me.

(As a first thought, my guess is that "sheir" in verses 26-28 might be "speir" = "ask".)

So, this version has the ships stanza as expected, plus another two about his wealth (but moved from the beginning of the story where they are in Child C, and offered "to tocher Barbara Allan" – meaning to provide her with a dowry so she can marry someone else after he is gone?). Interesting that it also has the legacies and the dialogues with family members that turn up in later Scottish and Irish versions. I guess it must be the earliest record of these elements in the story, or is there any earlier one? (Also interesting that Barbara looks ready to marry the young man in verse 22, but that doesn't seem to have caught on in the tradition.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Gutcher
Date: 10 May 15 - 09:01 AM

[1] The word "speir" is still very much in current use here in Scotland.

[2] We talk of ploughs "gangin" or "gauen"===="going"

In the first line of verses [19] and [20] the word "yon" would be more suitable than "your".
And again in verse [21] "yon" instead of "you"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 15 - 01:49 PM

Richie,
Please send me scans as well. I'm pretty used to Peter's writing as I have most of both manuscripts. The suggestions already sent by Joe & Jim I would go along with. If I remember rightly Peter's p does look like an h.

Can you please confirm that even though you got your copy from Harvard, it was from the BL manuscript?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 10 May 15 - 02:24 PM

Hi,

I'll add the rest and email copies to those who want them, "spier" is probably right, and there were several other questionable spots. It was late around 2 pm when I wrote it, after a long day.

Does anyone know the approximate date? I'd say c. 1820 since he gave Motherwell a copy and perhaps Motherwell shared his version (Child C) which may have been used in this ballad, who knows? Child said Motherwell had Buchan's Bonny Barbra Allan in his MS as well.

Steve- evidently this is from the Harvard Library and I want to thank them for the quick turn around and for supplying the text for us - gratis.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 15 - 03:18 PM

Richie,
This is from the BL ms which of course Child had a transcript of. If it's in Peter's handwriting then Harvard must have obtained a photo-copy. If it's the original transcription Child commissioned (I forget who did it for him but it's well documented) then it won't be in Peter's hand. The date must be much later, certainly after ABNS was published. Dixon used the ms in his publication for the Percy Society Scottish Ballads so it must predate this, but I'd say c1830-1840. As it comes at the beginning of the ms it may be closer to 1830. I've just had a thought, I haven't got a copy of Dixon's volume, but he might have included Peter's BBA in that.

If you send me a copy I can compare it with Peter's handwriting.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 15 - 03:59 PM

Richie,
I've found a copy of Dixon's 'Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads'
online, but it does not contain BBA. However, the lengthy and very different versions of the 17 ballads from the BL ms have Peter's signature all over them. No wonder Child chose not to include them.

What would be really interesting is if any of Peter's verses are the earliest appearance of those verses later found in oral tradition. If Dixon didn't print it then it's hard to see how these verses could have got into oral tradition unless they already were part of oral tradition or Peter printed them on a broadside.

I must hastily add there are some great versions of folk songs in there and some of them do look genuine. The earliest extant version of The Herring's Head is in there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 10 May 15 - 05:59 PM

Hi,

Steve Gardham, Jim Brown and Lighter (Jon)- I've emailed a copy of the MS, had some trouble with it and it ended up being an Adobe PDF. Any comments about Buchan's version are welcome. Many of the traditional elements are there, plus at least one other new story line with Sir James Whiteford.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 May 15 - 06:32 PM

Peter very often included the names of local personalities and well-heeled families. Patronage was very important to him as he had high aspirations and limited income. But he had Scott's lead to follow in this.

Thanks for the copy. It's definitely the transcription Child commissioned from the BL.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 15 - 10:33 AM

Thanks, Richie. There are a number of minor errors that you will certainly catch later. The interesting ones are as follows:

I can't explain what I read as "Streave" (stz. 1., line 4); it may well be "Shreave," as you have it.

Data in the OED suggests that "Shreave" is a conceivable variant of "shrive," which at least makes sense. (Unfortunately, Buchan's spelling is not recorded in the OED.) I an less than confident, however, that that's what Buchan intended.

"Estollin'" is clearly "extollin'." They wrote their "x's" differently then.

19.2: The word is clearly written "eering." I can't explain it.

20.1: "O see ye not yon nine meal-mills."

35.1: "dane her hame"

It is tempting to see the seemingly inexplicable "streave/ shreave" and the equally mysterious "eering" as evidence of garbled words taken at some point from oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 12:15 PM

Comments verse by verse.
1. end of 2nd line is dwallin'. The transcriber originally wrote dwalling but crossed out the g. Question is was he copying exactly what Peter had written or was that his own mistake. Similarly end of the first line, it is obvious the transcribe originally wrote born instead of bound and altered it. The same question applies. It is possibly useful to note that when I jotted down the first line for my own notes I had 'In Scarling town where I was bound'. Mind the gap! Something else worth noting. Do any versions from oral tradition use 'bound'?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 12:25 PM

2.
It's definitely streave but remember this is a transcription and the transcriber may have misread it. The word should mean 'between'. However, my Chambers Scots Dictionary has 'striven' as an adjective meaning 'at variance, on bad terms; not friendly'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 15 - 12:28 PM

If the ms is the work of a copyist, then of course "Shreave/ streave" and "eering" may have resulted from misreading rather than from "tradition."

The simplest rationalization for "Shreave/ streave" might be " 'Tween," but it is hard to imagine a copyist getting that wrong.

I still have no suggestion for "eering."

How bad was Buchan's handwriting generally?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 12:35 PM

Peter's hand was pretty clear actually, not quite as neat as the transcriber. When you look at the content you wouldn't really think too hard about what he's writing. It would be quite in keeping for him to make the odd word up to keep the mystique going. It's pretty obvious he made up a piece to butter up a few acquaintances.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 11 May 15 - 12:47 PM

Any chance "streave" could result from the copyist misreading "Atween"?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 11 May 15 - 02:11 PM

Re. 'bound' in v1 -- wouldn't this most likely mean bound as an apprentice?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 15 - 02:16 PM

Yes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 02:40 PM

eering
Not much help but my Chambers gives 'eer' as a noun meaning colour or tinge, as iron stain on linen, but an equivalent 'ure' has water stains on iron vessels. I'd guess 'shining' If they're hired out as this is what is implied they're going to be lined up in pristine condition ready for hiring out. BUT it's not beyond Peter to throw in something meaningless.

If you've ever been to one of those local dialect meetings where they're all reading out their bits of obscure poetry, they absolutely delight in using the most obscure dialect words to baffle the offcumders.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 11 May 15 - 03:21 PM

Hi,

TY Steve for the excellent job editing- and also to those who contributed the edits and comments about some of the words found in the copy of Buchan's MS from the Harvard Library. I've removed posts that deal solely with edits (since I've made them- see transcription above) to make the thread shorter.

I think the last word of first line is 'born' which possibly was edited by the Child transcriber, but it could be 'bound.' I've added a few footnotes below. Any and all corrections are welcome. And TY,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 15 - 03:22 PM

Steve, would Buchan really invent words out whole cloth, particularly a pointless synonym for "between" like "shreave"?

Wouldn't it be as if I were to flegate a made-up word into this sentence? Even if a meaning could be crofitized by the context, it would be a very strange thing to do.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 03:35 PM

Jon,
Peter was a very strange person. To write all that stuff and then claim it came from oral tradition. You said yourself a compreaffable posting ago 'evidence of garbled words taken from oral tradition'. He was quite craftible with his compositions and recompositions.

Worth reading Walker's bio of PB. I think it's online somewhere. And this was from one of his biggest apologists. Not a happy man generally. He had delusions of grandeur and wanted to be the next Walter Scott.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 15 - 03:45 PM

> wanted to be the next Walter Scott.

And who wouldn't?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 03:53 PM

Even Walter didn't have it all his own way. Apart from his regrets over what he did to the ballads he nearly had to give up Abbotsford at one point.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 04:54 PM

Eering!
What's the one place we should have looked first? Child of course!
It is an archaic word for ploughing and occurs in the blackletter broadside version of The Elfin Knight v12 'For thou must eare it with thy horn' and I'm pretty certain that's where Peter will have found it. He had access to early broadsides and frequently used them in his own concoctions. He was taking a leaf out of Dalrymple's book and what he did with Edward.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 11 May 15 - 06:08 PM

When I did a quick scan of Buchans B.A. yesterday three names jumped out at me:---
[1] Whiteford.
[2] Morton]
[3] Ayr.

The Whitefords were an old Ayrshire family. Until the time of Burns their home was the estate of Ballochmyle near Mauchline.      Burns"s song "The Bonnie Lass O Ballochmyle" was composed in honour of a daughter of the Alexander family, the successor owners of Ballochmyle.

The beautiful Miss Morton was one of the ",Belles of Mauchline", celebrated by Burns in his poem of that name.---"There"s Beauty And Fortune To Get Wi Miss Morton".

Ayr is of course the county town of Ayrshire, the home to all the people mentioned above.

It may be pure coincidence but it certainly caught my attention.

Many references are made to the rural folk of Scotland having a knowledge of the works of Burns in a very short time after the publication and being a small country I am sure Buchan would not be behindhand with his knowledge of these works.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 11 May 15 - 06:24 PM

It never occurred to me to check the OED for "ear." Obviously I'm slipping.

It isn't even obsolete regionally. The OED affords a transitive example from Wiltshire in 2004!

Note to the editors: next time include "eer" as a 19th century spelling variant.

> Buchan would not be behindhand with his knowledge of these works.

No, he almost surely would not.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 15 - 06:31 PM

Great stuff, Gutcher!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 12 May 15 - 12:24 AM

Hi,

I'd like to give some final thoughts to a specific variant of Child B, the English broadside of which several variants were mentioned in earlier posts of this thread. It begins:


    In [usually "London"] town, there I was born,

with a second line:

    That's where I got my learning,

or

    [In Scotland was my] dwelling
also
    [there was a fair maid] dwelling.

The second stanza invariably begins:

    I courted her for [seven long years or some period of time]

A note or letter may be sent to Barbra and delivered by his servant or man and she may write back to him before she goes to see him.

Some versions from the British Isles, for example, Granger's 1906, "Barbara Hellen" and Kidson's 1891, "Barbara Allen" (Wardhill), both have Scotland in the first two lines. The Wardhill version begins:

    In Reading town, there I was born,
    In Scotland was my dwelling;
    O, there I courted a pretty fair maid,
    Her name was Barbara Allen.
   
    I courted her for months and years,
    Thinking that I should gain her;
    And I oft times vowed and did declare
    No other man should have her.
[Wardhill, 1891]


Sam Harmon's version (North Carolina then Tennessee, supplied by his daughter and also his wife) is very old and may be dated back through family lines to Virginia in the late 1600s:

1. Away down South where I came from
Is where I got my learning.
I fell in love with a pretty little miss,
And her name is Barbery Ellen.

2. I courted her for seven years,
And I asked her if she would marry.
With a bowed down head and a sweet little smile,
She never made no answer.
[Sam Harmon pre 1928]

Carl Sandburg's version published in 1927 was collected by Robert Gordon:

1 In London City where I once did dwell,
there's where I got my learning,
I fell in love with a pretty young girl,
her name was Barbra Allen.

2 I courted her six months or more.
Was about to gain her favor;
'Oh wait! oh wait, oh wait!' she said.
'Some young man's gained my favor.'

Edith Fowke collected this version from LaRena Clark in Ontario:

1. In London city where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwelling,
And she had every youthful grace;
Her name was Barb'ra Allen.

2. "I courted her for four long years;
She swore she would not have me.
Then straightway home as I could go,
And like unto a-dying."

Geneva Anderson's F. Version titled "Hard-hearted Barbery Allen" was collected from Mrs. Flora Havens of Binfield, Blount County, Tennessee before 1931:

1. Away low down in London town,
In which three maids were dwelling.
There was but one I call my own,
And that was Barbery Allen.

2. I courted her for seven long years
She said she would not have me,
Poor Willie went home and took sick
And there he lay a-dying."

This country style version was collected from Melvin Winkle in Missouri by Max Hunter in 1969:

1. In London city where I once did dwell
That's where I got my learnin'
I fell in love with a pretty young girl
And her name was Barbra Allen.

2. I courted her fer seven long years
She said, she would not have me,
Straight away home as I could go
And I likened unto dyin'.


If anyone knows any additional versions of this variant type of Child B please post them. I have these additional versions in my collection: Davis C,D,E,I,T,X,Z; Parler C, and Morris C. Comments are welcome. Could this predate the broadside of circa 1690?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Gutcher
Date: 12 May 15 - 07:28 AM

I have been wracking my brain to come up with a place local to the Mauchline area that would equate with the "Scarlingtown" given.
Roughly six miles away, a mere hop step and jump to folk who thought nothing of walking fifty miles in a day, we have the Clachan/Estate of Skerrington. Near enough in distance and sound to qualify as a contender.

Verse 34 as given could be compared to the last verse of a ballad collected in Dumfrieshire by Burns :---

For it"s I hae castles and I hae toors
I hae barns and I hae boors
And aa that is mine it shall be thine
For the rownin it in thy apron.

The full ballad can be found as no. 3 on the disc MTDL613 entitled there as "Oor Young Lady".

I am not sure that this ballad appeared in print in the lifetime of Buchan. [O.Y.L.]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 12 May 15 - 08:53 AM

Hi,

TY Gutcher. Chappell postulated that the original town was Carlisle. Several of the plot lines in Buchan's version are unique; The flirtation with Miss Morton which causes the riff between the lovers; the alternate proposal to Babie by Sir James; and Captain Green's suicide (last stanza). Much has been added.

Curiously, the name Sir James is also found in a version by Almeda Riddle, of Heber Springs, Arkansas:

VERSE 2: Twas all in the merry month of May
Green buds all a swellin';
When young Sir James, on a death bed lay
With love for Barbra Allen.

I've always felt that the lover's name should be John (Sir John, Johnny) or Jimmy (Jemmy) not Willie (William).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 15 - 09:30 AM

Hello Ritchie
The last Whiteford Of Ballochmyle was a Sir John. If there be any connection with the verses in Buchan his informant must have had a very detailed knowledge of Ayrshire.


The army had a base in Ayr I will see if there is any mention of a Captain Green. If he committed suicide it may have received a mentioned in the papers at the time


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Gutcher
Date: 12 May 15 - 10:10 AM

To the East of Skerrington lies the castle of Louden in the parish of the same name and indeed without referring to a map Skerrington may lie on the extreme Western edge of the same parish.

Could Skerrington and Louden have figured in a much older version of B.A. with Buchan or someone having added references from the time of Burns?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 May 15 - 12:09 PM

I'm sorry but I feel the conjecture here is getting way out of hand in more than one way. It is extremely unlikely that any of these pieces predate 1690 or come anywhere near it. Richie, please present what evidence you have for this theory and then we can discuss it.

Buchan probably read about some incident in a newspaper and decided a few of the facts fitted in with the version of BA he was concocting.
Scarling town surely just derives from 'Scarlet town'!

By all means look for a Captain Green but don't bank on the suicide part.

Let's remember we are dealing with a man who manufactured ballads from bits and pieces from here there and everywhere. Like Scott he tried to include real people's names contemporary to his time and members of families who were likely to buy his books. (In this case it was never published mainly because by then (1830s) his contemporaries and publishers had got wise to him.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 12 May 15 - 12:44 PM

>Verse 34 as given could be compared to the last verse of a ballad collected in Dumfrieshire by Burns

Also to verse 5 of "Young Bekie" (Child 53C):

Or gin a virgin woud borrow me,
I woud wed her wi a ring;
I'd gi her ha's, I'd gie her bowers,
The bonny towrs o Linne.

(That was certainly available in print by the time of Buchan's MS, in Jamieson's Popular Ballads and Songs, 1806.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 May 15 - 01:50 PM

Thanks for that contribution, Jim, and indeed to all who are contributing here. Echoing Richie's thanks, there are few of us around who have any depth of knowledge of the ballads, and a lively, reasoned discussion like this is always welcome. I ought to add that many of my contributions are my own opinions, often presented without absolute proof, but I have done much of the spadework and I devour any literature that at all relates to the ballads, including manuscripts when I can get at them. My opinions on PB in particular are based on reading all available literature about him and all of his extant output. I am very grateful to Richie for following up this particular production as it is typical of PB's work. Anyone wishing to delve further into this matter would do well to start with reading through all of Child's headnotes as they pertain to all of the collectors, particularly in the first 2 vols of ESPB. In the later volumes he suddenly stops giving opinions on the veracity of the ballads caused I think by having his knuckles rapped by the publishers. Who would want to buy a book full of forgeries?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 12 May 15 - 02:53 PM

Hi,

Steve- I believe that, in general, many of the older ballads arrived in the US and Canada (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia) earlier than they can be documented. Phillips Barry, fond of exaggerating, said "This ballad [The Elfin Knight] seems to have been brought over early and to exist in purely traditional form." He gives a date of c. 1650 with no documentation other than the ballad text itself. Other ballads he says, "Came over with the first settlers." Despite some outlandish statements and claims (he says, for example, Barbara Villiers was the original BA) Barry, a Harvard scholar, is recognized as a leading ballad authority.

I agree that 1690 is a stretch especially for Barbra Allen. When you have a large number of immigrants from the British Isles in the Virginia colony by 1700 (one source gives 100,000 total) you will have the ESPB sung in the colony.

The Hicks family (Samuel Hicks b. circa 1695 in Goochland, VA) left the James River by 1760 for North Carolina and when David Hicks reached Beech Mountain the family remained isolated in the mountains. We can assume that many of their ballad are old and were brought from Virginia.

As far as Barbara Allen in the US there's very little documentation, including the claims of it being popular during the Colonial Period.

I figure Barbara Allen was becoming known in the British Isles during the mid-1600s and that it is predated by Child 74, which I would date as the late 1500s (documented c. 1611).

Assuming the ballad was brought over to the US by the late 1600s seems possible but can't be documented, at least for now. I believe Sam Harmon's Barbara Allen to be one of the older versions, whatever the date. It was known in their family to be the "old version".

Gutcher- As unlikely as it may be (since some of the references are created or have been changed through the folk process), by searching for "real people and places" you might uncover something valuable.

TY all- I've almost finished going through the BA versions I have. So I'll look at a couple more specific versions and try to draw some conclusions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 12 May 15 - 03:23 PM

> He gives a date of c. 1650 with no documentation other than the ballad text itself.

Harvard or not, a major procedural faux pas if he had no external evidence. And if he had, why not give it?

> Assuming the ballad was brought over to the US by the late 1600s seems possible but can't be documented,

Certainly possible, maybe even likely, but beyond that we can't say. Nor do we know how many singers of it there might have been or how widely it was known. The more singers, the more quickly (by 18th C. standards) it may have spread. The fewer, the less quickly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 May 15 - 04:18 PM

Rather paradoxically I am quite suspicious of academic assertions from earlier periods. They often had deadlines to meet and pressure from above as well as internal politics. There are as you might expect some exceptions to this like David C Fowler who openly make their assertions backed up by plenty of examples and evidence. I am not an academic and came to my conclusions re Peter Buchan by looking closely at the actual ballads themselves, before reading widely round the subject. It was only after this I came back and looked minutely through Child's extremely disparaging comments in his headnotes.

You only have to look back at the ridiculous assertions of the likes of Kittredge and Gummere, both Child's pupils, re communal creation, later thrown out by another pupil, Louise Pound, and others. More recently David Buchan's use of Anna Gordon's ballads to present his discredited theory that her ballads demonstrate the presence of oral formulaic theory in 18thc Scotland. It is easy to see now that this is ridiculous when we can study all of her versions side by side in Emily Lyle's excellent book.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 12 May 15 - 04:30 PM

>Ayr is of course the county town of Ayrshire…

It could just be chance, and it's certainly not enough to build much on, but I can't help noticing how most of the early evidence for Barbara Allan in Scotland points to the south-west. First there is Ramsay's "Sir John Graeme in the west country", which in Scottish terms would mean Ayrshire or thereabouts. Then there is Child C, apparently the earliest Scottish text known to have been recorded from a singer or reciter, collected by Motherwell in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire. And C.K. Sharpe's mention that the peasantry in Annandale sang it, most likely remembering this from his early years in Hoddam Castle, so in the 1780s or 1790s – that's Dumfriesshire, not Ayrshire, but it's still south-west Scotland and a neighbouring county. On the other hand, apparently no early traces in the north-east: it's not in Anna Brown's manuscripts, or in Jamieson, Kinloch, or any of the other north-eastern collectors – with the exception of Buchan, and we now find that his version locates the story in Ayr and introduces Ayrshire family names. (On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence of Barbara Allan in north-east Scottish tradition in the 20th century, and it must have got there somehow…)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 12 May 15 - 04:40 PM

Good points, Jim.

A serious difficulty is drawing valid conclusions from quite limited evidence.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 12 May 15 - 04:46 PM

> If anyone knows any additional versions of this variant type of Child B please post them.

If you're interested in British Isles versions, there are, for example:

Jessie Murray, recorded at the Edinburgh People's Festival Ceilidh, 1951 (my transcription from the CD "1951 People's Festival Ceilidh", Rounder CD 1786):

1. In Scotland I was born and bred,
In Scotland I was dwelling;
I fell in love with a pretty fair maid,
And her name was Barbara Allen.

2. I courted her for seven long year,
Till I could court no longer;
I fell sick and very sick,
And I sent for Barbara Allen.

3. Barbrie Allen she was set for
To the house where she was dwelling,
And as she drew the curtain back,
"Young man, I think you're dying."

4. "Dying, dear, what do you mean?
One kiss from you will cure me."
"One kiss from me you never shall have,
Though you're dying, dying, dying."

5. He turned his face back to the wa'
And his back tae Barbara Allen:
"Adieu, adieu, my kind friends a',
But be kind to Barbara Allen."

6. "O mother dear, you'll make my bed,
And make it long and narrow;
Since my true lover has died for me,
I will die for him tomorrow."


Lucy Stewart, recorded by Kenneth Goldstein in Aberdeenshire about 1960 (my transcription from the Smithsonian Folkways CD "Lucy Stewart: Traditional Singer from Aberdeenshire, Vol. 1, Child Ballads", FW03519 / FG 3519):

1. In London town where I was born
A young man there was dwelling, O;
He courted a fair young maid,
Whose name was Barbary Allen, O,
Whose name was Barbary Allen, O.

2. He courted her for seven lang years
Till couldnae court her langer, O;
Till he fell sick and very ill,
And he sent for Barbary Allen, O,
He sent for Barbary Allen, O.

3. It's slowly she put on her clothes,
And slowly she came walking, O;
And when she came to his bedside,
"Young man," she says, "you're dying, O,
Young man," she says, "you're dying, O."

4. "O dying, O, I canna be;
One kiss from you would cure me, O."
"One kiss from me you shall not get,
Young man, though you are dying, O,
Young man, though you are dying, O."

5. "O it's look you up at my bed heid,
And see fit you see hinging, O:
A guinea-gold watch and a silver chain,
Gie that tae Barbary Allen, O,
Gie that tae Babie Allen, O,

6. "O look you doun at my bedside,
And see fit you see sitting, O:
A china basin full o tears
That I shed for Barbary Allen, O,
That I shed for Barbary Allen, O."

7. O she hadnae been a mile out o toun
Till she heard the dead bells tolling, O;
And every toll it seemed to say:
"Hard-herted Barbary Allen, O,
Hard-herted Barbary Allen, O."

8. "O mother dear, make me my bed,
And make it long and narrow, O;
My sweetheart died for me today,
But I'll die for him tomorrow, O,
I'll die for him tomorrow, O."


Jimmy Stewart, recorded by Jean Ritchie, Forfar, Angus (Bronson 84.56). Begins:

1. (In) London I was bred and born,
(In) Scotland was my dwellin, O,
I fell in love with a nice young girl
And her name was Barbru Allan, O,
And her name was Barbru Allan, O.

2. I courted her for seven long years;
I could nae court her langer, O,
But I fell sick and very ill
And I sent for Barbru Allan, O,
And I sent for Barbru Allan, O.

Bronson also gives two stanzas (84.94) from Kidson, from Northallerton, Yorkshire:

In Scotland I was born and bred,
O, there it was my dwelling;
I courted there a pretty maid,
O, her name was Barbara Allen.

I courted her in summer time,
I courted her in winter;
For six long years I courted her,
A-thinking I should win her.

and another (84.12) from Cecil Sharp's MSS, recorded 1906 from Jim and Francis Gray, Enmore, (Somerset),which begins:

In Scotland I was born and bred,
In Scotland I was dwelling,
When I young man on his death-bed lay
For the sake of barb'rous Ellen.

This one includes the legacies: gold watch with gold ring and gold chains, basin of blood.

(There may be more examples in Bronson. I've just have the one-volume abridged version.)

I've also come across a version described as being collected from the Brazil family of Gloucester in the 1960s at http://www.springthyme.co.uk/brazil/BarbaryAllen.html . Opening stanza:

In Scotland I was born and bred,
In Scotland was my dwelling;
Till I fell a-courting a pretty maid,
Her name was Barbary Allen.

No stanza about courting for years but there is one where he leaves his cows to her, and also the more normal legacies: gold watch and chain, basin of blood.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 May 15 - 05:08 PM

Jim,
I think there is something in what you say about the geographical distribution even with the limited evidence. The North East was heavily scoured and had it been there it would have been included. This fact may have had some bearing on why Peter set his version in Ayr.

I'm really looking forward to any findings you have, Richie. You've really grabbed the bull by the horns. Throughout the English-speaking world you couldn't have chosen a more difficult subject, the most collected ballad, in constant print for over 3 centuries.

If you wanted to prove the existence of ballads in America in oral tradition since the 17th century it would have been much easier with a pretty obscure ballad. Certainly it can easily be done with the 18th century. Bramble Briar exists in much fuller and earlier versions in America than anywhere else.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 12 May 15 - 09:36 PM

Hi,

I've been stuck in Arkansas: "Love my maw, love my paw, Love them girls from Arkansaw" with Randolph, Parler (by the way her Ozark collection is awesome - around 30 versions with recordings), Max Hunter and the Wolf (Wolf Collection). Some gems include Parler, version T recorded from Pete Martin of Lincoln, Ark. on November 12, 1950:

She slowly, slowly fixed her hair,
And slowly she approached him,
And all she said when she got there,
Was, "You're in a low condition."


Later he has:

They grew so high, they grew so tall,
They couldn't grow any higher,
They tangled and twisted in a lovelessly knot
That beautiful rose and the briar.


Not sure what a "lovelessly knot" is.

Lighter- Barry has his detractors (see Jim Carroll's post) but he was an important collector in New England and a leading researcher.

Jim Brown- TYVM for the versions. These appear to be a parallel to Child B, the 1690 broadside and they are not found in print, as far as I know. Let's not forget this African-American version published in 1888 which begins:

BOB-REE ALLIN

In London town, whar I was raised,
Dar war a youth a-dwellin',
He fell in love wid a putty fair maid,
Her name 't war Bob-ree Allin.

He co'ted her for seben long years;
She said she would not marry;
Poor Willie went home and war takin' sick,
And ve'y likely died.

He den sen' out his waitin' boy
Wid a note for Bob-ree Allin.
So close, ah, she read, so slow, ah, she walk;
"Go tell him I'm a-comin'."


Steve- There is a lot of bull- no doubt!!!

There is an established Irish tradition (which is also found elsewhere - possibly originating from Ireland) that uses at least one gift stanza (usually gold watch and chain) as well as the "basin of blood" stanza (which extends also to a "tears shed" stanza). Child C has elements as the Buchan version with extended gift stanzas. Jim pointed out Greig's "Bawbie Allan" version, which is, of course, similar to the version MacColl's mother knew.

I'll post some ideas and would welcome some traditional Irish versions. I know more about the US versions from Irish ancestry (see the two versions I posted in this thread) than Irish versions.

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 13 May 15 - 02:52 AM

Sorry, Richie. I've just noriced that the CD notes to "1951 Edinburgh People's Festival Ceilidh" include a transcription of what Jessie Murray sings. I should have looked before posting my own transcription. It's basically the same as mine but with more attention to how she pronounces words ("dwellin" etc., for example, and a few more Scots forms like "coorted"). There may also be a transcription in the CD notes to Lucy Stewart's ballads, but I just have that one on MP3.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 13 May 15 - 04:47 AM

>A serious difficulty is drawing valid conclusions from quite limited evidence.

Absolutely. And indeed there's not much evidence in the south-west either – Motherwell's manuscript just has a single text (compared with multiple versions of "Jamie Douglas", "Hind Horn", and "Mary Hamilton", and two of "Tam Lin", to name but a few), and the Crawfurd Collection only has one mention in a list of song titles (according to Emily Lyle, who edited the collection, probably a list of songs known to Mary McQueen, the greatest contributor of songs to the collection, a servant in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, not far from Kilbirnie, from a traveller family, who later married a weaver, and emigrated to Canada in 1828). It doesn't add up to much evidence of popularity. As for Sharpe, he may have heard it sung in Annandale with the ships and similar stanzas, but he doesn't say anything about how much it was sung there (if indeed he had any way of knowing) -- and he doesn't include it in "A Ballad Book".

By the way, I'm in no position to take sides in the Peter Buchan debate, and gladly bow to Steve's knowledge of Buchan's working practice, but I just wonder is it possible that the stanzas in Buchan's text with Captain Green, Peg Morton, etc., rather than being his invention, come from some sort of ironic local parody that he had got hold of and clumsily pasted together with bits of one or more traditional versions he had collected?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 15 - 03:44 PM

With PB anything's possible, Jim. He sourced material from a wide range of places, including stories/translations from Scandinavia and the continent. He had a very extensive library as did most of his contemporary collectors, but had to sell it off when he bit off more than he could chew. He would have had copies of the earlier versions, those on broadsides, and the Scots anthologised version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 15 May 15 - 11:19 AM

It's curious that the Scottish versions (Ramsay 1740 and Percy 1765 as well as subsequent print versions such as the Deming broadside; Boston 1829) has the name John Graeme (Graham):

IT was in and about the Martinmas time,
When the green leaves were a falling,
That Sir John Graeme in the west country
Fell in love with Barbara Allan.

while the c. 1844 Forget-Me-Not Songster has Sir James Graham and also has the seven ships stanza (Buchan, Child C-tho not defined). Is it possible that the version from Annadale that Sharpe mentioned with seven ships is, in fact Buchan's version? Could Sharpe have seen the MS through Buchan or Motherwell? Buchan's MS also has a Sir James (but it's Sir James Whiteford).

What puzzles me is how the editor of the Forget-Me-Not Songster got the seven ships stanza in the US in 1844. Does this mean there is an unknown print version from the British Isles resembling the Songster version? Or that it was a traditional version captured in print from an unknown source?

The only other puzzling this is Percy's English" version Child Bd, which has the ending stanza,

Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in:
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.

which has entered tradition- either through print (Percy) or because Percy took it from tradition and it existed in tradition and has survived and appears in a dozen or so version collected since then.

Comments?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 15 - 12:11 PM

"With PB anything's possible"
One wonders why the Peter Buchan controversy remains controversial with such incontrovertible evidence - sounds like someone's made up their mind on this one.
Seem to remember similar discussions on whether or not 'the folk' made their own songs or whether they were made for them by a mysterious school of anonymous poet because they were "too busy earning a living"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 15 - 03:09 PM

Sharpe and many others had access to PB's later (BL) manuscript as it was passed around from pillar to post. He was trying to sell it but nobody would buy it. It has lots of material in it but mostly made up of items copied from ABNS, stall copies, local pieces and his own poetry. Just as PB had access to other mss at the time and lots of PB's pieces were entered in Motherwell's Ms.

Jim, if you haven't studied the material I don't know how you can possibly snipe like this.

Richie, some of your puzzles are impossible to answer. Many printed versions did not survive, just as many oral versions did not survive. The best way of reaching any conclusions is to compare as many versions as possible which is what you are doing. I'll have another look at the FMNS version but it is mostly made up of bits from other ballads anyway. As you said yourself it had little if any influence.
It could easily have been put together with bits from more than one version as well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 15 - 03:29 PM

"Jim, if you haven't studied the material I don't know how you can possibly snipe like this."
I've read enough on Buchan - recently added the Walker book to this to know that ot remins a controversy.
Yoy are entitled to your view as I am to mine - but IT REMAINS A CONTROVERSY and until that ceases to be the case, it is somewhat disingenupus to make definitive statements.
Are you suggesting that you have access to material others don't - if not, why is it still a controversy?
Sorry Steve- it really isn't my intention to snipe, but if people make definitive statements on things that are unknown (and possibly unknowable) then we cease to look for the answers - as with your 90 percent + of all folk songs.....
We really have been there and done that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 15 - 03:55 PM

Yes, Jim, I am saying I have access to other material which I have gone to great lengths to procure. I have read closely both sets of manuscripts and compared their contents with many other collections. If you have Walker then you will know he admits many of Peter's faults and he is Peter's greatest apologist. The only question on the table is to what extent did he interfere with the material. I'm afraid I come out very much on Child's side, having studied ALL of the extant material closely.

'We really have been there and done that'. Yes we did, Jim, and you really didn't come out of that well.

Look at the date on the Walker book. Are you really saying a book published at that time has any bearing on whether there is still a controversy or not? I suggest you look at the last page of Fowler as well. After all you are the one who said I ought to read it, and I'm still in your debt for that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 May 15 - 04:36 PM

No Steve - one of the questions is what he did that no other anthologist/collector did in the 19th century, when authenticity was not an issue and we really have no great idea what traditional singers were and were not giving
I've said this often enough, but any slight knowledge we have dtes back only a far as the end of the 19th century, and that is little enough in the general scope of things "a hill of beans", in fact
I've become a little tired of definitive statements on unknowables.
If Buchan is no longer a "controversy" why aren't we all aware of that fact, or do we have to become members of something?
As I said before (and will say again) the same applies to definitive statements on print/oral origins.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 15 - 05:32 PM

Here we go, Jim
Couple of relevant questions for you.

What is your opinion on the Buchan version of Barbara Allen above?

Who is currently stating that Peter Buchan didn't heavily doctor the ballads he published in ABNS and indeed those in both of his manuscripts?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 15 - 04:16 AM

Steve - I have never at any time suggested that Buchan didn't doctor songs - as did virtually all of his contemporaries.
I see no evidence that he was doing anything that his contemporaries weren't - the 'ethics' of what they were doing was not an issue - yet you single him out as 'dishonest' - that to me appears unfair.
You say you have information that solves the Buchan 'enigma' - if you produce it, it will no longer be the enigma that it is at present.
We really did get off on the wrong foot in all this.
Questioning your "ninety percent plus" claim on the print/oral origins of our folksongs, instead of producing proof of your definitive statements, you accused me of being a naive romantic
When I pressed my case, instead of producing proof, you gave me character references - how many people agreed with you and respected your theory (which is what it is).
When I pinned you down by asking you to show how you could prove oral texts hadn't existed before printed ones, you were unable to and you patted me the head with "I will have to watch what I say in future" or some such dismissiveness.
One of my main interests in folksongs is in the important role that had within the communities that gave us them to us.
To that end, we've spent over 40 years talking to singers from communities where the singing traditions were still alive or, at least, within the living memories of the people we talked to, and getting their slant on the subject - a much neglected part of collecting.
The conclusion we reached over that time was that rural working man and woman was an instinctive song-maker, well capable of having made our folksongs without the aid of a bunch of hacks whose overall output was, on the whole unsingable
We found that Irish communities made hundreds of local songs, some of which we recorded, but many, many more we missed because they had been forgotten and were only told about.
You shrugged this off as 'old people scribbling poetry in their retirement', or ' the English agricultural worker was far too busy feeding his family to make songs', or 'there is no comparison between what happened in rural England and Ireland'   
We actually spent time with a singer who had his father's traditional songs printed and sold them around the fairs and markets of rural Ireland in the '40s and described the process of his having done so - he told us it was common practice among Travellers - I see no reason not to belive that this has always happened and that this is how our folk songs and ballads songs got into the hands of the hacks.
I see no reason why most of our folk repertoire didn't originate in the communities and were plundered and adapted to be sold.
The fact is, I don't know, nor does anybody, and to suggest that anyone has definitive answers is to prevent the subject being discussed.      
We really have done the work Steve, we are not the naive romantics you once suggested.
We may well have things arse-about-face with our concl;usions, but they are conclusions arrived at by a lot of hard work and I won't be fobbed off by non-existent definitives that nobody has the right to claim - none of us have definitive answers to these questings - Buchan, song origins..... and if anybody claims they have they will cease being discussed
Sorry about the rant - breakfast awaits
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 15 - 10:02 AM

No problem, Jim
Hope you enjoyed your breakfast.

I don't really want once again to take over Richie's thread with our differences so if you want to discuss the origins further we must start another thread.

However, the veracity of PB's ballads is very relevant to this thread. Of course they were all at it. The only difference is to what extent each of then went with this literary interference and what claims they made for the material. Motherwell, Jamieson and Scott admitted their interference and regretted it, although they would have done well to have been more specific as to what they contributed. However there is plenty of evidence in the ballads themselves to demonstrate that PB went way over the top and claimed unequivocally that every word came from oral tradition. What is more he never showed any regret for his actions. Once again I repeat, if you want some evidence I suggest you look closely at the ballad above and what Jim B has to say about it. There plenty of other even worse examples if you are interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 16 May 15 - 11:18 AM

> It's curious that the Scottish versions…

Hi, Richie. I don't see that much can be read into Sir John becoming Sir James. It obviously means that someone changed the name at some point, perhaps influenced by the sound of "Graeme", but whether this happened in oral transmission among singers or was some printer's choice or accidental slip, I suspect we'll never know. The definite article in "Sir James the Graham" in the "Forget-me-Not Songster" sounds Scottish, but it might just mean that whoever prepared the text for printing was influenced by the language of other ballads, like "The Battle of Harlaw" (Child 163), which has "Oh there I met Sir James the Rose, / Wi him Sir John the Gryme." The first line of the FMNS stanza, "It fell about the Martinmas day" also deviates slightly from Ramsay, but no more than you would expect from someone working from memory who was familiar with other ballads that open in a similar way.

At the risk of hair-splitting, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe doesn't actually specify "seven" ships. What he says in his contribution to the notes in the "Scotish Musical Museum", 1839 (reissued without the songs themselves as "Illustrations of The Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland. By the Late William Stenhouse" in 1853, which seems to be the edition Child used) is: "I remember that the peasantry of Annandale sang many more verses of this ballad than have appeared in print, but they were of no merit—containing numerous magnificent offers from the lover to his mistress and, among others, some ships, in sight, which may strengthen the belief that this song was composed near the shores of the Solway." This comes as part of Sharpe's response to William Stenhouse's earlier note, obviously referring to Sharpe: "A learned correspondent informs me, that he remembers having heard the ballad frequently sung in Dumfriesshire, where it was said the catastrophe took place …"

Steve has already explained that Sharpe could certainly have seen Buchan's version. But if that is what he was actually talking about, then what reason could he have to lie and pretend that it was something he had heard sung in Allandale? (That was where he grew up – but in Hoddam Castle as the son of the laird, not as one of the "peasantry".) Child states very confidently that Buchan's text is "the ballad referred to" by Sharpe, but the most that can really be said is that both include offers of great wealth (and maybe that's all that Child actually meant). It seems more likely to me that Buchan (or his source) has built onto a version similar to what Sharpe heard. If Sharpe's memory was from his early years in Hoddom Castle (in a letter to Walter Scott in 1802, he talks about how he first got attracted to ballads as a young child, and learned some from his nursemaid – he also mentions some of his early local sources in his "A Ballad Book", 1824), then that would suggest that a version with the offers of rich gifts might have been in circulation in Dumfriesshire in the late 1780s or '90s. It's a pity he doesn't mention whether it also had the gold watch, basin of blood, etc. And of course whether it originated in oral tradition or came from a now lost printed text is impossible to tell – although if you're looking for evidence of an oral tradition independent of print, I would reckon the stanzas about wealth and the legacies are the ones where there is the most chance of finding it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 15 - 11:27 AM

"I don't really want once again to take over Richie's thread "
One of the problems with this Steve, is you still discuss these ballads as if you know the printed versions are the originals when you in fact have no evidence that this is the fact - you've just done so on the Scarborough Fair thread regarding Lucy Broadwood's note on herb lore.
I have no interest in defending Buchan's behaviour, but I do know that the jury is still very much out on whether he was any worse than any of his contemporaries.
I don't believe 'authenticity' was too great an issue in the first half of the 19th century, and as you say, they were all at it - I can't see there is that much evidence that Buchan was worse that anybody else (why on earth should Mtherwell, Jameison and Scott "regret" what they did and why should Buchan have to "show regret"?).
Of all the pros and antis on the Buchan CONTROVERSY (which is still the case) -I tend to go along with Keith's argument on authenticity - but I certainly haven't read enough on the subject to be definitive about it.
Huntdsvet makes a number of important points as well, but it's a long time since I've dipped into what he had to say (he may have changed his mind since!!!)
What I do know is that I'm the proud possessor of a very nice early set of Buchan's Scottish Ballads - many of which are highly singable without too much adaptation, which is a damn sight more than I can say about the shelves of Roxborough, Ebsworth and Bagford that are also part of our collection.   
As I can't stress enough - the Buchan enigma remains just that until somebody comes up with something different (like an efficient Ouija board maybe)   
As far as folk song origins are concerned, I wait in anticipation for proof that the chicken came before the egg, or vise versa - but while they are treated by people in these discussions as done-and-dusted, they remain an issue with me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 16 May 15 - 12:27 PM

PS to my last posting: … and also the family dialogue stanzas, I should have added.

By the way, Richie, I don't know if you have noticed that there is another possible "Sir John Graeme" (but alas without his full name) in the summary of a 19th century version presumably learned in England. given in a letter by Mrs Bodell to Alfred Kalisch, quoted by Lucy Broadwood in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society in 1905 (Mrs Bodell lived in the East-End of London at the time, but apparently she had lived in Shropshire as a child):
"Honoured and Dear Sir ....... I venture to write this that I knew a long time ago that Barbara's conduct was due to His, for He was a Sir of the West Countree And he courted Barbara Allen and he became very ill And He sent for her and when she came into his House or Chamber she said By the pallor of your face I see young Man your dying. And he asked her to get down a cup from a shelf which held the tiars he had shed for her. And she then said Do you remember the other night when at the Ale House drinking That you drank the health of all girls there But not poor Barbara Allen He replied I do remember the other night while at the Ale House drinking I drank the health of what was there but my love was Barbara Allen. And when she walked near four cross roads she met his corse a coming, put down put down that lovely corse, And let me gaze upon him. Oh Mother Mother make my be and make it long and narrer for my true love has died to day Ill follow him tomorrer......"
So we've got a Sir something of the West Country, legacy stanza (cup of tears on a shelf), and tavern episode and response (unusually placed after the legacy). It reminds me a little of the Last Leaves version, but it's clearly not the same – there's no family dialogue for a start.
(The letter is also quoted by Riley on p. 126, but with some errors – I hope I've done better with my transcription here, based on copy-pasting from an electronic copy of the article.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 16 May 15 - 02:02 PM

> which has entered tradition- either through print (Percy) or because Percy took it from tradition

Just a quick thought on this one. Percy says that his version is "Given, with some corrections, from an old black-letter copy…" But he also says, in his preface, that sometimes he has only mentioned one or two sources for a ballad, when he has actually used other as well. In this case, my guess for what it's worth would be that "corrections" means that he revised the text to bring it more into line either with what he heard someone singing, or, I think more likely, with more recent broadsides that he preferred not to mention – he was offering his readers ancient "reliques", and it would have spoiled the effect if he had let on that they could pick up some of the stuff at any street corner. Of course that presupposes that things like the name Jemmye Groves and the "Farewell, she sayd, ye virgins all" stanza were already in circulation, either in oral tradition or on broadsides that are now lost, but given how much of the evidence is now lost without trace, I don't see that this is too improbable.

The other mystery I see here is the relationship between the various J… Gr… names. Assuming that the similarity isn't coincidental, did Barbara's lover start out as Sir John Graeme and then go down the social scale to become plain Jemmye Groves etc., as the order in which the names turn up in the surviving written record might suggest? Or could it have been the other way round – part of an attempt to rebrand the ballad as something grander and more Scottish? I guess there can never be an answer to that either, unless an even earlier written text turns up somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 16 May 15 - 07:21 PM

Hi all,

TY Jim Brown for some excellent posts and also Steve and Jim Carroll.

Jim Carroll and Steve- The Buchan versions at times remind me of John Jacob Niles versions which Niles admitted (see Wilgus) that he "changed" some traditional material. I remember it was Malcolm Douglass who commented here (someone may need to find the actual quote) that he felt some of Niles versions would be vindicated after a period of time (I assume after looking at Niles' notebooks). Personally I think Niles was a ballad re-creator and it's clear on some of his versions and in others we just don't know. Because we just don't know I feel compelled to include all his work with the following provision, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).

It's clear that Child did not think Buchan's version, posted above, was traditional or else he would have included it. But Child did include a number of Buchan's versions as his A version and some ballads of his 305 are represented solely by versions from Buchan.

It seems highly unlikely that Buchan's 41 stanzas are all from tradition, and, not knowing, I would include his version and I think Child should have, perhaps pointing out that parts of it may be recreated or that many stanzas are not found in tradition or other sources.

I realize that the folk process itself is a form of ballad recreation and feel that Barbara Allen has evolved from perhaps a simple tragic ballad (which is what I believe the ur-ballad was) to a more complex ballad which has: 1) a motive (the accusation stanza) for Barbara's refusal to help Jimmy/William/Sir John was provided (first in Child A) which is also called the tavern/alehouse stanza. Then another stanza was added where Jimmy/William/Sir John defends the accusation saying, "But gave my love to Barbara Allen." 2) two endings; both have been added, the "rose-briar" probably from child 74 and the "warning" ending from Percy (Child Bd) 3) the "Mother make my bed" and the "Father dig my grave" stanzas; both provide a role for her parents; 4) Barbara laughing at his corpse (probably added in print- rarely found in tradition); 5) The Scotch version Child A (Ramsay) with the Martinmas opening (rarely found in tradition) and 6) the blood letting, tears and the gifts stanzas; whcih may have been added but are traditional in nature and are found consistently in certain areas (possibly originating in Ireland, certainly found there).

As pointed out by others, it's perhaps pointless to try and provide the unknown ur-ballad since it would be conjecture on my part. I believe the early traditional versions were similar to,

1. Away low down in London town,
In which three maids were dwelling.
There was but one I call my own,
And that was Barbery Allen.

2. I courted her for seven long years
She said she would not have me,
Poor Willie went home and took sick
And there he lay a-dying."

and this represents one of the earlier traditional versions. Because there are several opening stanzas I also believe that other opening stanzas, those that use "the month of May" also those which begin "early, early in the Spring," are more closely associated with tradition instead of print.

I have put most of the traditional and early print version on my site and have reviewed them. Other added traditional stanzas include "the birds" stanza which balances the "bells" stanza and the "I could have saved him" stanza (If I'd only done my duty) which also begins Cursed, cursed be my name/cursed be my nature and rhymes with "endeavor." (Does any have a version of this stanza that isn't corrupt?)

I want to thank everyone for contributing and would appreciate any conclusions that may be brought forward. The study of this ballad certainly could become a lengthy book.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 15 - 08:27 PM

Jim,
You seem to be losing the plot here.
Look more closely at what I wrote. I neither said there or even implied that a broadside was the original. I merely said that the pre-1800 versions don't have the plant refrains. If you have proof contrary to that let's see it!

(why on earth should Motherwell, Jamieson and Scott "regret" what they did and why should Buchan have to "show regret"?)
All 3 of them were increasingly aware of the folkloristic approach being preferable to the creative approach. Motherwell even went to great lengths to postulate the scientific approach in 'Minstrelsy' despite the fact that he included work of his own, and Child points this out. The fact is they DID regret what they did. It was indeed a great issue in the first half of the 19th century, otherwise why would Motherwell have gone to such great lengths to put forward his proposals?

CONTROVERSY (which is still the case). Jim, all you have presented us with so far is people who tried to defend him from wayback. I ask you again, who do you know who has studied PB's works currently who still thinks there is a controversy?

Keith, by the way, was in Walker's pocket. All Keith did was edit what Walker told him to do.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 15 - 08:38 PM

Richie,
When someone comes up with a version of one ballad that is drastically differently worded to the usual versions, people like me think 'hmmm! I wonder where these bits came from' but then give them the benefit of the doubt.

When they come up with half a dozen similar you start to get really suspicious.

When they come up with a couple of hundred you think, 'This bloke is really taking the piss!'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 May 15 - 03:32 AM

Quickly - busy
"Keith, by the way, was in Walker's pocket"
Another prominent figure in folksong history we have to disregard as eing unreliable and dishonest then!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 15 - 04:04 AM

Slowly and unhurried
Morning, Jim!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 May 15 - 08:08 AM

Just indexing some soundfiles and have come across an Irish version of Barbara Allen entitled 'Barbrellen' from Connemara singer, Treasa Ni Cheannabainn, from Connemara.
It begins:

Oh Christman comes but once a year
When the leaves they were all falling
It being the time when a young man
Fell in love with Barbry Ellen

The singer's repertoire would be basically Irish-language Seán Nós, but this may well have been acquired from the revival - or who knows, Peter Buchan may have taken a day-trip to Ireland sometime!!
It's from an album entitled Musique Du Monde (Irlande - L'Art Du Sean Nos) (no notes)
Any idea where it might have come from
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 15 - 04:02 PM

Could be part of a medley.
Peter would have at least put for the second line:
When the leaves they had all fallen. He wasn't that bad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 15 - 08:29 PM

Hi Jim,

I remember seeing Christmas in one version but I've seen so many that I'm not sure. "Christmas" is likely a corruption of Martinmas. Her version, other than the opening, is fairly standard (rose-briar ending, no gifts) and I've transcribed the first three stanzas below:

Barbrellen

Oh Christmas comes but once a year
When the leaves they were all falling
It being the time when a young man
Fell in love with Barbrellen

He sent his servant to the town,
To the house where she was dwelling,
Saying, "You must come to my master's house
If your name be Barbrellen."

Slowly, slowly she got up,
And slowly she grew nigh him,
But the only words to him did speak,
Was, "Young man I think you're dying."

Some archaic versions in the US were sung in a minor key (Sam Harmon, Lena Harmon, ref. Jimmy Driftwood, who knew an archaic minor version) and perhaps this is a way of identifying older versions. In his study of 33 US versions Charles Seeger came up with no melodic consensus.

I am interested in finding out when the "rose-briar" ending was added, or, at least when the first printed version was made.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 04:42 AM

Hi Gutcher, Jim B and GUEST

Did we make any progress in dating the people mentioned in PB's version of Bonny Barbara Allen?

Richie, rose - briar ending.
I'll check my printed copies but I thought we'd nailed this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 04:55 AM

Richie,
Not much help I'm afraid.
I only have one copy from the Madden Collection and it is without imprint. However the ballads do come in batches of similar aged material in this collection and 2 ballads close to it are dated 1835 and 1836. However, the bottom end of this is, going by the type and the layout it could be anything from 1820 to 1870. It has 14 stanzas, is simply titled 'Barbara Allen' and first line 'In Reading town, where I was born', already in use on slightly earlier sheets but without the rose/briar ending. Would you like me to send you a copy?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 06:06 AM

""Christmas" is likely a corruption of Martinmas."
Thanks Richie - I worked out that it probably came from the singing of source singer Vail Ó'Fletharta, also from the Connemara Gealtacht, so it's possible common to there.
Just that I hadn't come across the Christmas reference over here before.
Don'r
t suppose you or anybody have the notes to 'Musique Du Monde (Irlande - L'Art Du Sean Nos'?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 06:15 AM

Meant to say - 'Christmas' instead of 'Martinmas' may be a corruption of a printed text (unlikely to be a strong feature in a Gaeltacht), but neither makes logical sense anyway as both refer to times of the year when the leaves would be long gone rather than "falling"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 18 May 15 - 09:39 AM

Jim, would it solve your horticultural problem to rephrase the line in question as

          It fell about the Martinmas time
          When green leaves all had fallen. ?

(Not being too precious about all these great posts as I'm coming to the song from the point of view of finding a version that works for a singer -- from a psychological point of view, I suppose.
I feel very privileged to have a good library of ballad collections and am not averse to the Pick'n'Mix approach to constructing a text, but I always admit to my concoctions.
So, apologies to Richie et al for playing fast and loose with original sources and adding to later confusions.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 18 May 15 - 10:19 AM

Jim,

Is seen in Barbry Allen, as sung by James B. Cornett, on Mountain Music of Kentucky, 1959:

It was [in] the Saint Martins time
And the green buds they were swelling,
And Young Johnny Green of the West country
Fell in love with Barbry Allen

The use of Martinmas (Christmas) has nothing to do with logic (singers may not be worried about if the leaves should have fallen- obviously green leaves do not usually fall- they turn colors first- see Child A also), and I didn't think it came from print, although at some point it might have.

I am interested in Charlie Somers' version because it has the "gifts stanzas". Listen here:

http://www.itma.ie/inishowen/song/barbro_allen_charlie_somers

I am interested in the Irish tradition, that includes the gifts stanzas.

It also has the rose-briar ending. Steve, you did post Madden Collection 5095 above, with the Rose-Briar ending, which may be the earliest print version with that ending.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 10:42 AM

"would it solve your horticultural problem"
Not really a problem Anne - I enjoy the song wherever and whenever it took place
Just commenting on a n aspect of the text which has often occurred to me in response to the suggestion that Christmas was a corruption, implying that one was correct - in this case, neither makes sense, and we don't know which was original.
What interested me was that I had't come across the Christmas reference in Irish versions other than those from the Gealachts and I wondered if there was any significance.
Quite often, reference to times of day or year in ballads and songs carry with it folklorists, social, or local information, or sometimes they are scene setters to create a backdrop for the singer - I believe they are seldom merely rhyming conveniences.   
We got this from Sam Larner's nephew, who sang us, 'Just as the Tide Was Flowing' and explained what that time of day meant to a fisherman
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 18 May 15 - 12:00 PM

Hi,

Jim- Mondegreens, a mis-hearing of words, are a part of folk songs as they are a part of music. "Corruption" is simply a word describing the folk variance or folk process which is ballad re-creation, obviously nothing is correct or incorrect, it simply shows the process- it sounds harsh but it's a commonly used word. I personally don't like "corruption" much and should use another word. Just because everyone uses it doesn't mean it should be used.

Do you think that "Christmas" is perhaps derived from "Martinmas"?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 18 May 15 - 12:29 PM

Yes, but I don't think they'll be a lot of help here:
"She then sings, in English, one of the songs which came from England and Scotland and were adapted by the Irish: "Barbara Allen". A man dies of love for a girl who shall follow him in death."
(The French version of the notes doesn't add anything.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Brown
Date: 18 May 15 - 12:45 PM

Sorry, that was meant to be an answer to Jim's question about whether anyone had the "L'Art de sean nos" CD notes -- not to Richie's about Christmas and Martinmas.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 15 - 02:38 PM

"Mondegreens"
I don't think it was a Mondergeen.
"Do you think that "Christmas" is perhaps derived from "Martinmas"?"
Seems a big poetical jump, but who knows.
Martinmas is certainly an important period in the Catholic calendar, and also folkloristicly here, so there's no reasons for it being rejected or mistaken because it was unfamiliar - one of the old customs in the West was to scatter the blood of a newly-killed animal around the four corners of the house on 10th November.
Irish Travellers, who played an essential part in the transmission of ballads, would certainly not mistake it, as "Blessed St Martin" is their patron saint (when we were recording them, a couple of them referred to him jokingly as "Cassius Clay" because he was black and his popular image shows him posing like a boxer, with his fists together in front of him)
Thanks for that Jim (Brown) - pretty convinced that the version was circulated in the area by Vail Ó Flatharta - an extremely impressive singer.
Barbara Allen is the only song in English on his album. 'Bláth na nAirní
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 02:53 PM

Apologies if I've pointed this out before, Richie, but the early 19thc broadsides don't appear to have had any influence on British versions. The common widespread broadside printed by Pitts has 2 of the earlier stanzas shunted into one stanza and this stanza is not found in this way in British oral tradition according to a study I did quite some years ago. The same stanza is in the Madden copy referred to above.

It runs
'Nothing but death is painted in your face
All joys are flown from thee
I cannot save thee from the grave
So farewell my dear Johnny.'

Just to be sure, I'll have a quick scan through Bronson.

At a guess I would say many of the British versions derive from well-known anthologies and the various sheet music versions that were circulated in the 19th century.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 15 - 03:27 PM

No versions in Bronson have these 2 couplets together, in fact the first couplet is quite scarce but found in America and the second couplet probably in a couple of examples again in America. Of course both couplets occur separately in all of the earlier printed copies.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 03:54 PM

Hi,

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. I've finished putting the first batch of versions from North America on my site. There are 439 so far:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-84-bonny-barbara-allen.aspx

I have about 20 more I will put on the next go round, most are recordings which will need to be transcribed. Nearly 50 versions are not listed in the Roud Index.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 04:07 PM

I hope there are more than just two or three of us in this forum who appreciate the ungodly amount of effort you are putting into this project, Richie.

You are providing a valuable supplement to both Child and Bronson.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 06:28 PM

The only mention of a Green in Ayr is a street of that name.

In Skerringtoun there I was born
And in Loudon I was dwelling.

We certainly have a Skerringtoun [the farm of Skerrington Mains still exists in the parish of Loudon. In my youth it was farmed by the late Willie Young] but tell me where do you find a Scarlet Town and indeed Loudon is only one letter different from London. Could someone have misheard or misread in this case?

To muddy the waters still further the site of Auchruglen Castle, supposed by some to be the scene of the tragedy expounded in the ballad "Edom O Gordon", is also in the parish of Loudon.

[Note] Mains usually denotes the Main or Home farm of an estate.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jun 15 - 03:35 PM

Localisation of place names in ballads, and indeed even personnel, is very common. Peter Buchan made a living out of it.

'Scarlet' is thought by some to be a skit on 'Reading', but there was also nothing to stop the author making up a name.

All of the current circumstantial evidence points to a London origin; on the other hand almost anything is possible.

Hi Jon,
I've told Richie several times how much we appreciate his valuable work, but I think more people on the Ballad List should be aware of it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jun 15 - 05:21 PM

Hi, Steve. I was certainly including you in the "two or three."

I hope I'm underestimating.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 17 Jun 15 - 07:10 PM

Steve
Did Buchan have any input / connection with the S o S version of the ballad "Edom o Gordon" based on Auchruglen castle?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 18 Jun 15 - 01:18 AM

As you say Steve anything is possible.
The name Allan was quite common in the parish of Loudon and its neighbours at the time in question. Barbara was a common forename for women in Scotland, I am not convinced that this was the case at that time South of Haidrians Wall, indeed the name of one lady only yclept Barbara comes to mind at present and that was Barbara Villiers.
My Ulster friend assures me that Barbara is still a favourite name there with the descendants of the Scots who moved from this area in 1606 as part of the Montgomery Hamilton settlement, no doubt there would be Allans among those early settlers, many of whom later moved to the Americas.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jun 15 - 02:32 PM

Hi Gutcher,
Allens very common in England from the 13thc onwards. 'Barbara' became somewhat rare in England after the Reformation but I found plenty of examples in Durham and Northumberland from the 16th/17th centuries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jun 15 - 02:36 PM

S o S? Songs of Silence? Songs of Scotland? The only version Peter Buchan had was the one he published in 'Gleanings' which was straight out of the Reliques. Which version is based on Auchruglen Castle?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 06:54 AM

"I hope there are more than just two or three of us in this forum who appreciate the ungodly amount of effort you are putting into this project, Richie."

I will be teaching a ballad class at the Swannanoa Gathering in three weeks time, and will (as I always do) be including Richie's site as one of the prime ballad resources in my handouts.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 12:09 PM

A saving of one finger typing---SoS--South of Scotland.
In my local telephone directory for the area there are some 36 col. inches of Allan / Allen with Allan being 90% 0f the total.

From the Web:--
"What follows is taken from an old ballad of the times. The ruins of Achruglen are pointed to in confirmation, nor is the deed at all out of keeping with Ayrshire story of the sixteenth century" [19th.C.]

I have seen the ballad in print but as yet have not been able to locate it.

The Lady Loudon and her children were smoored to death in the firing of Achruglen by Lord Bargany he being a Kennedy and she by marriage a Campbell. If my memory serves she was a Crawford to her own name.
The incidents related in the ballad are similar to those in "Edom o Gordon".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Richie
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 01:32 PM

Hi,

Thanks for the kind words. Regarding the person, Barbara Allen, perhaps this letter should be investigated:

C. KIRKPATRICK SHARPE to WALTER SCOTT, Esq. 1812

Your Ecclefechan tragedy set me a rummaging among the trash here to find anything respecting the Dornock family, and I have been very successful. I fell upon a huge bundle indorsed Dornock Papers, wherein among many rentals and bonds were the printed advertisements respecting the roupe of the estates, one of which I shall present to you as an illustration of the verses. Among Dornock's creditors you will find Mrs Barbara Allan, whom I strongly suspect to have been descended from that Barbara concerning whom there is a song: this is serious. I also discovered a letter which is rather amusing, and as I am not at all so, I will transcribe it here, that this epistle may not be totally unworthy of postage. I find the tradition concerning the fellow's ear was erroneous: it was a much more serious matter.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 02:08 PM

Gutcher,
I thought the incident between Captain Ker and Adam Gordon was well documented in the 1570s even if the castle itself was disputed. How would this fit in with Achruglen and Lady Loudon?

Richie, the letter from Sharpe is certainly interesting, if rather cryptic. Any dates mentioned? I like the bit that says, 'this is serious'. I find it rather amusing that a ballad scholar should think that somebody was descended from someone else simply because they had the same name. Perhaps he had other reasons! We've already seen that the name Allen/Allan was very common in Scotland and England from a very early period.

Gutcher, I've lost your contact details. If you can send me your name I'd be obliged. Please pm me if you don't want it posting here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 05:22 PM

With a little research I should be able to provide an approximate date for the burning of Auchruglen Castle.

The Crawfords of Loudon, Kerse etc. were the hereditary foes of the Kennedys and if the Lady Loudon was that heir to the Loudon Estate who married a Campbell I am sure a record of her fate must exist somewhere.

Kerr is usually taken as an East borders name so it may surprise some that where I sit typing with my one finger is within 5 miles of the lands of Kersland and the Kerr of Kersland was counted chief of all the Kerrs. Kersland being in Ayrshire about 15 miles North of Loudon.

The Gordons were also an East Borders clan who birsled yont as far North as Huntly and as far West as Galloway. Originally from that area of the borders called the Merse there is still a Clachan called Gordon in that area.

Andrew Lang [mid 19th.C], points out that there is a House of Rhodes in the Merse and that Edom o Gordon is claimed for that area.

This may all be far removed from Barbara Allen but I am using it to point out the mistake of being too positive when attributing a ballad to a particular location.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 20 Jun 15 - 04:09 AM

Hello Steve.
Having found my password I am now no longer a guest and look forward to hearing from you.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: meself
Date: 20 Jun 15 - 12:10 PM

Re: the delightful Sharpe-to-Scott letter, I take the 'this is serious' comment to imply that Sharpe feels he has MORE than just the identical names to feed his suspicion; in other words, 'I'm not just a nitwit who thinks that merely because this Barbara Allen has the same name as the one in the ballad, they must be related - I have other interesting evidence, so you should take this - and me - seriously.' However, it IS possible that he means, 'Wow! The same name! This is really important!' But he seems a bit too clever for that: note the irony in his self-deprecation re: his transcription of the letter 'which is rather amusing, and as I am not at all so, I will transcribe it here, that this epistle may not be totally unworthy of postage.'

(Suggestion to Gutcher: try TWO fingers - the index finger of each hand. You're welcome.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 15 - 08:08 AM

It's a pity that by the time he was asked to contribute to the annotations on the Scots Musical Museum, Sharpe had lost the document mentioning a real Barbara Allan. (See Richie's posting at 11:40 on 26 April.)

With all due respect to Sharpe's scholarship, he also thought that the stanza mentioning ships supported his belief that the ballad originated near the Solway, as if there weren't ships to be seen all round the British coast (see the same posting by Richie), so perhaps his desire to find a local origin for the ballad overrode his better judgement.

On the subject of real Barbara Allan's, the 18th century Scottish artist David Allan, who produced a series of illustrations of Scottish songs in the 1790s (including one of "Barbara Allan" theatrically taking to her bed while her mother looks on), and who according to at least one anecdote was no mean singer of traditional songs himself, had a daughter called Barbara... but I imagine the name was most likely in the family and nothing to do with the ballad.
(See http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/rsascottishart/imagedetails/thechildrenofdavidallan.asp)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 23 Jun 15 - 09:12 AM

Still OT
Steve.
Auchruglen Castle was the home of the Loudons of that Ilk.
The daughter and heiress of Lambkin De Loudon married a Reginald Crawford in the year 1200.
It was the home of the Crawfords of Loudon for five generations.
In c1320 the Crawford heiress married a Donald Campbell and they continued to reside in Auchruglen until it was burned in the late 14th C. by the Kennedys of Bargany, this event giving rise to a ballad, I have not found an exact date for this as yet.
For obvious reasons the Campbells abandoned the site of Auchruglen and built the first Loudon Castle on the opposite [North] side of the river Irvine. This Castle was also attacked by a band of Kennedys some 200 years after the burning of Auchruglen, they being of the Cassilies branch of that family this giving rise to the 19th. C. report mentioned in a previous post that the ballad was founded on a 16th. C. attack.

If, as the experts claim, ballads founded on fact are produced within 30 years of the actual event the finding of the ballad based on the burning of Auchruglen becomes important as this event predates the burning of the house of Rhodes in the North East of Scotland by two centuries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 23 Jun 15 - 11:08 AM

Academics, with more recourses and training at their disposal, should, no doubt, be able to come up with answers to the questions raised in my previous posts, me being a mere [retired] hewer of wood and drawer of water.
A hint--find out when the Campbells built the first Castle of Loudon, a short distance East of the existing ruins. This should give an approximate date for the burning of Auchruglen.
Blaes map of the early 17th. C, shows the site of Auchruglen on the South side of the River Irvine. There was possibly some traces of that edifice still in existence at that period.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Gutcher
Date: 25 Jun 15 - 08:06 AM

Sorry OT again.

No progress as yet with the quest for the date of the burning of Auchruglen Castle in the 14th. C. by the Kennedys of Bargany.

In 1527 the Kennedy Earl of Cassilies was killed at Prestwick by the Campbells of Loudon. The extensive lands of the Campbells of Loudon were ravaged by the Cassilies branch of the Kennedys for many years after this event up to and including the first Castle of Loudon with the historian of the times pointing out that the said Castle was never burnt thus confirming that he must have had knowledge of the burning of a previous Castle occupied by the Loudon family or why the mention of burning.

Success with the finding of a ballad which confirms an Ayrshire connection with the ballad "Captain Carr".

]V10] I would give the black she says
       And so would I the brown
       For a drink of yon water
       That runs by Galston Town

[V17] O pity on yon fair Castle
       That"s built of stane and lime
       But far mair pity on Lady Loudon
       And all her children nine.

[V10] Auchruglen lay about a third of a mile East of Galston, the    latter being on the banks of the river Irvine with Auchruglen being    slightly away from the edge of the river.

[v17] In their own lands no matter what titles they had the landowner was always referred to as the Laird and his wife as the Lady.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Barbara Allen
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Jun 15 - 05:15 PM

Hi Joe,
Sorry not to chip in sooner. I was away in the smoke for a few days. I have your name again now from another thread so I've made a proper note.

I think it's a shame for future reference that all of your hard work is going to be lost in a thread on Barbara Allen. I don't know if a Mudelf can transfer all of the Edom o' Gordon info onto a separate thread where it would make more sense.

Re Sharpe's comments. All of the earlier collectors, particularly those from the late 18th/early 19th centuries had their own agendas so without corroboration I tend to take what they say with a pinch of salt.

>>>>>>>If, as the experts claim, ballads founded on fact are produced within 30 years of the actual event the finding of the ballad based on the burning of Auchruglen becomes important as this event predates the burning of the house of Rhodes in the North East of Scotland by two centuries.<<<<<<<<

I don't agree with this assertion though no doubt it is true in many cases. There is very little proof to verify this. In many cases it is more likely that the ballads were written centuries later based on legends and local tradition. Chevy Chase' and 'The Battle of Otterburn' were much more likely written long after the events. I personally think that many of the Sc ballads written on 16th/17th century events were written in the 18th century. I can't prove this but you try and disprove it.

Regarding academics. Most of us on here are not academics. We do it for the love of it just like you.

Regarding your info on Auchruglen, whilst it's possible the ballad was based on legends from the 14th century, my own instinct tells me that it's more likely to be based on a more recent event. There is also the possibility that the ballad is a conflation of more than one similar event. There are examples of this. 'Geordie' is based on several events. 'The Whittam Miller', likewise.


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