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Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold

GUEST,matt milton 04 Aug 15 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,# 04 Aug 15 - 09:23 AM
Reinhard 04 Aug 15 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Aug 15 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Aug 15 - 11:22 AM
Steve Gardham 04 Aug 15 - 05:27 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Aug 15 - 08:08 AM
Reinhard 10 Aug 15 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,matt milton 11 Aug 15 - 05:38 AM
Reinhard 11 Aug 15 - 10:57 AM
Snuffy 11 Aug 15 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,matt milton 11 Aug 15 - 12:34 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Aug 15 - 06:15 PM
Richard Mellish 12 Aug 15 - 10:09 AM
Snuffy 12 Aug 15 - 12:08 PM
Reinhard 12 Aug 15 - 12:18 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 04:41 AM

This song has been sung many times by plenty of well-known singers. However, I would really like to read the earliest known version, as it sounds like it is significantly different to the versions commonly known (printed on broadsheets, sung by Harry Cox, Phoebe Smith and others).

Mostly Norfolk says this of it:

"The earliest known collected version, however, is from Ayrshire in 1827 (published by Emily Lyle in Andrew Crawford's Collection Vol. 2 (1996). This lone Scottish version includes numerous differences to the English texts, in particular the ending in which, instead of forgiveness and marriage, the squire dies and Bess's master and mistress throw his corpse "into yon river clear".

Sadly this version seems impossible to find online. I've seen a couple of editions of Andrew Crawford's ballad collections offered for sale on eBay, but I don't really want to shell out 20-60 quid for a ballad collection just to satisfy my curiosity on this one particular song. On one site somewhere (I forget where) I read that the Crawford version is called simply 'The Milk-Maid', but that might be incorrect.

Does anyone have access to this version, and might they be kind enough to post it up?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: GUEST,#
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 09:23 AM

The only thing I can find online that you haven't mentioned, Matt, is the last sentence on the page that opens at

https://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/LO10.html

The 'yon clear river' phrasing is different but likely from the version you want.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Reinhard
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 10:40 AM

Sorry Matt, there was a typo in my citation on Mainly Norfolk. It should be Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads and Songs Vol. 2.

But even with that corrected surname I didn't succeed in googling the song's lyrics. Now I went the traditional way and ordered the two books.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 11:01 AM

Wow, that's true dedication! :)

I might have ordered the books too, only I have no idea if there are any other riches to be found in them. They don't really get talked about much, those collections.
Please let me know what you think of them when they arrive.

I had seen the "Crawfurd" spelling and assumed that "furd" was the typo, not "ford". Hmmm, I might do a little more online digging...

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 11:22 AM

...actually now that I'm typing the correct surname in, I can see that there's some quite reasonably priced editions of the Crawfurd collections on Amazon. Thanks very much Reinhard. I think I'll treat myself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 05:27 PM

Highly recommended, Matt. But if you are not successful I could post it for you.

Meanwhile The earliest version I have is late 18thc in a longer version entitled 'The Virtuous Milkmaid's Garland'. Different printings have 26 stanzas. Other than that Pitts printed the more usual ballad 'The Squire and Milkmaid, or Blackberry Fold' before 1819.

TVMG starts 'Draw near you young lovers and I'll let you know'
TS&M starts 'It's of a rich/young squire in Bristol did/doth dwell


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Aug 15 - 08:08 AM

re: Andrew Crawfurd's collection of ballads and songs

WorldCat.org might show you where you can find it in a library near you:

http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1970169


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MILK-MAID (Crawfurd collection)
From: Reinhard
Date: 10 Aug 15 - 01:27 PM

The Milk-Maid
Andrew Crawfurd's Collection Vol. 2         

In days o' yore donn in Ross shire
There wonnit a noble squire
An monie a bonnie lady gay
At the time wonnit there

Ae simmer morn this noble squire
Was makand heavie mane
Whan in stept Bess the milk maid braw
Whilk made the squire fain

O want ye onie milk she said
Or want ye nane said she
Ye see, fair creature, I'm in love
Sum ruth cum shew to me

There's monie a fairer sweeter may
An richer far than I
I'm naething but a servant may
Brocht up to milk the kye

O never mind my witching fair
The squire sune replied
Cum let us gae to yonner kirk
And ye sall be my bride

But as they gade towards the kirk
Within yon green grass feil
He grippit the milk maid in his arms
Sayan Bessie ye maun yeild

An gin ye here deny my suit
Within this green grass feild
I do intend to ravish you
An syne I will ye kill

O Sir did na ye hecht to me
That I soud be your wife
I'll never be your whore
I leif wad lose my life

Wi' wrestling and pouand much
Frae him she did win free
An syne she saw a gude braid glaive
Hang danging by his knee

Wi frantic rage she grippit the glaive
An ran his bodie thro
An hame towards her maister's house
Like lichtening she flew

Upon my chaste body she said
The squire did grow bauld
I left him bleeding on the green
Within Lochlauchin bauld

Up then raise her master bauld
Likewise her mistress dear
An they hae thrown the squire's corpse
Into yon river clear

John Guthrie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 05:38 AM

Thanks very much Reinhard!
I also ended up ordering the Crawfurd. Only Vol. 2; maybe I'll splash out on Vol.1 some other time. It hasn't arrived yet, so very nice to be able to read this in advance.

I'm glad I took the time to ask about this version. In this one, the squire is an unredeemably bad sort. The words make it clear that his marriage proposal is just a ruse to get to have his way with her. That verse "O Sir did na ye hecht to me / That I soud be your wife..." makes that unambiguous. In other versions, it's been suggested that there's an element of misunderstanding, or that the milkmaid is naive.

There are some other nice details, such as the fact that the weapon she uses to kill him is his own, the "glaive" she finds hanging by his knee. (What is a "glaive" - some kind of very sharp metal glove?)

In this version, her master and mistress are clearly nothing to do with the squire or his party.

Some great phrases in there too: "my witching fair", "Wi' wrestling and pouand much" ("pouand" suggesting "pounding" to me)

The detail that the river is clear is interesting. Perhaps the suggestion that the body will be visible, either as a moral warning, or, more likely, that the milkmaid is highly unlikely to get away with it....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Reinhard
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 10:57 AM

Matt, the book's glossary says that a glaive is a sword. Pouand is not listed in the glossary. I wouldn't interpret too much into the river clear; it just has to rhyme with mistress dear ;)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Snuffy
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:01 PM

Could it mean that clear refers to the throwing, not to the water in the river - they threw him "clear into" the river - i.e. well away from the banks, so he would be swiftly carried away?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 12:34 PM

I like over-interpreting things from time to time!
...and of course, it could only be "mistress dear" in order to rhyme with "river clear" ;)

At the very least, there's some poetic symbolism in that last line: something pure being spoilt.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 06:15 PM

Comparing all 3 versions, Guthrie's, the 18thc broadside and the 19thc broadside, there is strong evidence that both Guthrie and the 19thc broadside are rewrites of the 18thc version with strong evidence of oral tradition between Guthrie and the broadside. All of Guthrie's verses are in the 18thc version other than the last which appears to be an attempt to wind up the story after the original ending was forgotten. Betty marries the squire in both broadside versions.

In the earlier version she grabs his rapier to run him through, but in the 19thc rewrite she pulls a dagger from her bosom.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 10:09 AM

I note the word "wonnit", a Scots word that I have not met before. I assume it's the past tense of a verb cognate with German wohnen, with the same meaning. I have found "wonning", meaning a dwelling, in The Scots Dictionary but not the verb. Anyone know the present tense?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 12:08 PM

That's the connection I made to make sense of the line.

Presumably 'won' or 'wonn'?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Betsey the Milk-Maid/Blackberry Fold
From: Reinhard
Date: 12 Aug 15 - 12:18 PM

Again, the glossary in the Crawfurd book:

wonnit, won'd, v. pl., lived

which might suggest that the singular form could be 'won'.


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