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Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry

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Jim Carroll 18 Dec 15 - 08:11 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 15 - 09:27 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 15 - 09:45 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 15 - 10:02 AM
Jim Brown 18 Dec 15 - 10:12 AM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 15 - 10:12 AM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 15 - 01:27 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 15 - 01:47 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 15 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 18 Dec 15 - 04:30 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 15 - 05:11 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 15 - 05:16 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 15 - 05:24 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 15 - 05:49 PM
Richard Mellish 18 Dec 15 - 06:29 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 15 - 06:54 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 15 - 07:08 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 15 - 07:15 PM
Joe Offer 18 Dec 15 - 11:50 PM
GUEST,Jon Bartlett 19 Dec 15 - 12:55 AM
Joe Offer 19 Dec 15 - 01:46 AM
GUEST,Musket 19 Dec 15 - 03:22 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 15 - 03:36 AM
Jim Brown 19 Dec 15 - 04:01 AM
MartinRyan 19 Dec 15 - 05:43 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 15 - 12:49 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 15 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 19 Dec 15 - 02:33 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Dec 15 - 03:41 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 08:11 AM

Does anybody have a copy of Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry from Johnson's Cyclopedia, or does anybody know where I can find it?
Somebody kindly put a link up for Johnson some time ago, but the quality of the print was too poor to make use of.
I understand it is reproduced in the latest reprints of Child - which, in may case "I have not got" as my library-bound copy of the Dover edition hasn't fallen apart yet, and I'm in a bit of a hurry.   
Would very much appreciate assistance for a project I'm involved in.
Seasons greetings, or 'pah humbug' to all - whatever turns you on!
Many thanks
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 09:27 AM

I would also like a copy of said essay please. I too am bound to the Dover edition which has the Walter Hart essay but not the aforementioned. Failing that it would be useful to know when the Johnson essay was published.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 09:45 AM

I have nothing to add to the question but out of interest I did the usual search and was led to a Wiki page where the picture of Child doesn't half look like Mike Harding!

Sorry for the flippancy but at least the question gets bumped up again :-)

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 10:02 AM

"Wiki page where the picture of Child doesn't half look like Mike Harding!
Nah- Mike Harding looks like Child, but there the resemblance most definitely ends.
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Brown
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 10:12 AM

Child's essay was also published in Journal of Folklore Research, 31.1/3 (1994) pp 214-222, if that's any help.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 10:12 AM

I have extracted the relevant pages from the copy on for you (I guess your computer can't do that, being a Windows machine, albeit more than ten years newer than my old Mac).

Give me an email address and I'll send it. 33Mb. You need to magnify it quite a bit to read it, so there's no point in sending a more compressed version.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 01:27 PM

Jim - I sent that, did you get it? What email services do with huge messages is unpredictable.

Steve, if you're having problems getting it out of the copy of the encyclopaedia I can pass it on.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 01:47 PM

Have e-mailed you Jack - thanks for your trouble

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 01:57 PM

Thanks Jim and Jack. Jim has sent me a copy which I've printed off and will drool over shortly.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 04:30 PM

Good work.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 05:11 PM

Looking at the biblio it would appear the article was written after Child had completed part 8 c1892 and whilst he was still working on the final 2 parts. The first couple of pages are a bit high-flown, vague and idealistic, but once he gets down to business there's some very useful info in there. Page 218 onwards is fascinating. There isn't a lot on the British ballads but for a European overview it's essential reading.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 05:16 PM

An interesting point is that there is no hint of the disillusionment he was going through at this stage which comes out in his correspondence with friends and contributors. He does briefly mention the interference of ballad editors,

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 05:24 PM

Johnson's Cyclopedia (with that article) was published in 1878. What does your page numbering refer to?

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 05:49 PM

It is completely unclear to me from my communication with Jim whether I've managed to get the file to him or not.

So, I have put the relevant pages on a filesharing site (the only one I can get to work from here: it's a right pain to download from).

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 06:29 PM

Very kind -- but downloading seems to require an account on at least one of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram.

Could you post a link to the relevant place on I've just tried a few searches there but not found the essay concerned.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 06:54 PM

That's volume 1 of the Cyclopaedia (179Mb). They don't have the essay on its own, which is why I selected the relevant four pages. Unfortunately the way I did it bloated them.

You can get an account on 4shared just by asking. It's still a pain in the bum to use (most of the buttons labelled "Download" are fakes).

I still don't know whether Jim got the file or not, or what document Steve is talking about.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 07:08 PM

Thanks Jack - have PMd you again

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 07:15 PM

I have now got the file size down to 7.6Mb, and my email client tells me it was sent to Jim correctly.

I have put it on my own site as I have checked that it downloads to something readable.

Reminds me of the Turkish whimsy about what "cocuk ezmesi" ("child paste") really is.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 11:50 PM

Let's see if I can post the text. I'll have to take some time to edit it to get it right. I found it at Google Books. It's the entry on Ballad Poetry from Johson's (revised) Universal Cyclopedia, Volume 1.

Ballad Poetry. The word ballad signifies in English a narrative song, a short tale in lyric verse, which sense it has come to have, probably through the English, in some other languages. It means, by derivation, a dance-song, but though dancing was formerly, and in some places still is, performed to song instead of instrumental music, the application of the word in English is quite accidental. The popular ballad, for which our language has no unequivocal name, is a distinct and very important species of poetry. Its historical and natural place is anterior to the appearance of the poetry of art, to which it has formed a step among every people that has produced an original literature, and by which it has been regularly displaced, and, in some cases, all but extinguished. Whenever a people in the course of its development reaches a certain intellectual and moral stage, it will feel an impulse to express itself in literature, and the form of expression to which it is first impelled is, as is well known, not prose but verse, and in fact narrative verse. The condition of society in which a truly national or popular poetry appears, explains the character of such poetry. It is a condition in which the people are not divided by political organization and book-culture into markedly distinct classes, in which consequently there is such community of ideas and feelings that the whole people form an individual. Such poetry, accordingly, while it is in its essence an expression of our common human nature, and so of universal and indestructible interest, will in each case be differenced by circumstances and idiosyncrasy. On the other hand, it will always be an expression of the mind and heart of the people as an individual, and never of the personality of individual men. The fundamental characteristic of popular ballads is therefore the absence of subjectivity and of self-consciousness. Though they do not "write themselves," as William Grimm has said, though a man and not a people has composed them, still the author counts for nothing, and it is not by mere accident, but with the best reason, that they have come down to us anonymous. Hence, too, they are extremely difficult to imitate by the highly-civilized modern man, and most of the attempts to reproduce this kind of poetry have been ridiculous failures.

The primitive ballad then is popular, not in the sense of something arising from and suited to the lower orders of a people. As yet, no sharp distinction of high and low exists, in respect to knowledge, desires, and tastes. An increased civilization, and especially the introduction of book-culture, gradually gives rise to such a division: the poetry of art appears; the popular poetry is no longer relished by a portion of the people, and is abandoned to an uncultivated or not over-cultivated class — a constantly diminishing number. But whatever may be the estimation in which it may be held by particular classes or at particular epochs, it cannot lose its value. Being founded on what is permanent and universal in the heart of man, and now by printing put beyond the danger of perishing, it will survive the fluctuations of taste, and may from time to time serve, as it notoriously did in England and Germany a hundred years ago, to recall a literature from false and artificial courses to nature and truth.

Of the Europeans nations, the Spaniards and those of Scandinavian-German stock have best preserved their early popular poetry. We have early notices of the poetry of the Germans. Their ballads, mythical or historical, are several times spoken of by Tacitus, who says that these were their only annals. The earth-born Tuisco and his son Mannus were celebrated in the one, and the hero Arminius in the other. The historian of the Goths, Jornandes, writing in the sixth century, says that these people were accustomed to sing the exploits of their fathers to the harp, and seems to have taken not a little of his history from such songs. The like is true of Paulus Diaconus, the Lombard historian, who wrote in the eighth century, and mentions songs about Alboin (who died in 563) as existing among all the nations of German speech. Charlemagne had the old traditional songs of his people collected and committed to writing, and even made them one of the subjects of school instruction. Side by side with heroic ballads, social, convivial, and funeral songs (which may, to be sure, have been pretty much the same thing) seem to have been in use from the earliest recorded times. To all this popular poetry, by reason of its heathen derivation and character, the Christian clergy opposed themselves with the most determined hostility. Not succeeding in extirpating it by the use of the spiritual and legal means at their command, the German churchmen of the ninth century conceived the idea of crowding it out by substituting poetry of a Christian subject and tone — an expedient which has been tried more than once since then. Though popular song lived on in obscure places, the foreground of history is filled for six hundred years with religious and courtly poetry and with the chivalrous and native epic. Nothing is left of the old heroic songs but a fragment of the Hildebrandslied, from the eighth century (best known in a modernized form of the fifteenth century); and of the Christianized song we have also but a single specimen, the Ludwigslied, of the year 881. The former is in the ancient alliterative metre, the latter in the then newly-introduced rhymed stanza. During the fifteenth and the early part of the sixteenth centuries a second growth of the genuine popular song appears, some of it springing, doubtless, out of shoots from the old stock which had lived through this long interval, some of it a fresh product of the age. These ballads were popular in the large and strict sense; that is, they were the creation and the manifestation of the whole people, great and humble, who were still one in all essentials, having the same belief, the same ignorance, and the same tastes, and living in much closer relations than now. The diffusion of knowledge and the stimulation of thought through the art of printing, the religious and intellectual consequences of the Reformation, the intrusion of cold reflection into a world of sense and fancy, broke up the national unity. The educated classes took a direction of their own, and left what had been a common treasure, to the people in the lower sense, the ignorant or unschooled mass. German ballads have been collected in considerable numbers. The sources have been "flying leaves," manuscripts, printed song-books (mostly of the sixteenth century), and oral tradition. In interest they are decidedly inferior to the Scandinavian and English.

Christianity and foreign culture, which in different ways have been equally destructive in their effects upon ancient national poetry, were introduced into the Scandinavian countries much later than into Germany and England. In the Scandinavian countries, too, the peasantry long maintained a much higher position. They were not an oppressed and ignorant class, but free men, who shared fully in the indigenous culture, and so were well fitted to keep and transmit their poetical heritage. While, therefore, the heroic ballads of Germany and England have been lost — those of England utterly, those of Germany being preserved only in epic conglomerates like the Nibelungenlied — and while the mythical cycle in both countries is but feebly, if at all, represented, Scandinavia has kept a great deal of both. The story of Thor's Hammer forms the subject of a ballad still known in all the Scandinavian countries; a volume of ballads concerning Sigurd has been gathered from tradition in the Faroe Isles within this century, and several ballads of this cycle and of that of Dietrich of Bern are found in Danish manuscript ballad-books. Svend Grundtvig, the editor of the still unfinished but truly magnificent collection of the old Danish ballads, has arranged them in four classes: first, the Heroic; second, the Trylleviser, or ballads of giants, dwarfs, nixes, elves, mountain spirits, enchantment, spells, and ghosts; third, the Historic: and fourth, ballads of Chivalry. The historic ballads (intending their original, not their actual, form) mostly fall within the period from 1150 to 1300; the chivalrous are later, and the two other classes belong to a still earlier term, which may extend over the first half of the twelfth century, and into, or perhaps through, the eleventh; that is, to the epoch of the introduction of Christianity. Ballads are best preserved by oral tradition in Norway and the Faroe Isles, but not at all, there, in old manuscripts; Sweden has a few manuscripts, and Denmark a great number, written mostly by noble ladies living on their estates, and giving the ballads as they were sung three or four hundred years ago, as well in the lord's castle as in the peasant's hut. The Danish ballads were collected in a printed form earlier than any others except the Spanish. Vedel published a hundred in 1591; another collection, called Tragica, or old Danish historic love-ballads, appeared at Copenhagen in 1657 ; and in 1695 Syv republished Vedel's ballads, with the addition of another hundred.

The English have preserved but a moderate number of very early ballads, and the date of many of these it is impossible to fix. There are some narrative poems in Anglo-Saxon which, without stretch of language, might be called ballads. The Norman Conquest, and the predominance of the French language for more than two hundred years, had of course momentous literary consequences, but there is no reason why the production of the native ballad should have stopped. The story of the Saxon outlaw Hereward, which begins with the second year after the Conquest, and has been handed down to us in Latin prose of the twelfth century, is full of such adventures as form the themes of ballads, and very likely was made up from popular songs. Such ballads, if they existed, are lost, but ballads concerning outlaws are among the earliest and best ones of the English. In place of Hereward of the Conqueror's time, and Fulk Fits-Warin of John's time (whose history was also extremely popular), we have Robin Hood of uncertain time. Songs of Robin Hood and of Randolph, earl of Chester (probably the third earl, who died in 1232), we know, from Piers Ploughman, were current among the lower orders at the middle of the fourteenth century, and one Robin Hood ballad exists in a manuscript which may be as old as the first quarter of the next century. Another occurs in a manuscript dated at about 1500, others in the Percy manunript. The Little Gest of Robin Hood, which is a miniature epic made up of half a dozen ballads, was printed by Wynken de Worde, "probably," says Ritson, " in 1489." We may reasonably place the origin of the Robin Hood ballads as early as the thirteenth century. To the thirteenth century may belong 'Hugh of Lincoln,' which is founded on an incident that occurred in 1255. An Anglo-Norman ballad on the same subject twice refers to a King Henry, and is therefore put within the reign of Henry III., which ended 1276. 'Sir Patrick Spens,' if the occasion of the ballad has been rightly understood, dates from 1281. After this there are only one or two ballads with dates till we come to the Battle of Otterbourn, 13S8, from which time we have a succession of ballads founded on ascertained events, down to the middle of the eighteenth century. Ballads like those of Grundtvig's second class exist in a small number; one of them in a manuscript of the middle of the fifteenth century. The little that we have of ballads of the Arthur cycle, and many of the best of all kinds, we owe to the Percy manuscript, written just before 1650. A few ballads besides those named have been gleaned from manuscripts and early prints, but a large part of our whole stock has been recovered within the last hundred years from the oral tradition of Scotland. The first impulse to the collecting of this poetry was given by the publication of Percy's Reliques in 1765. The Reliques inspired Bürger and Herder, through whom, and especially through Herder's "Volkslieder" (1778-79), that interest in the literature of the people was awakened in Germany which has spread over the whole of Europe, and has led to the collecting and study of the traditional songs and tales of all the European, and some of the Asiatic, African, and American races.

The Spanish alone of the Latin nations can boast a ballad poetry of great compass and antiquity. Following the law of analogy where documents are wanting, the origin of these ballads would be put between the years 1000 and 1200, the period when the Spanish nationality and language had been developed to that degree which invariably incites and leads to expression in epic song. Some sort of popular poetry about the Cid (whose time is 1040-99) is known to have been sung as early as 1147; the poem of the Cid itself is placed about 1200. During the century that follows we find occasional mention of ballad-singers, but no ballads. As in Germany, the popular poetry, after the first bloom of the national genius, was supplanted by art-poetry, among the higher classes, and it passed out of notice for two or three hundred years. A reaction set in in the sixteenth century. This was the glorious period of Spanish history, and the return to the national poetry was a natural consequence of the powerful stirring of the national mind. Omitting "flying leaves" or broadsides, and a few ballads in the "Cancionero General" of 1511, the earliest collection of Spanish ballads is an undated "Cancionero de Romances," printed at Antwerp about 1546; and this, it must be observed, is the first ballad-book printed in any language, and was gathered in part from the memory of the people. Other similar collections followed, from which was made in 1600 the great "Romancero General." Towards the end of the seventeenth century the national ballads declined in favor, with a decline of national spirit, but since the beginning of the present century they have been restored to a high estimation at home, and have gained the admiration of the world. The oldest ballads are those which relate to the history and traditions of Spain, and recount the exploits of Bernardo del Carpio, Fernan Gonzalez, tho Seven Lords of Lara, and the Cid. Then comes a variety of romantic and chivalrous ballads, and then ballads of tho Carlovingian cycle. These oldest and most characteristic of the Spanish ballads have been excellently edited by Wolf and Hofmann, and the entire body of this literature, amounting to more than 1900 pieces, is included in the "Romancero General," edited by Duran in 1849-51, a work which surpasses every other in the same line, except the Danish collection of Grundtvig. The collections of ballads in the other Latin languages will be found below. The most important are the Portuguese " Romanceiro," by Almeida-Garrett, 1863; the Piedmontese ballads, by Nigra, 1858-63, and the "Songs and Tales of the Italian People," by Comparetti and D'Ancona, begun in 1870, both first-rate works; Arbaud's, Puymaigre's, and Bujeaud's French collections.
The ballads of other European nations are scarcely less interesting than those which have been noticed, and those of races which possess little or no other literature are peculiarly instructive, by reason of the light which they throw on the history of national poetry; for instance, the songs of the Slavic races, and, most of all, of the Servians. The Slavic songs as a class are distinguished from the Teutonic by the absence of the sentiment of romantic love - and of chivalrous heroism. In their form, too, they are much less dramatic, and even the division of epic from lyric songs is not easy. Many songs begin with a few narrative verses and then become entirely lyric, and the narrative part is almost always descriptive. The Servians — especially those of Turkish Servia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, who have not been much affected by civilization — afford a capital example of a race that has not outlived the ballad era. Vuk has collected five or six hundred of their songs, one third of them epic, and every one of them from the mouths of the people. A few of these are, in their actual form, as old as the fifteenth century, some belong to a remoter time, and indeed many retain marks of an ante-Christian origin. So far, the Servians are like the German nations: the distinction is that the fountain of popular poetry still flows, and that heroic poems have been produced among the Servians in this century which are essentially similar to the older ones, and not at all inferior. We find the national poetry, there, in a condition closely resembling that in which it was among the races of Northern and Eastern Europe many hundred years ago. New songs appear with new occasions, but do not supersede the ancient ones. The heroic ballads are chanted at taverns, in the public squares, in the halls of chiefs, to the accompaniment of a simple instrument. Sometimes they are only recited, and in this way are taught by the old to the young. All classes know them: the peasant, the merchant, the hayduk (the klepht of the modern Greek, a sort of Robin Hood), as well as the professional bard. No class scorns to sing them — not even the clergy or the chiefs.

One or two general remarks are required to prevent misconceptions and to supply omissions. From what has been said, it may be seen or inferred that the popular ballad is not originally the product or the property of the lower orders of the people. Nothing, in fact, is more obvious than that many of the ballads of the now most refined nations had their origin in that class whose acts and fortunes they depict —the upper class — though the growth of civilization has driven them from the memory of the highly-polished and instructed, and has left them as an exclusive possession to the uneducated. The genuine popular ballad had its rise in a time when the distinctions since brought about by education and other circumstances had practically no existence. The vulgar ballads of our day, the "broadsides" which were printed in such huge numbers in England and elsewhere in the sixteenth century or later, belong to a different genus; they are products of a low kind of art, and most of them are, from a literary point of view, thoroughly despicable and worthless.

Next it must be observed that ballads which have been handed down by long-repeated tradition have always departed considerably from their original form. If the transmission has been purely through tho mouths of unlearned people, there is less probability of wilful change, but once in the hands of professional singers, there is no amount of change which they may not undergo. Last of all comes the modern editor, whose so-called improvements are more to be feared than the mischances of a thousand years. A very old ballad will often be found to have resolved itself in the course of what may be called its propagation into several distinct shapes, and each of these again to have received distinct modifications. When the fashion of verse has altered, we shall find a change of form as great as that in the Hildebrandslied, from alliteration without stanza to stanza with rhyme. In all cases the language drifts insensibly from ancient forms, though not at the same rate with the language of every-day life. The professional ballad-singer or minstrel, whose sole object is to please the audience before him, will alter, omit, or add, without scruple; and nothing is more common than to find different ballads blended together.

There remains the very curious question of the origin of the resemblances which are found in the ballads of different nations, the recurrence of the same incidents or even of the same story, among races distinct in blood and history, and geographically far separated. The Scottish ballad of 'May Colvin,' for instance — the German 'Ulinger' — is also found in the Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Servian, Bohemian, Wendish, Esthonian, Breton, and perhaps other languages. Some have thought that to explain this phenomenon we must go back almost to the cradle of mankind, to a primeval common ancestry of all or most of the nations among whom it appears. But so august an hypothesis is scarcely necessary. The incidents of many ballads are such as might occur anywhere and at any time; and with regard to agreements that cannot be explained in this way, we have only to remember that tales and songs were the chief social amusement of all classes of people in all tho nations of Europe during the Middle Ages, and that new stories would be eagerly sought for by those whose business it was to furnish this amusement, and be rapidly spread among the fraternity. A great effect was undoubtedly produced by the Crusades, which both brought the chief European nations into closer intercourse and made them acquainted with the East, thus facilitating the interchange of stories and greatly enlarging the stock.

The most important collections of ballads are—

English.—" Reliques of Ancient English Poetry," by Thomas Percy, fourth improved ed., London, 1794, and often since; "Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs," by David Herd, second ed., 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1778; "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," by Sir Walter Scott, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1802-3, and often since; "Popular Ballads and Songs," by Robert Jamieson, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1806; "Ancient Scottish Ballads," by George R. Kinloch, Edinburgh, 1827; "Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern," by William Motherwell, Glasgow, 1827; "English and Scottish Ballads," by F. J. Child, 8 vols., Boston, 1860, which contains all but two or three of the ancient ballads, and a full list of collections; "Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript," by J. W. Hales and F. J. Furnivall, 3 vols., London, 1867-68.

Scandinavian.—"Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser" ("The Ancient Ballads of Denmark"), by Svend Grundtvig, 3 vols., and part of a fourth, Copenhagen, 1853-72 — by far the greatest work in this class of literature; "Ancient Danish Ballads," translated from the originals by R. C. Alex. Prior, 3 vols., London, 1860; "Norske Folkeviser" ("Norwegian Ballads"), by M. B. Landstad, Christiania, 1853; "Gamle Norske Folkeviser" ("Ancient Norwegian Ballads"), by Sophus Bugge, Christiania, 1858; "Svenska Folk-Visor" ("Swedish Ballads"), by Geijer and Afzelius, 3 vols., Stockholm, 1814-16; "Svenska Fornsanger," by A. I. Arwidsson, 3 vols., Stockholm, 1834—42; Rosa Warren's "Dänische Volkslieder," Hamburg, 1858, "Norwegische, etc. Volkslieder," Hamburg, 1866, "Schwedische Volkslieder," Hamburg, 1857; "Faeroiske Kvaeder" ("Ballads of the Faroe Isles "), by V. U. Hammershaimb, 2 parts, Copenhagen, 1851-55; "Islenzk Fornkvaeoi," by Grundtvig and Sigurosson, 3 parts, Copenhagen, 1854-59.

High German.—"Des Knaben Wundorborn," Arnim and Brentano, 3 vols., Heidelberg, 1806-08, 4 vols., Berlin, 1853-54; "Alte teutsche Volkslieder in der Mundart des Kuhländebens," Vienna and Hamburg, 1817; "Oesterreichische Volkslieder," Ziska and Schottky, Pesth, 1819; " Die Volkslieder der Deutschen," F. K. von Erlach, 5 vols., Mannheim, 1834-36; "Schlesische Volkslieder," Hoffmann von Fallersleben and Richter, Leipsic, 1842; "Alte hoch und nieder-deutsche Volkslieder," L. Uhland, 2 vols., Stuttgart, 1844-45; "Deutsche Volkslieder," F. L. Mittler, Marburg and Leipsic, 1855; "Fränkische Volkslieder," F. M. von Ditfurth, 2 parts, Leipsic, 1855; "Deutscher Liederhort," L. Erk, Berlin, 1856; "Die historischen Volkslieder der Deutschen," R. von Liliencron, 4 vols., Leipsic, 1865-69.

Low-German, Netherlandish.— "Letterkundig overzigt en proeven van de Nederlandsche Volkszangen," J. C. W. le Jeune, Amsterdam, 1828; Uhland, as before; "Oude Vlaemsche Liederen," J. F. Willems, Ghent, 1848; "Niederländsche Volkslieder," Hoffmann von Fallersleben, second ed., Hannover, 1856; "Chants Populaires des Flamands de France," E. de Cousscmaker, Ghent, 1856.

Spanish and Portuguese.— "Tesoro de los Romaneeros," etc., Eug. de Ochoa, Paris, 1838, Barcelona, 1840; "Romancero Castellano," G. B. Depping and A. A. Galiano, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1844; "Romancero General" (vols. x. and xvi. of "Biblioteca de autores Españoles"), Madrid, 1849-51; "Observaciones sobra la poesia popular," etc., M. Milà y Fontanals, Barcelona, 1853; "Primavera y Flor de Romances," F. J. Wolf and C. Hoffmann, 2 vols., Berlin, 1856; "Romanzen Asturiens," u. s. w., Josè Amador de los Rios, in "Jahrbuch für romanische- u. englische Literatur," iii. 268,1861; "Cancionero Popular," E. Lafuente y Alcantara, 2 vols., Madrid, 1866; " Cansons de la Terra, Cants populars Catalans," F. Pelay Brìz y Candi Candi, 3 vols., Barcelona, 1866-71; "Romanceiro," Almeida-Garrett, 3 vols., Lisbon, 1863; Th. Braga, "Cancioneiro Popular," Coimbra, 1867; "Romanceiro Geral," Coimbra, 1867; " Cantos Populares do Archipelago Acoriano," Porto, 1869; "Ancient Spanish Ballads," J. G. Lockhart, London, 1823; "Portugiesische Volkslieder u. Romanzen," C. F. Bellermann, Leipsic, 1864; "Romanzero der Spanier u. Portugieser," Stuttgart, 1866.

Italian.—"Canti popolari Toscani, Corsi, Illirici, Greci," N. Tommasèo, 4 vols., Venice, 1841-42, second ed. of vol. i., 1848; "Canti pop. inediti Umbri, etc," O. Marcoaldi, Genoa, 1856; "Canzoni pop. del Piemonte," C. Nigra in the "Rivista Contemporanea" of Turin, 1858-63 " Saggio di canti pop. Veronesi," E. S. Righi, Verona, 1863; "Volkslieder aus Venetien, gesammelt von G. Widter," 1864; "Canti pop. Siciliani," G. Pitrè. vol. i., Palermo, 1870, vol. ii., 1871 ; " Canti e Racoonti del Popolo Italiano," D. Comparetti and A. d'Ancona, Turin and Florence, vol. i., 1870: vol. ii., 1871; vol. iii., 1872.

French.—"Instructions relatives aux Poèsies Populaires de le France," J.J. Ampere, Paris, 1853; "Etude sur la poesie populaire en Normandie," Eug. de Beaurepaire, Avranches, 1856; "Chants populaires du pays castrais," A. Combes, Castres, 1862; "Chants pop. de la Provence," Damase Arbaud, 2 vols., Aix, 1862-64; "Romancero de Champagne,"

Beyond here be dragons

(one page missing, and then I didn't proofread the end)

waku w Uhrach" ("Songs of the Slovaks in Hungary"), J. Kollar, 2 partB, Buda, 1823-27, 1834-35. 2, P»li*k.— "Piesni polsftie i ruskie Ludu galicyjskiego" ("Songs of the Polish and Russian peoplo in Galicia"), W. z. Olcska, Lemberg, 1833; "Piefini Ludu bialo-chrobatow, mazurow, i russin6w z nad Bugu" ("Songs of the White Chrobatians, Massovians, and Russinians on the Bug"), K. W. Woicieki, Warsaw, 1836: "Piesni Ludu polskiego w Galicyi" (" Songs of the Polish People in Galicia "), Z. Pauli, Lcuihcrg, 1S38; "Piesni Ludu polskiego," P. Kolbcrg. Warsaw, 1857; "Piesni Ludu polskiego w G6rnym Szlasku " (*■ Songs of the Polish People in Silesia"), Juliusz Roger, Wroclaw, 1833. 3, Sorabian- Wendish.—" Volkslicder der Wenden in der Ober- u. Nicder-Lausitz", L. Haupt and J. E. Schmaler, Grimma, 1841-43. General Work*.—"Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic Nations," etc., Talvj (Mrs. Robinson), New York, 1850; "Slawische Volkslieder" (Russian, Bohemian, Slovak. Bulgarian), J. Wenzig, Halle, 1830; "Slawische Balalaika" (Russian, Little Russian, Carniolan, Polish), W. v. Waldbruhl, Leipsic, 1843.
Lithuanian.—" Littauische Volkslieder," collected and translated by G. II. F. Ncsselmann, Berlin, 1851'; "Litthauische Volkslieder u. Sagen," Wm. Jordan, Berlin, 1844.
Breton.—" Barzaz-Brciz, Chants populaires dc la Bretagne," Th. Hcrsart de la Villeinarque, fourth ed., 2 vols., Paris, 1846; "Volkslieder aus der Bretagne," A. Keller u. K. Seekendorff, Tubingen, 1841; "Bretonische Volkslieder," M. Hartmann u. L. Pfau, Cologne, 1859; "Chants populaires de la Basse-Bretagne," F. M. Luzel, vol. i., L'Orient, 1868.
Of non-Indo-European races the more important collections are—
Finnish.—" Finnischo Runen" (Finnish and German), by H. R. von Schroter, edited by G. H. v. Schriiter, Stuttgart, 1834; "Suoinen Kansan wanhoja Runoja " (" Ancient Songs of the Finnish People"), Oscar Topelius, 3 parts, Turussa, 1822-26; "Kanteletar," etc., " Tho Harp, or Ancient Songs and Hymns of the Finnish People," E. Lb'nnroth, 2 vols., Helsingfors, 1840. Enthonian.—" Ehstniscbe Volkslieder," origiual and translation, H. Neus, Reval, 1850-52. Hungarian.-—" N6pdalok 6s Mondak " (" Songs and Tales"), J. Erdelyi, 3 vols., Pesth, 1842-48; "Ausgewiihlte ungarischc Volkslieder," translated and edited by K. M. Kcrtbeny, Darmstadt, 1851. Turki*k. —" Probcn der Volkslitteratur der tiirkischen Stamme Siid-Sibcriene" (" Specimens of the Popular Literature of the Turkish Races of South Siberia"), W. Radlof, 3 vols., St. Petersburg. 1866-70.
Of comprehensive works and collections the most noticeable arc—" Stimmen der Volker in Liedern," J. G. v. Herder, 1778, ed. by J. v. Miiller, Tubingen, 1807; Talvj (Mrs. Robinson), " Versuch einer geschicbtlieben Charakteristik dor Volkslieder germanischen Nationen/'etc, Leinsic. 1840; "Hausschatz der Volkspoesie," 0. L. B. Wolf!, Lffipsic, 1853; "Volksdichtungen nord- u. sudeuropaischcr Volker alter u. neuer Zeit," J. M. Firmenich, 1867. F. J. Child.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: GUEST,Jon Bartlett
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 12:55 AM

Well done, Joe, and thanks from all of us!

Jon Bartlett

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 01:46 AM

Thanks, Jon. I did OK until the bibliography, and then it got difficult. Google didn't OCR a page that started in the middle of the French sources. Should I give up? Well, at least I'm going to take a break and proof the rest of it later...

As in Child's The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, it's easy to gloss over the information about ballads in languages other than English. But these other ballads are important stuff, and we need to pay attention to them. I wonder how many of the sources that Child cited, are available on Google. It will be an interesting path of exploration.

An expansion of the above article is available at Professor Child and the Ballad. If you have the time, it's a fascinating read.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 03:22 AM

Thanks Joe. Fascinating reading. I have read quite a lot in the genre but that snippet got me brushing up an old song about Robin Hood I used to sing occasionally.

Regarding the Mike Harding lookalike. Mike of course has arranged some excellent renditions of the more popular Child ballads, bringing them to a wider audience when he used to slip songs into his mainstream comedy tours.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 03:36 AM

Many thanks for the help with this - never cease to be amazed at the open-handed generosity of this forum - the true spirit of passing on what you have that brought me into folk song.
Thanks too to Jo for making this article available to all - I couldn't believe that it was so difficult to find.
As far as the index of ballad books, I suggest that you keep them as straightforward photoscans rather than attempting to read them as word documents - quite a few are in other alphabets that won't transpose into English.
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Brown
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 04:01 AM

Thanks indeed to Joe for taking the trouble to edit all that!

As far as I can see, the text from the 1900 Johnson's Cyclopedia reprinted in Journal of Folklore Research, 31.1/3 (1994) pp 214-222 is almost identical, apart from having an updated bibliography, including the first four volumes (up to 1892) of Child's own ESPB(so presumably it was last revised before the first part of vol. 5 came out in 1894). The only differences I have spotted in the essay itself (apart from a couple of changes in punctuation) are that the sentence about the date of "Sir Patrick Spens" is omitted in the later version (in keeping with Child's conclusion in vol. 2 of ESPB that it is probably not historical), there is a different list of languages in which "May Colvin" is found ("Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, Dutch, Low German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Polish, Servian, Bohemian, Wendish, Magyar, and there are traces of it in other languages"), and "so august an hypothesis" in the same paragraph becomes "so stupendous an hypothesis".

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: MartinRyan
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 05:43 AM

and "so august an hypothesis" in the same paragraph becomes "so stupendous an hypothesis".

Sure that wasn't "became 'so september an hypothesis.'"?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 12:49 PM

The page numbering I was referring to was the 1900 Johnson edition just referred to by JimB which was flagged up by Jon Bartlett. As Jim says there isn't really any significant difference between the earliest publication and the later editions, but there wouldn't be as the bulk of the article concentrates on the European history of the ballad and tells us virtually nothing about what he thought of the British ballads in the 1890s apart from emphasising the interference of the early editors.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 12:59 PM

Mine lists Peter Buchan's 'Ancient Ballads and Songs' among the "more important" collections - was that a printer's error?
Jim Carroll

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 02:33 PM

Thanks, Joe, for your labours!
Will give us plenty over which to mull.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Child's Essay on Ballad Poetry
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 03:41 PM

No printer's error at all, Jim. It just happens to be the most redacted publication out of all of those listed, all redacted to some degree. Some would argue that Percy is the worst culprit but that's only an opinion. Child himself slated Buchan on numerous occasions. That doesn't detract from the fact that it was one of the seminal works. The main point here is we have little evidence of the extent of the interference from judicious editing to outright forgery but we know they all dabbled to some extent as most of them admitted it.

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