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Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr

Richie 23 Apr 16 - 05:21 PM
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Subject: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 05:21 PM

Hi,

I'm doing some ballad research on my site and want to look at the ballad, Bramble Briar/ Merchant's Daughter/In Bruton Town.

This ballad was suggested to me by Steve Gardham, who has an article and several Appendices online. I'm not familiar with all the details but will learn as we go.

I'll post an article that should be considered: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/1boccaccio-hans-sachs-and-the-bramble-briar.aspx

It's Belden's: "Boccaccio, Hans Sachs, and the Bramble Briar" from 1918 which I believe was precipitated by a statement by Broadwood.

I will post the translation later from Steve's article.

How did this ballad get to Madison County, NC? Where does it come from?

In Zepo Town

1. In Zepo Town there lived a merchant
He had three sons and a daughter dear
And among them all was the prettiest boy
It was the daughter's dearest dear.

2. One evening they were in a room courting
Their oldest brother chanced to hear
He goes and tells his other brother
Let's deprive her of her dearest dear.

3. So they rose up so early next morning
A game of hunting was agreed to go
But little did he think of a bloody murder
A game of hunting he agreed to go.

4. They wandered over hills and valleys
And through a many of a place unknown
Till at last they became to a ditch of briars
And there they killed him dead alone.

5. So they returned home late in the evening
Their sister inquiring for the service boy
Oh we got him lost in the Wildwoods hunting,
No more of him could we ever find.

6. While she lie upon her pillow
The service boy appeared in a dream
Says: your brothers killed me rough and cruel
All wallowed in a gore of blood.

7. But since your brothers has been so cruel
To rob and steal your own sweet life
One grave deserves both of our bodies
I'll stay with you as long as life.

8. So she returned home late in the evening
Her brothers asked her where she'd been
Just hold your peace you deceitful v1lla1ns
For one alone you both shall hang.

9. Her brothers being deep convicted
To jump in a ship and find relief
The winds did blow and the waves overcome them
Their graves was both in the deep blue sea.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 09:59 PM

Hi,

Here's a link to Steve's article: http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dung21.htm

There are at least 4 US version from 1890 and earlier. Henry J. Wehman published a version in song collection No. 28, p. 23 that is dated 1890. Two of the versions from manuscripts are early 1800s (NY and OH).

One question is how is it related to "The Constant Farmer's Son." Malcolm Douglas gave version of both. "The Constant Farmer's Son" was printed as a broadside, where Bramble was only printed in Wehman's and that version was communicated from tradition.

Here's a translation posted by Steve of the 1620 'Isabella and the Pot of Basil' in the Decameron:

Isabella's Tragedy

In Messina there dwelt three young men,
Brethren and merchants all they were.
Very rich by their father's death then,
And lived in fame with little care.

They had a sister Isabella,
And she was beautiful and fair,
And as of yet she remained unmarried
And with great portion it was her share.

The trading of the brothers' business
That brought them plenty of store and gain,
Was by a factor, thus a servant,
Lorenzo was this factor's name.

Lorenzo being of fair complexion,
Gracious in this young maid's eyes,
Isabella placed her whole affection,
Gave him many looks and sighs.

Lorenzo noting her behaviour
Fixed his heart on her likewise;
Both respected one another
But kept their secret from prying eyes.

It was one day the eldest brother
At length he chanced upon the scene;
He told it to his other brethren
The secret meeting he had seen.

With no sign unto Lorenzo
From the city they rode all three,
And talking with him kind manner,
Took Lorenzo in their company.

When they came to a lonely valley
Such as matched their vile intent,
They ran upon him, quickly slew him,
Interred his body where no-one went.

When they returned unto Messina
They gave it forth they had him sent
To do some trading in a far country
As formerly it was their bent.

Many demands she made unto them
To which far country he had gone.
What do you mean by all these questions?
The brothers said, you do us wrong.

One night as she lay sore afflicted
Lorenzo came to her bedside,
In torn and unbefitting garments,
With looks so pale and eyes so wide.

My dear, he said, do not torment you,
Nor call my name and thus repine;
Thy brethren they cruelly slew me,
My mangled body you soon shall find.

In the morning she rode a journey
Directly to the designed place:
She found the body of her Lorenzo
And held him close in fond embrace.

His body was so little corrupted,
She washed it over with many a tear;
Infinite kisses bestowed upon him,
My love's no more, to me so dear.

Returning back to her cruel brethren
This maiden wept and pined away,
She could not cease from all her mourning,
Died upon the very next day.

As their offence might be discovered,
From Messina all three were bound
And sailing on their way to Naples,
Their ship was lost, all three were drowned.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 10:21 PM

Hi,

In my first post: "In Zepo Town" was taken from Lisha Shelton's version known in Appalachia "in Seaport Town" (Sharp EFFSA).

I have a theory about analogues like the one found in Boccaccio's "The Decameron" (see translation my last post). Most analogues are like Jungian archtypes; there are themes common to humankind. These common themes provoke similar stories in many different cultures. Just because the story is the same doesn't mean that a version in one country or culture is based or taken from another-- the same story can spring from a similat or sometime nearly identical situation.

In the case of The Bramble Briar I quote Norman Cazden, ‎Herbert Haufrecht, ‎Norman Studer - 1982 from the book, "Folk Songs of the Catskills" who first mention Boccaccio:

"Four German poems written between 1515 and 1548 by Hans Sachs, the noted Meistersinger, derive from that story, as does also the poem Isabella by John Keats. None of these forms seem to have had a direct influence on the text lines or the images of the two ballad strains. It may be more fruitful to regard the core of the tale as a popular theme, probably handed down in oral tradition since long before Boccaccio, with its various literary renderings, broadside ballad texts, and possibly other outcroppings constituting particular formulations or crystallizations."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 10:32 PM

Hi,

The "two ballad strains" are of course "The Bramble Briar" and "Constant Farmer's Son." It seems that the UK versions are about a farmer than a merchant. Why is that?

Is "Constant Farmer's Son" based on "Bramble Briar" or do they just have the same theme?

Here are the four early US versions:

A. The Bridgewater Merchant, from New York MS taken from an aunt of Artemas Stevens; dated circa 1820, part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958.

B. The Apprentice Boy from Ohio/Michigan taken MS book (c. 1852) of Mrs. Elsie Clark Lambertson.

C. The Bramble Brier, from Henry J. Wehman (Wehman Brothers); No. 28, p. 23; 1890.

D. The Jeaolus Brothers, sung by Mr. Doney Hammontree of Farmington, Ark; from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs dated 1890s.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 12:42 AM

Here's an unusual version (at least the way it appears in print). On page Page 34 of OLD, OLD FOLK SONGS c. 1951 by Fred High of Berryville, Arkansas, comes this version (reproduced exactly as printed :)

TWO LOVERS SET SPARKING

One evening late as they set sparking her brothers
Chance come over here says your-court-ships they will
soon B over for we will march him right along to his grave
Next morning as they arose a game of hunting for to go
& on this young man they insisted that he
Should go along with them
They rode over hills & over vallies & over land that
was unknown & they rode till they come to the lonesome
Valley & there they killed him dead alone
That evening ate as they was returning their sister
Asked for the survent boy says Ive lost him in our game
of hunting & no more of him could've ever find
That evening [l]ate as she lye-weeping he appeared to her
bed side says your brothers have killed me with rush
& crual & here i lye in agoar of blood
Next morning earley as she arose & dressed her self
in rich-eare says ile ride ile ride to the end of
the mountain or seak the object of my love.
She rode over hills & over vallies & over land which
was unknown & she rode & she rode till she come to
The lone-some-valley & there she found him dead alone
His red rosey cheeks they had all faded & his lips
Was of a salty bryne & she kissed them over & ore a
crying says a darling busem friend of mine
That evening late as she was returning her brothers
Asked where she had ben. oh hold your tongue u deseite
Ful villings for dead alone U both shall hang
Next motning early as they arose & started over the
Ocean deep the waves they did over come them & now
They are both mouldern in the deep

by the Hayneses

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

I'll post a translation below. Curiously, there are around a dozen versions from the Ozarks and the Southwest.
-----------------------------------

Two Lovers Set Sparking (Translated R. Matteson)

One evening late as they set sparking[1],
Her brothers chanced come overhear,
Said: Your courtships they will soon be over
For we will march him right along to his grave.

Next morning as they arose,
A game of hunting for to go
And on this young man they insisted,
That he should go along with them.

They rode over hills and over valleys,
And over land that was unknown
And they rode till they come to the Lonesome Valley
And there they killed him dead alone.

That evening late as they was returning
Their sister asked for the servant boy,
Saying: We've lost him in our game of hunting
And no more of him could've ever find.

That evening late as she lie weeping
He appeared to her bedside;
Saying: Your brothers have killed me both[2] rash and cruel
And here I lie in a gore of blood.

Next morning early she arose A
And dressed herself in rich array,
Saying: I'll ride, I'll ride to the end of the mountain
Or seek the object of my love.

She rode over hills and over valleys
And over land which was unknown
And she rode and she rode till she come to the lonesome valley
And there she found him dead alone.

His red rosy cheeks they had all faded
And his lips was of a salty brine;
And she kissed them o'er and o'er a-crying
Saying Darling bosom friend of mine.

That evening late as she was returning
Her brothers asked where she had been;
Oh hold your tongue you deceitful villains
For dead alone you both shall hang.

Next morning early as they arose
And started over the ocean deep
The waves they did over come them
And now they are both moulderin' in the deep

by the Haynes

1. courting
2. originally "with"

[Quite a transformation- from English to English!!!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 01:14 AM

Hi,

I immediately associated "Bramble" to the Child ballad "Braes O' Yarrow" which, if I remember correctly at this hour, is the story of a rich feudal lord whose daughter falls in love with a poor plouhman. Because of his meager station the lord's seven sons ambush the the ploughman who kills six of them but the seventh stabs him in the back leaving him to die on the Yarrow. She goes to warn her ploughboy but is too late and pulls him by her hair from the water's edge. He dies and she dies of sorrow.

Anyone see this association?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 04:50 AM

Richie, you seem to imply that Lisha Shelton's version - "In Zepo Town" - is in Sharp's Appalachian collection. It was actually recordede by John Cohen from Lisha Shelton and the recording can be heard on the CD/DVD set ""Dark Holler" (Smithsonian/Folkways SFW CD 40159. I have always thought that "Zepo" was a corruption of "Seaport" (an alternate title), which probably arose in oral transmission. As to how the ballad arrived in Appalachia - some early settlers took it there, along with all those other songs and ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 08:28 AM

Hi Mike,

Thanks for clarifying- I meant the title "In Seaport Town" which was used by Sharp as his heading for the ballad (versions A-I).

Since the earliest reported US versions seem to be disseminated primarily from the NY area (NJ to Ohio) the ballad has different points of origin. One is the Virginia Colony. How do these texts differ?

In Sharp E we find the town is named Bridgewater. We know that Gardham identifies Bridewater as the hypothetical setting of this ballad. His reconstructed hypothetical version constructed from extant versions begins (see link above):

The Bridgewater Merchant

1. 'Twas near Bridgewater a rich man lived
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled these children's hearts with care.

Is Bridgewater a clue to the origin? Why does it usually appear as Seaport in Appalachia?

Why does Gardham call it a "reconstructed broadside ballad"?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 08:45 AM

Okay, in summary of my articles on the origins of the ballad which ought to be read fully and carefully to weigh up the fairly straightforward evidence: I've never met anyone who didn't think that CFS was a straight rewrite of Bramble Briar from the early 19th century, the work of a broadside hack.

There are too many points of co-incidence to clearly demonstrate that the ballad in its earliest extant forms is directly taken from an English translation of the Isabella story. Since Belden's time everyone who has looked at the ballad in any detail has come to that conclusion even without access to the longer versions.

Whilst the original broadside hasn't yet come to light, or perhaps hasn't survived, a garland ballad printed in Bristol in the mid 18th century has 3 stanzas at the start which are so close to the early stanzas in Bramble Briar that this could not be a co-incidence. So either they were by the same writer, or one influenced the other.

An extra interesting point to me is that when I first came across the long versions I actually considered the ballad could have originated in America. There are Bridg(e)waters in almost all of the eastern seaboard states. It was the finding of the Bristol garland that swayed me back to Somerset/Bristol as the setting and original.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 08:55 AM

To clarify Richie's posting of the Isabella ballad above, the actual broadside from 1620 is a prose account. The versifying is mine but is very close to the text on the broadside. I only altered the odd word for the sake of rhyming.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 02:34 PM

It's not that surprising that the ballad survived better in America. Generally speaking the earlier a version is of any ballad the fuller and closer to the original it is likely to be. It seems reasonable to suggest the 2 earliest versions are fairly close to the original though both show evidence of being some time in oral tradition. Again we are faced with the same situation as the previous ballad, it could have been learnt in England, probably in the Bristol area, before being carried across with migrants, or migrants could have taken copies of the printed ballad with them in the chapbook/garland. Of course it could have been reprinted in America c1750-1800 but I personally think this less likely. It also seems very likely that the Wehman printing came directly from oral tradition.

English versions are usually pared right back to the bare bones though we still get the gist of the story and can recognise the Isabella plot.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 02:58 PM

'reconstructed broadside ballad'. If I haven't made it plain that this is my reconstruction then I need to remedy that. The 2 long American early versions make a hypothetical reconstruction of the orginal possible. All it is is a probable based on the existing evidence.

As for Bridgwater (note correct spelling), the evidence is overwhelming.

The most complete, earliest extant version is actually titled 'The Bridgewater Merchant', and most of the earlier American versions have 'Bridgewater'. Several English versions, even those collected more recently have it.

Bruton mentioned in some influential English versions is just a few miles up the road from Bridgwater.

As previously mentioned the existence of a similarly-worded ballad printed in Bristol just 40 miles away.

It'll do for me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 06:06 PM

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your comments and the great article(s).

Here's a short US version that dates back to the early 1800's. It comes from Council Harmon (1806-1890) through his granddaughter. "Old Counce" is part of the Hicks/Harmon families in Watuaga County NC. There's also a fragment from Jane Hicks Gentry, another granddaughter, collected by Sharp in 1916. Counce learned his ballads from Big Sammy Hicks who came to the Watuaga region with his father David before the Revolutionary War. This version is missing the first stanza(s) and the dream.

"The Bamboo Brier." Recorded by Mrs. Henry from the singing of Mrs. Samuel Harmon, Cade's Cove, Blount County, Tennessee, August, 1930, who learned it from Grandfather [Council] Harmon (1806-1890).

1. It was early, early in the morning
When those young men became a-hunting,
They hunted over hills and lonesome valleys
And through such places as was quite unknown.

2. Till at last they came to the Bamboo Brier
And then her true-love was killed and thrown.
It was getting late when they was turning.
"O brother dear, where my servant man can be?"

3. "Among my hunt and all our rambles
We have lost your servant man there."
   
4. It was early, early the next morning,
This young damsel became a-hunting.
She traveled over hills and through lonesome valleys
And through such places as was quite unknown.

5. At last she came to the Bamboo Brier,
There her true-love was killed and thrown;
The blood on his cheeks was just a-drying;
His feeble lips was salt as brine.

6. She kissed him o'er and over a-crying:
"I have lost a bosom friend of mine."
It was getting late when she was returning:
"Sister, dear, where have you been?"

7. "Oh, ye, oh, ye, ye cruel villians!
For my true-love you both shall hang."
They started to the sea for to drown all sin and sorrow.
The top of the ship became in a totter
And in the bottom of the sea their graves lie low.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 07:40 PM

Hi,

Is the name perhaps "Tunbridge"?

Here's part of an English version from the early 1800s:

Tales About Christmas
by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) London 1838

Charpter 18 (exceprt)

A bricklayer, judging by his appearance, then entertained the company with the long ballad of "Lord Bateman's Daughter:" though he had by no means a good voice, yet you might have heard a pin drop on the floor while he was singing; and yet I question if equal attention was not given to a labourer, in a smock frock, who was the next singer.

He began his ditty with a twang, singing somewhat through his nose; but that did not signify, for the narrative contained in his ballad was full of interest. It began thus,

"Near Tunbridge waters a man there lived,"

and went on to say that the man had two sons and a daughter, whom he loved very dearly.

"A servant man with them there lived;
A servant man as you shall hear,
And this young lady did him admire,
And they loved each other dear."

It seems that the brothers of the young lady were highly offended, for, after some time,

"A hunting match there was provided
To take this young man's sweet life away."

This cruel plan succeeded too well, for the two brothers fell upon the servant man, in a lonely place, and killed him; thus the young lady was deprived of her lover, and thus the hard hearted brothers rid themselves of the servant man.

"Near Tunbridge waters a brook there runneth;
With thorns and briers it is overgrown,
And, all for to hide their cruel murder,
In that brook he was killed and thrown."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 07:53 PM

Hi,

Tunbridge waters= bridge waters

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 08:52 AM

Hi,

Here's the first stanza of the Hicks/Harmon version (see Mrs. Harmon's version in an earlier post) as given by Jane Hicks Gentry granddaughter of Council Harmon former of Watauga County NC. It was collected by Sharp in 1919 and is the D version in EFSSA:

D. In Seaport Town. Sung by Mrs. JANE GENTRY at Hot Springs, N. C, Sept. 14, 1916
Heptatonic. Mode 4, a + b (mixolydian).

In Sea port town there was a merchant,
He had two sons and a daugh - ter dear;
Among them were a princy[1] boy,
Who was their daughter's dearest dear.

1. prentice= prentcy

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 10:04 AM

Hi,

This is another old version (Steve's A2) dated before 1876 in Ohio that was published in Dearborn Independent- Volume 27, Part 2 - Page 12, 1927 and reprinted in Ballads and Songs from Ohio, 1939 by Mary O. Eddie, p. 85. Original spelling kept:

The Bramble Brier- sung by Miss Jane Goon of Perrysville, Ohio; taken from Carrie Brubaker by 1876.


1. In Portly town there lived a merchant
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
And a prentice bound from a far intender,
Who plowed the vict'ries all over the main.

2. Ten thousand pounds it was her portion;
She was a neat and camly dame;
And upon the salome[1] that plowed the ocean
She had a notion to bestow the same.

3. One night while they were sitting courting,
Her two brothers chanced to overhear,
They said this courtship should be ended;
"We will send him headlong unto his grave."

4. And for to conclude this bloody murder,
These two villains hunting did go;
And upon the salome[1] they coaxed and flattered
Along with them hunting to go.

5. They traveled over high hills and mountains,
Through lonely valleys that were unknown,
Until they came to the bramble brier,
And there they did him kill and thrown.

6. And when they had back home returned,
Their sister asked for the servant man;
"We left him in the woods a-hunting,
And we no more of him could find.

7. "Oh, sister dear, what makes you inquire
All so for this young man's sake?"
"Because I thought you seemed to whisper;
Come, tell me, brothers, or my heart will break."

8. One night while she was lying sleeping,
He appeared to her bedside,
And he was all in tears a-weeping,
And all rolled over in gores of blood.

9. He says: "My dear, leave off this crying,
It is a folly for You to know;
For your two brothers killed me, rash and cruel;
in such a place, love, You may me find."

10. She traveled o'er high hills and mountains,
Through lonely valleys that were unknown,
Until she came to the bramble brier,
And there they had him killed and thrown.

11. Three days and nights she tarried by him,
Kissing on her bended knees;
When in that time she was constrained
To utter forth such words as these:

12 "I had a mind for to stay by him
Until my heart it did break with woe,
But I felt that hunger came creeping o'er me,
Which forced me back home to go"'

13. And when she had back home returned'
Her brothers ask where she had been;
"Begone, ye proud and deceitful villains!
For him alone you both shall swing."

14. And for to shun this bloody murder
These two villains to sea did go;
And to tell the truth it was on the morrow
That the stormy winds began to blow.

15. The winds did blow, and it was no wonder
That these two villains were cast away'
And by the flood they were tost under,
And the raging sea formed their grave.


1. sung Sa-lome known as the lover's name by the informant


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 11:20 AM

Hi,

Here's an old version from an MS found in the possession of Sharp's informant Sol (Solomon) Shelton of Alleghany County in 1816. (cf. In Zepo Town). The Shelton's and most of Sharp's informants in that region of NC are descended from Roderick who was b. 1754 in Virginia. This version dates back surely far into the 1800s.

Lonesome Valley [One Evening All Alone] - From Sol Shelton's MS; 1916

One evening all alone a-talking
Her brother cease[d] [talking] for to overhear
Saying: Your courtship now will soon be ended,
We'll force him along into his grave.

They rose up early the next morning
A game of hunting for to go
And upon this young man they both insisted,
For him to go along with them.

They wandered over hills and mountains
And through a many of a place unknown
Till at last they became to a lonesome valley
And there they killed him dead alone.

When they returned back the next evening
Their sister ask[ed] for the servant man,
Saying: we lost him on a game of hunting,
No more of him it's could we find.

While she lie on her bedside slumbering
The servant man did appear to her
Saying: Your brother killed me rough[1] and cruel
All wallowed in a gore[2] of blood.

She rose up early the next morning,
She dressed herself in rich array,
Saying; I'll go find my best beloved,
All wallowied in a gore[2] of blood.

She wandered over hills and mountains
And through a many of a place unknown
Till at last she became to the lonesome valley
And there she found him dead alone.

Saying: Your eyes look like some bloody butcher,
Your eyes look like some salt or brine.
Skhe kised his cold, cold lips and crying,
Said: You are the darling bosom friend of mine.

When she returned back the next evening
Her brothers asked her where she'd been
O hold your tongue, you deceitful villains
For one alone you both shall hang.

Her brothers then they came convicted
To jump in a boat and finally leave[3]
The wind did blow and the waves came o'er them
They made their graves in the deep blue sea.

1 usually "rash and cruel"
2. MS has "score"
3. "find relief" is found in "Zepo Town"

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 12:30 PM

Hi,

Beside the older versions I've posted which date in the 1800s is The Bridgewater Merchant, from New York MS taken from an aunt of Artemas Stevens that I've dated circa 1820. It's part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958. Thompson comments: "This great-aunt died in the early 1850's so the ballad apparently antedates those years by some time."

This is the main version used by Gardham to create his composite. This is the original MS- spelling not corrected.


The Bridgewater Merchant

1. At Bridgewater there lived a Merchant,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair.
Of life by death they were berieved,
Which filled their children's heart with care.

2. 'Twas o'er the seas their sons did venture
All for to bring, bring back their gain.
They had an apprentice by firm indenture
They sent him factor o'er the main.

3. He was of a fair complexion,
Strate and complete in every limb;
Their sister placed her whole affection,
On this young man, unbeknown to them.

4. Three thousand pounds it was the portion
All for this fair and butiful dame.
To this young man that crossed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same

5. It was one day the youngest brother
By chance did see them sport and play.
He told it secret to the other
And then these words they both did say,

6. Of parents mean he has descended,
May be he thinks her for to have;
But this courtship shall soon be ended,
We'll send him headlong to the grave.

7. Now to contrive this bloody slaughter,
They did conclude it should be so,
That this young man they both would flatter
With them a hunting for to go.

8. In a small wood not much frequented
Where harmless lambs did sport and play
These villains could not be contented
But must take his precious life away

9. In a dry ditch where there was no water
Where thorns and briers had overgrown
There for to hide their bloody slaughter
There this young man was killed and thrown

10. When they returned to their sister
Who asks where is your serveant man
I ask because you seem to whisper
Dear brothers tell me if you can

11. We lost him in our game of hunting
And nothing more of him could see
To tell you plain I am affronted
What makes you thus examine me.

12. That very night as she lay sleeping
There this young man he came and stood
By her bedside he stood a weeping
All covered o'er in gore of blood

13. It is vain says he my jewel
For you to murmur or repine
Your brothers have killed me being cruel
And in such a place you may me find

14. The very next day to the woods she retired
With many a sigh and a bitter grown
And there she found whom she admired
In that same place was killed and thrown

15. Although his lips with blood were dyed
Her tears as salt as any brine
She ofttimes kissed him and cried
Alas! thou bosom friend of mine

16. Although my brothers have been cruel
To take your precious life away
One grave shall serve for both my jewel
While I have breath I will by thee stay

17. Three days and nights there she sat weeping
'Till seemed her heart would burst with woe
Feeling sharp hunger on her creeping
Homeward she was forced to go

18. When she returned to her brothers
Who when these murderers came see
With blushes they of her inquired
What makes you look so mournfully

19. Oh! dear brothers thou knowest the reason
That makes your sister look so wan
Against the law you have acted treason
And for the same shall surely swing *

20. The murderers knowing their grief and sorrow
Strateway on board of a ship did go
If you will believe me on the morrow
Black clouds and storms were seen to blow

21. While in a rage and a foaming billow
Which cast both ship and gunnel too
These murderers knowing their grief and sorrow
Began to tremble and look blue

22. For to look blue it was no wonder
Just like an overbreaking wave
Both these young men were washed over
And the seas became their silent grave.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 03:59 PM

'Near Tunbridge Waters' is hardly any jump from 'Near to Bridgwater' as you've guessed. Just going to check if I have all the versions you've posted and whether they add anything to the reconstruction.

I certainly haven't seen the Peter Parley extract. I have some original Peter Parley booklets in the loft if I haven't already sent them to the charity shop. That was a cracking find, Richie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 04:00 PM

Hi,

Here's Shearin's version from Kentucky- 1911, no informant named. Shearin mentions a similar ballad titled "Cubeck's Garden" (Cupid's Garden) - according Chappell it properly "Cuper's Gardens."

From: British Ballads in the Cumberland Mountains by Hubert G. Shearin
The Sewanee Review, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Jul., 1911), pp. 313-327:   

The Apprentice Boy is somewhat similar. He falls in love with the daughter of his master, a rich merchant living in a 'post-town.' Her brothers invite the lad to go hunting with them, lure him into a lonely valley, and there leave him slain. That night his ghost appears to her:

All on that night as she lay sleeping,
He arose and stood at her bed-feet,
All covered over in tears a-weeping,
All wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

Hamlet-like, she plans vengeance upon the perfidious brothers; they seek to escape across the sea:

The sea began to roar, I think no wonder
That these two villyons should be cast away;
And broadways they came tosling under;
The sea did open and provide their grave.

This will at once be recognized as related in plot to Keats's Isabella, as already noted by Professor Beiden in the last issue of this Review (page 22if.), and as a variant of the two versions there quoted, one from British Museum Bks. 3. g. 4, Vol. I, p. 184; and the other from oral tradition in Missouri. For the sake of comparison I print the Kentucky version complete in the margin below.*

THE APPRENTICE BOY

In yon post-town there lived a margent,
He had two sons and a daughter fair;
There lived a 'prentice-boy about there,
Who was the daughter's dearest dear.

Ten thousand pounds was this gay lady's portion;
She was a fair and a camelite [comely] dame;
She loved this young man who crossed the ocean;
He told her how he could be so deslain.

One day they was in the room a-courting;
The oldest brother chanced to hear;
He went and told the other brother,
They would deprive her of her dear.

Her brothers studied on this cruel matter,
Concluded a-hunting they would go,
And with this young man they both would flatter;
A-hunting with them he had to go.

They traveled over high hills and mountains
And through strange places where it were unknown,
Till at length they came to some lonesome valley,
And then they killed him dead and thrown.

All on that evening when they returned,
She asked them where's her servant-man;
"What makes me ask you; she seems to whisper,
"Dear brothers, tell me if you can."

"He is lost in the wild woods a-hunting;
His face you never more shall see."
"I'll tell you in plain, you're much affronted;
Oh, now will you explain to me."

All on that night while she lay sleeping,
He came and stood at her bed-feet,
All covered over in tears a-weeping,
All wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

He says, "My love, it's but a folly;
For this is me that you may see;
Your brothers both being rash and cruel;
In such a valley you may find."

All on next morning when she arose,
She dressed herself in silk so fine;
She traveled o'er high hills and mountains
Her own true-lover for to find.

She traveled o'er high hills and mountains
And through strange places where it were unknown,
[Till at length she came to some lonesome valley,]
Till at length she came to a patch of briars,
And there she found him killed and thrown.

His pretty cheeks with blood were dyed;
[His lips were as bloody as any butcher;]
His lips [var., cheeks] were salty as any brine;
She kissed them over and over, a-crying,
You dearest bosom friend of mine!

"Three days and nights she tarried with him,
Till she thought her heart would break with woe,
Until sharp hunger came cropping on her,
Which forced her back home to go.

All on that evening when she returned,
Her brothers asked her where she'd been?
"O ye hardhearted, deceitful devillions,
For him alone you both shall swing."

Her brothers studied on this bloody matter,
Concluded the ocean they would sail;
My friend, I tell you, it's on the morrow
The raging sea there for to sail.

The sea began to roar, I think no wonder
That these two villyons should be cast away;
And broadways they came tosling under;
The sea did open and provide their grave.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 04:41 PM

Here's a question:

In a handwritten note F.E.P. says this about "Bramble Briar" (Vaughan Williams Collection):


"A Famous Farmer" and its corrupted version "A female farmer" are other names for "Bruton Town" which dates from the early 18th century at least, but is probably much older. The Constant Farmer's Son is a 19th century re-write of the older song in a different metre.

Who is F.E.P. ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 05:21 PM

Hi Richie,
FEP is Frank Purslow who edited the Hammond-Gardiner Mss (now online in The Full English) in 4 volumes, mostly collating several variants, Marrow Bones, The Wanton Seed, The Constant Lovers and The Foggy Dew.
I worked on the first new edition with Malcolm Douglas just before he died and then continued the second of the 4, and am currently working on a joint edition of the last 2 books. I think he was a little optimistic over the age of the ballad, but he was writing this in the early 70s without the current knowledge we now have.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 05:24 PM

I'm intrigued by the reference given by Shearin re Belden's previous article in the Sewanee Review. The BL reference must surely be to a version of Constant Farmer's Son as had it been a version of Bramble Briar he would surely have included it in his groundbreaking article of 1918. Do you have access to a copy of Belden's article in the Sewanee Review?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 06:57 PM

I usually sing a version from Howie Mitchell (on Folk-Legacy Records) that is essentially the same as the version from Mrs. George Armstrong, of Mountain View, Arkansas, reproduced in Mudcat:
http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=9783

What always impresses me about this song is that from the bulk of balladry, we learn that kissing a corpse's lips is a bad idea--most times, the kisser is dead within a verse or two. But in this ballad, the kiss is somehow not fatal, quite the exception to the rule.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 10:04 PM

Hi Charlie,

She was wronged and her life spared, good point. Thanks for providing the link.

Steve- In April 1911 Sewannee Review Belden gives a broadside version of Constant Farmer's Son mentions the a Somerset version; probably (Sharp's) In Bruton Town 1905.

The only place I could find the article is on my site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/the-vulgar-ballad--belden-1911.aspx

Not proofed :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 10:37 PM

Steve,

The Constant Farmer's Son broadside given by Belden in 1911 is the same as the text sung by Henry Burstow in 1893 (Broadwood; English Traditional Songs and Carols)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 07:55 AM

Hi,

Here's the "Bramble" version from The Vulgar Ballad by Henry M. Belden; The Sewanee Review, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr., 1911), pp. 213-227 (see link two posts ago). It was reprinted in Ballads and Songs; Belden 1940, version A, where informants full name is supplied. I'm dating it circa 1870 since it was from his grandmother and Mayhew was born circa 1896.

THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER- (Written down [in 1910] by Carl Mayhew, a high-school pupil in West Plains, Mo., at the suggestion of his teacher, Miss G. M. Hamilton, who sent it to me. Carl Mayhew learned it from his mother, who in turn learned it from hers. The mother, and so far as I know the grandmother, were reared in Missouri.)

In a seaport town there lived a merchant,
He had two sons and a daughter fair.
An apprentice-bound boy from all danger
Courted this merchant's daughter fair.

Five hundred pounds was made her portion;
She was a neat and cunning dame:
Her brothers were so hard and cruel,
All of this was to the same.

One evening they were silent, courting,
Her brothers chanced to over hear,
Saying, "Your courtship will soon be ended,
We will send him hither to his grave."

Next morning early, breakfast over,
With them a hunting he did go;
They went over hills and lofty mountains
And through some lonely valleys too,
Until they came to a lonely desert,
There they did him kill and throw.

When they returned back home that evening
Their sister asked for the servant man;
"We lost him in the woods a-hunting
And never more we could him find."

Next morning she was silent, weeping,
He came to her bedside and stood
All pale and wounded, ghastly looking,
Wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

Saying, "Why do you weep, my pretty fair one?
It is a folly you may pawn
Go over hills and lofty mountains,
This lonesome place you may me find."

She went over hills and lofty mountains,
And through some lonesome valleys, too,
Until she came to a lonesome desert,
And there she found him killed and thrown[1].

His handsome cheeks the blood was dyeing,
His lips were salt as any brine;
She kissed him o'er and o'er crying,
"This dear beloved friend of mine."

Three days and nights she did stay by him,
'Twas on her bended knees she stood;
All in the height of her great anger
She uttered forth such words as these:

"My love, I thought I would stay by him.
Until my heart should break with woe;
But I feel sharp hunger growing on me,
Which forces me back home to go."

When she returned back home that evening
Her brother asked her where she'd been.
"You hard and cruel and unkind creatures!
For him alone you both shall swing."

And then to avoid all shame and danger
Away to the sea they both did go.
The wind did blow and it was no wonder
The roaring sea proved both their graves.

1. 1911 appears as "thro"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 08:19 AM

Hi,

This is the last Hicks/Harmon line version in my collection. It comes from Frank Proffitt of Beech Mountain , NC, who was Nathan and Rena Hick's son-in-law and the source of The Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley." Proffitt learned ballads from both sides of his family. Some of his ballads came from great-aunt Nancy Prather. This is from The Brown Collection of NC Folklore, version A.

A. "The Hunt, or, The Cruel Brothers." Secured from Frank Proffitt of
Sugar Grove, Watauga county, in August, 1924.

1 One day as she sat silently courting
Her brothers says, 'Come over here.
Your courtship shall be shortly ended;
We'll bring him headlong to his grave.'

2 To begin this bloody murder
A-hunting. hunting they must go;
Along with them for to flatter,
Along with them all for to go.

3 They hunted over hills and lonely mountains
And through some valleys were unknown,
Until they came to a patch of briers,
And there they did him kill and thrown.

4 It was late when they returneth,
Their sister ask for the servant man.
'We lost him in the woods a-hunting
And never more could we him find.'

5 One day as she lay silent, weeping,
Her true love come to her bed and stood.
He was poor and swath [1] and ghostly looking,
All wallered over in gores of blood.

6 'What weeps you here, my pretty fair one?
It's only a folly for you to find.
Your brothers being hard and cruel
In such a place you may me find.'

7 She hunted o'er hills and lonely mountains
And through some valleys were unknown
Until she came to a patch of briers.
And there .she found him killed and thrown.

8 His pretty fair cheeks with blood had dyed,
His lips were salt as any brine.
She kissed him over, over, crying,
'Here lies the bosom friend of mine.'

9 Three days and nights she did stay by him,
All down upon her bended knees;
In the midst of all her grief and sorrow
She uttered forth such words as these:

10 'I didn't entending staying by you
Until my heart was broke with woe.
I feel sharp hunger coming on me
Which will cause me back home to go.'

11 It was late when she returneth,
Her brothers ask her where she'd been.
She said: 'You hard-hearted, deceitful villains,
For him alone you both shall swing,'

12 To get shed of this bloody murder
Out on the sea they both did go;
Out on the sea they both went rowing.
And the sea proved both their graves.

1. The editor is unable to guess what meaning was attached to this word

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Jim Brown
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 11:05 AM

Belden's 1911 Sewanee Review article "The Vulgar Ballad" can be downloaded from https://archive.org/details/jstor-27532443


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Jim Brown
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 04:03 PM

Sorry. I mean:
Belden's 1911 Sewanee Review article "The Vulgar Ballad" can be downloaded from: https://archive.org/details/jstor-27532443


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 09:41 AM

Hi,

Jim, thanks for that link.

I'm reviewing my versions and see at least seven from the Madison County area. If anyone (Mike Yates?) can shed some light on the informants it might help.

I have:

1. In Seaport Town (Sharp A, 1916) Miss Stella Shelton
2. In Seaport Town (Sharp B, 1916) Mrs. Martha Gosnell
3. In Boston Town (Sharp C, 1916) Mrs. Rosie Hensley
4. Lonesome Valley (Sharp MS, 1916) Mr. Sol Shelton
5. In Maple City (Sharp MS, 1916) Banner Chandley [Chandler?]
6. In Seaport Town (Sharp MS, 1916) Hester House
7. In Zepo Town (Cohen REC, c. 1963) Elisha Shelton

Jane Hick Gentry's version is not tied to the Shelton's as her version is probably from her grandfather's line (Council Harmon) - the Hicks/Harmon line.

As mentioned before most of the informants are descendants of Roderick Shelton b. 1754 in Virginia (attached). John Shelton, born 1732, son of Ralph, was the father of Roderick. Some of the Shelton singers line comes from Martin Shelton, who was Roderick's son. Martin Shelton Jr., who married Mary Franklin (his sons namesake) was the father of Franklin (also Frankland) B. Shelton, b. 1859. Prominent names in the Shelton line include Hensley, Franklin, and Haire.

Some of the locations in the region include Rice Cove, Shelton Laurel, Big Laurel, Alleghany, Allenstand, Spillcorn, Hot Springs and Sodom Laurel.

Here's some info from Mike Yeats: "Other related singers who sang to Cecil Sharp were Solomon Shelton, b.1841, of Carmen, who was a brother of Franklin B Shelton, and William Riley Shelton, b.1873, from Alleghany, who was known as 'the brag ballad singer'. Photo courtesy of Kriss Sands.Both Solomon, known as 'Sol', and Franklin B Shelton were distant cousins of Mary Sands, their great-grandmother being the same Cherokee Glumdalclitch as Mary's great-grandmother, but having different great-grandfathers." [From: A Nest of Singing Birds Cecil Sharp, Mary Sands and the Madison County Song Tradition]

One question specifically relates to Sol Shelton. It seems unlikely that Sol Shelton and William Riley Shelton are brothers born 32 years apart (see Yates excerpt). There are also at least 3 Sol Sheltons and several Franklin (also Frankland) Sheltons. It's been a while since I looked at this but it's not adding up. What then is Elisha Shelton's line?

It also seems that the Appalachian version are different than the Northern versions (Wehman, Douglas/Stevens; Michigan version). Why?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 10:11 AM

Hi,

Add another version from the Madison County area:

"In Seaport Town" sung by Alfred H. Norton from Rocky Fork.

In Seaport Town there lived a merchant,
He had three sons and a daughter dear
And the princes ['prentice] boy was bound unto him,
They lived alone the very same.


Sharp diary 1916 page 263. Thursday 31 August 1916 - Rocky Fork:

Directly after our 6.30 breakfast went toward Flag Pond collecting from Mr Alfred H. Norton on the way from whom I got a few songs.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 09:10 PM

Hi,

I have couple questions. One is the use of "factor" as found in the text of Wehman's Universal Songster (a song collection):


The Bramble Brier

Near Blue-water a rich man dwelt,
With two sons and a daughter fair,
Who of his wife had been bereft,
Which caused their hearts much fear.
These young men journeyed across the sea,
To get riches was their aim,
But finding things not as they wished them to be
Returned with a factor[*] to their domain.

Now this factor[*] was tall and handsome,
Neat and genteel withal;

I noticed that "factor" was also used in the translation of Isabella's Tragedy given by Steve Gardham:

The trading of the brothers' business
That brought them plenty of store and gain,
Was by a factor[*], thus a servant,
Lorenzo was this factor's[*] name.

"Factor" does not appear in other traditional versions. What does this mean?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 09:38 PM

Hi,

I'm particularly interested in the three days she visits his dead body after finding him "dead alone." Here's the stanza in The Bridgewater Merchant from the early 1800s:

17. Three days and nights there she sat weeping
'Till seemed her heart would burst with woe
Feeling sharp hunger on her creeping
Homeward she was forced to go.

Sharp E:

12 She said: My love, I will stay with you
Until my heart doth burst with woe.
She felt sharp hunger creeping;
Homewards she was obliged to go.

Eddy (Ohio):

11. Three days and nights she tarried by him,
Kissing on her bended knees;
When in that time she was constrained
To utter forth such words as these:

12 "I had a mind for to stay by him
Until my heart it did break with woe,
But I felt that hunger came creeping o'er me,
Which forced me back home to go."

Shearin (1911):

"Three days and nights she tarried with him,
Till she thought her heart would break with woe,
Until sharp hunger came cropping on her,
Which forced her back home to go.

This is not found in Isabella's Tragedy. Comments?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 07:35 AM

Hi,

This is a long version from Traditional Ballads and Folk Songs Mainly from West Virginia by Cox, 1939. Also in West Virginia Songbag - p. 71 by Jim F. Comstock - 1974.


16 - THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER
(The Bramble Briar)

Communicated by Miss Frances Sanders, Morgantown, Monongalia County, June 24, 1924. Also, under title of "The Squire's Daughter," stanzas 11, 14, and 15, obtained from Miss Emma Hewitt. Music noted by Miss Sanders.

[Branberry Briars]

1. In Portrast Town there lived a merchant,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
And an apprentice, borned in a foreign country,
All for to cross that Atlantic shore.

2. Ten thousand pounds was the fair maid's portion,
She was a meek and comely dame;
On this young man who plowed the ocean,
She had a mind to bestow the same.

3. One night as they sat still a-courting,
Her brothers drawed for to overhear,
Saying, "We'll put an end to all their courtship,
And part her from her dearest friend."

4. Now to begin this cruel murder,
A-hunting these two villains go;
And on this young man who plowed the ocean,
They flattered him with them to go.

5. They hunted over hills and mountains;
And through the place where it was alone,
Until they came to some brand-berry briars,
That's where they did kill him and threw[1].

6. When they went home their sister asked them,
"What have you done with your servant man?"
"Ye lost him in the game of hunting,
And nothing more of him could we find."

7. That night as she lay still a-weeping,
Her true love came to her bedside and stood
All wallowed over in tears and weeping,
All covered over with gores of blood.

8. Leave off, leave off, it is folly
For you to weep for me and pine;
Your brothers were so hard hearted
They've killed me in such a place you may find."

9. Twas early, early the next morning
That she arose at the break of day.
She dressed herself in her rich attirement[2],
And to hunt for her true love she went straight-away.

10. She hunted over high hills and mountains,
And through the place where it was alone,
Until she came to those brand-berry briars,
That's where they had him killed and thrown.

11. His red cheeks had lost their blood,
His ruby lips were salt as brine;
she kissed then over and ten times over,
Saying, "This dear bosom friend of mine."

12. She laid herself down by the side of him,
Her tender heart filled with grief and woe,
Until she left sharp hunger creeping,
Which forced her back home to go.

13. When she went home her brothers asked her,
"What makes you look so pale and thin?"
"Oh, you cruel and hard hearted villains,
For this alone you both shall hang."

14. Now to escape this cruel murder
A-sailing these two villains go;
Hark, my friend until tomorrow
How the raging wind did blow

15. The wind did blow, it was no wonder,
It sank the ship into the deep,
One wide wave that washed them under,
The raging sea proved to be their grave.


1. thrown
2."array" or even "attire"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 08:16 AM

I was just about to post High's text, but you beat me to it.

High (1878 - 1962) seems to have learned most of his songs around Berreyville, Ark., in the 1890s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 10:37 AM

FACTOR: I've always assumed meant like a business manager dealing with imports and exports and actually going abroad on behalf of the capital owner. Another well-known ballad of the period is 'The Turkey Factor' and I'm sure there are others.

Factor of 3 (excuse the pun). Many things in ballads come in multiples of three, or for a bigger number 'thirty and three'. Just a ballad convention. Nothing more needs be read into this unless you want to.

I'll have a look on your site, see what references you have and if I have any others I'll send them. British versions tend to be somewhat shorter than American ones.

Although Jim/Richie you answered my question re the BL ref it wasn't that clear, but I'm assuming the BL ref was just a bog standard CFS in which case excitement over.

It could well be that the original TBM is languishing in some private collection or even in a Bristol collection. Unfortunately we don't have any broadside researchers in the Bristol area sufficiently interested in this case.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 11:16 AM

Hi,

Most of the Appalachian versions are not similar to "Bridgewater Merchant" from A Pioneer Songster dated circa 1820. However, this version is. The first stanza, corrupt as sung by Pace can be compared to the first stanza from Pioneer Songster so it makes some sense. In the second stanza the word "factory" appears. Here's the Songster text: They sent him factor o'er the main.

E. Near Bridgewater - Sung by Mrs. ELIZA PACE at Hyden, Leslie Co., Ky., Oct. 3, 1917
Heptatonic. Mixolydian influence.

1 Near Bridgewater a rich man lived,
He had two sons and a daughter dear.
Was like by death by arabian (sic)[1]
And filled his children's heart with fear.

2 These young men to the sea did venture
To bring whatever was for gain.
He was a prencess[2] bound and strong indebted,
They sent him factory[3] over the sea.

3 This youth was neat and comely,
Straight and complete in every limb.
Their sister placed her heart's affections
On this young man unbeknownst to them.

4 One day it chanced her youngest brother
For to see them court and play.
He told the secret to the other,
This to him then he did say:

5 O now he thinks he'll gain our sister,
Perhaps he thinks her for to have,
But their courtship will soon be ended.
We'll press him headlong to the grave.

6 Now for to end this cruel matter
And fill their sister's heart with woe,
This poor young man they did flatter
With them a-hunting for to go.

7 In the backwoods where no one used
The briers they were overgrown,
0 there they made a bloody slaughter.
There they had him killed and thrown.

8 They returned home to their sister.
She asked where was the servant-man.
I ask because you seem to whisper.
Tell me, brothers, if you can.

9 We lost him at our game a-hunting,
We never more could him see.
I tell you plainly I'm afrighted.
What makes you examine me?

10 The next night as she lie sleeping
He came to her bed-side and stood,
All covered o'er in tears a-weeping,
All wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

11 The next morning she got up
With many a sigh and bitter groan.
To the place she then returned,
Where she found him killed and thrown.

12 She said: My love, I will stay with you
Until my heart doth burst with woe.
She felt sharp hunger creeping;
Homewards she was obliged to go.

13 She returned to her brothers.
They asked her what made her look so orn[4].
O by the loss you've acted treason
In killing your poor servant man.


Footnotes:

1. This stanza and version is similar to Stevens/Douglas MS which has:

Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled their children's heart with care.

2. 'prentice
3. factor
4. wan

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 12:08 PM

Thanks Lighter,

High learned this ballad (1890s) from the Haynes. If you want to hear him sing it: http://digitalcollections.uark.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/OzarkFolkSong/id/3958/rec/6

Steve,

I did look up factor and I'm curious if this is a British expression and when it was used in the UK. It might be a clue to the origin. I've only found it in three versions so far.

I'm curious about the ballad story, let's the use Pioneer Songster version:

At Bridgewater there lived a Merchant,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair.
Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled their children's heart with care.

A rich merchant lived at Bridgwater (spelling?) and had two sons and a daughter. He dies and it makes his children worried. The sons go to the sea to collect on their father business ventures and (They sent him factor o'er the main). What does this mean? Wouldn't they bring him over the main to work for them?

Three thousand pounds it was her portion;
She was a fair and a comely dame;
On this young man that crossed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same.

So their sister and, I assume therefore, brothers each get "three thousand pounds" and she wants the servant (her love) to receive "three thousand pounds" as well. Isn't this also a motive for the murder?

What do you think he story line is at the beginning? Here's the text:

1
'Twas near Bridgewater a rich man lived
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled these children's hearts with care.
      
2
'Twas o'er the seas their sons did venture
For to bring home their rightful gain;
They had an apprentice by firm indenture;
They sent him factor o'er the main.

3
This young man was of a fair complexion,
Straight and complete in every limb;
Their sister placed her whole affection
On this young man, and courted him.

4
Three thousand pounds it was her portion;
She was a fair and a comely dame;
On this young man that crossed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 01:01 PM

Richie,
First of all if the ballad was written in about 1750, which is my guess taking various factors into account, the earliest extant text has still had a pretty long time in oral tradition to have picked up some misunderstandings/mishearings.

Then don't forget that one of the main characteristics of these ballads is the leaping and lingering that pays no heed to time gaps, so the death of the parent(s), the care (or perhaps fears) then the going overseas initially by the brothers, the trust in the apprentice, and him rising to the quite prestigious status of factor, could all have taken place over a considerable timespan, say several years. So at first the brothers go themselves to initiate the business, but then they decide to send a go-between.

I think you have a point in the brothers' displeasure on finding out what the daughter and the factor were up to. They had placed their trust in him, she wants to marry beneath her, she wants to share her wealth with him. Sufficient motive for those times. (Actually in some cultures this still is the case today even in the West).

It's worth a try putting 'factor' in the search box on the UCSB English Ballads website. You might at least come up with 'Turkey factor'. In the 18th century if you were sufficiently wealthy in Britain and there were many nouveau riche then, you would want to stay in your large mansion and let someone skilled in import/export do all your negotiating, travelling and money making, making you even richer.

'Bridgwater' is the modern spelling of the Somerset town, but there are other Bridgewaters in Britain, as there are many on your side. I don't think there can be any question now of which Bridgwater is intended.

I think 'bestow the same' here means her portion, not another £3,000.
The expression 'the same' in 18thc English actually means 'the aforementioned'. You've no doubt heard the expression 'the very same',meaning 'what you were just talking about'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 01 May 16 - 08:39 AM

Hi,

TY Steve for your thoughtful comments.

I've got the first extant versions organized and have started writing a narrative here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/3-the-bramble-briar-merchants-daughter-.aspx

It looks like there are around 15 versions from Sharp/Campbell in EFSSA and his MS. Here are the earliest versions so far which are all on my site:

A. "Near Turnbridge Waters" found in Chapter 18 in Tales About Christmas by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) London 1838.

B. "The Bridgewater Merchant," from New York MS taken from an aunt of Artemas Stevens; dated circa 1820, part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958.

C. "The Apprentice Boy" from Ohio/Michigan taken MS book (c. 1852) of Mrs. Elsie Clark Lambertson.

D. "The Bamboo Brier" Sung by Mrs. Samuel Harmon; Cades Cove, TN from Council Harmon (1806-1890) dated c. 1840

E. "The Merchant's Daughter"- Carl Mayhew Missouri, dated 1870, collected in 1910, Belden A

F. "The Bamboo Briers"- Hannah Ross from Virginia to West Virginia; 1875 Cox A

G. "The Bramble Brier"- Sung by Jane Goon Ohio taken from Carrie Brubaker by 1876. Eddy

H. "The Bramble Brier," from Henry J. Wehman (Wehman's Universal Songster); printed in NY. No. 28, p. 23; 1890.

I. "The Jealous Brothers," sung by Mr. Doney Hammontree of Farmington, Ark; from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs dated 1890s.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 May 16 - 12:21 PM

The OED shows the use of "factor" to have begun in the 15th century. It was long common and still retains some currency.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 16 - 03:42 PM

Hi Richie,
I'm sure you'll have all of these but just in case:
Leach p705 (JAFL 25)
Henry p161
Brewster p193
Moore p160
Eddy p85
Hubbard p49
Owens p48
JAFL 20 I think is from Sharp
American Memory (California 1938)
Wolf 3 versions
Brown p229
The Parler version collected from Doyle, Mo 1965

I've missed out some I know you have already referred to.

British versions to follow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 16 - 03:52 PM

Folk Song Journal 19 p123 a version from Herts and one from Somerset
Reeves, Everlasting Circle p105 from Hants.
English Dance & Song 37.1 p20 Hants.
Folk Song Journal 6 p42 Somerset.
Gillington, Songs of the open Road, p10 Hants
Palmer, Everyman's Book of English Country Songs, p111 Herefordshire.
MacColl & Seeger, Travellers Songs p106 Kent & Dorset.
4 versions in Hammond Gardiner Colln in The Full English, online, Hants/Dorset
Alfred Williams also on the Full English, Oxford
Couple of versions in Sharp/Karpeles Vol 1, p280.

Let me know any you would like copies of.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 01 May 16 - 03:57 PM

Hi,

I haven't put all mine on yet- still doing sharp's MS, which are unpublished. Here's one Sharp F but with the complete text (sharp only gave one stanza0. It's a full version with the ghost:

F. In Transport Town-- Sung by Mrs. MOLLIE BROGHTON at Barbourville, Knox Co., Ky., May 8, 1917
Pentatonic. Mode 3.

1. In Transport Town there lived merchant,
There were two sons and a daughter fair,
She courted [the] man who ploughed the ocean,
It was their mind to be strong[1] the same.

2. One evening as they sat silent[ly] counting,
Her brothers had a chance to overhear[2];
"Your courtship shall be shortly ended,
We'll send him headlong to his grave."

3. To begin this bloody murder,
The two young men must a-hunting go,
Along with with him they both did flatter,
Along with him they both did go.

4. They traveled over hills and mountains,
And to some valleys [that] was unknown,
Until they came to a patch of briars,
And there they killed him and had him thrown.

5. In the evening [when] they returned,
Their sister inquired for the servant man,
"We lost him in the woods a-hunting,
Never more will you find him."

6. One evening as she lay silently weeping,
Her true-love came to her bedside,
All wallowed over, ghastly looking,
All scored over [in] a gores of blood.

7. "What weeps you here, my little fair one?"
O that just a folly for you to find,
Your poor-hearted wicked brothers,
Which I please you may find me."

8. They traveled over hills and mountains,
And to some valleys [that] was unknown,
Until they came to the patch of briars,
Where they had killed him and had him thrown.

9. Three days and nights she did stay by him,
All bending on her bended knees.
She kissed him over [and] over crying:
"You are the dearest one to me."

10. "My love, I did not intend to stay by you,
Until my heart does break with woe,
I feel sharp hunger come creeping on me,
Will cause me back home to go.

11. In the evening she returned,
Her brothers asked where she had been.
You poor hard-hearted deceitful villains,
On the gallows you shall both hang.

12. To get shed of that bloody murder,
On the sea they both did go.
By a tall wave they were tossed under,
By the tall waves they both did go.

1. "bestow the same," this is probably close to the original: She was resolved to bestow the same.
2. over-chanced to hear

Just brief comment- for those of you who don't know about the Ozark Folksong Collection- check it out!!!! There are many versions online with recordings. Fred High has a recording (see link) a few posts back. All of Parler's collection is there- thousands of versions. Parler, oh course, was married later in life to Vance Randolph. She and her collectors gathered a large volume of folksongs. Randolph were published. So now we have Asslopp (small collection) Randolph, Parlor, High, Wolf and Max Hunter.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 16 - 04:07 PM

Just a quick glance at all these places in England where it was collected, nearly all are in a 40 mile radius of Bristol, just 2 out of area, the Herts version about 100 miles away, and the Kent version which is from a traveller who moved about the south of England. No versions from northern England or Scotland or Ireland. If any of the American families can be traced back to their English ancestors it would be interesting to see if they came from the Bristol area. I would imagine Bristol was one of the ports ideal for migration to America.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 01 May 16 - 05:32 PM

Steve you for your posts- I'll review the version most I have. There are 16 Sharp/Cambell version and one more by Pettit from Knott County (published by Kittredge in 1907) which is in Sharp's MS too.

I'm going to post some identifiers- short phrases that are part of the ur-ballad. Since this ballad was transmitted largely through oral transmission there are more corrupt phrases and mishearings than usual.
I'll add more later:

1. "Gore of blood" and "gores of blood"

   . . . wallowed in a gore of blood.

   All rolled over in gores of blood. [Eddy]

   All covered o'er in gore of blood [Thompson]

2. Ten thousand pounds was this gay lady's portion; [Shearin]

   Five hundred pounds was made her portion; [Belden]

3. "rash and cruel" this one has really deteriorated!!!

   Your two brothers killed me, rash and cruel; [Eddy]


4. You dearest bosom friend of mine! [Shearin]
   usually "bosom" changed to "dearest dear"

5. strange places where it were unknown,

. . . valleys that were unknown,


6. "killed and thrown"

   And there she found him killed and thrown. [Shearin]


7. "deceitful villains!"

    . . . deceitful villains, [Sharp G]

8. We'll send him "headlong to the grave." [Thompson]

9. "Three days and nights" there she sat weeping [Thompson]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 02 May 16 - 12:31 PM

Hi,

Here's George Vinton Graham's version-- it's interesting and it clears up at least one line "Of life and death" (see third line, 1st stanza). I used to have a bio on him but now all I can remember is he was from Iowa and he was born about 1870. He can't sing or play the guitar but he knows some old ballads and songs.

The Bridgewater- Sung by George Vinton Graham accompanying himself on the guitar on October 12, 1938. Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell in San Jose, California.

Near a bridgewater a rich man liveth.
He had two sons and one daughter dear,
And through life to death, he was resolved then
To bring them up in the hearts of fear.

Unto the seas these two boys ventured,
For to bring home their father gain;
An apprentice bound by a firm indenture
For to cross o'er the raging main.

Now, this young man had a fair complexion,
He was neat and handsome in every limb,
And on him their sister placed her affection,
But un-beknownst to any of them;

Except unto the youngest brother
Who chanced to hear them sport and play.
And this he told unto no other,
But to his brother he did say,

"Now, perhaps he may be of some low family,
And would like our sister for to have,
But we'll soon end him of his wishes,
And quickly send him to his grave."

Near a bridgewater all went a-hunting
Where harmless birds do sport and play.
In a lonely wood not much frequented,
They did this young man's body slay.

When they came home, their sister asked them
What they had done with the servant man.
"We tell you plainly, we were offended,
And for your future a better plan.

"In a lonely wood near a bridgewater,
He'll soon forget our sister dear.
We lost him in a game of hunting,
And never more we could him hear."

That very night as she lay sleeping,
She dreamed her true love came and stood
By her bedside, and appearing
Covered o'er in a gore of blood.

Said he, "My sweet, my emris jewel,
'Tis a true folly for thee to pine,
Since your two brothers have been so cruel;
In such a place you may me find."

Then she rose most bright and early,
And traveled all alone, alone,
Until she came to the bridgewater.
There she found him killed and thrown.

The tears were dried up on his pale cheeks;
His eyes were salt as any brine.
She kissed him over and ten times over,
Saying, "Oh, this bosom friend of mine!"

Three days and nights she stayed a-weeping,
All alone, alone, alone,
Until she felt fierce hunger creeping,
Which forced her for to go home.

When she came home, her brothers asked her
What made her look so pale and wan?
She said, "The reason, you've acted treason
In killing of your servant man.

"And I suppose you think I'll conceal this murder,
But I'll do no, no such a thing.
But for his sake,
Both of you have got to swing."

Now they were both confined in prison,
And both of them condemned to die.
And she her true love is lamenting
And yielding up herself to die.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 16 - 03:15 PM

A pretty full version, Richie. I don't think I've seen this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 16 - 04:38 PM

Do you have any more info on the NC version given by Leach in The Ballad Book, taken from JAF xlvi 25?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 16 - 04:38 PM

Do you have any more info on the NC version given by Leach in The Ballad Book, taken from JAF xlvi 25?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 02 May 16 - 05:02 PM

Hi,

Yes, I'll post it. Here's brief bio on Graham: George Vinton Graham was born November 12, 1871 in Iowa and died Oct. 1, 1947 in Santa Clara, CA. He learned songs from his mother when he was a boy in Iowa, and also his aunt from Ohio.

When George Vinton Graham forgot his words while singing, Robertson (Cowell) jotted down that "Mr. Graham's gravity was disturbed by the antics of the photographer."

Here's the version Leach reprinted from JAF:

SOME SONGS AND BALLADS FROM TENNESSEE AND NORTH CAROLINA
ISABEL GORDON CARTER

During the summer of 1923, while collecting folk stories in the mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, the writer heard many songs and ballads and took down the words of fifty of them. During the past twenty years so much excellent work has been done in recording both the words and music of old songs in the United States that some hesitancy is felt in publishing these songs without the accompanying music.

3. OVER HIGH HILLS AND LONELY MOUNTAINS - Recorded from Abie Shepherd, Bryson City, N. C. c. 1923

1. In seaboard town there was a merchant,
He had two sons and a daughter fair;
And prettiest boy was bounden to him
And to him he was the same.

2. Late one night they was silent a courting,
Her brother's heard what they did say;
"That long courtship shall soon be ended
By forcing you into your grave."

3. They rose next morning early starting,
Hunting these three men did go
Over high hills and lonely mountains,
And then into the place of woe.

4. Late that night while they was returning,
She asked, "Where is the servant man?
Oh Brothers, you seem to whisper lowly,
Oh, brothers, do tell me if you can."

5. "We lost him in some suits[1] of hunting,
The face of him you no more shall see;
What makes you seem so much affronted?
Why do you examine me?"

6. Late that night while she was returning,
His ghost to her bedside appeared;
His face was badly bruised and bleeding,
His cheeks all in his blood was smeared.

7. "Weep not for me, my dearest jewel,
To weep for me 'tis all in vain;
Go straight way to yon ditch of briars,
There you find me dead and slain."

8. She rose next morning early starting,
Hunting that dear boy of hers;
She went till she came to the ditch of briars,
And there she found him dead and slain.

9. His face was bloody as the butcher,
Tears in his eyes like salty brine.
She kissed his cold pale cheeks a crying,
Saying "This dear boy was a friend of mine."

10. "Now since my brothers have been so cruel,
As to force your dear sweet life away,
One grave shall serve us both together,
While I have breath with you I'll stay."

11. For three days she fasted o'er him,
Until her heart was filled with woe;
"I feel sharp hunger creeping o'er me,
Homeward, or die, I'm bound to go."

12. Late that night while she was returning,
Her brothers asked where she had been;
"Go way, go way, you cruel murderers
For this dear boy you have slain."

13. Now to get rid of the cruel murder,
Was to sail across the deep blue sea.
The wind did blow and it ain't no wonder
And they[2] blew them both into their graves.

1. sports
2. it (the wind)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 02 May 16 - 05:10 PM

Hi,

The following versions are at the LOC that I don't have. If anyone has access to any of them let me know:

1) The bramble briar
sound recording | Sung and played by Mrs. Dora Ward. (Statement Of Responsibility). Cf. Cox, No. 88. Elizabeth Lomax In seaport town lived a rich merchant (First Line). Sound Recording (Form).
    Contributor: Ward, Dora - Lomax, Alan - Lyttleton, Elizabeth
    Original Format: Audio Recordings
    Date: 1938-04-10

2) The bramble briar
sound recording | Sung by Samuel P. Harmon. (Statement Of Responsibility). Cf. Henry, p. 161. Fragment. Sound Recording (Form).
    Contributor: Halpert, Herbert - Harmon, Samuel P.
    Original Format: Audio Recordings
    Date: 1939-04-26

3) In seaport town (The bramble briar)
sound recording | Sung by Mrs. Lena Bare Turbyfill. (Statement Of Responsibility). Restricted. Sound Recording (Form).
    Contributor: Halpert, Herbert - Turbyfill, Lena Bare
    Original Format: Audio Recordings
    Date: 1939-04-00

4) The rich merchant (The bramble briar)
sound recording | Sung by Joe Hubbard. (Statement Of Responsibility). Sound Recording (Form).
    Contributor: Halpert, Herbert - Hubbard, Joe
    Original Format: Audio Recordings
    Date: 1939-04-00

5) The lonesome valley
sound recording | Sung by Gant family. (Statement Of Responsibility). Sound Recording (Form).
    Contributor: Lomax, John Avery - Lomax, Alan - Gant Family
    Original Format: Audio Recordings
    Date: 1934-11-00

6) In Seaport Town
sound recording | Sung by Mrs. Maud Gentry Long of Hot Springs, North Carolina. (Statement Of Responsibility). Library of Congress. Recording Laboratory (Venue). Sound Recording (Form).
    Contributor: Library of Congress. Recording Laboratory - Long, Maud
    Original Format: Audio Recordings
    Date: 1947-00-00

We know Sam Harmon's version (above) because it is the same as his wife's (Henry collected it) which came from Council Harmon, his grandfather.

We know Maud Gentry Long's version (above) came from her mother Jane Hicks Gentry- only Sharp included only one stanza of Jane's text with the tune. Smith lists it but I can't access on google books- anyone?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 02 May 16 - 05:38 PM

Hi,

Here's the Country and Western version Steve mentioned. It was collected for Parler:

Lonesome Valley- Sung by Tommy Doyle. Instrumental by T. Doyle at Hilltop Cafe between Diamond and Neoshe, Mo. Jan. 2, 1965.

She traveled over rocks and great tall mountains,
Through the hills and valleys below,
Till she came to the Lonesome Valley;
There she found him dead in the snow.

She went back home and saw her brother,
She said, "You done a terrible thing.
I'm going tell the local sheriff,"
Now her brother's a-gonna hang.

He was her love before he was killed,
In the Lonesome Valley below,
But she's gone from this Lonesome Valley,
His body's buried six feet below.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 16 - 09:05 AM

Hi,

Here are the 48 US versions I've put on my site.

    Bridgewater Merchant- Stevens (NY) 1820 Thompson
    Apprentice Boy- Lambertson (OH-MI) 1850s Gardner
    Merchant's Daughter- Mayhew (MO) 1870 Belden A
    Bamboo Briers- Hannah Ross (VA-WV) 1875 Cox A
    The Bramble Brier- Goon (OH) pre1876 Eddy
    The Bamboo Brier- Harmon (TN-NC) pre1880 Henry
    The Bramble Brier- (NY) Wehman's Songster 1890
    Jealous Brothers- Hammontree (AR) 1890s Randolph
    Lonesome Valley- Walker (OK-MO) pre1906 Moores
    Lonesome Valley- Pettit (KY) 1907 Kittredge
    One Evening as I Sat Courting- Churchill (TX) 1910
    The Apprentice Boy- (KY) pre1911 Shearin
    Lonesome Valley- Sol Shelton (NC) 1916 Sharp MS
    In Maple City- Banner Chandley (NC) 1916 Sharp MS
    In Seaport Town- Alfred Norton (TN) 1916 Sharp MS
    In Seaport Town- Hester House (NC) 1916 Sharp MS
    In Seaport Town- Stella Shelton (NC) 1916 Sharp A
    In Seaport Town- Martha Gosnell (NC) 1916 Sharp B
    In Boston Town- Rosie Hensley (NC) 1916 Sharp C
    In Seaport Town- Jane Gentry (NC) 1916 Sharp D
    Near Bridgewater- Eliza Pace (KY) 1917 Sharp E
    In Transport Town- Broghton (KY) 1917 Sharp F
    In Seaport Town- H. Smith (KY) 1917 Sharp G
    In Newport Town- Nora Haynes (NC) 1917 Sharp MS
    Bamboo Briars- Minnie Doyel (MO) 1917 Barbour
    A Ditch of Briers- Wheeler (VA) 1918 Sharp H
    In Seaport Town- Sina Boone (VA) 1918 Sharp I
    In Seaport Town- Julie Boone (NC) 1918 Sharp MS
    Lonesome Valley- F. Richards (VA) 1918 Sharp MS
    Jealous Brothers- Sutterfield (AR) c.1918 Wolf A
    Over High Hills- Abie Shepherd (NC)1923 Carter JAF
    The Hunt- Frank Proffitt (NC) 1924 Brown A
    Brandberry Briars- Frances Sanders (WV) 1924 Cox C
    Bomberry Brier- Moore (WV) pre1925 Cox B
    The 'Prentice Boy- Becky Gordon (NC) 1928 Brown B
    The Bamboo Briars- Hopkins (IN) 1935 Brewster
    The Bridgewater- Graham (CA-IO) 1938 Cowell REC
    The Ditch of Briars- Yorks (NC) 1940 Brown C
    Late One Sunday Evening- Gore (TX) 1941 Owens
    Branbury Briars- Elizabeth Jensen(UT) 1947 Hubbard
    Two Lovers Set Sparking- High (AR) 1951 BK REC
    Lonesome Valley- P. Brewer (AR) 1958 REC Parler B
    In the Seaport- Dillingham (AR) 1959 REC Parler A
    Jealous Brothers- Armstrong (AR) 1962 REC Wolf B
    Jealous Brothers- Hays (AR) 1962 REC Wolf C
    In Zepo Town- Lisha Shelton (NC) 1963 Cohen REC
    Lonesome Valley- Tommy Doyle (AR) 1965 Parler C
    Two Jealous Brothers- Gilbert(AR) 1969 Max Hunter

I've also created an appendix for "Constant Farmer's Son" which is now 3A.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 16 - 09:40 AM

Hi,

I've started writing the US versions headnotes here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-3-the-bramble-briar.aspx

Even tho it's a bit long I'm including it below. Comments and corrections welcome:

US & Canada Versions: 3. The Bramble Briar

[The Bramble Briar, the location where the servant is "killed and thrown," is known by a number of different names in the United States[1] but ironically only two versions[2] have "Bramble Brier" or "Bramble Briar" in them. Three have "Bamboo Briar(s)"[3] and there are several other variations- two have "Branberry" and one "Bomberry." Several have "Ditch" or "Ditch of Briars"[4] while many others simply call the burial place, "The Lonesome Valley[5]."

Many titles are fashioned after the location residence of the merchant, his sons, daughter and servant. This location usually appears as Bridgewater[6] and the longest and perhaps oldest complete version it titled, "The Bridgewater Merchant[7]." In the versions that have Bridgewater the ballad begins, "Near Bridgewater" or "At Bridgewater" which is very similar to the only early extant British version[8] which begin "Near Tunbridge Waters." It's easy to conjecture that Bridgewater may in fact be a derivative of Tunbridge Waters.

Cecil Sharp titled his Appalachian versions, "In Seaport Town" as seven of the seventeen versions he collected begin with that title while other of Sharp's versions begin: "In Maple City," "In Transport Town," "In Newport Town" or "In Boston Town." Later collected versions in the Appalachians begin similarly and titles include: "In the Seaport" or "In Zepo Town[9]."

Other versions named after the murdered servant titled "The Apprentice Boy" still have Bridgewater in the opening line: 'Twas near Bridgewater a rich man lived[10]. Another group of names use the opening line: "Two Lovers Set Sparking[11]" or "One Evening as I Sat Courting." The last group of names, recently collected, are titled, "The Jealous Brothers."

The ballad has been disseminated in two main areas: 1. New York/New Jersey and 2. The Virginia Colony. This ballad didn't come with the early settlers since it's origin is estimated to be the early to mid-1700s[12] but it was likely here by the late 1700s since it was found in the early 1800s[13] in NY and reached isolated regions in the Appalachians where it was later collected[14]. The New York/New Jersey versions are the closest to the missing broadside[15] and include one print version[16] that was arranged from oral circulation[17]. One traditional version was taken to Michigan from New Jersey[18], another to Ohio and another Indiana.The westward migration could include an Iowa to California version and the version from Utah. The Virginia Colony was well established in the 1600s. By the late 1700s the ballads were brought to remote Appalachian regions like Beech Mountain, NC (Hicks/Harmon lines), Madison County, NC (Shelton line/Sodom-Laurel singers) and Flag Pond, TN. In 1775 Daniel Boone began blazing The Wilderness Trail into Kentucky and middle Tennessee paving the way for the settlement of those areas. The Bramble Briar was known in Kentucky and Tennessee as well as the earlier settled states of North Carolina and Virginia. The westward southern migration includes Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The southern versions, in general, are sometimes missing: 1. the inheritance awarded to the daughter when her father dies; 2. the location is Bridgewater; 3. the revenant visitation, or it has changed to a dream visitation 4. the father is a merchant; 5. the bramble briars, or the briars, instead they have been replaced by a generic location such as The Lonesome Valley.

As pointed out by Belden[19] the versions are corrupt, due inherently to the lack of existing print versions. There are certain phrase identifiers which have remained consistent in enough versions that we can understand the missing broadside or ur-ballad. These phrases include "wallowed in a gore of blood;" "she found him killed and thrown" which rhymes with "unknown;" her brothers were both "rash and cruel" and lastly "dearest bosom friend of mine." These identifiers can help sort out and give meaning to the mangled texts from oral transmission.

Although the ballad is rare and does not appear in a number of collections[20] the number of US versions totals nearly sixty[21]. The ballad tradition in the US never died out completely and although the method of recreation has changed the ballad has been sung traditionally at least until the 1970s[21].

_______________

Footnotes:

1. No versions of the ballad have yet been found in Canada.

2. The Bramble Brier- Goon (OH) pre1876 Eddy/ The Bramble Brier- (NY) Wehman's Songster 1890

3. Bamboo Briers- Hannah Ross (VA-WV) 1875 Cox A
    The Bamboo Brier- Harmon (TN-NC) pre1880 Henry
    Bamboo Briars- Minnie Doyel (MO) 1917 Barbour

4. A Ditch of Briers- Wheeler (VA) 1918 Sharp H
    The Ditch of Briars- Yorks (NC) 1940 Brown C
    Bridgewater Merchant- Stevens (NY) 1820 Thompson ("In a dry ditch")

5. This title is possibly derived from this text:
          5. They traveled over hills and mountains;
               Through lonesome valleys they did go,
    [The Bamboo Briars- Hopkins (IN) 1935 Brewster]

6. Bridgewater Merchant- Stevens (NY) 1820 Thompson
   Apprentice Boy- Lambertson (OH-MI) 1850s Gardner ('Twas near Bridgewater)
   Bamboo Briers- Hannah Ross (VA-WV) 1875 Cox A (Across Bridgewater )
   Near Bridgewater- Eliza Pace (KY) 1917 Sharp E
   The Bridgewater- Graham (CA-IO) 1938 Cowell REC

7. "The Bridgewater Merchant," from New York MS taken from a great-aunt of Douglas; dated circa 1820, part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958.

8. "Near Turnbridge Waters" found in Chapter 18 in Tales About Christmas by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) London 1838.

9. In Zepo Town" sung by Lisha Shelton of Madison County, NC; 1963.

10. "The Apprentice Boy" from Ohio/Michigan taken MS book (c. 1852) of Mrs. Elsie Clark Lambertson.

11. "Two Lovers Set Sparking" by Fred High (AR) 1951; learned much earlier. "Sparking" is another word for "Courting."

12. "The Bridgewater Merchant" by Steve Gardham; Dungheap No. 21: http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dung21.htm

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 16 - 11:33 AM

Hi,

I've started on the UK versions. I have a question:

Where is the location of the Peter Parley version?

It's in Tales About Christmas by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) published in London, 1838.

https://books.google.com/books?id=UVcEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA147&dq=%22In+public+houses,+and+pot+houses+by+the+way+side,+at+times,%22&hl=

The location is not given Parley says: In public houses, and pot houses by the way side, at times, there are strange ditties to be heard. Having occasion to call on the landlord of a house of this description, I could see, through the glass door of the little parlour where I sat, a group of country people sitting with their mugs before them.

I assume since the location, given earlier in the book, is Redhill Grange, a small private housing area of just under 400 homes, located approximately a mile and a half north of the center of Wellingborough, the county of Northamptonshire.

Ty,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 16 - 02:49 PM

Hi,

I'm posting The Brake o' Briars. I'm not sure why it's attached to another song-(anyone?) so I'm just including the appropriate text. I assume both songs are sung to the same melody. (?) I have a copy of the Gillington's "Songs of the Open Road."

The Brake o' Briars- Sung by Miss Edith Sebbage, Trotton, Sussex, 1911. Noted by Miss D. J. Marshall

Then the match was made to go a-hunting,
Down in those woods where briars grew;
And there they did the young man murder;
In the Brake of Briars there him they threw.

Then they rode home the same night after,
They rode home most speedily;
"You're welcome home, my own two brothers,
But pray tell me where's your servant man?"

We lost him as we rode a-hunting,
Down in the woods where briars grow;
Where we lost him we could not find him,
And what became of him we do not know.

Then she went to bed the same night after;
She went to bed immediately,
She dreamt to see her own true loved one;
He was covered all over in great drops of blood.

She rose early the next morning,
To search the woods where briars grow;
And as she dreamed so there she found him;
In the Brake of Briars he was killed and thrown.

Then she pulled a handkerchief from her bosom,
And wiped his eyes as he lay as blind;
She oft time weeped in sorrow, saying,
"There lies a dear bosom friend of mine."

Then she rode home the same night after,
She rode home most speedily;
She poisoned herself and her own two brothers:
All four of them in one grave do lie!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 16 - 03:40 PM

Hi,

I'll post a few UK versions. This one is not online and compares favorably to the Overd version of 1904 by Sharp. This was collected by Hammond in 1907:

In Bruton Town- Sung by Mrs Baggs of Chedington, Dorset, in August, 1907 (Hammond Mss, D875).

1. In Bruton town there lives a farmer
Who had two sons and one daughter dear,
By day and night they was a-courting
To fill their parents' heart with fear.

2. "We think our servant courts our sister,
We think they has a mind to wed
We'll put an end to all their courtship,
And send [them] him silent to the grave."

3. A piece of hunting was provided,
Through woods and valleys where the briars grow;
And there they did this young man murder,
And into the pit his body throw.

4. Then these two villains returned from hunting
Not thinking what they had done,
"You're welcome home, my own true brothers,
Pray tell me, of my servant man?"

5 "We've a-left him where we've been a-hunting,
We've a-left him where he can't be seen.
To tell you plain you do offend us
You so quickly examined we."

6. Then she went to bed crying and lamenting,
Lamenting for her servant man;
She slept, she dreamed she saw him lie by her,
Covered all over in a pool of blood.

7. She woke up early, so early next morning,
And went to the brook where the briars grew;
And there she did behold her own true lover
Covered all over in a pool of blood.

8. She took her handkerchief out of her pocket
She wiped his eyes though they were blind
She kissed his tender sweet lips
'Here lies a bosom friend of mine."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 16 - 04:01 PM

'It's easy to conjecture that Bridgewater may in fact be a derivative of Tunbridge Waters'???? Is this a typo, Richie? Overwhelming evidence points to the reverse.

Mrs Baggs' version should be online on the Full English website along with all the other Hammond-Gardiner, Sharp, Baring Gould etc material.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 16 - 04:10 PM

Just went on the Take 6/Full English website. 45 entries for Roud 18 and the first up is Mrs Baggs' version, the mss and a typed copy. If you want plenty of English versions I'd look here first, Richie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 16 - 04:31 PM

Hi Steve,

TY for you help and it is overwhelming evidence that points to Bridgewater. I'll add to that. I already posted Mrs. Baggs version. Who is Jesse Cole and when did he sing this?

There Was A Farmer Lived Near Bridgewater [Bruton Town]- Sung by Jesse Cole of Oakley, Hampshire. (H. 1285)Collected by G.B. Gardiner, Charles Gamblin,

1. There was a farmer lived near Bridgewater
He had two sons and one daughter dear,
And they though fitting to plough the ocean
To plough the raging main so clear.


2. And through the woods as we was riding
And there we lost and never found
In seeking of it over fluttered [flattered],
In a brake of briar he was killed and thrown.

3. "Now a servant man's going to wed our sister,
Our sister for it is all in vain,
Yes, and their courtship shall soon be ended,
I'll send him to his silent grave."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 May 16 - 05:02 PM

The manuscript gives no date for Cole and he/she is not one of the singers on my list of bios for the book I'm writing. However there may be something on the Hampshire Voices website. They were recording stuff mainly from about 1904 to 1908.

I know you just posted the Baggs version, but you stated it wasn't already online and it is.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 03 May 16 - 08:43 PM

Hi,

I guess I'll guesstimate the date and put date unknown. What I meant about the Baggs version is "it's not on google search" so it's not searchable, unless someone went to Vaughan Williams site --they couldn't find it, plus the text is not accessible unless you type it out from the MSS. So it's now something that is searchable online.

As far as Bridgewater, that is the best location, you are correct but there are more versions that are "In Seaport Town" or "In Bruton Town" or "In [ ] Town than Bridgewater. Still the possibility exists that the original broadside if it were found would be different. Certainly we should consider the oldest English version by 80 years "Near Tunbridge Waters" to hold more weight.

TY again,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 16 - 09:02 AM

Steve,

This is what I have so far:

    Near Tunbridge Waters- (Northants) 1838 Goodrich
    Lord Burling's Sister- Joiner(Herts)1914 Broadwood
    In Strawberry Town- Whitcombe (So) 1906 Sharp
    In Bruton Town- Overd (So) 1904 Sharp
    The Brake o' Briars- Sebbage (Sx) 1911 Gillington
    In Bruton Town- Baggs (Dor) 1907 Hammond
    There Was A Farmer- Cole (Hants) c.1908 Gardiner
    A Famous Farmer- Digweed (Hants) 1906 Hammond
    A Female Farmer- Randall (Hants) 1907 Gardiner
    Farmer's Daughter- Gardner (Oxon) 1915 Alfred Williams

Unfortunately I don't know the informants in the books you gave me in the earlier post, so please let me know what I'm missing. There's a version by an informant "Wiggs" I'm missing. I don't have the MacColl. I think Kennedy recorded Hughes singing Brakes of Briars and its on Topic not sure if it's a cover.

Other UK versions? Anyone?

Ty,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 16 - 10:38 AM

Hi,

I found Caroline Hughes version from "1963 and 1966 recordings made by Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Charles Parker . ." on Topic. This is different than teh version in Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland by Ewan Maccoll, Peggy Seeger. It has two extra lines and no missing lines- it also has a spoken version of the ballad first. I noticed that it's spelled "Bridgwater".

Apparently Kennedy recorded her later in 1968 and than version is different too.

The Bridgwater Farmer- spoken then sung by Caroline Hughes c. 1963

Spoken:

. . . near Bridgwater,
He had two sons and a daughter dear;
They feeled it fitting to plough the ocean
To plough the ocean that raged so clear.
Our servant man's going to wed my sister,
My sister she have got mind to wed.
They have soon courtship and their blood they have ... (slaughter?)
And send her to a silent grave
Well now hunting three days and three nights she lately dreamed
She dreamed, she dreamed of her own true love;
By her bedside there was tears like fountains,
Covered over with gores of blood.
She rose in the morning and come to her brothers
"Dear brothers, you're welcome home
And where's our dear servant man?
My brothers you killed him and ain't you cruel?"
She got hold of her horse, she saddled her horse;
Down through the copse as she was riding,
She heard a mournful, dreadful noise
She got off from her horse and she raised down on him
She pulled her pocket handkerchief and she wiped his eyes
With tears of salt like any bride.
My brothers have killed you and ain't they cruel?
That's just to send you to your silent grave.

Sings the tune. Then, sung:

Oh there was a farmer living near Bridgwater
Well he had two sons and one daughter dear;
Well she felt it fitting for to plough the ocean
Oh to plough the ocean, oh that raged so clear.
Surely, surely, they was deluded,
Which caused this poor farmer to live in fear.

Well, our servant man's a-going to wed my sister,
Yes, my sister she have got mind to wed.
You will soon courtship and it won't be longing
Surelye, surelye, that will drive me wild.

Well three days and three nights, oh she latelye mention,
Oh she dreamed, she dreamed of her own true love;
Oh by her bedside there was tears like fountains,
Covered over and over all by gores of blood.

She come dressed herself, she come down to her brothers,
A-crying tears like lumps of salt;
Dear brother, oh, tell, do tell me where he's?
You've killed my love, and you'll tell me too [true]

Down through the woods oh that she went a-riding,
Oh, she heard a mournfully bitter cry;
Surelye, surelye, that's my own dear true love,
In the brake of briars oh he's throwed and killed.

Oh she got off'n her horse and she looked down on him,
Wiping the tears from her eyes oh like any brine;
My brothers have killed you and ain't they cruel?
Surelye, surelye, that now would drive me mad.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 16 - 10:52 AM

Hi,

The other Traveller version was sung by Nelson Ridley (1913-1975) who born in Kent, one of 16 children. He claimed he knew his repertoire by age 12. At the time of the 1974 recording he lived in Harlow new town in Essex, 20 miles outside of London.


There Was a Match of Hunting- sung by Nelson Ridley of Kent, Learned by 1925, recorded in 1974 at Harlow new town in Essex, 20 miles outside of London.

There was a match of hunting they was providing,
Down in the grove, that's where briars grow;
O, did ever you hear talk of the young man murdered?
In a bed of briars his body throwed.

There was a match of hunting they was patruling,
Down in the grove, that's where briars grow;
(For keeping of its secret being around two brothers)
In a bed of briars his body throwed.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 16 - 02:18 PM

Hi,

Here's another Traveller version sung in 2012 Freda Black, who is around 85 years old. You can hear her version here: http://songcollectors.org/tradition-bearers/freda-black/ see: right hand column last song.

There Were A Farmer- Sung by Freda Black, who was born a Somerset field near Chew Magna.

There were a farmer who lived near Bridgewater
who had two sons and one daughter dear
Now a servant man is going to wed their sister
Their sister she's got mind to wed.

"Now his courtin'[1] day will soon be ended
We'll take him to a silent grave."
Saw through those woods where they went riding
In the break of briars they killed and thrown

So he[2] said "You're welcome home,"
Replied the sister, 'but where is thou servant man?'
All through those woods where we went riding
We soon lost sight and were never more seen."

Three days and nights she laid a-dreaming
She dreamt her true love in the break of briars
Saw through those woods where she went riding
She heard a groan and most dreadful scream

She picks him up all in her bosom
And gave him kisses two and three
Said "My brothers killed you, now weren't they cruel
In the break of briars they killed and thrown."

1. sings "court"
2. transription has "she"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 16 - 02:26 PM

Hi,

I read somewhere that all the UK versions that have "farmer" stemmed from a mishearing of "father." Once it was changed to "farmer" it remained "farmer."

Agree?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 16 - 02:53 PM

Hi,

After thinking about it, it seems that "farmer" could have been picked up from "Constant Farmer's Son" which not well known in the US. Why do none of the 60 versions have "farmer' in them?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 May 16 - 05:24 PM

I think the second explanation regarding infection from CFS is the more likely, but you can't rule out a simple change of occupation in one oral seminal version influencing the others. They all tend to be fragmentary later versions. Both oral tradition and broadside hacks changed characters' occupations at the slightest whim: Sailors become soldiers, colliers etc.

Tunbridge Wells is in Kent about 120 miles away from Bristol. I still say the evidence for Bridgwater is overwhelming.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 04 May 16 - 10:04 PM

Hi,

I think there may be an English version collected by Henry. (Henry collection No. 806) Anyone?

I don't know if this is printed:

It's of a farmer lived near Bridgwater- Collected R. Vaughan William 1913, no informant named. It begins:

It's of a farmer lived near Bridgwater,
He had two sons and one daughter dear,
And they thought it fitting to plough the ocean
To plough the raging main so clear.

Our servant man's going to wed our sister,
Our sister she has a man to wed,
But her courtship shall soon be ended,
I'll send him to his silent [bed]

It may be in Everyman's Book of English Country Songs (1979).

Don't have Danny Brazil version in Gwilym Davies Collection.

Don't have Daniel Wigg version "Female Farmer" 1907.

Anyone?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 05 May 16 - 11:18 AM

Hi,

I found 3 more US versions and several more I don't have.

I found the Wigg version:

A Female (Famous) Farmer- sung by Daniel Wigg, 83 years old, of Preston Candover by Abresford Hants, July 1907 noted by Charles Gamblin

1. A female farmer, as you shall hear,
There was two sons and one daughter dear
Her servant man she much admired,
None in this world she loved so dear.

2. One brother said unto the other:
"See how our sister's going to wed,"
"Their courtship shall soon be ended,"
"We'll hoist[1] him to some silent grave."

3. They asked him if would ride to hunting.
He went without fear or strife.
Then these two brothers began so cruel:
They took away this young man's life.

4. When they returned from the field of hunting,
She began to inquire for the servant man,
"Oh sister dear, we're much amaz-ed,"
To see how you examine we."

5. "We left him in the field of hunting
No more of him there could we see,"
It was near the creek[2], there was no water,
Nothing but bushes and briers grow.

6. . . .
. . . .
All for to hide their cruel slaughter
Into the bushes his body threw.

7 As Mary[2] lied all on her pillow.
She dreamt she saw her true love stand,
By her bedside, he stood lamenting,
All covered with the bloody stream. [4]

8. Then these two brothers they both were taken,
Bound down in some prison strong.
They both were tried, both found guilty,
For the same they both was hung.

_________Footnotes________

1. changed from "list" supplied from Digweed's version
2. changed from "grave" supplied from Digweed's version; the brothers probably wouldn't call it a grave since they are concealing the murder
3. Mary, from Constant Farmer's Son?
4. These stanzas are missing between 7 and 8:

    "Pray, Nancy[Mary] dear, don't you weep for me,
    Pray, Nancy[Mary] dear, don't weep nor pine,
    In that creek where there is no water,
    Go there you may my body find."

    Then she rose early the very next morning,
    With many a sigh and bitter groan.
    In that creek where her true love told her,
    There she found his body thrown.

    The blood all on his lips was drying,
    His tears were salter than any brine.
    Then she kissed him and then she cried:
    "Here lies a bosom friend of mine."

    Three nights and days she stayed lamenting
    Till her poor heart was filled with woe.
      Until sharp hunger came creeping on her,
    Then homeward she was forced to go.

    "Sister, we are so much amaz-ed
    To see you look so pale and wan."
    "Brothers, I know you knows the reason,
    And for the same you shall be hung."

Additional stanzas from A Famous Farmer sung by George Digweed.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 16 - 02:57 PM

'As Mary lied all on her pillow'. Yes, definitely picked up from CFS.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 16 - 03:13 PM

The Vaughan Williams collected version is in Palmer, Everyman's Book of English country Songs, No 59 p111. 'It's of a Farmer'

2 But their courtship......
I send him to his silent bed.

V3 onwards
One hunting day it was appointed,
To take this young man's life away;
They did this young man overflatter
To hunting unto go with them.

And through the woods as they were riding,
They saw a brake of briars grow;
They soon became and his blood they slaughtered,
And a brake of briars pulled him through.

'O welcome home,' then said the sister,
'But where is our young servantman?
I only ask because you whispered,
Dear brothers tell me if you can.

'Now through the woods as we was riding,
There we lost him and never him found;
But I tell you we are affronted,
You do hard and examine we.

Three days and nights she lay lamenting,
she dreamed, she dreamed her love she saw,
By her bedside the tears lamenting,
All over and over with gore.

'Lay still, lay still, my patient jewel,
It's all in vain for to complain;
Her brothers killed me, now weren't they cruel,
In such a place that you may find.

Then through the woods as she was riding
She heard such fearful dismal groans;
'Surely that is my own true love
In a brake opf briars killed and thrown.'

She kissed his lips that were all dry-ed,
His tears as salt as any brine;
She kissed his lips and ofttimes sighed:
'O here lays a bold young friend of mine.

Notes in plamer p245
Sung by an unnamed singer, Poolend, Ashperton, Hertfordshire; coll by RVW, Sept 1913 (MS 8vo E5)

I'm surprised this is not on the Full English website at least in MS form. It should be.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 16 - 03:15 PM

Whilst in places it is garbled it does contain some lines very close to the conjectured original.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 16 - 03:17 PM

Sam Henry's 806 is CFS.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 May 16 - 03:20 PM

I'll get Tradsinger to post Danny Brazil's version. I don't seem to have it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 05 May 16 - 10:10 PM

TYVM Steve,

R. Vaughan Williams MS was difficult to read, managed to decipher a bit of it. I noticed he had several he had several places with question marks, where he was unsure of what the singer sang. Need to check those places against the published version.

There are two West Virginia versions in Volume 3 of Michael E. Bush's short volumes. I went ahead and ordered all 5 since the last three are out of print and scarce (individual volumes 3,4,5 are not sold).

The few US versions I don't have I may be able to get from various libraries- which has been working of late.

Now if we can just find the missing English broadside :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 05 May 16 - 10:38 PM

Hi,

I found the quote by Lucy Broadwood but it was made in 1905 in the JFSS attached to Overd's 'Bruton Town':

"The word 'farmer' in the first verse printed above should no doubt be 'father,' he being thus mentioned in Sachs's poem."

Richie :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 16 - 12:25 AM

By the way, according to Google books, Belden's H M Belden's "Boccaccio, Hans Sachs, and The Bramble Briar" was first published in 1914 in Folk-song: England and America. (German publication) Edited by Archer Taylor(?)

Here's the link: https://books.google.com/books?id=698gAQAAIAAJ&q=%22Miss+Lucy+Broadwood+published+a+Hertfordshire+version,+Lord+Burling%27s+Sist

I wrote this about the location in footnote:

6. Bridgewater or more accurately "Bridgwater" likely refers to a market town located in Somerset, England. Although Bridgewater (Bridgwater) is the best choice for the location, it is not in the majority. There are nearly twice as many US versions titled "In Seaport Town" or similarly and almost as many US versions titled "Bramble Briar" or similarly. Bridgewater (Bridgwater) also appears in a number of English versions and I concur with Gardham that until the missing broadside is discovered it is my first choice for a location.

The unfinished article is here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-3-the-bramble-briar.aspx

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 16 - 01:21 AM

Hi,

Mrs York's version from NC is in the James Carpenter Collection, the good news is now I can get the entire ballad, the bad news is they can't seem to put the versions on-line where they can be used. I'm waiting---!!!

I'm sorry Julia, but I don't get it. 5 years ago I thought the collection would be put online- where is it???!!!

I can't do the UK version of the Child ballads until this is done. So I sent an email to them volunteering to help them- anything to get teh moss off the stone,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 16 - 03:34 PM

Richie,
I too have been waiting with anticipation, but it is a massive collection and they are a pretty meticulous bunch. I would imagine there might also be problems with the flow of funding. All of the people working on this are relying on it for some of their income, not retired like me. Patience, my friend. I'm not sure who is currently working on the texts but an email to David might turn up what you want.

The missing broadside/chapbook is right at the very top of my wants list. The people I know who live close enough to Bristol are all very busy with their own important projects.

As soon as I get time a useful study would be which elements of the story have survived in English versions, or perhaps rather which elements haven't survived.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 16 - 08:13 PM

Ty Steve,

12,000 items, I'll do it just to help. i just can't imagine it taking that long, maybe because I work hard and fast and if it's sloppy that can always be corrected easily.

I found the Lemmy Brazil version from 1967 I'll post it here:

The Brake of Briars- From the singing of Lemmy Brazil, Gloucester 28 December 1966 and Danny Brazil, Gloucester on 5 January 1967. (Springthyme 66.9.3 & 67.1.33 ).

All for a farmer he lived - - - -,
He had two sons and one daughter dear;
Both day and night they were contriving,
To fill her heart with a good care.

This farmer also had a servant,
His only daughter that servant loved well;
By day and night he did salute her,
And to wed with her was his intent.

When the youngest brother saw his sister,
Walking out with the servant man;
Instead of keeping his secrets and telling no other,
Until his brother he told the same.

When the brother came to hear it,
- - - -
- - - -
- - - -

A match of hunting they provided,
They provided on the very same day;
There they did this young man murder,
In a brake of briars his fair body lay.

When her two brothers came home from haunting,
It was so dark that they could not see;
She said, "Welcome home my two own brothers,
And what's become of my servant man?"

"We left him behind where we've been a-hunting,
It was so dark that we could not see;
To tell you truly and not to defend you,
We have so strictly examined he."

She lay in the bed all that night lamenting,
And there she had a shocking dream;
She dreamt she saw him in a brake of briars,
All covered over with drops of blood.
He said, "You lay still my dearest jewel,
It is too late for to weep for me."

He said, "You rise early tomorrow morning,
And search the woods where the briars grow;
And in the valley you'll find my body,
All covered over with drops of blood."

She rose early the next day morning,
She rose up by the break of day;
And there she found her young man murdered,
In a brake of briars his fair body lay.

She pulled a pocket handkerchief from her pocket,
Wiping his eyes 'cos they were blind;
She was kissing his sweet cheeks oft times saying,
"There lays a bosom young friend of mine."

A dinner then the girls provided,
She provided on the very same day;
She poisoned herself and her two own brothers,
And the four of them in one grave lay.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 16 - 08:17 PM

Hi,

I wrote a 2 page intro to the English versions on my site rather than post it you can read it here. It's not finished but close to it:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/british--other-versions-3-bramble-briar.aspx

Comments and corrections are welcome as always,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 06 May 16 - 10:47 PM

Hi,

These are the English versions I have so far (in approximate chronological order):

    Near Tunbridge Waters- (Northants) 1838 Goodrich
    In Bruton Town- Overd (So) 1904 Sharp
    In Strawberry Town- Whitcombe (So) 1906 Sharp
    A Famous Farmer- Digweed (Hants) 1906 Hammond
    In Bruton Town- Baggs (Dor) 1907 Hammond
    A Female Farmer- Randall (Hants) 1907 Gardiner
    A Female Farmer- Daniel Wigg(Hants)1907 Gardiner
    There Was A Farmer- Cole (Hants) c.1908 Gardiner
    The Brake o' Briars- Sebbage (Sx) 1911 Gillington
    It's of a Farmer-- (Herts) 1913 R. V. Williams
    Lord Burling's Sister- Joiner(Herts)1914 Broadwood
    Farmer's Daughter- Gardner (Oxon) 1915 Williams
    A Match of Hunting- Ridley (Kent) c.1925 MacColl
    It's of a Rich and a Gay Old Farmer- Henry (Hants) 1938 Bonham-Carter
    Bridgwater Farmer- Hughes (Dorset) c.1962 MacColl
    The Brake of Briars- Lemmy Brazil (Glos) 1967 REC
    There Were a Farmer- Freda Black (So) 2012 REC

Am I missing any?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 16 - 04:32 PM

I have a version collected in 1938 which was published in English Dance and Song, from Henry Mitchell, Hants. I'll scan it and send you it when I've checked all the others.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 16 - 04:35 PM

You will then have all the English versions I have, but please do check Roud for any I haven't seen.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 16 - 07:24 PM

A quick analysis of the English versions.

They preserve remnants of 17 of the 23 reconstructed stanzas. The best preserved version is that of Mrs Joiner which preserves 6 full stanzas close to the reconstruction despite losing 4 stanzas at the beginning. The best preserved stanza is the 16th of the reconstruction which is the description of his body and her kissing him. In general the English versions mainly preserve the middle block of stanzas 10 to 17 from the brothers' return to her lamenting over the body. Those English versions that have an ending telling of the brothers' punishment tell of them being tried and hung and there is no mention of them being drowned at sea in a storm. The English versions generally have their own autonomy and if pushed I'd say there was probably a shorter printed version following the original with a few alterations such as condensing the opening and changing the ending.

The next step is to compare the English shorter version with what is contained in CFS.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 07 May 16 - 08:50 PM

Hi Steve,

I have the 1938 version which was published in English Dance and Song, from Henry Mitchell, Hants. However, I didn't add the last name in my title (see above)- which I've fixed.

I have checked Roud.

Thanks for your analysis,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 16 - 12:08 PM

Hi,

I've completed the preliminary headnotes (6 or 7 pages with 22 footnotes) for the "English version" and have 17 traditional version which may be close to the extant number. It can be viewed here:
http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/british--other-versions-3-bramble-briar.aspx At the end I pose these questions. Anyone?

A number of questions remain about the ballad in British Isles and specifically England since the ballad has not be traced to Scotland or Ireland. If the ballad was created by a stall printer based on a translation of Boccaccio's "Isabella and the Pot of Basil" why has not print version surfaced? Why then is the end of Boccaccio's story not found in the ballad? Or is Boccacio's work just an Italian analogue of an older archetype? Except for the the fragment captured by Parley in the early 1800s, why has there been no other trace of the ballad in England until 1904? Why are some of the early American versions longer and fuller than the English ones?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 16 - 12:12 PM

Hi,

Gerald Porter has done a study of the ballad: SINGING THE CHANGES: VARIATION IN FOUR TRADITIONAL BALLADS, 1991. It was reviewed by Riewerts. Does anyone have a copy of that book or a way to access it online?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 16 - 12:18 PM

Hi,

I'm interested in symbolism of the "bramble briar" or just "briars" in conjunction with the story line. I've finished the beginning of main page headnotes. I've selected 27 traditional versions (A-W) out of the about 80 versions in America and England that have been collected. It's short so I'll post it here. Comments or suggestions welcomed.

Narrative: 3. The Bramble Briar

As a word, "Bramble Briar" is redundant. A bramble is a wild prickly bush and in England it usually refers to a blackberry bush. A briar (also brier) is a thorny plant that forms thickets. In this ballad the bramble briar is the place where the brothers throw the corpse of their sister's lover, who was their servant or apprentice boy. The location of the murder and the site of his body's disposal has also been sung as "a brake of briars" or "a ditch of briars[1]." In A Midsummer Night's Dream, (The Merchant Of Venice, Volume 5) Shakespeare writes, "Enter into that brake," which Kennett (MS. Lansd. 1033), defines as, "a small plat or parcel of bushes growing by themselves.[2]" It's called "A grounde full of bushes and brambles; a brake of briers; a thicket of thornes," in the Nomenclator, 1585[3].

The briar, well known in ballad lore from the "rose and briar" ending[4] where it grows on the man's grave, in this ballad represents the painful separation, revenge and death within this family[5] and painful death of the daughter's lover. The pain of the thorn and briar as a symbol is evident, for example, in the crucifixion of Christ. Porter[6], for example, refers the 'the bramble briar' as the "central symbol of the song." Even though the exact words, bramble briar, are missing in most versions of the ballad or distorted into "greenberry[7]" and the like, "The Bramble Briar" is the most powerful and symbolic title and far more revealing of the plot than "The Merchant's Daughter[7]."

The ballad story has been told as early as 1353 in "Isabella and the Pot of Basil" which is Philomena's story in the fourth day of The Decameron, a collection of short stories by Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375)[8]. German poet Hans Sachs used the theme as the subject of his first narrative poem in 1515 and returned to it three more times over the course of the next thirty years and in 1818 John Keats wrote a narrative poem based on Boccaccio's story[9]. In 1905 Broadwood pointed out the similarity of the ballad story with Boccaccio's:

"This, apart from its fine tune, is a ballad of great interest, for we have here a doggerel version of the story, " Isabella and the Pot of Basil," that, though made famous by Boccaccio, was probably one of those old folk-tales, popular long before his time (1313-1373), of which he loved to make use. Hans Sachs (1494-1576) has put Boccaccio's story into verse, and his translation has much of the directness and homeliness which we find in this Somersetshire version. Both contrast curiously with Keats's flowery and artificial transcription, and certainly suggest better than his a primitive story of the people."[10]

Richie [footnotes not included]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 May 16 - 01:51 PM

First of all, Richie, this reading symbolism into everything was discarded a long time ago by folklorists and anyone who follows that line nowadays without solid evidence is seen as a crank. A brake of brambles is just a good place to hide a body quickly without it being discovered. No-one is likely to enter the thicket without a machete.

As I've said many times, many of these flimsy pieces of print have not survived. We know that for definite because of printers' catalogues which have survived. The Bristol Tragedy (one of many of that name) is sufficiently close in wording to suggest that they were both produced by the same pen about the same time. There is also a strong possibility a later shortened version was in print that gave rise to the English versions, that has also not survived.

If you read my article on Mustrad you'll see my explanation for why the head in the pot motif was not included. It was simply too far-fetched for a mid 18thc audience. Ghostly visitations, fine, but severed heads in plant pots, 13thc maybe.

There are no other traces of the ballad between 1838 and the 1890s because very few people were collecting ballads in S England during that period.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 May 16 - 04:22 PM

Comparing 'Bramble Briar' with 'Constant Farmer's Son' there is little one can say conclusively. There are about 4-5 points of detail worth comparing other than the common plot and it's anybody's guess whether the writer of CFS took the inspiration from the original, from a later broadside or from an oral version of BB. All of the more detailed similarities are found in English oral versions. It is even possible, likely in a few cases, that CFS influenced some oral versions of BB, one noted above.

A summary of the similarities:
CFS Mary is in love with a farmer's son. In oral versions of BB her father is a farmer (a tenuous link at best)

In CFS Mary dreams about the death of her lover which is the case in some oral versions (instead of the ghostly visit)

CFS, like BB, mentions salt tears, gore, and her kissing the corpse.

In BB she hangs around his body 3 days and 3 nights. In CFS it's one day and one night. and when she has to leave, in both it's because 'hunger came creeping'.

What we do know about CFS is that it was written by George Brown about whom we know nothing other than he was one of the very few in the early 19thc who was allowed to append his name, like John Morgan' to the ballads he supplied. We also know the designated tune was 'Young Edwin in the Lowlands' on broadsides. Not only is it set in London but must have been first printed there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 16 - 07:11 PM

TY Steve,

Not trying to get too far out from the shore. I prefer facts. Gerald Porter apparently tried to reconstruct the ballad but I doubt he did it as well as you've done. Still, I'd like to see it.

Didn't know CFS was written by George Brown. It's good to know because I've listed CFS as an Appendix to Bramble.

The two early broadside I found are:

a. "The Merchant's Daughter and Constant Farmer's Son." Pitts broadside dated 1819-1844 with the imprint: "Pitts Printer and Toy Warehouse 6 Great St Andrew Street Seven Dials."
b. "Merchant's Daughter, or Constant Farmer's Son." Broadside printed by Taylor, 16, Waterloo Road, near the Victoria Theatre, London c. 1830-1840 (imprint features a woodcut with three squares; the first is a drum, a bird of prey and a horse)

Is Brown's name attached to these broadsides? What date do you surmise? I put a date of circa 1830.

So if Brown wrote it based on Bramble then it's probable that his print shop had access to a copy of Bramble. Or he knew it from tradition.

What do you think?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 May 16 - 07:19 PM

Richie, I believe I can have Porter's book in a couple of weeks through my library.

Will be happy to order it and report back.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 08 May 16 - 07:28 PM

Ok ty Lighter, PM or remail me too,

R-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST
Date: 09 May 16 - 02:22 PM

Jon,
Don't bother. I've got it. I'll scan it and send it to Richie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 May 16 - 03:31 PM

The broadside that credits it to G. Brown and gives the tune designation is printed by Taylor of London. This copy is in the Madden Collection, not online.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 May 16 - 04:59 PM

Porter scanned and dispatched.

The only copy of CFS that contains Brown's name is the Taylor one. The only other copy which has tune designation is Catnach's copy. I'm tempted to say that the Taylor copy is most likely the first printing. The few datable copies on Bodleian printed by William Taylor (no relation I presume) are c1830 and 1834? so your guess looks like a good one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 11 May 16 - 03:16 PM

Hi Steve,

Didn't get the Porter scans (Richiematt7@gmail.com).

According to A Book of Scattered Leaves: Poetry of Poverty in Broadside Ballads, Volume 1 by James G. Hepburn , the Brown broadside is 1832-1837 but probably closer to 1837 when Taylor stopped printing new material.

I found this unusual version of Bramble that probably should be found in an Appendix since it's different. You can listen here: https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/239440 Dark-Haired Lass is about 7:20 on top audio clip.

My quick transcription follows (corrections?):

The Black-Haired Lass- starts with a fiddle tune in minor; arranged by Robert H. Beers, performed 1963. Performed by Evelyne and Bob Beers.


VERSE 1: Down in the lowland there did dwell
A comely maid I knew fair well
And for her favor many did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low.

CHORUS- She's as wan[1] with a delicate air
She was a flower beyond compare.
Many's the lad did tipple his glass
All for the love of the black haired lass.

VERSE 2: Now there was a lad I knew him well,
All up on the mountain he did dwell,
And for her favor many did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 3: Now she did mark his comely eye
And in her bower she did cry,
Not for his favor she did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 4: Then on his [their] way her brothers did fly
By their wicked blade this youth did die
And for their favor he did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 5: And in the twilight of the year
His ghostly form it did appear.
And for her favor he did go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)

VERSE 6: Oh maiden, maiden hear me well,
False-hearted kindred here doth dwell
Take heed my flight to all who go
To tip a cup of kindness with her brothers-O
In the lowland low. (Chorus)


1. She the swan?


Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 16 - 03:24 PM

Hardly merits even putting in an appendix but as it utilises a couple of the motifs from the general plot it might be worth a mention. If you can't find anything remotely similar it is likely written by Beers.

Will resend and update email. Jon got his copies.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 16 - 03:40 PM

dispatched, but I'm having problems trying to delete old email addresses. I've got 3 down for you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 12 May 16 - 09:02 PM

Hi,

The Beers tune and text apparently aren't his. It's clearly a version but there is additional material and a completely new chorus. If anyone want to listen to it (link provided) and proof my version there is at least one spot I couldn't understand.

Steve emailed the Gerald Porter pages from SINGING THE CHANGES: VARIATION IN FOUR TRADITIONAL BALLADS by Gerald Porter. The chapter is called "Brake of Briars:" regeneration of a ballad.

Porter provided a regenerated ballad on p. 20-21; it begins:

1. In a seaport town there lived a merchant,
He had two sons and a daughter fair;
There lived a prentice-boy about there,
Who was his daughter's dearest dear.

Porter used the 1904 Overd version from Somerset and the Mayhew version from Missouri (Belden A) apparently thinking these were representative versions but neither version is a superior version. The result isn't bad but Steve Gardham's is so much better because Steve used the best version and added to it.

Porter doesn't seem to have a grip on the extant versions available even in 1991 when this was written. He seems to lump Farmer's Constant Son with Bramble Briar and talks about Canadian and Scotch version although there aren't any. Even tho the Canadian version is CFS he doesn't make the distinction.

There are several mistakes from his lack of knowing the current versions. His regenerated ballad given at the end is only 16 measures long and misses several important details of the story: 1) that the merchant dies 2) The merchants leaves an inheritance for his daughter 3) that the servant was a factor and sailed the seas along with the brothers

This is just from the beginning---- the other problem is the phrases, identifiers and rhymes found in the ur-ballad or missing broadside are missing in his regeneration.

Just an update. I did get the two versions from West Virginia collected by Bush in 1969 and both of them are good. So I've added three more versions on my site and my total is now 55 US versions. I'm starting to write the main headnotes and have made some progress but only have about 4 pages done so far with about 3 more to go. The main difficulty with be comparing all 83 versions to come up with an accurate collation of identifiers, phrases and stanzas.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 13 May 16 - 09:59 AM

Hi,

Of the about 83 traditional versions I've selected these:

A. "Near Turnbridge Waters" found in Chapter 18 in Tales About Christmas by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) p. 147-148; London, 1838.

B. "The Bridgewater Merchant," from New York MS taken from a great-aunt of Douglass; dated circa 1820, part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958.

C. "The Apprentice Boy" from Ohio/Michigan taken MS book (c. 1852) of Mrs. Elsie Clark Lambertson.

D. "The Bamboo Brier" Sung by Mrs. Samuel Harmon; Cades Cove, TN from Council Harmon (1806-1890) dated c. 1840

E. "The Merchant's Daughter"- Carl Mayhew Missouri, dated 1870, collected in 1910, Belden A

F. "The Bamboo Briers"- Hannah Ross from Virginia to West Virginia; 1875 Cox A

G. "The Bramble Brier"- Sung by Jane Goon Ohio taken from Carrie Brubaker by 1876. Eddy

H. "The Bramble Brier," from Henry J. Wehman (Wehman's Universal Songster); printed in NY. No. 28, p. 23; 1890.

I. "The Jealous Brothers," sung by Mr. Doney Hammontree of Farmington, Arkansas; from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs dated 1890s.

J. In Bruton Town" sung by Mrs. Overd in Somerset, England; collected in 1904 by Cecil Sharp.

K. "A Famous Farmer" sung by George Digweed, Hants. Collected by H. E. Hammond in 1906.

   L. "Lonesome Valley" was collected by Katherine Pettit in Kentucky from an unknown informant before 1907 when it was published in the JAF by Kittredge.

   M. "The Brake o' Briars" sung by Sebbage in Sussex in 1911; collected Gillington.

   N. "The Apprentice Boy" was collected by Hubert Shearin in Kentucky from an unknown informant before 1911 when it was published in the Sewannee Review.

   O. "It's of a Farmer" was collected from an unknown informant in Herts in 1913 by R. V. Williams. It was later published in Palmer's, Everyman's Book of English Country Songs.

    P. "Lord Burling's Sister" was collected by Broadwood from Joiner in Herts, 1914.

    Q. "The Farmer's Daughter" Sung by Richard Gardner of Hardwick, Oxfordshire and collected by Alfred Williams. It was published, December 1915.

    R. "In Seaport Town" Sung by Stella Shelton of Madison County, NC in 1916 (Sharp A).

    S. "Near Bridgewater" Sung by Eliza Pace of Hyden, KY in 1917 (Sharp E).

    T. "In Transport Town-- Sung by Mrs. Mollie Broughton at Barbourville, Knox Co., Kentucky on May 8, 1917 (Sharp F, MS)

    U. "Brandberry Briars" Communicated by Frances Sanders (WV) 1924 Cox C

    V. "The Bridgewater" Sung by George Vinton Graham of California, learned in Iowa. Recorded in 1938 by Cowell for LOC.

    W. "The Bridgwater Farmer" Sung by Caroline Hughes of Dorset, England. Recorded in 1962 MacColl/Seeger.

I've started he ballad story from the traditional text:

A wealthy merchant (or a farmer) lived "near Bridgewater" in C, V, W (in A, "near Tunbridge Waters"; in B, "At Bridgewater"; D "Across Bridgewater" G, "In Portly town" H, "Near Blue-water"; J, "In Bruton Town"; L, "In yonder town"), who had two sons and a daughter fair, when the father died (from life to death; of life to death) "they were bereaved, which filled his children's hearts with care (fear)." Unto the seas the two sons (in S, "young men" in V, "two boys") did venture, to bring home their father's gain (in B, "bring back their gain"). They had an apprentice by firm indenture and sent him factor (in S, factory) o'er the raging main. He was comely of a fair complexion, neat (in B, straight) and complete in every limb. And on him their sister placed her whole affection, Unbeknownst to any of them. Three thousand pounds (in E, Five hundred pounds) it was her portion, all for this fair and comely dame. To this young man that ploughed (in B, crossed) the ocean, she was resolved to bestow the same.

The resulting ur-ballad or missing broadside:

A wealthy merchant lived near Bridgewater,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair,
when the father died they were bereav-ed,
Which filled his children's hearts with care.

Unto the seas the two sons did venture,
To bring home their father's gain;
They had an apprentice by firm indenture
And sent him factor o'er the raging main.

He was comely of a fair complexion,
Neat and complete in every limb.
And on him their sister placed her affection,
Unbeknownst to any of them.

Three thousand pounds it was the portion,
All for this fair and comely dame.
To this young man that ploughed the ocean,
She was resolved to bestow the same.

Comments?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 May 16 - 02:41 PM

Just a pity the first verse doesn't have the abab rhyme of the rest of the verses. It surely must have had it in the original.

'It's clearly a version'. You really need to be more precise when you make a statement like this. Yes, it's a version of the story, but nothing like the ballad and totally unrelated in that sense.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 13 May 16 - 03:30 PM

TY Steve,

I'm up to stanzas 13 so when I finish it I'll post- It'll be similar to your version only I've borrowed more from other versions.

OK you're right about the Beers version- it's a similar story at best and not like any traditional versions. I agree with you.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 13 May 16 - 06:46 PM

Steve,

I finished my reconstruction- then I looked at yours. I was missing your stanza 14:


"If you rise early in the morning, B2
And over lofty mountains wind,      A4
Go straightway to yon brake of briars, A10
And in the ditch my body find." A10

A10 you give as JAF 46, but no US version has "brake of briars." JAF 46 has:

Go straight way to yon ditch of briars,
There you find me dead and slain."

"brake" was substituted for "ditch" but the last line is different and not found in a book. Perhaps you changed "ditch" so you wouldn't have "ditch" twice. Just wondering where the last line came from?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 May 16 - 04:24 PM

Hi Richie,
If I can recall my thinking on this stanza using the text in Leach from JAFL 46 p25, I give some sort of explanation as to how I put this stanza together in the notes above. But further to those, I didn't think the phrase 'ditch of briars ' would have suited an English original so I took the phrase from English versions. Also the JAFL version has a shunted stanza and the first couplet already occurs in stanza 13. The 4th line of course is epitomised from the JAFL 4th line, reworded to rhyme with line 2. As I explained in the notes this stanza doesn't actually exist in any known version in full, but it makes sense of the 4th line of the previous stanza. This one is pure conjecture on my part. Hope this explains my thinking.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 14 May 16 - 06:10 PM

OK,

I might add stanza 14 but I'll do it my way :) If I do add it then I have 24 stanzas if I use The Bridgewater Merchant's last three stanzas (Douglass) as a basis- which I did. I haven't had a chance to look at it today.

I'm starting to get my head around the versions but since there are over 70 I have to keep looking at them over and over.

It's important to me that the stanza is present in at least two versions even if the wording is different. At least that verifies the legitimacy of the stanza.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 May 16 - 06:15 PM

Version O. "It's of a Farmer" was collected from an unknown informant in Herts in 1913 by R. V. Williams. It was later published in Palmer's, Everyman's Book of English Country Songs.

The text - from the edition republished in 2008 as the English Country Songbook - says it was collected by Vaughan Williams in Herefordshire.

Sources and Notes 59 It's of a Farmer
Sung by an unnamed singer, Poolend, Ashperton, Hertfordshire; collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, September, 1913 (MS 8vo E 5).

Poolend is in Herefordshire. It lies between Hereford and Ledbury, where Roy Palmer was a resident for some years.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 May 16 - 06:39 PM

Dungheap No.21 The Bridgewater Merchant

The temptation here is obviously to take this to mean Bridgwater in Somerset, some twenty miles west of Bruton, as most of the British texts were found in Somerset or Hampshire not very far away. However one version was found in Hertfordshire where there are lots of Bridgewater connections, the Earldom of Bridgewater originating here.

Source B5 Vaughan Williams Ms 8vo E 5, VWML; printed in Everyman's Book of English Country Songs, p.111

I don't know whether the 'version found in Hertfordshire' was really the one collected by Vaughan Williams in Herefordshire.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 May 16 - 03:14 PM

Hi Henry,

The Hertfordshire version was collected by Lucy Broadwood in 1914.
However (IMO) the evidence for Somerset is overwhelming.
1) All versions that have an intact beginning are set in a seaport.
2) Where it is present Bridgwater is a place not a person or an estate.
3) Another ballad The Bristol Tragedy has wording very close to the opening stanzas of Bramble Briar.

And that's apart from the fact that nearly all English versions were collected in a 40-mile radius around Bristol where it is highly likely it was first printed.

Before I came across the Bristol Tragedy I was looking at the possibility it was an American ballad originally as there is a Bridgewater in most of the states on the eastern seaboard.

The confusion between Hertfordshire and Herefordshire has happened before in ballads, and could have been deliberate or accidental. Broadside printers often relocated ballads for obvious reasons, but sometimes the apprentice copying a ballad down in a hurry would make the mistake.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 16 May 16 - 12:22 PM

Hi Steve,

Where is the first English version "In Tunbridge Waters" from? What would you estimate it's date?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 16 May 16 - 01:11 PM

Thank you, Steve.

I have now found It's of a Farmer on the Full English by searching for a list. Luckily, it came up as 3/648. And in a second search it's come up as 2/177, and with the original dots and words too.

I've also found the record of The Bramble Briar collected by Lucy Broadwood in Hertfordshire. But I haven't found either words or dots on the site - it's simply listed as from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 May 16 - 07:03 PM

The Broadwood version is in the Folk Song Journal 19, p123. It was reprinted in Belden's article mentioned above as version B1. Title Lord Burling's Sister.

Richie
I'm confused by your request. You are the one who found this version and pinpointed its source as near as anyone could on the evidence given. If you mean where is Tunbridge, I already explained. See 4th May 5.24 pm. But as I said, this is irrelevant. It's obviously just a mishearing of 'near to Bridgwater' as in other versions. You already have the date of the publication. On so little evidence it's impossible to give it an earlier date.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 16 May 16 - 11:00 PM

Sorry,

I meant, where did Peter Parley collected the version? It was in a bar, but where? I guessed Redhill Grange, but it was unclear. The labourer, in a smock frock sang, "Near Tunbridge Waters" but that was not where Parley heard it sung.

I've got the headnotes roughed in here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/3-the-bramble-briar-merchants-daughter-.aspx

The 24-stanza collated version is there also. I was missing your stanza 14 but I added that with texts from the traditional versions (there are two partial stanzas where the ghost gives her directions to his body).

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 16 - 07:52 AM

Hi,

It's interesting to note that in the first two English version a "brook is mentioned in association with the place of briars.

1838 version sung by a labourer:

"Near Tunbridge waters a brook there runneth;
With thorns and briers it is overgrown,
And, all for to hide their cruel murder,
In that brook he was killed and thrown."


1904 Overd version:

6. She rose early the very next morning,
Unto the garden brook she went;
There she found her own dear jewel
Covered all over in a gore of bled.

Whereas in other versions it's a "dry place" or a "creek with no water":

It was near the creek where there was no water,
Nothing but bushes and briars grew.
All for to hide their cruel slaughter
Into the bushes his body threw. [A Famous Farmer; Digweed 1906]

9 But in the ditch there was no water,
Where only bush and briars grew,
They could not hide the blood of slaughter
So in the ditch his body threw.[Lord Burling's Sister- Joiner (Herts) 1914]


Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 16 - 09:59 AM

Hi,

Joiner's stanza 9 above is identical to the stanza in Douglass version from NY circa 1820s. It seems that other English versions have brook.
"In Bruton Town" sung by Mrs Baggs of Chedington, Dorset, in August, 1907 has:

She woke up early, so early next morning,
And went to the brook where the briars grew;

I've been looking at stanza 4, the inheritance as a motive for murder:

Another possible motive for the murder is the portion of their father's inheritance as found in stanza 4. Although the amount the daughter receives varies, it's clear that she feels that her love, the factor, should receive the same inheritance. There could have been a dispute over the amount of the inheritance that her love should receive between the daughter and her brothers. It seems that after the father died the factor did not receive a share of the inheritance. The last two lines of stanza two are:

"To this young man that ploughed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same."

So the daughter was determined to get the same amount of inheritance for her love, perhaps indicating that he had not received it. This was another reason the brothers were jealous of the factor. In another version "The Ditch of Briars" sung by Mr. and Mrs. James York in 1940- the father apparently left the same amount to her love,

"The 'prentice boy who was bound to him,
To him alone was left the same."

In this case the 'prentice is to be left the same amount as the daughter and brothers, another motive for jealously by the brothers and murder.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 16 - 11:27 AM

Richie,
I've already explained all of this. The inheritance is a side-issue anyway. The daughter marrying a servant was sufficient motive and is the same motive in endless other similar ballads. He wasn't getting a fourth share! He was to get her share. Look at my explanation of the meaning of 'the same'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 May 16 - 12:41 PM

ditch/creek/brook
In oral tradition where there can be long intervals between learning and repeating a song, near synonyms are often substituted. Had this ballad been written in the north of England dyke/dike would more probably have been the chosen word. Post enclosure most ditches were man-made for drainage. More modern equivalent is drain. At the end of our road in Yorkshire is Endyke Lane and just up the road is Barmston Drain. Incidentally Endyke is spelt thus at one end and Endike at the other.

For explanation of inheritance see 30 April post 01.01.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 17 May 16 - 06:40 PM

Hi,

I'm not sure about significance of the inheritance it seems that there's more to it than we can know from the text. If we assume that the broadside was written from a translation of Boccaccio then there's nothing really to investigate, the daughter got a portion and wanted the factor to receive the same.

After looking at the ballad for a month I'm convinced Steve's articles and conclusions are valid. In that month we've discovered a new and early English version, compared the texts of over 70 versions, and uncovered new details.

I want to that Steve Gardham for his help and everyone who has contributed to this thread.

The reason this ballad was not considered by Child is: he never knew about the ballad and I'm sure the reworked broadside Constant Farmer's Son was nothing he was interested in. We do know that MacMath wrote to Belden about Constant Farmer's Son and the Braes o' Yarrow (see footnote 50).

As the ballad stands now it's likely based on a broadside, even though it's a missing broadside, that in turn is based on Boccaccio's work. Whether this ballad would have warranted inclusion into Child's collected of ballads if he had the 80 extant versions, we'll never know.

It's still a powerful story,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 18 May 16 - 08:25 AM

"As mentioned before most of the informants are descendants of Roderick Shelton b. 1754 in Virginia"

Hi Richie,
'As mentioned before'...? Where can I find your fullest analysis of the Shelton family tree? I can't make the search function on your site work.

If the Sheltons were already settled in America by the mid-1700s, then presumably the date of migration would be too early for a Shelton to have brought this ballad over from England?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 16 - 03:13 PM

Hi Brian,
My estimate of c1750 is only a rough guess based on the Bristol Tragedy connections. Both ballads could well be older. I'm pretty convinced the ballad was directly inspired by the 1620 English printing of The Decameron, but of course this will have gone into many editions of the next couple of centuries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 18 May 16 - 03:55 PM

Hi Brian,

Roderick was born in Virginia in 1754 and moved to North Carolina after 1795 and before 1800. He died in 1816 in Shelton Laurel the area where Sharp collected ballads in 1916.

The link on my site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/shelton-family-madison-co-nc-sharp-efssa.aspx

I started working on the Sharp informants (see bottom of the page) but never got far. There's lineage for Rodrick and one of his son's Martin who many of the informants are related to.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 May 16 - 06:43 AM

Thanks, Steve - I was kind of hoping you might say that.

While we're here (and with apologies for thread drift), do you have any info on the earliest available copies of 'Polly Vaughan' / 'Molly Bawn' (oldest on Bodleian site seem to be Irish), and/or 'Margaret Walker' (aka 'My Parents Treated me Tenderly' or 'The Maid I Left Behind', listed as Roud 262 although there seem to be different songs under that number)? Very grateful if you have anything not in Bodleian.

Also thanks to Richie. Very interesting - I hadn't realised the Hensleys were related to the Sheltons. I've checked p 74 of Betty Smith's book, and she mentions research by Frances Dunham. Do you know anything more about this research? Where did you get the information about Edith Fish? Sharp just describes her as a missionary who was very helpful in locating singers - I'd no idea she was considered a ballad collector herself.

Is the snippet about Olive Campbell visiting Big Laurel from ODC's diary?

I did some work on Maud Karpeles' 1950 diary (all online but online as a series of image files and not searchable) and managed to find out who the various members of the Shelton family were that she heard sing and play that year, including the 'Sugarloaf Sheltons' string band. Can share it, if you're interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 02:30 PM

Undoubtedly a northern Irish ballad, Molly Bawn, and there are several late 18thc copies in the BL and ITMA.

Are you in a hurry as I was going to suggest to Richie he choose this ballad as his next topic? It was printed in New York.

I can easily list what I have in early copies but your man on this and other NI ballads is John Moulden. He wrote a thesis on them. The only one I've studied in detail is The Streams of Lovely Nancy (Strands of Magilligan).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 May 16 - 02:42 PM

Thanks Steve, that's great - how about 'Margaret Walker'? Describes a journey from Ireland to Scotland and thence to New York, so should I assume that's Irish too?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 02:42 PM

262 My Master Title 'The Girl I Left Behind' Laws P1 A&B.

I haven't done an in-depth study on this one yet, and as it's not in Hammond Gardiner I'm not likely to for a while, though it could do with one if you have the time. I have a note 'Various sequences and different stories but all related.' A not strictly adhered to rule we use is if 2 or more songs have more than 50% material in common then they will be classified as the same ballad unless one is an obvious rewrite or parody, or some other valid reason.

Funnily enough I'm just moving on to the 'Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy' family of songs that have the same problem.

Rather than muck up Richie's thread with these other ballads it would probably be better to start a new thread(s) or revisit old threads on them if they exist.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 May 16 - 03:11 PM

Thanks for that, Steve, back to the topic, if indeed there's anything left to say. Still hoping to hear from Richie regarding his sources though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 04:26 PM

Brian,
Have a look at the many versions in Greig-Duncan, Vol 5, p554 >.

Like the names of the people mentioned the names of the places vary greatly and these are just the Scottish ones. The only way you can put any weight on the proper nouns is if you go to the earliest broadside, and even that's not guaranteed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 16 - 04:37 PM

Just to whet your appetite.
Molly Bawn early printings

Belfast garland 1797 in ITMA 'The Youth's Grievance, or the Downfall of Molly Bawn'. 10sts

Damon and Phillis's Garland. BL 11621. c. 5. 49.4 'A Song called Molly Bawn' 7sts

Robertson, Glasgow, 1799. BL 11606. aa. 23. 24.2 'Mally Bann' 12 sts

Bottle & Friend's Garland nd. BL 11621 c. 3. 4.4 'Molly Bawn' 7 double sts.

No imprint. nd National Library of Scotland. 2346 online. An Admired Song called Young Molly Bawn' 6sts.

As with 'Willie Leonard' I'm inclined to think these northern Irish ballads are based on real events, a little romanticised, probably of the mid 18thc.

Robertson's version starts 'Jamie Randall went a hunting'
Andrews of New York actually tiled his version 'Polly Von Luther and Jamie Randall'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 19 May 16 - 05:12 PM

Steve said
Richie,
I've already explained all of this. The inheritance is a side-issue anyway. The daughter marrying a servant was sufficient motive and is the same motive in endless other similar ballads. He wasn't getting a fourth share! He was to get her share. Look at my explanation of the meaning of 'the same'.

Richie then said
I'm not sure about significance of the inheritance it seems that there's more to it than we can know from the text. If we assume that the broadside was written from a translation of Boccaccio then there's nothing really to investigate, the daughter got a portion and wanted the factor to receive the same.

I'm with Steve on this. The expression "the same" is still sometimes used in formal contexts to signify "the aforementioned". I don't take it to mean another portion of the same size. The story is that the daughter got her portion and wanted the factor to receive it (together with, crucially, herself!).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 May 16 - 06:25 AM

Steve, I think you're right that 'Molly Bawn' would be a good one for Richie to work on next, but, in the meantime, can I check re those garlands? Richard Simmons' Cheap Print finder site (which I've only just discovered) has 'Damon and Phillis' marked as 'Newcastle [1780?]', and'Bottle and friends' as Newcastle [1765?].   Do you agree with those dates and place?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 16 - 02:29 PM

Brian,
I'll have a look at them later tonight. I'm not au fait with this Richard Simmons site. Has it been flagged up on Steve's street lit forum? Can you let us have the URL or a blue clicky please?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 16 - 03:32 PM

Could be, Brian.
Both of these (c3 & c5) are in garlands collected by John Bell of Newcastle. He bought them from Lilley in 1848. On the back of G5 it says in JB's hand 'The old garlands in these volumes are printed by J White who died in 1769, and T Saint who died in 1788.

The cover of G4 (The Bottle and Friend's Garland) has a cut on the cover of 2 lovers in a pleasure garden and Cupid with b&a in top rt corner. G5 was probably printed by Saint and is very similar to G4. That would make it more like 1780 than 1765. Neither has an imprint. Unfortunately. Unfortunately even though I have catalogued this garland twice I can only afford to copy out items by hand and type them up later. I can't afford their photocopying charges.

It might well be that both garlands were printed by the same printer. The 2 texts are almost verbatim the same and the first song in Damon & Phillis's Garland is in fact 'Bottle and Friend'. Again it is without imprint and my own impression I recorded was c1800.

To be on the safe side I would feel happier dating them c1780 to 1800.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richie
Date: 22 May 16 - 04:38 PM

Hi,

Been busy and several times could not get on Mudcat. I can't find my bio of Fish which is disappointing. I know she lent ballads to E.N. Caldwell a collector for Perrow. Fish provided the introduction to Granny Banks who was the mother of Mrs. Tom Rice and Sharp got a number of ballads from both of them. I know Fish had a collection and it was mentioned by Smith out of Virginia and info can be found in The Brown Collection of NC Folklore.

TY Richard Mellish for your comment.

Brian- Please post bio info on Hensleys/Sheltons. I am willing to start Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn) as I'm trying to finish up Cruel Ship's Carpenter.

I'll start a tread later today,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 16 - 07:02 AM

Hi Richie.

Maud Karpeles visited Emma Shelton (nee Hensley, daughter of Reuben and Rosa) in 1950 and 1955. I haven't yet been through the 1950 diaries, but in 1955 she visited Emma at least twice at her home on Rte 1, Flag Pond, TN (MK remarks that her house was actually in NC). Emma was married to one Donald Shelton, and had her daughter Jessie - then living in Ohio - staying with her after losing her baby. Emma attempted (without much success) to find people in the area who still remembered old songs.

Emma's elder sister Ella Shelton (presumably also nee Hensley so also married into the Shelton branch of the family). She sang 'Dear Companion' to MK, and duetted with Emma on 'The Banks of Cloddy'.

Emma also invited round to the house to perform, some of her relatives. These formed a string band christened by Maud 'The Sugarloaf Sheltons', from whom she recorded several tunes. They consisted of:
Dominow Shelton (40), banjo
Dale Shelton (24): fiddle
Roy Shelton (30): guitar
Dominow was 'the leading spirit', and the son of Polly Shelton - one of Sharp's singers. MK remarks that he played banjo in 'the new way' with thumb and two fingers.

The notes to the Folktrax release of Maud's recordings are sketchy and inaccurate, as discussed here previously, so I hope the above goes a little way to clarifying the situation.

That's what I have - there may be more when I have time to go through more of the diaries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 16 - 07:12 AM

Steve, the site I stumbled on is:
Richard Simmons' Cheap Print Finding Aid
For some reason his introdyuction won't load on my machine.

He seems to be an expert on Dicey and Marshall and wrote the Bodleian page about them:
Dicey and Marsahall


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 02:22 PM

Brian,
Yes I can't get the intro pages either. The index is far from comprehensive but any index of this sort is always welcome. I already have a copy of the Dicey Marshall catalogue from elsewhere online.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 24 May 16 - 05:03 PM

I've had a look at the HTML. It's not that the introduction and "read me first" sections don't open, but they contain no text.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 05:17 PM

Yes, Richard. It looks like a work in progress.


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