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DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)

DigiTrad:
MOLLY BAWN (POLLY VAUGHN 2)
POLLY VAUGHN


Related threads:
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(origins) Origins: Molly/Maureen Bawn (21)
polly vaughan (34)
Chords - Polly Von (17)
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Molly Bawn/Polly Vaughn.. How many do you know? (31)
Lyr Req: Polly Von (8)


Richie 22 May 16 - 11:24 PM
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Richard Mellish 23 May 16 - 05:26 PM
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Subject: Origins: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn): A Study
From: Richie
Date: 22 May 16 - 11:24 PM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

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Hi,

This is a thread for a study of the ballad Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn) as suggested by Steve Gardham and Brian Peters. There are already some threads with information.

Here's the Pitts broadside:

Molly Whan.

Printed and sold by J. Pitts 14 Great st. Andrew street 7 Dials

A story, a story, to you I'll relate,
Of a loving young damsel a Maying she went,
As she was a Maying a shower it began,
she went under the green bush the shower to shun,

As Jemmy was fowling with his dog and his gun.
He to his great grief shot his dear Molly Whan.
And when he came to her and found it was she,
His limbs they did tremble his eyes could scarce see

Then home to his father away he did run,
saying father dear father great harm have I done
I've shot the fairest creature that ever was known,
I have shot my true love my dear Molly Whan.

His father came running with hair handing grey,
Saying Jemmy love, Jemmy love don't run away
Stay in your own country 'till trial come on,
I'll warrant you'll be righted by the laws of the land

In two or three nights after the lady did appear,
saying uncle loveing uncle pray let my love clear
For my apron hung round me took me for a swan
But to his great grief shot his dear Molly Whan

set them up all together stand them all in a row,
Molly Whan was the fairest like mountain of snow,
Curse light upon Toby who lent me his gun,
Which to my great grief shot my dear Molly Whan.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 May 16 - 12:00 AM

the Traditional Ballad Index has an extensive entry:

Molly Bawn (Shooting of His Dear) [Laws O36]

DESCRIPTION: Jimmy goes out hunting and shoots his true love (Molly, mistaking her for a swan). He is afraid of the law, but is told that the law will forgive him. At his trial Molly's ghost appears and explains the situation; the young man is freed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1806 (Jamieson, volume i, p. 194 -- a partial text in the notes to "Lord Kenneth and Fair Ellinour)
KEYWORDS: hunting death trial reprieve help ghost
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,SE,So) Britain(England) Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (36 citations):
Laws O36, "Molly Bawn (Shooting of His Dear)"
Randolph 54, "Molly Vaughn" (3 texts plus 2 fragments and 1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Eddy 77, "Mollie Vaughn (Polly Band)" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering 14, "Molly Baun" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Linscott, pp. 274-276, "Polly Van" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-Newfoundland 26, "Shooting of His Dear" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-Maritime, p. 111, "As Jimmie Went A-Hunting" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 76, "Molly Bawn" (1 text plus a fragment)
BrownSchinhanIV 76, "Molly Bawn" (3 excerpts, 3 tunes)
Morris, #214, "Molly Baun" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, p. 117, "Molly Vaughn" (1 text, properly titled "The Death of Molly Bender," with very peculiar orthography; it looks like it came from a semi-literate manuscript but is said to be from a field recording)
Chappell-FSRA 57, "Polly Bond" (1 fragment)
SharpAp 50, "Shooting of His Dear" (6 texts, 6 tunes)
Hudson 32, pp. 145-146, "Shooting of His Dear" (2 texts)
Moore-Southwest 73, "Molly Bond" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boswell/Wolfe 24, pp. 44-46, "Molly Bond" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach, pp. 700-701, "Molly Bawn" (1 text)
Leach-Heritage, pp. 176-177, "Molly Bawn" (1 text)
Korson-PennLegends, pp. 46-47, "Molly Banding" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman, p. 26, "Molly Bawn" (1 text)
PBB 92, "Young Molly Ban" (1 text)
McNeil-SFB1, pp. 96-97, "Molly Van" (1 text, 1 tune)
Meredith/Anderson, p. 196, "Molly Baun Lavery" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart, p. 206, "Young Molly Ban" (1 text)
Graham/Holmes 49, "Molly Ban Lavery" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H114, p. 143, "Molly Bawn Lowry" (1 text, 1 tune)
OLochlainn 29, "Young Molly Ban" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morton-Maguire 1, pp. 1-2,99,154-155, "Molly Bawn Lowry" (1 text, 1 tune)
OCroinin-Cronin 92, "Molly Bawn" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Kennedy 330, "Polly Vaughan" (2 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 102, "Mollie Vaughn" (3 texts, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 33, pp. 78-79, "Mollie Bond" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1896, p. 128, "Polly von Luther and Jamie Randall" (1 reference)
Darling-NAS, pp. 133-134, "Molly Bawn"; "Molly Bander" (2 texts)
DT 308, POLLYVON POLLVON1 POLLVON2
ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 304, "Young Molly Bawn" (1 short text)

Roud #166
RECORDINGS:
Louis Boutilier, "As Jimmie Went A-Hunting" (on MRHCreighton)
Anne Briggs, "Polly Vaughan" (on Briggs1, Briggs3)
Packie Manus Byrne, "Molly Bawn" (on Voice06)
Sara Cleveland, "Molly Bawn" (on SCleveland01)
Elizabeth Cronin, "Molly Bawn" (on IRECronin01)
Seamus Ennis, "Molly Bawn" (on Lomax42, LomaxCD1742)
A. L. Lloyd, "Polly Vaughan" (on Lomax41, LomaxCD1741)
John Maguire, "Molly Bawn Lowry" (on IRJMaguire01)
Maggie Murphy, "Molly Bawn" (on IRHardySons)
Pete Seeger, "Shoo Fly" (on PeteSeeger33, PeteSeegerCD03)
Phoebe Smith, "Molly Vaughan" (on Voice03)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 19(11), "Young Molly Bawn," J.F. Nugent & Co. (Dublin), 1850-1899; also 2806 b.11(131), "Young Molly Bawn"
LOCSinging, as111140, "Polly Von Luther and Jamie Randall," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859

ALTERNATE TITLES:
Molly Ban
Peggy Baun
Lord Kenneth and Fair Ellinour
NOTES: Darling compares this to the story of Cephalus and Procris. The standard version is supplied by Ovid in the Metamorphoses (VII.685 and following; it starts on page 174 of the Penguin edition translated by Mary M. Innes). First he tested her love in disguise, and she passed the test. But then she heard a rumor of his unfaithfulness, and set out to watch him. He heard her in hiding, without seeing her, and threw his javelin on the assumption that she was a wild beast. It killed her.
Incidentally, Michael Grant and John Hazel, Gods and Mortals in Classical Mythology: A Dictionary, article on Cephalus, thinks Ovid's version of the story may conflate legends of two different heroes named Cephalus. In any case, I don't see a particularly strong parallel to the ballad; yes, the hunter kills his lover, but the motivations are very different. - RBW
Broadside LOCSinging as111140: J. Andrews dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
Last updated in version 3.7
File: LO36

Go to the Ballad Search form
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Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


The Digital Tradition has 2 versions I can find:

POLLY VAUGHN

Dm Gm
I shall tell of a hunter whose life was undone
Dm A
By the cruel hand of evil at the setting of the sun
Dm Gm
His arrow was loosed and it flew thru the dark
Dm Dm7 A7 Dm G Dm G Dm
And his true love was slain as the shaft found its mark

F
For she'd her apron wrapped around her
A
and he took her for a swan
Dm G7 A7 Dm G Dm
and it's o and alas, it was she, Polly Vaughn

He ran up beside her and found it was she
He turned away his head for he could not bear to see
He lifted her up and found she was dead
A fountain of tears for his true love he shed

He bore her away to his home by the sea
Crying Father, o Father, I've murdered poor Polly
I've killed my fair love in the flower of her life
I'd always intended that she'd be my wife

He roamed near the place where his true love was slain
He wept bitter tears, but his tears were all in vain
As he looked on the lake, a swan glided by
And the sun slowly sank in the grey of the sky

@hunt @love @death @law
DT #308
Laws O36
This version is based on "Polly Von" arranged by Peter, Paul and Mary, 1963
as recorded by Frankie Armstrong on Here's a Health
John and Tony Dark Ships
Tony Rose Green Willow
filename[ POLLYVON
SOF

MOLLY BAWN (POLLY VAUGHN 2)

Come all ye brave heroes who handle a gun
Beware of night ramblin' by the setting of the sun.

And be aware of an accident that happened of late
To young Molly Bawn and sad was her fate.

She was going to her uncle's when a shower came on
She went 'neath a green bush the shower to shun.

With her apron 'round her he took her for a swan
It's a sob and a sigh it was Oh! Oh! Molly Bawn.

He quickly ran to her and saw that she was dead
And it's many's a salt tear on her bosom he shed

He went home to his father with his gun in his hand
Crying father, dear father, I have shot Molly Bawn.
I have shot that young colleen I have taken the life
Of the one I intended to take for my wife.

Oh Johnny, young Johnny, do not run away
Don't you leave your own country till your trial day.

Don't you leave your own country till your trial comes on
For you'll never be convicted for the loss of a swan.

The night before Molly's funeral her ghost it did appear
Saying mother, dear mother, young Johnny he's clear.

I was going to my uncle when a shower came on
But tell him he's forgiven by his own Molly Bawn.

The girls in this country they are all very glad
Since the pride of Glen Allen, Molly Bawn is now dead.

The girls in this country stand them all in a row
Molly Bawn would shine above them like a mountain of snow.

From the singing of Norman Kennedy
DT #308
Laws O36
@love @murder @ghost @bird
filename[ POLLVON2
TUNE FILE: POLLVON2
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 01:30 PM

TY Joe,

I'll post Jamieson's version from 1806 that was included in Child's 1857 collection but not his Englsih and Scottish Popular Ballads apparently because of Jamieson's remarks about the ballad. If Steve or Brain could list some of the early brodasies and help answer a few of these questions (following) it would be gr8.

For now I'll pose some questions:

1) Is this shooting based on a real-life event? What could it be?

2) When could the event have taken place? What's the approximate date?

3) Does Jamieson's encounter with the ballad pre-date any print versions?

4) What are some analogues? Is she turn a swan in any of them? A fawn?

5) Is this of Irish origin? Why?

6) Fawn or swan- why are they different? When did fawn become substituted? Do fowlers normally shoot swans?

7) Why does she return after death?

8) What is the oldest print version? Collected version?

9) Are the Newfoundland version titled Molly Bawn, that don't have the shooting still part of this ballad or should they be an appendix or a separate ballad?

10) Is the tune's date the date for the text? Is O'Caroline's "Fair-haired Mary" part of the tune family?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 01:55 PM

Hi,

Here are the two ballads from Jamieson:

From: Popular Ballads and Songs: From Tradition, Manuscripts and Scarce editions, Volume 1 edited by Robert Jamieson, 1806

LORD KENNETH

FAIR ELLINOUR.

In August, 1799, the editor, to save the trouble of transcribing, and, at the same time, shew a few of his literary correspondents how he was employing his leisure hours, got a few copies of this little piece printed along with "Donul and Evir," on a sheet of letter-paper, for the convenience of being sent by the post. To that copy was prefixed this short notice: "The author remembers having, when a child, heard a silly ditty of a young man, who, returning homeward from shooting with his gun, saw his sweetheart, and shot her for a swan. This is all he remembers of this piece, of which he has not been able to procure a copy." A considerable time after, he was favoured with the rude original of "Peggy Baun," (i. e. fair-haired Peggy) by his much-valued friend, professor Scott, of King's College, Aberdeen, to whose zeal, industry, and politeness, he owes, either directly or indirectly, the greater part of the best traditionary ballads in this collection. It was taken from the recitation of one of his maidservants; and, indeed, it is fit only for the nursery. In it, the unlucky sportsman runs home to his father, and tells him what he has done, and that he will" run his country."

Out spuk his old father,
(His head it was grey)
"O, keep your am country,
My son," he did say.

"O, keep your ain country
Let your trial come on, &c.
       * * * *

She appeared to her uncle,
And to him said she,
"O uncle, dear uncle,
Jamie Warick is free.

"Ye'll neither hang him nor head him,
Nor do him any wrong;
Be kind to my darling.
Now since I am gone.

"For once as I was walking,
It fell a shower of rain;
I went under the hedging,
The rain for to shun.

"As he was a-hunting,
With his dog and his gun,
By my white apron,
He took me for a swan."

This seems to be one of the very lowest description of vulgar modern English ballads, which are sung about the streets in country towns, and sold, four or five for a half penny, to maid-servants and children; and I owe an apology to my readers for attempting to introduce such paltry stuff to their notice; but one of my classical friends, on reading " Lord Kenneth," asked me whether I had not Ovid's beautiful and romantic story of Procris and Aura in my eye, when I wrote it. Had that been the case, I ought certainly to have made something better of it than I have done; but I most assuredly thought as little of Procris and Aura, when I was writing " Lord Kenneth," as did the great author of " Peggy Baun." A lover killing his mistress, a grey-headed old father, and a ghost, seemed very fine things to a child of five or six years old; and I remembered the story long after I had forgot the terms in which it was conveyed.

LORD KENNETH AND FAIR ELLINOUR.

Lord Kenneth, in a gay mornin',
Pat on the goud and green;
And never had a comlier youth
Don, Spey, or Lossie seen.

He's greathit him fu' gallantlie,
Wi' a' his tackle yare;
Syne, like a baron bauld and free,
To gude green wood can fare.

The rae-buck startit frae his lair
The girsie hows amang;
But ne'er his sleekie marrow fand,
An Kenneth's bow mat twang.

Frae out the haslie holt the deer
Sprang glancing thro' the schaw;
But little did their light feet boot,
An he his bow mat draw.

The caiper-caillie and tarmachin
Craw'd crouse on hill and muir;
But mony a gorie wing or e'en
Shaw'd Kenneth's flane was sure.

He shot them east, he shot them west,
The black cock and the brown;
He shot them on hill, moss, and muir,
Till the sun was gangin' down.

He shot them up, he shot them down,
The deer but and the rae;
And he has scour'd the gude green wood
Till to-fall o' the day.

The quarry till his menyie he
Has gie'n herewith to bear;
Syne, lanelie by the lover's lamp,
Thro' frith and fell can fare.

And blythe he fare, and merrilie;
I wate he thocht na lang,
While o' his winsome Ellinour
With lightsome heart he sang.

And weel he mat, for Ellinour
Had set the bride-ale day;
And Ellinour had ne'er a feer
In Bad'nach or Strathspey.

And as he near'd her bigly bower,
The fainer ay he grew;
The primrose bank, the burn, the bield,
Whare they had been to view.

And he had passed the birken heugh,
And dipt and kist the tree,
That heard the blushing Ellinour
Consent his bride to be.

And now he raught the glassie lin,
And thro' the saughs sae grey;
He saw what kidied a milk-white swan,
That there did sport and play.

Fair swelled her bosom o'er the broo,
As driven snaw to see;—
He shot—o'er true to Kenneth's hand,
The deadly flane did flee!

A shriek he heard; and swithe a graen
Sank gugglin in the wave!
Aghast, he ran, he sprang, he wist
Nor what nor wha to save!

But oh! the teen o' Kenneth's heart,
What tongue can mind to tell?
He drew the dead corse to the strand;
Twas Ellinour hersell!

I assume the second version was written by Jamieson based on the short first traditional version. How did Jamieson come up with the names Kenneth and Ellinour? Are they traditional? What significance is the name Jamie Warick in the traditional version?

Can we assume since Jamieson heard the traditional version when he was a child that it would date to circa 1755? Who is Robert Jamieson the the younger? Who is professor Scott, of King's College?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 16 - 03:27 PM

Kenneth is a traditional Scots name. I believe there was a King Kenneth in medieval times. Eleanor is more of a Norman name, as in Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor, Queen Eleanor's Confession. Professor Scott who sent him the trad version from his maidservant, will no doubt be found by Googling. As you know there are several Scotts involved in ballad collecting/editing. It would put the ballad back to the middle of the 18thc at least if what Jamieson says is right, but we already had a good idea it was at least that old anyway. Don't know anything of an RJ jr.

Jamie Warwick. In a foreign country names are easily transposed. Jamie seems to be a common occurrence in the ballad, albeit Jamie Randall.

Just for the record, I quite like Jamieson's ballad. Unfortunately the penultimate stanza looks like something out one of Sam Cowell's burlesques.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 03:32 PM

She appears as a "fawn" in the 1857 parody "Molly Von Luther":

"My apron being around me, he took me for a fawn,
But oh, and alas! it was I, Polly Von."

What is the earliest version with "fawn"?

Does anyone have a copy or translation of C. Robert's early version of the myth of Cephalus and Procris where they are hunting in the woods (not Ovid's version)?

Has anyone done ant research or have information on the theriomorphic soul regarding the Irish belief that birds flying at night are souls in animal form? An example is found in "Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland" (1920):

"There was a man used to go out fowling, and one day his sister said to him, "Whatever you do don't go out tonight and don't shoot any wild duck or any birds you see flying— for tonight they are all poor souls travelling."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 03:55 PM

An early story of the myth of Cephalus and Procris is told here (in German): Griechische mythologie by Ludwig Preller, 1809-1861; Carl Robert, 1850-1922, ed; Kern, Otto, b. 1863, ed. Published 1894. Here's a link:

https://archive.org/details/griechischemyth01prelgoog

In this version the Cephalus and Procris are hunting in the woods- but neither are aware that the other is hunting--Procris beats the bushes trying to scare game into the open and Cephalus throws his spear (javelin/dart) towards the noise and and kills her.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 04:11 PM

Hi,

Does anyone know if Bob Dylan took his version from Paul Clayton's "Polly Van" (Bay State Ballads FW02106 / FA 2106)? Where did Clayton get his version? (text below)

All ye brave huntsmen who follow the gun,
Beware of a shooting at the setting of the sun,
For her true love went a-hunting and he shot in the dark,
But, oh, and alas, Polly Van was his mark.

Refrain: For she'd her apron wrapped about her and he took her for a swan,
But, oh, and alas, it was she, Polly Van.

He run up beside her when he found it was she,
His legs they grew weak, his eyes scarce could see,
He embraced her in his arms when he found she was dead,
And a fountain of tears for his true love he shed.

Refrain:

He took her in his arms and home ran he,
Crying '·Father, dear father, I've shot fair Polly;
I've shot that fair female in the bloom of her life,
And I always intended to make her my wife."

Refrain:

At midnight in his chamber Polly Van did appear,
Crying "Jimmy, dear Jimmy, you have nothing to fear,
But stay in your country till your trial comes on,
And you shall not be convicted for what you have done."

Refrain:

In the midst of his trial Polly Van did appear,
Crying, "Uncle, dear uncle, Jimmy Randall must be clear."
The judges and lawyers stood around in a row,
Polly Van in the middle like a fountain of snow.

Refrain:

[Richie]


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 23 May 16 - 05:26 PM

This was one of the subjects at one of Bob Askew's ballad chats at C# House. This bit from the notes that Bob circulated seems worth quoting here.

"It seems to be based on a true event. Joyce said that it was very popular in mid and southern Ireland in the 19th century. He noted the earliest version in Ireland and felt that it was based on a true event: 'it obviously commemorates a tragedy in real life'. An article in Ulster Folklife 1845 quoted a manuscript from Kilwarlin, Co Down, which named James Reynolds and Molly Bann Lavery, born in Lisburn, and educated in Lurgan. The surnames were local, the Laverys were Catholics and the Reynolds Protestants. No archival evidence has yet been found to prove this, but it is likely that it could turn up."

Anyway I think we can discount the theory that the story derives from an ancient belief in swan maidens. The point was made at the ballad chat that accidental shootings are common enough. (Not however to quite the extent satirised by Tom Lehrer.)

I don't understand the mutation rules in Gaelic, but I do know that when "b" changes to "bh" it is sometimes pronounced like "v" (hence Polly Vaughn/Vaughan) but it can also become like "w", which seems a likely explanation for the "Whan" spelling in one of the broadsides.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 May 16 - 05:56 PM

I've always put the swan /fawn error down to the song s being a confusion. If someone unfamiliar with the long s saw fawn on a ballad sheet they might interpret it as fawn.

I'm 100% with Bob. We seem to be faced with the same arguments we had with Gosport Tragedy, a real event with added supernatural elements.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 06:42 PM

Hi,

I'll post a couple versions from the US first. Sharp A is from Jane Hicks Gentry who learned this from her mother, Emoline (Emily) Harmon, who was Council Harmon's daughter. When his father Andrew was killed by a tree, the eight-year-old Council (born early 1800s) lived briefly with Big Sammy Hicks and his son in Watauga County, NC. I believe that Big Sammy was one of Council's main sources. Big Sammy's daughter Sabra was Council's mother.

[Polly Bam] Sharp A (No. 50, Shooting of His Dear) Sung by Mrs. JANE GENTRY at Hot Springs, N. C, Aug. 25, 1916.

1. Jimmy Dannels[1] went a hunting
Between sun set and dark.
Her white apron over her shoulder,
He took her for a swan.

2 He throwed down his gun
And to her he run.
He hugged her, he kissed her
Till he found she was dead.

3 Then dropping her down
To his uncle he run.
Good woe and good lasses[2],
I've killed poor Polly Bam.

4 O uncle, O uncle, what shall I do?
For woe and good lasses,
I've killed poor Polly Bam.
Her white apron over her shoulder.
But woe and good lasses[2],
It was poor Polly Bam.

5 Stay in your own country
And don't run away.

6 The day before trial
The ladies all appeared in a row.
Polly Bam 'peared among them
Like a fountain of snow[3].

7 Don't hang Jimmy Dannels,
For he's not to blame.
My white apron over my shoulder
He took me for a swan;
But woe and good lasses[2],
It was me, poor Polly Bam.

1. for "Daniels"
2. derived from "But oh and alas"
3. she is a ghost at this point- see also "snow" reference in Sam Henry's Songs of the People: "Molly Bawn Lowry." The snow reference is to: her ghost; her in swan form; or simply that she shines (is more beautiful) among them like a "fountain of snow."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 06:50 PM

Hi,

Thanks for that post Steve and Richard Mellish-- I've been wondering about her last name being attached to some versions. For example, there are at least two "Molly Bawn Lowry" versions from the UK. Very close to: Molly Bann Lavery.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 07:26 PM

Hi,

Info mainly from: Special Report on Surnames in Ireland: Together with Varieties and Synonymes by Robert E. Matheson

Moira District has these prefixes:

Baun-Lavery also Bawn-Lavery with Baun being the most common. several people are known by thir prefixes: Dan Baun. Baun-Lavery is know in other districts.

Both Lowry and Lavery names descend from O Labhradha, province of Ulster. The "ban" meaning white is "Baun."

Also Richard Mellish: Where can I find: Ulster Folklife 1845 ? And is that date correct? Is Molly Bawn found in --"Some Songs and Ballads in Use in the Province of Ulster, 1845"?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 07:39 PM

Hi,

This excerpt from a version in Ulster Folklife - Volume 18 - Page 37
1972 which has the names and place

[6th]
The maids of this country they are all very glad
Since Molley Bann Lavery the beauty is dead,
But gather them together and put them all in a row:
She appears in the middle like a mountain of snow.

[7th]
She appeared to her uncle as it were in a dream
Saying, — Uncle, dear uncle, James Reynolds don't blame;
With my apron being about me he took me for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was I, Molley Bann!

[8th]
In Lisburn she was born and in Lurgan educated
But oh, in Kilwarlin poor Molley was defeated!
With her apron being about her she was taken for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was poor Molley Bann!

It also has the "But oh and alas" from which Gentry (see footnote 2) has distorted in her version in Appalachia.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 09:09 PM

Hi,

Sharp B was from Addy Crane and in 1932 EFSSA only the first stanza is given- the rest is from Sharp's MS. Mike Yate's wrote about Flag Pond and I'm including a bit of his article:

"Returning from Higgin's Creek on 1st September, 1916, Sharp and Karpeles called on other singers, such as twenty-one year old Mrs Addy Crane, Sylvaney Ramsey and Mr & Mrs James Gabriel Coates. Mrs Addy Crane also gave Sharp a tune for The Daemon Lover as well as tunes for Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor, Goodbye Sweet Jane, Brisk Young Lover and Awake, Awake. She was also able to give complete versions of The Lily of the West, The Shooting of His Dear, The Rejected Lover and what seems to be a song that was unique to her, called The Discontented Husband.

On Saturday, 2nd September Sharp and Karpeles again called on Mr & Mrs Coates during the morning. It rained for most of the time. After lunch they tried to find Mrs Crane's husband, Hezekiah, a possible singer, but he was away from home.

On Sunday, 3rd September, Sharp had a lie-in, not having breakfast until 'half-an-hour later', at 7am! He spent the morning copying out song tunes before walking over to the Crane household. Sharp spells the surname as 'Crane', although most families in the area use the spelling 'Crain'. It would seem that Sharp had been told that Hezekiah sang a song which, so Sharp believed, was a version of the ballad The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin. Hezekiah was in when they called, but the song turned out to be 'a very moderate version of My Boy Billy!' But all was not lost, as Hezekiah also gave Sharp versions of three other songs, William Hall, The Brisk Young Lover and Awake, Awake."

B. [Mollie Van] Shooting of His Dear; Sharp MS 3356 additional text.
Sung by Mrs. ADDY CRANE at Flag Pond, Tenn., Aug. 31, 1916.

Come all you young men
Who handle a gun
Beware of your shooting
Between the moon and sun[1].

Mollie Van was a-walking
When the showers came down,
And under a beech tree
For the showers to shun.

Jimmy Ramson was a-hunting.
Was a-hunting one night.
He shot his own true love,
O he shot her for a swan.

Jimmy ran to her,
But he found she was dead.
A fountain of tears
In her bosom he shed.

I've shot that fair lady
I loved as mu life.
I always intended,
For to make her my wife.

Up stepped Jimmy's father,
With his hair turning grey,
Says: "Stay at home Jimmy
And don't run away."

Stay at home, Jimmy
Till your trial draws near,
The laws of your country,
Sure will bring you clear.

On the day of Jimmy's trial,
Molly ghost did appear,
With judges and juries
Jimmy Ransom came clear.

Go bring them all to me,
And place them in a row,
Molly Van's all amid us[2]
Like a fountain of snow.

1. original: "after the damsel. . " this line was forgotten
2. original: "Molly Van all amiddance"

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 09:27 PM

Hi,

Here's Sharp C from EFFSA. This is really 11 stanza long (double stanzas). I'm not sure where Sharp got his "Shooting of his dear title- Anyone? Is it intended to be a play on words? dear=deer.

C.[Molly Bander] Shooting of His Dear. Sung by Mr. GEORGE W. GIBSON at Oneida, Clay Co., Ky., Aug. 21, 1917
Hexatonic. Mixolydian influence.

1. Come all you young people who handle the gun,
Be a wore of those shooting between moon and sun.
I've a story to tell you that's happened of late
Concerning Molly Bander whose beauties were great.

2 Molly Bander were a-walking and a shower came on.
She stopped under a beech-tree tho' shower to shun.
Jimmy Randal were a-hunting, he were a-hunting in the dark;
He shot his own true love, and he missed not her heart.

3 And then he run to her and he found her quite dead,
And in her own bosom finding tears he had shed.
He took his gun in his hand, to his uncle did go,
Saying: Uncle, dear uncle, I've killed Molly Ban[1];
I shot her and killed her. She was the joys of my life.
I always intended for to make her my wife.

4 Up stepped his old father with his head all so grey,
Saying: Randal, Jimmy Randal, don't run away.
Stay in your own country till your trial comes on;
You shall not be hanged; I'll spend my whole farm.

5 On the day of his trial her ghost did appear,
Saying: Randal, Jimmy Randal, Jimmy Randal, go clear.
He spied my apron pinned around me, he killed me for a swan.
He shot me and killed me: My name's Molly Ban[1].

1 Some versions start the name with an "-er" attached but shorten it at the end.   

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 23 May 16 - 09:58 PM

Hi,

Since we discussed the "Molly Baun Lavery" title, I'm putting the Australian/Irish version Bob Bolton posted here so it's not lost :) Here are Bob's notes:

"This is the song as sung by Sally Sloane, born Parkes, NSW, Australia, 1894, to collector John Meredith in the 1950s. Meredith notes that it is essentially the same as ballad #29 in Irish Street Ballads; 'Young Molly Bán'. Why it is called 'Molly Baun Lavery' and not just 'Molly Baun' I do not know. Sally has passed on and I can't ask her, but I shall ask John Meredith when next I see him.

Much of Sally's repertoire was pased down from her Irish grandmother, Sarah Alexander, who came out from County Kerry, Ireland in 1838, aged 22 years."

MOLLY BAUN LAVERY (As sung by Sally Sloane) Australian version

Come all you young fellows that follows a gun,
Beware of going a-shooting by the late setting sun.
It might happen to anyone, as it happened to me,
To shoot your own true love in under a tree.

She was going to her uncle, when the shower it came on,
She went under a bush, the rain for to shun.
With her apron all around her, I took her for a swan,
And I levelled my gun and I shot Molly Baun.

I ran to her uncle in haste and great fear,
Saying, "Uncle, dear uncle, I've shot Molly dear.
With her apron all around her, I took her for a swan,
Bur oh, alas, it was my own Molly Baun.

'I shot my own true love, alas, I'm undone,
While she was in the shade by the setting of the sun.
If I thought she was there, I'd caress her tenderly,
And soon I'd get married to my own Molly dear.'

My curse on you Toby, that lent me your gun,
To go out a-shooting by the late setting sun.
I rubbed her fair temples, and found she was dead,
A fountain of tears, for my Molly I shed.

Up came her aged father, and his locks they were grey,
Stay here in your own country, and don't run away.
Stay here in your own country 'til your trial it comes on,
And I'll see that you're set free by the laws of the land.'

All the maids in this country they all will be glad
When they hear of the sad news that my Molly is dead.
Take them all in their hundreds, set them all in a row,
Molly Baun she'll shine like a mountain of snow.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Tradsinger
Date: 24 May 16 - 05:16 AM

Here's the version I recorded from Phillis Marks of Glenville, WVA in 1998:

Molly Bender

Molly Bender was out walking when a shower came on
She went under a beach tree the shower to shun

Jimmy Randall was out hunting, it was way after dark
He shot at Molly Bender and he missed not his mark.

He ran up to her with his gun in his hand
And a shower of tears in her bosom he shed.

He run to his uncle with his gun in his hand
Saying 'Uncle, dear uncle, Molly Bender I've slain'.

It was not my intention for to take her sweet life
I intended for to marry and to make her my wife.

His uncle stood at the window, his hair turning grey
Said 'Jimmy, dear Jimmy, oh don't run away.'

Your father has money, your debts he will pay
And the laws of this land will set Jimmy free.'

At the day of his trial, Molly's ghost did appear
Saying, 'Jimmy, oh Jimmy, oh Jimmy go clear.'

It was not your intention for to take my sweet life.'
'I intended for to marry and to make you my wife.'

Molly Bender was a lady, though now dead and gone.
With her apron pinned around her, she was shot for a swan.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 09:27 AM

Thanks Tradsinger, you collected some great versions at that late date.

I'm posting some broadsides mentioned by Steve Gardham in the Bramble briar thread:

Steve: "Undoubtedly a northern Irish ballad, Molly Bawn, and there are several late 18thc copies in the BL and ITMA."

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'.

Steve also mentioned: John Moulden "The Printed Ballad in Ireland: A guide 1760-1920 thesis National University of Ireland, 2006.

Richie

PS I have a copy of "Polly Von Luther and Jamie Randall," dated 1857 which was printed by Andrews out of NYC. I'll post text later.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 10:04 AM

Hi,

Here's an early print version mentioned by Steve-- From My Friend and Pitcher. Lillenhall Library, Belfast, Pamphlet Book 1031, item [9], 1797.

The Youths Grievance; or, the Downfall of MOLLY BAWN.

Come all you young Gallants that follow the Gun
Beware of late shooting at the setting of the sun,
'Tis little you know what has happen'd of late,
Poor Molly Bawn Lowry whose beauty was great.

It hapned one evening in a shower of hail,
This maid in a bower herself did conceal
Her love being a Fowling, shot her in the dark,
Which griev'd him full sore he did not miss his mark.

And when he came there and found it was she,
His limbs they grew feeble his eyes could not see;
He rubb'd her fair temples, but finding her dead,
Then a fountain of tears for his jewel he shed.

His heart being full of sad sorrow and grief,
With his eyes up to heaven imploring for relief;
Crying of all comfort I now take my leave,
And follow my jewel full soon to the grave.

He streight way went home with his gun in his hand,
Quite feeble and weak, and uneable to stand,
Crying my dear Father see what I have done,
I've shot my love Molly at the setting of the Sun.

In yonder green bower my love she sat down,
I shot at my darling, which makes me bemoan;
Her apron being about her, I took her for a fawn
But to my great grief 'twas my Molly Bawn.

Then bespoke his Father whose locks were grey
Dear Son I desire you'll not go away;
Stay in your own country till your tryal comes on,
And you never will die by the laws of the land.

Oh I curse on you Rogers that e'er lent your arms,
To unhappy Rawlings who has done this harm;
To my sad vexation I have killed my darling,
The beauty of Ulster and Star of Kilwarning.

In Lurgan she was born and well educated,
But in curs'd Kilwarning my love was defeated;
'Twas little I thought to do her any harm,
Tho' now in cold jail i[n] grief left forlorn.

A night or two after to her uncle she appear'd,
Crying my dear Uncle let my love be clear'd;
My apron being about me, he mistook me for a Fawn,
So ne'er hang my love, tho' you've lost Molly Bawn.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 10:06 AM

Richie,
If you let me know which of the broadsides are not already online I'll try to get time to post them over the next few days. I'm off to see if I can find the earliest ref to 'fawn'.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 10:15 AM

TY Steve, I already posted the earliest reference to "fawn" I found which was 1857 in the Andrews broadside "Polly Von Luther and Jamie Randall."

Here's another early Garland text, dated c.1780---From The Bottle and Frien'ds Garland. British Library 11621.c.3(4.), printed c.1780.

The Garland was part of the collection of John Bell of Newcastle. It was probably printed by T. Saint of Newcastle around 1780. Saint operated from 1769, when he took over his late employer J. White's printing business, until his death in 1888[?].

A Song, call'd Molly Bawn

I'll tell you a story
And a story of late
Concerning my jewel
Her fortune was great,
She went out in an evening
And the rain it came on,
She went under the bushes
Herself for to screne.

Her love being out fowling
He shot in the dark
And to his misfortune
he did not miss his mark;
With her apron being about her,
he took her for a swan.
But Oh! and alas!
It was sweet Molly Bawn.

When he came to her
And found she was dead
A well full of tears
On his love he did shed,
Crying oh! my dear jewel
My joy and delight
I durst not presume
For to make her my bride.

He went home to his father
With the gun in his hand,
Crying father, dear father
I've shot Molly bawn
For her apron being about her,
And I took her for a swan
But ah, and alas
It was sweet Molly Bawn.

Oh, woe to the tobby[1]
For the lend of thy arms,
For unfortunate Wrangle[2]
has done this great harm
Shot the glory of the North
And the flower of Kiln-wan,
and what shall we do
For the loss of Molly Bawn.

Then up bespoke his Father
With his head growing grey,
Saying Johnny, dear Johnny
Don't run away.
For here in this country,
Your trial shall go on,
By the laws of our Nation,
You won't be condemn'd.

Two or three nights thereafter
To her uncle she did appear,
Saying uncle, dear uncle,
Johnny Wrangle set clear.
For my apron being about me,
And he took me for a swan,
But its ah! and alas
It was me Molly Bawn.

1: [thee Toby]
2: cf 'Randall', the hero's name in some American broadside versions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 10:22 AM

So far the earliest 'fawn' I can find is in the Belfast printing of 1797 titled 'The Youths Grievance; or, the Downfall of Molly Bawn. 10 sts.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 10:31 AM

I can't emphasise too strongly the importance of the erratic usage of long s, and f, by printers and their compositors. For instance, look at the Andrews NY printing. The word actually says 'sawn'. In other words some of Andrews fs are actually fs but others are the old-fashioned long s and this was in the 1850s.

In normal correct usage the long s lingered on until about 1810, but both the short and long s were both in use together right from the 17th century. Remember we are talking about the very bottom of the printing trade here and they weren't too fussy. The very nadir was arguably attained by Brereton of Dublin.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 10:36 AM

Steve,

The 1797 version I just posted (The Youths Grievance; or, the Downfall of Molly Bawn) has:

My apron being about me, he mistook me for a Fawn,
So ne'er hang my love, tho' you've lost Molly Bawn.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 11:04 AM

It has to be said that the mistaking fawn/swan is just as likely either way.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 11:16 AM

Sharp and the 'Shooting of his dear' title. The previous well-known title was Baring Gould's 'Setting of the sun'. Sharp was perhaps asserting his own influence. It first appears in Sharp's Mss for 1903, not long after he started collecting. The version he recorded from Louie Hooper and Lucy White has the line in the first verse so it may have been the ladies' title or it could just have easily been Sharp's decision to use it. Whatever, Sharp continued to collect many more versions and used that title for all of them regardless of whether they had a similar line in them. The Hooper/White version was published in the Journal for 1905 and it was used in his very influential publications from then on, and a decade later when he came to the Appalachians he continued to use it. By 1906 Gardiner was also using it for his recorded versions in his Mss. This demonstrates just how influential Sharp was. Baring Gould lived out in the sticks so his influence was minimal compared with Sharp's London-based operations. BG only produced one book on FS whereas Sharp produced a great many.

As an adjunct I use that very title in my Master Titles Index as it is simply the one that occurs most in publications.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 16 - 11:43 AM

"Sharp continued to collect many more versions and used that title for all of them regardless of whether they had a similar line in them."

I think he was simply aiming for a consistent system - like Roud's - that enabled the comparison of one version with another, regardless of title variation. Though, being Sharp, he used his own title rather than B-G's existing one!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 12:18 PM

Hi,

So here's Baring Gould's version in Songs of the West (the 1905 edition, for which Cecil Sharp acted as musical editor. What's remarkable is Baring-Gould re-wrote the stanzas - and rather poorly-- keeping only the first and half of the second of the four stanzas he collected from Sam Fone of Mary Tavy in Devon, 1893).

NO. 62 AT THE SETTING OF THE SUN

1. Come all you young fellows that carry a gun,
Beware of late shooting when daylight is done;
For 'tis little you reckon what hazards you run,
I shot my true love at the setting of the sun

CHORUS: In a shower of rain as my darling did hie
All under the bushes to keep herself dry,
With her head in her apron I thought her a swan,
And I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.

[Chorus: In a shower of rain as my darling did run,[1]
All under the bushes a shower to shun,
Her apron about her head, I took her for a swan,
I shot the only maid I loved, at the setting of the sun."]

2. I'll fly from my country, I nowhere find rest
I've shot my true love, like a bird in her nest.
Like lead on my heart lies the deed I have done,[2]
I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.
In a shower, etc.


3. In the night the fair maid as a white swan appears,
She says, O my true love, quick dry up your tears,
I freely forgive you, I have Paradise won,
I was shot by my love at the setting of the sun.
In a shower, etc.

[3. "Oh it's son! dearest son! don't you run away,[3]
Don't leave your own country till the trial I pray
Don't leave your own country till the trial is done,
For shooting of your own love at the setting of the sun."]

4. The years as they pass leave me lonely and sad,
I can ne'er love another, and naught makes me glad.
I wait and expect till life's little span done
I meet my true love at the rising of the sun
In a shower, etc.

[4. In a night to her uncle the fair maid appeared,[4]
Saying, "Uncle, dear uncle of me not be a-feared
As my apron about my head in the rain I did run,
He shot me as a swan, at the setting of the sun."]

1. Actual chorus from his notebook.
2. The last two lines of stanza two were forgotten by Fone. Baring-Gould added these.
3. This is the actual text of stanza 3 as recorded in his notebook.
4. This is the actual text of stanza 4 as recorded in his notebook.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 May 16 - 12:33 PM

Dear me, not exactly an improvement!

And in fact, Sharp's title conveys more of the sense of the tale than does 'The Setting of the Sun'.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 12:55 PM

Hi,

The other question was: Do you think Sharp was making a play on words with the title--dear=deer? I don't think he was and he may not have known the fawn/swan issue.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 01:04 PM

Steve--

A Scottish chapbook published 1793 has a version, the ballads are:

Logie O' Buchan, Mally Bann, Grigel Maccree, The Young Man's Love to the Farmer's Daughter, and The Braes of Ballanden.

I presume it's the Robertson, Glasgow, 1799. BL 11606. aa. 23. 24.2 'Mally Bann' 12 sts that you posted.

If you can scan email or type it out please,

TY

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 01:24 PM

Hi,

The only version I have with the spelling "Mally Bann" was taken from
The New Monthly Magazine and Universal register. Volume 67, 1843. It follows:

MALLY BANN.

1.Jemmy Randall went a shooting,
A shooting in the dark;
But to his great misfortune,
He did not miss his mark.

2. His love's apron being about her,
He took her for a swan;
But alas, and forever, alas!
It was sweet Mally Bann.

3.When he came up into her,
And found that she was dead,
Great abundance of salt tears
For his darling he shed.

4. He went home to his father
With his gun in his hand,
Crying, "Dear father, dear father,
I've shot Mally Bann."

5. His father looked upon him
(His hair being gray)
Crying, " Oh! my dearest son,
You must not run away:

6. "Stay at home in your own country—
Let your trial come on;
By the laws of sweet Ireland,
You shall never be undone."

7. Within two or three months after,
To her uncle appeared she,
Crying " Dear uncle, dear uncle,
Let Jemmy Randall go free.

8. "For my apron being about me,
He took me for a swan."
But it is, oh! and for ever, alas!
It was sweet Mally Bann.

9. When the fair maids in the city
Were assembled in a row,
She appeared among them
Like a mountain of snow.

10. All the maidens in the country—
They held up their head,
When this beautiful, this lovely,
This fair one was dead.

Steve- please compare to this version before scanning. I do have a question about the 'mountain of snow" in stanza 9 and many versions. What does that mean? I thought it was her ghost :)

Richie

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 02:05 PM

Yes, the two texts are very close.
I'll flag up the differences.

1
Jamie Randal went a hunting
a hunting in the dark....
3
We came unto her....
7.2
to her uncle she appear'd....
let Jamie Randal go free.
9
All the Maidens in the country,
they are all very glad,
That this beautiful; this lovely,
this fair one was dead.
10
She was the flower of all the nation,
the flower of Colrain;
The flower of all the nation
was sweet Mally Bann
11
When the fair Maids in the city,
were assembled in a row,
She appeared amongst them
like a mountain of snow.
12
The flower of all the nation,
the flower of Colrain
The flower of all the nation
was sweet Mally Bann.

BL 11606 aa 23 (24) J & M Robertson, Glasgow, 1799. Item 2 on garland.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 May 16 - 02:17 PM

'Mountain of snow.'
No ghost (IMO) It's simply a clumsy figurative way of saying when she was alive she was more beautiful than all of the others, or perhaps more pure/virginal (but perhaps that's stretching it). These hedge poets had read classics and could imitate passingly the stuff in the pleasure gardens but some of their ideas were sometimes a bit OTT.

Unfortunately I didn't note down all of the other songs in the Robertson garland but it wasn't the same as your 1793 one as the fourth song was 'Johnny Faa, The Gypsy laddie'.

Where did you get the 1793 version reference from?

Sharp, play on words. I very much doubt it. As I said those words actually appear in the song, and it is highly unlikely Sharp was aware of the Fawn version. His own collection of broadsides mainly consists of 19thc ones, and he wasn't a burrower in the BL like Baring Gould.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 02:28 PM

This is one of the broadsides Steve listed of which I've found three printings and there may be more. I've also found a different version titled "Young Molly Bawn." Here are the three sources. The date is circa 1850s. The unusual line is: "My curses on you Toby" whatever that name(?) means.

1) An Admred Song called Young Molly Bawn --Crawford.EB.1875 [Dublin? : s.n., ca. 1860?] National Library
Other title: Rocking the cradle.

2) Imprint Names: Nugent, J.F. & Co. (Bodleian

3) An admired Song called YOUNG Molly Bawn; single sheet with Breennan on the Moor (Bodleian)

An admred [sic] Song called YOUNG Molly Bawn.

Come all you young fellows that follow the gun,
Beware of late shooting by the setting of the sun,
Her white apron about her I took her for a swan
But to my misfortune it was my Molly Bawn.

He ran to his uncle with the gun in his hand
Saying Uncle, dear Uncle I'm not able to stand,
I've a story to tell you which happened of late
I have lovely Moly Bawn and her beauty was great.

Up comes his father and his locks they were gray,
Stay in your own country and don't run away,
Stay in your own country till your trial comes on,
And I'll see you free by the laws of the land.

My curses on you Toby that lent me your gun
To go a state shooting by the setting of the sun
I robbed[sic] her fair temples and found she was dead
A fountain of tears for my Molly I shed.

I shot my own true lover— alas? I'm undone
While she was in the shade by the setting of the sun
Ah, if I thought she was there I'd caress her tenderly,
And soon I'd get marred to my own dear Molly.

Young women dont[sic] be jesting when your love is sincere,
For if you do they can't love yon or e'er as you care,
You'll know by a young man's conduct, when he's gentle and bland
[T]hat he'll give you his heart and also hi[s] hand.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 03:06 PM

Hi Steve,

This must be the chapbook you have (dated 1799-1803)
The British volunteers. To which are added, God save the king. Mally Bann. Tippling John. Johny Faa, the gypsie laddie.
Printed by J. & M. Robertson, Saltmarket (Glasgow)

The 1793 chapbook was located on Google books:

https://books.google.com/books?id=lAhNngEACAAJ&dq=%22Mally+Bann%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiIytzVs_PMAhWCmR4KHYPYBZgQ6AEIJjAA

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 03:42 PM

Hi,

Here's another take on the "mountain of snow" from: The Irish Origins and Variations of the Ballad "Molly Bawn" by Jennifer J O'Connor

During this time, Molly's ghost became more ethereal (changing from the form of a swan to a "mountain of snow")

The entire article is on my site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/irish-origins-and-var-of-the-ballad-molly-brown.aspx

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 24 May 16 - 04:12 PM

Richie,
> Also Richard Mellish: Where can I find: Ulster Folklife 1845 ? And is that date correct? Is Molly Bawn found in --"Some Songs and Ballads in Use in the Province of Ulster, 1845"?

Dunno. I just copied that from the notes that Bob circulated after that evening's chat, but I'm asking him about it.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 24 May 16 - 04:33 PM

I'm in the middle of reading the Jennifer J O'Connor paper: thank you for putting that on your site.

One statement jumped right out at me: "Although swans are still found in the west of Ireland, they are grey not white". To the best of my belief there are only three species of swans in the British Isles and all of them are white.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 24 May 16 - 08:37 PM

TY Richard Mellish - hope we can get more information. The shooting accident would need to take place before about 1765 (Google books). According to Hugh Shields, Irish poet Pat Reynolds claimed to be kin to the "fowler". I haven't seen any similar report online.

One part of the story I can't figure out is:

Jamie Reynolds goes home to his father and tells him about the shooting and his father advises him not to run but stay in "his ain country."

Then Molly's ghost appears to her uncle. Who is her uncle? They aren't married and this seems to me it should be his father instead of her uncle. Just wondering?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 25 May 16 - 05:01 AM

Bob Askew has replied, referring to more detailed refs from Malcolm Douglas in Marrowbones.

He says

> It seems my notes were a simplication. The date of the extract, not of Ulster Folklife! Sorry about this!

> The actual sentence is: "Hugh Shields, 'Some songs and ballads in use in the Province of Ulster....1845' (Ulster Folklife 17, 1971, 3-24') describes an MS example from Kilwarlin...... "
So it would seem it is in 'Some songs etc.

Sorry for my contribution to the confusion.

Richard


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 25 May 16 - 06:51 AM

Yes - Mute, Whooper and Bewick's Swans are all white as adults. Cygnets are grey and we get the occasional exotic escape. That's our lot.

Regards


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 12:01 PM

Hi,

Thanks Richard. Is there a date of the shooting accident that goes along with the names?

I believe that Moore's song "Come Rest in this Bosom," which uses the old harp-melody of "Lough Sheeling" is based on Molly Bawn.

COME, REST IN THIS BOSOM.

Come, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer,
Tho' the herd have fled from thee, thy home is still here:
Here still is the smile that no cloud can o'ercast,
And a heart and a hand all thy own to the last.

Oh! what was love made for, if 'tis not the same
Thro' joy and thro' torment, thro' glory and shame?
I know not, I ask not, if guilt's in that heart,
I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art.

Thou hast call'd me thy Angel in moments of bliss,
And thy Angel I'll be, 'mid the horrors of this, —
Thro' the furnace, unshrinking, thy steps to pursue,
And shield thee, and save thee, or perish there too!

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 02:13 PM

Hi,

The Bottle and Frien'ds Garland, Containing Four Excellent New Songs; is dated 1765 and was published by J. White in Newcastle. Therefore the shooting would probably have taken place between 1750-1760.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 May 16 - 03:00 PM

I'd be wary of the 1765 date. Where did you get it? The garland has no imprint and could have been printed by Saint. I have a more likely date of about 1788. Read the note added to these garlands by John Bell. He actually states some were printed by White and some by his successor Saint.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 May 16 - 03:10 PM

Besides the earliest extant version of a ballad that has long been in print only tells us the ballad originated 'some time' before that printing. Some have suggested 17th century. I'd go somewhere in between and say second quarter of 18thc, but these are wild guesses. I think if it had happened say c1770 there would be records and even newspaper reports.

Regarding Moore, there are several art songs called 'Molly Bawn' and one of these is more likely to have had an influence on Moore.

Uncle/father. You've really got me confused here, Richie. Why shouldn't it be her Uncle, probably her guardian or a very influential member of her family? He may have been the leading figure in prosecuting Jamie.

It would seem his father was very confident in his story being believed, but until we can find some proper background info we are fishing in the dark.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 03:13 PM

Hi,

The earliest US broadside I've found is Boston, 1810:

"Polly Wand, together with the Beggar girl, and Tom Starboard," Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project,

Polly Wand

Come all you brave shooters that follow the gun,
Beware of your shooting by the setting of the sun,
It was a doleful thing that happen'd of late,
It was Polly Wand whose fortune was great.

Eventually I'll post the rest,

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 May 16 - 03:56 PM

Look forward to it, Richie.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 04:01 PM

Hi,

This is the full transcription of Polly Wand. The role of the uncle become clear in this version. She meets him at the trial. It's her testimony to her uncle that frees Jemmy. To me her uncle acts like he is acting as a representative on her behalf. Whatever his role, her uncle is at the trial.

"Polly Wand, together with the Beggar girl, and Tom Starboard," Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project, BIB ID: 284426.

Polly Wand- c. 1810, Boston, MA

Come all you brave shooters that follow the gun,
Beware of your shooting by the setting of the sun,
It was a doleful thing that happen'd of late,
It was Polly Wand whose fortune was great.

As Polly was walking by the setting of the sun,
She stept under a green branch the shower to shun
As he true love was hunting he shot in the dark,
Alas, and alas! Polly Wand was his mark.

And when he came to her and found it was she,
His joints they were weak and his eyes could scarce see,
In his arms he embraced her till he found she was dead
A fountain of tears for his true love he shed.

Then he ran home with his gun in his hand,
Saying daddy dear daddy I have shot Polly Wand,
I shot the fair female the bloom of my life,
For I always intended to make her my wife.

In two or three days after, Polly Wand did appear,
Crying Jemmy, dearest Jemmy, you have nothing to fear,
Stay in your country till your trial comes on,
You shall not be condemned by the laws of the land.

In the height of his trial Polly Wand did appear,
Crying Uncle dear uncle Jemmy Rander must be clear
For I'd my apron about me when he shot me for a swan,
Alas, and alas! it was I, Polly Wand.

There were fourteen of them, all fitting in a row,
Polly Wand in the middle like a mountain of snow,
For I'd my apron about me when he shot me for a swan,
Alas, and alas! it was I, Polly Wand.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 04:48 PM

Hi,

I', posting the other US broadside which doesn't seem so much like a parody as I thought from the title. The end has "four and twenty jurymen" which is different.

"Polly von Luther and Jamie Randall" J. Andrews, Printer, Chatham St., N. Y (Harris Collection, Brown University). 1857:

Come all ye gay sportsman who follow the gun,
Beware of your shooting by the setting of the sun,
For a melancholy accident that happened here of late,
To Polly Von Luther whose fortune was great.

As she was walked out one day at the setting of the sun,
She stepped under a green bush a shower for to shun
Her lover being a sportsman and being in the dark,
He fired off his gun, and he missed not his mark.

Then he ran to the object and found it was she,
His knees were very weak, and for his tears he could not see,
He embraced her in his arms, till he found she was dead
With a fountain of tears all around her he shed.

Then his gun he picked up, and straight home he did run,
Crying, "Father, dear father, I have shot Polly Von,
I have shot that dear creature--the joy of my life,
And thought ten thousand times I would make her my wife.

Then up stepped the old man-- his locks being gray,
Saying, "Jamie, dear Jamie O do not run away,
But stay in your own country till the trial, it comes on,
For you ne'er shall be condemned for the death of Polly Von."

In two or three weeks to her uncle she did appear,
Saying "Uncle, dear uncle Jamie Randall is clear
My apron being about me, when he took me for a fawn,
Bit oh, and alas! it was I, Polly Von."

Now all ye gay ladies of England, look sad,
For Polly Von Luther is numbered with the dead,
With four and twenty jurymen, all standing in a row,
She'll appear in their midst like a fountain of snow.

NOTE- The last 2 lines of every stanza may be repeated in singing.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 04:57 PM

Hi Steve,

(Off the top of my head) John White from York came to Newcastle in 1708 and several years later started printing the newspaper there (around 1711). His father, John Sr. was the king's printer. John Jr. died in 1769 and his partner Saint took over the business then. Google shows a printing of the Garland in 1765. There may have been other printings but that one was in 1765 when John White and Saint were running the business.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 May 16 - 06:13 PM

Can you put here a blue clicky please to take me to the White/Saint printing? I have 2 transcriptions but not a copy of the actual sheet/garland. What sometimes happens is some cataloguer puts a rough date on an artefact and then everyone else takes this as gospel. I can usually tell the difference between a 1765 printing and a 1790 one on style markers such as type used.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 06:42 PM

Hi,

I'll put a couple older US versions this one I've dated c. 1850. It comes to Michigan from Ohio and to the US from New Jersey. I also have several New Jersey versions I can post for comparison.

B. Polly Band- From the Lambertson manuscript. Mr. Charles Lambertson remembers hearing his mother sing this song. from: Ballads and Songs of Southern Michigan by Gardner and Chickering; 1939.

1 Polly walked out at the setting of the sun;
She stepped under a green bush the shower for to shun.

2    Johnny being a-hunting, it was somewhat dark;
He shot at a swan, not missing his mark.

3    Johnny ran to her; when he found it was she,
His joints they grew feeble, and his eyes could not see.

4    He embraced her in his arms till he found she was dead;
Then a fountain of tears all around her Johnny shed.

5    Johnny ran home with his gun in his hand,
Crying, "Daddy, dear Daddy, I've shot Polly Band.

6    "Her apron was about her, I took her for a swan,
But O alas, it was my Polly Band."

7    His father being an old man, his head somewhat gray,
Said, "Stay at home, dear Johnny, and don't run away.

8    "Stay in your own country, let your trial come on,
For you shall not be hanged by the laws of the land."

9    A night or two after, to her uncle she appeared,
Crying, "Uncle, dear uncle, Johnny Randall is clear.

10 "My apron was about me, he took me for a swan,
But O alas, it was I, Polly Band."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 06:51 PM

Hi,

My other versions from NJ aren't great. Here's on collected by Hudson in 1936. It has "fawn":

JIMMY RANDALL- Sung by Charles "Dixie" Archer, age 76, Cookstown, New Jersey, July, 1936. Tune not obtained. Learned around Cassville.

1. Jimmy Randall was a-fowling one evening of late,
When he shot Molly Bannon, and her beauty were great.

2. She was under a green tree, a shower for to shun,
With her apron pinned around her and he shot her for a fawn.

3. But it's when he came to her, and found she were dead,
A fountain of tears in her apron he shed.

4. Then Jimmy Randall ran home with his gun in his hand,
Saying, "Father, dear father, I've shot Molly Bann.

5. "She were under a green tree, a shower for to shun,
With her apron pinned around her, and I shot her for a fawn."

6. Then up stepped his uncle with his hair all so grey,
"Stay at home, Jimmy Randall, and do not run away.

7. "Stay at home, Jimmy Randall, till your trial is at hand,
And you shall be cleared by the laws of this land."

(Another verse, not remembered, "tells how he was cleared").

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 06:59 PM

Hi Steve,

It list the songs in the 8 page garland as:

The Bottle and Frien'ds [sic] Garland, Containing Four Excellent New Songs. I. Damon and Phillis. II. The Bottle and Friend. III. A New Song. IV. Molly Bawn. V. The Macaroni

https://books.google.com/books?id=XpI0MwEACAAJ&dq=The+Bottle+and+Frien%27ds+Garland,&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjK09XPqPbMAhUKOiYKHfn

Google books has two entries both dated 1765 but not on that page. It's possible it's a mistake but since it gives 1765 date and the selections of the garland- it seems to be right. There's no guesswork involved here.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 07:49 PM

Hi,

After you click on the link -- you can click on the blue search button (google books- top right) both versions are listed first with the date 1765.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 08:29 PM

Regarding Moore's poem/song. I don't think the importance of the melody is clear:

1. The melody "Lough Sheeling" (after the lake, "Lough Sheelin") is used by Moore and is the same melody first identified with "Molly Bawn."
Edward Bunting (1773-1843) the Irish collector used is at least three time in his manuscripts and it was the first melody used by student harpists.

2. The Gaelic "Mairi Bhan" which means "Fairhaired Mary," (see the O'Carolan composition around 1734) is an English corruption of "Molly Bawn."

3. What does this line by Moore mean: "Come, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer," (stricken fawn)

4. Or the line, "I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art." Implying that he knows not what she is, a fawn, and animal spirit?

5. Or "And thy Angel I'll be, 'mid the horrors of this," what horrors? Being shot by your lover?

Moore takes the melody of "Molly Bhan"- he knows the story. Poets are not obvious- at least good ones- however it seemed obvious to me,

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 09:22 PM

Hi,

I've started writing the headnotes here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/4-molly-bawn-polly-vaughn-.aspx Footnotes to be added. Since it's not long I'll post it:

Narrative: 4. Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn/The Shooting of his Dear)

This earliest record of this ballad has been mistakenly attributed to Robert Jamieson in 1799, which was the date Jamieson sent a circular letter to his friends. In the letter was a copy of Jamieson's composed ballad, "Lord Kenneth and Fair Ellinoir" based on the ballad story he heard when a child[1]. Seven years later he published[2] a fragment of the ballad, entitled, "Peggy Baun" obtained "from his much-valued friend, professor Scott, of King's College, Aberdeen" who had taken it "from the recitation of one of his maidservants." This fragment was acquired around 1803[3]. Here is the traditional fragment Jameison published in Popular Ballads and Songs, 1806:

Out spak the old father
(His head it was grey)
'O, keep your ain country,
My son,' he did say.

'O, keep your ain country;
Let your trial it come on, &c.

*    *    *    *    *

She appeared to her uncle,
And to him said she,
'O uncle, dear uncle,
Jamie Warick is free.

'Ye'll neither hang him nor head him,
Nor do him any wrong;
Be kind to my darling,
Now since I am gone.

'For once as I was walking,
It fell a shower of rain;
I went under the hedging,
The rain for to shun.

'As he was a-hunting,
With his dog and his gun,
By my white apron,
He took me for a swan.'

This fragment is taken from the end of the ballad after a hunter, in this case named Jamie Warick, goes home and tells his father that he accidentally killed his true love, Molly Baun, thinking he was shooting a swan. The father tells his son not to flee but to stay in his "ain country" and face trial. Molly's ghost appears to her uncle, tells him "Jamie Warick will go free," and explains how she was accidentally killed.

Robert Jamieson was born in 1772 and heard the ballad around 1777[4] when he was a child. The importance of his memory of the ballad is that it establishes an early traditional date of circa 1777. The fragment above, being acquired from a maidservant around 1803, is also important since it was the first extant traditional version published (1806). The 1799 date only pertains to Jamieson's composition. At least four print versions were published before 1800:

1. "A Song, call'd Molly Bawn" was published in The Bottle and Frien'ds Garland; Containing Four Excellent New Songs. I. Damon and Phillis. II. The Bottle and Friend. III. A New Song. IV. Molly Bawn. V. The Macaroni; transcribed by Steve Gardham from the British Library 11621.c.3(4.), printed 1765[5].

2. "Mally Bann" was published in a Scottish chapbook in 1793[6] the contents of ballads are: Logie O' Buchan, Mally Bann, Grigel Maccree, The Young Man's Love to the Farmer's Daughter, and The Braes of Ballanden.

3. "The Youth's Grievance, or the Downfall of Molly Bawn" of 10 stanzas appeared in a Belfast garland 1797[7].

4. A twelve stanza version titled "Mally Bann" was published in a chapbook "The British volunteers. To which are added, God save the king. Mally Bann. Tippling John. Johny Faa, the gypsie laddie[8]" which was printed by J. & M. Robertson, Saltmarket, Glasgow, 1799. BL 11606. aa. 23. 24.2.

Two broadside print versions were made in the US:

1. "Polly Wand, together with the Beggar girl, and Tom Starboard," Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project, BIB ID: 284426.
Boston, MA; c. 1810[9].

2. "Polly von Luther and Jamie Randall" J. Andrews, Printer, 38 Chatham St., NY; c. 1857.

As indicated by the different titles of the print versions, the ballad has appeared under a variety of names from which I've chosen the main title as "Molly Bawn." The "B" is pronounced as a 'V" and the name sounds like, "Vaughn" and is also spelled "Vaughan." According to Andrew Kuntz[10], "The title 'Molly Bawn' is an Englished corruption of the Gaelic 'Mailí Bhán,' or Fair Mary (Fairhaired Mary, White Haired Mary)." Other popular titles or spellings include "Molly Bann/Baun" and "Polly Vaughn/Vaughan."

The question remains, is the ballad based on fact? Did the accidental shooting take place, and if so, when and where? According to Bob Askew[11]:

"It seems to be based on a true event. Joyce said that it was very popular in mid and southern Ireland in the 19th century. He noted the earliest version in Ireland and felt that it was based on a true event: 'it obviously commemorates a tragedy in real life'. An article in Ulster Folklife (1972) quoted an 1845 manuscript from Kilwarlin, Co Down, which named James Reynolds and Molly Bann Lavery, born in Lisburn, and educated in Lurgan. The surnames were local, the Laverys were Catholics and the Reynolds Protestants. No archival evidence has yet been found to prove this, but it is likely that it could turn up."

Steve Gardham who has made transcription of the print versions of this ballad at the British Library says, "I'd say the incident/original was probably 1750 or earlier[12]."

In the book, Special Report on Surnames in Ireland: Together with Varieties and Synonymes by Robert E. Matheson[13], he explains that the Moira District has these prefixes, Baun or Bawn before the last name. The "Baun" means white (Ban) and Molly Baun/Bawn would be "fair-haired Molly." The name Baun/Bawn attached to the last name would be Baun-Lavery or Bawn-Lavery with Baun being the most common. Several people are known by their prefixes, for example, "Dan Baun-Lavery" was known by the name, "Dan Baun." Both the Lowry and the Lavery names descend from O Labhradha, an ancient name from province of Ulster. The Baun-Lavery and Baun-Lowery names are known in other districts.

Since a number of traditional versions[14] are titled, "Molly Baun/Ban Lavery" or "Molly Bawn Lowry" it seems that Askew's information warrants closer examination. We know from the print versions that the accidental killing took place before 1780 but not so far before that date that it would have been forgotten. Hugh Shields has reported an Irish poet named Pat Reynolds, who claimed that he was related to "Jamie Reynolds," the fowler[15].

The following partial synopsis of the ballad story was given by Jennifer J O'Connor[16]:

As the sun is setting, Molly Ban Lavery makes her way home from her uncle's when a sudden shower of rain comes on. A green bush is her only shelter, and huddling beneath it, Molly covers herself with her white apron. Meanwhile her lover, the squire James Reynolds, has been hunting all day with his dog. Upon returning home with his gun in hand, he is attracted to a patch of whiteness showing among the green leaves of a bush. In the falling darkness he supposes this must be the whiteness of a swan's feathers, or the light colour of a fawn's breast. Jimmy raises his gun and shoots; despite the dimness his aim is true. He runs to claim his quarry when to his horror and great grief he finds only his sweetheart lying dead under the bush.

Missing from O'Connor's synopsis is revenant ending which is common in most versions of the ballad[17]:

James Reynolds takes his gun, returns home and describes the accident to his father, who advises his son not to run but stay and go to trial. At the trial Molly's ghost appears and testifies to her uncle, explaining what happened and assures him that James will go free. Molly is compared to the pretty girls (or sometimes the lawyers/judges) lined up in a row and she shines in the middle of them like a mountain of snow.

In some versions Molly just appears to her uncle, which makes little sense unless her uncle is at the trial or involved with the trial. His role at the trial is unknown but it's possible he's representing her (or James) in some legal capacity.

The ballad is well-known in Ireland and according to Gardham it is "undoubtedly a northern Irish ballad[18]." It is associated with the ancient Irish melody, "Lough Sheeling" (named after the lake, Lough Sheelin) which was used by Edward Bunting (1773-1843) the Irish collector at least three time in his manuscripts and it was the first melody given to student harpists[19].

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 25 May 16 - 09:49 PM

Hi Richie- I have been interested in a Maine version printed in the recent British Ballads from Maine (Second Series) Barry , Eckstorm, Smyth edited by Pauleena MacDougall

There are 5 versions noted here, the last being a fragment Sent in March 1928 by Mrs Nellie Fogg, Dover Foxcroft, Maine who heard it as a child but could remember only one stanza.

Young Jimmie being a-fowling with his dog and his gun
He shot lovely Mollie at the setting of the sun
her apron being around her, he shot her for a fawn
But alas! unto his grief, it was his own Molly Bawn

The other version are all swans.I thought it was odd that someone "fowling" would be hunting deer, but put the "mistake" up to the fact that
a) We have no swans in Maine and
b)People are often admonished not to wear white during hunting season as the flash of the white-tailed deer's "flag" has caused many hunters to shoot. In fact several years ago there was a terrible tragedy where a woman wearing white mittens was shot by mistake.

Upon seeing your contribution of the broadside from Belfast, however,I'm thinking it this may be the vestige of an Ulster tradition in Maine. We did have a substantial influx of Scots Irish immigrants here


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 25 May 16 - 10:26 PM

Hi Julia,

TY for your post. The fawn/swan choice as of now has "a rhyme but no reason." Maybe we'll figure it out after going through the versions.

There are two versions published by Barry in BFSSNE I think the date is 1935 and its volume 10. I'd appreciate it if you could post a version or two (I don't have the second book and should have gotten it but haven't). You could also scan the pages and email -- Richiematt7@gmail.com I have British Ballads From Maine, 1929, which is fairly rare.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 May 16 - 09:04 AM

Richie,
How do you know that any of the tunes in Bunting relate to our ballad here? I can find nothing in Bunting itself that relates to our ballad or any of the tunes I know to it.

Bunting itself is quite difficult to navigate and it appears to be several volumes in one. On p46 in the main section there is a tune called 'Molly my Treasure' which would fit the metre of our ballad.

Also there is an awful lot of sophisticated art music in Bunting.

Then on p30 of a later section confusingly called Volume 1, there is 'Malli ban (Fair Molly) a very simple tune that doubled up could fit.

In the early 19th century Samuel Lover also wrote a very well-known song called 'Molly Bawn' 'Oh Molly Bawn, why leave me pining'.

In other words the title 'Molly Bawn' is practically useless unless you have other factors to go by in relating it to our ballad.

I still think your connections with Moore's poem are stretching things somewhat and there is a danger of wishful thinking. I'd need to see more evidence. Who actually connects the tune 'Lough Sheelin' with our 'Molly Bawn'?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 09:04 AM

Hi,

I was wondering about the line:

Curse light upon Toby who lent me his gun,

or,

My curses on you Toby that lent me your gun,
or,

Oh, woe to the tobby [thee Toby]
For the lend of thy arms,

Who is Toby? Is "Toby," "Tobby" a slang word for a gunsmith?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 10:04 AM

Steve,

There's an Irish broadside by Haly, printer, Hanover Street, Cork. Is c. 1834 a reasonable date? It begins:

Molly Bawn

A story, a story to you I will relate,
Of a young female, whose fortune was great,
She walked out one evening, she walked out alone,
And she stopped under a bower a shower to shun.

Young jemmy being coming with a gun in his hand . . .

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 May 16 - 11:36 AM

I may have missed something here, but could someone remind me why the ballad is assumed to be of Irish origin? The earliest broadside copy (whether we accept the 1765 date or Steve's 1780) was printed in Newcastle. Is it the Bawn name, or the garbled 'Kiln-wan' in Bottle & Friend, that locates it to Northern Ireland? Is it possible that it could be an English composition based on an event in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 01:49 PM

Hi Steve,

The name means nothing since the Samuel Lover and also the Newfoundland songs both have "Molly Bawn.' I did look at Bunting, the source of my comment however is Andrew Kuntz, not corroborated by me, although I know Andrew and he's pretty accurate. I'm talking about the melody, Lough Sheeling about which Patrick Joyce said, "My version is just as I learned it from the intelligent singers of my early days. The air is the same as "Lough Sheeling" of Moore's song, "Come, rest on this bosom!" Joyce's version is nearly Identical to the 1797 Irish broadside- at least for two stanzas!!! I'll post later.

Brian, whether it's of Irish origin is not known, probably just assumed since it was popular in Ireland (according to Joyce born there in 1827) and the names and places point to Ireland. What makes you think it could be English?

According to Andrew Kuntz: "The title 'Molly Bawn' is an Englished corruption of the Gaelic 'Mailí Bhán,' or Fair Mary (Fairhaired Mary, White Haired Mary)."

That might lend some credence to an English origin.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 May 16 - 03:40 PM

"What makes you think it could be English?"

I don't have a strong view that way - just checking, since the first known printing seemed to be in Newcastle - though that needn't have been the original of course.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 04:55 PM

Hi,

Here is the Irish version from Patrick Weston Joyce (1827-1914)
taken from Old Irish folk music and songs: a collection of 842 Irish airs and songs; published in 1909. The text begins similarly to the 1797 Irish print version "The Youth's Grievance; or, The Downfall of Molly Bawn."

He has "asthoreen" in italics, which I presumed was Gaelic for "my treasure" (see footnote 1.) The line would be "To Molly, my treasure, whose beauty was great." Anyone know what "asthoreen" means?

Joyce also gives the melody as "Lough Sheelin" and I presume this dates back to around 1850. The difference in the story line is "he" goes to his uncle rather than Molly going to her uncle

409. MOLLY BAWN.

In the last century this song was very popular in the midland and southern counties. I once heard it sung in fine style in the streets of Dublin by a poor woman with a child on her arm. Like several other ballads in this book, it obviously commemorates a tragedy in real life. It has been published by Patrick Kennedy in "The Banks of the Boro," but his copy is somewhat different from mine; and by "Dun-Cathail" in "Popular Poetry of Ireland"; but this last shows evident marks of literary alterations and additions not tending to improvement. My version is just as I learned it from the intelligent singers of my early days. The air is the same as " Lough Sheeling" of Moore's song, "Come, rest on this bosom!" but a different version.

[music]

Come all you young gallants that follow the gun
Beware of late shooting at the setting of the sun,
For its little you know what has happened of late,
To young Molly asthoreen[1] whose beauty was great.

It happened one evening in a shower of hail.
This maid in a bower herself did conceal;
Her love being a-shooting, he took her for a fawn;
He levelled his gun and he shot Molly Bawn.

And when he came to her and found it was she,
His limbs they grew feeble and his eyes could not see;
His heart it was broken with sorrow and grief;
And with eyes up to heaven he implored for relief.

He ran to his uncle with the gun in his hand,
Saying, "Uncle, dear uncle, I'm not able to stand;
I have shot my true lover, alas! I'm undone,
As she sat in a bower at the setting of the sun.

"I rubbed her fair temples and found she was dead,
And a fountain of tears for my darling I shed;
And now, I'll be forced by the laws of the land
For the killing of my darling my trial to stand."

1. Gaelic for "my treasure"?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 May 16 - 05:40 PM

Hi Richie
I don't have precise dates for Irish printers. John Moulden is the man on this. I thought I sent you an email explaining Toby. Toby is a common Christian name, or was. It is short for Tobias as in Tobias Smollett. Toby used to be a popular name for a dog also, then there's a Toby Jug. You can Google all of these. We had a local politician called Toby.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 06:33 PM

Hi,

Here's Sharp's version from Somerset. His notes are at the bottom of this post. There are several questions: One is what "swiffling round" means. The other is the obvious: Polly turning into the swan at the trial- which certainly is verified by the "mountain of snow" references - if in fact the snow is the swan returning instead of a ghost. Anyone? Swiffling? Supernatural?

Sharp says this in the JFSS a year later:

The supernatural element enters so rarely into the English Ballad that one is inclined to see in its occurrence an indication of Celtic origin. In the present case this suspicion is perhaps strengthened by the presence of certain Irish characteristics in the tune.

The incidents related in the song are a strange admixture of fancy with matter of fact. I would hazard the suggestion that the ballad is the survival of a genuine piece of Celtic or, still more probably, of Norse imagination, and that the efforts made to account for the tragedy without resorting to the supernatural (e.g. the white apron, shower of rain, etc.) and of course the mention of the Assizes, are the work of a more modern and less imaginative generation of singers—C. J. S.


From: Folk Songs from Somerset: Gathered and Edited with Pianoforte Accompaniment edited by Cecil James Sharp, Charles Latimer Marson; 1905

SHOOTING OF HIS DEAR. -Sung by Lucy White and Louie Hooper 1903

1 Young Jim he went hunting with his dog and gun,
On purpose to shoot at some lily-white swan:
   With his love peering round him he took her to be a swan,
   So he shot his dear darling with a ratteling gun.

2 And when he came to her and found it was she,
His heart bled with sorrow till his eyes could not see,
Crying: Polly, dear Polly, my own heart's delight,
If you were but living you should be my bride.

3 He took up his gun and straightway went home,
Crying: Uncle, dear Uncle, do you know what I've done?
With my love swiffling round me I took her to be a swan,
So I shot my dear darling with a ratteling gun.

4 Then up spoke his Uncle with his hair growing gray:
    You're sure to be hung if you do run away:
Stay at home in your country till the 'Sizes come on,
You never shall be hang-ed for the shooting of one.

5 In six weeks' time when the 'Sizes came on
Young Polly appeared in the form of a swan,
Crying: Jimmy, young Jimmy, young Jimmy is clear,
He never shall be hang-ed for the shooting of his dear.

Notes: No. 16. SHOOTING OF HIS DEAR.

Tune and words from Mrs. Lucy White of Hambridge.

The Rev. S. Baring Gould has published a version of this ballad under the title of "The Setting of the Sun," (Weekes & Co.). Both the words and melody of that sons; are, however, different from Mrs. White's, although the theme is the same.

Another version was given me by Mr. Clarence Rook, who heard it sung, twenty years ago, by a very old man at a harvest supper at Homestall, Doddington, Kent; (see the Folk Song Society's Journal, vol. II, p. 60) and I have noted down yet another version from Mrs. Glover of Huish Episcopi.

In each of these three versions an attempt is made to account for the mistake upon which the plot turns, by adducing reasons other than supernatural: e.g. it took place in the dusk,—during a shower of rain,—a white apron was tied over her head, —etc. I would hazard the suggestion that the ballad is the survival of a genuine piece of Celtic or, still more probably, of Norse imagination, and that the attempts to account for the tragedy without resort to the supernatural are the interpolations of a later and less imaginative generation.

It is certainly now rather unusual to meet with anything of the supernatural order in an English ballad; and some may see, in its occurrence in this song, an indication of Celtic origin. This suspicion is strengthened by the presence of' certain Irish characteristics in the tune. At the same time, the idea of changed shape is more Norse than Celtic, and such ballads as "Cold blows the wind," and "The cruel ship's carpenter," shew that the supernatural element is not necessarily un-English.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 26 May 16 - 06:56 PM

"Baughn" is an English surname, as is "Vaughan."

So, other than the variable spelling, the name alone doesn't tell us much about the ballad's origin.

The OED gives no hint that "Toby" ever meant "gunsmith."

"Toby" was once a nickname for "Tobias." Now it's become a given name, as in the case of the actor Toby Maguire.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 07:25 PM

Hi,

Gilchrist comments in the 1906 JFSS:

(The 'swiffling' described in Mr. Sharp's earliest noted version suggests that Polly swan was either swimming or bathing in a pool in the dusk when shot, before her white apron was offered as an explanation of the blunder.)

Agree?

She later adds:

The 'fountain of snow' which takes the place of the swan-apparition in court in one of the Appalachian versions of "The Shooting of his Dear" is more likely to be a late corruption of "the form of a swan," or possibly a "fawn white as snow" than any wraith of snow or white mist.-A. G. G.

Agree?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 08:01 PM

Hi,

Ty Lighter and Steve for "Toby" info. I was wondering if it was a mishearing, like "mountain of snow" could be- (it is according to Gilchrist).

Walter Gales for example sang, "Cursed be that old gun-smith that made my old gun!"

He also sang "in the room of a swan." which is baffling but not swiffling. What does this mean? Here's "room of a swan" in context:

For young Jimmy was a fowler and a-fowling alone
When he shot his own true love in the room of a swan. [Gales 1921]

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 08:58 PM

Hi,

I know "in the room of a swan" means "instead of a swan" not sure of the (English)slang or other usages.

In 1884 Clarence Rook sang this at a Harvest Supper at Homestall, Doddington, near Faversham, Kent:

O cursed be my uncle
For a-lending me a gun"

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 26 May 16 - 09:14 PM

I can't imagine any meaning of "in the room of" other than "in the place of; instead of."

The OED has it from the 16th century. It is still in use in Great Britain.

I disagree with Gilchrist about "fountain of snow." What makes her think that a striking and perfectly understandable simile must have been the result of mishearing something far less good, rather than pure inspiration? If mishearing was involved, an earlier "mountain of snow" would undoubtedly be more plausible. But "fountain," IMO, is better still.

Without earlier texts from the identical lineage, no proof seems possible in any direction.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 26 May 16 - 10:45 PM

Hi,

TY Lighter!!!

From: A BOOK OF FOLK-LORE by Sabine Baring-Gould [1913] comes this excerpt:

There is a ballad sung by the English peasantry that has been picked up by collectors in Kent, Somerset and Devon. It is entitled At the Setting of the Sun, and begins thus:--

    Come all you young fellows that carry a gun,
    Beware of late shooting when daylight is done;
    For 'tis little you reckon what hazards you run,
    I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.

    In a shower of rain, as my darling did hie
    All under the bushes to keep herself dry,
    With her head in her apron, I thought her a swan,
    And I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.

    In the Devonshire version of the story:--

    In the night the fair maid as a white swan appears;
    She says, O my true love, quick, dry up your tears,
    I freely forgive you, I have Paradise won;
    I was shot by my true love at the setting of the sun.

    But in the Somerset version the young man is had up before the magistrates and tried for his life.

    In six weeks' time, when the 'sizes came on,
    Young Polly appeared in the form of a swan,
    Crying, Jimmy, young Jimmy, young Jimmy is clear;
    He never shall be hung for the shooting of his dear.

    And he is, of course, acquitted.

    The transformation of the damsel into a swan stalking into the Court and proclaiming the innocence of her lover is unquestionably the earlier form of the ballad; the Devonshire version is a later rationalising of the incident. Now, in neither form is the ballad very ancient; and in the passage of the girl's soul into a swan we can see how that among our peasantry to a late period the notion of trans-migration has survived.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 26 May 16 - 11:37 PM

But there are any number of tales regarding women who transform to Deer- Isn't Oisin's mother a doe? And what about the "Fallow doe" in the 3 Ravens?
just sayin' - Julia


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 27 May 16 - 08:25 AM

Hi Julia

Gilchrist commented:

Ossian was the son of an enchanted doe, and his mysterious counsel to his mother:

Mas tu mo mhathair's gur fiadh thu
Sirich mu'n oirich a' ghrian ort.
(Mother mine, if deer thou be,
Arise ere sun arise on thee)

She added later: Dr. G. Henderson in his Survivals in Belief among Ike Celts says (p. 70) that "Ossian's advice to his mother, in her animal-form, that she should get up before sunrise, implies that otherwise she was liable to be shot by hunters; to be up ere sunrise was a sort of taboo comparable to some of the restrictions of the Early Irish kings in the Book of Rights."

Beside the Fallow Doe in the Three Ravens there's also this stanza in Leesome Brand:

"Ye'll take your arrow and your bow,
And ye will hunt the deer and roe;
Be sure ye touch not the white hynde,
For she is o' the woman kind."

See also The White Hind by Sir James Fergusson about the search for the White Hind in Argyll in 1621.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 27 May 16 - 11:30 AM

Hi,

In "The Diary of the American Revolution, 1775-1781" page 239 is a version, obviously old which they say, Polly Wand was a "particular favorite during the revolution." I'm sure this is a generalized statement. Since I don't have the book I'm not sure of the source. Here are some stanzas:

As Polly was walking by the setting of the sun,
She stepped under a green branch the shower to shun;
Her true love was a-hunting, and he shot in the dark,
Alas, and alas! Polly Wand was his mark.

He ran straight home with his gun in his hand,
Saying father, dearest father, I have shot Polly Wand;
I've shot that fair lady in the bloom of her life,
And I always intended to make her my wife.

But she had her apron wrapped around her,
And I took her for a swan,
But woe and alas! it was she, Polly Wand.

At the height of his trial Polly Wand did appear.
Crying "Father, dearest father, Jemmy Rander must be clear,
For I had my apron all about me, and he took me for a swan,
Woe and alas! it was I, Polly Wand."

Yes, I had my apron all about me,
And he took me for a swan,
Woe and alas, it was I, Polly Wand.

Anyone have a copy? It was reprinted in Sing Out - Volume 17 - Page 20

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 27 May 16 - 11:33 AM

I find it fascinating that the two creatures (fawn or swan) for which Molly Bawn (the white) are mistaken both have mythological connections, as well as "white" being symbolic of connection with the "otherworld".

Whether intended or not, it seems to have contributed to the popularity and longevity of this song. There are other songs with historic basis that have not enjoyed such celebrity.

best- Julia


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 27 May 16 - 12:51 PM

> Whether intended or not, it seems to have contributed to the popularity and longevity of this song.

At least among scholars and their fans.

Not exactly comparable, but I'm reminded of the ado about Reynardine's shiny teeth.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 27 May 16 - 09:27 PM

Seems to me that if the "supernatural" details were not appealing, they would have fallen away from the song and left the story of "tragedy as a result of carelessness". If the tragedy is the appeal of the song, then why have other similar stories gone by the boards? It retained these qualities even in migration which is unusual. And several modern singers have chosen to sing it. A bit like the popularity of "Outlander"- throw in some "mystical" spice to a semi-historical story and you've got a hit.

best- Julia


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 16 - 10:54 PM

This from 1865

Street Ballads, Popular Poetry and Household Songs of Ireland
https://books.google.com/books?id=k59fAAAAcAAJ
1865 - ‎Ballads, Irish

A TRUE STORY_CALLED MOLLY BAWN.
STREET BALLAD."
1 Highly popular in several of the midland counties of Ireland.

A STORY, a sad story, to you I will relate,

Of a beautiful young maiden, who met a woful fate;

As she walked out one evening, at the setting of the Sun,

And rested in a bower, a passing shower to shun.

Young Jemmy with his gun had been fowling all the day
And down beside the lake he came at close of twilight grey;
Her apron being about her, he took her for a fawn;
But, alas, to his grief, 'twas his own Molly Bawn.'

Now all ye brave young men, who go sporting with the gun, 

Beware of shooting late, and grey mists about the Sun : 

Her apron being about her, he took her for a fawn;

But, alas, to his grief, 'twas his own Molly Bawn !

When he came to the bower, and found that it was she
His limbs they grew feeble, his eyes they could not see;
He took her in his arms, across her uncle's lawn,
And his tears flowed like fountains on his own Molly Bawn.

Young Jemmy he went home, with his gun beneath his hand,
Sick and broken-hearted, like a felon in the land;
Crying- "Father, O my Father- by the lake - a fair white fawn
I leveled and I shot her dead- my own Molly Bawn!"

That night to her uncle her spirit did appear, 

Saying—"Uncle, dearest uncle, my truelove he is clear: 

My apron being about me, he took me for a fawn;

But, alas, to his grief, 'twas his own Molly Bawn!"

Oh, Molly was his jewel, his sweetheart and his pride!
If she had lived another year, she would have been his , bride;
The flower of all the valley, the pride of hut and hall,
Oh, Jemmy soon will follow his own Molly Bawn.

Compare with this from 1896

From The New Review.
W. E. Henley Editor
Volume 14 Jan -June 1896
Harrison & Sons London
page 535

An Irish Peasant Woman
Katherine Tynan Hinkson

The crowd likes its sentiment of a tearful kind. I took down from Mrs. Quinn's lips many famous old ballads now forgotten. or superseded by the broad-sheets issued by Nugent, of High Street, Dublin. to meet every political and social contingency. Who is the anonymous poet that thus makes contemporary history? I have never been able to discover. Here is one of the old ones, which might have come out of Autolycus his pack—a very pitiful ballad:—

Molly Bawn

A story, a story to you I will relate
Concerning a fair maid whose fortunes were great
She roved out one evening, she roved all alone
She sat below a green bower, a shower for to shun

Young Jimmy being fowling with his gun in his hand
Fowling all the day the evening' it came on
Her apron bein' about her he took her for a Swan,
But alas to his grief it was fair Molly Bawn.

Jimmy he came home with his gun in his hand.
Sick and broken-hearted, as you understand,
Cryin' "Father, dearest father, if you knew what I have done,
I have shot Molly Bawn at the settin' of the Sun!

Up spoke his father whose locks they were grey,
Saying, "Son, dearest son, O don't go away,
Stay in the country till your trial comes On,
And you never shall die for the loss of a swan."

"Twas two or three nights after to her uncle appeared she,
Saying, "Uncle, dearest uncle, let my true
love go free, My apron being about me he took me for a Swan,
But alas to his grief I was fair Molly Bawn."

He cried, "Molly, you're my jewel, my joy and heart's pride,
And if you had but lived I'd have made you my bride,
You were pride of the country an' flower o' them all,
An' I shortly will follow my own Molly Bawn."

Hereupon the unhappy lover shot himself. When I asked Mrs. Quinn why the ballad didn't state this definitely she was a little indignant. "Sure, you wouldn't want to be tould everything?" she asked.

----------

And this from British Ballads from Maine (Second Series), Barry, Eckstorm, Smyth

Sent in, March, 1928, by Miss Doris Condon, Presque Isle, Maine, who wrote it down at the dictation of her father.

• A story, a story to you I will relate,
Concerning a fair maid whose fortunes they were great;
As she walked out one evening she walked all alone,
She sat underneath a green tree the rain all for to shun.

• Young Jimmie being a-fowling with his dog and his gun,
Young Jimmie being a-fowling, till evening did come on,
And he shot his lovely Molly and he took her for a swan,
Then home to his father he quickly did run.

• Saying, "Father, dearest father, if you knew what I had done,
I being out a-fowling, till evening did come on;
.................
And I shot lovely Molly, and I took her for a swan.

• Then up speaks his aged father, with his locks all being of gray
Saying, "Son, oh dearest son, oh, it's do not run away;
Stay here in this country till your trial it comes on,
And it's then I will free you of shooting Molly Bawn."

• The day of Mollie's funeral it was a dreadful sight,
Four and twenty maids all dressed out in white;
They carried her to St. Mary's Church, and there they laid her down,
She was shot by lovely Jimmie at the setting of the sun.

• In two or three weeks after, to her uncle she appeared,
Saying, "Uncle, dearest Uncle, do not hang my dear;
My apron being around me, he mistook me for a swan,
But alas! to his grief, it was his own dear Molly Bawn.

and as quoted before

E
Sent in, March, 1928, by Mrs. Nellie Fogg, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine who heard it as a child, but could remember only one stanza.

• Young Jimmie being a fowling with his dog and his gun,
He shot lovely Mollie at the setting of the sun;
Her apron being around her, he shot her for a fawn,
But alas! unto his grief, it was his own Molly Bawn.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 27 May 16 - 11:37 PM

Thanks Julia,

I have the first two. The Quinn version from 1896 has an unusual ending. I think the first one is from Kennedy, he has two published versions if I remember correctly. TY very much for the Maine versions. I'll get the book soon.

Right now I'm a bit overloaded with versions but I'm starting to put hem on my site which should clear up the overload- I have easily over 100 versions. There are a number of covers and I don't include them.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Jim Brown
Date: 28 May 16 - 04:22 AM

> Who is professor Scott, of King's College?

Most likely Robert Eden Scott (1769-1811), Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College Aberdeen from 1800, better known in ballad history as the nephew of Anna Gordon and, in or before 1783, the scribe of the first two manuscripts of her ballads. He lent the original of "Jamieson's Brown MS" to Robert Jamieson in 1799.

For his academic career, see:
http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100448709


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 28 May 16 - 09:11 AM

Hi,

TY Jim.

I finally figured out what "room of the swan" means it's "ruse of the swan" :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 28 May 16 - 10:36 AM

Hi,

Does any one know about the Harry Cox version recorded in 1947 for the BBC?

The Fowler

o come all you young sportsman, that carry a gun
I will have you go home by the light of the sun,
For young Jimmy was a-fowling, was a-fowling alone.
When he shot his own true love in the room[1] of a swan.

So the first he went to her and found it was she,
He was shaking and trembling, his eyes scarce could see,
"So now you are dead, love, and your sorrows are o'er;
Fare thee well my dear Polly, I shall see you no more."

Then home went young Jimmy with his dog and his gun,
Saying: "Uncle, dear uncle, have you heard what I've done
Cursed be this old gunsmith that made me this gun
For I've shot my own true-love in the room[1] of a swan."

Then out come bold uncle with his locks hanging grey,
Saying "Jimmy, dear Jimmy, don't you run away.
Don't you leave your own counterie till the trial comes on,
For you ne'er shall be hanged for the crime you has done."

Now the trial came on and pretty Polly appear,
Saying: "Uncle, dear uncle let Jimmy go clear,
For my apron was wrapped round me when he took me for a swan,
And his poor heart lay bleeding for Polly his own."

[There are girls in this country who no-wise are sad,
To see pretty Polly all laid in her grave;
You may take them by the hundred; put them all in a row,
My dear Polly outshone them like a fountain of snow.] [2]

1. ruse of a swan
2. from Jim Carroll

Where did Jim Carroll get the extra stanza? It's posted online after a version he collected. The version I have doesn't have that stanza.

So is this from Walter Gales? from Bob Cox?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 28 May 16 - 11:31 AM

Hi,

Julia--

A TRUE STORY- CALLED MOLLY BAWN. was also published in The Universal Irish Song Book: A Complete Collection of the Songs; Patrick John Kenedy 1998 (book finished in 1894), New York.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 28 May 16 - 12:07 PM

Hi,

A TRUE STORY- CALLED MOLLY BAWN was collected and arranged by "Duncathail" (suggested by Dunkettle), whcih was the pseudonym of Ralph Varian, of Cork, author of some poems, and of a Life of "John and Henry Sheares, and editor of "The Harp of Erin," and "Popular Poetry of Ireland."

This version seems like a broadside or chapbook copy that's been rewritten by Varian- not traditional.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 28 May 16 - 02:45 PM

Hi,

The following is a stanza from "The Western Cottage Maid." The only version I've found (Bodleian) is a different song. Anyone know where a complete version of this might be found or is Barry just confused?

Macmillan's Magazine, Volume 25
edited by David Masson, Sir George Grove, John Morley, Mowbray Walter Morris

THE CURRENT STREET BALLADS OF IRE LAND
BY WILLIAM BARRY.

The minstrel seldom very much despairs or threatens to die when deceived, or when the object of his affection is inaccessible. Here is a stanza from "The Western Cottage Maid," a. popular Munster lyric, in which the reader will perceive how completely naturalized the celebrities of heatheness are in the productions to which I am referring and kills her on the spot. The moral of the tragic story is contained in the opening verse:—

" Come, all ye wild fowlers that follow the gun,
Beware of late shooting at the setting of the sun.
It is on a misfortune that happened of late,
On Molly Bawn Gowrie, an her fortune was great."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Reinhard
Date: 28 May 16 - 03:09 PM

Where did Jim Carroll get the extra stanza? It's posted online after a version he collected. The version I have doesn't have that stanza.

My three Harry Cox versions don't have it either. But a very similar verse is in versions sung by A.L. Lloyd, Shirley Collins, Anne Briggs and Martin Carthy. Carthy noted that it "is another song from the Norfolk collection of E.J. Moeran with an additional verse" but didn't say where this verse came from.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 28 May 16 - 03:52 PM

Hi,

This the last unique broadside at Bodleian -Slip 2806 c.18(209) with Miss Patty Puff and her two Sweethearts (no date given). As I remember Steve probably knows Haly the printer in Cork was old and I'd date this circa 1834 if my memory serves me right. The issue is that this is probably the ballad A TRUE STORY- CALLED MOLLY BAWN posted above used this broadside as a basis for elaboration- which clearly Ralph Varian also of Cork did.

Molly Bawn

A story, a story, to you I will relate,
Of a young female, whose fortune is great;
She walked out one evening, she walked all alone,
And she stopped under a bower a shower to shun.

Young Jemmy being coming with a gun in his hand,
He was fowling all day, untill teh evening came on
Her apron being about her, he took her for a swan,
But alas, to his grief, it was his own Molly Bawn.

Come all young heroes, that handle the gun,
Beware of late shooting, when evening comes on 

Her apron was about her, he took her for a swan;
But, alas, for my grief, it was fair Molly Bawn!

When he came near her, and found it was she
His limbs they grew feeble, his eyes could not see;
He took her in his arms, and found she was dead,
And a fountain of tears from his eyes down he shed.

Young Jemmy went home, with his gun in his hand,
Sick and broken-hearted, as you may understand;
Saying, father, dear Father, if you knew what I've done
Oh I shot Molly Bawn by setting of the sun.

Then bespoke his father tho his locks they were grey,
Saying, son, dearest son do not go away,
Stop in this country, till your trial comes on,
And you never will die by the law of the land.

Two or three nights after to her ucle she did appear,
Saying uncle, dearest uncl[e], my truelove come clear
My apron being about me, he took me for a swan;
But alas, for my grief, it was fair Molly Bawn.

Molly my jewel, my joy and delight,
If you had but lived , I would make you my bride;
You were my flower of this country, the pride of them all,
And I shortly will follow my own Molly Bawn.

Haly, Printer, Hanover Street, Cork.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 28 May 16 - 05:31 PM

Hi,

In the Seamus Ennis version appear these notes:

Known in England as "Polly Vaughn" and in the United States as "The Shooting of his Dear," this come-all-ye reworks an ancient folk theme. In the Hebridean version, it is the cruel mother who advises her son to shoot a swan, even though she knows that the swan is his true love.

I was wondering if there is a version like this? Perhaps it ties into the Irish story "Aislinge Oengusso" or "The vision of Aonghus" also Aengus. Anyone?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 16 - 12:35 PM

Hi,

Does anyone have the text to a version (Young Molly Ban) in "Irish Street Ballads," by Colm O Lochlainn Dublin 1939 (or reprints)?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 16 - 01:19 PM

Hi,

Found it!!!

"Irish Street Ballads," by Colm O'Lochlainn Dublin 1939; Clogher (from Irish: Clochar, meaning "stony place") is a village and civil parish in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.


Young Molly Ban- from P. Walsh, Clogher Valley c. 1938

Come all you young fellows follow the gun
Beware of goin' a-shootin' by the late setting sun.
It might happen to anyone, it happened to me
To your own love in under a tree.

She was going to her uncle's when the shower it came on
She went under a bush, the rain for to shun.
With her apron all around her I took her for a swan
But oh and alas! it was my Molly Ban.

I ran to her Uncle's in haste and great fear,
Saying, Uncle, dear Uncle I've shot Molly dear,
With her apron all around her I took her for a swan
But Oh and alas! it was my Molly Ban.

I shot my own true love-- alas I'm undone,
While she was in the shade by the setting of the sun
If I thought she was there I'd caress her tenderly,
And soon I'd get married to my own dear Molly.

My curse on you, Toby, that lent me your gun,
To go out a shooting by the late setting sun
I rubbed her fair temples and found she was dead,
A fountain of tears for my Molly I shed.

Up come my father and his locks they were grey,
Stay in your own country and don't run away
Stay in your own country till your trial comes on
And I'll see you set free by the laws of the land

Oh, the maids of this country they will all be very glad,
When they hear the sad news that my Molly is dead.
Take them all in their hundred, set them in a row,
Molly Ban she shone above them like a mountain of snow.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 30 May 16 - 01:55 PM

In addition to the fawn / swan difference, there seem to be some other floating verses and details- the happy rival maidens; the remorse and blame re: the gun; Jimmy's visceral reaction. I'm wondering if these travel with each other from version to version... has anyone taken the time to correlate?
It's high garden time here in Maine-waiting for a rainy day

Julia


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 16 - 05:18 PM

Hi Julia,

The maidens in row, (sometimes lawyers or judges) is a bit perplexing. Molly/Polly stands among them like a mountain/fountain of snow. The snow is believed to be 1) her ghost 2) her swan image or 3) shining amongst them because of her great beauty- with no supernatural meaning.

I'm putting the versions on my site and will compare them looking especially at the unusual or irregular stanzas or lines.

For example, there are several Norfolk versions with "room of a swan." I found one that had "ru' of a swan" and also "ruse of a swan." This could mean that she was shot because she had changed into a swan or simply that she appeared as a swan but that line is more interesting than the standard lines because it's different. Clearly "room" is not the original meaning.

Then there's the father/uncle conundrum. Sometimes it's father sometimes it's the uncle, but I believe it's meant to be the uncle. Who then is the uncle? Does he represent her at the trial? Or is he someone that can clear Jimmy?

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 30 May 16 - 07:09 PM

> Clearly "room" is not the original meaning.

Gee, Richie, how do you figure that? Her white apron fooled him, he thought she was swan, and tragically he shot her.

Of course, if by "room" you mean a part of a building enclosed by walls, etc., inhabited by a swan, I heartily agree.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 30 May 16 - 09:04 PM

"In the room of" = "in the space of", in place of...Can't remember where specifically, but I have seen this use in other archaic stories / lyrics. Also, to "take" someone for something else as in "what do you take me for?" I took you for a swan. Again, it's archaic but not uncommon.   
Julia


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 16 - 09:08 PM

Hi Lighter,

You're very bright and always helpful so maybe I still don't get it. I'm not sure- does "ru' " work. I guess I don't think of a swan outside under a bush or tree being in a "room." So that bothered me because I didn't understand it- and I thought maybe it was a slang. Then I found a Norfolk version where MacColl and Lloyd changed it to "ru' ". So I figured they probably knew.

That doesn't really change the interpretation tho.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 30 May 16 - 09:25 PM

Ty Julia,

I get "room" could be archaic for "in the place" or "the spot" or "dwelling place" but when MacColl/Lloyd changed it to "ru' " I assumed it was for "ruse" otherwise it would be "roo" with the "m" left off.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 31 May 16 - 07:00 PM

I see no mystery about "in the room of". It's simply an alternative for "in the place of" or "instead of". Whereas either "ru" or "ruse" makes no sense at all that I can discern.

I'm a bit overwhelmed by the number of versions, but is there any that has the girl appearing either to the uncle or to the court in the form of a swan? Come to that, is there any that has her actually becoming a swan at any stage in the story, rather than merely being mistaken for one because of her apron and the failing light?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 31 May 16 - 07:56 PM

Hi,

Richard-

5 In six weeks' time when the 'Sizes came on
Young Polly appeared in the form of a swan,
Crying: Jimmy, young Jimmy, young Jimmy is clear,
He never shall be hang-ed for the shooting of his dear. (Lucy White, 1903)

There aren't many- and ty for sharing about "room"

The Karpeles Newfoundland version online is not by Mr. Thomas Ghaney at Colliers, Conception Bay, 22nd October, 1929. It's by Norman Kennedy, a hand-weaver from Aberdeen.

I've got the entire version of Polly Wand from The Diary of the American Revolution, 1775-1781 - Page 239, 240 by Frank Moore, ‎John Anthony Scott - 1967. It's reprinted in Sing Out, 1967. They say the "lyric is from oral tradition" but don't provided details. Not sure of the oral source and their claims. Their notes and text follows:

"Polly Wand" is an excellent example of an imported British broadside ballad, and a particular favorite of Americans during the Revolution. Variants of the song have been found in all parts of the United States as well as in England, Scotland, and Ireland.

The melody and the refrain given here, have been transcribed from the singing of Paul Clayton. The lyric is from oral tradition, but differs only in minor details from the broadside version issued by Nathaniel Coverly, Jr. of Boston shortly after 1800 (Ford, Isaiah Thomas 211.)

Come all you brave huntsmen who follow the gun,
Beware of your shooting at the setting of the sun,
For her true love went hunting and he shot in the dark, And o! and alas! Polly Wand was his mark.

As Polly was walking by the setting of the sun,
She stepped under a green branch the shower to shun;
Her true love was a-hunting, and he shot in the dark,
Alas, and alas! Polly Wand was his mark.

And when he ran to her and found that it was she,
His legs grew weak, and his eyes could scarcely see,
He took her in his arms, and he found that she was dead,
And a thousand thousand tears for his own true love he shed.

For you had your apron wrapped about you,
And I took you for a swan,
But woe and alas! it was you, Polly Wand.

He ran straight home with his gun in his hand,
Saying father, dearest father, I have shot Polly Wand;
I've shot that fair lady in the bloom of her life,
And I always intended to make her my wife.

But she had her apron wrapped around her,
And I took her for a swan,
But woe and alas! it was she, Polly Wand.

At the height of his trial Polly Wand did appear.
Crying father, dearest father, Jemmy Rander must be clear,
For I had my apron all about me, and he took me for a swan,
Woe and alas! it was I, Polly Wand.

Yes, I had my apron all about me, and he took me for a swan,
Woe and alas, it was I, Polly Wand.
Woe and alas! it was I, Polly Wand.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 31 May 16 - 08:22 PM

Hi,

Make Merry in Step and Song: A Seasonal Treasury of Music, Mummer's Plays by Bronwen Forbes 2009

1. O come all you young fellows that carry a gun,
I'll have you get home by the light of the sun,
For Jimmy was a fowler and a-fowling alone
When he shot his own true love in the ruse of a swan.

Given to Audrey Coppard (English Folk Songs by FW06917 / FW 6917 / FP 917 -1956) by A. L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl

1. Come all ye young fellows who carry a gun,
I'll have you come home by the light of the sun;
For young Jimmy was a fowler who went a-fowling alone
And he shot his own true love in the ru' of a swan.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 31 May 16 - 08:39 PM

Hi,

The question is why did A. L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl change Gales "room"?

Obviously, I need to refrain from making conclusions and stick to presenting evidence, as pointed out by Lighter. That's what I learned :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 31 May 16 - 10:33 PM

Hi,

Here are the 42 North American versions I've done so far:

    Polly Wand- (MA) c.1810 Isaiah Thomas Broadside
    Mollie Vaughn- Valera Ervine (WV) c.1814 Cox C
    Polly Band- Lambertson (MI-OH-NJ) c1850 Gardiner
    Polly von Luther & Jamie Randall- (NY)1857 Andrews
    Mollie Vaunders- Mrs. Stump (WV-OH) 1885 Cox A
    Polly Vann- Mrs. Allen (MA) pre1899 Kittredge A
    Molly Vaunder- Ella Wilson (WV) c1901 Boette
    Song called Mollie Bawn- M.L.F. (ME) 1907 Barry C
    Jimmy Ranvul- Currence Hammonds (WV) c. 1907
    Mollie Bond- Lauda Whitt (KY) 1916 Kittredge B
    Molly Baun- Sallie Adams (KY) 1916 Kittredge C
    Polly Bam- Jane Hicks Gentry (NC) 1916 Sharp A
    Mollie Van- Addy Crane (TN) 1916 Sharp B
    Molly Bander- George Gibson (KY) 1917 Sharp C
    Polly- Eliza Pace (KY) 1917 Sharp E
    Molly Bon- Margaret Dunnigan (KY) 1917 Sharp F
    Mollie Van- Susan Moberley (KY) 1917 Sharp MS
    Molly Vaunder- George Gregg (WV) 1917 Cox B
    Molly Van- Laura V. Donald (VA) 1918 Sharp MS
    Molly Varn- Mrs. F. Fitzgerald (VA) 1918 Sharp D
    Johnnie Randle- Jesse Harvey (MS) 1926 Hudson A
    Molly Bawn- Mr. Condon (ME) 1928 Barry D
    Molly Bawn- Nellie Fogg (ME) 1928 Barry E
    Molly Bond- Thomas Ghaney (NS) 1929 Karpeles
    Molly Bawn- Mary Hindle (ME) 1932 Carr/Barry A
    Polly Vaughn- Emma Dusenbury (AR) c.1933 BK
    Molly Bawn- Mrs Morse (ME) pre1935 Barry B
    Molly Baun- Mrs. McClellan (MI) 1935 Gardner A
    Jimmy Randall- Charles Archer (NJ) 1936 Halpert A
    Jimmy Randalls- Tom Test (NJ) 1936 Halpert B
    Jimmy Randall- George Test (NJ) 1936 Halpert C
    Jimmy Randall- Clarence Webb (NJ) 1936 Halpert D
    Mollie Vaughn- F. Swetnam (MS-KY) 1936 Hudson B
    Polly Van- Lucy Allen (MA) pre1939 Linscott
    Molly Banding- Albert Richter (PA) 1946 Bayard
    Molly Bonder- (OH) pre1955 Bruce Buckley REC
    As Jimmie Went A-Hunting- Boutilier (NS) 1950 REC
    Polly Van- Paul Clayton (MA) pre1956 REC
    Molly Van- Dan Tate (NC) 1962 Foss/Yates
    Polly Vaughn- R. Dillard (MO) 1963 Dillards REC
    Molly Bawn- Sarah Cleveland (NY) 1966 REC
    Molly Bender- Phyllis Marks (WV) pre1991 Davies

Access versions here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-4-molly-bawn-polly-vaughn.aspx

There are about 18 more to go- so I'll have about 60 and there are a few more UK version than NA versions.

The other version of "Polly Wand" see a couple posts back- has not been authenticated so I'm not adding it for now. The authors are trying to find ballads from the Revolutionary Period but I need proof :) Plus they report that it was a "broadside version issued by Nathaniel Coverly, Jr. of Boston shortly after 1800." That evidence is not shown, the date is c. 1810 and no printer is given.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 31 May 16 - 11:50 PM

Thanks so much for doing this!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 08:18 AM

> Obviously, I need to refrain from making conclusions and stick to presenting evidence, as pointed out by Lighter. That's what I learned :)

It's fun to speculate, so feel free; but keep a clear distinction between what might possibly be and and what is certain or very likely.

It's a possibility that the ballad is a come-down version of a shape-changing myth with the explanation of the white apron added as a rationalisation, and some writers did choose to believe that. But we're now disinclined to believe it.

There is good evidence, in the personal and place names, for a basis in a real incident in Ulster, but that leaves the question of how and when the ghost appearances were added to the story. If the shooting really happened, and the young man was tried, was he acquitted and if so on whose evidence? Or was he hanged, but the girl's ghost appearing in court made a much better story?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 10:08 AM

I wonder if Coppard (or the Norfolk singer) misheard "room" and thought it was some mysterious "ru." Sounds unlikely I know.

The booklet accompanying Lloyd & MacColl's "Great British Ballads Not Found in the Child Collection" (1956) clearly prints "in the room of a swan."

Unfortunately I have no turntable so I can't verify what Lloyd actually sang.

The meaning of "ruse of a swan" is less clear than it might seem: "ruse" seems never to have meant what it would have to mean here, namely something like "assumed shape" or even "disguise." It usually means a "trick, strategem, or wile." A disguise may be a kind of ruse, but a ruse isn't a kind of disguise.

Again, the singer may have been trying to rationalize an unfamiliar "room of a swan."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 10:50 AM

TY Lighter,

The consensus is "room" with "ruse" as a ruse :) Coppard was just a young singer (about 23) and was provided concerts and songs/ballads for her recording by Lloyd and MacColl. It's unclear if she changed the text with "ru' " which in my opinion is a reworking of Gales' Norfolk text and not traditional and will not appear on my site. Probably, she sang and printed what she was given- it says "Norfolk" version. I have four versions from Norfolk and they all have "room."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 12:37 PM

Fascinating.

BTW, I hope nobody has sought swan-maiden legends behind "Home on the Range"!


"Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Flows leisurely down the stream;
There the graceful, white swan goes gliding along
Like a maid in a heavenly dream."

More seriously, swans are thought beautiful, and maids in poetry almost have to be beautiful, with a neck "like the swan" (as in "Annie Laurie") and white, white skin. Nothing mythological there.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 01:45 PM

Hi,

This is the important traditional version with her full name from Ireland as reported in Ulster Folklife - Volume 18 - Page 36 by Hugh Shields in 1972. I give it here as best figured out without a copy of the book. Anyone that has details please provide them.

"Molley Bann Lavery" pre1845 from County Down, Ireland from oral tradition; Hugh Shields 1972

[1st] It's all you young men that carry a gun,
Beware of late fowling at the setting of the sun,
Concerning a young man that happened of late,
That shot Molley Bann Lavery — her beauty was great.

[2nd] He being late fowling he shot her in the dark,
But oh and alas, he did not miss his mark!
With her apron about her he took her for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was poor Molly Bann!

[3rd] But when he went to her and found she was dead
Abundance of tears from his eyes he has shed;
He went home to his father with his gun in his hand
Saying, — Father, dear father, I have shot poor Molley Bann.

[4th] It's out bespoke his father, his hairs they were gray,
My son, take my blessing and don't run away.
Stay in your own country your trial to stand
And you will not be condemned by the laws of the land.

[5th] O father, dear father, I must go away
For in this country I never could stay;
I shot Molley Bann Lavery and she was my darling,
The pride of the North and the Flower of Kilwarlin.

[6th] The maids of this country they are all very glad
Since Molley Bann Lavery the beauty is dead,
But gather them together and put them all in a row:
She appears in the middle like a mountain of snow.

[7th] She appeared to her uncle as it were in a dream
Saying, — Uncle, dear uncle, James Reynolds don't blame;
With my apron being about me he took me for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was I, Molley Bann!

[8th] In Lisburn she was born and in Lurgan educated
But oh, in Kilwarlin poor Molley was defeated!
With her apron being about her she was taken for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was poor Molley Bann!

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 03:15 PM

Hi,

If anyone can fix these lyrics I'd appreciate it. Here's a link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqjgda7Ci-c

Molly Vaughan- sung by Phoebe Smith from East Anglia, 1969.

As I went a-shooting,
Till a shower came on;
When the rain run down to the ground
Taking her for a swan.
And it's through my sad misfortune
I shot my dear Molly Vaughan.

Molly Vaughan dear, I love you,
You were my own [dear] light
And it's if you were alive,
I would have wed you this night

It were home to his uncle,
Like a [ ]
"Dearest uncle, dearest uncle,
For it's what shall do?
It is through my sad misfortune
I shot my dear Molly Vaughan.

"Stay in your own native country,
And don't run away.
For I'm sure you will be righted,
By the laws of this land."

There were judges and juries,
And there's no one could see,
And a voice heard like thunder,
Saying, "Hanging must be."
And she appeared there among them
Like a mountain of snow.

There were judges and juries,
Saying, Hanging must be,"
She said, "Don't you hang my true love,
For my true love, loves me."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 04:01 PM

Here is Phoebe's version from Voice of the People Series CD3, Track 17.

As I went a shooting to(till) a shower came on
With her apron bound around her, taking her for a swan,
And it's through my sad misfortune I shot my own Molly Vaughan.

Molly Vaughan, dear, i love you. You were my own heart's delight
And it's if you were alive, I would of wed you this night.

It were home to his uncle like lightning did flew
'Dearest Uncle, dearest Uncle, for it's what shall I do?
It is through my sad misfortune, I shot my own Molly vaughan.'

'Stay in your own native country and don't run away,
For I am sure you will be righted by the laws of this land.'

There were judges and jury, and there's no one could see.
And the vicelord like thunder saying 'Hanging must be,'
And she appeared all there among them like a fountain of snow.

There were judges and jury saying, 'Hanging must be.'
She said, 'Don't you hang my true love, for my true love loved me.'


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 04:08 PM

Apologies, I've been away from computer in London for a few days. have we decided what a cran is? Is it just a localised version of crane?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 04:12 PM

Also if he is out 'fowling' swan/crane would surely have more weight than fawn. However could going a fowling be just translated as going a shooting. A short-barrel gun was sometimes known as a 'fowling piece'. In this context does 'fowling' have different connotations?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 05:35 PM

"Cran" was the usual Old English word for the crane. According to the 2nd ed. of Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (apparently 1840), it survived for some time in Scotland as a name for the heron. Conceivably it survived here and there elsewhere, records for dialectal words often being less than adequate.

The OED affords no reason to assume that "fowling" ever referred to hunting anything other than wildfowl.

So if Jemmy originally went "fowling," "fawn" should be a later substitution.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 10:28 PM

Hi Steve glad you're back,

TY for the help with Phoebe's version.

I did find out some other info on the traditional version of "Polly Wand." Another book dates it 1777 and gives Massachusetts as the location and "oral tradition?" I'm trying to find out the supposed source-- they just say it's from oral tradition. ["Polly Wand" from The Diary of the American Revolution, 1775-1781 - Page 239, 240 by Frank Moore, ‎John Anthony Scott - 1967.] I did post the text above which has an added chorus from Paul Clayton.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 08:41 AM

J. A. Scott's "oral tradition" text does not appear in the original edition of Frank Moore's book, published in 1860.

The broadside titled "Polly Wand" was apparently published around 1810, not 1777. (It was purchased by a collector in 1813; I've found no evidence for an earlier date.) You can view the broadsheet, titled "Polly Wand, together with The Beggar Girl and Tom Stoppard," at the American Antiquarian Society's website. It differs considerably from Scott's version:

Come all you brave shooters that follow the gun,
Beware of your shooting by the setting of the sun,
It was a doleful thing that happened of late,
It was Polly Wand whose fortune was great.

As Polly was a walking by the setting of the sun,
She stepped under a green branch the shower to shun;
As her true love was hunting he shot in the dark,
Alas, and alas! Polly Wand was his mark.

And when he came to her and found that it was she,
His joints they grew weak & his eyes could scarce see,
In his arms he embrac'd her till he found she was dead,
And a fountain tears for his own true love he shed.

Then he ran home with his gun in his hand,
Saying daddy, dearest daddy, I have shot Polly Wand;
I shot the fair female the bloom of my life,
For I always intended to make her my wife.

In two or three days after Polly Wand did appear.
Crying Jemmy, dearest Jemmy, you have nothing to fear
Stay in your country till your trial comes on,
You shall not be condemned by the laws of the land.

In the height of his trial Polly Wand did appear,
Crying uncle, dear uncle Jemmy Rander must be clear,
For I'd my apron about me when he shot me for a swan,
Alas, and alas! it was I Polly Wand.

There were fourteen of them all sitting in a row,
Polly Wand in the middle like a mountain of snow,
I'd my apron about me when he shot me for a swan,
It's a woe and alas! it was I Polly Wand.

The "fourteen in a row" may be the jury. Or, if you're so inclined, you may interpret them as angels accompanying Polly.

Either way it's a great line.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 09:00 AM

If we look at other versions '14 in a row' is just a vague reference to the other beautiful girls in the area. It is a somewhat garbled verse. The original probably imagined all the beautiful girls in the area all lined up, and Molly would stand out like a mountain of snow.

Jon, please do not feed Richie's rich imagination!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 09:33 AM

Undoubtedly, Steve! But, garbled or not, readers/reciters/singers of this particular version are left to rationalize precisely what's going on.

The "folk process."

It's worthwhile to ponder that when the song was self-evidently only a vulgar street ballad, editors thought it was junk; but as soon as it was forced into expressing a hypothetical Anglo-Irish swan-maiden myth, it became especially prized.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 01:01 PM

Yes, but only by academics, fantasists and Bert Lloyd!

The song's appeal to singers and ordinary people is in the accidental killing of one's sweetheart and miraculous reprieve. However, if the ballad has any basis in reality the reprieve was much more likely due to family influence.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 02:01 PM

Hi,

TY Lighter, I assume that Frank Moore and ‎John Anthony Scott needed some ballads during the revolutionary period 1775-1781 and included Polly Wand. Both the 1967 (I assume you meant it was published in 1960) edition of the book and "Sing Out" in 1967 say it was from oral transmission, but give no details.

I guess they got the similar text from somewhere. They said the broadside was from Nathaniel Coverly after 1800 but he did not print it so already they are providing wrong info.

Regardless of what you think of the "fountain/mountain of snow" some singers refer to it as Molly's/Polly's ghost: "Molly's ghost will stand before you like a mountain of snow." [Moore's]

Since her ghost has already appeared it seems more likely that it is her ghost. Others believe it is her in the form of a swan and most versions do not mention anything supernatural (as Steve wrote).

With two more versions to go it look like there are 60 North American versions on my site- a number of them are fragments.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 04:14 PM

Hi,

Besides the White version (Sharp 1903) at least two versions (Handsford /Way) collected by Hammond have this stanza:

When five days was over, the 'sizes come on,
Young Polly appeared in the shape of a swan,
Crying, "Uncle, dear uncle, young Jimmy is free,
For he never shall be hanged for shooting of me."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 05:05 PM

Whereas no-one could suggest that any version should take absolute precedence, it is reasonable in my opinion to suggest that the earliest extant print versions should carry greater weight than garbled oral versions.

If we take Bramble Briar as an example it is highly likely that the longer earlier American versions are much closer to the original than any of the English versions or indeed anything recorded after say 1900. Obviously we cannot deal with absolutes here in almost any ballad where the original isn't certain, but at least we can deal with strong likelihoods.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 05:12 PM

I think part of the problem is you and Jon are dealing with the meaning of individual versions and I am obsessed with the meaning of the original story. In my studies the later confusions due to oral tradition are of little interest to me (which is my problem). I am however very interested in versions that have been deliberately rewritten, either by a creative member of the chain or by a broadside hack.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 07:26 PM

> I assume you meant it was published in 1960

No. 1860 is correct. Moore (1828-1904) was a journalist and a diligent collector of newspaper stories, popular poetry, etc. He compiled the multi-volume "Rebellion Record" during the Civil War.

The phrase "oral tradition" was probably unknown to him.

The English-born John Anthony Scott (1916-2010) produced several books on American history for teenagers. There's no doubt that "Polly Wand" was his own contribution. If Scott's text cannot be traced to an earlier publication, only one conclusion can fairly be drawn.

It sounds to me as though Paul Clayton's text is the one that resembles the printing by Coverley. The album notes suggest that Clayton's lyrics come from either Leach's "Ballad Book" or else from Philips Barry's 1935 monograph on the song - at least according to the album's notes.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 12:21 PM

Hi,

Leach's Ballad book prints a version from Kentucky (Wyman) and Barry's 1935 "monograph" is a one page look at the ballad and two short fragments- neither resembling Clayton's version which came from Massachusetts. His version is based on Linscott's version from MA- with an added chorus.

The version of Polly Wand in The Diary of the American Revolution, 1775-1781, page 239, 240 by Frank Moore, ‎John Anthony Scott- 1967 and also Sing Out, 1967- is Linscott's version with the name changed to Polly Wand. It is misleading and dishonest to suggest the version was sung during the Revolution with no proof and then change the name without saying anything. Since Linscott's version was copyrighted in 1939 Clayton probably couldn't say where he got it.

I have put 73 versions from North America on my site now. I'm having trouble hearing Molly Jackson's version : https://archive.org/details/AFC19390122576A

I only have access to two more missing versions (by asking for copies) but there are over 10 more that have been collected. That's a total of about 85 versions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 03:17 PM

A problem you seem to be having here is more clear cut this side of the pond. Versions of songs recorded by shall we say professional performers like Lloyd and MacColl in the revival(say 1945 to present day) would not normally even be contemplated as valid study texts for traditional songs unless one was studying what the revivalists did with the songs. I have noticed before posters on the Ballad List, for instance, mentioning songs recorded by the likes of Lloyd and MacColl as though they were from traditional singers.

I understand that many traditional source singers on your side of the pond also became professional singers and even collectors in their own right, and this then presents problems. Although there are a few performers who would come into this category this side, they are few and far between and we are more often aware of the different sources of the songs in their repertoires.

I sometimes feel we are using words like 'dishonest' a little too harshly with performers appropriating material and then not quoting or revealing their sources. 40 years ago just about everyone did this. If a song was in the public domain, if you were a performer as opposed to a researcher/scholar, the source would have been of little interest, and might have created copyright problems as you say.

Even some scholars at the time were a little negligent with the truth. I am working on new editions of the Marrow Bones series of books and it is obvious that the original editor was occasionally taking material quietly from other collections than those being flagged up, to make up his collated versions. Today this wouldn't be a problem but in the 70s the other collections were in private hands and the owners might have objected if he had been more open.
Even had they been willing it would have taken up valuable time getting necessary permissions, for the sake of just a few verses from a range of collections.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 06:46 PM

Hi,

With the folk process where do you draw the line? In the US back in the 1920s Ralph Peer was making the equivalent of $250 million a year off the copyrights of folk songs that were subsequently recorded. Most songs that were preserved by The Carters and others they did not write and yet they received royalties because they copyrighted the songs.

These early country musicians claimed ownership of these songs as if they wrote them.

Learning and changing the songs today is essentially what the folk process has been through the years. The difference and it's an important one- is that the songs are not passed down orally. And- the versions that are being changed are copyrighted.

If ‎in 1967 John Anthony Scott decides to say Polly Wand was sung during the Revolutionary Period of 1775-1781, and offers made up evidence (printed by Coverly around 1800) and then changes the text of a traditional text and puts Polly Wand instead of Polly Van- it's his decision. The ballad through the Allen family could possibly have been sung then- but he can't mention that because he'd be using copyrighted material (by Linscott in 1939) without permission. Paul Clayton can't mention his source either.

So it's attributed to "oral tradition" and the actual version is never even mentioned.

Dodgy may be a better word :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 08:50 AM

Even with Child Ballads Child included in ESPB we have question marks around probably most of them regarding whether they came unadulterated from oral tradition. The best we can do is to look to see if the material they contain is corroborated by multiple other versions or not. Any version that has material in it not found elsewhere naturally comes under suspicion. Child himself in the earlier parts, upto about half way through the publishing, flagged up many of the suspect versions, but then for some reason we haven't yet
ascertained he stopped this practice, even though we do know he had even more qualms about the later material. He then left us with the tantalising statement in Vol5 p182 (Dover)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 04:46 PM

Hi,

I've got the North American versions and headnotes roughed in:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-4-molly-bawn-polly-vaughn.aspx

I'm working in the UK versions now,

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:16 PM

Well done, Richie. If nobody else says it I will. Many thanks for your valuable painstaking work on this excellent resource.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:31 PM

Seconded!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:32 PM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: great and valuable work!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Tradsinger
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 05:31 AM

Molly Vaughan - sung by Colleen Cleveland, Brant Lake, NY USA 1997. Recorded by Gwilym Davies. Colleen learnt the song from her grandmather, Sarah Cleveland.


Come all you young hunters who follow the gun
Beware of late shooting by the setting of the sun
Jimmie Randal the squire went a-fowling in the dark
He aimed at his true love and he ne'er missed his mark.

Being late in the evening, when the shower came on
She ran under a green bush, the shower to shun
With her apron all round her, he took her for a swan
But oh and alas, wasn't she Molly Vaughan.

He ran to his home and he threw down his gun
Crying 'Uncle, dear uncle, I have shot Molly Vaughan
I have shot that fair maiden, the pride of my life
It was my intention to make her my wife.

'Oh Jimmy, dear Jimmy, to be sure it is grief
But you will not be punished for the loss of Molly
Pray stay you at home till your trial comes on
You will not be punished till I lose all I own.'

The night before the trial, her ghost did appear
Crying 'Father, dear father, Jimmy Randal shall go clear
With my apron all around me, he took me for a swan
But oh and alas, wasn't I Molly Vaughan.'

Now the girls in old England are all very glad
That the flower of Killarney was shot and killed there
If we gather them together and stand them in a row
Molly Vaughan would shine among them like a mountain of snow.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 10:30 AM

Thanks, Gwilym
That last line makes it pretty clear how the 'mountain of snow' fits in. The fact that fathers and uncles get mixed up in some versions is of little matter until we get the real circumstances.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Tradsinger
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 12:19 PM

Aside from all the academic study, I still find this a powerful song to sing despite the weird story. It has obviously had a hold on traditional singers for many years.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 04:10 PM

Couldn't agree more. It tells a very powerful story in very few words. I don't see any weirdness in the story at all though.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 05:40 PM

> I don't see any weirdness in the story at all though.

Not even when a ghost testifies in court?

Trial procedure must differ over here.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 09:51 AM

Hi,

Thanks, Gwilym for that post. I also have her grandmother's version. TY for comments everyone. I'm posting one last version to help clarify Baring-Gould's "The Setting of the Sun":

In Baring-Gould's MSS a second version appears with music attributed to J. Lukin, whose name is never mentioned in Songs of the West (1905 edition) or elsewhere. The 1905 published version is attributed to Sam Fone (Baring-Gould A) but is a compilation of both versions with additional recreations by Baring Gould.

B. AT THE SETTING OF THE SUN- J. Lukin, no date given

1. Come all you young fellows that carry a gun,
Beware of late shooting when daylight is done;
For it's little you reckon what hazards you run,
I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.

CHORUS: In a shower of rain as my darling did hie
All under the bushes to keep herself dry,
With her head in her apron I thought her a swan,
And I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.

2. I'll fly from my country, I nowhere find rest
I've shot my true love, as a bird in her nest.
Like lead on my heart lies the deed I have done,
I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.
   CHORUS: In a shower, etc.

3. In the night the fair maiden all shining appears[1],
She says, O my true love, quick dry up your tears,
I freely forgive you, I have Paradise won,
I was shot by my love at the setting of the sun.
   CHORUS: In a shower, etc.


4. [The years as they pass leave me lonely and sad,
I can ne'er love another, and naught makes me glad.]
I wait and expect till life's little span done[2]
I meet my true love at the rising of the sun
    CHORUS: In a shower, etc.

1. This line was changed to: "In the night the fair maid as a white swan appears;"
2. Only the first two lines of stanza 4 appear in his notebook, they are bracketed perhaps indicating that they were not collected.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 02:47 PM

Hi,

Almost done. Need some help figuring out a few versions from the UK. This was published in Contemporary Poetry and Prose - Volumes 1-2 - Page 2 by Roger Roughton in 1937, London and New York:

Jimmy the Fowler - collected by A. L. Lloyd (Norfolk)

Now all you young fellows that carry a gun,
I'll have you come home by the light of the sun.
For young Jimmy was a fowler, and a-fowling alone,
When he shot his own true love in the room of a swan.

Then home rushed young Jimmy with his dog and his gun,
Crying, "Uncle, dear uncle, have you heard what I've done?
O cursed be that old gunsmith that made my old gun,
For I've shot my own true love in the room of a swan!"

Then out rushed bold uncle with his locks hanging grey,
Crying, "Jimmy, dear Jimmy, don't you run away.
O don't you leave your own country till your trial do come on,
For they never would hang you for shooting a swan."


Well, the trial wore on and young Polly did appear,
Saying "Uncle, dear uncle, let Jimmy go clear,
For my apron was bound round me, and he took me for a swan.
And my poor heart lay bleedin' all on the green ground!"

What is his source? Do you think this was collected or taken from Gales 1921 JFSS version? The last line is definitely from Gales. Apparently this was published by Lloyd several times with different stanzas added and is similar to one of his two recordings of the ballad.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Mollie Lovett
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 02:51 PM

Here is a version sung by Ronnie Drew some time in the 70s. I don't know where he got the song but I'm sure it could be traced if you need the information and know where to look for it.


MOLLY BAWN

Oh, come all you late fowlers that follow the gun,
beware of nights rambling by the setting of the sun.
Beware of an accident as happened of late,
it was Molly Bawn Leary, and sad was her fate.

She'd been going to her uncle's when a storm, it came on.
She drew under a green bush, the shower for to shun.
With her white apron wrapped around her, he took her for a swan,
took aim and alas, he shot his own Molly Bawn.

Young Jimmy ran homeward with his gun and his dog,
saying "Uncle, oh Uncle, I have shot Molly Bawn."
"I have killed that fair female, the joy of my life,
for I'd always intended that she would be my wife."

"Oh, young Jimmy Randlin, do not run away.
Stay in your own country 'til your trial it comes on,
for you'll never be convicted
for the shooting of a swan"

Well, the night before Molly's funeral her ghost it did appear,
saying, "Uncle, dearest Uncle, let young Jimmy run clear."
"It being late of an evening he took me for a swan,
Took aim and alas, he killed his own Molly Bawn."

Now, all the girls of this country, they seem to be glad
now the flower of Glenara, Molly Bawn, she lies dead.
Get all the girls of this country and stand them into a row,
Molly Bawn would shine among them like a fountain of snow.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 03:26 PM

Hi,

TY also Mollie. There are dozens of cover versions which I can't use. Molly Bawn - The Dubliners 1968. Written by; Luke Kelly; Barney Mackenna; Ronnie Drew. If they can't really say where they got the version then I have to assume it's a cover, a rewrite of another version, changed slightly.

A.L. Lloyd's version however is similar- I can't use it either- because he probably got it from Gales.

Benjamin Britten's text (1958) is very similar to the Lloyd/Gales/Cox texts which I assume he got from Moeran.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 03:46 PM

Wise decisions, Richie.

I would say you also need to look carefully at Baring Gould's mss. What you get is some versions from oral tradition but mixed in with them are his own writings. Often it is easy to spot his own interpretations as the material is not found elsewhere and you can sometimes spot crossings out where he has been rewriting his own material. Pieces attributed to particular singers are sometimes not clear. It's always worth getting Martin Graebe's advice on which bits are from oral tradition and which bits are Baring Gould's own. Also if you read the documentation on Baring Gould's methods it states that sometimes he didn't bother to note down the words of a song until he got back home and then he was relying on memory of what the singer sang. These I must add are not criticisms. Baring Gould was a pioneer and he had no precedents to show him how to collect material or what to do with it.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 10:45 PM

This is a fascinating thread; may there be more such "Study" threads as time goes on!

My question concerns how common it is for Molly Ban/Polly Van to be collected or sung with a chorus or refrain after each verse. Most of the versions printed in this thread do not appear to have a chorus.

I first heard "Young Molly Ban" on a Riverside LP of "Irish Street Songs" sung by Patrick Galvin (RLP 12-613, n.d., notes by Kenneth S. Goldstein). The notes give no indication of the source of Galvin's version. But he sang it with a chorus, approximately as follows:
"She'd her apron wrapped around her, and her took her for a swan
But it's oh, and alas, it was she, Molly Ban."

Linscott (1939) published "Polly Van," a version from Lucy Allen from the Allen Family songbook (1899), which has a chorus after each verse:
"For she'd her apron about her and he took her for a swan;
But oh, and alas! it was she, Polly Van."

How common is it for Molly Ban/Polly Van to have a chorus? What other versions have been collected/published with a chorus?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 03:29 AM

The chorus very likely evolved over a period of time. It is sort of like a motto to the song and in some earlier versions without chorus it is used twice, once to describe the original act and then later in Molly's explanation to her uncle.

The first version I ever heard in the folk clubs in the 60s had this chorus. It very likely was derived from the Linscott version you mention.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 09:59 AM

Hi,

It's clear to me that the ballad originally had no chorus. There are a number of versions with a chorus. Linscott's version was covered by Paul Clayton and Clayton's version was published with his chorus as Polly Wand- attributed to Revolutionary War period. Dylan, I believe, covered Clayton's song.

Baring-Gould's English version from Sam Fone/J. Lukin published in 1905 had a chorus- probably of his own invention but based his two collected versions.

Several influential covers in the US had a chorus, for example, The Dillards in 1963, a bluegrass version. That same year it was arranged and covered by the popular folksingers Peter, Paul and Mary under the title "Polly Von." Frankie Armstrong covered Peter, Paul and Mary's version (see DT). Those two versions were the foundation for other new covers like a celtic-roots version which was arranged by Allison Krause with the Chieftains in 2002 and later as her solo version. Peggy Seeger did a cover version with a chorus using Polly Bond (collected from Rita Emerson, 1969) as found in Michael E. Bush's Folksongs of Central West Virginia on her recording Bring Me Home, released January 22, 2008.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 10:24 AM

Hi,

I'm wrapping up the UK versions and have 54 UK versions of which 8 are unique print versions. I'm missing recent versions from Peter Hall (Scotland) and one early print version: "The Morning's Golden Dawn, or Answer to the Dawning of the Day" To Which is Added "Molly Brown[sic]." (Galway: G. Connolly, Ca. 1804?). A copy is in the National Library of Ireland, Dublin. If anyone has access to these let me know.

The UK headnotes are two or three pages so it's best to read here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/british--other-versions-4-molly-bawn-vaughn.aspx There are other missing versions at the bottom of the page.

I'm not sure if I understand Huntington's version (Sam Henry) that is a compilation dated 1926- apparently it comes from "Molly Bawn Aroo" and another trad version but the text of "Molly Bawn Aroo" doesn't scan.

TY everyone for contributing- I'll still be checking in and finishing up teh main headnotes.

Total traditional versions from North America and UK (one from Aust.) are over 130 with about 25 that I don't have access to.

One conclusion which I feel is important is:

The three authentic versions where Molly's ghost appears in the "form of a swan" show that it is likely an isolated (Dorset/Somerset) modern interpretation of the ballad.   

This means all the mystical transmutation interpretations (of an ancient Celtic origin) by Gilchrist, Sharp, Baring-Gould, Barry and others about the ballad are irrelevant. In my opinion this ballad is about an accidental shooting with a revenant visitation by her ghost (not as a swan) which frees her lover.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 01:12 PM

> This means all the mystical transmutation interpretations (of an ancient Celtic origin) by Gilchrist, Sharp, Baring-Gould, Barry and others about the ballad are irrelevant. In my opinion this ballad is about an accidental shooting with a revenant visitation by her ghost (not as a swan) which frees her lover.

Outstanding detective work, Richie.

Do you know the earliest date among the texts you've seen of the ghost versions?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 02:58 PM

Seconded. Highly commended!

Is not the ghost present in all the earlier versions?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 03:03 PM

I see an embarrassing error, Richie:

>In these versions the usage of "room" is archaic meaning "dwelling of a swan" or "space of a swan."

"In the room of a swan" means, of course, "in the place of a swan, instead of a swan"; and not as you have it, "in the dwelling of a swan" or "in the space of a swan."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 03:08 PM

Also 'archaic' is a bit over the top. Victorian poets used it. More formal language than archaic language.

If your looking for suggestions for the next few studies, the Irish theme is fairly rich, Willie Leonard, Fanny Blair, Mountains High, Streams of Lovely Nancy. Most of these have suffered from the intrusion of romantic ideas from time to time by the nutters.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 05:22 PM

Thanks Lighter and Steve,

I'll fix "room".

Polly's ghost appears in most full versions, print or traditional.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 10 Jun 16 - 11:17 AM

Hi,

Here are the final headnotes for the ballad. Because they are long, it's best to read them on my site:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/4-molly-bawn-polly-vaughn-.aspx

The footnotes are still being done.

Special thanks to Steve Gardham, Jonathan Lighter, Richard Mellish and others who have contributed to this thread.

All the best,

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jun 16 - 03:10 PM

You're very welcome, Richie. A very comprehensive study.

I only have one quibble. No matter how many nutters in the past related this to mythology I don't know of anyone living today who would put forward such twaddle.


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