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Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?

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FATTY GROVES
LORD BANNER
MATTIE GROVES


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Lyr Add: Matty Groves (8)
Help: mattie groves (9)
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Catrin 30 Aug 00 - 11:31 AM
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Subject: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:31 AM

I was about to nominate Matty Groves as a candidate for my favourite 'badman' song in that thread. However, I realised that it is difficult to pinpoint who IS the baddy in this one. Is it:-

a) Matty Groves - for sleeping with a married woman?
b) Lord Donald's wife for comitting adultary?
c) The little page for telling on them?
d) Lord Donald for murdering them both?
e) All of the above

I have had many interesting discussions with friends about this and opinions seem to differ depending on moral beliefs, historical knowledge and personal taste (to name but a few).

I know there are about a million different versions to this song but the story always seems to be the same - or is it?

I would love to hear mudcatters views on this.

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:36 AM

I think it is the woman for enticing him, and the page for being a crawly little sneak who would probably snitch on his own mother if he thought it would get him on in life.. I bet his name is Gavin....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:40 AM

Yeah LTS, I agree with both of those, but MG COULD have said no, couldn't he?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:43 AM

Ah but he was a bloke, men are notorious for being led astray at the drop of a consonant..... Weak willed and fickle, that's what he was.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: sophocleese
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:48 AM

I always wondered about a code of honour that suggested it was ungentlemanly to kill a naked, unarmed man but all right to kill an unarmed woman. They were all helpless victims of a brutal society.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:53 AM

Male nudity is something that has always been considered scary - notice that the picture of the female nude is considered art, but the male nude is pornography. The Scots used this to great effect, as can be seen in the film 'Braveheart' although I understand that, like Kevin Costner in 'Robin, prince of thieves', Mel Gibson had a 'stunt bum' do those scenes. Funny that, cos Kevin did a full nudey bit in 'Dances with wolves'......

LTS, who tries to make a study of male nudity, purely in the interests of research.....


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: AndyG
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:53 AM

Let's see,

Matty doesn't actually have many choices does he ? It's sort of;
"Hey, Big Boy, Do what I want or I'll use my social status to make your life unpleasant".
Followed by;
"What the F***? Who the F*** are YOU? Get up and die like a man!"

Lord Donald's Wife abuses power but if she's guilty of adultery then so is Matty.

Lady Donald's Husband over-reacts a bit granted but I'm not sure he'd want his private inadequacies dragged though the courts.

The Page. Well he's only doing his job you know. I mean a sworn vassal and all that. Can't go letting the side down can he?

All in all I think the villain is society for giving people holidays. It wouldn't have happened if Matty had been bringing the yearlings home with the boss instead of gallivanting about and hanging out round churches.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: MMario
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:55 AM

1)- as stated, Matty was a man - so it wasn't his fault.

2)- Lady Donald - who can blame her? Lord Donald's off with his men-at arms and/or a flock of sheep (depends on the version) but where-ever he is he isn't home in bed with her.

3) - Lord Donald - hey, he was practicing his right to trial as lord of the land - couldn't be his fault

4) - it was the snively little page. If he'd kept his yap shut, Lady Donald could have presented Lord Donald with a whole string of children who looked nothing like him and everyone would have been happy.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Kim C
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:57 AM

All of them.

Now, I don't know that the woman necessarily enticed Matty. He's the one who says, See the fair one dressed in white? Although she is Lord Daniel's wife, I'll be with her tonight. He already had his mind made up.

It's a tragedy all the way around.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:59 AM

It will never be said in fair England I slew a naked man...

D'you know sophoclese, it might sound surprising (and a bit embarrassing too) but I'd never noticed that contradiction - got me flummoxed that, a strange moral code indeed from a time about which I know little.

But 'Helpless victims' sounds a bit deterministic or something - not every member of that society would have made the decision to murder them both, surely. He could have (as in many songs) ran off to seek another life or even killed himself with his own broadsword (it happens) or he might have forgiven them and they both lived happily ever after (that doesn't happen)....

All this IMHO

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:01 PM

"they were all helpless victims of a brutal society"

Right on, Sophocleese!

However, we got a great folksong out of it. The only individual I would seriously censure in this tale, given the standards of the time and place in which it is set, is the little page. He should have kept his big mouth shut, and no one would have been the worse for it. I bet Lord Arlen had a few dalliances here and there on his looting and pillaging missions far afield, or his visits to the King's Court, or whatever. Of course, the double standard in those days was pretty extreme.

It's understandable that Lady Arlen would have been attracted to Matty Groves, and she probably felt rather like a bird in a gilded cage, longing for a taste of freedom.

It's totally understandable that Matty would fall prey to her charms...most men would have.

It's totally understandable that Lord Arlen would kill Matty and/or his wife upon returning...given the standards of the time, which were honour-bound and brutal in the extreme.

If this had been a Japanese tale it would have ended up equally tragically.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:03 PM

Who is the baddy? Depends upon your version and your personal perspective.

Matty Groves in all its incarnations is one of my favorite ballads. One of the things I love about Matty Groves is that every version tells basically the same story, but presents the "psychology" in a different way. There seems to be a version for my every mood. Some versions present Matty as the "victim" of a strong willed woman's seductive wiles. Doc Watson's version has Matty smugly predicting that "Although she is Lord Daniel's wife, she'll be with me tonight," but Christy Moore's version has Little Musgrave proclaiming to Lady Barnard that "I have loved you dear lady, for long and many a day". The little page is always the informant but sometimes it seems to be for spite and sometimes it seems to be for honor ("Although I am a lady's page, I am Lord Barnard's man.") In most versions the cuckolded lord is eager for confrontation and revenge, but Ray Fisher sings a version in which he tries to avoid it. He makes as much noise as possible marching to the castle and upon reaching the courtyard proclaims that "He whose in bed wi another man's wife had best be on his way." When confronted Matty is sometimes a wiseass and sometimes terrified. After the duel, sometimes the lord is happy at the disposal of adulterous rubbish and sometimes he deeply regrets the course of action he took.

It is Roshomon in ballad form.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: AndyG
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:05 PM

I've always understood that naked man in this usage meant unarmed and/or unarmoured. Hence LD then gives Matty a sword.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jon W.
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:05 PM

Kim, that may not necessarily be the sequence in other versions of the song. In the one I know best, he's just in church to ogle the ladies but Lord Barnard's wife makes the first move. Not to say that Little Musgrave put up any hint of resistance - he went into the situation with both eyes open.

The only thing bad about this song is that there were two people left standing at the end. Lord Barnard should have hung the page for betraying his mistress and then fallen on his sword in grief over killing his wife. Now that would have been a worthy ballad. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:06 PM

Kim C - different versions - in the one I know she 'casts her eyes about/ and there she spies little Matty Groves wolking in the crowd/ then up to him she did go /as quick as e'er she might..... (and propositions him - come to bed with me - or words of that effect)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:14 PM

I'm surprised you all have missed the complicity in all of this by Matty's harlot of a sister, Shady Groves.

....Sorry....Go on with your discussion........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:15 PM

1. Matty was just going to church to hear the gospel, like any good, god-fearing person, in the days when holidays were not your bank holiday beanfeast, but a day to spend in church = the origin of holiday is Holy Day..... This was the era when you were fined for not going to church, if your station required you to be there. Churchwardens could come and look for you and drag you to the pillory if you couldn't come up with a good reason (like being dead!) for not attending divine service - which is what the 'gospel for to hear' would indicate. Churchwardens these days are a little more lenient. I wait until your favourite TV programme is on before phone you up.....

2. He was just looking around a little light conversation, maybe just wanting to ask Mrs Jones about her Berts' lumbago, or see if there was a new cobbler in town..... when this woman he identifies as Lady Donald approaches him and invites him home.... she may have needed a jar unscrewed, or a spider removed from the bedroom.... who can say.

3 He did try to remind her that she was married - as the single person, he would have been reasonably OK, if it were Lord Donald, it would have been more than OK, it was sort of expected, but because she was a woman, she gets the ultimate punishment, a clear case of sexism and male nepotism. She knew that the punishment would be more severe for her, but still she enticed him in.

4. That servant, he didn't have to go sneaking round and spying, he could have turned a blind eye - he must have been a slimy bit of work to have been doing his job when the boss wasn't around. Think of the blackmail possibilities he could have had, wasted. And I hope he got something nasty from swimming in the broad broad stream without his boots on.

And after all that, the silly woman STILL insists that he is better than her husband.... all she had to do was fake it, and she'd have been alright!!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:17 PM

There's a song there, Spaw!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:18 PM

I bet that sneaky page was really Lord Donalds' catamite, that's why he did it - he wanted her dead so he could have Lord Donald to himself - after all, who would LD turn to in his grief but the trusty page who warned him of the cuckolding......

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:20 PM

What a WONDERFUL discussion - I even stayed fifteen minutes late at work because of it!

Anyway - gotta go now, I'll check in when I get home

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:25 PM

Catspaw, you're disgusting. Now, I realize that Matty and Shady must be related because they have the same damned tune. (Which is eating away my brain as we speak.)

Matty Groves, my little love,
Matty Groves my dearie
Come home with me, my husbands gone,
And you have naught to fear.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: IanC
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:32 PM

I never really thought of anyone as "to blame". Seems to me its a ballad with something of the "inevitable tragic sequence" to it. Does anybody have to be the baddy? Aren't we all just human?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 12:36 PM

Well Ian, most of us are....except for Conrad Bladey #1 Super Pissant. I'm not sure he's even a life form.

Sorry Jeri....hehehheehehehehehehehehe

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 01:02 PM

Then there's Conrad Black...Canada's answer to Darth Vader. His humanity is questionable.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jacob B
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 01:44 PM

I've heard an American version in which the page is clearly the baddy, because he's a habitual traitor. The page in this version is identified as being Robert Ford (the member of the James Gang who shot Jesse James in the back.)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Kim C
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 01:46 PM

Okey dokey. In the Norman Blake version that I have, Matty decides he's going to have Lord Daniel's wife. She is not necessarily a seductress in this instance but she doesn't appear to put up too much of a protest. In the end, Lord Daniel not only kills his lady and Matty, but also himself. The lady and Matty are buried together with Lord Daniel at their feet.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Ely
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 03:24 PM

Oh, the whole situation was pathetic.

The wife shouldn't have been looking for boys on the side, but she was probably 17 and married to the 55-year-old of her parents' choosing (not that I object to 55-year-olds, but I'm sure my heart wouldn't be in the marriage, either, if I'd been pawned off for political alliances). On the other hand, I don't think I would risk my head for it. I'm told life is much more dramatic when you're 17, but I don't remember.

Matty was headed to church, but he knew he was doing wrong--he asked her if the horn wasn't Lord Arlen's (Donald's, whatever your version calls him), so he was clearly on edge. My dad would call this "natural selection"--if you're dumb enough to get caught sleeping with somebody else's wife, your genes probably won't be much missed.

Lord Arlen/Donald/etc. got kind of overexcited. Wives as possessions is certainly not my favorite approach to marriage, but I can't do much about 400-year-old social views. I always thought that the fact that he was pained enough by her infidelity to kill himself, too, was rather remarkable.

In short, I don't know. I don't really like any of them.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 04:42 PM

OK, for what it's worth I think there's a kind of consensus arising here - which is that the real 'baddy' (if indeed we do have to use such a term) is the snivelling snot faced page. If it weren't for him, nobody would have been any the wiser and life would have continued as normal.

but then.............


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Ely
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 04:51 PM

Well, I'd be inclined to think that, as a servant of the lord, the page was probably under a lot of pressure to report everything. If Lord XX found out later that stuff had been going on and the page hadn't reported it, the page would certainly have lost his head and it could have affected the rest of his family adversely, too--lords were big on *seriously* heavy fines and things of that nature. While I certainly think it was underhanded, he might have felt he had no choice. And he was probably a young man (if Matty can use it as an excuse, why shouldn't the page?).

I don't admire this kind of society but it was there anyway. I don't blame any one of them in particular.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 04:52 PM

One good guy in the whole mess -- the daring member of the Lord's platoon of merry men who blew his horn to warn the sleeping(?) couple of the Lord's approach. Seems to me he did that at some risk to his own well-being. All the rest of the cast were clearly self-indulgent.

The Lord, by the way, in the version Paul Clayton collated from the singing of Boyd Bolling and Finlay Adams (Wise County, Virginia), was "off in some foreign country learning the tailor's trade." Hence, it would appear that the entire tragedy stemmed ultimately from the woeful condition of Scotland's impoverished nobility. Up the rebels!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Llanfair
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 06:51 PM

I appear to be voting with the majority, here, as the villain is definitely the brown-nosed page.
Now, Liz, where on earth do you get this notion that the naked male form is scary? Have you had some bad experiences, dear? would you like to share them with us?(Apologies for slipping into Social Worker mode, I'm better now) How on earth can anyone take all those dangly bits seriously?
'Course if they are not dangling, it's a different story, but SCARY? Never!!!!!
Bron.
Perhaps it's me? Perhaps being a serial monogamist has affected my perception...............Nah!!!!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: gillymor
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 07:08 PM

I think we should all resolve to henceforth sing the fifth verse like this:
And a snivelling snotfaced, habitually traitorous, crawly, little sneak of a page named Gavin,
Hearing what was said,
Swore that Lord Donald he would know,
Before the sun would set.

Seriously though, this is an excellent question Catrin. A whole spectrum of human foibles on display here.

Frankie


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Noreen
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 07:42 PM

LOL Frankee! If Simon Nicol read this thread I bet he'd add this version to Fairport's next performance! (He usually contents himself with e.g.

How do you like my feather bed and how do you like my sheets
How do you like my curtains that I bought in Ikea last week)

Aside to Frankee: No tape yet then?

Good thread, Catrin!

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Troll
Date: 30 Aug 00 - 11:27 PM

I take exception to the Page being blamed
Under the rules of fealty he was duty bound to inform his Lord of anything that was going on while the Lord was gone
Not to do so would not only have endangered his job and life, but his very soul would have been in jeapordy. The oath of fealty was a bond between man and master in which each promised to help and defend the other."If thou harmest another, I shall answer for thee. And any who harm thee shall answer to me."
The oath was sworn before God and was not broken lightly. "Until death shall take me, my Lord release me, or the world shall end."
Nope, can't fault the page.

troll


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jimmy C
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 12:05 AM

Both Matty and Lord Arlen's wife are both to lame but the little rat page is the most dispicable of them all- Lord I hate informers.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,BanShidhe
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 12:43 AM

This ballad is in Set 3 of our set list right now....lol 1. Anyway, I'm of the opinion that Matty was simply being chivalrous, (in the extreme), first of all reminding Lord Darnell's wife that she is married, then going home with her to service her needs anyway.

2. The servant was doing his duty as well.

3. Lord Darnell was also doing what was expected of him by killing the pair. In those days, I believe that's what one did.

4. Lady Darnell knew the consequences, living in England where the man could cheat, (yeah, right- "Bringing the yearlings home"... more like "Bedding the shepardess alone.") and the woman was chattel, expected to be the main breeding stock to the Lord only. She knew the risk to herself, but she did involve Matty, so I guess she's closer to being the "baddy" here of any of them in my opinion. She was honest to the end though, confessing her disgust for Lord Darnell even when she had a chance to lie & possibly save herself-"I'd rather have a kiss from the dead Matty's lips than you or your finery."

5. Does anyone know if this ballad was based on any particular real event like "The Bonny Boy" (or "The Trees They do Grow High") was? I also think it's interesting how a the characters' motivations change with the different versions I read about above.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 05:11 AM

Good question Banshide,

I really don't know but I would love to.

I have to get some work down now before leaving for Fylde (oh dear, have I already mentioned that???!)

But I will put this one on my tracer and continue whern I get back.

Catrin

BTW - I am constantly changing my mind about who I think is 'to blame' (if anybody). Depends on my mood, who's just put forward a really persuasive argument, how generous towards society I'm feeling.....

P.S. I have heard it argued that Lord Donald is really a bit of a good chap. Didn't he offer MG his best sword to fight with 'You shall have the better of them, and I shall have the worst', thereby giving the lad a sporting chance.....


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 09:05 AM

All of these - and their opposits - are arguable, depending on the PC/moral stance adopted. Have a read of John Jacob Niles' The Ballad Book and you'll see that Sandy makes the interesting point. "All of the above," including Page, are just filling their expected or required roles. But "the daring member of the Lord's platoon of merry men who blew his horn to warn the sleeping" does something out of character. Why does he do that? Niles was semi-obsessed with finding a song to cover the inside story.

Clearly he's endangering himself but is he doing it out of friendship to Matty or Lady? Maybe some other, nefarious reason - that would be more satisfying, anyway.

Niles claims (I say claims) to have finally found a song that gives it. Seems Hornblower is interested in a lady that Page is hooked up with. Remembering that Barnard will kill Page if he was lying, Hornblower simply wants to warn them so it will look like nothing was happening and Page gets killed. Very devious.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Rana who SHOULD be working
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 10:23 AM

This was posted in a thread a month or so ago on UK.Music.Folk entitled "Bad Examples in Folk Songs". Amongst other gems it had this appropriate advice for this thread.

When the husband of the woman you are sleeping with arrives unexpectedly to find you both in his bed in the morning, be sure to greet him with: It's fine I like your feather bed, and fine I like your sheets But better I like your lady gay that lies in my arms asleep... A word of caution - on most occasions he won't have two beaten swords in his scabbard, only one. This does change the odds. There is also some chance that he may not be bothered in the slightest if all England knows he killed a naked man.

Rana


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jon W.
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 10:25 AM

In the Planxty version ("Little Musgrave") the horn blower did it for love of Musgrave (Matty Groves). I'm not even going to venture what form that love took otherwise. Musgrave was one of Lord Barnard's knights and no doubt had more than a sporting chance when Barnard offered him the better sword.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Shanti
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 10:46 AM

Haven't had time to read all the responses, but I think the baddies are the wife, (for even asking MG to sleep with her), the page for being a spy ("I was just doing my job") and especially the husband for drastically over-reacting. At that time, wives were the property of their husbands, but there are other ways he could have punished them. Of course, MG has to bear a little of the respo, but the wife started the process. Guess this all boils down to EVERYONE being the baddy.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jacob B
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 04:19 PM

In the days when knights carried two swords, the smaller of them was basically what we would now call a dagger. The Lord was giving his sword to Matty, and keeping the dagger for himself.

It seems like there are several versions in which the husband is trying to avoid killing his wife, which he knows he is supposed to do if he discovers her with a lover and survives fighting the lover.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: MMario
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 04:27 PM

Since the knight was in his own bedroom, he could well have been giving Matty his best sword and taking his "spare" off the wall.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 06:54 PM

But what if the page was a serf, pressed into service,,, fealty means nothing then...

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 10:05 PM

Okay. It's election night, and the polls are closing. Tension mounts as the vote count rolls in, riding by riding....out of 48 ridings:

It looks like the official BADDIE is going to be...

1. MATTY GROVES - leading in 9 Ridings.

2. LADY WHOEVER - leading in 12 Ridings!

3. LORD WHOEVER - leading in only 5 Ridings.

4. SOCIETY IN GENERAL - too indefinite a policy statement, and no charisma whatsoever, gets only 5 Ridings.

5. Dark Horse Candidate SHADY GROVES (of the SPAW Party...that's the Solipsismicly Puerile Anal Wankers Party) - gets exactly 1 riding.

THE ROTTEN LITTLE PAGE BOY - a clear minority winner with 16 Ridings!!! Soon to form a government of nasty little treacherous squealers who will betray absolutely everybody...

UNLESS...the other principals form a coalition against him...look for a possible move by Matty and the Lady to combine their 21 Ridings into a single block through a decisive act of political coition.

If so, the Rotten Little Page Boy may attempt a similar alliance with Lord Whoever, which would also result in a block of 21 Ridings! Gad! That would be a governmental deadlock.

But wait! Although we can't expect much from the SOCIETY Party, which has no idea what it really stands for, the SPAW Party could prove to be the tie breaker. Yes, SHADY GROVES STANDS POISED TO BECOME THE KINGMAKER...!!!!

Stay tuned. Ain't democracy great?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: hesperis
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 11:55 PM

Going by the version in the DT:

a) Matty Groves - for sleeping with a married woman?

I have no objection to his doing that.

b) Lord Donald's wife for comitting adultary?

If this was actually love, and not just boredom, I would have no problem with that. However, if she actually loved the guy, she could have either run away, or gotten involved in the fight, possibly changing the outcome drastically.

c) The little page for telling on them?

Is a "sundt" the same as page?

I smell power plays.
The way it looks here, the guy was merely gossipy, power-seeking, and vindictive towards women.

d) Lord Donald for murdering them both?

Guys get really possesive anyway, and in that time, it was expected/allowed/permitted for them to act out on those feelings. I hate it when guys get like that.
I do blame him for not making sure his wife had something to do while he was away.
The line "never heard to speak so free" suggests that she was just a trophy wife, expected to do nothing except sit and embroider baby clothes... It's really hard not to think of taking a lover when you're not in a true partnership.

e) All of the above

No. Another vote for "Society."

I have no problem with adultery. I have a problem with promiscuity, but mainly on grounds of health.
If the Lady had been allowed any choice in her future, she might not have been married when she met Matty. If there had been true respect in her relationship with the Lord, none of that would have happened. If the general climate had been set up to respect a woman's right to her own body, the sundt wouldn't have gotten any payoff from snitching.
And if the society had been set up with freedom and equality, there wouldn't have been a sundt to snitch...

There was an Irish queen sometime far in the past, who wrote a letter to a nearby king, talking about treaties and crops and stuff like that, and at the end of it, she invited him, very casually, to "share my thighs." That very phrase. I think she was married already, too.

Guys became very possesive of women when they discovered that they actually had something to do with children being born. Paternal lineage became more important than maternal lineage. Men began to trade women, as if they were only breeding animals. Men began to belittle women's minds, creativity, and accomplishments. In order to cover up what they were really doing, they called it 'protection', and made it unsafe for a woman to walk alone.

I blame society, although all the individuals in the song have some blood on their hands for their actions.

~*hesperis*~


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: hesperis
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 12:31 AM

(getting off my soapbox now...)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Troll
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 12:41 AM

Liz: The page would not have been a serf but the son of a noble house who was "fostered" to Lord Arlen to learn to be-ultimately- a knight. He would start as a page and learn to serve the Lord and Lady as messenger and general go-fer.During this time he would be taught what little reading and writing he would get
When he became a little older, he would begin training in arms and would become a squire.
And so it would go. In the end he would be much closer to Lord Arlen than to his own father; who would have had fosterlings of his own.
Serfs were never used as pages etc. This was a priviledge reserved for the gently born.
Nice theory but the page as serf does not work historicaly.

troll


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 06:06 AM

I don't care, he was still a slimy, brown nosed, arse licking piece of dog's pizzle, who deserved to get galloping dysentery, Viles' disease and the clap.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: sledge
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 06:56 AM

I heard he did......... From Lord Donalds wife in the first place, explains a lot.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Troll
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 07:56 AM

Liz; remind me to never, never get you pissed off at me.

troll


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: IanC
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 08:09 AM

Re: The Page as baddy.

I think we have to understand personal concepts of fealty in the middle ages to realise that what the page is doing is essentially noble. He usually says something like "I am Lord Darnell's man". Thus indicating that, despite his own preferences in the matter, he has an obligation to his lord. At the period in history we are talking about (I'm assuming it's basically a mediaeval story) society has only just emerged from the situation where it was considered a vile disgrace for a lord's retainers (upper class warriors) to survive him should he be killed in battle. They still regarded it as a moral obligation to belong to their lord, body and soul. It really doesn't make sense to try and impose our own peculiar style of morality on this situation - i.e. blame somebody for doing what he knows is the only reasonable course of action.

Sorry if this sounds pompous but the characterisation of the page as "brown nosed" doesn't appear realistic to me.

Cheers!Ian


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: AndyG
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 08:51 AM

Yay !
Let's hear it for the page.

As I said before it's those holidays.

The Devil finds work for idle hands
being the message of the song.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: dalek
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 09:12 AM

Lord Donald, definitly, for being initialy more concerned with mattys oppinion of his new bedding, than his wife! missing verse..... how do you like my feather bed, and how do you like my sheets, and what about the flock wallpaper and the parker knoll three piece suiet?

DALEK


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Steve B
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 10:14 AM

What a fascinating insight into what is undoubtedley one of our finest ballads.

One question was if the story is based on real events - don't have an answer to this but bearing in mind that Lord Barnard (or whatever) was able to travel the distance in a single night, geography enters into the equation. It is interesting that the ballad is also known as Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard as there are two villages in the north of England called Greater and Lesser (or little?) Musgrave and they are not far from Barnard Castle!! Interesting eh?

As to blame - who knows. It really does depend on individual views/morals and understanding of society in those times but love knows no reason (to quote another song) and causes people to do things out of character sometimes!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 10:30 AM

Note that naked MEANS unarmed in this context. The version I had (Shep Ginandes) made it clear that it was the (married) woman who was the enticer; the page only did what he was hired to do, Matty Groves was an idiot but not a homewrecker, and everyone seemed to understand why Lord Arling cut off her head with his bitter sword and stove it against the wall, after finding her in bed with someone she then claimed to prefer to him. However, I have a Doc Watson version which makes it just as clear that Matty is a homewrecker. So I'd clear the page, allow the understandable fury of the cuckold, and say that whether Matty or the wife were the instigator depends on who's singing the ballad. And I would put the "blame" if you will on the instigator.

As a (sexist!) aside, I think that when she instigates, he's an idiot, and when he instigates, that she's weak. Go figure...


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: AndyG
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 11:32 AM

Thanks Mrrzy,

If as we believe NAKED implies unarmed in this context LD is keeping his head and saying;
"I won't be accused of MURDER but we will fight a duel to resolve this".
Which would be a legitimate chivalric response to such a event.

Also in Little Musgrave (as I remember it) there's a sequence after the challenge where they leave the bedroom and go down the hall/stairs (?) which would lend further strength it being a duel (trial by combat) rather than a killing "in hot blood".

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 11:44 AM

Hmmm...what is all this, a demand for a recount?

Hesperis - congratulations for the best overall analysis of the lot. It was indeed the attempt to establish paternal lineage (always a bit tricky to prove...until very recently) that led to the oppression, imprisonment (in exclusive relationship), and virtual enslavement of women. A pretty sorry situation. Maternal lineage is absolutely obvious and undeniable, and societies based upon it do not oppress their women.

I had a guitar teacher many years ago, an American draft dodger who lived in Toronto, Canada. He was being interviewed by the press one time (being quite a unique character), and he said he couldn't wait for the matriarchy to be reestablished in society. "Why?" asked the interviewer. "Because I'd rather be coddled than obeyed," replied Matthew. :-)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 02:09 PM

AndyG, in the version I know best, they don't go down the hall to fight, it seems that the fight happens right in the bedroom, as soon as MG has armed himself (with the lord's better sword). Then when wifey would rather have MG "than you and all your kin" he takes his lady by the hand and leads her down the hall, possibly only so that when he cut off her head and stove it against the wall, it would rhyme.

But as baddies go, what about the one man who blew the horn and warned the lovers? His heart was in the right place but he was disobeying a direct order from his liege... whereas the page, who tattled, can be assumed to be the HUSBAND's employee, and thus faithful, really, even if he was a tattletale. Oops -- the term for that is Whistleblower, right, if it was a good thing to tattle about?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Den at work
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 02:14 PM

I'm only familiar with the Planxty version which I believe was based on the Nic Jones version and anyway society is to blame and they all should have been taken in for questioning. Den. p.s. the page is still a ratfaced little shit.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 02:34 PM

I think in the version I have, by Fairport Convention, the "page" is a woman! How does that change things?

I'm afraid I lean on the society as a whole as being the baddie. The wife apparently had wanted MG far longer than the time frame of the song. It seems in some versions she went to the church with the intention of bringing someone home. Some may argue that she had that right because that was surely what Lord Arnold was doing but does it really make it right? She had sworn the oath in church and dedicated her life to his (for whatever reason).

I am of my psotion on extramarital relations because I have never had the opportunity to experience one. My viewpoint changes with the circumstances (sorry, but I am human). If I were unhappily married I would probably take the position that the affair was right and proper. In any event it was society that was wrong at the time. All players in this tragedy played according to their roles in society as pointed out above.

As for "when she instigates, he's an idiot, and when he instigates, that she's weak." I would beg to differ. You give any man the opportunity to bed an attractive woman and you will, at the very least, induce such an internal struggle that you should fear for his sanity. The male of this species will follow the dictates of his hormones first and foremost. If he is really strong he will be able to overcome those dictates. If he is weak he will fall (into bed).


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Llanfair
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 02:41 PM

I thought it was funny, D. Love, Llanfair.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jacob B
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 02:42 PM

So is it better to be a Whistleblower or a Hornblower?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Llanfair
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 02:42 PM

I thought it was funny, D. Love, Mum.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: sophocleese
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 06:56 PM

What I like about this song is its ability to be moulded to whatever view the singer has of the action. The impartiality of the words allows each of us our own revealing views. But I still think I wouldn't want to live then as property and the page might have been able to be quiet, taken longer to get to Lord Arnold, or just indulged in a little blackmail.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 11:12 PM

Hornblower? Yeah, let's hear it for Horatio Hornblower! My favourite nautical figure of all time. Brittania Rule The Waves...


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: balladeer
Date: 01 Sep 00 - 11:55 PM

Oh woe is me Oh woe is thee Why stayed you not my hand? For I have slain the fairest youth Ere lived in all England.

The point is, these people are all very complex and human. The human drama they are caught up in still has the power to thrill. Hundreds of years later, intelligent men and women all over the English-speaking universe continue to ardently debate the details and, in the case of the present thread, attempt to assign blame. I think it's wonderful that so many seem to take an interest.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Sep 00 - 01:03 PM

Yes, these are still vital issues today. Why is it that we cannot "love" without staking a claim of ownership. And is that really love? Maybe partly, but it's badly compromised by fear of loss. If we are all one in spirit (which is my belief), then love is a given, and the absence of love is an illness of some kind. I don't necessarily want to see my beloved in another's arms right there in front of me (because I am not completely without fear...yet), but how can I restrict her freedom to find her own happiness...and still claim that I love her? Love is merciful, love allows others to be who they are. All else is illusion, fear, or vanity.

Lord Arlen was taught that he owned his wife. Poor man. Poor woman. And poor Matty Groves.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: clansfolk
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 04:24 AM

What happened to the Page?

The only information I have is that he turned over a new leaf - moved to America and changed his name to Paul Revere (how do you spell that!)

Time to get back to Fylde!!! just think I was there just 5 hrs ago....

Pete


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: gillymor
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 10:37 AM

LOL cf, it's good to see that that snivelling page finally amounted to something and became a world class snitch.
It's good to see you back Noreen, I'll pm you. That verse is hilarious. Here's another variation:

How do you like my feather bed,
How do you like my sheets,
And how do you like my dust ruffle,
I got at a white sale cheap.

Frankie,

PS Lovely thoughts, Little Hawk.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:15 AM

We sang this last night in a wood, dressed in mediaeval gear - just couldn't help myself, after what was said earlier about the yearlings - I sang how do you like my feather beds and how do you like my sheep! And everyone there thought the page was a snivelling little rat faced tattletale too. He was just as much a possession as Lady Donald, he could have given her a little pleasure? Although it seems he did, to have gotten the clap!!

How do you like my feather beds,
And how do you like my sheep,
And how do you like my new spring lambs,
Served up with tatties and neeps.

Sorry.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: DanMulligan
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:21 AM

Naemanson..... Here is the verse from Fairport Convention's version that refers to the "page."

"And a servant who was standing by and hearing what was said
He swore Lord Donald he would know before the sun would set
And in his hurry to carry the news, he bent his breast and ran
And when he came to the broad millstream, he took off his shoes and he swam"

Clearly the servent was a "he."
dan


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: gillymor
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:25 AM

LOL Liz, the "folk process" in action.

F


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:25 AM

Seems we still haven't moved beyond the medievil when the majority still wants to shoot the messenger. The Page is the only one I have some sympathy for in this dilema. As pointed out by Troll, he seems to be the only one "forced" to make a moral decision and he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. A very awkward situation for him, not of his own making.

But then again, a lot of bad stuff starts by adherence to ridgid principals, hence the duality of human nature. Lean towards the light.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:29 AM

Frankee - don't know about folk process, more like brain processes!!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: gillymor
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:42 AM

Actually I kind of agree, Metchosin. In the versions I've heard I haven't gleaned enough information about the page to know what his motivations were. Perhaps he idolised the lord and was acting the faithful servant and perhaps not.

F


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: gillymor
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:50 AM

...even more like meat processes, Liz.

F


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: hesperis
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 11:54 AM

Everybody in the ballad had a moment where what they chose to do affected the outcome.
They could not move beyond society's programming, and people died for it.
That's what I see here, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 12:04 PM

Maybe we forget that the Page was a child with probably a more simplistic view of right and wrong.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: sophocleese
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 12:07 PM

OH No hesperis you mean "They were all helpless victims of a brutal society."


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 12:20 PM

Ah but sophocleese they were not all helpless victims of a brutal society, just their own romantic lust. All of them probably had some point where they could have chosen an anternate action and lived with the consequences, but then that wouldn't have made a good song would it?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Metchosin
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 12:23 PM

Is there any reason why I am unable to access the DT?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Noreen
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 12:55 PM

Naemanson and DanMulligan, you're both right- for some reason Simon Nicol has taken to singing of the page as female. I took it be so it sounds more 'exciting' or something when she 'bared her breast and she ran' but who knows? Simon is famous for his grasp (or otherwise)of lyrics.
It wasn't him though who left a whole verse out at Cropredy one year, unfortunately the pivotal verse where Matty snuffs it!

The idea of commenting on the soft furnishings seems to have come from 'Fatty Groves', the Kipper Family's parody of Matty. (DT not accessible at the moment so can't check if this link works, sorry).

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 12:16 PM

Wow - just got back - stopping this falling off the bottom of the page(?)

Rushing out - catch you later.

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: hesperis
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 12:53 PM

No, sophocleese, we are never helpless. There is always a moment of choice. (Otherwise I would probably be dead by now.)

The horrible thing is that so many do not realize this, and so many do not take the time to think for themselves, and so many end up just repeating unhealthy patterns of behaviour.

Children do not really have a choice, but that is partly because we do not teach them how to think. And when they think on their own, it is often beaten out of them.
Then when they are older, they are expected to be "productive" members of society, whatever that means.

Most of the people in this ballad were adults. They each had a choice.

Society bears the greatest share of blame in this (IMHO) because many people do not get out of destructive patterns. Many people do not know that there is a choice, and therefore choose according to what society says is right, rather than thinking it out, deciding, and then acting with confidence on that decision.

If people do not know there is a choice, then society is responsible, for their actions, and for cleaning up the consequences. (IMHO)

By the standards of society at that time, Lady Arlen (or whoever) was the most to blame. (And the page was the least to blame.) And this I do not accept.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 02:08 PM

Right. I have noticed ever since my stay at Rolling Thunder's camp that people in regular society are absolutely surrounded by a multitude of possible choices...and yet they are utterly unaware of it most of the time.

So they go out to the bars at night, or sit glued to the TV...because they honestly cannot think of one other thing they could do at that moment. There's even a TV in the f*cking bar. Big Brother is watching.

It's pathetic.

What can you expect, though, when people are fed a diet of mental garbage from the time they're old enough to walk?

The overall society is to blame. It has brutalized people and robbed them of the awareness of their own freedom of choice. And if that is so, then the individual people are to blame too...because we all collectively make this society what it is.

So...let's change it. Now. By changing ourselves, one at a time. We have the power.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: balladeer
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 09:22 AM

Yes. I'm having real difficulty with the "society made them do it" argument. Society is us. We created it to keep us organized. And, of course, we can objectify and, therefore, blame our creation when that suits us.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:25 AM

Thnks Noreen and DanMulligan. I THOUGHT I'd heard it as the page being female. I haven't had time to listen again yet.

One thing we need to keep firmly in mind is that the incidents depicted in the song have a role in changing the society. People are affected by the song and it impacts their perception of the society around them. And slowly, over the centuries, things are changed. A lot of Matties and Lady Donalds have had to die in the interim but it is now illegal to kill an adulterous couple no matter who you are.

Little Hawk - You commented on Horatio Hornblower. Have you read O'Brian yet? Are you familiar with Aubrey and Maturin?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: sophocleese
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:34 AM

Just for the record, comments I made about them being helpless victims were strictly tongue in cheek. "Oh dear, oh dear, well I think that an appointment with Mumblethroth Dinglewort ye olde marriage counsellor would be a good idea however, as I'm a helpless victim of society, instead I am driven by forces beyond my strength to offer you, Matty, a sword so that we can trying killing each other in a duel. Would you like the pretty blue one or the Zolton Mega-Thresher?"


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:36 AM

Fascinating!!!

This discussion is reminding me why I love folk music so much. The best folk songs touch on issues that affect all of us, by virtue of our being human. I think that this ballad does allow for different interpretations, hence people's ideas of who is the 'baddy' differ depending upon their own moral standpoint. So it turns fairly quickly into, not a dicussion of the song any more, but rather a philosophical discussion of morals and values infherent in toady's society

I would really like to go back to a question that somebody raised earlier - Is this based on a 'true' event? Anybody know?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:39 AM

Toady's society?????

I think I meant today's, although perhaps it was an unconsciously expressed opinion (*BG*)

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 03:00 PM

Hey, sophocleese, "the unexamined life is not worth living", right? The examined life requires that a person challenge and question all the social, religious, scientific, and ethical conditioning that has been laid upon her by her parents, the schools, the churches, the governmental authorities, and so on. First you challenge and question the "common sense" of your day. Then you formulate hypothetical theories of your own. Then you put those theories to the test in the crucible of actual experience. And then, you are in a position to become a free human being. Unexamined lives do become victims of society, by default, as it were. And it really is their fault, because they could have done some examining, but chose not to.

Oh, yeah...watch out for that "tongue-in-cheek" stuff. Ya do it too much and ya start to look like a chipmunk! :-)

Naemanson - Great point! The song "Matty Groves" has served to enlighten and change society, as have many other songs. And that has got to be the highest calling a folksong or any work of art can possibly have.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: sophocleese
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 04:39 PM

Well first of all it depends on who is doing the examining....


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 04:51 PM

If I have to pass an examination of my own life then I want time to study for the test!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 09:28 PM

I keep readin' and readin' (all good stuff) but I keep waitin' for Spaw to post sumpin bout "turing a page." Where air ye, Spaw???


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: hesperis
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:03 PM

balladeer - Society is pretty big... If people don't know that they have a choice, who is going to clean up the results of their actions? The rest of us. Society.

When individual choices make a society that has such momentum as to prevent certain other individuals from acting in a healthy, sane way, then that is society's fault. You can't find the individuals in any large society who made that society become a reality. And then people are hampered in their choices by what that society says is their choice.

To say that society is to blame is not a way of avoiding individual responsibility.

To say that society is to blame means that we each have the responsibility to affect that society in a sane way.
We each need, through our own actions and decisions, to build a sane society. What I mean by a sane society, is an environment where all people realize they have those moments of choice, and to give them the tools needed to choose well, each according to reality, logic, heart, and their own consciences.

We currently live in a society that is not exactly sane. It was much worse back then.
How much insanity can a normal person take before they go insane?
And if they are overexposed to insanity through no fault of their own, how can you blame them for becoming insane?

Yes, we all still need to clean up the mess, but have some compassion here!

~*hesperis*~


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:15 PM

You are doing the examining, Soph...if it's your life. Me if it's mine.

Naemanson - As for having the time to study...that's what life is, I suppose. We all graduate eventually, with a diploma in Life.

To quote Walt Whitman:

"All goes onward and outward...and nothing collapses, And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier. Has anyone supposed it is lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it."

Whitman didn't just talk...he listened.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:51 PM

Actually to paraphrase Pogo:

Don't take life so seriously, nobody survives the experience.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Brendy
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 11:15 PM

The page may not have been as magnanimous as we all think.

He was bound to know that information like this would be highly rewarded by his Lord. OK, he may have been 'loyal' to the two of them, the Lord was in a position to hand out a few acres of land, where herself wasn't.

He also assumed that if his information was incorrect he would be killed himself, for defaming his wife, but, perhaps he reckoned that that Matty would still be in the sack with his wife the next morning. Versions differ as to how far away the Lord was on this particular day.

Matty was an eegit for staying the night in the first place, morality questions aside.
The page, lowlife informer that he was, made substantial financial gain out of the whole affair.

He probably wrote the song as well. Matty certainly didn't. Neither did the Lady. And I doubt the Lord would have been in possession of sufficient facts about the matter to write such a detailed account about events that happened when he wasn't there to witness, them.
Wouldn't really be in his best interests to write such a song, would it?

No my money is on a big white wash job by the page.

It's so hard to find decent help these days.

B.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: balladeer
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 11:15 PM

Sophoclees -- I love your marriage-counselling post. My jokes are rarely understood on the net, and now I see I have made the same mistake in missing your irony (sarcasm?)

Hesperis -- I mostly agreed with your last entry, but a) I don't believe it will ever be possible to create a society in which EVERYONE consciously recognizes they have choices and usually makes the socially responsible ones and b) I have no idea why you accuse me of lacking compassion. I just don't subscribe to the notion that "society" and "I" are disconnected units.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: balladeer
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 11:20 PM

Sophoclees: Did you make up the name Mumblethroth Dinglewort? I'm still laughing....


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: hesperis
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 11:27 PM

Maybe it won't ever be possible to create that kind of society, but we can try. Looks like you're trying to do that as well.
Sorry I accused you of a lack of compassion. (Didn't realize I'd gotten so heated!)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: balladeer
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 06:48 AM

A grave, a grave, Lord Arland cried. To put these two lovers in. But place my lady on the upper hand For she came of better kin.

Thanks Hesperis. Even though I'm easily wounded, I am happy to be part of a ballad-related discussion where people are involved enough to be heated.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 04:23 PM

balladeer, yes I made up the name Mumblethroth Dinglewort. I'm glad you liked it and found what I wrote funny. I should probably have taken more time and rendered it in verse form but that's the way it came out.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 04:50 PM

Mumblethroth Dinglewort is a superb name. It's as good as Crawford Tillinghast, IMHO. If I ever acquire 2 more hamsters (or guinea pigs), I am going to name them Mumblethroth and Dinglewort.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 03:59 PM

Lord Donald is the baddy. He's the only one who kills people. Never mind about everyone's motivation, when it comes down to it, he's the murderer.

And I don't care if he's a man of high temper and it's a crime of passion, he's still a contemptible murderer, the creepo, and I'm glad his lady gay (was she a lesbian, I wonder?) and her little sweetie had a good time in his feather bed and his sheets.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 10:40 PM

I participated in a workshop a while ago called "HEROES, VILLIANS AND VICTIMS". Jim Ringer was on it too. Can't recall who else. We realized pretty quickly that many of our songs that we had chosen to pull out for this had people in them that could fit into all three.

"Jesse James"

"Pretty Boy Floyd"

"Billy The Kid"

"Tom Joad"

"Blackjack County Chain"---------and many others.

Yep, this one too.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 10:51 PM

JTT - before our silly society decided to get all embroiled in new names for various groups of people for whatever reason..."gay" was an extremely useful word. It meant: happy, blithe, carefree...and so on. A Lady Gay was generally thought to be an attractive lady, basically, or a lady who knew how to enjoy herself, or something like that.

Now, however, "gay" is a word with a much more specific application. That's a pretty recent development, historically speaking.

No offense to gays intended by my comments, by the way.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: 5-string
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 12:53 AM

You know, all the modern-day theorizing is great, but did anybody live in those days who can give us an insight to the actual mindset of the day?

The version I know says nothing of Lady Arlen passing on to her reward. Also, there is a Child's number to this, but I don't know it offhand.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: harpgirl
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 08:30 AM

...Lord Donald's wife is one halyard short on her storm jib. If she had any sense she wouldn't have gotten caught in the first place. Before technology eliminated evolution, we needed female promiscuity to keep the gene pool clear. Now we are doomed unless we find some cute beta aliens!!!! harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 11:20 AM

I think Guest JTT was being deliberately funny.

Thread Creep!

I used to be gay until they changed its definition. Then I got depressed until I decided I could be gay and straight at the same time! Unfortunately I can't be too pointed about being gay in a conservative society so I have to just to tell people I'm happy until the day comes when I can be gay again.

It just occurred to me, are people using the name "Gay" for their little girls any more? Has that name now dropped out of sight?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 09:12 PM

Yup. It's been blown out of the water by Courtney, Megan, Erin, Brooke, Britney, Kyla, and so on...just wait and see what happens next...

I wonder when Beulah and Kezia will come back into style? Maybe never?

For that matter, what about Winston and Throckmorton? Two perfectly good names that have been swept away by the cruel tides of social conformity. And then there's Oglethorpe and Ignatz and Cholmondely (pronounced "Chumley")...

There are so many boys named Kyle in this town, that if you yell it out on a large cruise ship you have to be sure you're standing in the middle of the boat or the darn thing capsizes when they all come running! It's a sick and horrifying example of the insidious effects of TV on a numb populace.

Is this thread creep? Damned if I know. I can't remember what started me on this anymore.

Oh yeah, Matty Groves. There aren't too many Matty's around any more either. Shocking. Something should be done!

By the way, there is a woman in Orillia named Gay Guthrie (and she isn't). She administers a local art gallery. True fact. For false facts, consult the SPAW Centre For Disinformation and Rumorous Twaddle.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Catrin
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 05:08 AM

There's a woman who presents gardening programmes in the UK called 'Gay Search' (really!)

A friend of mine is called 'Matty' - short for Matthew. Don't know anyone who has Matty on their birth certificate though.

Oh and back to Matty Groves - This thread is wonderful! I feel like I gave birth to an idea and then watched it grow up, stand up and walk away, all independent like and with its own ideas.

Fascinating!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 05:25 AM

As for having the time to study...that's what life is, I suppose. We all graduate eventually, with a diploma in Life. Yeah - but the graduation party is a bummer, and the diploma a death certificate!! *B sardonic G*..

Re: thread creep on names - my daughter is called Phoebe after my great grandmother - everyone just assumes I named her for the one in 'Friends' - except the rampant Christians - they know my feminist views on women in the priesthood and assume I named her after the first deaconess mentioned in Acts..... You can't win!!

LTS who was named for her grandmother, and is extremely lucky they didn't chose the other grandmother or else I could be Winifred!!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Metchosin
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 05:35 AM

Could be worse Liz, if they'd named me for my grandmother rather than my greatgrandmother I would have been Euphemia rather than Susan.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 05:39 AM

Ethel Winifred??! At least Euphemia got popular with Mrs Doubtfire..... Ethel is a sad old character in a UK soap (sorry, thrice weekly drama) who died in the latest episode. Winifred at least has the merit of being a saint.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Hedy West (current membership)
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 05:40 AM

They're all flawed, just like us. In condensed time we watch them pay for those flaws. If we've a mind to, we can try to contain ours, or leap right into our own perditions. Hedy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 07:25 AM

REFRESH


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 11:42 AM


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Nerd-away from home
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 11:45 AM

Re: jacob B's observation (three years ago!)

Yes, several great traditional singers in North Carolina and Virginia identified the page as "little Robert Ford." Cas Wallin paused after singing the character's name and muttered "he got around, didn't he?" indicating that he was fully aware of the character's appearance in Jesse James. Dillard Chandler also sang of "little Robert Ford." I think he was Cas' Uncle, but he may have been a cousin.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 07:26 PM

All of the characters in this ballad were playing their roles according to the laws of chivalry. Lady Barnard/Arlen was lovestruck. Little Musgrave/Matty Groves would have been abandoning his manhood if he had refused the lady's offer. The page was doing his job. Lord Barnard/Arlen was defending his honor.

Of course, from most people's point of view these days, each of them was asking for trouble. Leslie Fish disposes of the three main characters in the last line of her satire:

"But who else but a brainless slut would go for Manly Men?"

She has nothing to say about the page.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Nerd
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 12:16 PM

Sorry, Joe F, but I can't agree.

It was not part of the Laws of Chivalry that a married woman who is "love-struck" should attempt to sleep with the object of her affections. (Women, by the way, were not goverened by rules of chivalry anyway.) It was even less part of any chivalric code for a man to sleep with an inappropriate woman. Chivalric or courtly love was ideally non-sexual, with the man worshipping the woman and performing great feats in her honor. Entire romances, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are centered on the idea that the height of chivalry is refusing sexual contact with women if that contact is not socially appropriate (eg. you are not married to her, or worse, she is your lord's wife). In fact, Matty's inability to refuse her advances would be seen as emotional and womanly, "abandoning his manhood" in your words.

The page was also not bound by chivalric rules, and it is open to interpretation whether he did the right thing. He is, after all, a lady's page, that is, her servant, and he obviously goes against her wishes. On the other hand, in the medieval/renaissance worldview, Barnard is her boss, and hence the page's "boss's boss." So the situation is similar to being in an office where your boss does something which you know HER boss would not approve of. Do you tell? Hard to say, but few would argue that it's necessarily your JOB to tell.

Insofar as Barnard/Arlen goes, once he is informed by the page, he has more options than simply killing them on the spot. Depending on where his demesne is, he may be essentially an absolute tyrant on his own lands. Or he may be able to prosecute them legally. he certainly does not have to kill them, as he himself recognizes in some versions of the ballad where he regrets his actions afterward.

The good thing about the ballad for me is that it presents complexities of morality rarely seen in ballads. You can ask: was Lady Barnard wrong to pursue Matty, if she was in a loveless marriage? Was Matty wrong to accept her offer, if he could see how unhappy she was? Was the page wrong to tell, given what the likely consequences would be? Was Barnard wrong to kill them? In all cases, the answer is "yes...and no." That's why it's one of the great ones!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 07:42 PM

Nerd:

Evidently, you know more about the matter than I do. At any rate, I think I should have written "gallantry" rather than "chivalry". There certainly was (and is? I have heard such things said) a body of sentiment that it is craven for a man to turn down a woman's offer, regardless of the sin & danger involved, but perhaps "gallantry" is a better name for it.

I had assumed that the page was the lord's rather than the lady's; but I see in Child that the versions differ on this point. In A he is indeed the lady's, and expresses awareness of the resulting conflict:

All though I am my ladye's foot-page,
Yet I am Lord Barnard's man.

In C, she calls him "_our_ little foot-page", but it is clear that his primary duty & loyalty are to the lord. She worries that the page will betray her, and Musgrave responds by offering him a bribe to keep the secret & indeed stand watch in case the lord comes home; but he refuses, saying "'Twere great disloyaltie", and runs off. That surely magnifies the recklessness of the couple in proceeding! H is similar.

In D, there is no mention of whose in particular the page is; but he *asks* for a bribe, and Musgrave, besides agreeing to pay it, threatens to burn the page alive if he betrays them; the page then sneaks off to the stable & rides away to warn the lord. Complicated things must have been going on in his mind! Perhaps he resented being threatened. L is similar, except that the page is explicitly the lady's, and Musgrave asks her to bribe him.

In E, the page is unambiguously "Lord Barnaby's boy", and he surprises them in the act. *The lady* threatens him with a penknife; he gives her "a blythe leer look" & runs off. J is similar, except that she threatens him with a rusty sword.

In F, the page is hers, and she summons him in advance for the promise & the threat, but he ignores both.

Evidently there are some versions in which the page is only doing his duty, but they are not the most interesting ones. Complexities of morality indeed!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Nerd
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 02:20 AM

Joe F

Good point that these things vary from version to version as well! Of course, there are many versions not in Child, and indeed the ones I know best are from oral tradition. The Child versions you've gone through add even more interesting twists!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 09:04 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Ivan
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 11:28 AM

There are no "baddies" in the song, just people who have to make choices.
Matty/Musgrave has to choose whether or not to try his luck with the lady.
She has to choose whether or not to invite him back to her place.
The page has to choose ... and so on.
Thankfully they all make what turn out to be the wrong choices. If they didn't it would be an extremely boring song! In fact it would have been forgotten long before now.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 11:50 AM

One of the salient features of the traditional English and Scottish ballads is that they don't take sides, they don't preach. They give you a conflict situation, which gets resolved in some way, but the song itself doesn't set out to tell you what to think about the situation. Sure, you may conclude that you pity Matty Grove (for instance) in the situation, but the ballad won't tell you, "Oh, wow, that bastard husband slew poor little Matty!" Nor, "There! That sneaking womanizer, Matty Grove, got his comeuppance!"

The "baddy" (if any) is the personal creation of the individual listener.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 08:17 AM

The woman.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 03:14 AM

My daughter, sophomore in a Catholic girls high school, needs a song for Religion class that contains "sin, love or justice". I thought for a bit and gave her Matty Groves, Fairport Convention version. That may give the class someting to discuss. The younger kids will probably go to publick school.

Allan


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Amos
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 09:55 AM

This is the kind of stuff that makes the Mudcat great in even the worst of its times. Thanks for an eminently readable discussion, gang!

My first impulse was to say it was the wicked wife as seductress, but the complex of individual decisions made in context is not conducive to condemning one person as the baddy. Because real life often doesn't fall in to black and white roles. It is true that any of the players could have chosen more wisely and thus prevented the convergent of bad choices into a catastrophe. The song engenders a wish -- maybe even a decision -- to seek wiser powers of choice. But is not a moralityplay in the old black-and-white sense.

A


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 04:31 PM

The religious class that required a topic embracing 'sin, love or justice' reminds me of an old story about the famous mystery-writer who addressed a class of schoolkids, impressing upon them that a really good mystery story contained three things --- religion, sex and mystery.
He then set a competition for the class to write a short mystery story. One kid won it in three minutes with 'My God! I'm pregnant! Who did it?'


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 04:34 PM

The idea that there is one baddy, and that everyone else is blameless, in a story like that is a strange one. As it is in any number of real life family disasters.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,MaW
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 09:06 AM

One does wonder if perhaps Matty had heard about what happened to Child Owlet when he refused the proposition of a noblewoman. It could easily have influenced his choice as to whether or not to sleep with her if she was in a position to make trouble for him (and it doesn't get much worse than what happened to Child Owlet after he refused Lady Erskine).

It is a fascinating song, this. Even just within Fairport Convention's version there are many arguments to be made for who's to blame, and mixing in the others just adds mud to the waters. This question will likely never be resolved. Any one of them could have stopped it, they all had the opportunity.

And as Ivan said back in January 2004, if they hadn't all made the wrong choices it would be an extremely boring song.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 09:36 AM

It is my contention that there are no baddies in balladry, just hapless protagonists - victims and perpetrators - pitched into the maelstrom of a narrative derived, to whatever extent, from experience, or else life, by way of an entertainment made more effective by the sheer lack of any sort of moral preaching or two-dimensional moralising. The tragedy is thus made more real and at least allows for a more rounded view of the characterisations which would otherwise be too wooden to be in any way believable. The effectiveness lies with the portrayal of circumstance as believable, and the capacity for humans to fuck up at any level, otherwise there'd be no ballads, or soaps, without allowing for the possibility of redemption.

In life there are no baddies, and certainly no goodies, just circumstance, with context and causality. In the news we always get the details of the crime, but never the full story behind it. There are no random acts of violence; each has a story, a narrative, and a context, and only by knowing this can we effectively deal with the wider trauma of the crime. Ballads do this, soaps likewise, I'm thinking it's about time the news media did it too.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:36 AM

Cutting someones head off makes you a baddy in my book.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:52 AM

What makes the song for me is this verse (verse 17 of Child's version A):

'Is not thy hawke upon a perch?
Thy steed eats oats and hay;
And thou a fair lady in thine armes,
And wouldst thou bee away?'

She's right - in that moment everything's right with the world for Musgrave, he couldn't be in a better place. But at the same time she's horribly wrong, and he's in the worst place possible (for both of them). That contradiction between contentedly being in the moment & anxious foresight - and between doing what you want & thinking about what's going to keep you alive - really resonates with me.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: kendall
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 05:54 AM

The rule is, "An eye for an eye..etc" NOT a life for a piece of ass.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:37 AM

I've never liked this song.

I admire anyone with the committment to tackle a piece like this and give it its due, but it leaves a nasty taste to my mind.

I think theres a gleam of admiration in the songwriters eye for the murderer. All that bravado about bury her on top because she's from a higher class. Its sort of reminiscent of Lucky Lucan and the way the poshocracy spirited him away. Oh he's from this class - he shouldn't be accountable like every other Tom, Dick and Harry.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:58 PM

I think this is what actually happened.....

A holiday, a holiday, so the rain was falling hard,
Lord Arlen's wife went into the town with her husband's credit card
And when the shopping it was done, she went back to where her car was parked.
And there she saw little Matty Groves, nicking sat-navs in the dark.

Come home with me, little Matty Groves, come home with me today,
And I will do such things to you as will take your breath away.

I can't come home, I won't come home, I can't come home for my life,
For I see by your personal number plate you are Lord Arlen's wife.
What if I am Lord Arlen's wife, Lord Arlen he has gone,
Down to the pub at Eastbridge, to play his melodeon.

I can't come home, I won't come home, I can't come home, I fear,
For I'm due in court in half an hour for nicking a Cavalier.
You can come home, little Matty Groves, you can come home today,
For I'm the very close friend of a magistrate, he'll see that you're OK.

I can't come home 'cos if I did I'd be no use to you,
I've had a quart of Bacardi Breezer and six tins of Special Brew.
You must come home, little Matty Groves, I know we'll be all right,
For I can start without you, and you can take all night.

At this a servant standing by began to grow quite vexed,
He swore Lord Arlen he would know, so he sent him off a text.
And when Lord Arlen read the news, he began to swear and cuss,
He chucked his melodeon back in its box and jumped on the very next bus.

When he got back to his own bedroom, he peered around the door,
His lady fair and Matty Groves still at it on the floor.
Then Lord Arlen turned around and hurried from the room,
He came back with his camcorder, with its twenty times optical zoom.

And when the filming it was done, it was sold to Channel 4,
The three of them got stinking rich, so they made a dozen more.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM

LORD DANIEL

The first come down was dressed in red
The next come down in blue
The next come down Lord Daniel's wife
The fairest of the two (2x)

She cast her eyes around and about
Little Mathie she did see
She said, "Come along little Mathie Grove
And lie this night with me" (2x)

"O, this I can't," little Mathie said
"I dare not for my life
I can see by the gold ring that you wear
You are Lord Daniel's wife." (2x)

"If I am Lord Daniel's wife
I'm sure you take me to be
He has gone to London Town
King Harry for to see" (2x)

A little foot page was standing by
To see what he could hear
Straight way went down to London town
Lord Daniel the news to bear (2x)

"What news, what news, my little foot page?
What news do bring to me?
"Your wife's in bed with little Mathie Groves
Bad news, bad news," said he (2x)

"If this be the truth that you tell unto me
O, this that you tell unto me
I have one daughter of my own
Your wedded wife shall be" (2x)

"But if this be a lie that you tell
One this that you tell unto me
I'll bring some gallows strong and high
And hanged you shall be" (2x)

He called his soldiers round to him
And marched them in a row
And gave them orders then and there
Not a sound from bugles to blow (2x)

But just as they were almost there
One who wished little Mathie well
He put his bugle to his mouth
And blew it loud and shrill (2x)

"What's that, what's that," little Mathie said
"Isn't that Lord Daniel's horn?"
"It's nothing but my father's horn
Just a-blowing his sheep to corn" (2x)

They hugged and kissed as lovers do
Then fell off to sleep
And the next thing either of them knew
Lord Daniel was at their feet (2x)

"How do you like my well made bed?
How do like my sheet?
How do you like my darling wife
That lies in your arms asleep?" (2x)

"Very well I like your well made bed
Much better I like your sheet
Much better I like this fair, gay lady
That lies in my arms asleep" (2x)

"Put on your clothes little Mathie Grove
And fight me while you can
No man shall say when I am gone
That I slew a naked man" (2x)

"I must get up at your request
And fight you for my life
And you shall use your two broadswords
But I will take a knife" (2x)

"These swords are made by finest steel
And cost me deep in purse
But you may have the sharpest sword
And I will take the worst" (2x)

The very first lick little Mathie struck
He wounded Lord Daniel sore
The very first blow Lord Daniel struck
Little Mathie could fight no more (2x)

He took his darling by the hand
And he sat her on his knee
And said, "Which one do you love the best
Little Mathie Grove or me?" (2x)

"Very well I like your rosy cheek
Much better I like your chin
Much better I love little Mathie Grove
Than you or any of your kin" (2x)

He took his darling by the hand
And led her across the plain
He took those two broad swords of his
And split her head in twain (2x)

So sweet then sang the nightingale
So sad the sparrow's cry
"There's been two lives I've taken today
And tomorrow I must die" (2x)

Source:
Mary Lomax, GA (2007); Art of Field Recording vol.1, recorded by Art Rosenbaum. Mary (no relation to Alan or John) learned this from her father.

Well, I'm not sure whether there's any point is getting angry at fictional characters in ballads, but OK I'll play along and give my two cents on who's to blame . . .

Lord Daniel's wife clearly enjoys toying with little Mathie Groves (I see him in my mind as meek and unassuming) and has no qualms at all about cheating on her husband. Mathie should have known better, but heck a chance like this doesn't come along every day. Yeah, the footpage was a fink, a traitor to his own class, presumably. Lord Daniel was more concerned with his own reputation when he told Mathie to get dressed and fight him (this scene gets more ridiculous the more I think of it), but his offer of a sword probably wasn't as noble as it seems. Think about it, Mathie was accustomed to fighting with a knife. Wielding a broadsword was likely cumbersome, and put him at a disadvantage. But isn't it funny, Lord Daniel doesn't get away with murder in the end. He clearly expects to executed for his crimes. So they're all to blame, and they all pay with their lives. Except for that little rat footpage. I wonder if he ever got to marry the Lord's daughter? Maybe he in turn got murdered by one of his fellow servants. One can only speculate . . .


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Subject: Lord Daniel - Nimrod Workman
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 03:34 PM

LORD DANIEL

Well, the first come down was dressed in red
The next come down in green
The next come down Lord Daniel's wife
Fair as any queen, queen
Fair as any queen

Can I go home with you, little love?
Home with you this night?
I can tell by the rings you wear
You are Lord Daniel's wife, wife
You are Lord Daniel's wife

Well, a little footpath was standing by
And he heard every word was said
"If I don't die by the break of day
Lord Daniel will hear of that, that
Lord Daniel will hear of that."

Well, he had about sixteen miles to go
Eight of them he run
Run till he came to a broken down bridge
Fell to his breast and he swum, swum
Rattle at the door and he run

"What is it, my little footpath?
What is the matter now?"
"Another man's in bed with your wife
Both of their hearts as one, one
Both of their hearts as one"

Well, he called his army to his side
Told them for to go
Threw them bugles to their mouths
They began to blow, blow
They began to blow

"You better get up, my own true love
You better get up and go
Lord Daniel's coming home this night
I hear them bugles blow, blow
I hear them bugles blow"



"Lay down, lay down, my little true love
Lay down and go to sleep
That is your father's shepards
Blowing to the sheep, sheep
Blowing to the sheep"

Well, they began to hugging and kissing
They both fell off to sleep
And when they woke their hearts was broke
Lord Daniel was at their feet, feet
Lord Daniel was at their feet

"Get up, get up little Mathie Grove
And fight me for your life"
"How can I fight you for my life
You, two brand new swords
Me, no much as a pocket knife, knife
Not much as a pocket knife"

"Yes, I have these two brand new swords
The best I'll give to thee
And the very first lick Lord Daniel struck
Brought Mathie Grove to his knees, knees,
Brought Mathie Grove to his knees.

Source:
Nimrod Workman, from 'I Want to Go Where Things Are Beautiful' (June Appal CD); learned from his uncle.

In Workman's version, it looks like Mathie is the one who instigates the affair. But really no one would have been the wiser if that damn little 'footpath' could have just have minded his own business. Even Lord Daniel seems annoyed- "What is it, my little footpath? What is the matter now?" No one likes a tattle-tell.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: goatfell
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

the baddy isn't the page he was only doing his jib if he didn't then he would of got killed and neither Matty Groves but the baddy is the Lady becuse she was the one that started it.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 12:48 PM

Unless it was Mathie who started it. Workman's version is rather abreviated, and much of the narrative and dialogue has been compressed. Are there any other versions in which Mathie seduces the wife?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 03:36 PM

I brought this old thread back up, because I had a similar discussion about Matty Groves with Mr Finn and the Laprelles at the Getaway. Anyway, here's my theory on the whole thing:

Yes, Lord Arnel was a wealthy man who was much older than his Lady. She was attractive, unsatisfied, and bored. The Lord was a big brawling lug, fond of hunting, fighting, feasting, and used to having his way with the girls of the village. She was kept safely within the castle walls. The other lords who saw her would be smitten, but too afraid of Lord Arnel to attempt any hanky panky. Even the male servants were aware of the Lady, her beauty, and he warm temperament.
This feeling extended to none other than Lord Arnel's page, who would have had as much intimacy with her as any other male would have been allowed, he having Arnel's full trust. Could it be that the two traded longing looks, that she extended subtle invitations which the page was far too cautious to follow up? Or was he a homely weasel who only pined for a woman who was unattainable to him?
For whatever reason, her eye fixed on Matty, a fellow below her station, but perhaps a village romeo. At any rate, it seems certain that the seduction at Church was the end result of a long mutual admiration. Unlike the page, Matty had the boldness of love and passion to overcome his fear of Lord Arnel. He was not a shy and weak fellow, in my opinion, but a youth of the Lady's age bold, and perhaps dumb enough to make love to her in the Lord's own bed.
And who would be most likely to be aware of such an assignation? Whose stewing unrequited love would be most likely to turn to vengeance when he learned of it? Why, the page.
This was his motivation in going to Lord Arnel, not any sense of loyalty. He wanted Matty killed for doing what he had not the courage to do. Did he bargain for the Lord 's killing his Lady as well? Probably not. For he could not envision that she would have the boldness to tell Arnel that she would rather have Mattie than her husband. This would be a courageous stand that the weaselly page could not predict.
And so, Lord Arnel, cruel but fair, offers Mattie the better sword and slays him in an exchange of blows. Her statement provokes him to kill her in a tempest of anger, an action which I am sure he would later regret.

Anyway, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM

Apologies for failing to read this thread, but I see the "baddy" quite clearly as the err "Lady" for seducing the wee lad in the first place. She knows what she's doing AND how dangerous it is for him.
The Lord is indeed a calculated sadist too though (meaning in other words no other servant will ever shag her again whilst he's away!), but it's nevertheless quite probably in keeping with social behaviors of the time. For him it's purely a matter of 'honour'.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:01 PM

The assumed ethic is one of "A man does what a man's got to do" - both Mattie and the Lord. In fact everyone is doing what they are expected to do in the convention of the ballad.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 05:12 PM

Who's the baddie?

Is it my partner when he starts to sing it.

Or me for making this complaint.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,guest - anne neilson
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 05:21 PM

Thought you might like to know of the first time I heard this song, possibly 1961/62, sung by the great Aberdeen ballad singer Jeannie Robertson in the front room of my teacher Norman Buchan. The room was packed and Jeannie stood with her back to the fireplace, commanding the whole space. She sang Matty Groves in a full version, holding individual listeners with a very direct gaze as she shared two or three verses with them -- and you dared not disengage!
When she reached the part of the story where Lord Donald challenged Matty and offered the naked man his better sword, she paused and looked round the room until she saw Norman standing by the door. Then she said, "Well, you see, Norman -- he wis aye a fair man.". And then she picked up the song again and sang it through to the end.
By the way, I was also told around that time (probably by Norman) that Jeannie knew the ballad to another tune but had heard Jean Ritchie at an Aberdeen folk festival and made her own version of Jean's tune!
Love this ballad, and have thoroughly enjoyed this thread.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Joe_F
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 06:25 PM

I find Lonesome's speculations stimulating & plausible.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,busy dizzy
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 07:39 PM

I have great sympathy for Lady Donald. Clearly this God fearing woman had listened to the vicar preaching on the text "love thy neighbour" and decided that Matty was her neighbour. Quite possibly Matty misinterpreted the commandment "though shalt not covet thy neighbours wife or his ass" .and covetted his neighbours wifes ass. The resulting union of these interpretations clearly could have been exacerbated by the excitement of it being the first holiday of the year where the depths of winter were cast off and the qualities of new life, calving lambing and the joys of spring were celebrated. Add to this the actions of Lord Donald who clearly was not carrying out his duties toward his wife .. being away for a considerable time and we do not know who he was with

Bloody servants .. u can't trust anybody these days


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Charlie Horse
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 06:02 AM

I would like to clarify one thing about the times that this song was written in. It was socially acceptable for both males and females of the time to take lovers on the side. At the time it had the signifigance of belching in public. In poor taste, but hardly a crime.

It seems to me that this is a tragedy of estimations. Lady Arlen underestimated what Arlen felt for her. Matty underestimated what Arlens reaction would be (that is why he risked staying. The Servant underestimated the consequences of letting Arlen know what was going on. Arlen overestimated his wife's love for him. And the only person who had any idea what was going to go down was the hornblower who was riding with Arlen because he was able to see its affect on Arlen.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 12:47 PM

lord darnald, if he had insisted on his wife wearing a chastity belt and taken away the key after locking it , we would not have the song


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: freddfish
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 01:05 PM

Slightly off topic, but I have always been somewhat amused by Dr Ralph Stanleys version, in which he depicts their actual act of coitus with, I think, admirable delicacy:

"Well they tossed and they turned in the bed all night,
'til they lay fast asleep.
And in the light of the cold morning dawn,
Lord Arnold stood at their feet"

One could almost infer that, rather than banging the bedposts, they had instead hit the espresso machine many times more than prudence would dictate, and had been cursed with a horrific case of insomnia...


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 02:16 PM

I think that what Lord Arlen felt for his wife was not so much love, but ownership, according to the mores of the times. Mattie Groves was poaching on Arlen's property. And his wife not only let him, but talked Mattie Groves into it.

Nobody emerges neat and tidy from this fracas, save, possibly, the man with the horn, who was "a man who wished no ill."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 05 Sep 12 - 03:51 PM

Asking who the baddy is, with a ballad which goes back as far as Matty Groves does is asking for trouble, simply because cultural attitudes to love, marriage, property etc have change so much since.

As far as mediaeval England is concerned, I agree with Don Firth. Lady Barnard (sorry for the change of name) was his property. Little Musgrave, had violated his property - had become damaged goods in fact - and he dealt with Musgrave in the same manner in which he would have dealt with anyone else stealing from him.

Plus, in feudal times, with wars and rieving and God knows what, kinship alliances were vitally important. If Lady Barnard had been mucking about, and one or more of her sons were those of some oppenent, Lord Barnard could have ended up in a very sticky predicament.

Therefore, Lord Barnard despatched his cuckold in full accordance with the harshness of the times. And if you think that Little Musgrave suffered harshly, I recently read a footnote in a book about manorial life in England in feudal times. The footnote said that the Bishop of Chester (I think) borrowed a gallows from the appropriate authorities and unceremoniously hung one of his parishoners for stealing a dozen eggs.

But what happens when the ballad surfaces in the Southern Appalachians, where social mores regarding marriage are entirely different?

It seems to me that the murder then becomes a genuine crime of passion and the villain of the piece is not Lord Barnard but the foot page for not having the sense to keep his mouth shut. Note how Dillard Chandler's version christens him "little Robert Ford" - a nineteenth century traitor if ever there was one.

Also note how Hedy west's version ends:

"Hark, hark, the dogs do bark,
and the sparrows they do cry.
Today I killed two true loves
And tomorrow I must die."

A fate which certainly would not have befallen the original Lord Barnard.

BTW. I always thought "the man with the horn" was Little Musgrave and that's how he ended up in bed with Lady Barnard in the first place. -:)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Elmore
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 01:09 PM

Great thread. I enjoy a version of this wonderful old ballad by a young American singer, Elizabeth Laprelle.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 01:47 PM

Never heard of Elizabeth Laprelle, so I just checked her out.

Good "mountain" sound! I sing pretty much the same version of Mattie Groves that she does. She does it well, but she takes it a bit fast for my taste.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Sep 12 - 02:16 PM

To address the original question, there isn't any bad guy. They're all jerks - the adulterous wife, the disloyal servant, the tattling pageboy, the vengeful lord. That's the ongoing theme, the ever-present subtext of the old ballads - what jerks the self-styled upper classes are.

Whether they are knights ravishing maidens or lords killing their wives or princesses drowning their sisters, they are all jerks.

An interesting modern work on the same theme here: a photographer returned from the Olympics in London with a photograph of grafitti he saw there. The grafitti showed Queen Elizabeth II (the present queen) dressed as usual, in a fine dress and a hat. Surprisingly, she is holding a dripping paint brush, and on the wall next to her she has scrawled

"God Save the People."

From whom, we ask. And to me the answer was obvious - from her son and her grandsons. (Though to be fair, William doesn't sound as ballad-worthy as the other two.)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jul 13 - 06:34 PM

Here's a new recording. Multi-tracked backing (concertina, drums, ukulele, rain); song sung straight through.

Little Musgrave


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Musket
Date: 30 Jul 13 - 03:39 AM

The baddie was me, the other night, trying to sing it whilst under affluence of incohol...

Sorry to all in Leeds that night. I do remember the words, honest.....


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jul 13 - 01:17 PM

Shades of ray Winstone in Scum - Who's the Baddy!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Dicky boy
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 12:53 PM

Matthew grove is the police and crime commissioner for humberside is he a good guy or bad guy i dont know......maybe a good guy


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 01:08 PM

Some twenty-seven verses of blood, gore, and adultery (at least in the version that I [try to] sing).

Singing that while under the alfluence of incohol can get a bit dicey.

Been there, tried that. Oy!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 01:57 PM

Anyone got the version that Steve Benbow sang - I do have the record (45!) somewhere in Hunt Towers,but could be anywhere under all the other crap...

It starts: It's a holy holy holiday, and the very first day of the year, and the little Musgrave has been to church the holy word to hear.

I love the last verse!
He took her by the lily white hand and led her to the hall
He cut her head from her neck-bone and kicked it against the wall!

By the tune I'd think it was American..


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 02:11 PM

Alcohol or no, I have much more trouble remembering the words of the kind of song where the verses could come in any order (contemporary songs especially, Dylan especially specially) than I ever do with long ballads. I've dried a couple of times at FCs and singarounds, but not because the song was too long. In one case it was between verses 1 and 2 of Nick Drake's "Which Will", a song with ten lines.

With ballads, I find the length doesn't matter if you know which verse comes next, and that's just a matter of knowing where you are in the story. My Musgrave is 26 verses; I leave out a couple of verses ("She cast a look on the little Musgrave" at one end and "Slowly, slowly he rose up" at the other). Once you're on board it just rolls along.

That's not the longest thing I do, though; my Lord Bateman and Earl Richard (aka Young Hunting) are both 35 or 36. One of these days I'll work up a good long Patrick Spens.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 05:28 PM

Ah! Sir Patrick Spens. I still have that one to work on.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 13 - 07:41 PM

Hearing Peter Bellamy's version - in the Maritime England Suite - blew it open for me. I'd learnt it via Nic Jones, who has Sir P setting off for Norway and being drowned on the way. Bellamy has the King's letter sending them to Norway, then goes straight to
"They had not been in Norrowa'
Weeks but barely three..."

Wha? They got to Norway? Tell me more!

There's a terrific song in there somewhere, for someone who has the patience to trawl through the various different Child versions.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Apr 16 - 09:53 AM

Lord Barnard has died! Many here might think he got away lightly after that double murder.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 16 - 11:39 AM

Since we can all agree that either (a) All were guilty, or (b) None were, perhaps the song could be updated to the present day, where instead of people getting killed, the protagonists all go to a Relationship Counsellor (or whatever they are called nowadays) and end up in a multi-person "gender-fluid" (since we're not quite sure which sex the page was) civil partnership/group marriage?


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Thompson
Date: 07 Apr 16 - 01:00 PM

The baddie is clearly the one who does all the killing.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Apr 16 - 01:45 PM

Guest, while this might not translate outside the US:
Starting with:
And then spoke up his own dear wife never heard to speak so free
I'd rather kiss one dead Mattie's lips than you and your finery.


First 'twas shown on TMZ, now it's trending on the 'Net
Another 'Housewives' show on Bravo will soon start, that is my bet.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:46 AM

"And then spoke up his own dear wife never heard to speak so free
I'd rather kiss one dead Mattie's lips than you and your finery."

Necrophilia, adultery, murder - what's not to like? (The only missing ingredient is incest - perhaps Mattie is actually Lord Arlen's wife's brother?).


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 03:37 PM

> perhaps the song could be updated to the present day

That was done in 2008 (scroll on up). And it hasn't dated too badly ;)


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Pallando
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 12:16 AM

I have had the best hour and a half of my life reading through this... Thanks, guys!


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:11 AM

All were guilty".Wha? They got to Norway? Tell me more!" SIMPLE THEY DIED OF BOREDOM DURING THE LONG WINTER NIGHTS AFTER GETTING FROSTBITE


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:17 PM

I know lots of you hate parodies, but here’s one of mine:

A holiday, Bank Holiday, the fifteenth of the year
Young Matty Jones Tesco’s did go, to get some cut price beer.
And there he spied a fair lady, in the fruit and veggie aisle
Stood behind the melon display, with her come hither smile.
She asked him then to go with her, as she was weighing some plums
He tore her off a paper bag, but was all fingers and thumbs.
I cannot, I will not go, I dare not for my life
I fear you might sue for assault, plus you’re my boss’s wife.
My husband’s gone out on his own, to see the Rangers play
This week Rangers are not at home, so we can play away.
But pausing at the pharmacy, he rushed to Check Out Zone
And found in his bagging area, an item that’s unknown.
A Work colleague did overhear, behind them in the queue
He thought he’d go and call their boss, with Staff Appraisals due.
Fear not, the boss he then replied, once he had learnt the facts
We have a sort of open marriage, plus our pre-nup contract.
He commended him for using their Whistle Blowing Plan
But secretly condemned him, for being a Celtic fan.
He called his wife on her mobile, as she lay in a heap
But failed to arouse her from her post-coital sleep.
Young Matty Jones picked up the phone, and hence confessed to all
Besides it would be much cheaper than to return the call.
He asked about the football match, now looking like a draw
The boss replied: At least this night, there is someone who’s scored.
So how do you like my water bed, and how do you like my sheets?
We got a good deal at Dunelm, in their Spring Sale last week.
Now we’ll I like your water bed, and well I like your sheets
I thought I was on the damp patch, but no, it’s sprung a leak.
Then fearing some litigation, I’m sorry, his boss said
I’ve told my wife before about wearing high heels in bed.
The boss rang off in deep despair, he knew not what to do
The other team had scored a goal before the whistle blew.
He grabbed his coat and headed home, a lowdown sorry man
At least his wife was no longer dating a Celtic fan.
And when he entered their bedroom, he found them both face down
Rather than post-coital doze, the both of them had drowned.
He ran to get his insurance, to check he’d covered all
Then quickly wrote a disclaimer, and pinned it against the wall.
A grave, a grave


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:25 PM

A grave, a grave, he then did cry, to put these lovers in
But bury my lady on the top, that’s how she loved bonking.
Jerry Crossley.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 07:07 PM

What's all this medieval nonsense? The ballad was most likely written in the 17th century along with many other similar pieces. Also the Barnards and the Musgraves had many estates all over the country, mostly in northern England and southern Scotland, both wealthy landed gentry. As someone said Musgrave would have been sent out to work his way up in another household as a younger son (not the heir). This patchwork of properties throughout the land (and indeed in other lands) was largely due to arranged marriages between the landed gentry.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Apr 18 - 08:57 AM

Could it be the vicar who gave a sermon that sexually aroused lord darnells wife?
when the gospel was over she searched around for a bedfellow


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Apr 18 - 05:37 PM

> What's all this medieval nonsense?

That seems the most likely period for the story, even if the ballad wasn't made until much later.

Whoever put (at least a version of) the ballad together chose to give the protagonists names of real families living in the same area, if only for verisimilitude.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 10:57 AM

Hi Richard
'That seems the most likely period for the story'. What is the evidence for that? Very few of the other ballads/stories come from the medieval period. The historical ones generally date from post 1550.


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Subject: RE: Matty Groves - who's the 'baddy'?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 10 Apr 18 - 06:09 PM

I blame the yearlings!

If they had stayed where they were or come home on their own then none of this would have happened.


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