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Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)

DigiTrad:
ANNA THEA
GEORDIE
GEORDIE (2)
GEORDIE (3)
GEORGEY
GIGHT'S LADYE


Related threads:
geordie ChrisFoster (4)
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(origins) Origins: How many versions of Geordie (53)
(origins) Lyr Req: Anathea (from Judy Collins) (79)
Lyr Req: Anathea (25)
searching for song-ManDiesToSaveWifeFromJudge (9)
Tune/Chords Req: Geordie (6)
(origins) Origin: Anna Thea / Anathea (11)
Lyr/Tune Add: Geordie (13) (closed)
Lyr Req: Georgie (Child #209, from Baring-Gould) (11)
Lyr Req: Roy Bailey's Geordie (4)
Geordie song - who's Charlie Hay? (8)
Lyr Add: Song V on George Stoole (3)
Parodies (using FS for Dummies) (1)


Roberto 18 Jan 04 - 11:09 AM
Jim Dixon 19 Jan 04 - 04:49 PM
Roberto 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 AM
Stewie 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 PM
Roberto 05 Feb 04 - 12:33 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Feb 04 - 03:05 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 09 - 07:36 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 09 - 07:40 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 09 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Stripedcat 09 Nov 10 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,Hilary 20 Sep 12 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Adam Garfinkle 03 Jan 14 - 05:49 PM
Lighter 03 Jan 14 - 06:26 PM
Reinhard 04 Jan 14 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,# 07 Apr 21 - 11:40 AM
Brian Peters 09 Apr 21 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,# 09 Apr 21 - 09:27 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Apr 21 - 04:25 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Apr 21 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,# 10 Apr 21 - 09:01 AM
Lighter 11 Apr 21 - 07:51 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 21 - 08:20 AM
Brian Peters 11 Apr 21 - 01:21 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 21 - 04:24 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: GEORGIE (from Martin Simpson)
From: Roberto
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 11:09 AM

I'd like to get a correct transcription of Sam Russell's version of GEORDIE (Child #209), AS I WALKED OVER LONDON BRIDGE. The ballad was recorded in 1936 and it can be heard on the CD "Virginia Traditions, Ballads from British Tradition," Global Village 1002. Recently, Martin Simpson has recorded Sam Russell's version on his CD "Righteousness & Humidity," Topic TSCD540, but with some slight differences. I have written down Martin Simpson's text, I hope without mistakes. It is a little easier than writing down Sam Russell's, because the quality of Sam Russell's recording is not too good (but his song and singing are magnificent). Martin Simpson's is beautiful as well, and could also be a good starting point to get Sam Russell's text, if some Mudcatter has the CD (Virginia Traditions) and is going to help me in this deed. Thank you. Roberto

GEORGIE, as sung by Martin Simpson

As I rode over London Bridge
So early in the morning
I overheard a fair bonnie maid
Saying – Spare me the life of my Georgie
I overheard a fair bonnie maid
Saying – Spare me the life of my Georgie

Go saddle an' bridle my bonny white steed
Go saddle an' bridle him neatly
I will ride to London's Court
And plead for the life of my Georgie
O, I will ride to London's Court
And plead for the life of my Georgie

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till she was wet and weary
Then combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of her Georgie
Then combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of her Georgie

And out of her bosom pulled a purse of gold
The likes I've never seen many
Saying – Lawyers, lawyers, fee yourselves
And spare me the life of my Georgie
O, lawyers, lawyers, fee yourselves
And spare me the life of my Georgie

And Georgie, he was standing by
Said – I've never killed anybody
I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And I sold them in Bohenny
I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And I sold them in Bohenny

The eldest lawyer at the bar
Says – George, I'm sorry for you
For your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you
Your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you

As Georgie walked upon the hill
He bid farewell to many
And he bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any

My Georgie will be hanged in chains of gold
The likes I've never seen many
For he has come of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady
Oh, he has come of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady

I wished I was on yonder hill
Where times I have been many
My sword and pistol by my side
I'd fight for the life of my Georgie
My sword and pistol by my side
I'd fight for the life of my Georgie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 04:49 PM

I listened to a sound sample of the recording you mention at Barnes & Noble. Indeed, as far as sound quality is concerned, it is an appallingly bad recording. Since I don't own the CD myself, I'm afraid I can't help much. Your best bet might be to look up all the versions of GEORDIE that have been posted at Mudcat, or in the DT, and compare each one to the recording you have. Maybe you will find some bits that correspond more closely to what Russell sings than the Martin Simpson version does.

You could start here and follow the links to other versions.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GEORGIE (from Sam Russell)
From: Roberto
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 AM

This is all I could get from SAM RUSSELL'S SINGING, and I'm not sure of many words, besides not understanding at all to which place rode the girl. I can't believe no mudcatter has this beautiful CD: VIRGINIA TRADITION, Ballads from British tradition, Global Village Music CD1002. This recording of Geordie (As I Walked Over London's Bridge) is an outstanding one. Please, please, listen to it and help correct and complete this transcription. Yours, Roberto

As I walked over London Bridge
So early in the morning
I overheard some fair one say:
O spare me the life of Georgie
I overheard some fair one say:
O spare me the life of Georgie

Go saddle an' bridle my milk white steed
Go saddle an' bridle him neatly
I'll ride away to the ...
And plead for the life of Georgie
I'll ride away to the ...
And plead for the life of Georgie

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till she came wet and weary
A-combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of Georgie
A-combing back her long yellow hair
She pleaded for the life of Georgie

And out of her pocket drew a purse of gold
The like I never saw any
Saying – Lawyers, lawyers, come fee yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie
Saying - lawyers, lawyers, come fee yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie

Georgie was a-standing by
Saying – I've never killed anybody
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Bohenny
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Bohenny

The oldest lawyer at the bar
Saying – George, I'm sorry for you
That your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you
That your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy on you

As George was walking up to the street
He bid farewell to many
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worst than any

George was hung with a golden chain
The like I never saw any
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady

I wished I was on yonder hill
Where kisses I've had many
My sword and pistol all on my side
I'd fight for the life of Georgie
My sword and pistol all on my side
I'd fight for the life of Georgie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Stewie
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 10:11 PM

Roberto, I reckon you have done an excellent job of transcribing Russell's version. Like you, despite many listenings, I am unable to decipher the 'I'll ride away to ...' line in the second stanza - it sounds a bit like 'lone castle fair', but it could be anything. The only other places where I hear something different are:

St 1, L 1   'London's bridge'
St 1, L 4&6 'Lord, spare me'

St 7, L 1 'up through the street'
St 7, L 4&6 'worse'

St 8, L 4&6 'And he courted'

St 9, L 1    'I wish'

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Roberto
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:33 PM

Thank you very much, Stewie. As for "I'll ride away to", could it be Lord castle town?????


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 03:05 PM

Fortunately, the line that begins "I'll ride away to..." is part of the sound sample at Barnes & Noble. But, after listening again, it's still obscure. My guess is "...lone castle fair." "Lord's castle fair" would also make sense. If you want something to sing, I'd sing that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 07:36 PM

The title for the Sam Russell version is entitled

"As I Walked Over London's Bridge".

Note the possessive case. That may change search parameters.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 07:40 PM

Biblio info.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sam Russell's Geordie
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 07:43 PM

Bit more info here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,Stripedcat
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 11:48 PM

Folks, there is a lovely version of this song sung by Doc Watson who does a fabulous job in an Appalachian sort of way. I have only found this on Youtube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxyXXM0dW5Y

The lyrics are much more clear. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 10:52 AM

Broson, in Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, gives these lyrics for Sam Russell's version.

As I walked over London's bridge
So early in the morning
I overheard some fair one say
O spare me the life of Georgie
I overheard some fair one say
O spare me the life of Georgie

Go saddle and bridle my milk-white steed
Go saddle and bridle him(either swiftly, or quickly)
I'll ride away to the lone castle Carr(or Ker?)
A-pleading for the life of Georgie

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till she came wet and weary
A-combing back her long yellow locks
A-pleading for the life of Georgie

And out her father drew his purse of gold,
The like I never saw any,
Saying, Lawyers, Lawyers come fee yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie

Georgie was a (standing by?)
And he never killed anybody
But a' stole sixteen of the King's white steeds
And sold them in (Golandie?)

The oldest lawyer(at the Bar?)
Saying, Georgie I'm sorry for you
That your own confession has condemned you to die
May the Lord have mercy upon you

As George was looking up through the street
He bid farewell to many
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worse than any

George was hung with a golden chain
The like I never saw any
Because he came from a royal race
And courted a virtuous lady

I wish I was on yonder hill
Where kisses I've had many
My sword and pistol all on my side
I'd fight for the life of Georgie

Presumably, the parentheses and question marks indicate that the collector, or Bronson, was unsure of what those words were. It's interesting that this version seems to focus much more on Geordie himself rather than his grieving lover, like all the other versions I know. She doesn't seem as present here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,Adam Garfinkle
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 05:49 PM

It's "sold them in Romany"--it's a reference to Gypsies, to selling horses to gypsies. Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 06:26 PM

Except that "Romani" isn't a place. Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Reinhard
Date: 04 Jan 14 - 01:19 AM

From the notes of "Virginia Traditions, Ballads from British Tradition", downloadable from Smithsonian Folkways:

4. As I Walked Over London's Bridge
[Geordie, Child 209]— S.F. “Sam” Russell, vocal.
Recorded in Marion [Smyth County], Virginia, November 13, 1936, by Sidney Robertson, 3:46.

"London's Bridge," often called "Geordie" or "Georgie" in folksong collections, has been collected in many sections of North America, but only sporadically in each locality. Davis, in both of his books, lists five examples, including one collected from Mr. Russell in 1932 and, except for minor verbal variations, sung exactly as it is sung here. All of Child's fourteen versions were collected in Scotland, including two broadside texts slightly different from the oral ones. All American versions are very similar and seem to be an amalgamation of both oral and printed versions. This joining is most evident in the ending; Child's oral versions spare Geordie's life, whereas in his broadside ones, he is hung despite his lover's attempts to buy his freedom. Some scholars feel that the "Georgie" of this song could actually be George Gordon, fourth Earl of Huntly, who was involved in a somewhat similar situation in 1554.

This ballad perfectly demonstrates the highly stylized language characteristic of ballad poetry. In much ballad poetry a white horse is a "milk white steed"; blond hair becomes "long yellow locks"; and a lover is one's "own true love." The ballad tune is also an excellent example of a very early tune type. It is pentatonic, rhythmically loose, and—as described by E. C. Mead in More Traditional Ballads of Virginia—has a "beautiful flowing melodic line whose beauty lies largely in the 'non-harmonic notes of real melodic significance.' "

Sam Russell died in 1946 when he was about 89 years old. He worked as a carpenter and cabinetmaker, but is most well known among folklorists for his dulcimer making. Although he did play with a band made up of his son Joe on fiddle, grandson Robert on guitar, and Joe's brother-in-law Worley Rolling on banjo, he more often played and sang by himself. He played at many festivals in the 1930s, most notably at the Yorktown Centennial and for Eleanor Roosevelt at the White Top festival where. incidentally, he got most of the orders for his dulcimers. He was born in Grayson County, but moved to the Marion area as a young man shortly after his marriage. He learned much of his music from his mother and father and, in addition to the dulcimer, played the fiddle and fife.

As I walked over London's Bridge
So early in the morning,
I overheard some fair one say
Lord, spare me the life of Georgie.
I overheard some fair one say
Lord, spare me the life of Georgie.

Go saddle and bridle my milk-white steed
Go saddle and bridle him quickly,
I ride away to the lone castle there
And pleading for the life of Georgie.
I ride away to the lone castle there
And pleading for the life of Georgie.

She rode all day and she rode all night
Till taken wet and weary,
A-combing back her long yellow locks
A-pleading for the life of Georgie.
A-combing back her long yellow locks
A-pleading for the life of Georgie.

And out of her pocket drew a purse of gold
The like I never saw any,
Saying, “lawyers, lawyers, come see yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie.”
Saying, “lawyers, lawyers, come see yourselves
And spare me the life of Georgie.”

Georgie was a-standing by
Saying, “I've never killed anybody,
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Gowandy.
But I stole sixteen of the king's white steeds
And sold them in Gowandy.”

The oldest lawyer at the bar
Saying, “George, I'm sorry for you,
That your own confession has condemned you to die,
May the Lord have mercy on you.
That your own confession has condemned you to die,
May the Lord have mercy on you.”

As George was walking up through the streets
He bid farewell to many,
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worse than any.
He bid farewell to his own true love
Which grieved him worse than any.

George was hung with a golden chain
The like I never saw any,
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady.
Because he came of the royal race
And courted a virtuous lady.

I wish I was on yonder's hill
Where kisses I've had many,
My sword and pistol all on my side
And fight for the life of Georgie.
My sword and pistol all on my side
And fight for the life of Georgie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 11:40 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z90oJxrQZpc

As I Walked Over London's Bridge (Child 209) - S. F. "Sam" Russell


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 09 Apr 21 - 05:58 AM

Many thanks, '#', for posting that link. It's amazing the kind of stuff that turns up on YouTube these days, mainly it seems through the efforts of the mysterious 'Reynard the Fox'.

I would take issue with this comment from the liner notes quoted above from the 'Virginia Traditions' recording:

"All of Child's fourteen versions were collected in Scotland, including two broadside texts slightly different from the oral ones..."

The two broadside texts that Child includes as an appendix to 209 (both of which are substantially earlier than the oldest collected version from Scotland) were printed in England, and are considerably different from the 'Gight's Lady' text that was the predominant Scottish form of the ballad. I'd go so far as to say that they are really two different ballads.

There are three textually different 19th century broadside copies at the Bodleian site:

http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/05000/02691.gif
http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/10000/09494.gif
http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/static/images/sheets/05000/03196.gif

There are a number of differences in those three texts, but all of them look as though they're related to Child's second appendixed broadside copy, 'The Life and Death of George of Oxford', from the late 17th century. All of the orally collected versions from England, and all the ones I've seen from North America, follow that strain of the ballad, beginning 'As I went over London Bridge' (or similar) and following on with 'saddle me my milk-white steed', 'he stole sixteen of the king's royal steeds [or deer]' and so on. Georgie always gets hanged, in contrast to most of the Scots versions.

Is Steve Gardham reading this? I'd be interested to know whether you've ever looked at 209, Steve - the history looks quite tangled.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 09 Apr 21 - 09:27 AM

"It's amazing the kind of stuff that turns up on YouTube these days, mainly it seems through the efforts of the mysterious 'Reynard the Fox'."

For anyone interested in folk music (from the UK and Ireland), his site is a gold mine of material. Kevin W's efforts to get the recorded material online has been remarkable. For anyone who isn't all that familiar with YouTube, you can hear the recordings he's posted by going to

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr-Yww8BJQcRkZVg78euK_g/featured

and checking out the 'Videos' and 'Playlists' columns. His channel is a treasure for people--such as yourself--who are interested in preserving the songs and their histories.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Apr 21 - 04:25 PM

Hi Brian
Without checking my notes I seem to remember that the traditional Geordie versions are probably amalgamations of the 2 broadsides George of Oxford and the other one. Both of the broadsides are old enough for this to have happened some time ago before the oral versions were collected. Although this hybridisation of early versions is not common it is not without precedent. Broadside writers were particularly adept at this process. I'll have a look to see if I've done a study.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 08:33 AM

Yes I have a study.

Apart from the complex and quite different oral versions, the situation is straightforward enough. We have 3 different but related ballads.

A. c1620, A Lamentable Death of George Stoole of Newcastle ( contributes 2, maybe 3 stanzas to the general stock).

B. c1680, The Life and Death of George of Oxford (contributes about 10 stanzas to the general stock) This ballad resurfaces in the 19thc widely printed in a variety of forms.

C. The Scottish/Child ballad 'The Laird of Gight/Geordie' which first appears from Johnson/Burns in c1792 and rapidly turns into a multiplicity of Scottish variants into the 1820s. I won't comment further as it might upset some people.

The 19thc broadsides have a few stanzas in common with the Scottish ballad but the first stanza of the broadside comes from Oxford George and doesn't occur in the Scottish versions.

Might be worth noting that in the 19thc English broadsides he is called 'Georgey' and in the Scottish ballads is called 'Geordie'.

All 3 are generally lumped together as one ballad and probably best left that way, in view of the complex crossovers.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: GUEST,#
Date: 10 Apr 21 - 09:01 AM

https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=2213

Steve, you likely have seen the version posted there, but in the event you haven't . . .


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Apr 21 - 07:51 AM

> I won't comment further as it might upset some people.

Steve, I can take it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 21 - 08:20 AM

Hi Jon
I wasn't thinking of you there. There are many people here and on the scene who don't like being informed of the strong probabilities that many of the Child Ballads were concocted during the 18th century by the antiquarians, poets and editors. As this is mostly opinion and there is very little proof (nor likely ever to be) I'd rather not enter into long time-consuming debate on it.

What I will do is conduct a much more detailed analysis of the evolution of this ballad as soon as I have time. Evidence at the moment is pointing to an intermediate version(s) from mid 18th century, that gave rise to the 19thc broadsides and the very different Scottish versions, not currently extant.

The main evidence for this lies in the differences between the 19thc broadsides.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Apr 21 - 01:21 PM

Good stuff, Steve. Yes, there are quite a few differences between the 19th century broadside copies.

The other factor I'm interested in is how the ballad got into North America in a form quite close to the English broadsides. If it was carried over by the 18th century settlers, that form must have been established by then, and it's interesting that there are pronounced similarities between the English and American tunes as well. Or is it possible a later broadside was printed or at least circulating in the US in the 19th century? The textual differences between the American oral copies would rather argue against that, though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Geordie (from Sam Russell)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 21 - 04:24 PM

The Green Mountain Songster had a version called 'Charley's Escape'. See Flanders 'Ancient Ballads sung in New England' Vol.3 p234. As for the American oral versions the most likely scenario is all 3 scenarios have occurred, Some from the 1680 version via oral tradition; Some from oral tradition carried over; and some from the American and English printed versions. I have them all mapped out and will check when I've finished minutely examining the printed versions.


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