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Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles

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JUDAS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Stand Up For Judas (Leon Rosselson) (5) (closed)
Lyr Req: My Name is Judas (9)
A Song about Judas Iscariot (18)
(origins) Lyr Req: Stand Up For Judas (Leon Rosselson) (27)
Help: JUDAS (6)
(origins) Tune Req: Judas ballad (Child 23) (3)


Lighter 27 Jan 04 - 03:10 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jan 04 - 03:43 PM
Lighter 27 Jan 04 - 04:07 PM
Nerd 27 Jan 04 - 04:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 04 - 05:14 PM
Lighter 27 Jan 04 - 05:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 04 - 05:40 PM
Lighter 30 Oct 10 - 08:54 PM
wysiwyg 31 Oct 10 - 07:32 AM
Lighter 06 Mar 23 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 06 Mar 23 - 12:23 PM
Lighter 06 Mar 23 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 06 Mar 23 - 05:12 PM
Lighter 06 Mar 23 - 08:09 PM
Lighter 06 Mar 23 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 06 Mar 23 - 08:45 PM
Lighter 06 Mar 23 - 09:16 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Mar 23 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 07 Mar 23 - 09:40 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Mar 23 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 07 Mar 23 - 12:51 PM
Lighter 07 Mar 23 - 02:07 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Mar 23 - 02:29 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Mar 23 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 07 Mar 23 - 03:04 PM
Lighter 07 Mar 23 - 05:12 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Mar 23 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 07 Mar 23 - 05:25 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Mar 23 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 14 Mar 23 - 05:57 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Mar 23 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 15 Mar 23 - 06:09 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Mar 23 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 15 Mar 23 - 06:36 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Mar 23 - 02:35 PM
leeneia 21 Mar 23 - 05:27 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Mar 23 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 22 Mar 23 - 05:28 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 03:10 PM

According to "The Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles" (1961), Niles collected three versions of the religious ballad "Judas," each with a different melody.

                                  "JUDAS"
                               (Niles No. 16 A)

                1. 'Twas in the merry month of May,
                        The Easter time was near,
                   Our Jesus to dear Judas said:
                        "I fear my time is near, is near,
                        I fear my time is near."

                2. "How near, how near, how near, my Lord,
                        How near your time, how near?"
                   "Thou knowest well, dear Judas,
                        Thou knowest well, I fear, I fear,
                        Thou knowest well I fear."

                3. "Go take thou pieces of silver,
                        Go take thou pieces of gold,
                   Go take them to Jerusalem
                        Where bread and meat is sold, is sold,
                        Where bread and meat is sold.

                4. "Nor tarry long upon the way,
                        Nor seek out folk or foe,
                   But take your silver pieces
                        And to the market go, market go,
                        And to the market go."

                5. Now Judas had one sister,
                        An evil sister she,
                   She hated gentle Jesus
                        For His Christianity-ee-ee,
                        For his Christianity.

                6. "Thou shouldst be stoned, Judas,
                        With large stones and with small,
                   Thou shouldst be stoned for trusting
                        This false prophet of all, of all,
                        This false prophet of all."

                7. Now Judas took a little rest,
                        He took a nap of sleep,
                   He laid his head in his sister's lap,
                        And there he slept so deep, so deep,
                        And there he slept so deep.

                8. When Judas woke from sleep and rest,
                        He sought his sister dear:
                   "Pray help me find my silver,
                        'Tis lost, 'tis lost, I fear, I fear,
                   'Tis lost, 'tis lost, I fear."

                9. Then quickly up spoke Pilate,
                        Then quickly up spake he:
                   "Come sell the prophet Jesus,
                        Come sell him unto me, unto me,
                        Come sell him unto me."

                10. "I will not sell my Jesus,
                        Unless it be for meat,
                   To feed my hungry brethren
                        Who have no meat to eat, to eat,
                        Who have no meat to eat."

                11. "Oh, silence, Peter, silence,
                        Silence, for well I know,
                   Three times thou wilt deny me,
                        Afore the cock doth crow, doth crow,
                        Afore the cock doth crow."

Both text and dorian tune said to have been collected from Mayberry Thomas, Knoxville, Tennessee, in August, 1933. Niles observes, "Mayberry Thomas admitted that in his youth, some verse not unlike the text of his ballad about Judas were sold on broadside sheets by colored preachers in the neighborhood of Chattanooga. He also said that a teacher of shape-note hymn singing named Pushmire once taught the song of Judas and sang it with great energy and noise."


                            "JUDAS AND JESUS"
                            (Niles No. 16 B)

          1. Judas 'trayed Jesus, and Jesus hung the cross,
             Yes, Judas 'trayed Jesus, what a loss, what a loss!
             Judas 'trayed Jesus and died by his own hand,
             Oh trouble, oh trouble, in the Holy Land.

          2. It was the night of the very last supper,
             They were in a room called the small room upper.
             Jesus said, 'Judas, you will 'tray me today,
             Oh Judas, you will 'tray me for gold and for pay."

          3. Jesus said, 'Peter, you will sure 'tray me,
             But not for pay and not for fee."
             Jesus said, 'Come, the cross is on the hill.
             I go to the hanging, 'tis my Father's will."

Text and minor tune said to have been collected from Harkus and Tillie Whitman, June 19, 1909, in Jefferson Co., Kentucky.


                           OH JUDY, MY JUDY
                           (Niles No. 16 C)
            
         1. "Oh Judy, my Judy, hit's time that I go,
            I know you will 'tray me though I love you so.
            Go take of this money and buy us some meat,
            Our brethern are hungry, got nothing to eat."

         2. For pieces of silver, for pieces of gold,
            Our sweet brother Jesus to soldiers was sold.
            "Oh Judy, oh Judy, today I will die,
            Upon that high hill where the wild birds do fly.

         3. "Oh Judy, oh Judy, it's you will die, too,
            Because you did 'tray me when you might-a been true.
            Oh Judy, oh Judy, don't try to deny,
            You sold me to soldiers, and now I must die."

"From the singing of Pete Mulleneoux," age 75, Jefferson Co., Kentucky, July 4, 1909. "He was related in some way to the Whitmans, who lived about two miles away."
                        
                  
Questions: Are these songs genuine survivals of Child's 12th century verses, which have apparently left no other traceable descendants? Or are they adapted from some other, perhaps broadside ballad of Judas?
Or....?

Niles Center? Malcolm ? Q ? 'Catters at large? What say you ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 03:43 PM

We can't be sure that Child's Judas was ever actually sung, and I'd think it most likely that these are quite separate songs; it isn't immediately obvious that the second two above are even related to the first, though of course they tell the same well-known story. A few other collectors found versions of the second two quoted above, I think. On the other hand, I haven't read either of the two detailed studies of Child 23, and there may perhaps be a lot more to say that I don't know about. Bronson will have been aware of Niles' finds, but did not include, or refer to, them in his Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, which may be significant.

Perhaps you'd like to post the tunes?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 04:07 PM

Tunes are still beyond my ability.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Nerd
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 04:41 PM

I'd second Malcolm and say that most folklorists do not believe that JJN ever collected a version of Child 23.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 05:14 PM

Thanks, Lighter, for placing Nile's lyrics in Mudcat.
Short references to Judas are in a number of hymns and gospel songs and rarely in Negro religious songs in the few books that I have but none approach the story in 16A. I can contribute nil.
I can't see any links in this scant material to the 13th c. poem (Child #23; in another thread errors are mentioned - however the new edition by the Heimans' reports that the Trinity MS has been recovered, and Child #23 is correct in all essentials- see Appendix to #23).

See threads 6754, 7854 and 45103 for more discussion and songs about Judas.

Incidentally, an interesting comparison to the song, "Stand Up For Jesus" in thread 7854 is the poem on Judas, "A Roman Lawyer in Jerusalem. First century." William Wetmore Story, 1902 (Search Judas in American Memory for text).
"The case is of one Judas, Simon's son, Iscariot called - a Jew- and one of those who followed Christus...." (p. 7).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 05:19 PM

Thanks for your insight, Q. I would have linked this thread to the concurrent thread on Niles authenticity, but couldn't figure out how to make one. I just posted a few additional thoughts there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 05:40 PM

Thread 7854 (Stand Up For Judas): Judas
Thread 6754: Judas
Thread 45103 (Help, Judas): Judas
I suppose eventually these will be noted at the top of the thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Oct 10 - 08:54 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: wysiwyg
Date: 31 Oct 10 - 07:32 AM

I'd missed this one-- thanks for the refresh.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 09:55 AM

Rwefresh.

Still interesting after all these years.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 12:23 PM

Why anyone takes Niles' "collections" seriously is, frankly, beyond me. It is possible that he collected some of these things. Even if he did, though, they are NOT Child 23.

And odds are that Niles made them up to claim credit for finding a Child Ballad that no one else had collected. But we can't even prove that "Judas" was sung! And there is a report that Bertrand Bronson (who knew more about the Child Ballads than John Jacob Niles could have figured out in two lifetimes, and who was fluent enough in Middle English to write one of the classic books on Chaucer) scribbled things like "fake" in his copies of Niles's Ballad Book.

BTW, "Judas" is not twelfth century. It's thirteenth. The manuscript was dated around 1300 by all paleographers I know of. If you want a good deal more information about the manuscript, and the ballad, than Child had (Child had to rely on transcripts, because the manuscript had been temporarily lost, and the transcript he had was dubious), it has a substantial Ballad Index entry: https://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/C023.html.

The Ballad Index entry for "Judas and Jesus," the "B" text of Niles, is https://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/Niles16B.html; that for Niles's "C", "Oh Judy, Oh Judy," is https://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/Niles16C.html. The reason I split them is, of course, because they aren't versions of "Judas." Neither page has much to say, since they're so patently not the same song -- and it's noteworthy that neither one has ever been collected by anyone except John Jacob Niles.

Need I say "Smoking Gun"?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 12:44 PM

Hi, Bob. I started this thread long ago to help flesh out the discussion on this one:

/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=12983#1100620

The comments by Niles's biographer, Ron Pen, are enlightening.

It's no surprise that some of the soldier songs that Niles published in "Songs My Mother Never Taught Me" are also outright impostures, notably "Venezuela."

He often acted as though he thought of *himself* as the voice of the people as well as the dean of ballad collectors.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 05:12 PM

Lighter wrote:

Hi, Bob. I started this thread long ago to help flesh out the discussion on this one:

/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=12983#1100620

By the way, if anyone tried that link, the correct link is https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=12983#1100620

[ ... ]

He often acted as though he thought of *himself* as the voice of the people as well as the dean of ballad collectors.

From what I could tell, he thought of himself as God's Executive Assistant with plans to overthrow the boss....

He was a voice of the people; I don't want to deny that he did some interesting work. (Though, like many others here, I found his recordings very hard to listen to.) But I find him incomprehensible -- how could he possibly imagine that people wouldn't see through him?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 08:09 PM

Who would have seen through him? A handful of academics?

But I'll never understand the giant dulcimer-guitar and the weird singing - both (by implication) especially authentic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 08:23 PM

Most people paid for a show, not an evening of ethnography and textual criticism.

Any other people, caveat emptor.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 08:45 PM

Lighter wrote:

Who would have seen through him? A handful of academics?

Well, exactly. :-) This doesn't affect his performances; those would stand or fall on their own. And even scholars would be unlikely to notice what he did in a performance, since they wouldn't have every text of every ballad in their heads.

The curiosity is the Ballad Book. Since it's explicitly devoted to Child Ballads, it is aimed specifically, although probably not exclusively, at the scholarly community -- ordinary people wouldn't care that a particular song is a Child Ballad or not. (Even I don't care about that, in a performance -- I only care that it's a good song.) So, basically, he was saying, "Here are my fakes; expose me!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 09:16 PM

Good point about the book. It's like a poke in the eye of scholarship. I haven't looked at my copy in years, but now I think I'll dig it out.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Mar 23 - 11:40 PM

Good scholars can come along later and do a close reading of all of this material. Don't count them out. The skeptics in the group will notice. (I updated the link to the U of KY site in the other thread - the first one had expired.) It was odd that the site director was hesitant for a while to name himself. Gives me pause right there - and there was no book published from the University Press of Kentucky in the years he named. The next book wasn't until 2010 on this subject. (discovered via cross-referencing WorldCat and Bookfinder).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 09:40 AM

It is only proper to note that JJN certainly wasn't the first either to palm off his own work as traditional or to rewrite a traditional ballad -- an extreme case is Thomas Percy's own rewrite of the ballad that probably should be called something like "What's That Blood?" but instead was labelled "Edward" in the Child catalog because Percy's rewrite had taken all before it.

But if JJN had truly studied Child, he would have seen how much Child hesitated to accept Percy texts -- when there was an alternative, he usually used Percy only as a source of corrections, and Child really, really wanted the Percy Folio published so he wouldn't have to rely on the Reliques. And people would have become more aware of fakes, not less, since Child's time. It should have been a warning.

And, indeed, a lot of JJN's texts look like they are, or at least could be, traditional. But "Judas" isn't the only case where he claimed the effectively-impossible. There is the "Lover's Farewell," which he calls a version of "The Three Ravens." There is "The Bonny Birdy," where he claims to have a version of a song otherwise known only from Anna Gordon Brown, and which (it has been suggested) Mrs. Brown made up.

But the crown of them all, the one that is perhaps even more unlikely than "Judas," is that JJN claimed to have a version of "Robin Hood and the Potter." "Robin Hood and the Potter" isn't even a ballad; it's a fifteenth century romance. It was almost certainly preserved by minstrels, not the folk. The manuscript which contained it was owned by Richard Calle, whom we know from the Paston Letters; he was a highly literate, educated member of the Paston Family (whose story would have made a good ballad itself, but that's another story). The "Potter" very possibly was not sung. Yet Niles had a tune for it.

A text and tune he says he got from "Potsie Cobb."

I could not have made that up if I had tried. I mean, the guy wasn't even subtle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 11:54 AM

Whilst the many fabricators in history have mostly been exposed, our main problem is those who were more careful and covered their tracks. The other big problem is what do we do with the bulk of the material when we know a particular collector was fabricating but are not sure to what extent. It is quite possible, some might say probable, that more than half of the material in Child had been redacted by sophisticated people in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Certainly a large chunk came straight from broadsides and has no evidence of oral tradition as in the case you mention, Bob, despite Child's reference to 'moderate jewels'.

Have you any evidence that Percy wrote 'Edward'? I thought the consensus was that Lord Hales palmed it off on him.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 12:51 PM

Steve Gardham wrote: Have you any evidence that Percy wrote 'Edward'? I thought the consensus was that Lord Hales palmed it off on him.

If you note my language carefully, I didn't actually say that Percy wrote it. What is clear is that he published a rewrite. :-) I don't think there is any doubt about that.

Percy credits Hailes with the source text, but the language was Percy-ized. So I think we can blame "Edward" as published on both. Hailes probably deserves the greater share of the blame, but both deserve some fault. (That said, my statement was sloppy and I wasn't doing my homework; I was just thinking of "The Percy Text.")

(Nitpick, by the way, since it matters when it comes to Percy: it is "Hailes," not "Hales," who gave Percy the ballad. Percy is associated with both a Hailes and a Hales: Lord Hailes gave him songs, while Hales, as in "Hales and Furnivall," helped publish the Percy Folio.)

As for your other comment about fakers who covered their tracks -- you are obviously right. Although that's far less of a problem now, since you don't get any academic credit for field collections....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 02:07 PM

Stilly, Ron Pen's book was well reviewed by scholars (most notably by John B. Wolford in the Journal of American Folklore, 2013). The half dozen or so reviews I've read have all been very positive.

Wolford summarizes Pen's findings:

"His man mode of communication, whether musically, verbally, or through his woodworking, was an amazingly creative fictive construction. *Even in his extensive and detailed personal notebooks and logs* [emphasis mine - JL] he would construct imaginative fictions that are difficult to sort from fact....

"By allowing others to see him as 'America's balladeer' and a prominent folklorist, Niles arguably did impoverish the discipline's integrity."

Strong words indeed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 02:29 PM

It's not the 'academic credit for field collections' that worries me, it's the academics who try to claim the fabrications are genuine.

Sorry about the Hailes (James Dalrymple?). I was in two minds and couldn't be bothered to lift the book off the shelves.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 02:32 PM

It certainly came out much later than predicted. Good news about the reviews. Do folklorists turn in their graves? That one you quoted would cause a tremor or two.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 03:04 PM

Steve Gardham wrote:

It's not the 'academic credit for field collections' that worries me, it's the academics who try to claim the fabrications are genuine.

I worry about both. But our points are not contradictory. The incentives are smaller now.

Sorry about the Hailes (James Dalrymple?). I was in two minds and couldn't be bothered to lift the book off the shelves.

I said it was a nitpick, and I meant it. In most instances I wouldn't have even corrected it. It's just an odd thing that there were two people with almost the same name associated with Percy, and I didn't want the error to go into tradition. :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 05:12 PM

I suspect that Niles's biggest fans were people who believed that they speak "Elizabethan English" in the Appalachians


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 05:12 PM

It hadn't occurred to me before you mentioned it. Hales is not a big name in my consciousness, but Furnivall certainly is.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 07 Mar 23 - 05:25 PM

Steve Gardham wrote, It hadn't occurred to me before you mentioned it. Hales is not a big name in my consciousness, but Furnivall certainly is.

FWIW, that is as it should be, I would say. Furnivall is one of the great names of nineteenth century English literary scholarship. John Hales was mostly a scholar of Edmund Spenser and didn't do anything else of significance to folk music scholars that I know of. And he was too squeamish to do the "Loose and Humorous Songs" in the Percy Folio; Furnivall did that solo.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Mar 23 - 04:10 PM

Thanks for that snippet, Bob! I need to get into other Ballad Society publications. I think some of them may be available on Archive or Gutenberg. Couldn't afford to buy them. I don't suppose there is a great deal relating to oral tradition in them though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 14 Mar 23 - 05:57 PM

Steve Gardham wrote, Thanks for that snippet, Bob! I need to get into other Ballad Society publications. I think some of them may be available on Archive or Gutenberg. Couldn't afford to buy them. I don't suppose there is a great deal relating to oral tradition in them though.

Generally there isn't, except for Hales & Furnivall's book on the Percy Folio (for which I paid an arm and a leg for a copy that was in miserable condition). What we really need to do is bug the British Library to scan the Percy Folio! They've scanned a bazillion useless copies of the Greek Bible, but not the Folio. (Not every BL Bible is useless -- they have the second- and third-most important New Testaments in the world -- but the British Library has, if I counted right, 129 MSS of part or all of the Greek New Testament, plus about an equal number of Greek lectionaries, and by my count perhaps 35 are worth scanning.)

Anyway, Furnivall did a lot of important things, including taking the first steps that were needed to get a quality edition of Chaucer published, but despite doing the Percy Folio, he was more concerned with pre-1600 texts than ballads -- and often his role was more to encourage than to edit himself. I could point you to instances where he published the first text of things that have been included in ballad collections; I have three Furnivall books other than Hales & Furnivall. But I wouldn't consider them worth the cost for most people; almost always Furnivall's text gets printed verbatim by a later author. :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Mar 23 - 04:44 PM

I can see why scanning PFM would be difficult. They would have to disbind a copy as each of the 3 volumes is very thick and tightly bound.
The 4th vol would easily scan but I'm guessing you have that.

I paid £90 for my set about 20 years ago and I'm assuming they were so cheap because in beautiful gold lettering on each spine it says 'BISHOP PERRY FOLIO MSS' ??


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 15 Mar 23 - 06:09 PM

Steve Gardham wrote:

I can see why scanning PFM would be difficult. They would have to disbind a copy as each of the 3 volumes is very thick and tightly bound.
The 4th vol would easily scan but I'm guessing you have that.


I wasn't saying to scan the book. I was saying to scan the actual manuscript. It's in the British Library, and they have scanned thousands of manuscripts in their holdings:

https://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Default.aspx

For example, the Beowulf manuscript is here:

https://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Cotton_MS_vitellius_a_xv

And it is in horrible shape.

And here is the Codex Siniaticus, the oldest complete New Testament still in existence:

https://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_43725

But although they've scanned a whole bunch of useless manuscripts, the British Library has not digitized the Percy Folio. (I just checked again.) It's almost as if the people who wouldn't let the Folio be published in the first place are still haunting it today. :-)

I paid £90 for my set about 20 years ago and I'm assuming they were so cheap because in beautiful gold lettering on each spine it says 'BISHOP PERRY FOLIO MSS' ??

My copy was rebound, too. Might have the original boards, but the spine is gone and the sewing broken at several points. Mine is labelled in black ink. Maybe the original bindings were defective.

In my experience, it's much easier to find the fourth volume with the bawdy material. Apparently it has been reissued but the main book hasn't. Not sure what that says....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Mar 23 - 06:19 PM

Personally I'd rather have access to Percy's other manuscripts of all the ballads people sent him and the correspondence. I believe there is a fairly recent book on this but if I remember aright it was beyond my pocket.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 15 Mar 23 - 06:36 PM

Steve Gardham wrote:

Personally I'd rather have access to Percy's other manuscripts of all the ballads people sent him and the correspondence.

I have sympathy for that viewpoint, but that's a much harder task than just scanning the Percy Folio; it would take someone tracking them all down and figuring out what is what. Harvard University has some of his papers, but it's not clear that it is all of them or exactly what is in there.

https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/24/resources/1606

I believe there is a fairly recent book on this but if I remember aright it was beyond my pocket.

If you're thinking of Nick Groom's The Making of Percy's Reliques (and I'm not sure you are)... you're right, they're charging absurd amounts for it now. But it's not worth it. I have it, and it's mostly about the process of putting the Reliques through the press, not about the gathering of the materials themselves. I'd also say it's too kind to Percy. Not really much use to ballad scholars.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Mar 23 - 02:35 PM

Thanks for that summary, Bob. that's very useful. I suspected as much.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Mar 23 - 05:27 PM

"I'd second Malcolm and say that most folklorists do not believe that JJN ever collected a version of Child 23."

I keep telling myself to ignore this thread, but it gets under my skin, so here goes.

The trouble with statements like the one just above is that the writer assumes that no person in Niles' stomping ground could possibly be acquainted with Cambridge, could have heard of the manuscript or could have a friend who had heard of it. But actually, there are educated people in all the states - professors, pastors, doctors, lawyers - and they are cultivated people, even when they have southern accents.

Child 23 is an old work which has what it takes to get noticed, talked about and passed around by the typical undergraduate. It has shock value because of its subject, it has the ever-popular element that it's all actually a woman's fault, and it even has some almost-sex in it. I can see it getting copied out, modernized and passed around from sophomore to sophomore, yea even across the sea in a dog-eared notebook.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Mar 23 - 03:39 PM

Whilst not impossible, Leeneia, with Niles's reputation and other odd doctored ballads, do you really think this likely?

There are several logical stages in the build up to suspicion.

Firstly the collector/poet/antiquarian presents as traditional a number of unusual and markedly different versions, or comes up with a version of a very rare ballad not seen in oral tradition for several centuries. (Plenty of examples.) Or indeed sometimes completely new ballads in the idiom.

Then the truth seekers start to examine these versions minutely and point out any anomalies, such as one person's versions being more than half as long again as anyone else's.

Then when these have been minutely examined there start to appear idiosyncracies peculiar to that collector.

The massive problem for Professor Child and indeed for any ballad researcher is identifying what is authentic and what is bogus.

From a singer's point of view of course all of this is irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 22 Mar 23 - 05:28 PM

Steve Gardham wrote:

Whilst not impossible, Leeneia, with Niles's reputation and other odd doctored ballads, do you really think this likely?

I would add another point. While this chain of events is possible, it's not really relevant. A version of "Judas" that is revived, heavily rewritten, and set to a new tune is not Child #23; it is a new song inspired by Child #23. It is possible that it was traditional at some college, of course.

What's more, "Mayberry Thomas" is described as a "yarb doctor," not someone who had learned songs in college. So even if the above reconstruction is true (that is, that JJN collected a song based on a traditional song which had become traditional in its own right), JJN still appears to have given false information about it.


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