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Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary

05 Jul 99 - 11:46 AM (#92556)
Subject: juniper, gentian, and rosemary
From: marymary@suberic.net

hello. i'm looking for the lyrics to a (possibly scottish) folk song called "juniper, gentian, and rosemary". if anyone has lyrics, or information about the plot of the song, i'd appreciate it.

if possible, please send to marymary@suberic.net.

thanks. mary


05 Jul 99 - 12:21 PM (#92563)
Subject: RE: juniper, gentian, and rosemary
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

I think that's a variant on the song JENNIFER GENTLE which is in the DT (upper right box of your screen). I found it by typing in "Jennifer", but the only song I found when I typed "juniper" was an entirely different song. This one is one of a series of "two (or three) sisters" songs involving jealousy and evil deeds discovered.
Allison


13 Dec 99 - 09:44 PM (#149061)
Subject: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary ?
From: TIMMY3X@worldnet.att.net

Can anyone give me the lyrics to "Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary", or something similar, said to be a traditional Scottish ballad I haven't found yet? There's a fantasy book out of that title, which I don't have, supposedly inspired by the ballad. Thanks for any help.


13 Dec 99 - 09:56 PM (#149071)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From:

"Scarborough Fair" in DT. The Scottish broadside verrsion of the 17 century is item ZN821 in the broadside ballad index at www.erols.com/olsonw


14 Dec 99 - 12:55 AM (#149152)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: katlaughing

This will take you to a thread we had earlier this year on the song and the book. Hope it helps.

katlaughing


14 Dec 99 - 01:23 AM (#149161)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: Joe Offer

A search for #1 will bring up all instances of Child Ballad #1, "Riddles Wisely Expounded," that we have in the database. The one you want is Jennifer Gentle (click), Child #1B. Child says the line "Jennifer gentle, fair Rosie Marie" is also rendered "Juniper, Gentle, and Rosemary" or "Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary." There are five major versions of the song in Child's book, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads.
I can't believe I'm contradicting the esteemed nameless person above, whom I've never known to be wrong - but in this case, I don't think the song you want is "Scarborough Fair," which is Child #2. "Scarborough Fair" is certainly quite similar, but not the same. I challenge the Nameless One to prove me wrong on this one. If I lose, I will type whatever long ballad he requests. If I win, I hope he will come up with another one of those delightful ballads that he sometimes posts.
-Joe Offer-


23 Aug 08 - 10:36 AM (#2420656)
Subject: Juniper, Gentle? & Rosemary
From: Cats

Something has been bothering me for a while and last week at Bideford I spent ages discussing it, so I thought I might ask if anyone can shed any light. In the song the 3 sisters the line is Juniper, Gentle and Rosemary...... mulberry tree. Now we know this is a magical song as one sister seals the door with a silver pin so the knight cannot get out and the second sisters makes his bed and lays cloths beneath his head. So, why Gentle? All the others are herbs with magical properties but what is Gentle? Both Juniper and Rosemary are solar herbs and mulbery is linked with mercury so either what is gentle or is at a corruption, perhaps of gentian? Any ideas?


23 Aug 08 - 11:01 AM (#2420666)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentle? & Rosemary
From: Jack Blandiver

A variant of Child #1, Riddles Wisely Expounded, Lay The Bent to the Bonny Broom, Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemary etc. For complete Child texts ee Here.

Perhaps a more pragmatic approach is worth considering that the somewhat esoteric route you suggest. Just a thought...


23 Aug 08 - 11:01 AM (#2420668)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentle? & Rosemary
From: The Borchester Echo

This is Child #1 Riddles Wisely Expounded, also known as Lay The Bent To The Bonny Broom (a soporific) and all the rest. Gentian was (indeed IS) used as an anti-fungal agent and to treat burns and thus probably thought of as "magical".

As a teenager, I found the text in a library and thought I'd made a tremendous discovery and so sang it to death. Only later did I realise its banal ubiquity as Prof Child's #1 hit.


23 Aug 08 - 11:03 AM (#2420669)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentle? & Rosemary
From: ClaireBear

There's been quite a bit of discussion on several threads. This thread has a lengthy discussion in it, and links to other relevant threads and related DT songs.

Also, try searching on "Jennifer gentle."

Claire


23 Aug 08 - 11:20 AM (#2420676)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentle? & Rosemary
From: Jack Blandiver

Hit the submit button by mistake there...

So - perhaps a more pragmatic approach is worth considering than the somewhat esoteric route you suggest... Magical, in once sense yes, but not so codified in terms of an actual or single meaning - and the silver pin could well be a bolt. Juniper would appear to be a corruption of Jennifer, itself derived from Guinevere, so the names could refer to the girls, rather than to any herbs, symbolic or otherwise. Child does allow that Gentian for Gentle however.


23 Aug 08 - 12:17 PM (#2420705)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentle? & Rosemary
From: Malcolm Douglas

Although a 'magical' interpretation of the refrain is possible, it isn't necessary. Bear in mind that this occurs in one example only of the ballad, printed in Davies Gilbert, Some Ancient Christmas Carols, 1823, 65-67; 'from the editor's recollection' of Cornish tradition. Both Child and Bronson note that the first refrain-line appears under the staff notes as 'Juniper Gentle and Rosemary', while the same line is given in the body text as 'Jennifer gentle and Rosemaree'. Child observes that Gilbert 'appears to take Jennifer and Rosemaree to be the names of the sisters', adding 'No doubt, juniper and rosemary, simply, are meant; Gentle might possibly be for gentian.'

Bronson suggests instead 'hawthorn'. In this, he follows Lucy Broadwood (Journal of the Folk-Song Society, III (10) 1908, 13-17) who discusses herb refrains in both this ballad and in Child 2. A century ago the magical interpretation was taken for granted, but nowadays we tend to be a little more sceptical of such assumptions. They are possible, but they are not self-evident. 'Gentle' for 'hawthorn' appears to be Irish usage, incidentally; whether it was ever used with that meaning in England I don't know.


24 Aug 08 - 04:32 AM (#2421071)
Subject: RE: Juniper, Gentle? & Rosemary
From: Cats

Sorry, couldn't find the older thread which is why I started this one. Thank you for all your contributions.


20 May 19 - 09:11 AM (#3993106)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: Daniel Kelly

Any idea why these three herbs would be listed together? There is a form of bitters made from gentian and juniper. Maybe they are archetypes for three types of women?


20 May 19 - 12:58 PM (#3993139)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: leeneia

Here's what I have read, but don't ask me to remember the source.

Before modern breeding, most flowers were small and insignificant. Any plant which stood out was likely to be assigned healing powers. The gentian, with its brilliant blue color, was probably such a plant.

(Exceptions were roses and lilies. "Lily" was used loosely to mean any big, showy flower.)

Rosemary, with its fragrance and nice taste, is probably another such plant. Also juniper.

I read a version of Jennifer Gentle in a poetry book from Oxford U in which the supposed knight is actually the devil (Clutie). The beneficent plants are mentioned as a chorus for protection against him. The magic plants may be mentioned to protect the maiden and to protect the singer himself. He is singing about a evil spirit, after all.

It certainly doesn't hurt that rosemary has Mary in it, for further protection.


20 May 19 - 02:46 PM (#3993160)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Daniel - in another thread (click), Art Thieme ties the names to three sisters. I've crosslinked all the threads in this series, Child Ballad #1 [Riddles Wisely Expounded] - see the crosslinks on the upper left of this page. I also combined this thread with another, which adds some clarification (and possibly some confusion).
Also note the similarities in Gentle Fair Jenny, although I think it's safe to say that's a different song.
-Joe Offer-


21 May 19 - 02:32 AM (#3993204)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: GUEST,threelegsoman

I uploaded this song under the title "Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemary, last December:

Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemary


21 May 19 - 12:55 PM (#3993284)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: leeneia

Thanks, threelegsoman. That's lovely.

The thing that flew over the mulberry tree was a dove. Spelled dowe, I believe, in the Oxford U book.


21 May 19 - 02:11 PM (#3993296)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: Joe Offer

Which Oxford book is it, leeneia?


21 May 19 - 02:38 PM (#3993307)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: Steve Gardham

Joe's 'Gentle Fair Jenny' is a variant of Roud 433, Laws Q6, Master title: 'A Week's Work Well Done'. The Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary, Dew flies over the mulberry tree' is one of those refrain sequences that has migrated from one ballad to another Child 1, Child 2 and the one above, and a glance through Bronson would probably find other ballads that use it.


22 May 19 - 09:03 AM (#3993389)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: Daniel Kelly

Thanks for your links and comments folks, I did find another thread dedicated to magic flower refrains here ) which talks about the idea that these three herbs might be part of a love potion, or possibly a ward against the devil.

Thankyou threelegsoman for your song link, I always enjoy your recordings!

Here is what I ended up recording.


22 May 19 - 11:56 AM (#3993412)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
From: leeneia

Joe, I think it was the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1918.

In 'dew flies over the mulberry tree', dew is an archaic spelling for dove.