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Origins: Prince Heathen

13 Nov 03 - 05:23 AM (#1052964)
Subject: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Santa

Last night Martin Carthy was in Blackpool and it was the first time I'd heard Prince Heathen live. It seems a very odd song to me - it doesn't seem to fit into the British Isles anywhere. Not that there's a lot of hints about the culture involved: mountains, horses, stone keep and that's about all.

My wife suggested it might come from Spain: with the Moorish connection. To me it sounds perhaps more Eastern European - Hungarian, perhaps? Did it come from a gypsy source? But these are idle speculations - is the song's origin known? Does it have any parallels in other countries?


13 Nov 03 - 08:38 AM (#1053023)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: masato sakurai

From here:
Martin Carthy said in the Prince Heathen sleeve notes:

This is a rewrite of a song that appears in Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads and set to an imperfectly remembered tune usually sung to either The Broomfield Hill or The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter.


13 Nov 03 - 09:00 AM (#1053033)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Santa

Thanks Masato. I have the Vols 1 and 2 of the Loomis Child reprints on their way to me now, so I'll look to see what it says there, when they arrive, if it is in those volumes... I suspect they will simply move the question further back in time (and hence probably unanswerable?)

I picked up Songs of Life last night, and already have the Collection. The comments there are basically the same as he said in the performance. However I still think that it doesn't seem/feel to be a British song in origin - unless it really does go an awful long way back. Or perhaps the musical equivalent of a modern fantasy novel?

One pedantic point: I'd move the comma in the chorus.
But never yet, you heathen dog.....


13 Nov 03 - 09:36 AM (#1053065)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Malcolm Douglas

Child prints two texts (vol. II pp. 424-426); the first an eight-stanza garland text, The Disconsolate Lady (undated; the original is in The jovial rake's garland in the Douce collection, PP 164(18) at the Bodleian library; it was printed in Edinburgh) and the second, of 14 stanzas, from Peter Buchan's MSS (I, 97). Also referred to is a copy in Motherwell's MSS (p 665) which is derived from Buchan's. Child considered the B text to be "no doubt some stall-copy, reshaped from tradition". We should also remember that Buchan is not always above reproach where the authenticity of texts is concerned.

He makes no reference to analogues in other traditions. One further example has since come to light; a text from Bell Robertson of Aberdeenshire, which appears in The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection, VII, 461. There seems to be no record of any occurrence outside Scotland. I don't have vol. VII, but a look at the notes for the song may be helpful; perhaps Joe would oblige? I don't expect any revelations, though.

Much of the exotic feel of the song as Martin Carthy has re-shaped it probably lies in the melody and phrasing he uses; these are entirely his, however (there is no known traditional tune for the ballad) and need to be disregarded when looking for clues as to the song's past history. Encounters with Heathen Knights of one sort or another are not that uncommon in the ballads, and stories about them persisted -and were made- long after there were any left to encounter.

Finally, I should refer to the form of the song that Frankie Armstrong recorded. This appears to be a very free re-write of Martin Carthy's re-write, incorporating much material which does not appear in traditional versions. Perhaps some of it is adapted from Bell Robertson's text; we shall have to see. That notwithstanding, the Armstrong adaptation, though it tells us a lot about the ways in which the folk song revival has employed traditional material to new purposes, can tell us nothing about the history or antecedents of the ballad.


14 Nov 03 - 12:49 AM (#1053561)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: rich-joy

The sleeve notes for Frankie's LP "...Out of Love, Hope and Suffering" say about "Prince Heathen" :
"A.L.Lloyd refurbished this ancient Child ballad ..."

Cheers!
R-J


14 Nov 03 - 01:17 AM (#1053568)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Malcolm Douglas

So he did. I'd forgotten that. It's in the DT, in fact, with that note attached: Prince Heathen. Not only that, there's a midi of the tune Lloyd set his rewrite to at Mudcat Midis:

Prince Heathen

As it happens, it was I who supplied the midi. The lyric is very much in Bert's style; and barely half of it is genuine. It's a good piece of work, of course —his re-writes almost always were— but there isn't much left that's traditional in it, so, as I said, it can tell us nothing about the song's past history. I think he may have gone a bit too far in this case, perhaps: Martin's re-write sticks to the basics and avoids the temptation to introduce new material or indulge in fanciful imagery; and is the more powerful for it, I'd say.


03 Dec 03 - 10:21 PM (#1065213)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: GUEST,Gerry

There is a Hungarian song on the same theme, Ballad of Master Rakoczi. I've read that Lloyd fleshed out an incomplete version of Prince Heathen with lyrics taken from the Hungarian ballad.

The Hungarian song appears on the CD On Our Way by the Australian group, The Transylvaniacs, on the Tall Poppies label.


03 Dec 03 - 11:29 PM (#1065233)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Malcolm Douglas

I'd like to know more about that song; it certainly is the kind of source Lloyd may have used. Whether Prince Heathen is incomplete or not (only three examples are known from tradition, as I've said) is a matter of opinion, but people always want more, I suppose.

Unfortunately, Master Racokzi is also the name of one of the Immortal Ascended Masters that Madame Blavatsky discovered, so all the references I can find so far are on "Rosicrucian" sites and the like, and presumably irrelevant to our purpose. Did that Australian band say where they got their song? Do you know anything more about it?


04 Dec 03 - 09:15 AM (#1065438)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: GUEST

This is about the COMMA referred to in Santa's note about the transcription on the Reinhard Zierke site.

As I am the person credited with the transcription, I need to say that I usually do not include ANY PUNCTUATION in my transcriptions (of which there are hundreds on the Web - including every song recorded by Martin Carthy). Like legal documents, they are better off without it. Punctuation is supplied by editors, through interpretation, and may not represent the best intention of the song(/document) which may be fruitfully ambiguous.

I have put a lot of thought into this, and welcome personal messages (as always).

Garry


04 Dec 03 - 09:20 AM (#1065440)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Garry Gillard

Sorry, I was using the wrong browser, and didn't realise I wasn't recognised. ... I was the Garry in the previous message, claiming ownership of MC transcription.

:) Garry


05 Dec 03 - 01:30 AM (#1065845)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: GUEST,Gerry

Malcolm Douglas wrote, "I'd like to know more about that song; it certainly is the kind of source Lloyd may have used.... Unfortunately, Master Racokzi is also the name of one of the Immortal Ascended Masters that Madame Blavatsky discovered, so all the references I can find so far are on "Rosicrucian" sites and the like, and presumably irrelevant to our purpose. Did that Australian band say where they got their song? Do you know anything more about it?"

All I know is what's on the liner notes to the Transylvaniacs CD, which I'll have a look at when I can, but I don't think there's much there. They do have a website, and there's probably a contact address there. I'd recommend you just email them.


05 Dec 03 - 02:07 AM (#1065851)
Subject: origins: Prince Heathen
From: Joe Offer

Gee, what a powerful song. I take it that the Version in the Digital Tradition is the A.L. Lloyd version, but the notes in the entry are not clear about that. If anyone has the Lloyd version, could you compare it to the DT version for us?


There's not much at the Traditional Ballad Index:

Prince Heathen [Child 104]

DESCRIPTION: Prince Heathen takes a girl against her will. He rapes her and offers her extreme cruelty, all to break her will. She never yields. At last her babe is born. After further abuse, bringing her close to death, her spirit fails; at last he acts human
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: rape abuse pregnancy
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Child 104, "Prince Heathen" (2 texts)
DT 104, PRINHEAT

Roud #3336
File: C104

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


05 Dec 03 - 02:10 AM (#1065853)
Subject: ADD Version: Prince Heathen
From: Joe Offer

Here are the two version from Child, obtained from http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch104.htm

104A: Prince Heathen




104A.1        LADY MARGERY MAY sits in her bower,
        Sewing at her seem;
        By there comes a heathen knight,
        From her her maidenhead has tane.
104A.2        He has put her in a tower strong,
        With double locks on fifty doors:
        ‘Lady Margery May, will you ga now?’
        ‘O ye heathen knight, not yet for you.
104A.3        ‘I am asking, you heathen knight;
        What I am asking will you grant to me?
        Will ye let one of your waitmen
        A drink of your well bring to me?’
104A.4        ‘Meat nor drink you shall never get,
        Nor out of that shall you never come,
        Meat nor drink shall you never get,
        Until you bear to me daughter or son.’
104A.5        Thus time drew on, and further on,
        For travail came this young lady to;
        She travailed up, so did she down,
        But lighter could she never be.
104A.6        ‘An asking, an asking, you heathen knight;
        An asking will you grant to me?
        Will you give me a scread of silk,
        For to row your young son wi?’
104A.7        He took the horse-sheet in his hand,
        The tears came twinkling down:
        ‘Lady Margaret May, will ye ga now?’
        ‘O ye heathen knight, not yet for you.’
104A.8        ‘I’ll wash my young son with the milk,
        I will dry my young son with the silk;
        For hearts will break, and bands will bow;
        So dear will I love my lady now!’



104B: Prince Heathen




104B.1        LADY MARGARET sat in her bower-door,
        Sewing at her silken seem,
        When by it came Prince Heathen then,
        An gae to her a gay gold ring.
104B.2        He turnd about, an gied a bow;
        She said, Begone, I love na you;
        When he sware by his yellow hair
        That he woud gar her greet fu sair.
104B.3        But she sware by her milk-white skin
        Prince Heathen shoud gar her greet nane:
        But she sware by her milk-white skin
        Prince Heathen shoud gar her greet nane:
      Refrain:        ‘O bonny may, winna ye greet now?’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.
104B.4        He’s taen her in his arms twa,
        Laid her between him an the wa,
        An ere he let her free again,
        Her maidenhead frae her he’s taen.
      Refrain:        ‘O bonny may, winna ye greet now?’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.’
104B.5        ‘I killd your father in his bed,
        And your gay mother by his side,
        And your seven brothers, ane by ane,
        And they were seven pretty men.
      Refrain:        O bonny may, winna ye greet now?’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.’
104B.6        ‘I’ll put you in a vault o stone,
        Where five an thirty locks hing on;
        Naebody there then shall you see,
        For I will keep the keys wi me.
      Refrain:        O bonny may, winna ye greet now?’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.’
104B.7        ‘He’s put her in a vault o stone,
        Where five an thirty locks hing on;
        Naebody there coud eer her see,
        Prince Heathen kept the keys him wi.
      Refrain:        But ae she cried, What shall I do!
        The heathenish dog has gart me rue.
104B.8        Prince heathen from the mountains came,
        Attended by his armed men,
        And he’s gane to the bonny may,
        And to the prison where she lay:
      Refrain:        ‘O bonny may, what do you now?’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, dying for you.’
104B.9        ‘I’ll take you out upon the green,
        Where women ye shall neer see ane,
        But only me and my young men,
        Till ye bring daughter hame or son.
      Refrain:        O bonny may, what do you now?’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, dying for you.’
104B.10        He’s taen her out upon the green,
        Where she saw women never ane,
        But only him and ’s merry young men,
        Till she brought hame a bonny young son.
      Refrain:        ‘O bonny may, what do you now?’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, dying for you.
104B.11        ‘A drink, a drink, frae Prince Heathen’s hand,
        Though it were frae yon cauld well strong!’
        ‘O neer a drap, Prince Heathen,’ said one,
        ‘Till ye row up your bonny young son.’
        ‘How can I row up my bonny young son.’
        When I hae naething to row him in?’
104B.12        ‘I will lend you my horse’s sheet,
        That will row him baith head and feet.’
        As soon’s she took it in her han,
        Tears oer her cheeks down rapping ran.
      Refrain:        ‘O bonny may, ye do greet now:’
        ‘Ye heathenish dog, but nae for you.
104B.13        ‘But a’ is for my bonny young son;
        Your sheets are rough to row him in;
        Ohon, alas, sair may I rue
        That eer I saw such rogues as you!’
104B.14        ‘Ye’ll row my young son in the silk,
        An ye will wash him wi the milk,
        An lay my lady very saft,
        That I may see her very aft.’
        When hearts are broken, bands will bow;
        Sae well’s he loved his lady now!




05 Dec 03 - 03:15 AM (#1065877)
Subject: ADD Version: Prince Heathen
From: Garry Gillard

I set out the version I transcribed like this. See above for my note on punctuation.

Garry

Prince Heathen
Sung by Martin Carthy on Prince Heathen (1969). A second recording, re-released on The Martin Carthy Chronicles (2001), was taken from a previously unreleased radio session from 1974, from John Peel's "Top Gear" BBC radio show. A third recording was made for Signs of Life (1998). The lyrics vary between the three recordings in only tiny details.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lady sits in her garden fair
Sewing a silken seam
And by there come this Prince Heathen
And he vowed her love he'd gain

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Oh never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

She turned her around and aloud did cry
Begone I love not you
And then he vowed him Prince Heathen
That she would weep full sore

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Oh never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

So he's laid her all on the ground
Between himself and the wall
And there he's stripped her of her will
And her maidenhead and all

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Oh never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

Oh I slew your father in his bed
And your mother by his side
And your seven brothers one by one
I drowned them in the tide

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Oh never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

Oh I'll lay you in a vault of stone
With thirty locks upon
And meat nor drink you will never get
Till your baby it is born

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Oh never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

So he's laid her in a vault of stone
With thirty locks upon
And he's taken the key in his right hand
To the mountain he has gone

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Oh never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

Prince Heathen he from the mountains came
With his merry men all in a line
And he sought out this fair young maid
Down in her vault of stone

And how d'you do and do you weep
Lady tell me true
I'm never weeping heathen dog
But dying here for you

Oh meat nor drink you'll never get
Nor out of prison come
Oh meat nor drink you will never get
Till your baby it is born

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Ah never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

Her time came on and further on
In labour there she lay
She laboured up she laboured down
But lighter she could not be

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Ah never yet you heathen dog
And never yet for you

So he's laid her all on the green
And his merry men stood around
And how they laughed and how they mocked
As she brought forth a son

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Ah never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you

A drink a drink the young girl cries
All from Prince Heathen's hand
Oh never a drop Prince Heathen cries
Till ye give up your son

Then lend to me a silken shawl
Or a blanket or a sheet
That I may wrap this little baby
That lies in me arms asleep

Oh I'll lend you an old horse blanket
To wrap him head and feet
And there she took it in her hand
So bitter she did weep

O lady do you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Oh never yet you heathen dog
And never now for you

Could you not give any better thing
Than a horse blanket or a sheet
To wrap and swaddle your own young son
That lies in my arms asleep

He's borne her up so very soft
Borne her up so slow
He's laid her down in a soft green bed
So dearly he loved her now

O lady will you weep for me
Lady tell me true
Ah never yet you heathen dog
I never shall for you
------------------------------------------------------------------------
New: 12 February 2000
Now: 31 March 2001
Child #104. Transcribed by Garry Gillard. The transcription was originally of the Prince Heathen performance, but in a few places I have changed it to follow Martin Carthy's later preferences, in Signs of Life, where they make the sense clearer.


08 Dec 03 - 12:15 AM (#1067643)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: GUEST,Gerry

I've had a look at the notes to The Ballad of Master Rakoczi on the Transylvaniacs CD, On Our Way, Tall Poppies TP063. First of all, there are a couple of diacritical marks that I'm not up to reproducing here, over the a and the o in Rakoczi. I'd call it an accent aigue if it were French.

The liner notes read, "Katalin rejects her marriage to Rakoczi and shows it by addressing him formally rather than affectionately. He tries to make her submit through violence. She finally gives in but only to die shortly after. This comes from a time when there were many arranged marriages in Hungary and warns you must be careful how you treat your wife."

There's no indication of how The Transylvaniacs came across this ballad.

Full lyrics are given, both in Hungarian (they sing it in Hungarian) and English. It comes to 20 verses. I'm sorry but I'm not keen on typing it all out.


08 Dec 03 - 09:17 AM (#1067756)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: breezy

I'm not that keen on you writing it out either.

It lacks a chorus dont you think?

I wonder if I should ask Martin to do a shortened version this Friday at MY club.

I just find these ballads a drag, unless they can be performed with drama, passion and actions.

Dont any of you come cos we're chocablokka


08 Dec 03 - 08:09 PM (#1068104)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: breezy

Friday 12th Dec Martin Carthy will perform at St.Stephens Church Hall, Watling Street, St Albans,
Doors open 8.00
This is a St Albans Folk-song club presentation with support from Keith Snowden and George Papavgeris

Tickets now available as a result of this venue change

PM 4 details


09 Dec 03 - 09:05 AM (#1068388)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: GUEST,Santa

It's very interesting to find this possible Hungarian link - even more if it could be confirmed.

Garry: punctuation can change the meaning of words, inside of songs or outside. Correct punctuation is as important for communication as grammar, syntax, or any other part of the language. I still think that the line
"but never yet you heathen dog" benefits from a comma, the written equivalent of a vocal break for rest, or to separate ideas
"But never, yet you heathen dog" gives us the phrase "yet you heathen dog" which is gibberish. "Yet" has no meaning in that phrase Yet what? The phrase cries out for completion.
"but never yet, you heathen dog" seems to be better English, with both halves meaningful. Well, the first phrase is perhaps more poetical than a particularly good construction, but it does get the meaning across.

Sorry if this seems excessively pedantic to you.


09 Dec 03 - 01:12 PM (#1068549)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Bearheart

Very interesting thread.

I would be interested in the source for the Hungarian version. Is there a way to contact the band to find this out? And where did you run across the CD? I would also like more info on this group and the other stuff they perform. I'm always looking for ballads from Europe (particularly eastern Europe and Scandinavia) that are related to the Child ballads.

Bekki


09 Dec 03 - 01:25 PM (#1068560)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Malcolm Douglas

It might be a little premature to describe it as "a Hungarian version", though there do seem to be some points of similarity from the little we have been told. I see no sign of a website for the band, though their record company has one: http://www.tallpoppies.au.nu/


09 Dec 03 - 09:32 PM (#1068921)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: GUEST,Gerry

http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/~castopic/trannies.htm
is URL for The Transylvaniacs.

Bearheart - I was at the launch for the CD some years ago, and have seen the band perform here in Sydney many times. I was pleasantly surprised to see the CD on the racks at a store in New York City when I visited once, so it has had at least a little distribution outside Australia.


26 Jun 05 - 07:42 AM (#1510120)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Le Scaramouche

I was sure I had read this story somewhere, when I saw the Hungarian bit, it clicked.
Several years ago I had read several books of folk tales and legends, which were mostly Eastern and Central European, there was a very similar story about a pagan (or Turkish) king (or knight) who kidnaps a woman who bears his child, yet refuses to have anything to do with him. I think she either plots to escape or murder him, but memory is hazy.
Anyway, take this for what it's worth until I can find the book again.

Allen


26 Jun 05 - 01:17 PM (#1510352)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: *Laura*

Martin says in the sleevenotes that he changed the ending slightly becasue the original version made him really angry - what was the original version??
(don't hold me to this though cos they're not in front of me - i just seem to remember it that's all)

xLx


26 Jun 05 - 01:59 PM (#1510363)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: The Borchester Echo

Some versions go on to have Prince Heathen repenting and giving orders for Margaret to be dressed in fine clothes etc but still end with her telling him what he can do with them. This is the one recorded by Frankie Armstrong:

Prince Heathen


26 Jun 05 - 11:16 PM (#1510698)
Subject: RE: Origins: Prince Heathen
From: Malcolm Douglas

As has already been mentioned, Frankie Armstrong recorded Bert Lloyd's extensive, colourful and very imaginative re-write of the song, so that tells us nothing about its history; though a fair bit about Bert, perhaps.

The two texts in Child have already been quoted here. There is only one other known from tradition; in Greig-Duncan (from Bell Robertson, therefore with no tune. See references above). Martin will also have known about that one; so far as I can remember, I haven't seen it, so I don't know how it ends. At any rate, it to those you must look if you want to know more about the song as it was, as opposed to how it has been re-invented in recent years.