Mudcat Café message #3991639 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166098   Message #3991639
Posted By: Howard Jones
10-May-19 - 06:53 AM
Thread Name: If you don't like ballads......
Subject: RE: If you don't like ballads......
The first verse of 'Ushers Well' sets the scene and puts the characters in context. It tells you very little about them, other than their relationship to one another, and that the sons were stout and stalwart. It doesn't tell you why they were sent to sea, or anything about their characters or even occupations.

The version I know, learned from Chris Coe, refers her as "a carlin wife", meaning witch, or unpleasant or disliked old woman. That is the only hint of characterisation.