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Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/MerchantDaughtr

Richie 23 Apr 16 - 05:21 PM
Richie 23 Apr 16 - 09:59 PM
Richie 23 Apr 16 - 10:21 PM
Richie 23 Apr 16 - 10:32 PM
Richie 24 Apr 16 - 12:42 AM
Richie 24 Apr 16 - 01:14 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 24 Apr 16 - 04:50 AM
Richie 24 Apr 16 - 08:28 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Apr 16 - 08:45 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Apr 16 - 08:55 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Apr 16 - 02:34 PM
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Richie 24 Apr 16 - 06:06 PM
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Richie 25 Apr 16 - 11:20 AM
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Steve Gardham 25 Apr 16 - 03:59 PM
Richie 25 Apr 16 - 04:00 PM
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Subject: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 05:21 PM

Hi,

I'm doing some ballad research on my site and want to look at the ballad, Bramble Briar/ Merchant's Daughter/In Bruton Town.

This ballad was suggested to me by Steve Gardham, who has an article and several Appendices online. I'm not familiar with all the details but will learn as we go.

I'll post an article that should be considered: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/1boccaccio-hans-sachs-and-the-bramble-briar.aspx

It's Belden's: "Boccaccio, Hans Sachs, and the Bramble Briar" from 1918 which I believe was precipitated by a statement by Broadwood.

I will post the translation later from Steve's article.

How did this ballad get to Madison County, NC? Where does it come from?

In Zepo Town

1. In Zepo Town there lived a merchant
He had three sons and a daughter dear
And among them all was the prettiest boy
It was the daughter's dearest dear.

2. One evening they were in a room courting
Their oldest brother chanced to hear
He goes and tells his other brother
Let's deprive her of her dearest dear.

3. So they rose up so early next morning
A game of hunting was agreed to go
But little did he think of a bloody murder
A game of hunting he agreed to go.

4. They wandered over hills and valleys
And through a many of a place unknown
Till at last they became to a ditch of briars
And there they killed him dead alone.

5. So they returned home late in the evening
Their sister inquiring for the service boy
Oh we got him lost in the Wildwoods hunting,
No more of him could we ever find.

6. While she lie upon her pillow
The service boy appeared in a dream
Says: your brothers killed me rough and cruel
All wallowed in a gore of blood.

7. But since your brothers has been so cruel
To rob and steal your own sweet life
One grave deserves both of our bodies
I'll stay with you as long as life.

8. So she returned home late in the evening
Her brothers asked her where she'd been
Just hold your peace you deceitful v1lla1ns
For one alone you both shall hang.

9. Her brothers being deep convicted
To jump in a ship and find relief
The winds did blow and the waves overcome them
Their graves was both in the deep blue sea.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 09:59 PM

Hi,

Here's a link to Steve's article: http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dung21.htm

There are at least 4 US version from 1890 and earlier. Henry J. Wehman published a version in song collection No. 28, p. 23 that is dated 1890. Two of the versions from manuscripts are early 1800s (NY and OH).

One question is how is it related to "The Constant Farmer's Son." Malcolm Douglas gave version of both. "The Constant Farmer's Son" was printed as a broadside, where Bramble was only printed in Wehman's and that version was communicated from tradition.

Here's a translation posted by Steve of the 1620 'Isabella and the Pot of Basil' in the Decameron:

Isabella's Tragedy

In Messina there dwelt three young men,
Brethren and merchants all they were.
Very rich by their father's death then,
And lived in fame with little care.

They had a sister Isabella,
And she was beautiful and fair,
And as of yet she remained unmarried
And with great portion it was her share.

The trading of the brothers' business
That brought them plenty of store and gain,
Was by a factor, thus a servant,
Lorenzo was this factor's name.

Lorenzo being of fair complexion,
Gracious in this young maid's eyes,
Isabella placed her whole affection,
Gave him many looks and sighs.

Lorenzo noting her behaviour
Fixed his heart on her likewise;
Both respected one another
But kept their secret from prying eyes.

It was one day the eldest brother
At length he chanced upon the scene;
He told it to his other brethren
The secret meeting he had seen.

With no sign unto Lorenzo
From the city they rode all three,
And talking with him kind manner,
Took Lorenzo in their company.

When they came to a lonely valley
Such as matched their vile intent,
They ran upon him, quickly slew him,
Interred his body where no-one went.

When they returned unto Messina
They gave it forth they had him sent
To do some trading in a far country
As formerly it was their bent.

Many demands she made unto them
To which far country he had gone.
What do you mean by all these questions?
The brothers said, you do us wrong.

One night as she lay sore afflicted
Lorenzo came to her bedside,
In torn and unbefitting garments,
With looks so pale and eyes so wide.

My dear, he said, do not torment you,
Nor call my name and thus repine;
Thy brethren they cruelly slew me,
My mangled body you soon shall find.

In the morning she rode a journey
Directly to the designed place:
She found the body of her Lorenzo
And held him close in fond embrace.

His body was so little corrupted,
She washed it over with many a tear;
Infinite kisses bestowed upon him,
My love's no more, to me so dear.

Returning back to her cruel brethren
This maiden wept and pined away,
She could not cease from all her mourning,
Died upon the very next day.

As their offence might be discovered,
From Messina all three were bound
And sailing on their way to Naples,
Their ship was lost, all three were drowned.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 10:21 PM

Hi,

In my first post: "In Zepo Town" was taken from Lisha Shelton's version known in Appalachia "in Seaport Town" (Sharp EFFSA).

I have a theory about analogues like the one found in Boccaccio's "The Decameron" (see translation my last post). Most analogues are like Jungian archtypes; there are themes common to humankind. These common themes provoke similar stories in many different cultures. Just because the story is the same doesn't mean that a version in one country or culture is based or taken from another-- the same story can spring from a similat or sometime nearly identical situation.

In the case of The Bramble Briar I quote Norman Cazden, ‎Herbert Haufrecht, ‎Norman Studer - 1982 from the book, "Folk Songs of the Catskills" who first mention Boccaccio:

"Four German poems written between 1515 and 1548 by Hans Sachs, the noted Meistersinger, derive from that story, as does also the poem Isabella by John Keats. None of these forms seem to have had a direct influence on the text lines or the images of the two ballad strains. It may be more fruitful to regard the core of the tale as a popular theme, probably handed down in oral tradition since long before Boccaccio, with its various literary renderings, broadside ballad texts, and possibly other outcroppings constituting particular formulations or crystallizations."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 10:32 PM

Hi,

The "two ballad strains" are of course "The Bramble Briar" and "Constant Farmer's Son." It seems that the UK versions are about a farmer than a merchant. Why is that?

Is "Constant Farmer's Son" based on "Bramble Briar" or do they just have the same theme?

Here are the four early US versions:

A. The Bridgewater Merchant, from New York MS taken from an aunt of Artemas Stevens; dated circa 1820, part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958.

B. The Apprentice Boy from Ohio/Michigan taken MS book (c. 1852) of Mrs. Elsie Clark Lambertson.

C. The Bramble Brier, from Henry J. Wehman (Wehman Brothers); No. 28, p. 23; 1890.

D. The Jeaolus Brothers, sung by Mr. Doney Hammontree of Farmington, Ark; from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs dated 1890s.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 12:42 AM

Here's an unusual version (at least the way it appears in print). On page Page 34 of OLD, OLD FOLK SONGS c. 1951 by Fred High of Berryville, Arkansas, comes this version (reproduced exactly as printed :)

TWO LOVERS SET SPARKING

One evening late as they set sparking her brothers
Chance come over here says your-court-ships they will
soon B over for we will march him right along to his grave
Next morning as they arose a game of hunting for to go
& on this young man they insisted that he
Should go along with them
They rode over hills & over vallies & over land that
was unknown & they rode till they come to the lonesome
Valley & there they killed him dead alone
That evening ate as they was returning their sister
Asked for the survent boy says Ive lost him in our game
of hunting & no more of him could've ever find
That evening [l]ate as she lye-weeping he appeared to her
bed side says your brothers have killed me with rush
& crual & here i lye in agoar of blood
Next morning earley as she arose & dressed her self
in rich-eare says ile ride ile ride to the end of
the mountain or seak the object of my love.
She rode over hills & over vallies & over land which
was unknown & she rode & she rode till she come to
The lone-some-valley & there she found him dead alone
His red rosey cheeks they had all faded & his lips
Was of a salty bryne & she kissed them over & ore a
crying says a darling busem friend of mine
That evening late as she was returning her brothers
Asked where she had ben. oh hold your tongue u deseite
Ful villings for dead alone U both shall hang
Next motning early as they arose & started over the
Ocean deep the waves they did over come them & now
They are both mouldern in the deep

by the Hayneses

-----------------------------------

I'll post a translation below. Curiously, there are around a dozen versions from the Ozarks and the Southwest.
-----------------------------------

Two Lovers Set Sparking (Translated R. Matteson)

One evening late as they set sparking[1],
Her brothers chanced come overhear,
Said: Your courtships they will soon be over
For we will march him right along to his grave.

Next morning as they arose,
A game of hunting for to go
And on this young man they insisted,
That he should go along with them.

They rode over hills and over valleys,
And over land that was unknown
And they rode till they come to the Lonesome Valley
And there they killed him dead alone.

That evening late as they was returning
Their sister asked for the servant boy,
Saying: We've lost him in our game of hunting
And no more of him could've ever find.

That evening late as she lie weeping
He appeared to her bedside;
Saying: Your brothers have killed me both[2] rash and cruel
And here I lie in a gore of blood.

Next morning early she arose A
And dressed herself in rich array,
Saying: I'll ride, I'll ride to the end of the mountain
Or seek the object of my love.

She rode over hills and over valleys
And over land which was unknown
And she rode and she rode till she come to the lonesome valley
And there she found him dead alone.

His red rosy cheeks they had all faded
And his lips was of a salty brine;
And she kissed them o'er and o'er a-crying
Saying Darling bosom friend of mine.

That evening late as she was returning
Her brothers asked where she had been;
Oh hold your tongue you deceitful villains
For dead alone you both shall hang.

Next morning early as they arose
And started over the ocean deep
The waves they did over come them
And now they are both moulderin' in the deep

by the Haynes

1. courting
2. originally "with"

[Quite a transformation- from English to English!!!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 01:14 AM

Hi,

I immediately associated "Bramble" to the Child ballad "Braes O' Yarrow" which, if I remember correctly at this hour, is the story of a rich feudal lord whose daughter falls in love with a poor plouhman. Because of his meager station the lord's seven sons ambush the the ploughman who kills six of them but the seventh stabs him in the back leaving him to die on the Yarrow. She goes to warn her ploughboy but is too late and pulls him by her hair from the water's edge. He dies and she dies of sorrow.

Anyone see this association?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 04:50 AM

Richie, you seem to imply that Lisha Shelton's version - "In Zepo Town" - is in Sharp's Appalachian collection. It was actually recordede by John Cohen from Lisha Shelton and the recording can be heard on the CD/DVD set ""Dark Holler" (Smithsonian/Folkways SFW CD 40159. I have always thought that "Zepo" was a corruption of "Seaport" (an alternate title), which probably arose in oral transmission. As to how the ballad arrived in Appalachia - some early settlers took it there, along with all those other songs and ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 08:28 AM

Hi Mike,

Thanks for clarifying- I meant the title "In Seaport Town" which was used by Sharp as his heading for the ballad (versions A-I).

Since the earliest reported US versions seem to be disseminated primarily from the NY area (NJ to Ohio) the ballad has different points of origin. One is the Virginia Colony. How do these texts differ?

In Sharp E we find the town is named Bridgewater. We know that Gardham identifies Bridewater as the hypothetical setting of this ballad. His reconstructed hypothetical version constructed from extant versions begins (see link above):

The Bridgewater Merchant

1. 'Twas near Bridgewater a rich man lived
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled these children's hearts with care.

Is Bridgewater a clue to the origin? Why does it usually appear as Seaport in Appalachia?

Why does Gardham call it a "reconstructed broadside ballad"?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 08:45 AM

Okay, in summary of my articles on the origins of the ballad which ought to be read fully and carefully to weigh up the fairly straightforward evidence: I've never met anyone who didn't think that CFS was a straight rewrite of Bramble Briar from the early 19th century, the work of a broadside hack.

There are too many points of co-incidence to clearly demonstrate that the ballad in its earliest extant forms is directly taken from an English translation of the Isabella story. Since Belden's time everyone who has looked at the ballad in any detail has come to that conclusion even without access to the longer versions.

Whilst the original broadside hasn't yet come to light, or perhaps hasn't survived, a garland ballad printed in Bristol in the mid 18th century has 3 stanzas at the start which are so close to the early stanzas in Bramble Briar that this could not be a co-incidence. So either they were by the same writer, or one influenced the other.

An extra interesting point to me is that when I first came across the long versions I actually considered the ballad could have originated in America. There are Bridg(e)waters in almost all of the eastern seaboard states. It was the finding of the Bristol garland that swayed me back to Somerset/Bristol as the setting and original.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 08:55 AM

To clarify Richie's posting of the Isabella ballad above, the actual broadside from 1620 is a prose account. The versifying is mine but is very close to the text on the broadside. I only altered the odd word for the sake of rhyming.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 02:34 PM

It's not that surprising that the ballad survived better in America. Generally speaking the earlier a version is of any ballad the fuller and closer to the original it is likely to be. It seems reasonable to suggest the 2 earliest versions are fairly close to the original though both show evidence of being some time in oral tradition. Again we are faced with the same situation as the previous ballad, it could have been learnt in England, probably in the Bristol area, before being carried across with migrants, or migrants could have taken copies of the printed ballad with them in the chapbook/garland. Of course it could have been reprinted in America c1750-1800 but I personally think this less likely. It also seems very likely that the Wehman printing came directly from oral tradition.

English versions are usually pared right back to the bare bones though we still get the gist of the story and can recognise the Isabella plot.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 02:58 PM

'reconstructed broadside ballad'. If I haven't made it plain that this is my reconstruction then I need to remedy that. The 2 long American early versions make a hypothetical reconstruction of the orginal possible. All it is is a probable based on the existing evidence.

As for Bridgwater (note correct spelling), the evidence is overwhelming.

The most complete, earliest extant version is actually titled 'The Bridgewater Merchant', and most of the earlier American versions have 'Bridgewater'. Several English versions, even those collected more recently have it.

Bruton mentioned in some influential English versions is just a few miles up the road from Bridgwater.

As previously mentioned the existence of a similarly-worded ballad printed in Bristol just 40 miles away.

It'll do for me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 06:06 PM

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your comments and the great article(s).

Here's a short US version that dates back to the early 1800's. It comes from Council Harmon (1806-1890) through his granddaughter. "Old Counce" is part of the Hicks/Harmon families in Watuaga County NC. There's also a fragment from Jane Hicks Gentry, another granddaughter, collected by Sharp in 1916. Counce learned his ballads from Big Sammy Hicks who came to the Watuaga region with his father David before the Revolutionary War. This version is missing the first stanza(s) and the dream.

"The Bamboo Brier." Recorded by Mrs. Henry from the singing of Mrs. Samuel Harmon, Cade's Cove, Blount County, Tennessee, August, 1930, who learned it from Grandfather [Council] Harmon (1806-1890).

1. It was early, early in the morning
When those young men became a-hunting,
They hunted over hills and lonesome valleys
And through such places as was quite unknown.

2. Till at last they came to the Bamboo Brier
And then her true-love was killed and thrown.
It was getting late when they was turning.
"O brother dear, where my servant man can be?"

3. "Among my hunt and all our rambles
We have lost your servant man there."
   
4. It was early, early the next morning,
This young damsel became a-hunting.
She traveled over hills and through lonesome valleys
And through such places as was quite unknown.

5. At last she came to the Bamboo Brier,
There her true-love was killed and thrown;
The blood on his cheeks was just a-drying;
His feeble lips was salt as brine.

6. She kissed him o'er and over a-crying:
"I have lost a bosom friend of mine."
It was getting late when she was returning:
"Sister, dear, where have you been?"

7. "Oh, ye, oh, ye, ye cruel villians!
For my true-love you both shall hang."
They started to the sea for to drown all sin and sorrow.
The top of the ship became in a totter
And in the bottom of the sea their graves lie low.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 07:40 PM

Hi,

Is the name perhaps "Tunbridge"?

Here's part of an English version from the early 1800s:

Tales About Christmas
by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) London 1838

Charpter 18 (exceprt)

A bricklayer, judging by his appearance, then entertained the company with the long ballad of "Lord Bateman's Daughter:" though he had by no means a good voice, yet you might have heard a pin drop on the floor while he was singing; and yet I question if equal attention was not given to a labourer, in a smock frock, who was the next singer.

He began his ditty with a twang, singing somewhat through his nose; but that did not signify, for the narrative contained in his ballad was full of interest. It began thus,

"Near Tunbridge waters a man there lived,"

and went on to say that the man had two sons and a daughter, whom he loved very dearly.

"A servant man with them there lived;
A servant man as you shall hear,
And this young lady did him admire,
And they loved each other dear."

It seems that the brothers of the young lady were highly offended, for, after some time,

"A hunting match there was provided
To take this young man's sweet life away."

This cruel plan succeeded too well, for the two brothers fell upon the servant man, in a lonely place, and killed him; thus the young lady was deprived of her lover, and thus the hard hearted brothers rid themselves of the servant man.

"Near Tunbridge waters a brook there runneth;
With thorns and briers it is overgrown,
And, all for to hide their cruel murder,
In that brook he was killed and thrown."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 07:53 PM

Hi,

Tunbridge waters= bridge waters

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 08:52 AM

Hi,

Here's the first stanza of the Hicks/Harmon version (see Mrs. Harmon's version in an earlier post) as given by Jane Hicks Gentry granddaughter of Council Harmon former of Watauga County NC. It was collected by Sharp in 1919 and is the D version in EFSSA:

D. In Seaport Town. Sung by Mrs. JANE GENTRY at Hot Springs, N. C, Sept. 14, 1916
Heptatonic. Mode 4, a + b (mixolydian).

In Sea port town there was a merchant,
He had two sons and a daugh - ter dear;
Among them were a princy[1] boy,
Who was their daughter's dearest dear.

1. prentice= prentcy

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 10:04 AM

Hi,

This is another old version (Steve's A2) dated before 1876 in Ohio that was published in Dearborn Independent- Volume 27, Part 2 - Page 12, 1927 and reprinted in Ballads and Songs from Ohio, 1939 by Mary O. Eddie, p. 85. Original spelling kept:

The Bramble Brier- sung by Miss Jane Goon of Perrysville, Ohio; taken from Carrie Brubaker by 1876.


1. In Portly town there lived a merchant
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
And a prentice bound from a far intender,
Who plowed the vict'ries all over the main.

2. Ten thousand pounds it was her portion;
She was a neat and camly dame;
And upon the salome[1] that plowed the ocean
She had a notion to bestow the same.

3. One night while they were sitting courting,
Her two brothers chanced to overhear,
They said this courtship should be ended;
"We will send him headlong unto his grave."

4. And for to conclude this bloody murder,
These two villains hunting did go;
And upon the salome[1] they coaxed and flattered
Along with them hunting to go.

5. They traveled over high hills and mountains,
Through lonely valleys that were unknown,
Until they came to the bramble brier,
And there they did him kill and thrown.

6. And when they had back home returned,
Their sister asked for the servant man;
"We left him in the woods a-hunting,
And we no more of him could find.

7. "Oh, sister dear, what makes you inquire
All so for this young man's sake?"
"Because I thought you seemed to whisper;
Come, tell me, brothers, or my heart will break."

8. One night while she was lying sleeping,
He appeared to her bedside,
And he was all in tears a-weeping,
And all rolled over in gores of blood.

9. He says: "My dear, leave off this crying,
It is a folly for You to know;
For your two brothers killed me, rash and cruel;
in such a place, love, You may me find."

10. She traveled o'er high hills and mountains,
Through lonely valleys that were unknown,
Until she came to the bramble brier,
And there they had him killed and thrown.

11. Three days and nights she tarried by him,
Kissing on her bended knees;
When in that time she was constrained
To utter forth such words as these:

12 "I had a mind for to stay by him
Until my heart it did break with woe,
But I felt that hunger came creeping o'er me,
Which forced me back home to go"'

13. And when she had back home returned'
Her brothers ask where she had been;
"Begone, ye proud and deceitful villains!
For him alone you both shall swing."

14. And for to shun this bloody murder
These two villains to sea did go;
And to tell the truth it was on the morrow
That the stormy winds began to blow.

15. The winds did blow, and it was no wonder
That these two villains were cast away'
And by the flood they were tost under,
And the raging sea formed their grave.


1. sung Sa-lome known as the lover's name by the informant


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 11:20 AM

Hi,

Here's an old version from an MS found in the possession of Sharp's informant Sol (Solomon) Shelton of Alleghany County in 1816. (cf. In Zepo Town). The Shelton's and most of Sharp's informants in that region of NC are descended from Roderick who was b. 1754 in Virginia. This version dates back surely far into the 1800s.

Lonesome Valley [One Evening All Alone] - From Sol Shelton's MS; 1916

One evening all alone a-talking
Her brother cease[d] [talking] for to overhear
Saying: Your courtship now will soon be ended,
We'll force him along into his grave.

They rose up early the next morning
A game of hunting for to go
And upon this young man they both insisted,
For him to go along with them.

They wandered over hills and mountains
And through a many of a place unknown
Till at last they became to a lonesome valley
And there they killed him dead alone.

When they returned back the next evening
Their sister ask[ed] for the servant man,
Saying: we lost him on a game of hunting,
No more of him it's could we find.

While she lie on her bedside slumbering
The servant man did appear to her
Saying: Your brother killed me rough[1] and cruel
All wallowed in a gore[2] of blood.

She rose up early the next morning,
She dressed herself in rich array,
Saying; I'll go find my best beloved,
All wallowied in a gore[2] of blood.

She wandered over hills and mountains
And through a many of a place unknown
Till at last she became to the lonesome valley
And there she found him dead alone.

Saying: Your eyes look like some bloody butcher,
Your eyes look like some salt or brine.
Skhe kised his cold, cold lips and crying,
Said: You are the darling bosom friend of mine.

When she returned back the next evening
Her brothers asked her where she'd been
O hold your tongue, you deceitful villains
For one alone you both shall hang.

Her brothers then they came convicted
To jump in a boat and finally leave[3]
The wind did blow and the waves came o'er them
They made their graves in the deep blue sea.

1 usually "rash and cruel"
2. MS has "score"
3. "find relief" is found in "Zepo Town"

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 12:30 PM

Hi,

Beside the older versions I've posted which date in the 1800s is The Bridgewater Merchant, from New York MS taken from an aunt of Artemas Stevens that I've dated circa 1820. It's part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958. Thompson comments: "This great-aunt died in the early 1850's so the ballad apparently antedates those years by some time."

This is the main version used by Gardham to create his composite. This is the original MS- spelling not corrected.


The Bridgewater Merchant

1. At Bridgewater there lived a Merchant,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair.
Of life by death they were berieved,
Which filled their children's heart with care.

2. 'Twas o'er the seas their sons did venture
All for to bring, bring back their gain.
They had an apprentice by firm indenture
They sent him factor o'er the main.

3. He was of a fair complexion,
Strate and complete in every limb;
Their sister placed her whole affection,
On this young man, unbeknown to them.

4. Three thousand pounds it was the portion
All for this fair and butiful dame.
To this young man that crossed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same

5. It was one day the youngest brother
By chance did see them sport and play.
He told it secret to the other
And then these words they both did say,

6. Of parents mean he has descended,
May be he thinks her for to have;
But this courtship shall soon be ended,
We'll send him headlong to the grave.

7. Now to contrive this bloody slaughter,
They did conclude it should be so,
That this young man they both would flatter
With them a hunting for to go.

8. In a small wood not much frequented
Where harmless lambs did sport and play
These villains could not be contented
But must take his precious life away

9. In a dry ditch where there was no water
Where thorns and briers had overgrown
There for to hide their bloody slaughter
There this young man was killed and thrown

10. When they returned to their sister
Who asks where is your serveant man
I ask because you seem to whisper
Dear brothers tell me if you can

11. We lost him in our game of hunting
And nothing more of him could see
To tell you plain I am affronted
What makes you thus examine me.

12. That very night as she lay sleeping
There this young man he came and stood
By her bedside he stood a weeping
All covered o'er in gore of blood

13. It is vain says he my jewel
For you to murmur or repine
Your brothers have killed me being cruel
And in such a place you may me find

14. The very next day to the woods she retired
With many a sigh and a bitter grown
And there she found whom she admired
In that same place was killed and thrown

15. Although his lips with blood were dyed
Her tears as salt as any brine
She ofttimes kissed him and cried
Alas! thou bosom friend of mine

16. Although my brothers have been cruel
To take your precious life away
One grave shall serve for both my jewel
While I have breath I will by thee stay

17. Three days and nights there she sat weeping
'Till seemed her heart would burst with woe
Feeling sharp hunger on her creeping
Homeward she was forced to go

18. When she returned to her brothers
Who when these murderers came see
With blushes they of her inquired
What makes you look so mournfully

19. Oh! dear brothers thou knowest the reason
That makes your sister look so wan
Against the law you have acted treason
And for the same shall surely swing *

20. The murderers knowing their grief and sorrow
Strateway on board of a ship did go
If you will believe me on the morrow
Black clouds and storms were seen to blow

21. While in a rage and a foaming billow
Which cast both ship and gunnel too
These murderers knowing their grief and sorrow
Began to tremble and look blue

22. For to look blue it was no wonder
Just like an overbreaking wave
Both these young men were washed over
And the seas became their silent grave.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 03:59 PM

'Near Tunbridge Waters' is hardly any jump from 'Near to Bridgwater' as you've guessed. Just going to check if I have all the versions you've posted and whether they add anything to the reconstruction.

I certainly haven't seen the Peter Parley extract. I have some original Peter Parley booklets in the loft if I haven't already sent them to the charity shop. That was a cracking find, Richie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 04:00 PM

Hi,

Here's Shearin's version from Kentucky- 1911, no informant named. Shearin mentions a similar ballad titled "Cubeck's Garden" (Cupid's Garden) - according Chappell it properly "Cuper's Gardens."

From: British Ballads in the Cumberland Mountains by Hubert G. Shearin
The Sewanee Review, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Jul., 1911), pp. 313-327:   

The Apprentice Boy is somewhat similar. He falls in love with the daughter of his master, a rich merchant living in a 'post-town.' Her brothers invite the lad to go hunting with them, lure him into a lonely valley, and there leave him slain. That night his ghost appears to her:

All on that night as she lay sleeping,
He arose and stood at her bed-feet,
All covered over in tears a-weeping,
All wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

Hamlet-like, she plans vengeance upon the perfidious brothers; they seek to escape across the sea:

The sea began to roar, I think no wonder
That these two villyons should be cast away;
And broadways they came tosling under;
The sea did open and provide their grave.

This will at once be recognized as related in plot to Keats's Isabella, as already noted by Professor Beiden in the last issue of this Review (page 22if.), and as a variant of the two versions there quoted, one from British Museum Bks. 3. g. 4, Vol. I, p. 184; and the other from oral tradition in Missouri. For the sake of comparison I print the Kentucky version complete in the margin below.*

THE APPRENTICE BOY

In yon post-town there lived a margent,
He had two sons and a daughter fair;
There lived a 'prentice-boy about there,
Who was the daughter's dearest dear.

Ten thousand pounds was this gay lady's portion;
She was a fair and a camelite [comely] dame;
She loved this young man who crossed the ocean;
He told her how he could be so deslain.

One day they was in the room a-courting;
The oldest brother chanced to hear;
He went and told the other brother,
They would deprive her of her dear.

Her brothers studied on this cruel matter,
Concluded a-hunting they would go,
And with this young man they both would flatter;
A-hunting with them he had to go.

They traveled over high hills and mountains
And through strange places where it were unknown,
Till at length they came to some lonesome valley,
And then they killed him dead and thrown.

All on that evening when they returned,
She asked them where's her servant-man;
"What makes me ask you; she seems to whisper,
"Dear brothers, tell me if you can."

"He is lost in the wild woods a-hunting;
His face you never more shall see."
"I'll tell you in plain, you're much affronted;
Oh, now will you explain to me."

All on that night while she lay sleeping,
He came and stood at her bed-feet,
All covered over in tears a-weeping,
All wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

He says, "My love, it's but a folly;
For this is me that you may see;
Your brothers both being rash and cruel;
In such a valley you may find."

All on next morning when she arose,
She dressed herself in silk so fine;
She traveled o'er high hills and mountains
Her own true-lover for to find.

She traveled o'er high hills and mountains
And through strange places where it were unknown,
[Till at length she came to some lonesome valley,]
Till at length she came to a patch of briars,
And there she found him killed and thrown.

His pretty cheeks with blood were dyed;
[His lips were as bloody as any butcher;]
His lips [var., cheeks] were salty as any brine;
She kissed them over and over, a-crying,
You dearest bosom friend of mine!

"Three days and nights she tarried with him,
Till she thought her heart would break with woe,
Until sharp hunger came cropping on her,
Which forced her back home to go.

All on that evening when she returned,
Her brothers asked her where she'd been?
"O ye hardhearted, deceitful devillions,
For him alone you both shall swing."

Her brothers studied on this bloody matter,
Concluded the ocean they would sail;
My friend, I tell you, it's on the morrow
The raging sea there for to sail.

The sea began to roar, I think no wonder
That these two villyons should be cast away;
And broadways they came tosling under;
The sea did open and provide their grave.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 04:41 PM

Here's a question:

In a handwritten note F.E.P. says this about "Bramble Briar" (Vaughan Williams Collection):


"A Famous Farmer" and its corrupted version "A female farmer" are other names for "Bruton Town" which dates from the early 18th century at least, but is probably much older. The Constant Farmer's Son is a 19th century re-write of the older song in a different metre.

Who is F.E.P. ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 05:21 PM

Hi Richie,
FEP is Frank Purslow who edited the Hammond-Gardiner Mss (now online in The Full English) in 4 volumes, mostly collating several variants, Marrow Bones, The Wanton Seed, The Constant Lovers and The Foggy Dew.
I worked on the first new edition with Malcolm Douglas just before he died and then continued the second of the 4, and am currently working on a joint edition of the last 2 books. I think he was a little optimistic over the age of the ballad, but he was writing this in the early 70s without the current knowledge we now have.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 05:24 PM

I'm intrigued by the reference given by Shearin re Belden's previous article in the Sewanee Review. The BL reference must surely be to a version of Constant Farmer's Son as had it been a version of Bramble Briar he would surely have included it in his groundbreaking article of 1918. Do you have access to a copy of Belden's article in the Sewanee Review?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 06:57 PM

I usually sing a version from Howie Mitchell (on Folk-Legacy Records) that is essentially the same as the version from Mrs. George Armstrong, of Mountain View, Arkansas, reproduced in Mudcat:
http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=9783

What always impresses me about this song is that from the bulk of balladry, we learn that kissing a corpse's lips is a bad idea--most times, the kisser is dead within a verse or two. But in this ballad, the kiss is somehow not fatal, quite the exception to the rule.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 10:04 PM

Hi Charlie,

She was wronged and her life spared, good point. Thanks for providing the link.

Steve- In April 1911 Sewannee Review Belden gives a broadside version of Constant Farmer's Son mentions the a Somerset version; probably (Sharp's) In Bruton Town 1905.

The only place I could find the article is on my site: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/the-vulgar-ballad--belden-1911.aspx

Not proofed :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 10:37 PM

Steve,

The Constant Farmer's Son broadside given by Belden in 1911 is the same as the text sung by Henry Burstow in 1893 (Broadwood; English Traditional Songs and Carols)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 07:55 AM

Hi,

Here's the "Bramble" version from The Vulgar Ballad by Henry M. Belden; The Sewanee Review, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr., 1911), pp. 213-227 (see link two posts ago). It was reprinted in Ballads and Songs; Belden 1940, version A, where informants full name is supplied. I'm dating it circa 1870 since it was from his grandmother and Mayhew was born circa 1896.

THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER- (Written down [in 1910] by Carl Mayhew, a high-school pupil in West Plains, Mo., at the suggestion of his teacher, Miss G. M. Hamilton, who sent it to me. Carl Mayhew learned it from his mother, who in turn learned it from hers. The mother, and so far as I know the grandmother, were reared in Missouri.)

In a seaport town there lived a merchant,
He had two sons and a daughter fair.
An apprentice-bound boy from all danger
Courted this merchant's daughter fair.

Five hundred pounds was made her portion;
She was a neat and cunning dame:
Her brothers were so hard and cruel,
All of this was to the same.

One evening they were silent, courting,
Her brothers chanced to over hear,
Saying, "Your courtship will soon be ended,
We will send him hither to his grave."

Next morning early, breakfast over,
With them a hunting he did go;
They went over hills and lofty mountains
And through some lonely valleys too,
Until they came to a lonely desert,
There they did him kill and throw.

When they returned back home that evening
Their sister asked for the servant man;
"We lost him in the woods a-hunting
And never more we could him find."

Next morning she was silent, weeping,
He came to her bedside and stood
All pale and wounded, ghastly looking,
Wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

Saying, "Why do you weep, my pretty fair one?
It is a folly you may pawn
Go over hills and lofty mountains,
This lonesome place you may me find."

She went over hills and lofty mountains,
And through some lonesome valleys, too,
Until she came to a lonesome desert,
And there she found him killed and thrown[1].

His handsome cheeks the blood was dyeing,
His lips were salt as any brine;
She kissed him o'er and o'er crying,
"This dear beloved friend of mine."

Three days and nights she did stay by him,
'Twas on her bended knees she stood;
All in the height of her great anger
She uttered forth such words as these:

"My love, I thought I would stay by him.
Until my heart should break with woe;
But I feel sharp hunger growing on me,
Which forces me back home to go."

When she returned back home that evening
Her brother asked her where she'd been.
"You hard and cruel and unkind creatures!
For him alone you both shall swing."

And then to avoid all shame and danger
Away to the sea they both did go.
The wind did blow and it was no wonder
The roaring sea proved both their graves.

1. 1911 appears as "thro"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 08:19 AM

Hi,

This is the last Hicks/Harmon line version in my collection. It comes from Frank Proffitt of Beech Mountain , NC, who was Nathan and Rena Hick's son-in-law and the source of The Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley." Proffitt learned ballads from both sides of his family. Some of his ballads came from great-aunt Nancy Prather. This is from The Brown Collection of NC Folklore, version A.

A. "The Hunt, or, The Cruel Brothers." Secured from Frank Proffitt of
Sugar Grove, Watauga county, in August, 1924.

1 One day as she sat silently courting
Her brothers says, 'Come over here.
Your courtship shall be shortly ended;
We'll bring him headlong to his grave.'

2 To begin this bloody murder
A-hunting. hunting they must go;
Along with them for to flatter,
Along with them all for to go.

3 They hunted over hills and lonely mountains
And through some valleys were unknown,
Until they came to a patch of briers,
And there they did him kill and thrown.

4 It was late when they returneth,
Their sister ask for the servant man.
'We lost him in the woods a-hunting
And never more could we him find.'

5 One day as she lay silent, weeping,
Her true love come to her bed and stood.
He was poor and swath [1] and ghostly looking,
All wallered over in gores of blood.

6 'What weeps you here, my pretty fair one?
It's only a folly for you to find.
Your brothers being hard and cruel
In such a place you may me find.'

7 She hunted o'er hills and lonely mountains
And through some valleys were unknown
Until she came to a patch of briers.
And there .she found him killed and thrown.

8 His pretty fair cheeks with blood had dyed,
His lips were salt as any brine.
She kissed him over, over, crying,
'Here lies the bosom friend of mine.'

9 Three days and nights she did stay by him,
All down upon her bended knees;
In the midst of all her grief and sorrow
She uttered forth such words as these:

10 'I didn't entending staying by you
Until my heart was broke with woe.
I feel sharp hunger coming on me
Which will cause me back home to go.'

11 It was late when she returneth,
Her brothers ask her where she'd been.
She said: 'You hard-hearted, deceitful villains,
For him alone you both shall swing,'

12 To get shed of this bloody murder
Out on the sea they both did go;
Out on the sea they both went rowing.
And the sea proved both their graves.

1. The editor is unable to guess what meaning was attached to this word

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Jim Brown
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 11:05 AM

Belden's 1911 Sewanee Review article "The Vulgar Ballad" can be downloaded from https://archive.org/details/jstor-27532443


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Jim Brown
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 04:03 PM

Sorry. I mean:
Belden's 1911 Sewanee Review article "The Vulgar Ballad" can be downloaded from: https://archive.org/details/jstor-27532443


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 09:41 AM

Hi,

Jim, thanks for that link.

I'm reviewing my versions and see at least seven from the Madison County area. If anyone (Mike Yates?) can shed some light on the informants it might help.

I have:

1. In Seaport Town (Sharp A, 1916) Miss Stella Shelton
2. In Seaport Town (Sharp B, 1916) Mrs. Martha Gosnell
3. In Boston Town (Sharp C, 1916) Mrs. Rosie Hensley
4. Lonesome Valley (Sharp MS, 1916) Mr. Sol Shelton
5. In Maple City (Sharp MS, 1916) Banner Chandley [Chandler?]
6. In Seaport Town (Sharp MS, 1916) Hester House
7. In Zepo Town (Cohen REC, c. 1963) Elisha Shelton

Jane Hick Gentry's version is not tied to the Shelton's as her version is probably from her grandfather's line (Council Harmon) - the Hicks/Harmon line.

As mentioned before most of the informants are descendants of Roderick Shelton b. 1754 in Virginia (attached). John Shelton, born 1732, son of Ralph, was the father of Roderick. Some of the Shelton singers line comes from Martin Shelton, who was Roderick's son. Martin Shelton Jr., who married Mary Franklin (his sons namesake) was the father of Franklin (also Frankland) B. Shelton, b. 1859. Prominent names in the Shelton line include Hensley, Franklin, and Haire.

Some of the locations in the region include Rice Cove, Shelton Laurel, Big Laurel, Alleghany, Allenstand, Spillcorn, Hot Springs and Sodom Laurel.

Here's some info from Mike Yeats: "Other related singers who sang to Cecil Sharp were Solomon Shelton, b.1841, of Carmen, who was a brother of Franklin B Shelton, and William Riley Shelton, b.1873, from Alleghany, who was known as 'the brag ballad singer'. Photo courtesy of Kriss Sands.Both Solomon, known as 'Sol', and Franklin B Shelton were distant cousins of Mary Sands, their great-grandmother being the same Cherokee Glumdalclitch as Mary's great-grandmother, but having different great-grandfathers." [From: A Nest of Singing Birds Cecil Sharp, Mary Sands and the Madison County Song Tradition]

One question specifically relates to Sol Shelton. It seems unlikely that Sol Shelton and William Riley Shelton are brothers born 32 years apart (see Yates excerpt). There are also at least 3 Sol Sheltons and several Franklin (also Frankland) Sheltons. It's been a while since I looked at this but it's not adding up. What then is Elisha Shelton's line?

It also seems that the Appalachian version are different than the Northern versions (Wehman, Douglas/Stevens; Michigan version). Why?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 10:11 AM

Hi,

Add another version from the Madison County area:

"In Seaport Town" sung by Alfred H. Norton from Rocky Fork.

In Seaport Town there lived a merchant,
He had three sons and a daughter dear
And the princes ['prentice] boy was bound unto him,
They lived alone the very same.


Sharp diary 1916 page 263. Thursday 31 August 1916 - Rocky Fork:

Directly after our 6.30 breakfast went toward Flag Pond collecting from Mr Alfred H. Norton on the way from whom I got a few songs.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 09:10 PM

Hi,

I have couple questions. One is the use of "factor" as found in the text of Wehman's Universal Songster (a song collection):


The Bramble Brier

Near Blue-water a rich man dwelt,
With two sons and a daughter fair,
Who of his wife had been bereft,
Which caused their hearts much fear.
These young men journeyed across the sea,
To get riches was their aim,
But finding things not as they wished them to be
Returned with a factor[*] to their domain.

Now this factor[*] was tall and handsome,
Neat and genteel withal;

I noticed that "factor" was also used in the translation of Isabella's Tragedy given by Steve Gardham:

The trading of the brothers' business
That brought them plenty of store and gain,
Was by a factor[*], thus a servant,
Lorenzo was this factor's[*] name.

"Factor" does not appear in other traditional versions. What does this mean?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 27 Apr 16 - 09:38 PM

Hi,

I'm particularly interested in the three days she visits his dead body after finding him "dead alone." Here's the stanza in The Bridgewater Merchant from the early 1800s:

17. Three days and nights there she sat weeping
'Till seemed her heart would burst with woe
Feeling sharp hunger on her creeping
Homeward she was forced to go.

Sharp E:

12 She said: My love, I will stay with you
Until my heart doth burst with woe.
She felt sharp hunger creeping;
Homewards she was obliged to go.

Eddy (Ohio):

11. Three days and nights she tarried by him,
Kissing on her bended knees;
When in that time she was constrained
To utter forth such words as these:

12 "I had a mind for to stay by him
Until my heart it did break with woe,
But I felt that hunger came creeping o'er me,
Which forced me back home to go."

Shearin (1911):

"Three days and nights she tarried with him,
Till she thought her heart would break with woe,
Until sharp hunger came cropping on her,
Which forced her back home to go.

This is not found in Isabella's Tragedy. Comments?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 07:35 AM

Hi,

This is a long version from Traditional Ballads and Folk Songs Mainly from West Virginia by Cox, 1939. Also in West Virginia Songbag - p. 71 by Jim F. Comstock - 1974.


16 - THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER
(The Bramble Briar)

Communicated by Miss Frances Sanders, Morgantown, Monongalia County, June 24, 1924. Also, under title of "The Squire's Daughter," stanzas 11, 14, and 15, obtained from Miss Emma Hewitt. Music noted by Miss Sanders.

[Branberry Briars]

1. In Portrast Town there lived a merchant,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
And an apprentice, borned in a foreign country,
All for to cross that Atlantic shore.

2. Ten thousand pounds was the fair maid's portion,
She was a meek and comely dame;
On this young man who plowed the ocean,
She had a mind to bestow the same.

3. One night as they sat still a-courting,
Her brothers drawed for to overhear,
Saying, "We'll put an end to all their courtship,
And part her from her dearest friend."

4. Now to begin this cruel murder,
A-hunting these two villains go;
And on this young man who plowed the ocean,
They flattered him with them to go.

5. They hunted over hills and mountains;
And through the place where it was alone,
Until they came to some brand-berry briars,
That's where they did kill him and threw[1].

6. When they went home their sister asked them,
"What have you done with your servant man?"
"Ye lost him in the game of hunting,
And nothing more of him could we find."

7. That night as she lay still a-weeping,
Her true love came to her bedside and stood
All wallowed over in tears and weeping,
All covered over with gores of blood.

8. Leave off, leave off, it is folly
For you to weep for me and pine;
Your brothers were so hard hearted
They've killed me in such a place you may find."

9. Twas early, early the next morning
That she arose at the break of day.
She dressed herself in her rich attirement[2],
And to hunt for her true love she went straight-away.

10. She hunted over high hills and mountains,
And through the place where it was alone,
Until she came to those brand-berry briars,
That's where they had him killed and thrown.

11. His red cheeks had lost their blood,
His ruby lips were salt as brine;
she kissed then over and ten times over,
Saying, "This dear bosom friend of mine."

12. She laid herself down by the side of him,
Her tender heart filled with grief and woe,
Until she left sharp hunger creeping,
Which forced her back home to go.

13. When she went home her brothers asked her,
"What makes you look so pale and thin?"
"Oh, you cruel and hard hearted villains,
For this alone you both shall hang."

14. Now to escape this cruel murder
A-sailing these two villains go;
Hark, my friend until tomorrow
How the raging wind did blow

15. The wind did blow, it was no wonder,
It sank the ship into the deep,
One wide wave that washed them under,
The raging sea proved to be their grave.


1. thrown
2."array" or even "attire"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 08:16 AM

I was just about to post High's text, but you beat me to it.

High (1878 - 1962) seems to have learned most of his songs around Berreyville, Ark., in the 1890s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 10:37 AM

FACTOR: I've always assumed meant like a business manager dealing with imports and exports and actually going abroad on behalf of the capital owner. Another well-known ballad of the period is 'The Turkey Factor' and I'm sure there are others.

Factor of 3 (excuse the pun). Many things in ballads come in multiples of three, or for a bigger number 'thirty and three'. Just a ballad convention. Nothing more needs be read into this unless you want to.

I'll have a look on your site, see what references you have and if I have any others I'll send them. British versions tend to be somewhat shorter than American ones.

Although Jim/Richie you answered my question re the BL ref it wasn't that clear, but I'm assuming the BL ref was just a bog standard CFS in which case excitement over.

It could well be that the original TBM is languishing in some private collection or even in a Bristol collection. Unfortunately we don't have any broadside researchers in the Bristol area sufficiently interested in this case.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 11:16 AM

Hi,

Most of the Appalachian versions are not similar to "Bridgewater Merchant" from A Pioneer Songster dated circa 1820. However, this version is. The first stanza, corrupt as sung by Pace can be compared to the first stanza from Pioneer Songster so it makes some sense. In the second stanza the word "factory" appears. Here's the Songster text: They sent him factor o'er the main.

E. Near Bridgewater - Sung by Mrs. ELIZA PACE at Hyden, Leslie Co., Ky., Oct. 3, 1917
Heptatonic. Mixolydian influence.

1 Near Bridgewater a rich man lived,
He had two sons and a daughter dear.
Was like by death by arabian (sic)[1]
And filled his children's heart with fear.

2 These young men to the sea did venture
To bring whatever was for gain.
He was a prencess[2] bound and strong indebted,
They sent him factory[3] over the sea.

3 This youth was neat and comely,
Straight and complete in every limb.
Their sister placed her heart's affections
On this young man unbeknownst to them.

4 One day it chanced her youngest brother
For to see them court and play.
He told the secret to the other,
This to him then he did say:

5 O now he thinks he'll gain our sister,
Perhaps he thinks her for to have,
But their courtship will soon be ended.
We'll press him headlong to the grave.

6 Now for to end this cruel matter
And fill their sister's heart with woe,
This poor young man they did flatter
With them a-hunting for to go.

7 In the backwoods where no one used
The briers they were overgrown,
0 there they made a bloody slaughter.
There they had him killed and thrown.

8 They returned home to their sister.
She asked where was the servant-man.
I ask because you seem to whisper.
Tell me, brothers, if you can.

9 We lost him at our game a-hunting,
We never more could him see.
I tell you plainly I'm afrighted.
What makes you examine me?

10 The next night as she lie sleeping
He came to her bed-side and stood,
All covered o'er in tears a-weeping,
All wallowed o'er in gores of blood.

11 The next morning she got up
With many a sigh and bitter groan.
To the place she then returned,
Where she found him killed and thrown.

12 She said: My love, I will stay with you
Until my heart doth burst with woe.
She felt sharp hunger creeping;
Homewards she was obliged to go.

13 She returned to her brothers.
They asked her what made her look so orn[4].
O by the loss you've acted treason
In killing your poor servant man.


Footnotes:

1. This stanza and version is similar to Stevens/Douglas MS which has:

Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled their children's heart with care.

2. 'prentice
3. factor
4. wan

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 12:08 PM

Thanks Lighter,

High learned this ballad (1890s) from the Haynes. If you want to hear him sing it: http://digitalcollections.uark.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/OzarkFolkSong/id/3958/rec/6

Steve,

I did look up factor and I'm curious if this is a British expression and when it was used in the UK. It might be a clue to the origin. I've only found it in three versions so far.

I'm curious about the ballad story, let's the use Pioneer Songster version:

At Bridgewater there lived a Merchant,
Who had two sons and a daughter fair.
Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled their children's heart with care.

A rich merchant lived at Bridgwater (spelling?) and had two sons and a daughter. He dies and it makes his children worried. The sons go to the sea to collect on their father business ventures and (They sent him factor o'er the main). What does this mean? Wouldn't they bring him over the main to work for them?

Three thousand pounds it was her portion;
She was a fair and a comely dame;
On this young man that crossed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same.

So their sister and, I assume therefore, brothers each get "three thousand pounds" and she wants the servant (her love) to receive "three thousand pounds" as well. Isn't this also a motive for the murder?

What do you think he story line is at the beginning? Here's the text:

1
'Twas near Bridgewater a rich man lived
Who had two sons and a daughter fair;
Of life by death they were bereaved,
Which filled these children's hearts with care.
      
2
'Twas o'er the seas their sons did venture
For to bring home their rightful gain;
They had an apprentice by firm indenture;
They sent him factor o'er the main.

3
This young man was of a fair complexion,
Straight and complete in every limb;
Their sister placed her whole affection
On this young man, and courted him.

4
Three thousand pounds it was her portion;
She was a fair and a comely dame;
On this young man that crossed the ocean
She was resolved to bestow the same.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 01:01 PM

Richie,
First of all if the ballad was written in about 1750, which is my guess taking various factors into account, the earliest extant text has still had a pretty long time in oral tradition to have picked up some misunderstandings/mishearings.

Then don't forget that one of the main characteristics of these ballads is the leaping and lingering that pays no heed to time gaps, so the death of the parent(s), the care (or perhaps fears) then the going overseas initially by the brothers, the trust in the apprentice, and him rising to the quite prestigious status of factor, could all have taken place over a considerable timespan, say several years. So at first the brothers go themselves to initiate the business, but then they decide to send a go-between.

I think you have a point in the brothers' displeasure on finding out what the daughter and the factor were up to. They had placed their trust in him, she wants to marry beneath her, she wants to share her wealth with him. Sufficient motive for those times. (Actually in some cultures this still is the case today even in the West).

It's worth a try putting 'factor' in the search box on the UCSB English Ballads website. You might at least come up with 'Turkey factor'. In the 18th century if you were sufficiently wealthy in Britain and there were many nouveau riche then, you would want to stay in your large mansion and let someone skilled in import/export do all your negotiating, travelling and money making, making you even richer.

'Bridgwater' is the modern spelling of the Somerset town, but there are other Bridgewaters in Britain, as there are many on your side. I don't think there can be any question now of which Bridgwater is intended.

I think 'bestow the same' here means her portion, not another £3,000.
The expression 'the same' in 18thc English actually means 'the aforementioned'. You've no doubt heard the expression 'the very same',meaning 'what you were just talking about'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 01 May 16 - 08:39 AM

Hi,

TY Steve for your thoughtful comments.

I've got the first extant versions organized and have started writing a narrative here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/3-the-bramble-briar-merchants-daughter-.aspx

It looks like there are around 15 versions from Sharp/Campbell in EFSSA and his MS. Here are the earliest versions so far which are all on my site:

A. "Near Turnbridge Waters" found in Chapter 18 in Tales About Christmas by Peter Parley (Samuel Griswold Goodrich) London 1838.

B. "The Bridgewater Merchant," from New York MS taken from an aunt of Artemas Stevens; dated circa 1820, part of Douglass/Stevens MS from A Pioneer Songster- Thompson, 1958.

C. "The Apprentice Boy" from Ohio/Michigan taken MS book (c. 1852) of Mrs. Elsie Clark Lambertson.

D. "The Bamboo Brier" Sung by Mrs. Samuel Harmon; Cades Cove, TN from Council Harmon (1806-1890) dated c. 1840

E. "The Merchant's Daughter"- Carl Mayhew Missouri, dated 1870, collected in 1910, Belden A

F. "The Bamboo Briers"- Hannah Ross from Virginia to West Virginia; 1875 Cox A

G. "The Bramble Brier"- Sung by Jane Goon Ohio taken from Carrie Brubaker by 1876. Eddy

H. "The Bramble Brier," from Henry J. Wehman (Wehman's Universal Songster); printed in NY. No. 28, p. 23; 1890.

I. "The Jealous Brothers," sung by Mr. Doney Hammontree of Farmington, Ark; from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs dated 1890s.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 May 16 - 12:21 PM

The OED shows the use of "factor" to have begun in the 15th century. It was long common and still retains some currency.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 16 - 03:42 PM

Hi Richie,
I'm sure you'll have all of these but just in case:
Leach p705 (JAFL 25)
Henry p161
Brewster p193
Moore p160
Eddy p85
Hubbard p49
Owens p48
JAFL 20 I think is from Sharp
American Memory (California 1938)
Wolf 3 versions
Brown p229
The Parler version collected from Doyle, Mo 1965

I've missed out some I know you have already referred to.

British versions to follow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 16 - 03:52 PM

Folk Song Journal 19 p123 a version from Herts and one from Somerset
Reeves, Everlasting Circle p105 from Hants.
English Dance & Song 37.1 p20 Hants.
Folk Song Journal 6 p42 Somerset.
Gillington, Songs of the open Road, p10 Hants
Palmer, Everyman's Book of English Country Songs, p111 Herefordshire.
MacColl & Seeger, Travellers Songs p106 Kent & Dorset.
4 versions in Hammond Gardiner Colln in The Full English, online, Hants/Dorset
Alfred Williams also on the Full English, Oxford
Couple of versions in Sharp/Karpeles Vol 1, p280.

Let me know any you would like copies of.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 01 May 16 - 03:57 PM

Hi,

I haven't put all mine on yet- still doing sharp's MS, which are unpublished. Here's one Sharp F but with the complete text (sharp only gave one stanza0. It's a full version with the ghost:

F. In Transport Town-- Sung by Mrs. MOLLIE BROGHTON at Barbourville, Knox Co., Ky., May 8, 1917
Pentatonic. Mode 3.

1. In Transport Town there lived merchant,
There were two sons and a daughter fair,
She courted [the] man who ploughed the ocean,
It was their mind to be strong[1] the same.

2. One evening as they sat silent[ly] counting,
Her brothers had a chance to overhear[2];
"Your courtship shall be shortly ended,
We'll send him headlong to his grave."

3. To begin this bloody murder,
The two young men must a-hunting go,
Along with with him they both did flatter,
Along with him they both did go.

4. They traveled over hills and mountains,
And to some valleys [that] was unknown,
Until they came to a patch of briars,
And there they killed him and had him thrown.

5. In the evening [when] they returned,
Their sister inquired for the servant man,
"We lost him in the woods a-hunting,
Never more will you find him."

6. One evening as she lay silently weeping,
Her true-love came to her bedside,
All wallowed over, ghastly looking,
All scored over [in] a gores of blood.

7. "What weeps you here, my little fair one?"
O that just a folly for you to find,
Your poor-hearted wicked brothers,
Which I please you may find me."

8. They traveled over hills and mountains,
And to some valleys [that] was unknown,
Until they came to the patch of briars,
Where they had killed him and had him thrown.

9. Three days and nights she did stay by him,
All bending on her bended knees.
She kissed him over [and] over crying:
"You are the dearest one to me."

10. "My love, I did not intend to stay by you,
Until my heart does break with woe,
I feel sharp hunger come creeping on me,
Will cause me back home to go.

11. In the evening she returned,
Her brothers asked where she had been.
You poor hard-hearted deceitful villains,
On the gallows you shall both hang.

12. To get shed of that bloody murder,
On the sea they both did go.
By a tall wave they were tossed under,
By the tall waves they both did go.

1. "bestow the same," this is probably close to the original: She was resolved to bestow the same.
2. over-chanced to hear

Just brief comment- for those of you who don't know about the Ozark Folksong Collection- check it out!!!! There are many versions online with recordings. Fred High has a recording (see link) a few posts back. All of Parler's collection is there- thousands of versions. Parler, oh course, was married later in life to Vance Randolph. She and her collectors gathered a large volume of folksongs. Randolph were published. So now we have Asslopp (small collection) Randolph, Parlor, High, Wolf and Max Hunter.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 May 16 - 04:07 PM

Just a quick glance at all these places in England where it was collected, nearly all are in a 40 mile radius of Bristol, just 2 out of area, the Herts version about 100 miles away, and the Kent version which is from a traveller who moved about the south of England. No versions from northern England or Scotland or Ireland. If any of the American families can be traced back to their English ancestors it would be interesting to see if they came from the Bristol area. I would imagine Bristol was one of the ports ideal for migration to America.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 01 May 16 - 05:32 PM

Steve you for your posts- I'll review the version most I have. There are 16 Sharp/Cambell version and one more by Pettit from Knott County (published by Kittredge in 1907) which is in Sharp's MS too.

I'm going to post some identifiers- short phrases that are part of the ur-ballad. Since this ballad was transmitted largely through oral transmission there are more corrupt phrases and mishearings than usual.
I'll add more later:

1. "Gore of blood" and "gores of blood"

   . . . wallowed in a gore of blood.

   All rolled over in gores of blood. [Eddy]

   All covered o'er in gore of blood [Thompson]

2. Ten thousand pounds was this gay lady's portion; [Shearin]

   Five hundred pounds was made her portion; [Belden]

3. "rash and cruel" this one has really deteriorated!!!

   Your two brothers killed me, rash and cruel; [Eddy]


4. You dearest bosom friend of mine! [Shearin]
   usually "bosom" changed to "dearest dear"

5. strange places where it were unknown,

. . . valleys that were unknown,


6. "killed and thrown"

   And there she found him killed and thrown. [Shearin]


7. "deceitful villains!"

    . . . deceitful villains, [Sharp G]

8. We'll send him "headlong to the grave." [Thompson]

9. "Three days and nights" there she sat weeping [Thompson]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Richie
Date: 02 May 16 - 12:31 PM

Hi,

Here's George Vinton Graham's version-- it's interesting and it clears up at least one line "Of life and death" (see third line, 1st stanza). I used to have a bio on him but now all I can remember is he was from Iowa and he was born about 1870. He can't sing or play the guitar but he knows some old ballads and songs.

The Bridgewater- Sung by George Vinton Graham accompanying himself on the guitar on October 12, 1938. Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell in San Jose, California.

Near a bridgewater a rich man liveth.
He had two sons and one daughter dear,
And through life to death, he was resolved then
To bring them up in the hearts of fear.

Unto the seas these two boys ventured,
For to bring home their father gain;
An apprentice bound by a firm indenture
For to cross o'er the raging main.

Now, this young man had a fair complexion,
He was neat and handsome in every limb,
And on him their sister placed her affection,
But un-beknownst to any of them;

Except unto the youngest brother
Who chanced to hear them sport and play.
And this he told unto no other,
But to his brother he did say,

"Now, perhaps he may be of some low family,
And would like our sister for to have,
But we'll soon end him of his wishes,
And quickly send him to his grave."

Near a bridgewater all went a-hunting
Where harmless birds do sport and play.
In a lonely wood not much frequented,
They did this young man's body slay.

When they came home, their sister asked them
What they had done with the servant man.
"We tell you plainly, we were offended,
And for your future a better plan.

"In a lonely wood near a bridgewater,
He'll soon forget our sister dear.
We lost him in a game of hunting,
And never more we could him hear."

That very night as she lay sleeping,
She dreamed her true love came and stood
By her bedside, and appearing
Covered o'er in a gore of blood.

Said he, "My sweet, my emris jewel,
'Tis a true folly for thee to pine,
Since your two brothers have been so cruel;
In such a place you may me find."

Then she rose most bright and early,
And traveled all alone, alone,
Until she came to the bridgewater.
There she found him killed and thrown.

The tears were dried up on his pale cheeks;
His eyes were salt as any brine.
She kissed him over and ten times over,
Saying, "Oh, this bosom friend of mine!"

Three days and nights she stayed a-weeping,
All alone, alone, alone,
Until she felt fierce hunger creeping,
Which forced her for to go home.

When she came home, her brothers asked her
What made her look so pale and wan?
She said, "The reason, you've acted treason
In killing of your servant man.

"And I suppose you think I'll conceal this murder,
But I'll do no, no such a thing.
But for his sake,
Both of you have got to swing."

Now they were both confined in prison,
And both of them condemned to die.
And she her true love is lamenting
And yielding up herself to die.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Merch. Daught.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 May 16 - 03:15 PM

A pretty full version, Richie. I don't think I've seen this one.


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