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DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)

DigiTrad:
MOLLY BAWN (POLLY VAUGHN 2)
POLLY VAUGHN


Related threads:
polly vaughan (36)
Lyr Req/Add: Molly Bawn / Boating on Lough Ree (38)
polly vaughan dick miles (49) (closed)
Lyr Add: Noreen Bawn (Neil MacBride?) (15)
(origins) Origins: Molly/Maureen Bawn (21)
Chords - Polly Von (17)
Polly Von - poaching (16)
Molly Bawn/Polly Vaughn.. How many do you know? (31)
Lyr Req: Polly Von (8)


Steve Gardham 10 Jun 16 - 03:10 PM
Richie 10 Jun 16 - 11:17 AM
Richie 08 Jun 16 - 05:22 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jun 16 - 03:08 PM
Lighter 08 Jun 16 - 03:03 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jun 16 - 02:58 PM
Lighter 08 Jun 16 - 01:12 PM
Richie 08 Jun 16 - 10:24 AM
Richie 08 Jun 16 - 09:59 AM
Steve Gardham 08 Jun 16 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Stevebury 07 Jun 16 - 10:45 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Jun 16 - 03:46 PM
Richie 07 Jun 16 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Mollie Lovett 07 Jun 16 - 02:51 PM
Richie 07 Jun 16 - 02:47 PM
Richie 07 Jun 16 - 09:51 AM
Lighter 06 Jun 16 - 05:40 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Jun 16 - 04:10 PM
Tradsinger 06 Jun 16 - 12:19 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Jun 16 - 10:30 AM
Tradsinger 06 Jun 16 - 05:31 AM
Lighter 04 Jun 16 - 05:32 PM
Richard Mellish 04 Jun 16 - 05:31 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jun 16 - 05:16 PM
Richie 04 Jun 16 - 04:46 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jun 16 - 08:50 AM
Richie 03 Jun 16 - 06:46 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Jun 16 - 03:17 PM
Richie 03 Jun 16 - 12:21 PM
Lighter 02 Jun 16 - 07:26 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 16 - 05:12 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 16 - 05:05 PM
Richie 02 Jun 16 - 04:14 PM
Richie 02 Jun 16 - 02:01 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 16 - 01:01 PM
Lighter 02 Jun 16 - 09:33 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jun 16 - 09:00 AM
Lighter 02 Jun 16 - 08:41 AM
Richie 01 Jun 16 - 10:28 PM
Lighter 01 Jun 16 - 05:35 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Jun 16 - 04:12 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Jun 16 - 04:08 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Jun 16 - 04:01 PM
Richie 01 Jun 16 - 03:15 PM
Richie 01 Jun 16 - 01:45 PM
Lighter 01 Jun 16 - 12:37 PM
Richie 01 Jun 16 - 10:50 AM
Lighter 01 Jun 16 - 10:08 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Jun 16 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Julia L 31 May 16 - 11:50 PM
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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jun 16 - 03:10 PM

You're very welcome, Richie. A very comprehensive study.

I only have one quibble. No matter how many nutters in the past related this to mythology I don't know of anyone living today who would put forward such twaddle.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 10 Jun 16 - 11:17 AM

Hi,

Here are the final headnotes for the ballad. Because they are long, it's best to read them on my site:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/4-molly-bawn-polly-vaughn-.aspx

The footnotes are still being done.

Special thanks to Steve Gardham, Jonathan Lighter, Richard Mellish and others who have contributed to this thread.

All the best,

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 05:22 PM

Thanks Lighter and Steve,

I'll fix "room".

Polly's ghost appears in most full versions, print or traditional.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 03:08 PM

Also 'archaic' is a bit over the top. Victorian poets used it. More formal language than archaic language.

If your looking for suggestions for the next few studies, the Irish theme is fairly rich, Willie Leonard, Fanny Blair, Mountains High, Streams of Lovely Nancy. Most of these have suffered from the intrusion of romantic ideas from time to time by the nutters.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 03:03 PM

I see an embarrassing error, Richie:

>In these versions the usage of "room" is archaic meaning "dwelling of a swan" or "space of a swan."

"In the room of a swan" means, of course, "in the place of a swan, instead of a swan"; and not as you have it, "in the dwelling of a swan" or "in the space of a swan."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 02:58 PM

Seconded. Highly commended!

Is not the ghost present in all the earlier versions?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 01:12 PM

> This means all the mystical transmutation interpretations (of an ancient Celtic origin) by Gilchrist, Sharp, Baring-Gould, Barry and others about the ballad are irrelevant. In my opinion this ballad is about an accidental shooting with a revenant visitation by her ghost (not as a swan) which frees her lover.

Outstanding detective work, Richie.

Do you know the earliest date among the texts you've seen of the ghost versions?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 10:24 AM

Hi,

I'm wrapping up the UK versions and have 54 UK versions of which 8 are unique print versions. I'm missing recent versions from Peter Hall (Scotland) and one early print version: "The Morning's Golden Dawn, or Answer to the Dawning of the Day" To Which is Added "Molly Brown[sic]." (Galway: G. Connolly, Ca. 1804?). A copy is in the National Library of Ireland, Dublin. If anyone has access to these let me know.

The UK headnotes are two or three pages so it's best to read here: http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/british--other-versions-4-molly-bawn-vaughn.aspx There are other missing versions at the bottom of the page.

I'm not sure if I understand Huntington's version (Sam Henry) that is a compilation dated 1926- apparently it comes from "Molly Bawn Aroo" and another trad version but the text of "Molly Bawn Aroo" doesn't scan.

TY everyone for contributing- I'll still be checking in and finishing up teh main headnotes.

Total traditional versions from North America and UK (one from Aust.) are over 130 with about 25 that I don't have access to.

One conclusion which I feel is important is:

The three authentic versions where Molly's ghost appears in the "form of a swan" show that it is likely an isolated (Dorset/Somerset) modern interpretation of the ballad.   

This means all the mystical transmutation interpretations (of an ancient Celtic origin) by Gilchrist, Sharp, Baring-Gould, Barry and others about the ballad are irrelevant. In my opinion this ballad is about an accidental shooting with a revenant visitation by her ghost (not as a swan) which frees her lover.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 09:59 AM

Hi,

It's clear to me that the ballad originally had no chorus. There are a number of versions with a chorus. Linscott's version was covered by Paul Clayton and Clayton's version was published with his chorus as Polly Wand- attributed to Revolutionary War period. Dylan, I believe, covered Clayton's song.

Baring-Gould's English version from Sam Fone/J. Lukin published in 1905 had a chorus- probably of his own invention but based his two collected versions.

Several influential covers in the US had a chorus, for example, The Dillards in 1963, a bluegrass version. That same year it was arranged and covered by the popular folksingers Peter, Paul and Mary under the title "Polly Von." Frankie Armstrong covered Peter, Paul and Mary's version (see DT). Those two versions were the foundation for other new covers like a celtic-roots version which was arranged by Allison Krause with the Chieftains in 2002 and later as her solo version. Peggy Seeger did a cover version with a chorus using Polly Bond (collected from Rita Emerson, 1969) as found in Michael E. Bush's Folksongs of Central West Virginia on her recording Bring Me Home, released January 22, 2008.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 16 - 03:29 AM

The chorus very likely evolved over a period of time. It is sort of like a motto to the song and in some earlier versions without chorus it is used twice, once to describe the original act and then later in Molly's explanation to her uncle.

The first version I ever heard in the folk clubs in the 60s had this chorus. It very likely was derived from the Linscott version you mention.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 10:45 PM

This is a fascinating thread; may there be more such "Study" threads as time goes on!

My question concerns how common it is for Molly Ban/Polly Van to be collected or sung with a chorus or refrain after each verse. Most of the versions printed in this thread do not appear to have a chorus.

I first heard "Young Molly Ban" on a Riverside LP of "Irish Street Songs" sung by Patrick Galvin (RLP 12-613, n.d., notes by Kenneth S. Goldstein). The notes give no indication of the source of Galvin's version. But he sang it with a chorus, approximately as follows:
"She'd her apron wrapped around her, and her took her for a swan
But it's oh, and alas, it was she, Molly Ban."

Linscott (1939) published "Polly Van," a version from Lucy Allen from the Allen Family songbook (1899), which has a chorus after each verse:
"For she'd her apron about her and he took her for a swan;
But oh, and alas! it was she, Polly Van."

How common is it for Molly Ban/Polly Van to have a chorus? What other versions have been collected/published with a chorus?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 03:46 PM

Wise decisions, Richie.

I would say you also need to look carefully at Baring Gould's mss. What you get is some versions from oral tradition but mixed in with them are his own writings. Often it is easy to spot his own interpretations as the material is not found elsewhere and you can sometimes spot crossings out where he has been rewriting his own material. Pieces attributed to particular singers are sometimes not clear. It's always worth getting Martin Graebe's advice on which bits are from oral tradition and which bits are Baring Gould's own. Also if you read the documentation on Baring Gould's methods it states that sometimes he didn't bother to note down the words of a song until he got back home and then he was relying on memory of what the singer sang. These I must add are not criticisms. Baring Gould was a pioneer and he had no precedents to show him how to collect material or what to do with it.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 03:26 PM

Hi,

TY also Mollie. There are dozens of cover versions which I can't use. Molly Bawn - The Dubliners 1968. Written by; Luke Kelly; Barney Mackenna; Ronnie Drew. If they can't really say where they got the version then I have to assume it's a cover, a rewrite of another version, changed slightly.

A.L. Lloyd's version however is similar- I can't use it either- because he probably got it from Gales.

Benjamin Britten's text (1958) is very similar to the Lloyd/Gales/Cox texts which I assume he got from Moeran.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Mollie Lovett
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 02:51 PM

Here is a version sung by Ronnie Drew some time in the 70s. I don't know where he got the song but I'm sure it could be traced if you need the information and know where to look for it.


MOLLY BAWN

Oh, come all you late fowlers that follow the gun,
beware of nights rambling by the setting of the sun.
Beware of an accident as happened of late,
it was Molly Bawn Leary, and sad was her fate.

She'd been going to her uncle's when a storm, it came on.
She drew under a green bush, the shower for to shun.
With her white apron wrapped around her, he took her for a swan,
took aim and alas, he shot his own Molly Bawn.

Young Jimmy ran homeward with his gun and his dog,
saying "Uncle, oh Uncle, I have shot Molly Bawn."
"I have killed that fair female, the joy of my life,
for I'd always intended that she would be my wife."

"Oh, young Jimmy Randlin, do not run away.
Stay in your own country 'til your trial it comes on,
for you'll never be convicted
for the shooting of a swan"

Well, the night before Molly's funeral her ghost it did appear,
saying, "Uncle, dearest Uncle, let young Jimmy run clear."
"It being late of an evening he took me for a swan,
Took aim and alas, he killed his own Molly Bawn."

Now, all the girls of this country, they seem to be glad
now the flower of Glenara, Molly Bawn, she lies dead.
Get all the girls of this country and stand them into a row,
Molly Bawn would shine among them like a fountain of snow.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 02:47 PM

Hi,

Almost done. Need some help figuring out a few versions from the UK. This was published in Contemporary Poetry and Prose - Volumes 1-2 - Page 2 by Roger Roughton in 1937, London and New York:

Jimmy the Fowler - collected by A. L. Lloyd (Norfolk)

Now all you young fellows that carry a gun,
I'll have you come home by the light of the sun.
For young Jimmy was a fowler, and a-fowling alone,
When he shot his own true love in the room of a swan.

Then home rushed young Jimmy with his dog and his gun,
Crying, "Uncle, dear uncle, have you heard what I've done?
O cursed be that old gunsmith that made my old gun,
For I've shot my own true love in the room of a swan!"

Then out rushed bold uncle with his locks hanging grey,
Crying, "Jimmy, dear Jimmy, don't you run away.
O don't you leave your own country till your trial do come on,
For they never would hang you for shooting a swan."


Well, the trial wore on and young Polly did appear,
Saying "Uncle, dear uncle, let Jimmy go clear,
For my apron was bound round me, and he took me for a swan.
And my poor heart lay bleedin' all on the green ground!"

What is his source? Do you think this was collected or taken from Gales 1921 JFSS version? The last line is definitely from Gales. Apparently this was published by Lloyd several times with different stanzas added and is similar to one of his two recordings of the ballad.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 07 Jun 16 - 09:51 AM

Hi,

Thanks, Gwilym for that post. I also have her grandmother's version. TY for comments everyone. I'm posting one last version to help clarify Baring-Gould's "The Setting of the Sun":

In Baring-Gould's MSS a second version appears with music attributed to J. Lukin, whose name is never mentioned in Songs of the West (1905 edition) or elsewhere. The 1905 published version is attributed to Sam Fone (Baring-Gould A) but is a compilation of both versions with additional recreations by Baring Gould.

B. AT THE SETTING OF THE SUN- J. Lukin, no date given

1. Come all you young fellows that carry a gun,
Beware of late shooting when daylight is done;
For it's little you reckon what hazards you run,
I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.

CHORUS: In a shower of rain as my darling did hie
All under the bushes to keep herself dry,
With her head in her apron I thought her a swan,
And I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.

2. I'll fly from my country, I nowhere find rest
I've shot my true love, as a bird in her nest.
Like lead on my heart lies the deed I have done,
I shot my true love at the setting of the sun.
   CHORUS: In a shower, etc.

3. In the night the fair maiden all shining appears[1],
She says, O my true love, quick dry up your tears,
I freely forgive you, I have Paradise won,
I was shot by my love at the setting of the sun.
   CHORUS: In a shower, etc.


4. [The years as they pass leave me lonely and sad,
I can ne'er love another, and naught makes me glad.]
I wait and expect till life's little span done[2]
I meet my true love at the rising of the sun
    CHORUS: In a shower, etc.

1. This line was changed to: "In the night the fair maid as a white swan appears;"
2. Only the first two lines of stanza 4 appear in his notebook, they are bracketed perhaps indicating that they were not collected.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 05:40 PM

> I don't see any weirdness in the story at all though.

Not even when a ghost testifies in court?

Trial procedure must differ over here.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 04:10 PM

Couldn't agree more. It tells a very powerful story in very few words. I don't see any weirdness in the story at all though.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Tradsinger
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 12:19 PM

Aside from all the academic study, I still find this a powerful song to sing despite the weird story. It has obviously had a hold on traditional singers for many years.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 10:30 AM

Thanks, Gwilym
That last line makes it pretty clear how the 'mountain of snow' fits in. The fact that fathers and uncles get mixed up in some versions is of little matter until we get the real circumstances.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Tradsinger
Date: 06 Jun 16 - 05:31 AM

Molly Vaughan - sung by Colleen Cleveland, Brant Lake, NY USA 1997. Recorded by Gwilym Davies. Colleen learnt the song from her grandmather, Sarah Cleveland.


Come all you young hunters who follow the gun
Beware of late shooting by the setting of the sun
Jimmie Randal the squire went a-fowling in the dark
He aimed at his true love and he ne'er missed his mark.

Being late in the evening, when the shower came on
She ran under a green bush, the shower to shun
With her apron all round her, he took her for a swan
But oh and alas, wasn't she Molly Vaughan.

He ran to his home and he threw down his gun
Crying 'Uncle, dear uncle, I have shot Molly Vaughan
I have shot that fair maiden, the pride of my life
It was my intention to make her my wife.

'Oh Jimmy, dear Jimmy, to be sure it is grief
But you will not be punished for the loss of Molly
Pray stay you at home till your trial comes on
You will not be punished till I lose all I own.'

The night before the trial, her ghost did appear
Crying 'Father, dear father, Jimmy Randal shall go clear
With my apron all around me, he took me for a swan
But oh and alas, wasn't I Molly Vaughan.'

Now the girls in old England are all very glad
That the flower of Killarney was shot and killed there
If we gather them together and stand them in a row
Molly Vaughan would shine among them like a mountain of snow.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:32 PM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: great and valuable work!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:31 PM

Seconded!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 05:16 PM

Well done, Richie. If nobody else says it I will. Many thanks for your valuable painstaking work on this excellent resource.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 04:46 PM

Hi,

I've got the North American versions and headnotes roughed in:

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/us--canada-versions-4-molly-bawn-polly-vaughn.aspx

I'm working in the UK versions now,

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 08:50 AM

Even with Child Ballads Child included in ESPB we have question marks around probably most of them regarding whether they came unadulterated from oral tradition. The best we can do is to look to see if the material they contain is corroborated by multiple other versions or not. Any version that has material in it not found elsewhere naturally comes under suspicion. Child himself in the earlier parts, upto about half way through the publishing, flagged up many of the suspect versions, but then for some reason we haven't yet
ascertained he stopped this practice, even though we do know he had even more qualms about the later material. He then left us with the tantalising statement in Vol5 p182 (Dover)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 06:46 PM

Hi,

With the folk process where do you draw the line? In the US back in the 1920s Ralph Peer was making the equivalent of $250 million a year off the copyrights of folk songs that were subsequently recorded. Most songs that were preserved by The Carters and others they did not write and yet they received royalties because they copyrighted the songs.

These early country musicians claimed ownership of these songs as if they wrote them.

Learning and changing the songs today is essentially what the folk process has been through the years. The difference and it's an important one- is that the songs are not passed down orally. And- the versions that are being changed are copyrighted.

If ‎in 1967 John Anthony Scott decides to say Polly Wand was sung during the Revolutionary Period of 1775-1781, and offers made up evidence (printed by Coverly around 1800) and then changes the text of a traditional text and puts Polly Wand instead of Polly Van- it's his decision. The ballad through the Allen family could possibly have been sung then- but he can't mention that because he'd be using copyrighted material (by Linscott in 1939) without permission. Paul Clayton can't mention his source either.

So it's attributed to "oral tradition" and the actual version is never even mentioned.

Dodgy may be a better word :)

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 03:17 PM

A problem you seem to be having here is more clear cut this side of the pond. Versions of songs recorded by shall we say professional performers like Lloyd and MacColl in the revival(say 1945 to present day) would not normally even be contemplated as valid study texts for traditional songs unless one was studying what the revivalists did with the songs. I have noticed before posters on the Ballad List, for instance, mentioning songs recorded by the likes of Lloyd and MacColl as though they were from traditional singers.

I understand that many traditional source singers on your side of the pond also became professional singers and even collectors in their own right, and this then presents problems. Although there are a few performers who would come into this category this side, they are few and far between and we are more often aware of the different sources of the songs in their repertoires.

I sometimes feel we are using words like 'dishonest' a little too harshly with performers appropriating material and then not quoting or revealing their sources. 40 years ago just about everyone did this. If a song was in the public domain, if you were a performer as opposed to a researcher/scholar, the source would have been of little interest, and might have created copyright problems as you say.

Even some scholars at the time were a little negligent with the truth. I am working on new editions of the Marrow Bones series of books and it is obvious that the original editor was occasionally taking material quietly from other collections than those being flagged up, to make up his collated versions. Today this wouldn't be a problem but in the 70s the other collections were in private hands and the owners might have objected if he had been more open.
Even had they been willing it would have taken up valuable time getting necessary permissions, for the sake of just a few verses from a range of collections.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 12:21 PM

Hi,

Leach's Ballad book prints a version from Kentucky (Wyman) and Barry's 1935 "monograph" is a one page look at the ballad and two short fragments- neither resembling Clayton's version which came from Massachusetts. His version is based on Linscott's version from MA- with an added chorus.

The version of Polly Wand in The Diary of the American Revolution, 1775-1781, page 239, 240 by Frank Moore, ‎John Anthony Scott- 1967 and also Sing Out, 1967- is Linscott's version with the name changed to Polly Wand. It is misleading and dishonest to suggest the version was sung during the Revolution with no proof and then change the name without saying anything. Since Linscott's version was copyrighted in 1939 Clayton probably couldn't say where he got it.

I have put 73 versions from North America on my site now. I'm having trouble hearing Molly Jackson's version : https://archive.org/details/AFC19390122576A

I only have access to two more missing versions (by asking for copies) but there are over 10 more that have been collected. That's a total of about 85 versions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 07:26 PM

> I assume you meant it was published in 1960

No. 1860 is correct. Moore (1828-1904) was a journalist and a diligent collector of newspaper stories, popular poetry, etc. He compiled the multi-volume "Rebellion Record" during the Civil War.

The phrase "oral tradition" was probably unknown to him.

The English-born John Anthony Scott (1916-2010) produced several books on American history for teenagers. There's no doubt that "Polly Wand" was his own contribution. If Scott's text cannot be traced to an earlier publication, only one conclusion can fairly be drawn.

It sounds to me as though Paul Clayton's text is the one that resembles the printing by Coverley. The album notes suggest that Clayton's lyrics come from either Leach's "Ballad Book" or else from Philips Barry's 1935 monograph on the song - at least according to the album's notes.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 05:12 PM

I think part of the problem is you and Jon are dealing with the meaning of individual versions and I am obsessed with the meaning of the original story. In my studies the later confusions due to oral tradition are of little interest to me (which is my problem). I am however very interested in versions that have been deliberately rewritten, either by a creative member of the chain or by a broadside hack.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 05:05 PM

Whereas no-one could suggest that any version should take absolute precedence, it is reasonable in my opinion to suggest that the earliest extant print versions should carry greater weight than garbled oral versions.

If we take Bramble Briar as an example it is highly likely that the longer earlier American versions are much closer to the original than any of the English versions or indeed anything recorded after say 1900. Obviously we cannot deal with absolutes here in almost any ballad where the original isn't certain, but at least we can deal with strong likelihoods.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 04:14 PM

Hi,

Besides the White version (Sharp 1903) at least two versions (Handsford /Way) collected by Hammond have this stanza:

When five days was over, the 'sizes come on,
Young Polly appeared in the shape of a swan,
Crying, "Uncle, dear uncle, young Jimmy is free,
For he never shall be hanged for shooting of me."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 02:01 PM

Hi,

TY Lighter, I assume that Frank Moore and ‎John Anthony Scott needed some ballads during the revolutionary period 1775-1781 and included Polly Wand. Both the 1967 (I assume you meant it was published in 1960) edition of the book and "Sing Out" in 1967 say it was from oral transmission, but give no details.

I guess they got the similar text from somewhere. They said the broadside was from Nathaniel Coverly after 1800 but he did not print it so already they are providing wrong info.

Regardless of what you think of the "fountain/mountain of snow" some singers refer to it as Molly's/Polly's ghost: "Molly's ghost will stand before you like a mountain of snow." [Moore's]

Since her ghost has already appeared it seems more likely that it is her ghost. Others believe it is her in the form of a swan and most versions do not mention anything supernatural (as Steve wrote).

With two more versions to go it look like there are 60 North American versions on my site- a number of them are fragments.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 01:01 PM

Yes, but only by academics, fantasists and Bert Lloyd!

The song's appeal to singers and ordinary people is in the accidental killing of one's sweetheart and miraculous reprieve. However, if the ballad has any basis in reality the reprieve was much more likely due to family influence.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 09:33 AM

Undoubtedly, Steve! But, garbled or not, readers/reciters/singers of this particular version are left to rationalize precisely what's going on.

The "folk process."

It's worthwhile to ponder that when the song was self-evidently only a vulgar street ballad, editors thought it was junk; but as soon as it was forced into expressing a hypothetical Anglo-Irish swan-maiden myth, it became especially prized.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 09:00 AM

If we look at other versions '14 in a row' is just a vague reference to the other beautiful girls in the area. It is a somewhat garbled verse. The original probably imagined all the beautiful girls in the area all lined up, and Molly would stand out like a mountain of snow.

Jon, please do not feed Richie's rich imagination!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 08:41 AM

J. A. Scott's "oral tradition" text does not appear in the original edition of Frank Moore's book, published in 1860.

The broadside titled "Polly Wand" was apparently published around 1810, not 1777. (It was purchased by a collector in 1813; I've found no evidence for an earlier date.) You can view the broadsheet, titled "Polly Wand, together with The Beggar Girl and Tom Stoppard," at the American Antiquarian Society's website. It differs considerably from Scott's version:

Come all you brave shooters that follow the gun,
Beware of your shooting by the setting of the sun,
It was a doleful thing that happened of late,
It was Polly Wand whose fortune was great.

As Polly was a walking by the setting of the sun,
She stepped under a green branch the shower to shun;
As her true love was hunting he shot in the dark,
Alas, and alas! Polly Wand was his mark.

And when he came to her and found that it was she,
His joints they grew weak & his eyes could scarce see,
In his arms he embrac'd her till he found she was dead,
And a fountain tears for his own true love he shed.

Then he ran home with his gun in his hand,
Saying daddy, dearest daddy, I have shot Polly Wand;
I shot the fair female the bloom of my life,
For I always intended to make her my wife.

In two or three days after Polly Wand did appear.
Crying Jemmy, dearest Jemmy, you have nothing to fear
Stay in your country till your trial comes on,
You shall not be condemned by the laws of the land.

In the height of his trial Polly Wand did appear,
Crying uncle, dear uncle Jemmy Rander must be clear,
For I'd my apron about me when he shot me for a swan,
Alas, and alas! it was I Polly Wand.

There were fourteen of them all sitting in a row,
Polly Wand in the middle like a mountain of snow,
I'd my apron about me when he shot me for a swan,
It's a woe and alas! it was I Polly Wand.

The "fourteen in a row" may be the jury. Or, if you're so inclined, you may interpret them as angels accompanying Polly.

Either way it's a great line.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 10:28 PM

Hi Steve glad you're back,

TY for the help with Phoebe's version.

I did find out some other info on the traditional version of "Polly Wand." Another book dates it 1777 and gives Massachusetts as the location and "oral tradition?" I'm trying to find out the supposed source-- they just say it's from oral tradition. ["Polly Wand" from The Diary of the American Revolution, 1775-1781 - Page 239, 240 by Frank Moore, ‎John Anthony Scott - 1967.] I did post the text above which has an added chorus from Paul Clayton.

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 05:35 PM

"Cran" was the usual Old English word for the crane. According to the 2nd ed. of Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (apparently 1840), it survived for some time in Scotland as a name for the heron. Conceivably it survived here and there elsewhere, records for dialectal words often being less than adequate.

The OED affords no reason to assume that "fowling" ever referred to hunting anything other than wildfowl.

So if Jemmy originally went "fowling," "fawn" should be a later substitution.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 04:12 PM

Also if he is out 'fowling' swan/crane would surely have more weight than fawn. However could going a fowling be just translated as going a shooting. A short-barrel gun was sometimes known as a 'fowling piece'. In this context does 'fowling' have different connotations?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 04:08 PM

Apologies, I've been away from computer in London for a few days. have we decided what a cran is? Is it just a localised version of crane?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 04:01 PM

Here is Phoebe's version from Voice of the People Series CD3, Track 17.

As I went a shooting to(till) a shower came on
With her apron bound around her, taking her for a swan,
And it's through my sad misfortune I shot my own Molly Vaughan.

Molly Vaughan, dear, i love you. You were my own heart's delight
And it's if you were alive, I would of wed you this night.

It were home to his uncle like lightning did flew
'Dearest Uncle, dearest Uncle, for it's what shall I do?
It is through my sad misfortune, I shot my own Molly vaughan.'

'Stay in your own native country and don't run away,
For I am sure you will be righted by the laws of this land.'

There were judges and jury, and there's no one could see.
And the vicelord like thunder saying 'Hanging must be,'
And she appeared all there among them like a fountain of snow.

There were judges and jury saying, 'Hanging must be.'
She said, 'Don't you hang my true love, for my true love loved me.'


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 03:15 PM

Hi,

If anyone can fix these lyrics I'd appreciate it. Here's a link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqjgda7Ci-c

Molly Vaughan- sung by Phoebe Smith from East Anglia, 1969.

As I went a-shooting,
Till a shower came on;
When the rain run down to the ground
Taking her for a swan.
And it's through my sad misfortune
I shot my dear Molly Vaughan.

Molly Vaughan dear, I love you,
You were my own [dear] light
And it's if you were alive,
I would have wed you this night

It were home to his uncle,
Like a [ ]
"Dearest uncle, dearest uncle,
For it's what shall do?
It is through my sad misfortune
I shot my dear Molly Vaughan.

"Stay in your own native country,
And don't run away.
For I'm sure you will be righted,
By the laws of this land."

There were judges and juries,
And there's no one could see,
And a voice heard like thunder,
Saying, "Hanging must be."
And she appeared there among them
Like a mountain of snow.

There were judges and juries,
Saying, Hanging must be,"
She said, "Don't you hang my true love,
For my true love, loves me."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 01:45 PM

Hi,

This is the important traditional version with her full name from Ireland as reported in Ulster Folklife - Volume 18 - Page 36 by Hugh Shields in 1972. I give it here as best figured out without a copy of the book. Anyone that has details please provide them.

"Molley Bann Lavery" pre1845 from County Down, Ireland from oral tradition; Hugh Shields 1972

[1st] It's all you young men that carry a gun,
Beware of late fowling at the setting of the sun,
Concerning a young man that happened of late,
That shot Molley Bann Lavery — her beauty was great.

[2nd] He being late fowling he shot her in the dark,
But oh and alas, he did not miss his mark!
With her apron about her he took her for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was poor Molly Bann!

[3rd] But when he went to her and found she was dead
Abundance of tears from his eyes he has shed;
He went home to his father with his gun in his hand
Saying, — Father, dear father, I have shot poor Molley Bann.

[4th] It's out bespoke his father, his hairs they were gray,
My son, take my blessing and don't run away.
Stay in your own country your trial to stand
And you will not be condemned by the laws of the land.

[5th] O father, dear father, I must go away
For in this country I never could stay;
I shot Molley Bann Lavery and she was my darling,
The pride of the North and the Flower of Kilwarlin.

[6th] The maids of this country they are all very glad
Since Molley Bann Lavery the beauty is dead,
But gather them together and put them all in a row:
She appears in the middle like a mountain of snow.

[7th] She appeared to her uncle as it were in a dream
Saying, — Uncle, dear uncle, James Reynolds don't blame;
With my apron being about me he took me for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was I, Molley Bann!

[8th] In Lisburn she was born and in Lurgan educated
But oh, in Kilwarlin poor Molley was defeated!
With her apron being about her she was taken for a cran,
But oh and alas, it was poor Molley Bann!

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 12:37 PM

Fascinating.

BTW, I hope nobody has sought swan-maiden legends behind "Home on the Range"!


"Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Flows leisurely down the stream;
There the graceful, white swan goes gliding along
Like a maid in a heavenly dream."

More seriously, swans are thought beautiful, and maids in poetry almost have to be beautiful, with a neck "like the swan" (as in "Annie Laurie") and white, white skin. Nothing mythological there.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richie
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 10:50 AM

TY Lighter,

The consensus is "room" with "ruse" as a ruse :) Coppard was just a young singer (about 23) and was provided concerts and songs/ballads for her recording by Lloyd and MacColl. It's unclear if she changed the text with "ru' " which in my opinion is a reworking of Gales' Norfolk text and not traditional and will not appear on my site. Probably, she sang and printed what she was given- it says "Norfolk" version. I have four versions from Norfolk and they all have "room."

Richie


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 10:08 AM

I wonder if Coppard (or the Norfolk singer) misheard "room" and thought it was some mysterious "ru." Sounds unlikely I know.

The booklet accompanying Lloyd & MacColl's "Great British Ballads Not Found in the Child Collection" (1956) clearly prints "in the room of a swan."

Unfortunately I have no turntable so I can't verify what Lloyd actually sang.

The meaning of "ruse of a swan" is less clear than it might seem: "ruse" seems never to have meant what it would have to mean here, namely something like "assumed shape" or even "disguise." It usually means a "trick, strategem, or wile." A disguise may be a kind of ruse, but a ruse isn't a kind of disguise.

Again, the singer may have been trying to rationalize an unfamiliar "room of a swan."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 08:18 AM

> Obviously, I need to refrain from making conclusions and stick to presenting evidence, as pointed out by Lighter. That's what I learned :)

It's fun to speculate, so feel free; but keep a clear distinction between what might possibly be and and what is certain or very likely.

It's a possibility that the ballad is a come-down version of a shape-changing myth with the explanation of the white apron added as a rationalisation, and some writers did choose to believe that. But we're now disinclined to believe it.

There is good evidence, in the personal and place names, for a basis in a real incident in Ulster, but that leaves the question of how and when the ghost appearances were added to the story. If the shooting really happened, and the young man was tried, was he acquitted and if so on whose evidence? Or was he hanged, but the girl's ghost appearing in court made a much better story?


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Molly Bawn (Polly Vaughn)
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 31 May 16 - 11:50 PM

Thanks so much for doing this!


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