Henry's Songbook

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The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington

(Trad - Child 105)

There was a youth, and a well-beloved youth, and he was a squire's son
And he loved the bailiff's daughter fair that lived in Islington

Yet she was shy, did not believe that he could love her so
So she did not at any time countenance to him show

And when his friends did understand his fond and foolish mind
They sent him up to fair London an apprentice for to bind

When he'd been there for seven long years he longed his love to see
He's mounted on his milk-white steed, to London he's made speed

When all the maids of Islington went forth to sport and play
All but the bailiff's daughter fair who secretly stole away

And as she walked along the high road, the weather being hot and dry
She sat her down on a green green bank, and her true love he rode by

She started up with her colour so red, seized his bridle-rein
One penny, one penny, kind sir, she said, Would ease me of much pain

Before I give you a penny, sweetheart, tell me, dost thou know
The bailiff's daughter of Islington, She's dead, sir, long ago

If she be dead you can take my horse, saddle and bridle too
And I'll go away to some far country where no man shall me know

Oh stay, oh stay, thou goodly youth, she standeth by your side
She is not dead but here and alive, and ready for to be your bride

Oh farewell grief and welcome joy ten thousand times therefore
For I have found my own true love I thought I'd see no more

As sung by The Spinners


Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1980:] Judging from the frequency of reprints, the ballad was immensely popular in the latter part of the 17th century. It has continued to be held in affection ever since, though one doubts the informant who told Child in the 1880s that it "may be heard any day at a country cricket-match". It has been confidently asserted that the Islington in question is the village in Norfolk, rather than the one formerly near London and now part of it. (Palmer, Ballads 190)

  • [2000:] This widely known traditional ballad was first published in Bishop Percy's Reliques of English Poetry in 1765. Bertrand Bronson in his Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads includes more than 30 different tunes to the ballad from England Scotland and north America, several of which come from Gavin Greig's collection.

    It was very popular (at one time) in England - rather obviously - and also in Canada and the USA, with 109 instances listed in Roud [The Folk Song Index / The Broadside Index]. There are only 11 Scottish examples, and mostly from Aberdeenshire - it appears in GD [Greig-Duncan] and in Keith's Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads, where 5 tunes are given, one of which is similar to Daisy's.

    Only eight other sound recordings are known (seven from England and one from Vermont, USA), by Sam Bennett, Ben Baxter, Freda Palmer, Alf Wildman and, still available, Bob Lewis (Veteran VT120) and Albert Beale (Rounder CD1775 Classic Ballads Vol 1). Mike Yates comments that all the English versions are very similar - so much so that he's sure there must have been a widely available common source (a school book, perhaps?) Daisy's has some elements not present in the English versions, which may point to a different point of origin - but we've been unable to establish any substantiating evidence for his theory. (Rod Stradling, notes Daisy Chapman, 'Ythanside')

Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 02.04.2010, 08.09.99