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Cruel Brother

  • (Trad - Child #11)

    There were three ladies played at ba'
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    But a knight came by, played o'er them a'
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    This knight bowed low tae a' the three
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    But tae the youngest he bent his knee
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    O lady fair, gie me your hand
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    And I'll mak ye lady o'er all my land
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    Sir knight ere you my favour win
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    Ye maun gain consent o'er all my kin
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    He gained consent fae her parents dear
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    And likewise fae her sisters fair
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    He's gained consent o'er all her kin
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    He forgot tae speak tae her brother John
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    When the wedding day was come
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    This knight would take his bonnie bride home
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    Her mother led her through the close
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    And her brother John stood her on her horse
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    He took a knife baith long and sharp
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    And he stabbed the bonnie bride tae her heart
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    Lead me tae yon high high hill
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    And I'll lie doon and I'll mak my will
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    And what will you gie tae your brother John
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    The gallows tree for tae hang him on
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    And what will you gie to your brother John's wife
    Hey wi' the rose and the linsey o
    The wilderness tae end her life
    Doon by the greenwood sidey o

    As sung by The Battlefield Band

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1976:] In ballad times, vague as that term may be, it was apparently regarded as unpardonable not to ask a brother's assent to his sister's marriage. The story here revolves round such a failure on the part of the suitor. The brother's consequent murder of his sister seems to be a somewhat extreme reaction, but perhaps becomes credible when we consider that in a patriarchal society he would naturally have a vested interest in who became part of the family. The ballad does not make this point - but then to contemporaries it wouldn't need to. In archetypal fashion, the murderer is revealed in the heroine's testament. The text here is a collation of various versions in Child (No. 11) where the tune is also to be found. (Duncan MacLennan, notes The Gaugers, 'Beware of the Aberdonian')

  • [1976:] Learned from the singing of a fine young Aberdeenshire fiddler called Tam Spiers. This version was collated for me by Duncan McLellan of Inverness. It is mainly from Child 11, version C, with additions from other versions. (Notes Archie Fisher, 'The Man With A Rhyme')

  • [1977:] In the period that this ballad concerns, the heir to a man's possessions was not his own child but his sister's; it was therefore obligatory for a suitor to gain the permission of his sweetheart's brother prior to any marriage. The suitor in this story neglects to obtain this consent, with the result that on the wedding day his bride is murdered by her brother. This is a compilation of several versions set to the Geordie tune for The Jolly Beggar. (Notes 'The Battlefield Band')

  • [1981:] In 1858, according to Aytoun, the Scots collector, this was "the most popular of the Scottish ballads". In 1846, it was common amongst English rural folk. Bronson reckons that it had disappeared from Britain by the turn of this century, but turns up - albeit rarely - in the United States. [...] At first glance, the motive for the murder seems to be incest. [...] Scholars tend to dismiss this motive in favour of another social phenomenon, one set in a vestigially matriarchal society. Child puts it: "The offence given by not asking a brother's assent to his sister's marriage was in ballad-times regarded as an unpardonable offence." This could be due to the fact that a brother's duty to his sister's offspring (and vice versa [...]) was of prime importance - therefore his consent was required.

    Fraser, in 'The Golden Bough', takes us even further back into societies in which sisters were the heirs rather than brothers, and many brothers married their sisters rather than lost the parental inheritance. (Peggy Seeger, notes 'Blood and Roses, vol. 2')

Quelle: Scotland

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07.04.2003, aktualisiert am 09.04.2003