Earl Brand [Child 7]

DESCRIPTION: (Earl Brand) falls in love with a high lady against her father's will. They flee together, but are overtaken. Earl Brand slays almost all the pursuers, but is himself sorely wounded. They flee on, but at last Earl Brand must stop and dies.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1750 (Percy Folio)
KEYWORDS: courting death fight
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North),Scotland) US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (55 citations):
Child 7, "Earl Brand" (9 texts)
Bronson 7, "Earl Brand" (42 versions plus 2 in addenda)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 7, "Earl Brand" (6 tunes: #1b, #3, #11, #23, #25, #37)
Percy/Wheatley-ReliquesOfAncientEnglishPoetry I, pp. 131-139, "The Child of Elle" (2 texts, one being that of the Percy Folio and the other the result of Percy's reconstruction of the text)
Hales/Furnival-BishopPercysFolioManuscript, volume I, pp 132-134, "The Child of Ell" (1 fragment)
Chambers-ScottishBallads, pp. 98-100, "The Douglas Tragedy" (1 text)
Bell-Combined-EarlyBallads-CustomsBalladsSongsPeasantryEngland, pp. 119-123, "The Douglas Tragedy"; pp. 342-344, "The Brave Earl Brand and the King of England's Daughter" (2 texts)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #57, p. 1, "The Douglas Tragedy" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan2 220, "Lord Douglas" (13 texts, 8 tunes) {A=Bronson's #7, E=#8, F=#9, H-#25}
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume2 87, "Lord Thomas and Ladie Margaret" (1 text)
Stokoe/Reay-SongsAndBalladsOfNorthernEngland, pp. 6-7, "The Brave Earl Brand" (1 text, 1 tune) {cf. Bronson's #1b}
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 35-40, "The Seven Brothers" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #6, #28}
Randolph 3, "Rise Ye Up" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #27}
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, pp. 228-230, "Lord William and Lady Margaret" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #38}
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland1, pp. 128-130, "Earl Brand" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #38}
Davis-TraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 4, "Earl Brand" (4 texts plus 1 of "The Bold Soldier," 2 tunes entitled "The Seven Brothers, or The Seven Sleepers";"The Seven Brothers, or Lord William"; 1 more version mentioned in Appendix A) {Bronson's #24, #40}
Davis-MoreTraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 5, pp. 26-34, "Earl Brand" (4 texts, 4 tunes; the "CC" text looks mixed)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 3, "Earl Brand" (2 texts plus 2 excerpts and mention of 3 more)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 3, "Earl Brand" (7 excerpts, 7 tunes)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #146, "Earl Brand" (1 text)
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 5A, "Seven Sleepers"; 5B, "Lord William and Lord Douglas" (1 text plus 1 fragment, 2 tunes)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 154-156, "Sweet William" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 2, pp. 66-68, "Earl Brand" (1 text)
Hudson-FolkTunesFromMississippi 22, "Sweet William (Earl Brand)" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #17}
Warner-TraditionalAmericanFolkSongsFromAnneAndFrankWarnerColl 79, "Sweet Willie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner-FolkSongsAndBalladsOfTheEasternSeaboard, pp. 8-9, "Sweet Willie" (1 text)
Henry-SongsSungInTheSouthernAppalachians, pp. 45-46, "Sweet Willie (Earl Brand)" (1 text)
Scarborough-ASongCatcherInSouthernMountains, pp. 115-116, "Earl Brand" (1 text, properly titled "Sweet William," plus an untitled excerpt)
Brewster-BalladsAndSongsOfIndiana 4, "Earl Brand" (1 text plus mention of 1 more, 1 tune) {Bronson's #35}
Musick-JAF-TheOldAlbumOf-William-A-Larkin 38, "Lady Margaret" (1 text)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 2, "Lord Robert" (1 text)
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 2, "Earl Brand" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #10)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 66-71, "Earl Brand" (2 texts)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 38, "Earl Brand"; 39, "The Douglas Tragedy" (2 texts)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 68, "Earl Brand (The Douglas Tragedy)" (1 text+1 fragment)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, pp. 404-406, "The Douglas Tragedy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 33, "Earl Brand"; 49, "The Douglas Tragedy" (2 texts)
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles 5, "Earl Brand" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Gummere-OldEnglishBallads, pp. 206-208+349-350, "Earl Brand" (1 text)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 4 "Earl Brand" (12 texts, 12 tunes) {Bronson's #13, #15, #14, #12, #11, #19, #20, #39, #26, #16, #36, #18}
Sharp/Karpeles-EightyEnglishFolkSongs 3, "The Seven Sleepers" (1 text, 1 tune -- a single traditional verse filled out from other printed sources by the editor) {Bronson's #20, but Bronson has a different text}
Wells-TheBalladTree, pp. 147-148, "Sweet William and Fair Ellen" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #37}
Mackenzie-BalladsAndSeaSongsFromNovaScotia 2, "The Seven Brethren" (1 text)
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 29, "Earl Brand (the Douglas Tragedy)" (1 text)
Whiting-TraditionalBritishBallads 13, "The Douglas Tragedy (Earl Brand)" (1 text)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 2, "Earl Brand" (1 text)
Gainer-FolkSongsFromTheWestVirginiaHills, pp. 8-9, "The Seven Sons" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boette-SingaHipsyDoodle, p. 17-18, "The Seven Sons" (1 text, 1 tune)
HarvardClassics-EnglishPoetryChaucerToGray, pp. 51-54, "The Douglas Tragedy" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss-AngloAmericanFolksongStyle, pp. 7-8, "Earl Brand" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morgan-MedievalBallads-ChivalryRomanceAndEverydayLife, pp. 37-39; pp. 40-42, "Earl Bran" (2 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 216, "Earl Brand" (1 text)
cf. Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, ZN2487, "There was a bold seaman, a ship he could steer"
MANUSCRIPT: {MSPercyFolio}, The Percy Folio, London, British Library, MS. Additional 27879, page 57 ("The Child of Ell")

Roud #23
I. G. Greer & Mrs. I. G. Greer, "Sweet William (Earl Brand)" (AFS; on LC12) {Bronson's #34a/b}; Professor & Mrs. Greer, "Sweet William & Fair Ellen - Pts. 1 & 2" (Paramount 3236, 1930)
Henry McGregor, "The Douglas Tragedy (Earl Brand)" (on FSBBAL1)

cf. "Erlinton" [Child 8] (plot)
cf. "The Bold Soldier [Laws M27]" (plot)
cf. "The Child of Elle (II)" (some plot elements: elopement, chase by father)
Sweet Willie
Jolly Soldier
Lord William's Death
William and Ellen
The Child of Ell
Fair Ellender
Sweer William and Fair Ellen
As He Rode Up to the Old Man's Gate
Lady Margaret
NOTES [521 words]: Child admits that he has "only with much hesitation" separated this from "Erlinton" [Child 8], and many others have inclined to join them. Scott viewed "A Child of Elle" (the Percy text of this piece) as a forerunner of "Erlinton." But it should be kept in mind that Percy's text was more than 80% Percy -- and, as Hales and Furnivall comment on p. 133, "A wax-doll-maker might as well try to restore Milo's Venus." No conclusions can be drawn based on the Percy text.
Two of Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles's versions seem to be mixed texts; both relate a conversation between the knight and his horse, and end with the intertwined rose-and-briar. (This is not uncommon in American versions; Robert Shiflett, of Brown's Cove, Virginia, had a similar mixed version.) The second, "William and Ellen," consists primarily of these elements; little is left of the plot of "Earl Brand."
Quite a few people (e.g. Eddy) list "The Bold Soldier" [Laws M27] as a version of this balled, and some few of these may have slipped into the above list.
Reed, p. 139, remarks that "Various versions of the story exist in Danish [a connection of course known and cited by Child], as in English; Hildebrand and Hilde is much the same as Ribolt [und Guldborg], and involves the 'naming to death' incident which is almost entirely obscured in the Border accounts. The superstition that speaking of a person's name will ensure his death is widespread, and perhaps remains in a vestigial form in Erlinton:
'See ye dinna change your cheer
Until ye see my body bleed'.
and in The Hunting of the Cheviot...."
Reed goes on to repeat a point raised by Wimberly, that the refusal to give one's name is "a commonplace in romances where knights encounter without knowing the names of their antagonists." This is perhaps most common in the Arthurian romances, especially around the time of Malory (where it makes some sense, because by that time armor was so elaborate that one knight might not recognize another; it is anachronistic in the time of the pseudo-historical Arthur; Saxons and Roman Britons did not have such heavy armor). This failure to know another knight reached its apex in the "Tale of Balan and Balin," the second major section of Malory's Morte Darthur, based on the French Roman de Balain (Loomis, p. 392). In that, the two brothers meet, fight, mortally wound each other, and only recognize each other when they are dying. However, that really was mostly a medieval problem; by the time this ballad was being sung, firearms had resulted in the abandonment of heavy armor.
Incidentally, there is at least one historical instance of a man fighting off six enemies but then being wounded from behind: William the Marshal, famous for his service with Kings Richard I and John, and infamous for the role he allegedly played in "Queen Eleanor's Confession" [Child 156], was part of a party that was attacked in 1168. His horse was killed under him before he had donned all his armor, but he killed the horses of six attackers before one came from behind and disabled him by spearing him in the thigh (McLynn, pp. 62-63). - RBW
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