Young Waters [Child 94]
DESCRIPTION: Because the queen has admitted that Young Waters has the fairest face of all the lords and lairds and knights she's seen, the king has him beheaded.
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
KEYWORDS: beauty death execution
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Child 94, "Young Waters" (2 texts)
Bronson 94, "Young Waters" (1 version)
Percy/Wheatley II, pp. 228-231, "Young Waters" (1 text)
ChambersBallads, pp. 26-30, "Young Waters" (1 text)
GlenbuchatBallads, pp. 95-96, "Young Waters" (1 text)
OBB 82, "Young Waters" (1 text)
Gummere, pp. 156-158+334, "Young Waters" (1 text)
Whitelaw-Ballads, pp. 17-18, "Young Waters" (1 text)
ST C094 (Full)
NOTES [125 words]: Various suggestions have been offered for the identity of Young Waters. Percy suggested none other than the Bonny Earl of Murray, while Buchan offered one David Graham of Fintray (executed 1592). These and all other suggestions must be labelled simply, "Possible, but not really likely."
Although Bronson reports a tune, he notes, "It cannot be proved that this ballad was ever traditionally sung in Scots or English." The source of the tune is dubious, and Bronson has some cutting remarks about the stanzas of the English-language texts (though there is little doubt that the story exists in traditional forms in other languages -- indeed, the idea is not far from the traditional notion that Eleanor of Aquitaine had Rosamund Clifford poisoned). - RBW
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