Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon [Child 178]

DESCRIPTION: (Captain Carr) decides to take a castle, calling upon the lady who holds it to surrender and lie by his side. She refuses (despite the appeals of her children). Carr burns the castle and slaughters the inhabitants
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1755; the Cotton manuscript is from no later than the early seventeenth century
KEYWORDS: death homicide fire family
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) US(NE)
REFERENCES (26 citations):
Child 178, "Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon" (9 texts)
Bronson 178, "Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon" (6 versions)
BronsonSinging 178, "Captain Car, or Edom o Gordon" (2 versions: #4, #5)
ChambersBallads, pp. 60-64, "Edom o' Gordon" (1 text)
GlenbuchatBallads, pp. 7-11, "Adam Gordon, or The Burning of Cargarff" (1 text)
GreigDuncan2 231, "Edom O' Gordon" (3 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #5}
Lyle-Crawfurd2 100, "The Burning of Loudon Castle" (1 text)
Percy/Wheatley I, pp. 140-150, "Edom o' Gordon" (2 texts, one a fragment from the Percy folio and the other Percy's published text, drawn partly from other sources)
Bell-Combined, pp. 103-108, "Edom o' Gordon" (1 text)
Flanders/Olney, pp. 134-139, "Adam Gorman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 173-184, "Captain Car, or Edom O Gordon" (2 texts, 1 tune; the "B" text is from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
Leach, pp. 488-491, "Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon" (1 text) {Bronson's #6, which he places in an appendix}
Friedman, p. 256, "Captain Car (Edom o' Gordon)" (2 texts)
OBB 77, "Edom o Gordon" (1 text)
PBB 46, "Edom o Gordon" (1 text)
Gummere, pp. 146-150+332, "Captain Car, or Edom o Gordon" (1 text)
Hodgart, p. 111, "Captain Car (Edom o' Gordon)" (1 text)
DBuchan 53, "Edom o Gordon"; 54, "Edom o Gordon" (2 texts)
Ritson-Ancient, pp. 180-185, "Captain Car" (1 text)
HarvClass-EP1, pp. 103-107, "Captain Car" (1 text)
Chappell/Wooldridge I, pp. 73-75, "Sick, Sick" (2 tunes, partial text) {Tune I is listed as Bronson's #2, but recast; Bronson does not print Chappell's tune II)
Whitelaw-Ballads, pp. 110-111, "Edom o' Gordon" (1 text)
BBI, ZN3329, "It befell at martynmas, When wether waxed colde"
ADDITIONAL: Peter J. Seng, _Tudor Songs and Ballads from MS Cotton Vespasian A-25_, Harvard University Press, 1978, #38, pp. 125-135, "(It befell at martynmas)" (1 text)
Karin Boklund-Lagopolou, _I have a yong suster: Popular song and Middle English lyric_, Four Courts Press, 2002, pp. 191-195, "(Captain Car)" (1 text)

Roud #80
NOTES [230 words]: Said to be the "sick tune" referred to, e.g., in "Much Ado about Nothing," III, iv, 42. This text, first found in the British Museum manuscript Cotton Vespasian A.25 (late sixteenth century) is associated with a piece found in several lute books beginning no later than 1597. The events described are dated by Ritson to 1571; a piece labeled "Sick, sick" was licensed in 1578. - RBW, AS
David C. Fowler, A Literary History of the Popular Ballad, Duke University Press, 1968, p. 123, considers this "the first ballad in the minstrel tradition... having a refrain." On p. 124, that "Captain Car" "was composed to fit a known melody" -- the first ballad to meet this description, and thus the harbinger of a new style. Which strikes me as a pretty strong statement -- even if it is the oldest surviving ballad to meet that description, surely there might have been others before it that do not survive....
The actual event this is said to have been based on is the attack of Captain Ker (an agent of Sir Adam Gordon, brother of George Gordon, earl of Huntly) upon the Forbes stronghold at Towie on October 9, 1571 (during the minority of James VI, when the Regency had great difficulty controlling the country).
The song, however, is by no means an accurate account of the assault -- which is curious given that the song seemingly came into existence so soon after the event. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.1
File: C178

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