Gypsy Laddie, The [Child 200]

DESCRIPTION: A lord comes home to find his lady "gone with the gypsy laddie." He saddles his fastest horse to follow her. He finds her and bids her come home; she will not return, preferring the cold ground and the gypsy's company to her lord's wealth and fine bed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1720 (Ebsworth); 1740 (Ramsay)
KEYWORDS: elopement Gypsy marriage abandonment husband wife
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord,High),England(All)) US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,So,SE,SW) Canada(Mar,Newf,Ont) Ireland
REFERENCES (89 citations):
Child 200, "The Gypsy Laddie" (12 texts)
Bronson 200, "The Gypsy Laddie" (128 versions+2 in addenda)
BronsonSinging 200, "The Gypsy Laddie" (10 versions: #2, #4, #8, #21, #42, #71, #73, #83, #101, #120)
ChambersBallads, pp. 127-129, "Johnie Faa, the Gypsy Laddie" (1 text)
Greig #110, pp. 1-3, "The Gipsy Laddies" (2 texts plus 1 fragment)
GreigDuncan2 278, "The Gypsy Laddie" (11 texts, 7 tunes) {A=Bronson's #45, B=#47?, C=#43, D=#44, E=#48, F=#3, G=#88}
Butterworth/Dawney, p. 14, "Gipsy Laddy O" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-Thames, pp. 120-122, "The Draggle-tailed Gipsies" (2 texts) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 195; Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 260)
Reeves-Circle 61, "The Gypsy Countess" (2 texts)
RoudBishop #81, "The Gipsy Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #42}
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 269-277, "Gipsy Davy" (4 texts plus 2 fragments and a quoted broadside, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #109, #110}
Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 193-229, "The Gypsy Laddie" (19 texts plus 6 fragments, 8 tunes) {N=Bronson's #107}
Linscott, pp. 207-209, "Gypsy Daisy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Belden, pp. 73-76, "he Gypsy Laddie" (3 texts plus portions of another)
Randolph 27, "The Gypsy Davy" (6 texts plus 2 fragments, 4 tunes) {Randolph's A=Bronson's #100, E=#103, G=#123, H=#40}
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 49-51, "The Gypsy Davy" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 27G) {Bronson's #123}
AbrahamsRiddle, pp. 26-28, "Black Jack Davey" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 38, "The Blackjack Davy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-1ed, pp. 47-49, "Gypsy Davy" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #124}
Owens-2ed, pp. 29-31, "Gypsy Davy" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Lomax-Singing, pp. 156-159, "Black Jack Davy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Eddy 21, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text plus a fragment, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #77, #98}
Neely, pp. 140-141, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text, a short mixture of "The Gypsy Laddie" [Child 200] and "Seventeen Come Sunday" [Laws O17])
Brewster 19, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text)
Stout 5, p. 11, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 fragment)
Korson-PennLegends, p. 52, "Harrison Brady" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #128}
Grimes, p. 43, "Gypsy Davie" (1 text)
Davis-Ballads 37, "The Gypsy Laddie" (7 texts plus a fragment, 3 tunes) {Bronson's #6, #91, #33}
Davis-More 33, pp. 253-261, "The Gypsy Laddie" (5 texts, 2 tunes)
BrownII 37, "The Gypsy Laddie" (6 texts plus an excerpt, many of them mixed with "Sixteen Come Sunday"; "D" also partakes of "Devilish Mary")
BrownSchinhanIV 37, "The Gypsy Laddie" (13 excerpts, 13 tunes)
Chappell-FSRA 16, "Gypsy Davy" (1 fragment)
JonesLunsford, pp.199-200, "Black Jack Davy (The Gypsy Laddie)" (1 text, 1 tune) {same source as Bronson's #4, but the transcription is quite different}
Morris, #166, "The Gypsy Laddie" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #13, #12}
Hudson 20, pp. 117-119, "The Gypsy Laddie" (2 texts)
HudsonTunes 26, "Black Jack David" (1 fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #115}
Cambiaire, pp. 59-60, "The Gypsy Laddie (Gypsy Davy)" (1 text)
Shellans, pp. 36-37, "The Radical Gypsy David" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boswell/Wolfe 15, pp. 28-30, "The Gypsies (The Gypsy Laddie)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hubbard, #12, "Gypsy Davy" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #11}
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 215-225, "The Gypsy Laddie" (7 texts, with local titles "The Three Gypsies," "Black Jack Davy," "Gypsia Song," Oh Come and Go Back My Pretty Fair Miss," "Gypsy Davy," "The Lady's Disgrace," "Gypsy Davy"; 5 tunes on pp. 411-414) {Bronson's #75, #126, #106, #32, #9]
Wells, pp. 116-117, "The Gypsy Davy" (1 text, 1 tune) {from the same informant, although not the same session, as Bronson's #8}
Creighton/Senior, pp. 71-72, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #10}
Creighton-SNewBrunswick 4, "Gypsie Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenleaf/Mansfield 16, "The Dark-Clothed Gypsy" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #50}
Peacock, pp. 194-197, "Gypsy Laddie-O" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Karpeles-Newfoundland 17, "The Gypsy Laddie" (3 texts, 4 tunes)
Fowke-Ontario 3, "The Gypsy Daisy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 220-221, "Gypsy Daisy," "Seven Gypsies in a Row" (1 text plus a fragment)
Cohen-AFS2, pp. 546-547, "Clayton Boone" (1 text)
Leach, pp. 539-543, "The Gypsy Laddie" (4 texts)
Leach-Heritage, pp. 120-122, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text)
Friedman, p. 105, "The Gypsy Laddie (Johnny Faa)" (2 texts)
OBB 148, "The Gypsy Countess" (1 text)
S Baring Gould and H Fleetwood Sheppard, Songs and Ballads of the West, (London, 1891? ("Digitized by Google")), #50 pp. 106-109, xxviii, "The Gypsy Countess" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Warner 42, "Gypsy Davy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner-Eastern, pp. 6-7, "Blackjack Davy" (1 text)
PBB 18, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text)
Tunney-StoneFiddle, p. 110, "The Seven Yellow Gipsies" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-100E 5, "The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies, O!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Niles 52, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-Southern, p. 80, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune) {cf. Bronson's #38, a separate, somewhat different transcription}
SharpAp 33, "The Gypsy Laddie" (5 texts plus 5 fragments, 10 tunes) {Bronson's #35, #21, #17, #26, #20, #97, #33, #104, #36, #34}
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 22, "Gypsy Davy (The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune -- a composite version) {Bronson's #26}
Sandburg, p. 311, "Gypsy Davy" (1 fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #99}
SHenry H124, p. 509, "The Brown-Eyed Gypsies" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hammond-Belfast, p. 57, "The Dark-Eyed Gypsy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Graham/Holmes 17, "The Dark-Eyed Gypsy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 108, "Black Jack David" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart, p. 72, "The Gypsy Laddie" (1 text)
JHCox 21, "The Gyspy Laddie" (4 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #94}
JHCoxIIA, #10A-C, pp. 40-45, "Gypsy Davy," "The Raggle Taggle Gypsies, O," "The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, O" (3 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #9, #74}
Gainer, pp. 72-73, "The Gypsy Davy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ord, pp. 411-412, "The Gypsie Laddie" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #60}
Fowke/MacMillan 76, "Seven Gypsies on Yon Hill" (1 text, 1 tune)
TBB 6, "The Gipsy Laddie" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 181-184, "Gypsy Davey"; "Gypsy Laddie O"; "Gypsy Laddie" (3 texts, 3 tunes) {Bronson's #83, #81, #27}
Whitelaw-Ballads, pp. 268-269, "Johnie Faa" (1 text)
Darling-NAS, pp. 75-78, "The Gypsy Laddie"; "Gyps of David"; "Gypsy Davy (Catskill's)"; "The Gypsy Laddie" (3 texts plus a fragment)
Fireside, p. 70, "The Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies, O!" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, p. 35, "The Gypsy Davy" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 194, "Gypsy Davey"; p. 211, "The Gypsy Rover"; p. 213, "The Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies" (3 texts)
BBI, ZN2567, "There was seven Gipsies all in a gang"
DT 200, GYPDAVY GYPLADD GYPLADD2* GYPLADD3 GYPLADX GYPBLJK* GYPSYRVR* GYPHARBR* BLCKJACK* BLCKJCK2 BLKJKDAV GYPLADY*
ADDITIONAL: J Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads, (Hertford, 1896 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. VIII Part 1 [Part 23], pp. 156-157, "The Gipsy Laddy" (1 text)
James Johnson, Editor, _The Scots Musical Museum_ [1853 edition], volume II, #181, p. 189, "Johny Faa, or the Gypsie laddie" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
John Finlay, Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads (Edinburgh: William Creech, and Archibald Constable and Co, 1808 ("Digitized by Google")) Vol. II, pp. 35-43, "The Gypsie Laddie" (1 text)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #83, "The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies" (1 text)
Maud Karpeles, _Folk Songs of Europe_, Oak, 1956, 1964, pp. 38-29, "The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies O!" (1 text, 1 tune).

Roud #1
RECORDINGS:
O. J. Abbott, "The Gypsy Daisy" (on Abbott1)
Freeman Bennett, "Gypsy Laddie-O" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Cliff Carlisle, "Black Jack David" (Decca 5732, 1939)
Carter Family, "Black Jack David" (Conqueror 9574, 1940; Okeh 06313, 1941)
Dillard Chandler, "Black Jack Daisy" (on Chandler01)
Robert Cinnamond, "Raggle Taggle Gypsies-O" (on IRRCinnamond02)
Harry Cox, Jeannie Robertson, Paddy Doran [composite] "The Gypsy Laddie" (on FSB5 [as "The Gypsie Laddie"], FSBBAL2) {cf. Bronson's #42, #45.1}
Mary Jo Davis, "Black Jack Davy" (on FMUSA)
Mrs. T. Ghaney, "Roving Gypsy" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Woody Guthrie, "Gypsy Davy" (AFS, 1941; on LCTreas)
Harry Jackson, "Clayton Boone" (on HJackson1)
Margaret MacArthur, "Gypsy Davy" (on MMacArthur01)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Black Jack David" (on NLCR04); "Black Jack Daisy" (on NLCR14, NLCRCD2)
Maire Aine Ni Dhonnchadha, "The Gypsy-O" (on TradIre01)
Lawrence Older, "Gypsy Davy" (on LOlder01)
Walter Pardon, "Raggle-Taggle Gypsies" (on Voice06)
Jean Ritchie, "Gypsy Laddie" (on JRitchie01) {Bronson's #38}
Jeannie Robertson, "The Gypsy Laddies" (on Voice17)
Pete Seeger, "Gypsy Davy" (on PeteSeeger16)
Warren Smith, "Black Jack David" (Sun 250, mid-1950s)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 11(1446), "Gypsy Laddie," W. Stephenson (Gateshead), 1821-1838; also Harding B 11(2903), "Gypsy Loddy"; Harding B 19(45), "The Dark-Eyed Gipsy O"; Harding B 25(731), "Gipsy Loddy"; Firth b.25(220), "The Gipsy Laddy"; Harding B 11(1317), "The Gipsy Laddie, O"; Firth b.26(198), Harding B 15(116b), 2806 c.14(140), "The Gipsy Laddie"; Firth b.25(56), "Gypsie Laddie"
Murray, Mu23-y3:030, "The Gypsy Laddie," unknown, 19C
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.178.A.2(092), "The Gipsy Laddie," unknown, c. 1875

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Roving Ploughboy" (theme, lyrics, tune)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Black Jack Davy
The Gypsy Davy
Johnny Faa
Davy Faa
The Wraggle Taggle Gypsy
The Lady and the Gypsy
Harrison Brady
Gypson Davy
Black-Eyed Davy
The Heartless Lady
Egyptian Davio
It Was Late in the Night
When Johnny Came Home
The Gyps of Davy
The Dark-Clothed Gypsy
NOTES: Hall, notes to Voice17, re "The Gypsy Laddies": "Francis James Child locates the history behind the ballad to the expulsion of the Gypsies from Scotland by Act of Parliament in 1609, and the abduction by Gypsies of Lady Cassilis (who died in 1642), her subsequent return to her home and the hanging of the Gypsies involved. [ref. Child, IV, pp. 63-5.]"
Jeannie Robertson's version on Voice17 follows Child 200C,G in that the Gypsies are hanged in the last verse. - BS
Although the hero of this song is often called "Johnny Faa" or even "Davy Faa," he should not be confused with the hero/villain of "Davy Faa (Remember the Barley Straw)." - RBW
[Silber and Silber mis-identify all their texts] as deriving from "Child 120," which is actually "Robin Hood's Death." - PJS
Also sung by David Hammond, "The Dark-Eyed Gypsy" (on David Hammond, "I Am the Wee Falorie Man: Folk Songs of Ireland," Tradition TCD1052 CD (1997) reissue of Tradition LP TLP 1028 (1959)) Sean O Boyle, notes to David Hammond, "I Am the Wee Falorie Man: Folk Songs of Ireland": "The tune has been known in the O Boyle family for four generations and has never been published."
Ebsworth says of his Roxburghe version: "In White-letter, a single narrow slip, set up by Southerners, probably as a page of some Chap-book 'Garland of Songs' for circulation in the northern counties. Date circa 1720, not earlier" (p. 157). Baring-Gould writes that "The Scottish ballad of 'Johnny Faa' first appeared in Allan Ramsay's 'Tea Table Miscellany,' 1724," but I don't find it there; Ebsworth cites Cunningham's claim for Ramsay 1724 (p. 154), so that is probably the source of Baring-Gould's assertion.
Both Reeves-Circle 61A and Baring-Gould 50 cite James Parsons as the source of a strange version. The texts are different but agree in having a prequel to the usual story: the "lady" of the story is a gypsy girl who reluctantly marries the Earl (possibly against her will) and is recovered by the gypsies. Of the prequel Baring-Gould speculates, "I venture to suggest that the Jacobites took an earlier ballad of a gipsy girl married to an Earl, and adapted it to serve as a libel on Lady Cassilis [the supposed heroine]" (p. xxviii). Baring-Gould, but not his source, split the ballad into two parts "so as to give both melodies."
Martin Graebe points out in a note to the Ballad-L list that "There is, on the Bodley site, a broadside, 'The Gipsy Countess' which is a Victorian parlour version of the seduction which was often sung as a duet (some versions are subtitled 'a celebrated duet'). This has been included by Bellowhead on a recent CD -- and great fun it is too! It is possible that James Parsons knew this song. Baring-Gould had copies of the broadside in his collection but has clearly discounted it as being irrelevant, though he has adopted its title But is this what Parsons was referring to when he told Baring-Gould of an earlier part? And is there a, so far, undiscovered version from which both Parsons' version and the Victorian song are derived?"
The broadside referred to by Martin Graebe is Bodleian, Harding B 11(1312), "The Gipsy Countess, a Celebrated Duet" ("She. Oh, how can a poor gipsy maiden like me"), H. Such (London), 1863-1885; also Harding B 11(666), 2806 c.16(214), "Gipsy Countess". In this duet between "a poor gipsy maiden" and a "noble" man with "lands and proud dwellings," she asks how she can ever hope to be his bride. He answers that "All my heart, all my future, I'll lay at your feet." He asks her to marry and promises never to betray her. He tries to convince her of his sincerity. Finally, they agree to marry.
Child cites Finlay in his research on the Lady Cassilis story, but relegates Finlay's version of the ballad to notes on 200A and 200E. Whitelaw-Ballads follows Finlay, changing a few words. - BS
Sigrid Rieuwerts, in an essay entitled "The Historical Moorings of 'The Gypsy Laddie': Johnny Faa and Lady Cassilis," printed in Joseph Harris, editor, The Ballad and Oral Literature, Harvard University Press, 1991, notes that Child didn't think there was much history in this ballad, but seems to imply that Child wasn't trying very hard to find it (p. 79f.). He notes on p. 84 a poem written by one "Patrick Chamers" in 1719, in which one "Francy Fa an Egyptian" witched away "The Earle of Duglass Daughter Bessy by name... From her fathers Castle." An interesting coincidence of language, at the least.
On p.p. 89-90, Rieuwerts notes that King James V gave special privileges to one Johnny Faa in 1540. He was even awarded the title of "earl" -- although it wasn't a landed earldom; he was earl of the Roma in Scotland. Still, this made the name "Faa," and "Johnny Faa," very popular, because the Roma wanted the protection they thought the name would bring.
In fact the name was no help. By 1609, the Roma were being persecuted, and a number of men named Fa/Faa/Faw were hanged without proper trial on July 31, 1611 (pp. 90-91); others would follow in coming years. The Fifth Earl of Cassilis participated in some of these trials, so if this ballad is historical, the events of 1611 are the obvious place to start looking for the participants. Rieuwerts on pp. 91-92 notes that Child refers to a condemnation of a Johnny Faa in 1616 -- but adds that Child was wrong; the sentence of death was not carried out.
On p. 93, Rieuwerts says that the woman involved is generally identified as Jean Hamilton (1607-1642), who in 1621 married the sixth Earl of Cassilis. But he admits that nothing in the ballad, except the title "Cassilis," links the contents of the song with Lady Jean. It is noteworthy, however, that in 1630, Earl Cassilis was instructed by the crown to execute certain Roma over whom he had jurisdiction. (p. 94).
After all that analysis, however, Rieuwerts is forced to conclude that he cannot link the ballad to any actual historical events. He thinks (p. 96) that is makes historical sense. But that isn't the same thing. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: C200

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.