Mother's Malison, The, or Clyde's Water [Child 216]

DESCRIPTION: Willie wishes to visit his lover. His mother bids him stay, and curses him to drown in Clyde if he goes. Willie, trusting in his horse, goes anyway, but his lover's mother bids him away. Returning, he drowns in Clyde; his lover drowns as she seeks him
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1800 (GordonBrown/Rieuwerts)
KEYWORDS: river death love drowning curse horse
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord))
REFERENCES (13 citations):
Child 216, "The Mother's Malison, or, Clyde's Water" (3 texts)
Bronson 216, "The Mother's Malison, or, Clyde's Water" (14 versions+2 in addenda)
BronsonSinging 216, "The Mother's Malison, or, Clyde's Water" (2 versions: #2, #12.1)
ChambersBallads, pp. 268-271, "Willie and May Margaret" (1 text)
GordonBrown/Rieuwerts, pp. 252-253, "Willie and May Margaret" (1 text)
GlenbuchatBallads, pp. 125-127, "Sweet William" (1 text)
Greig #60, pp. 1-2, "Clyde's Waters" (1 text)
GreigDuncan6 1231, "Clyde's Waters" (10 texts plus a single verse on p. 582, 11 tunes) {A=Bronson's #7, B=#2, C=#1,D=#10, E=#9, F=#8, G=#5, H=#4, I=#12, J=#13, K=#11?}
Lyle-Crawfurd2 98, "Willie an' May Margeret" (1 text)
Leach, pp. 572-575, "The Mother's Malison, or, Clyde's Water" (1 text)
Whitelaw-Ballads, pp. 38-39, "The Drowned Lovers" (1 text)
OBB 90, "Clyde Water" (1 text)
DT 216, CLYDWATR*

Roud #91
RECORDINGS:
Stanley Robertson, "The Clattering of the Clyde Waters" (on Voice03)
John Strachan, "Clyde's Water (The Mother's Malison)" (on FSBBAL2) {Bronsons #12.2}

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Annan Water"
cf. "Lord Derwentwater" [Child 208] (lyrics)
cf. "Ballad of the Drover (Death of Harry Dale)" (theme)
cf. "Martha Dexter" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Drowned Lovers
Maggie's Bowers
NOTES: A number of versions of this begin with Willie's nose bleeding. This sounds strange enough that at least one modern performer changed it to say that his heart began to bleed. But Iona Opie and Moira Tatem, editors, A Dictionary of Superstitions, 1989 (I use the 1999 Barnes & Noble edition) has several items on nosebleeds on pp. 287-288. It is noted as a sign of ill omen as early as 1180 (Nigel de Longchamps, Mirror for Fools), and there are also several mentions of a spontaneous nosebleed as a sign of affection.
Last updated in version 4.1
File: C216

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