Betsy Bell

DESCRIPTION: "Oh my name is Betsy Bell, in the Overgate I dwell, Nae doubt you're wondring fit I'm daein' here, Well, I'm lookin' for a man... and anything in breek will dae wi' me." Betsy describes lads she has pursued without success; she'll keep trying despite age
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1971 (Stewart Family)
KEYWORDS: oldmaid courting rejection humorous
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Gatherer-SongsAndBalladsOfDundee 41, "Betsy Bell" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Chris Wright, "'Forgotten Broadsides and the Song Tradition of the Scots Travellers" -- essay found in David Atkinson and Steve Roud, Editors, _Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and North America: The Interface between Print and Oral Tradition_, Ashgate, 2014, p. 83, "I Wonder What's Adee Wi' a' the Men!" (reproduction of a Poets Box broadside)

Roud #5211
Belle Stewart, "Betsy Bell" (on Voice10)
Belle, Sheila, and Cathie Stewart, "Betsy Bell" (on SCStewartsBlair01)

cf. "The Old Maid's Song (I)" and references there
NOTES [62 words]: It appears that this is primarily a possession of the Stewarts of Blair. In earlier versions of the Index, I wondered if it was composed by someone in their family. It turns out it was not, being derived from a Poets Box broadside. But the Stewart version is significantly different, and the broadside doesn't indicate the tune, so possibly the Stewarts remade the song. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.5
File: DTbetsyb

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 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.