I'll Let You Know the Reason
DESCRIPTION: The singer tells a girl he has come to gain her love. He has left another for her. She should not think about riches, which she has and he wants and is the reason she slights him. He hopes she will not slight him the next time and that they'll marry.
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (Greig)
KEYWORDS: courting rejection money nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig #81, p. 2, "Milton"; Greig "Folk-Song in Buchan," p. 38, ("I'll let you know the reason") (1 text plus 1 fragment)
GreigDuncan4 829, "Milton of Aberdour" (6 texts, 6 tunes)
cf. "Bogie Banks" (theme: rejecting the riches of Alexander)
NOTES [576 words]: None of the Greig or GreigDuncan4 texts include "Milton" except in the title.
The alternate title "Alexander" refers to the singer's reference to the woman's money. "Don't fix your mind on riches love nor yet on world's gear Look back to Alexander and there you'll find it clear He conquered all this wide warld sat doon and wept full sore To think there was but ae warld and that he wad gain no more."
This song shares one verse and the general theme with SHenry H589, p. 344, "The Rejected Lover" but I don't see enough of a similarity to lump them together, as Roud does. - BS
The cliche that Alexander wept because there were no more worlds to conquer is somewhat deceptive. Alexander had succeeded his father Philip in 336, when Philip was assassinated (Saville, p. 7). Philip had nearly conquered Greece (Bosworth, p. 16), but his death caused chaos, with several claimants to the throne coming forward. Alexander managed to take charge by swift movement, the details of which are lost to us (Bosworth, pp. 25-27). Alexander then re-crushed the Greek city-states, destroying Thebes and terrorizing the rest (Mahaffy, pp. 10-11). He then picked up his father's plans to attack the once-great but now badly-ruled Persian Empire (Bosworth, p. 17).
Alexander first met Persian forces at Granicus (Mahaffy, p. 15). then met their main army at Issus (Mahaffy, pp. 20-23) where he captured most of the Persian Emperor Darius III Codomannus's family (Roger, pp. 287-291), turned aside to conquer the restive Persian province of Egypt (Bosworth, pp. 67-74), and finally and completely defeated those Darius III at Gaugamela in 331 B.C.E. (Rogers, pp. 317-325). Darius fled the field, and was assassinated in 330 (Rogers, pp. 341-342). Alexander then married his daughter and claimed the Persian Empire (Arrian/Selincourt, p. 353).
Theoretically Alexander already controlled the world's largest empire. But Persia had been a collection of provinces, mostly distinct in culture, language, and religion, which had been content under the relatively benign yoke of the earlier Persians, but who had grown restive under recent bad Emperors. Alexander had to reconquer much of this territory. He succeeded well enough, but it took time. Then he headed through what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan toward what is now India.
It was in 326, at the Hyphasis River (the modern Beas in the Punjab) that the conquests stopped. "Stories [of the peoples to the east] could not but whet Alexander's appetite for yet another adventure; but his men felt differently" (Arrian/Selincourt, p. 291). Arrian/Selincourt, pp. 291-297, describes Alexander's attempts to jolly the men along. He reduced some of the men to tears, but failed. He then tried to shame them into following him; that too failed, although more men cried. Finally he started for home (Arrian/Selincourt, pp. 298-299). He would die in 323, in Babylon (Mahaffy, pp. 37-41).
There is much evidence that, by the end, Alexander was not entirely sane. He demanded an extreme form of worship, the proskynesis, and killed men who had once been his friends (one of them, perhaps, his lover); Savill, pp. 81-88. By the end, he was asking to be treated as a god (Savill, p. 139, although she denies this is a sign of mental disturbance). So he may have cried over a lot of things. But he never actually cried that there *were* no more worlds to conquer; at most, he cried because he would not be allowed to conquer them. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.6
- Arrian/Selincourt: Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, translated (from Greek) by Aubrey de Selincourt with an introduction by J. R. Hamilton (translation originally published as Arrian: The Life of Alexander the Great), 1958; introduction added 1977 (I use the 1984 Penguin edition)
- Bosworth: A. B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire: The reign of Alexander the Great, 1988 (I use the 1993 Cambridge Canto paperback)
- Mahaffy: John Pentland Mahaffy, The Empire of Alexander the Great, 1898 (I use the1995 Barnes & Noble reprint)
- Rogers: Robert William Rogers, A History of Ancient Persia, 1929, 1957 (I use the 1971 Books for Libraries edition)
- Savill: Alexander the Great And His Time (no copyright date listed; I use the 1993 Barnes & Noble edition)
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 2019 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.