Branded Lambs [Laws O9]
DESCRIPTION: A girl, seeking her branded lambs, sees Johnny asleep under a thorn and asks if he has seen the flock. He tells her to seek them in a distant meadow. She seeks them; Johnny follows. They are not there, but he takes the chance to woo her. They are married
EARLIEST DATE: 1828 (Lyle-Crawfurd1)
KEYWORDS: sheep courting marriage love shepherd
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber,Bord)) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Laws O9, "Branded Lambs"
GreigDuncan5 966, "The Strayed Lambs" (1 text)
Lyle-Crawfurd1 79, "Jockie and the Fair Maid" (1 text)
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 252-253, "Young Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 134, "The Long and Wishing Eye" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 58, "Long and Wishing Eye" (1 text)
RoudBishop #36, "Searching for Lambs" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 133-134, "Branded Lambs" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST LO09 (Full)
Bodleian, Harding B 22(266), "The sex, by Mr. Holt. Jockey and the Damsel's Courtship" ("As Jockey was walking one midsummer morn"), unknown, no date (but apparently pre-1825; see note)
cf. "Searching for Lambs" (theme)
NOTES: This song represents an instance where Laws perhaps produced a great deal of confusion with his classification. He cites only two texts, Creighton/Senior and Joyce, the latter of which he calls incomplete.
But is the Joyce text incomplete, or is it a different song? Laws's "Branded Lambs" has a plot, summarized in the description. The Joyce text doesn't really.
On its face, Joyce appears to be an instance of another song group, "Searching for Lambs" ("One Morning Clear"), which has no plot beyond the elementary one of "boy meets girl while watching flocks."
The problem is, the two have common lyrics as well as a common theme. Either they've cross-fertilized or the lyric "Searching for Lambs" is a wearing down of "Branded Lambs." Scholars are divided; Kennedy (who admittedly lumps songs based on only the feeblest of connections) lumps them; the notes to Henry/Huntington/Herrmann explicitly deny the connection.
Unfortunately, almost all the texts are in manuscript and not readily available. Roud distinguishes the two; "Searching for Lambs" seems to be his #576; "Branded Lambs" is #1437.
The earlier editions of the Index lumped the song, in desperation. I still feel desperate about some versions -- e.g. the Copper text is difficult; it has the length of the lyric version but is more reminiscent of the ballad version in its wording. But we're splitters, and have now separated the songs. Still, readers should probably consult both entries for absolute certainty. - RBW
Broadside Bodleian Harding B 22(266) attributes its text to a Mr Holt. I would guess from the long-s typography that the date is between 1625 and 1825, and more likely between 1660 and 1790. - BS
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