Pretty Betsy the Milkmaid (Blackberry Fold) [Laws O10]
DESCRIPTION: The squire sees Pretty Betsy, and offers to marry her. She begs him not to tease a poor girl. He gives her half of a broken ring as a token. He tries to seduce her, then rape her, but she fends him off. He gives in and marries her
EARLIEST DATE: before 1820 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 25(2146))
KEYWORDS: beauty courting seduction virtue marriage
FOUND IN: US(MW) Britain(England(All),Scotland) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Laws O10, "Pretty Betsy the Milkmaid (Blackberry Fold)"
Lyle-Crawfurd2 91, "The Milk-Maid" (1 text)
Kennedy 314, "Blackberry Fold" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #131, "Blackberry Fold" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-Labrador 23, "Blackberry Fold" (1 text, 1 tune)
Neely, pp. 152-155, "Pretty Betsey the Milkmaid" (1 text)
DT 831, BESSMILK
Bodleian, Harding B 25(2146), "Young Squire" ("It's of a rich squire in Bristol doth dwell"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819; also Harding B 25(2147)[some illegible lines], "The Young Squire"; Harding B 28(140), "Squire and Milk Maid"; 2806 c.16(44), Harding B 25(1836), "Squire and Milkmaid"; 2806 b.11(240), Firth c.18(168), "Squire and Milkmaid" or "Blackberry Fold"
NOTES: Not to be confused with "Blackberry Grove," despite their sharing a milkmaid and blackberries. Incidentally, one of the reasons milkmaids were held in such romantic esteem was for their smooth, fair, and un-pockmarked skin, which came from their contact with cowpox and resultant immunity to smallpox. - PJS
In most cases the milk-maid stabs the squire but a doctor is sent for and heals his wounds before they marry. In Lyle-Crawfurd2 91 there is neither recovery nor marriage: she leaves him bleeding on the green" and she and her master "hae thrown the squire's corpse Into yon river clear." - BS
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