Fair Flower of Northumberland, The [Child 9]

DESCRIPTION: A Scots soldier is captured and imprisoned. He captivates the gaoler's daughter, promising to marry her if she will free him. As soon as he is over the Scots border, he abandons her, saying he is already married. Her mother comforts her
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1597 (see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: courting prison escape trick lie abandonment
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber),England(North))
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Child 9, "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (7 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
Bronson 9, "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (7 versions)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 9, "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (4 versions: #1, #4, #5, #6)
Ritson-AncientSongsBalladsFromHenrySecondToTheRevolution, pp. 212-217, "The Ungrateful Knight and Fair Flower of Northumberland" (1 text)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #111, pp. 1-2, "The Flower of Northumberland" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan6 1149, "The Fair Flower o' Northumberland" (4 texts, 1 tune)
Stokoe/Reay-SongsAndBalladsOfNorthernEngland, pp. 94-96, "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3}
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, p. 192, "The Flower o' Northumberland" (1 text)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 71-74, "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 71, "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (1 text)
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles 6, "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (3 texts, 2 tunes)

Roud #25
cf. "Young Andrew" [Child 48] (theme)
The Deceived Girl
The Sinful Maiden
Sin's Reward
NOTES [202 words]: Chambers, p. 141, declares that Thomas Deloney (1543?-1600?) "in his Pleasant History of John Winchcomb (c. 1597) introduced a ballad of The Fair Flower of Northumberland, of which he says, 'the maidens in dulcet manner chanted out this song, two of them singing the ditty, and all the rest bearing the burden.'" [Fowler, p. 13, who prints two verses of Deloney's text but calls the boot Jack of Newbury. The text is clearly this; Fowler, p. 14, declares it the first ballad with an internl refrain.] This is the basis for Child's "A," which is similar to Ritson's 1790 text. On this basis, Boklund-Lagopolou, pp. 96-97, claims that Deloney wrote the piece -- but she admits that it was in a "popular tradition of old songs and carols," and says that the refrain sounds more traditional. It would be very interesting to know what was Deloney's source.
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles claims that all three of his informants used this song to draw a moral; in two instances they gave it a religious tone. This, obviously, is absent from all the Scottish versions. This is another instance where one questions the veracity of Niles's collections; there are no other American versions of this ballad known. - RBW
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File: C009

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