Sir Lionel [Child 18]

DESCRIPTION: (Sir Lionel) hears report (from a lady in distress?) of a murderous boar. Meeting the boar, he slays the beast. In the older versions, the boar's keeper then comes out to demand a price, and the knight then slays the keeper also.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1876 (Christie, _Traditional Ballad Airs, vol. i_)
KEYWORDS: animal fight magic
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(High),England) US(Ap,NE,SE,So)
REFERENCES (37 citations):
Child 18, "Sir Lionel" (6 texts)
Bronson 18, "Sir Lionel" (17 versions)
BronsonSinging 18, "Sir Lionel" (6 versions: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #10)
Bell-Combined, pp. 344-346, "The Jovial Hunter of Bromsgrove" (1 text); p. 470, "The Old Man and His Three Sons" (1 fragment)
Leather, pp. 203-204, "Brangywell"; p. 204, "Dilly Dove" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #5, 13}
Williams-Thames, pp. 118-119, "Bold Sir Rylas" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 322)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 434-435, "Sir Lionel" (notes plus a partial reprint of Child A)
Flanders/Olney, pp. 60-61, "Old Bangum" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #17}
Flanders-Ancient1, pp. 226-229, "Sir Lionel" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #17}
Belden, pp. 29-31, "Sir Lionel" (2 texts, 1 tune, plus fragments of 1 stanza and 1 line respectively) {Bronson's #7}
Randolph 7, "Lord Bangum" (1 fragmentary text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #14}
Davis-Ballads 8, "Sir Lionel" (7 texts, 4 tunes entitled "Bangum and the Boar," "Old Bang'em," "Ole Bangim," "Sir Lionel") {Bronson's #12, #10, #8, #15}
Davis-More 10, pp. 72-78, "Sir Lionel" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Gainer, pp. 24-25, "Old Badman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 191-191, "Sir Lionel" (1 text reprinted from Scarborough-NegroFS, and found also in Davis and Scarborough-NegroFS, with local title "Old Bangum"; 1 tune on p. 407) {Bronson's #8}
Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 51-52, "Old Bangum" (1 text, 1 tune, the same as that in Scarborough-SongCatcher) {Bronson's #8}
SharpAp 9 "Sir Lionel" (4 fragments, 4 tunes) {Bronson's #16, #15, #11, #9}
Ritchie-Southern, p. 85, "Bangum Rid by the Riverside" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boswell/Wolfe 8, pp. 18-20, "Old Bangum" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 10A, "Bangum Rode the Riverside"; 10B, "Old Bangum" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Leach, pp. 100-103, "Sir Lionel" (2 texts)
McNeil-SFB2, pp. 157-159, "Ole Banghum" (1 text, 1 tune)
PBB 19, "The Jovial Hunter of Bromsgrove" (1 text)
Lomax-SInging, pp. 149-150, "Old Bangham" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 272, "Old Bangum" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson't #8}
Niles 13, "Sir Lionel" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Chase, pp. 126-127, "Old Bangum and the Boar" (1 text, 1 tune)
Abrahams/Foss, p. 60, "Old Bangum" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morgan-Medieval, pp. 117-119, "Sir Lionel" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 217, "Old Bangum" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 24, #2 (1975), p, 5, "Quil O'Quay" (1 short text, 1 tune, from the singing of Nimrod Workman)
RELATED: Versions of the Romance "Sir Eglamour of Artois" --
Digital Index of Middle English Verse #2867
Richardson: Frances E. Richardson, editor, _Sir Eglamour of Artois_, Early English Text Society/Oxford University Press, 1965, (2 parallel texts, of Lincoln Cathedral MS. 91 and Cotton Caligula A.2, with an appendix containing British Library MS. Egerton 2862 and some readings from the other manuscripts; the two main texts are given a common numbering to bring the total to 1375 lines but L in particular omits some of these lines)
Harriet Hudson, _Four Middle English Romances: Sir Isumbras, Octavian, Sir Eglamour of Artois, Sir Tryamour_, second edition, TEAMS (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages), Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2006. Much of the material in this book is also available online), pp. 101-132, "Sir Eglamour of Artois" (1 text, of 1320 lines, based mostly on British Library MS. Cotton Caligula A.2)
(William Beattie), _The Chepman and Myllar Prints: A Facsimile with a Bibliographical Note by William Beattie_, Edinburg Bibliographical Society, 1950, pp. 53-88, "(no title)" (1 text, a facsimile of the Advocates Library copy)

Roud #29
Bentley Ball, "Bangum and the Boar" (Columbia A3084, 1920)
Logan English, "Bangum and the Boar" (on LEnglish01)
Samuel Harmon, "The Wild Boar" (AFS 2805B; on LC57) {Bronson's #2}
Frank Hutchison, "Wild Hog in the Woods" (OKeh 45274, 1928)
Jean Ritchie, "Old Bangum" (on JRitchie01)
Lonesome Luke [D. C. Decker] & his Farm Boys, "Wild Hog in the Woods" (Champion 16229, 1931; on KMM)
G. D. Vowell, "Bangum and the Boar" (AFS; on LC57)

Wild Hog
The Jovial Hunter
Rurey Bain
Bangum and the Bo'
Wild Hog in the Woods
NOTES: Many versions of this song have been stripped down to descriptions of the [boar] hunt and the fight. Others have subplots concerning Sir Lionel's brothers.
The versions of this called "Wild Hog in the Woods" should not be confused with the fiddle tune of the same name, which is unrelated to any tune I've ever heard with the ballad. Great tune, though - PJS
Flanders, in her notes in "Ancient Ballads," makes the astonishing (for her) admission of how different the common version of this is from the alleged roots: "If 'Old Bangum' can be considered as a direct descendant of the romance Sir Eglamour of Artois, it is surely a classic example of degeneration through oral tradition.... Although the Child 'Sir Lionel' is probably related to the medieval romance, scholars have just as probably been over-enthusiastic in relating 'Old Bangum' songs too closely to 'Sir Lionel.' As Belden, 29, suggests, a song-book or music hall rewriting may well lie between the two."
She adds, "The 'Old Bangum' texts are the only American forms of Child 18. They are known in... England as well, and are characterized by a nonsense refrain which Alfred Williams... notes is meant to sound like a bugle."
Note that D'Urfey's version (Bronson's #3; not given by Child) actually calls the hero "Sir Eglamore," although this might be editorial.
Child mentions several analogies to the boar-hunting tale in the romances, including part of the story of "Culhwych and Olwen" in the Mabinogion (in which Culywych is given seemingly-impossible tasks in order to win Olwyn) and the tale of "The Avowing of [King] Arthur."
Louis B. Hall, p. 130 in his introduction to the "The Avowing of Arthur," says the following:
"With the wolf practically extinct in England, the wild boar had no enemies except the hunter, and a number of tales describe that hunt. The boar is a fearsome beast today and was even more so in the fifteenth century. Archaeological evidence indicates that it then stood four feet tall at the shoulder and weighted about 300 pounds. Its two tusks were like butcher knives, and the boar could use them to either stab or rip. Its successive layers of bristles, hide, muscle, and fat were impenetrable to arrows. To attack this beast alone with only spear and sword was exceedingly dangerous."
Of "Culhwych and Olwen" Child has little to say except to compare it with other tales of battles with a boar: "But both these, and even the Erymanthian, must lower their bristles before the boar in 'Kilhwch and Olwen,' Mabinogion, part iv, pp. 309-316." This is true as far as it goes (Ford-Mabinogi, p. 119, observes that "The story ostensibly deals with the love of Culhwych for Olwen, the giant's daughter, and describes how, with the help of his cousin Arthur, the impossible tasks imposed by the giant were accomplished and Olwen won... [but] the story is really about Arthur, his wonder-working retinue, and a series of exploits performed by them, culminating in the pursuit of the great boar, Twrch Trwyth. This last ends virtually in a draw between Arthur and the boar, although the carnage on both sides is great."
On p. 16 Ford-Mabinogi seems to suggest that the boar in "Culhwych" is a vague memory of a pig-god, which presumably makes his opponent semi-divine as well. This would fit well in a the world of giants and talking beasts of "Culhwych," less well with this ballad.
But Child fails to note that the fuller versions of "Sir Lionel," like "Culhwych," involves a giant, Olwen's father. This is not to suggest any direct dependence -- just that these tales of highly deadly boars often have giants somewhere in the vicinity as well.
Lionel himself is an Arthurian character, but a relatively minor one -- e.g. he does not have an entry in Lacy. Moorman/Moorman, p. 81, says of him, "In the Vulgate Lancelot, BOHORT's brother, LANCELOT's cousin. In the Queste del Saint Graal his fury almost leads him to kill BOHORT." Makes you wonder a little if Lionel and the boar didn't get their parts mixed up.
As for the romance of "Sir Eglamour," according to Hudson, p. 97, "Sir Eglamour of Artois tells a familiar story of lovers separated by a disapproving father, their vicissitudes, and their eventual marriage in a triumph of faithful love." To win the hand of Cristabelle, Eglamour has to accomplish a series of challenges set by her father, including a boar, giants, and a dragon; the father clearly wants Eglamour to fail, and probably die. When Christabelle gets pregnant, she and her son Degrebelle are set adrift. Eventually everyone is reunited after Eglamour has overthrown the wicked father and gone to Egypt to rescue Cristabelle (Hudson, pp. 97-98).
In the romance, the battle with the boar is in the middle of the list of tasks Eglamour must perform. "The boar is... in Sidon, and as Eglamour approaches, he finds the dismembered bodies of the beast's earlier opponents. The boar kills the knight's horse an requires three days to subdue, but his eradication is a great boon to the country which he had ravaged" (Hudson, p. 98).
The romance does have the interestingly "folk-ish" motif of a knight of (relatively) low status winning the hand of a girl of higher status. On the other hand, it is in the 12-line "tail rhyme" format, which for whatever reason is rarely used in romances that have relationships with ballads.
Unlike many Middle English romances, there does not seem to be a French equivalent of "Sir Eglamour." It is suggested that the piece was composed around 1350 in the northern Midlands.
There are no fewer than seven manuscripts and four early printings of the romance, making it among the most popular of all the Middle English tales, even though it has not been popular with modern editors. This even though one of the manuscripts to include it is the famous "Percy Folio." The full list of manuscripts (from Richardson, pp. ix-xiv; see also Hudson, p. 100):
- British Library MS. Egerton 2862, c. 1400 (a fragment of the first 160 lines, often denoted "S").
- Lincoln Cathedral MS. 91, c. 1440, the "Lincoln Thornton Manuscript," after scribe Robert Thornton, who copied many romances and a few ballad-ish lyrics ("L").
- British Library MS. Cotton Caligula A.2, c. 1450 ("C").
- Cambridge University Library MS. Ff.2.38, c. 1460 ("F").
- Bodleian Library MS. Douce 261, 1564, from 1564 ("d")
- British Library MS. Additional 27879, the Percy Folio, c. 1650. ("p")
The early prints:
- National LIbrary of Scotland, Edinburgh, printed by Chepman and Myllar, 1508? (incomplete; titled "Sir Eglamore of Artoys") ("e").
- Cambridge University Library. Inc. 5.J.1.2, printed by Wynken de Worde, c. 1530? (fragment of fewer than sixty lines) ("g").
- Cambridge University Library, Syn 7.52.12, printed by Richard Bankes, c. 1530 (fragments totalling fewer than a hundred lines) ("b")
- Bodleian Library MS. Selden d 45(5), printed by William Copland, c. 1555 (this is very likely based on the Wynken de Worde edition, or perhaps an earlier, lost, Caxton edition) ("a").
- British Library, C.21.C.59, John Walley, c. 1570? ("w").
It might perhaps be noted that Richardson's work was done as a thesis under none other than J. R. R. Tolkien (whose knowledge of folklore doesn't get enough attention), and it likely reflects many of Tolkien's opinions.
According to Richardson's descriptions and the stemma on p. xx, the manuscripts form three groups, S+L, the earliest and generally the best; C+F; and the late texts, e+g+w+b+a+d+p (with the Percy Folio p being especially close to a and w; Richardson in fact thinks p is derived from a, the de Worde edition).
Most printed editions have used L as their base text. Richardson prints L and C in parallel columns. Hudson, although agreeing that L is the best text, works from C because it is the fullest.
There is an interesting footnote to this, in that "Sir Eglamour" is one of the few places where we can test the quality of the text in the very valuable Percy folio. According to Richardson's stemma (p. xx), the Percy text is copied, at one remove, from the Bodleian Selden print by Copeland. Richardson, p. xix, calls it the worst of all the texts and lists a number of unique errors. We should perhaps take this with a grain of salt, since Richardson would also allow the possibility that the Percy text is derived from multiple sources, but if Richardson is correct, we should perhaps be cautious in the use we make of the Percy Folio.
Richardson thinks "Sir Eglamour" is a blending of three romance types, which he calls "Tochmarc Emire/The Wooing of Emer," "Degare," and "Octavian." In English, the first of these is best known from "Emare," the second from "Sir Degare" (Digory)." Richardson thinks the "Eglamour" poet knew specifically "Emare," "Sir Degare," and one or the other of the two English "Octavian" romances. The theme of tasks is from the "Tochmarc Emire/Emare" group; Richardson is not sure if his only source is "Emare" or if there is another source as well.
Mehl, p. 77, says sarcastically of the romance, "The story of Sir Eglamour deserves a brief examination, if only on account of its mediocrity and its highly eclectic character." On p. 78, he adds, "It would be easy to find analogues for all these motifs in earlier romance and to demonstrate that Sir Eglamour is a rather synthetic product. There are particularly close links with Guy of Warwick, Octavian, and Sir Ysumbras....
For a bibliography of references to "Emare," see Rice, pp. 253-254; for "Guy of Warwick," see pp. 277-280; for "Octavian," pp. 365-366; for "Sir Degare," pp. 409-414; for Sir "Isumbras," pp. 469-471; for "Sir Eglamour," pp. 415-416.
I can't help but wonder, if two scholars both agree that "Eglamour" is derivative, but derive it from different sets of romances, then perhaps the actual sources are something different and now lost -- and if perhaps "Sir Lionel" is related to that.
Mehl, p. 82-83, goes on to suggest that "Eglamour" is a "minstrel poem" -- which, in this context, means a poem the outline of which was memorized but the details largely at the performer's choice, most of them being commonplaces or derived from oral tradition. And, of course, anything that borrows from tradition is likely to lend to it as well.
Or perhaps there is another, lost, "Eglamour" romance. The alliterative poem "The Parlement of the Thre Ages," has these lines:
Sir Eglamour of Artas, full euerous in armes,
And Christabelle the clere maye es crept in her graue;
(Turville-Petrie, p. 98; lines 622-623). The "Parlement" (which exists in two copies) cannot be certainly dated, but the best guess is late fourteenth century (Turville-Petrie, p. 67). The context is a list of famous lovers; Tristram and Dido are among the others mentioned.
Richardson, p. xlii, notes in addition a report of an Eglamore play that was staged at St. Alban's in 1442/43. On the same page, Richardson reports a reduced form of the story, in which Eglamour does little except kill a dragon, in Samuel Rowland's 1615 work "The Melancholy Knight," and a version from 1656 in "Wit and Drollery." Finally, Richardson mentions a version "still sung in schools and Boy Scout camps today." In the absence of a footnote, I don't know what that refers to; I would assume it's some version of this song. More secure is the link of the romance with "Sir Cawline" [Child 61], with which it shares plot elements and some lyrics. But it's an open question just how traditional "Sir Cawline" is; see the notes to that song.
Richardson, pp. xlv-v, suggests that "Sir Eglamour" also influenced the romance of "Sir Torrent of Portyngale" -- or, more correctly, that "Eglamour" influenced "Torrent" and that "Torrent" then influenced the manuscripts of "Eglamour." Alice B. Morgan, "'Honor & Right' in Arthur of Little Britain" (on pp. 371-384 of Benson) observes that the motif of one substituting for another in bed occurs in "Sir Degare," "Sir Torrent," "Sir Eglamour," and "Partenope of Blois," and also in the French "Arthur of Little Britain" (Benson, p. 377), which John Bourchier, Lord Berners, translated into English I the sixteenth century (Benson, pp. 371-374). So someone who researches "Sir Lionel" has a few more romance to dig into, at least casually.
The wooden knife used to kill the boar has folklore analogies. Simpson, pp. 31-32, has a story told of one Sir Goddard Oxenbridge of Brede (although she notes that it is demonstrably not true). He was somehow turned into a carnivorous giant who went around eating children. Nor could he easily be killed; he was said to be immune to normal metal weapons, plus a crow could warn him when he was about to be attacked. The children of Sussex brewed a huge vat of beer, got him drunk, and sawed him in half with a wooden saw. - RBW
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