Child Waters [Child 63]

DESCRIPTION: Ellen tells Child Waters she bears his child. Offered two shires of land, she would prefer one kiss. He rides; she runs, swims; as his page, she brings a lady for his bed, gives birth in the stable. He hears her wish him well and herself dead; he relents
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1750 (Percy Folio)
KEYWORDS: courting pregnancy love disguise childbirth
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber)) US(SE,So)
REFERENCES (24 citations):
Child 63, "Child Waters" (11 texts, 1 tune)
Bronson 63, "Child Waters" (3 versions)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 63, "Child Waters" (2 versions: #1, #2)
Hales/Furnival-BishopPercysFolioManuscript, volume II, pp. 269-278, "Childe Waters" (1 text)
Lyle/McAlpine/McLucas-SongRepertoireOfAmeliaAndJaneHarris, pp. 96-105, "Fair Margaret" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
Chambers-ScottishBallads, pp. 172-179, "Burd Helen" (1 text)
Riewerts-BalladRepertoireOfAnnaGordon-MrsBrownOfFalkland, pp. 142-151, "Burd Ellen/Lord John and Bird Ellen" (2 parallel texts)
Percy/Wheatley-ReliquesOfAncientEnglishPoetry III, pp. 58-65, "Child Waters" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan6 1229, "Fair Ellen" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland2, pp. 76-81, "Child Waters" (1 text, titled "Earl Walter," from the 1818 "Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
Randolph 13, "The Little Page Boy" (1 fragmentary text, 1 tune, which Randolph places here though it also has lines from the "Cospatrick" version of "Gil Brenton" and which is so short it might go with something else) {Bronson's #3}
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 17, "Child Waters" (1 text)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 17, "Child Waters" (notes only)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 201-205, "Child Waters" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 46, "Childe Waters" (1 text)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 122, "Child Waters" (1 text)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 47, "Child Waters" (1 text)
Gummere-OldEnglishBallads, pp. 241-246+354-355, "Child Waters" (1 text)
Buchan-ABookOfScottishBallads 10, "Child Waters" (1 text)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, pp. 178-181, "Burd Helen" (1 text)
Morgan-MedievalBallads-ChivalryRomanceAndEverydayLife, pp. 95-99, "Childe Waters" (1 text)
Whiting-TraditionalBritishBallads 4, "Child Waters" (1 text)
MANUSCRIPT: {MSPercyFolio}, The Percy Folio, London, British Library MS. Additional 27879, page 274

Roud #43
Fair Margaret
Lord William and Lady Margaret
Burd Ellen
NOTES [317 words]: Chambers is the source of the Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads text (Robert Chambers, The Scottish Ballads (Edinburgh:William Tate, 1829 ("Digitized by Microsoft")), pp. 172-180, "Burd Helen").
In his notes to the text Chambers writes, "Mr Jamieson long afterwards [referring to Percy's publication of "Child Waters"; see Child 63A] published a Scottish version, under the title of 'Burd Ellen,' from the recitation of a lady of the name of Brown [see Child 63B]; adding some fragments of another copy, which he had taken down from the singing of Mrs Arrot of Aberbrothwick [see Child 63F]. Mr Kinloch has more lately given, under the title of 'Lady Margaret,' an imperfect copy [see Child 63C], superior in some points to that of Mr Jamieson; and more recently still, Mr Buchan, in his 'Ancient Ballads and Songs,' [see Child 63J] has presented a very complete one, which he entitles 'Burd Helen.' The present editor, in compiling this copy, has used not only all the above, more or less, but has been indebted for some valuable verses and lines to one which has been obligingly submitted to him in manuscript by Mr Kinloch [Child 63D?]. He has found in a few cases so much difficulty in selecting and associating the various ingredients of his ballads as in this: there being, in no other instance, so great a discrepancy in the various sets, while in a few he has had to deal with so many imperfect and meagre versions."
Chambers goes on to describe other changes he made to build his composite. [footnote, pp. 179-180]. - BS
David C. Fowler, A Literary History of the Popular Ballad, Duke University Press, 1968, p. calls this "undoubtedly the best [ballad] in the Percy folio MS.," adding "It has affinities with such different literary works as Chaucer's 'Clerk's Tale,' 'The Nut-Brown Maid,' 'The Knight and Shepherd's Daughter' ([Child] 110), and 'Layyes Ffall' (in the folio MS., p. 268)." - RBW
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File: C063

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