Young Johnstone [Child 88]

DESCRIPTION: Johnstone kills his love's brother, then seeks shelter with (successively his mother, his sister, and) his love. She hides him from his pursuers, whom she feeds while he rests. They leave and she goes to him. He kills her, probably in confusion. He dies.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1769 (Herd)
KEYWORDS: homicide love brother reunion family hiding
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord)) Ireland Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (13 citations):
Child 88, "Young Johnstone" (6 texts)
Bronson 88, "Young Johnstone" (4 versions+2 in addenda)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 88, "Young Johnstone" (3 versions: #2, #4, #6)
Chambers-ScottishBallads, pp. 261-264, "Young Johnston" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan8 1929, "Oh Did Ye See a Bloody Knight" (1 fragment)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1 5, "William and the Young Colonel" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland2, pp. 293, "Young Johnstone" (1 text, from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
Mackenzie-BalladsAndSeaSongsFromNovaScotia 10, "Johnson and the Colonel" (1 text, 1 tune); "Johnson and Coldwell" (1 text) {Bronson's #4}
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 283-284, "Young Johnstone" (1 text)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, pp. 104-105, "Lord John's Murder"; pp. 257-259, "The Young Johnstone" (2 texts)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 60 "Young Johnstone" (1 text)
DT 88, JOHNSTON*
ADDITIONAL: John Finlay, Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads (Edinburgh: William Creech, and Archibald Constable and Co, 1808 ("Digitized by Google")) Vol. II, pp. 71-79, "The Young Johnstone" (1 text)

Roud #56
NOTES [205 words]: Also collected and sung by Ellen Mitchell, "Johnston and the Young Colonel" (on Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, "Have a Drop Mair," Musical Tradition Records MTCD315-6 CD (2001)).
Greig/Duncan8 is a fragment of Child 88A verses 6 and 7.
The source for Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads is Finlay, who writes that "the present edition has been completed from two recited copies" with a couple of changes. - BS
David C. Fowler, A Literary History of the Popular Ballad, Duke University Press, 1968, pp. 290-291, noting several inconsistencies in this ballad, suggests that it was an "eighteenth century ballad composite," a gothic drama inspired by the Percy version of "Edward" [Child 13] -- which was itself a Percy rewrite; additional material came from "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet" [Child 73] and "Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon" [Child 178]. And Fowler sees a relationship to "George Paton's version of 'Sir Hugh,' and sent to Percy in 1768 or 1769....If we knew the identity of Paton's 'friend,' we might well know the composer of 'Young Johnstone.' Whatever his name, I am reasonably confident that he was a member of that remarkable social club in Edinburgh to which David Herd belonged, the 'Knights Companions of the Cape.'" - RBW
Last updated in version 5.2
File: C088

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.