Daemon Lover, The (The House Carpenter) [Child 243]

DESCRIPTION: A girl who once loved a sailor is greeted by her lost lover (, now rich and powerful). He bids her come with him; she points out that she is married and has a child. He convinces her to come with him. Their ship sinks not far from land
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1737 (a broadside version is thought to be from 1685)
KEYWORDS: courting infidelity abandonment Devil death
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber),England(South)) US(All) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (88 citations):
Child 243, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (8 texts)
Bronson 243, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (146 versions+1 in addenda)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 243, "The Daemon Lover (The House Carpenter)" (9 versions: #9, #53, #75, #78, #82, #88, #98, #111, #129)
Buchan/Moreira-TheGlenbuchatBallads, pp. 130-132, "Lady Jane" (1 text)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #162, pp. 2-3, "James Harris" (1 fragment)
Greig/Duncan2 332, "James Harris" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #134}
Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle 19, "The Carpenter's Wife" (1 text) {Bronson's #143}
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 310-313, "The House Carpenter" (1 text plus a fragment and a broadside version, 1 tune) {Bronson's #53}
Lane/Gosbee-SongsOfShipsAndSailors, pp. 198-199, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune, composite)
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 79-87, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (4 texts plus mention of 5 others, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #106, #124}
Randolph 30, "The House Carpenter" (4 texts plus 7 excerpts and 5 fragments, 8 tunes) {A=Bronson's #117, B=#114, E=#99, I=#122, J=#90, M=#5, N=#101, P=#97}
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 54-56, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 30J) {Bronson's #90}
High-OldOldFolkSongs, pp. 16-17, "House Carpenter Wife, A" (1 text)
Abrahams/Riddle-ASingerAndHerSongs, pp. 7-9, "The House Carpenter's Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 23, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (4 texts plus an excerpt, 4 tunes) {Bronson #121,#125,#55,#95}
Grimes-StoriesFromTheAnneGrimesCollection, pp. 82-83, "House Carpenter" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering-BalladsAndSongsOfSouthernMichigan 10, "The House Carpenter" (2 texts plus an excerpt, 3 tunes) {Bronson's #131, #66, #128}
Dean-FlyingCloud, pp. 55-56, "The Faithless Wife" (1 text)
Peters-FolkSongsOutOfWisconsin, pp. 109-110, "Well Met, Well Met, My Old True Love' (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #103}; pp. 121-122, "The Ship Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune); pp. 149-150, "The Demon Lover" (1 text, 1 tune, but this was from a library's copy of Motherwell)
Stout-FolkloreFromIowa 6, pp. 11-13, "James Harris" (2 texts)
List-SingingAboutIt-FolkSongsInSouthernIndiana, pp. 288-291, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Musick-JAF-TheOldAlbumOf-William-A-Larkin 27, "The Ship Carpenter" (1 text)
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, pp. 243-244, "The Young Turtle Dove" (1 text, with an introductory "Turtle Dove" verse)
Flanders/Ballard/Brown/Barry-NewGreenMountainSongster, pp. 95-97, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #92}
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland3, pp. 287-321, "James Harris, or the Daemon Lover" (13 texts plus 3 fragments, some mixed with other songs (e.g. "G" has the "Turtle Dove" verse; "N" is very confused, with references to the Banks of Claudy), 11 tunes) {A=Bronson's #93, N=#141}
Davis-TraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 40, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (27 texts plus two versions in the appendix which are "Fare You Well, My Own True Love (The Storms Are on the Ocean, The False True Lover, The True Lover's Farewell, Red Rosy Bush, Turtle Dove)" with added "House Carpenter" verses; 7 tunes all entitled "The House Carpenter"; 23 more versions mentioned in Appendix A) {Bronson's #139,#42,#86,#62,#137,#52,#89}
Davis-MoreTraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 36, pp. 270-289, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (9 texts plus an excerpt, 10 tunes)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 40, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (5 text plus 7 excerpts and mention of 2 more)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 40, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (1 text plus 7 excerpts and mention of 1 more; 9 tunes)
Chappell-FolkSongsOfRoanokeAndTheAlbermarle 18, "The Demon Lover" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #94}
Smith-SouthCarolinaBallads, #XII, pp. 151-155, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (2 texts)
Joyner-FolkSongInSouthCarolina, pp. 31-32, "The House Carpenter" (1 text)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #168, "James Harris, or, The Daemon Lover" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #104, #67}
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 21, pp. 119-122, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (2 texts)
Henry-SongsSungInTheSouthernAppalachians, pp. 59-61, "The House Carpenter" (1 text)
Thomas-DevilsDitties, pp. 172-173, "House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #51}
Shellans-FolkSongsOfTheBlueRidgeMountains, pp. 30-31, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Burton-TennesseeTraditionalSingers, pp. 51-52, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wolfe/Boswell-FolkSongsOfMiddleTennessee 3, pp. 7-9, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Burton/Manning-EastTennesseeStateCollectionVol1, pp. 5-6, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune); pp. 65-66, "The Old House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Burton/Manning-EastTennesseeStateCollectionVol2, pp. 3-6, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune); pp. 76-78, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune); pp. 105-107, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-ASongCatcherInSouthernMountains, pp. 150-159, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (6 texts, all of which are entitled "The House Carpenter"; 3 tunes on pp. 400-401) {Bronson's #64, #58, #25}
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 46, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 56-58, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #102}
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-2ed, pp. 31-32, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hubbard-BalladsAndSongsFromUtah, #13, "The House Carpenter" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #96}
Brewster-BalladsAndSongsOfIndiana 21, "James Harris" (9 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #93, #127}
Carey-MarylandFolkLegendsAndFolkSongs, pp. 103-104, "The House Carpenter" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 740-741, "The Young Ship's Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-FolksongsFromSouthernNewBrunswick 5, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 598-606, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (4 texts)
McNeil-SouthernFolkBalladsVol2, pp. 122-131, "The House Carpenter's Wife"; "The House Carpenter"; "J'ai Marie un Ouvrier" (4 texts (1 Cajun French), 4 tunes)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 28, "The Daemon Lover" (1 text)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 13, "James Harris (The Demon Lover; The House Carpenter)" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Wyman/Brockway-LonesomeSongs-KentuckyMountains-Vol2, p. 54, "The Daemon Lover" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #91}
Ritchie-FolkSongsOfTheSouthernAppalachians, pp. 84-85, "The Little Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune) {compare Bronson's #44, from a recording, showing a slightly different tune but almost the same text except that it is a "House Carpenter" rather than a "Little Carpenter"}
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol1, pp. 77-79, "House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cazden/Haufrecht/Studer-FolkSongsOfTheCatskills 74, "The Ship's Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner-TraditionalAmericanFolkSongsFromAnneAndFrankWarnerColl 45, "The Ship Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 65, "James Harris (The Demon Lover)" (1 text)
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles 55, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 35, "The Daemon Lover" (10 texts plus 12 fragments, 22 tunes){Bronson's #2, #10, #54, #77, #113, #135, #23, #7, #29, #14, #109a, #50, #9, #65, #6, #36, #21, #48, #80, #74, #81, #136}
Sharp/Karpeles-EightyEnglishFolkSongs 25, "The House Carpenter (The Daemon Lover)" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #9}
Gentry/Smith-ASingerAmongSingers, #18, "The Daemon Lover" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #7}
Sandburg-TheAmericanSongbag, pp. 66-67, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #118}
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 88, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 75, "James Harris (The Demon Lover)" (1 text)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 25, "James Harris (The Daemon Lover)" (5 texts plus mention of 16 others, 1 tune) {Bronson's #120}
Cox/Hercog/Halpert/Boswell-WVirginia-A, #12A-D, pp. 48-56, "The House Carpenter," "The House Carpenter's Wife" (4 texts, 3 tunes) {Bronson's #32, #83, #130}
Gainer-FolkSongsFromTheWestVirginiaHills, pp. 80-81, "The House Carpenter's Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boette-SingaHipsyDoodle, pp. 9-10, "The House Carpenter's Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/MacMillan-PenguinBookOfCanadianFolkSongs 81, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Whiting-TraditionalBritishBallads 34, "The Daemon Lover" (1 text)
Gilbert-LostChords, pp. 35-36, "The House Carpenter and the Ship Carpenter" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss-AngloAmericanFolksongStyle, pp. 25-27, "The House Carpenter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pound-AmericanBalladsAndSongs, 17, pp. 43-45, "The House Carpenter" (1 text)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, pp. 112-113, "The Demon-Lover"; pp. 222-224, "James Herries" (2 texts)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #908, p. 61, "The House Carpenter" (1 reference)
Ashton-RealSailorSongs, #74 insert, "The Distressed Ship Carpenter" (1 text)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 34-36, "The House Carpenter" (1 text)
Morgan-MedievalBallads-ChivalryRomanceAndEverydayLife, pp. 10-13, "The Demon Lover" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 218, "The House Carpenter's Wife" (1 text)
Stone-SeaSongsAndBallads LXXXIX, pp. 178-180,"The Distressed Ship Carpenter" (1 text)
Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, ZN2466, "There dwelt a fair Maid in the West"
NorthCarolinaFolkloreJournal, W Amos Abrams, "Della Adams Bostic: Sweet Singer of Old Songs," Vol. XXI, No. 3 (Sep 1973), p. 142-143, "The House Carpenter" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II (1931), p. 208, "The House Carpenter" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: James P. Leary, Compiler and Annotator, _Wisconsin Folklore_ University of Wisconsin Press, 2009, article "Kentucky Folksong in Northern Wisconsin" by Asher E. Treat, pp. 244-245, "Well Met, Well Met, My Old True Love" (1 text, 1 tune, sung by Mrs. M. G. Jabobs) {Bronson's #88}

Roud #14
Clarence Ashley, "The House Carpenter" (Columbia 15654-D, 1931; rec. Apr 14, 1930; on AAFM1, BefBlues3, Ashley04) {Bronson's #70}
Clarence Ashley & Tex Isley, "The House Carpenter" (on Ashley01)
Pearl Jacobs Borusky, "Well Met, My Old True Love" (AFS, 1940; on LC58) {Bronson's #103}
Frank Browne, "Banks of the Sweet Viledee" (on IREarlyBallads)
Sheila Clark, "House Carpenter" (on LegendTomDula)
Carolina Tar Heels, "Can't You Remember When Your Heart Was Mine?" (Victor V-40219, 1930)
Dillard Chandler, "Little Farmer Boy" (on Chandler01, DarkHoll)
Mrs. Mary Ann Galpin, "The Young Ship's Carpenter" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Rebecca King Jones, "The House Carpenter" [excerpt] (on USWarnerColl01)
Bradley Kincaid, "The House Carpenter" (Bluebird 5255/Sunrise 3338, 1933)
A. L. Lloyd, "The Demon Lover" (on Lloyd3, ESFB1, ESFB2)
Almeda Riddle, "The House Carpenter" (on LomaxCD1706) {Bronson's #71}
Jean Ritchie, "The House Carpenter" (on JRitchie01)
Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson, "The House Carpenter" (on RitchieWatson1, RitchiteWatsonCD1)
Hobart Smith & Texas Gladden, "The House Carpenter" (Disc 6079, 1940s; on USTGladden01) {Bronson's #47}
Lillie Steele, "The House Carpenter" (on PSteele01) {Bronson's #24}
Doug Wallin, "The House Carpenter" (on Wallins1)
Doug & Berzilla Wallin, "The Housecarpenter" (on FarMtns3)
Clay Walters, "The Ship Carpenter" (AFS, 1937; on LC58) {Bronson's #13 or #78}
Annie Watson & Gaither Carlton, "The House Carpenter" (on Watson01)

Bodleian, Harding B 18(255), "House Carpenter," J.H. Johnson (Philadelphia), n.d.
LOCSinging, sb40538b, "The House Carpenter," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878; also as105530, "The House Carpenter"

cf. "Bateman's Tragedy (Young Baithman)" (theme)
NOTES [344 words]: Although Child calls this "The Daemon Lover," a survey of the 163 versions printed or cited in Bronson shows that 99 are named "The House Carpenter" or minor variants, and several others were probably retitled by the editors. This probably ought to be the family name -- but I adopted the one I did as a partial link to Child.
David Atkinson's essay "The Popular Ballad and the Book Trade: 'Bateman's Tragedy' versus 'The Demon Lover,'" chapter 10 of David Atkinson and Steve Roud, Editors, Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and North America: The Interface between Print and Oral Tradition, Ashgate, 2014, p. 206, discusses this song and suggests that the earliest version can be dated to 1657, when a piece entitled "A warning for marries women, by the example of Mrs Jane Renalls, a west countrey woman, &c," was entered into the Stationer's Register. For this item, see Hyder E. Rollins, An Analytical Index to the Ballad-Entries (1557-1709) In the Register of the Company of Stationers of London, 1924 (I use the 1967 Tradition Press reprint with a new Foreword by Leslie Shepard), p. 247, #2868, "A warning for marris women, by the example of Mrs Jane Renalls, a west countrey woman, &c, registered February 17, 1657 by Francis Grove.
Rollins does not connect this with "The House Carpenter," but according to Atkinson, broadsides of this period show the Renalls (Renals, Reynolds) piece to be "The House Carpenter." One of these early broadsides credits the piece to "L.P." Dave Harker suggests that "L.P." was Laurence Price, an author of the period. Possible, of course, but not proof -- indeed, "L.P." might just stand for "Licensed to print" or the like. - RBW
From the liner notes for Franke Browne's recording: "Apparently not recorded elsewhere in Ireland, but common in America, where Frank was born and lived to an early age."
Broadside LOCSinging sb40538b: H. De Marsan dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
Last updated in version 6.4
File: C243

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.