Bold Fisherman, The [Laws O24]

DESCRIPTION: The fisherman comes to court the lady. Having tied up his boat, he takes her hand and removes his coat. This reveals three golden chains. Seeing that he is rich, the lady asks forgiveness for calling him a fisherman. The two go home and are married
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3114))
KEYWORDS: fishing marriage courting money
FOUND IN: US(NE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(England(Lond,South,West),Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (19 citations):
Laws O24, "The Bold Fisherman"
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #179, p. 2, "The Rover of the Sea" (1 text)
Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs, p. 110, "As I Walked Out" (1 text, 1 tune)
Butterworth/Dawney-PloughboysGlory, p. 5, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 282, "Bold Fisherman" (1 text)
Copper-ASongForEverySeason, pp. 254-255, "The Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #21, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig/Duncan4 834, "The Rover of the Sea" (1 text)
Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle 12, "The Bold Fisherman" (2 texts)
Karpeles-TheCrystalSpring 62, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #22, "The Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, pp. 218-219, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia, pp. 112-114, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text plus 1 fragment, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 603-604, "The Young Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 692-693, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads, "The Royal Fisherman" (1 text)
Sharp-OneHundredEnglishFolksongs 42, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)
OneTuneMore, pp. 18-19, "The Bold Fisherman" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #291
Harry Cox, "The Bold Fisherman" (on Voice01)
Leonard Hulan, "The Young Fisherman" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]

Bodleian, Harding B 11(3114), "The Bold Fisherman," J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Johnson Ballads 596; Harding B 11(840)=B 11(841), "The Bold Fisherman," H. Such (London), 1863-1885
NOTES [170 words]: The notes in Butterworth/Dawney-PloughboysGlory point out that several scholars see a link to the legend of the Fisher King. I frankly don't see it. The point of the legend of the Fisher King is not the fishing, nor the wealth, but the unhealed injury. - RBW
Since there are readings of this ballad "as a medieval allegory symbolizing the mystical union of Christ (the fisher king) and the soul" (Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle citing Lucy Broadwood), note that the broadsides do not follow that line. Bodleian Harding B 11(840), for example, has "He took her by the lily white hand, It was his full intent; Then he untied her morning gown, And gently laid her down, There she beheld a chain of gold Hang dangling three times round." - BS
Palmer says that Broadwood also saw Gnostic symbolism in the song. Symbols similar to those in Gnosticism there may be, but the song cannot possibly be Gnostic, since Gnosticism was extinct well before the Norman Conquest and never made much progress in Latin Christendom anyway. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: LO24

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