Lady of Carlisle, The [Laws O25]

DESCRIPTION: Two brothers court a lady. Unable to choose between them, she decides to find out who is braver. She throws her fan into a den of lions and says she will marry whoever recovers it. The sea captain does so; she offers herself as the prize
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1807 (various broadside, National Library of Ireland I 39988b4: Belfast 1807-1837 2, according to John Moulden)
KEYWORDS: contest courting clothes marriage animal
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MW,NE,SE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(Scotland(Aber),England(So)) Ireland
REFERENCES (27 citations):
Laws O25, "The Lady of Carlisle"
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, pp. 207-208, "In Castyle there Lived a Lady" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Ballard/Brown/Barry-NewGreenMountainSongster, pp. 67-70, "The Lion's Den" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood-NewLostCityRamblersSongbook, p. 36, "Lady of Carlisle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 66, "The Bold Lieutenant" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol3, pp. 66-68, "The Lion's Den" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H474, pp. 488-489, "The Glove and the Lions" (1 text, 1 tune)
McBride-FlowerOfDunaffHillAndMoreTradSongsInnishowen 49, "London City" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 36, "The Bold Lieutenant" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Creighton-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 43, "Lion's Den" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs, pp. 34-35, "The Lady's Fan" (1 text, 1 tune)
Mackenzie-BalladsAndSeaSongsFromNovaScotia 22, "The Lady's Fan" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 133, "The Lion's Den" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #68, pp. 1-2, "The Lions' Den" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan5 1056, "The Lions' Den" (15 texts, 10 tunes)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, pp. 393-394, "The Lion's Den" (1 text)
Porter/Gower-Jeannie-Robertson-EmergentSingerTransformativeVoice #42, pp. 188-189, "Carrbridge Castle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 89, "The Glove" (2 texts)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 89, "The Glove" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 29, pp. 139-141, "The Faithful Lover, or The Hero Rewarded" (1 text)
Brewster-BalladsAndSongsOfIndiana 59, "The Lady's Fan" (1 text)
Ashton-RealSailorSongs, #54, "The Bold Lieutenant" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 146, "Lady Of Carlisle" (1 text)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 130-131, "Carolina Lady" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 22, #5 (1973), p, 4, "The Carolina Lady" (1 text, 1 tune, the Dillard Chandler version)
W. Christie, editor, Traditional Ballad Airs (Edinburgh, 1881 (downloadable pdf by University of Edinburgh, 2007)), Vol II, pp. 126-127, "The Lion's Den" (1 tune)

Roud #396
Eddie Butcher, "The Fan" (on IREButcher01)
Dillard Chandler, "Carolina Lady" (on Chandler01, DarkHoll)
Teresa Maguire, "The Lion's Den" (on FSB8) (on FSBFTX13)
Basil May, "Lady of Carlisle" (LC-1587/AAFS 1702, rec. 1937)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Lady of Carlisle" (on NLCR03, NLCR12, NLCRCD1) (on NLCR16)
Cyril O'Brien, "In St. Giles There Dwelled a Lady" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Pete Seeger, "Down in Carlisle" (on PeteSeeger16)
Doug Wallin, "The Bold Lieutenant" (on Wallins1)
Doug & Berzilla Wallin, "The Carlisle Lady" (on FarMtns3)
Thomas Williams, "Lady Who Threw Her Glove" (on MUNFLA/Leach)

Bodleian, Harding B 16(327a), "The Faithful Lover" or "The Hero Rewarded," J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844; also Firth c.19(28)[some words illegible], "The Faithful Lover" or "The Hero Rewarded"; Harding B 28(187), "Faithful Lover" ("Near to St. James's there lived a lady"); Harding B 17(167b), "The Lions' Den"; Firth c.13(35) View 1 of 2, "The Bold Lieutenant in the Lions' Den"; Harding B 16(29a), "Bold Lieutenant"
LOCSinging, as102520, "The Faithful Lover" or "The Hero Rewarded," J. Catnach (London), 19C
Murray, Mu23-y1:087, "The Bold Lieutenant in the Lion's Den," James Lindsay (Glasgow), 19C

cf. "When I Was Young I Was Well Beloved" (tune, per Greig/Duncan5)
cf. "Jolie Fleur de Rosier (Lovely Flower of the Rose-Tree)" (theme)
cf. "Isabeau S'y Promene (Isabel)" (theme)
In Roslyn Isles There Lived a Lady
Two Brothers in the Army
NOTES [420 words]: Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland notes, "Lions were kept at the Tower of London from the time of Henry III [reigned 1216-1272] until 1834." Sam Henry dates this to an actual event in the reign of Francis (I? -- reigned 1515-1547) of France. This is more probable than most of these derivations (how many people in the world are that silly?), but as usual, it cannot be proved.
The notes in Brown posit a different original, claiming (following Barry?) that it originated in Spain, spread to France and Italy, and inspired Schiller ("Der Handschuh"), Browning, and Leigh Hunt ("The Glove and the Lions"). Belden (The Vulgar Ballad, p. 6) thinks he finds traces of a broadside published between 1814 and 1834. Again, proof is lacking.
Leigh Hunt (who is remembered mostly for nauseating generations of schoolchildrem with "Abou Ben Adhem") gives a rather different ending to the story in "The Glove and the Lions." As given in [no author listed], The Household Treasury of English Song, T. Nelson and Sons, 1872, pp. 180-181, Hunt's poem begins
King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport;
And one day, as his lions strove, sat looking on the court:
The nobles filled the benches round, the ladies by their side,
And 'mongst them Count de Lorge, with one he hoped to make his bride.
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show --
Valor and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
The poem goes on to describe the raving of the lions. De Lorge's "beauteous, lively dame" declared that he is "as brave as brave can be," and would do anything to show his love for her. So:
She dropped her glove to prove his love -- then looked on him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
The leap was quick, return was quick; he soon regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"Well done!" cried Francis; "bravely done!" and he rose from where he sat:
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that!"
More information can be found in Martin Gardner, editor, Famous Poems from Bygone Days, Dover, 1995, pp. 98-99. - RBW
Christie's version ends "It was not long until the king got notice That two of his lions had been slain; Yet he was not at all displeased, But gave him honour for the same. He advanced him from a first Lieutenant, And made him Admiral of the Blue, And soon this lady and he were married; This lets one see what love can do." Has anyone besides Christie ever reported anything like this? - BS
Last updated in version 6.0
File: LO25

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.