Molly Bawn (Shooting of His Dear) [Laws O36]

DESCRIPTION: Jimmy goes out hunting and shoots his true love (Molly, mistaking her for a swan). He is afraid of the law, but is told that the law will forgive him. At his trial Molly's ghost appears and explains the situation; the young man is freed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1806 (Jamieson, volume i, p. 194 -- a partial text in the notes to "Lord Kenneth and Fair Ellinour)
KEYWORDS: hunting death trial reprieve help ghost
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,SE,So) Britain(England) Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (40 citations):
Laws O36, "Molly Bawn (Shooting of His Dear)"
Randolph 54, "Molly Vaughn" (3 texts plus 2 fragments and 1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 77, "Mollie Vaughn (Polly Band)" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering-BalladsAndSongsOfSouthernMichigan 14, "Molly Baun" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Linscott-FolkSongsOfOldNewEngland, pp. 274-276, "Polly Van" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 26, "Shooting of His Dear" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs, p. 111, "As Jimmie Went A-Hunting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 76, "Molly Bawn" (1 text plus a fragment)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 76, "Molly Bawn" (3 excerpts, 3 tunes)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #214, "Molly Baun" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Scarborough-ASongCatcherInSouthernMountains, p. 117, "Molly Vaughn" (1 text, properly titled "The Death of Molly Bender," with very peculiar orthography; it looks like it came from a semi-literate manuscript but is said to be from a field recording)
Chappell-FolkSongsOfRoanokeAndTheAlbermarle 57, "Polly Bond" (1 fragment)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 50, "Shooting of His Dear" (6 texts, 6 tunes)
Gentry/Smith-ASingerAmongSingers, #23, "Shooting of His Dear" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 32, pp. 145-146, "Shooting of His Dear" (2 texts)
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 73, "Molly Bond" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wolfe/Boswell-FolkSongsOfMiddleTennessee 24, pp. 44-46, "Molly Bond" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 700-701, "Molly Bawn" (1 text)
Leach-HeritageBookOfBallads, pp. 176-177, "Molly Bawn" (1 text)
Korson-PennsylvaniaSongsAndLegends, pp. 46-47, "Molly Banding" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 26, "Molly Bawn" (1 text)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 92, "Young Molly Ban" (1 text)
McNeil-SouthernFolkBalladsVol1, pp. 96-97, "Molly Van" (1 text, 1 tune)
Meredith/Anderson-FolkSongsOfAustralia, p. 196, "Molly Baun Lavery" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 206, "Young Molly Ban" (1 text)
Graham-Joe-Holmes-SongsMusicTraditionsOfAnUlsterman 49, "Molly Ban Lavery" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H114, p. 143, "Molly Bawn Lowry" (1 text, 1 tune)
OLochlainn-IrishStreetBallads 29, "Young Molly Ban" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morton/Maguire-ComeDayGoDayGodSendSunday 1, pp. 1-2,99,154-155, "Molly Bawn Lowry" (1 text, 1 tune)
OCroinin/Cronin-TheSongsOfElizabethCronin 92, "Molly Bawn" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 330, "Polly Vaughan" (2 text, 1 tune)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 102, "Mollie Vaughn" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol1, pp. 87-88, "Molly Bond" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol3, pp 79-80, "Polly Bond" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boette-SingaHipsyDoodle, pp.58-59, "Molly Vaunder (Vaughn)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pound-AmericanBalladsAndSongs, 33, pp. 78-79, "Mollie Bond" (1 text)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #1896, p. 128, "Polly von Luther and Jamie Randall" (1 reference)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 133-134, "Molly Bawn"; "Molly Bander" (2 texts)
ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 304, "Young Molly Bawn" (1 short text)

Roud #166
Louis Boutilier, "As Jimmie Went A-Hunting" (on MRHCreighton)
Anne Briggs, "Polly Vaughan" (on Briggs1, Briggs3, Briggs4)
Packie Manus Byrne, "Molly Bawn" (on Voice06)
Sara Cleveland, "Molly Bawn" (on SCleveland01)
Elizabeth Cronin, "Molly Bawn" (on IRECronin01)
Seamus Ennis, "Molly Bawn" (on Lomax42, LomaxCD1742)
A. L. Lloyd, "Polly Vaughan" (on Lomax41, LomaxCD1741)
John Maguire, "Molly Bawn Lowry" (on IRJMaguire01)
Maggie Murphy, "Molly Bawn" (on IRHardySons)
Pete Seeger, "Shoo Fly" (on PeteSeeger33, PeteSeegerCD03)
Phoebe Smith, "Molly Vaughan" (on Voice03)
Dan Tate, "Molly Van" (on OldTrad2, FarMtns1)

Bodleian, Harding B 19(11), "Young Molly Bawn," J.F. Nugent & Co. (Dublin), 1850-1899; also 2806 b.11(131), "Young Molly Bawn"
LOCSinging, as111140, "Polly Von Luther and Jamie Randall," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859

Molly Ban
Peggy Baun
Lord Kenneth and Fair Ellinour
NOTES [219 words]: Darling compares this to the story of Cephalus and Procris. The standard version is supplied by Ovid in the Metamorphoses (VII.685 and following; it starts on page 174 of the Penguin edition translated by Mary M. Innes). First he tested her love in disguise, and she passed the test. But then she heard a rumor of his unfaithfulness, and set out to watch him. He heard her in hiding, without seeing her, and threw his javelin on the assumption that she was a wild beast. It killed her.
Incidentally, Michael Grant and John Hazel, Gods and Mortals in Classical Mythology: A Dictionary, article on Cephalus, thinks Ovid's version of the story may conflate legends of two different heroes named Cephalus. In any case, I don't see a particularly strong parallel to the ballad; yes, the hunter kills his lover, but the motivations are very different.
There was a nineteenth century song "Molly Bawn," in which a young man tries to convince Molly to marry him; it can be found in New-Comic-Songster, p. 44 and Hylands-Mammoth-Hibernian-Songster, p. 42. I do not know if this song inspired the (feeble) courting song. - RBW
Broadside LOCSinging as111140: J. Andrews 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: LO36

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