Cruel Gamekeeper, The
DESCRIPTION: A farmer's daughter, pregnant, asks the gamekeeper, her lover, to marry. He refuses, kills her and, after ripping her open, kills the baby. He is caught and condemned to be hanged.
EARLIEST DATE: before 1886 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3637))
KEYWORDS: sex promise rejection execution homicide pregnancy gallows-confession lover
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, pp. 259-260, "The Gamekeeper" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 317)
Cologne/Morrison-WiltshireFolkSongs, pp. 62-63, "The Gamekeeper" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henderson-VictorianStreetBallads, p. 28, "The Cruel Gamekeeper" (1 text)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(3637), "The Cruel Gamekeeper" ("In Buxton town in Staffordshire"), H. Such (London), 1863-1885; also Firth c.17(204), "The Cruel Gamekeeper"; Harding B 22(273) [some words illegible], "The Staffordshire Tragedy"
NOTES [109 words]: This is one of the few Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames texts that varies significantly from an earlier broadside. In the Bodleian broadside Harding B 11(3637), the girl tells the gamekeeper "I am big with child by you" (Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames: "I've lost my liberty by you"), "He ripp'd her up and there was by, A baby in her womb did cry" (Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames: "He picked her up, and there lay by A fair young babe that moaned and cried") and "I promised her but did not wed, So the gallows proved my marriage bed" (Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames: "And never do as I have done, For I might have been a farmer's son"). - BS
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