Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

Southern Appalachians songs with lyrics, commentary & some sheet music.

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Ballads and Songs
p. 164; Fuson, p. 113. Versions Candi? were printed in American Speech, Vol. I, No. 4, 247.
Mr. Phillips Barry, who has been very generous in his willingness to read and comment on many of these texts, sent the following note in regard toE with permission to print it:
' 'You have here a very interesting text, in which 'history has repeated itself.' Child 95, 'The Maid Freed From Gallows/ has been combined with two versions of 'Mary Hamilton' printed by Child, in which the heroine is not hanged in Edinburgh town, but is ransomed by her lover. The same thing has taken place in your text, stanzas 6 and 7 are taken directly from some version of Child 95, and used to complete the story of the highwayman who was ransomed by his sweetheart just before he was to be hanged. There is also a reminiscence of 'Geordie' in 4, 5, when the girl appeals for mercy, saying 'I love that highwayman.'
"It should certainly be printed with the texts you have of Child 95. The crossing of the old ballad with the later song was due not to the child who sang it, but to the one who pieced the ballad together in the form in which she sang it. I should add that lines 1 and 2 of stanza 3 are from Child 95 also. If you will examine the version of Child 95 on page 113 of Fuson's Ballads of the Kentucky Highlands (reviewed in Bulletin 3), you will discover that something of the same sort has occurred once before. The first stanza: 'Through the pine, through the pine, where the sun never shines, And shiver when the cold wind blows; T killed no man and I robbed no train, I have done no hanging crime,'
does not belong to the old ballad, — it is supposed to be sung by the man on the gallows, — horse-thief, perhaps, or moonshiner. The ballad then con­tinues as a good text of Child 95, with the appeal to the hangman to wait, the request to parents, brothers, sisters in order, finally:
'Hangman, hangman, slack on your road,
Slack on your road for a while;
I see my true love a-coming, for she
Has walked for many a mile.
True love, true love, did you bring me any gold?
Did you come to buy me free?
True love, true love, I have walked for many a mile,
I have come to buy you free,
And take you home with me.'

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III