Ballads and Songs of Indiana - online book

A collection of 100 traditional folk songs with commentaries, historical info, lyrics & sheet music

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
136 Indiana University Publications, Folklore Series
JAMES HARRIS (Child, No. 243)
Nine variants and two melodies of this ballad have been recovered, all nine of the variants being closely related to Child B, though with occasional touches of other versions. As usual, the lover has lost all traces of his demoniac character, and, too, many details of the original version have dis­appeared. The story as told in the Indiana texts is briefly this: A sailor returns to find his old sweetheart happily married to a house carpenter, and the mother of a child (or two) by him. By specious promises the former lover persuades the wife to desert husband and baby and go with him. She soon discovers her mistake, however, and begins to weep for the child left behind. The ship springs a leak and sinks to the bottom of the sea, bearing her with it. Some variants contain a stanza in which she voices a curse upon deceiving sailormen, or a warning to other wives. The "hills of heaven and hell" stanzas do not appear in Indiana versions.
For American texts, see Barry, No. 11; Barry, Eckstorm, and Smyth, p. 304; Belden, No. 11 (fragment); Brown, p. 9; Campbell and Sharp, No. 29; Cox, p. 139; Davis, p. 439; Hudson, No. 19; Hudson, Folksongs, p. 119; Journal, XIX, 295; XX, 257; XXV, 274; XXX, 325; XXXV, 346; XXXVI, 360; XLII, 275; XLIX, 209; Pound, Ballads, p. 34; Sandburg, p. 66; Scar­borough, Song Catcher, p. 151; Shearin, p. 3; Shearin and Combs, p. 8; Smith, p. 151; Thomas, p. 172; Wyman and Brockway, Songs, p. 54; PTFLS, X, 159; Smith and Rufty, American Anthology, p. 46; Henry, Songs Sung in the Southern Appalachians, p. 59; Henry, Folk-Songs from the Southern Highlands, p. 113; Cox, Traditional Ballads, pp. 38, 41, 43, 45; BFSSNE, VII, 11; Randolph, Ozark Mountain Folks, p. 201.
"The House Carpenter." Contributed by Mrs. Dora A. Ward, of Prince­ton, Indiana. Gibson County. It is traditional in her family. November 16, 1935.
1.   "Well met! well met! my own true love;
Well met, well met are we. I've just returned from the old salt sea, And 't was all for the sake of thee, And 't was all for the sake of thee.
2.   "I could of married a king's daughter,
And she would of married me; But I refused her crowns and gold,
And 't was all for the sake of thee, And 't was all for the sake of thee."

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