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Information about ballads

Published on January 15, 2008

Author: Dora


Medieval Ballads –its Intensity and Blank Spaces for Imagination :  Medieval Ballads –its Intensity and Blank Spaces for Imagination “Sir Patrick Spence,” “Edward” & “Barbara Allen” in different versions Ballads: Definition & Origin:  Ballads: Definition & Origin Definition: a narrative song. Origins: Usually in primitive societies such as that of American frontier in the 18th and 19th centuries and that of the English-Scottish border region in the later Middle Ages. Revised and passed down orally during the 500 period from 1200 to 1700 One of the first recorded versions in 18th century: Thomas Percy Reliques of Ancient English Poetry Francis. J. Child’s The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882) Ballads: Characteristics and Form:  Ballads: Characteristics and Form Characteristics as an oral form of art: Spareness of plot –in media res (or even climaxes of the story), through monologue or dialogue, no narratorial comments ( how “less” suggests “more”) Use of repetition and refrain ( repetition with variation) Simplicity of tune and rhythm (four stresses in one line; rhymes ) One ballad stanza -- with four lines, alternating between tetrameter--four iambic beats (da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM), and trimeter--three beats (da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM) per line. (source)  variation Archetypal symbols e.g. green/yellow leaves, sea, etc. Ballads: Kinds:  Ballads: Kinds Historical –”Sir Patrick Spens” Outlaw – “Robin Hood” Romantic –”Barbara Allen” Supernatural --?  “Ancient Mariner” Tragic –”Edward” Ref: Ballads: Influences on the 19th-century poetry:  Ballads: Influences on the 19th-century poetry Some 19th-c poems in Ballad form: William Blake's "The Tyger“ (six quatrains in rhymed couplets. Trochee--hammering beat –forging the tiger in the smithy. 7 or 8 syllables each line); Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner“ (sometimes 6 lines, sometimes with internal rhymes); John Keats's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci." Sir Patrick Spens:  Sir Patrick Spens Possible Historical Connections: In 1281, Scottish King Alexander III's daughter Margaret was married to Norway's King Eric, but on her voyage home, the ship sank and all perished. (see another version) Eric and Margaret were survived by a daughter, also named Margaret. She was to be married to a son of England's King Edward I, but died while sailing from Norway. a famous shipwreck off the coast of Aberdour near Papa Stronsay Island, which claims to be the burial place of Sir Patrick Spens.  Dangerous journeys Variation :  Variation After the stanza on the King’s sending a letter. "To Noroway, to Noroway, To Noroway o'er the foam; The King's daughter of Noroway, 'Tis thou must fetch her home." Sir Patrick Spens--Questions:  Sir Patrick Spens--Questions Intensity (1): Contrast between Sir Patrick Spens, the King and the old knight? Intensity (2): Irony The knight’s suggestion: "Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor That ever sailed the sea." Intensity (3): Responses Sir Patrick Spens’s response when getting the King’s order? The first line that Sir Patrick read, A loud laugh laughed he; The next line that Sir Patrick read, The tear blinded his ee. Any impressive images? What lines are repeated to create some ironies or other effects? Spaces for Imagination: What’s left untold Sir Patrick Spens vs. the King and the Knight :  Sir Patrick Spens vs. the King and the Knight Sir Patrick Spens—walk on the sand; the king “sits” and drinks “the blood-red wine”; the old knight – sits by the king’s right knee Ironic contrast to Sir Patrick Spens with the sounds of “s” Sir Patrick Spens’s response— Laugh—a joke, ridiculous; happy for being praised? Cry – tears blind him, but he is not blind to his fate. Question – suspects conspiracy Obedience –”make haste, make haste, my merry men all” Sir Patrick Spens vs. Fate :  Sir Patrick Spens vs. Fate Image -- the new moon with the old moon in her arm = , the dark shape of the old moon and only the hint of a crescent of the new moon.  an evil omen that predicts bad weather  “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” He follows the order despite his awareness of death Sir Patrick Spens vs. the Nobles and Ladies :  Sir Patrick Spens vs. the Nobles and Ladies The trivial concerns of the Scots nobles and their immediate deaths (suggested by the wetting of their hats) insignificance of lives: The “play”? –at the court? Or the trick of life? O laith, laith were our guid Scots lords, To weet their cork-heel'd shoon; But lang or a' the play was play'd, They wat their hats aboon. 2. The ladies – well decorated, helpless. Repetition of “lang, lang” may the maidens sit/stand (inactive) With their gold combs in their hair and fans in their hands Final Tribute Paid to Spens:  Final Tribute Paid to Spens It's forty miles frae Aberdeen, And fifty fathoms deep, And there lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, Wi' the Sects lords at his feet! A contrast to the King, who has the old knight and his people at his feet. Repetition of the word guid Spaces for Imagination: What’s left untold:  Spaces for Imagination: What’s left untold The whole journey to death What actually happens in the ship; how they fought against the storm. Burial, monument set for them, etc. The reasons for the trip. Compared with 古詩〈公無渡河〉:  Compared with 古詩〈公無渡河〉 公無渡河,公竟渡河,墮河而死,將奈公何! Similarities: noble death by nature and women’s passive role. Use of repetition “Sir Patrick Spens” -- More reasons for his death are given; more people set in contrast with Spens. Barbara Allen –Questions :  Barbara Allen –Questions Contrast – 1) Barbara vs. John vs. the others; 2) Barabar’s responses at different moments A. story-- 1) why Barbara Allen refuses to be kind to the dying young man; “slowly, slowly” her matter-of-fact response to his death 2) the young man’s response to Barbara Allen’s unkindness; 3) the other people’s responses and the church bell; 4) Barbara Allen’s final response –laugh, or cry, or die 5) ending –repentance or resolution and union (The red rose and the briar.) B. singing style C. narrative 1) how the story is told—by a narrator or not; D. ballad/poetic elements: the plot, symbol, repetition, contrast, rhyme and rhythm Version (1) -- Child’s 84B (song Dan Tate’s) Bonny Barbara Allen—Her Hard-Heartedness and Repentance :  Version (1) -- Child’s 84B (song Dan Tate’s) Bonny Barbara Allen—Her Hard-Heartedness and Repentance A story of a hard-hearted woman and a young man obsessed by love Young man-- ’Come pitty me, As on my death-bed I am lying.’ B’s response – 1. Then little better shall he be/For bonny Barbara Allen. ”So slowly slowly she got up.” 2. I cannot keep you from [your] death; So farewell,’ 3. on seeing the corpse –laugh 4. repent –“For his death hath quite undone me. ‘A hard-hearted creature that I was,/To slight one that lovd me so dearly; I wish I had been more kinder to him, The time of his life when he was near me.” Social Condemnation– The bell and Her friends: Unworthy Barbara Allen! Version (2) (song Gilbert, Art Garfunkel) –Irony of Fate :  Version (2) (song Gilbert, Art Garfunkel) –Irony of Fate Barbara Allen -- cannot forget being slighted. -- Went to William by herself. 1. "Young man, I think you're dying."  Irony of fate: Barbara Allen – feeling slighted Young man--“I toasted all the ladies there, /Gave my love to Barbara Allen."  --* sound effects: feminine rhymes; William – ready to die -- He turned his pale face to the wall,/Be nice to Barbara Allen -- * sound: In this stanza, alliteration is used, with a "d" sound occurring in the words "death," "dealing," "adieu," and "dear."   Version (2) (song Gilbert, Art Garfunkel) –Irony of Fate :  Version (2) (song Gilbert, Art Garfunkel) –Irony of Fate B’s responses – 2. feels guilty herself -- psychological – “And every toll they seemed to say, "Hard-hearted Barbara Allen."  3. Actively searches for the coffin: “She looked east, she looked west,/She saw his corpse a-comin'.” 4. Actively welcome death: “make me a bed long and narrow”; “I'll die for him tomorrow Version (3): (song Sarah Makem) stopped by her parents :  Version (3): (song Sarah Makem) stopped by her parents Social pressures: parents urge her to go (Get up, get up, her mother says,Get up and go and see him); later when she bursts out laughing, she is condemned by ‘his weary friends.’ Reason –the parents stopped her from going near him. Barbara Allen –very stubborn and realistic: “One word from me you never will get,Nor any young man breathin',For the better of me you never will be,Though your heart's blood was a-spillin'. ” John – die more dramatically. “Bloody sheets and bloody shirtsI sweat them for you, Allen my gold watch and my gold chain I bestow them to you, Allen” Barbara Allen: The Four Versions:  Barbara Allen: The Four Versions Social influences stronger in versions 1 & 3 – e.g. 1. the narrator, social condemnation of a cruel woman 2. the parents’ role, social condemnation of an obedient girl Fate and miscommunication: Versions 2 & 4 Common points: setting in May, BA – hard-hearted for different reasons. “Edward”— the breaking of kinship :  “Edward”— the breaking of kinship The dialogue between a mother and her son, Edward. --incremental repetition+ suspense Blood: hawk’s steed’s (other versions: dogs, my brother John)  father’s To avoid penance  he has to leave behind his property and his family (let them beg through life) Curses his mother, who suggests the idea of killing his father. The mother’s intention in her questions –to see if her goal is reached, to pretend innocence, etc.. Oedipus complex? Music: Love Stories we have read so far :  Love Stories we have read so far 1. Love and Social Conditioning (esp. of women) (manners, class, place and money) “A Rose for Emily” “A&P” “Araby” Pygmalion, The Glass Menagerie 2. Love, Courtship and Praising the Lady "To His Coy Mistress" “The Flea” the Courting Sonnet in Romeo and Juliet “ 3. Love, Poetry and Life/Mortality “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" “That time of year thou mayst in me behold" “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day” 4. Love and Death “My Last Duchess” “Porphyria’s Lover” Vs. "The Lady of Shalott" “Song” & “Barbara Allen”

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