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Author
Comment
storywyse
Registered User
(1/25/07 10:13 am)


Ballad question
I'm learning the ballad called, A Blacksmith Courted Me." She's in love with a blacksmith, don'tchaknow, and he says he loves her too, and proves it by lying with her, and then goes off across the sea "gathering primroses." Seems like an odd thing for a handsome, virile fellow to be doing. Does anyone know if "gathering primroses" is ballad/folktale code for something else? She's worried the sun will burn his beauty and vows to seek her love and do her duty...
Well, strange news comes to town: he's married!

I like this ballad because her declaration in the end is, "I shall not die for love, he need not fear me."

Writerpatrick
Registered User
(1/25/07 1:53 pm)


Re: Primrose

I found a couple of sites that give some folklore about the primrose:
www.englishplants.co.uk/primrose.html and www.vivagarden.com/flower...ndex.html. I also found a site with the ballad at www.pteratunes.org.uk/Mus...mith.html.

The flower seems to be associated with fairies, but from what I can gather the reference probably refers to a "legend that Primroses sprang from the body of Paralisos (the Primrose's ancient name) after he died of a broken heart." There also seems to be some mention of them being used to promise marriage, but the Paralisos legend would probably be the more likely reference.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(1/26/07 5:22 am)


wondering
Primrose path? Sowing wild oats?

storywyse
Registered User
(1/29/07 10:37 am)


Re: Ballad question
Thanks for the replies. I too had thought of sowing wild oats and the websites proved very helpful.

Troy Patterson
Registered User
(2/2/07 5:45 pm)


Re: Ballad question
I can't claim any knowledge of the fairytale however, fairytales reflect the human condition. As such, I would speculate that the fellow has gone off to find himself, to recapture something, to complete himself, to be or feel worthy of her love.

There is a disparity in their positions in life apparently, providing motivation for the quest. Also, from what I vaguely remember, isn't there usually some significant conflict associated with this sort of love - typical in fairytales which may also be a motivating factor for the travels?

The "fellow" may never return if he is inable to overcome or accomplish the necessary task(s) or to develop his self-esteem. If this is the case, he likely will seek the security of a woman, rather than the love of the fair maiden left behind.

There was a great movie released a year or two which touched on this premise. Don't remember the name.

Troy Patterson TMPCarbs.net TMP Carbs

Edited by: Troy Patterson at: 2/3/07 12:34 am
ErmineLady
Registered User
(2/22/07 12:23 pm)


Gathering primroses
I would guess this is a "floating line" which has simply been co-opted into the song because it fitted and doesn't really mean a good deal... this song shares a tune with BRAVE WOLF - a song about the death of General Wolf at Quebec, which has led to the very strange verse:
Strange news is come to town, strange news is carrried
Some say brave Wolf is dead, some say he's married
(which doesn't mean a lot either) and it is prone to shifting lines...

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