Continuing with an examination of the ballad tradition (from Allen’s June 1980 Naropa class) – Two English ballads
AG: Then skipping up to more modern times. Ballad, as you know, goes on, to present day, up through modern folk song, with as great power as it ever did, so there’s the famous “Foggy Dew? Who sings “Foggy Dew”? Does anybody know?
Student: Burl Ives
AG: Burl Ives made that famous in the (19)40’s, I guess – “When I was a bachelor early and young/I followed the weaving trade/And all the harm that ever I done/ Was courting a serving maid./ I courted her the summer season/ And part of the winter too/ And many a night I rolled her in my arms/ All over the foggy dew”
Well, that’s the beginning of it. Do you know..? You’ve known that?.. or you can look that up.
“The Miller’s Daughter” – Have you heard of that? – It’s sort of.. One’s heard of the “Ballad of the Miller’s Daughter” – but very few people have (actually) read it through:
“The young man and the miller’s lass, they set out on the hill/They took a sack of corn and they went to grind the mill/The young man barred the door/And the maiden she did sigh/ And then it came into her head that with him she would lie/She has cast off her petticoat and so she has her gown/And all upon the running corn she straightway did lie down/So up then starts the young man and run from mill to town/And there he spied the miller all a-walking up and down/O I have served you seven long years and never sought a fee/And I will serve you seven more if you’ll keep your lass from me.”
Then (it) has the refrain “Hey, with a gay and a grinding O”/ And the mill turns about with a grinding O” – “The Miller’s Daughter”
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately fifty-two-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-five-and-a-half minutes in]