The Gleeman

Notes on The Dæmon Lover



This is #243 in the Child cannon. The nearest variant to this one that Child has is 243F (Child, 1882-1898 CPB ,vol IV, pp366-367). This in turn is taken from the fifth (1812) edition of Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. The words in the the edition I have (1880, based on the 1833 edition) are similar, but have a few extra verses than Child's (Scott, 1880 SBM ,vol III, pp195-198). Scott's work and Motherwell's versions are almost identical, except for spelling and formatting differences.

It should be noted that Motherwell notes Scott's work in his book, and the editors of the 1833 edition of Scott's work return the compliment, so there may have been some cross-fertilisation of ideas regarding this work.

As to the source (for the text) to both Motherwell's and Scott's version, according to Scott (quoted in full by Motherwell):

"This ballad, which contains some verses of merit, was taken down from recitation by Mr. William Laidlaw, tenant in Traquair-knowe. It contains a legend, which, in various shapes, is current in Scotland. I  remember to have heard a ballad, in which a fiend is introduced paying his addresses to a beautiful maiden; but, disconserted by the holy herbs she wore in her bossom, make the following lines the burden of his courtship:—

"Gin ye wish to be leman mine,
Lay aside the St John's wort and the vervain."

The heroine of the following tale was  unfortunately without any similar protection." (Scott, p194, Motherwell, p92).

Motherwell goes on to note that Mr. Laidlaw may have improved upon the original!

As to the air, Motherwell doesn't give a source. The words on the air are slightly different to those in the main body of the text.

Regarding the the typeset score; in Motherwell's original the words associated with the score are in the appendix (separate from both the actual score and the main text of the ballad). I have taken the liberty of adding these words to the score (in a manner that seems suitable). Those who may wish to have the score without the words can find a (public domain) copy here. I have also shifted the line break by one bar.

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© Copyright 2005, J T Hallel.  Creative Commons Licence
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