Ed de Moel

Child Ballads - Narrative

Lady Diamond

  1. 'Lady Daisy,' Aytoun's Ballads of Scotland, II, 173, 1859. Version A
  2. 'Lady Dayisie,' from an old lady's collection formerly in possession of Sir Walter Scott,[foot-note] now belonging to Mr. Macmath, Edinburgh. Version B
  3. Sharpe's Ballad Book, p. 12, 1823. Version C
  4. 'Lady Diamond,' Buchan's Manuscripts, II, 164; 'Lady Diamond, the King's Daughter,' Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, II, 206; 'Ladye Diamond,' Dixon, Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads, p. 71, Percy Society, vol. xvii. Version D
  5. 'Robin, the Kitchie-Boy,' Joseph Robertson," Adversaria," p. 66. Version E

Diamond (Daisy, Dysmal, Dysie), only daughter of a great king, is with child by a very bonny kitchen-boy. The base-born paramour is put to death, and, by the king's order, his heart is taken to the princess in a cup of gold. She washes it with the tears which run into the cup, A, B, C, and dies of her grief. Her father has a sharp remorse, A, C; his daughter's shame looks pardonable, when he considers the beauty of the man he has slain, A.

B is blended with 'Willie o Winsbury,' No 100; cf. B 4-9, and No 100, A 2-7, B 1-5, etc. In 'Willie o Winsbury ', B, the princess's name is Dysmill. A 12, B 11 of 'Lady Diamond' also recall 'Willie o Winsbury.'

In C, D, the kitchen-boy is smothered between two feather-beds.

Isbel was the princess's name in a copy obtained by Motherwell, but not preserved. Mother well's Note-Book, p. 7; C.K. Sharpe's Correspondence, II, 328.

The ballad is one of a large number of repetitions of Boccaccio's tale of Guiscardo and Ghismonda, Decamerone, IV, 1. This tale was translated in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, 1566 (ed. Jacobs, I, 180), and became the foundation of various English poems and plays.[foot-note] Very probably it was circulated in a chap-book edition in Great Britain, as it was in Germany (Simrock, Volksbücher, VI, 153).

Prince Tancredi has an only daughter (cf. A, B, C, 1), whose name is Ghismonda (Diamond, C, Dysmal, B, Dysie, D, Daisy, A). She has a secret amour with a young man of inferior condition (valetto, di nazione assai umile; giovane di vilissima condizione, says Tancredi), sunk in the ballad to the rank of kitchen-boy. This young man, Guiscardo, is, however, distinguished for manners and fine qualities; indeed, superior in these to all the nobles of the court. In the ballad he is a very bonny boy (preferred to dukes and earls, B, C). Guiscardo is strangled (or suffocated); the bonny boy is smothered between two feather-beds in B 8, C 7. The bonny boy's heart is cut out and sent to the king's daughter in a cup of gold, in the ballad; she washes it with the tears that run from her eyes into the cup. Ghismonda, receiving Guiscardo's heart in a gold cup, sheds a torrent of tears over it, pours a decoction of poisonous herbs into the cup (ove il cuore era da molte delle sue lagrime lavato), and drinks all off, then lies down on her bed and awaits her death. Tancredi, repenting too late of his cruelty, has the pair buried with honors in one tomb.[foot-note]

Italian. A. 'Il padre crudele,' Widter und Wolf, Volkslieder aus Venetian, p. 72, No 93. A king has an only daughter, Germonia. She has twelve servants to wait upon her, and other twelve to take her to school, and she falls in love with the handsomest, Rizzardo. They talk together, and this is reported to the king by Rizzardo's fellow-servants. The king shuts Rizzardo up in a room, bandages his eyes, cuts his heart out, puts it in a gold basin, and carries it to his daughter. 'Take this basin,' he says; 'take this fine mess, Rizzardo's heart is in it.' Germonia reproaches him for his cruelty; he tells her, if he has done her an offence, to take a knife and do him another. She does not care to do this; however, if he were abed, she would. In a variant, she goes out to a meadow, and 'poisons herself with her own hands.'

B. 'Flavia,' Sabatini, Saggio di Canti popolari romani, in Rivista di Letteratura popolare, Rome, 1877, p. 17 f., and separately, 1878, p. 8 f. Flavia has thirteen servants, and becomes enamored of one of these, Ggismónno. His fellows find out that the pair have been communing, and inform the king. 'Ságra coróna ' orders them to take Ggismónno to prison, and put him to death. They seat him in a chair of gold, and dig out his heart, lay the heart in a basin of gold, and carry it to Flavia, sitting at table, saying, Here is a mess for you. She retires to her chamber, lies down on her bed, and drinks a cup of poison.

C. 'Risguardo belo e Rismonda bela,' Bernoni, Tradizioni pop. veneziane, p. 39. A count has an only daughter, Rismonda. She has twelve servants, and falls in love with the handsomest, who waits at table, the handsome Risguardo. She asks him to be her lover; he cannot, for if her father should come to know of such a thing he would put him to death in prison. The knowledge comes to the father, and Risguardo is put into prison. One of his fellows looks him up after a fortnight, and after a month cuts out his heart, and takes it to Rismonda; 'here is a fine dish, the heart of Risguardo.' Rismonda, who is sitting at table, goes to her chamber; her father comes to console her; she bids him leave her. If I have done you wrong, he says, take this sword and run it through me. She is not disposed to do this; she will write three letters and die.

All these come from the Decameron, iv, 1. The lover is sunk to a serving-man, as in the Scottish ballad. The names are fairly well preserved in A, C; in B the lover gets his name from the princess, and she is provided with one from the general stock.

Swedish. 'Hertig Fröjdenborg och Fröken Adelin,' broadside, 48 stanzas, Stockholm, 1757; Afzelius, I, 95, No 19, ed. Bergström och Höijer, I, 81, No 18, 47 sts; Lagus, Nyländska Folkvisor, I, 30, No 8 a, 47 sts; Djurklou, Ur Nerikes Folkspräk, p. 96, 22 sts; Dybeck, Runa, 1869, p. 34, 37 sts, of which only 8 are given; Lagus, as above, b, 2 sts, c, 1 st.; Aminson, Bidrag, I, 1st heft, p. 31, No 6, 2d heft, p. 16, 1 st. each; unprinted fragments, noted by Olrik, Danmarks gamle Folkeviser, V, II, 216 f. The broadside is certainly the source or basis of all the printed copies, and probably of an unpublished fragment of twenty-eight stanzas obtained by Eva Wigström in 1882 (Olrik); some trifling variations are attributable to editing or to tradition.

Adelin is in the garden, making a rose chaplet for Fröjdeuborg, who, seeing her from his window, goes to her and expresses the wish that she were his love. Adelin begs him not to talk so; she fears that her father may overhear. False maid-servants tell the king that Fröjdenborg is decoying his daughter; the king orders him to be put in chains and shut up in the dark tower. There he stays fifteen years. Adelin goes to the garden to make Fröjdenborg a garland again. The king sees from his window what she is about, orders her into his presence (he has not cared to see her for fifteen years), and angrily demands what she has been doing in the garden. She says that she has been making a rose garland for Fröjdenborg. 'Not forgotten him yet?' 'No; nor should I, if I lived a hundred years.' 'Then I will put a stop to this love.' Fröjdenborg is taken out of the tower; his hair and beard are gray, but he declares that the fifteen years have seemed to him only a few days. They bind Fröjdenborg to a tree, and kill him as boors slaughter cattle. They lay him on a board, and gut (slit) him as boors gut (slit) a fish. The false maids take his heart and dress the lady a dainty dish. She has a misgiving, and asks what she has eaten. They tell her it is her lover's heart; then, she says, it shall be my last meal. She asks for drink: she will drink to Fröjdenborg, she will drink herself dead. Her heart breaks; word is carried to her father; God a mercy! he cries, I have betrayed my only child. The two are buried in one grave, from which springs a linden; the linden grows over the church ridge; one leaf enfolds the other.

Danish. 'Hertug Frydenborg,' in about forty copies from recent tradition and a broadside of the eighteenth century, but not found in old manuscripts: Olrik, Danmarks gamle Folkeviser, V, II, 216, No 305, H-A, and Kristensen, XI, 117, No 46. Of these, E i, obtained in 1809, had been printed by Nyerup og Rasmussen, Udvalg af danske Viser, II, 238, No 71. Others are in Kristensen's Skattegraveren, I, 33, No 113, III, 148, Nos 835-38, and in Kristensen's Jyske Folkeminder, II, 207, No 61 A-D ('Ridderens Hjærte'), and X, 213, 385, 360, No 52 A-E, No 94 B.

One half of these texts, as Olrik remarks, are of Swedish origin, and even derived from the Swedish broadside; others have marks of their own, and one in particular, which indicates the ultimate source of the story in both the Swedish and the Danish ballad. This source appears to be the Decameron, IV, 1, as in the Scottish and Italian ballads. The points of resemblance are: A princess, an only daughter, has a lover; her father disapproves, and throws the lover into prison (where he remains fifteen years in the ballad, only a day or two in the tale). The lover is taken from prison and put to death, and his heart is cut out. (The heart is not sent to the princess in a golden vessel, as in the Decameron, IV, 1, and the Scottish and Italian ballads, but is cooked, and given her to eat, and is eaten; and she says, when informed that she has eaten her lover's heart, that it shall be her last food.) In most of the Scandinavian ballads the princess calls for wine (mead), and 'drinks herself to death.' But in C it is expressly said that she drinks poisoned wine, in E a, c, k, poisonous wine, in D that she puts a grain of poison in the cruse. (In E 1 they mix the lover's blood in wine; she takes two draughts, and her heart bursts.)

A husband giving his wife her lover's heart to eat is a feature in an extensive series of poems and tales, sufficiently represented for present purposes by the ninth tale in the fourth day of the Decameron, and no further explanation is required of the admixture in the Scandinavian ballad.[foot-note]

In Danish A a, b, h, o, B b, two lilies spring from the common grave of the lovers, and embrace or grow together. In E k, 1, F b, e, f, and Kristensen, XI, No 46, the lovers are buried apart (she south, he north, of kirk, etc.), a lily springs from each, and the two grow together.

Low and High German, Dutch. A. 'Brennenberg,' 12 stanzas, Uhland, I, 158, No 75 A, Niederdeutsches Liederbuch, No 44, conjectured to be of the beginning of the seventeenth century. 'Der Bremberger,' Böhme, p. 87, No 23 B (omitting sts 3, 4); Simrock, Die deutschen Volkslieder, p. 14, No 5, Die geschichtlichen deutschen Sagen, p. 325, No 105 (omitting sts 1-4, and turned into High German). B. 'Ein schöner Bremberger,' 8 stanzas, flying-sheet, 8, Nürnberg, Valentin Newber, about 1550-70, Böhme, No 23 A; Wunderhorn, ed. Erk, 1857, IV, 41, modernized. C. 'Van Brandenborch,' 6 stanzas, Antwerpener Liederbuch, 1544, ed. Hoffmann, p. 120, No 81; Hoffmann's Niederländische Volkslieder, 1856, p. 34, No 7 (omitting st. 6); Uhland, No 75 B. D a. Grasliedlin, 1535, one st., Bohme, No 23 a; Uhland, No 75 C. b. The same, heard on the Lower Rhine, 1850, Bohme, No 23 b.

'Brunenborch,' Willems, No 53, p. 135, 21 stanzas, purports to be a critical text, constructed partly from copies communicated to the editor ("for the piece is to this day sung in Flanders"), and partly from C, A, D a, and Hoffmann, No 6.[foot-note] It is not entitled to confidence.

All the versions are meagre, and A seems to be corrupted and defective at the beginning.[foot-note]

A youth, B 2, has watched a winter-long night, brought thereto by a fair maid, A 1, 3, B 1, to whom he has devoted his heart and thoughts, and with whom he wishes to make off, A, B. Ill news comes to the maid, B 2, that her lover is a prisoner, and has been thrown into a tower. There Brennenberg (A, der Bremberger, B, Brandenborch, C, der Brandenburger, D a) lay seven years or more, till his head was white and his beard was gray. They laid him on a table and slit him like a fish,[foot-note] cut out his heart, dressed it with pepper, and gave it to the fairest, A, the dame, B, the dearest, C, to eat. 'What have I eaten that tasted so good?' 'Brennenberg's heart,' A. 'If it is his heart, pour wine for me, and give me to drink.' She set the beaker to her mouth, and drank it to the bottom, B. The first drop she drank, her heart broke into a dozen bits, A, C. (Their love was pure, such as no one could forbid, A 11; the same implied in A 12, C 5.)

The German-Dutch ballad, though printed two hundred years before any known copy of the Swedish-Danish, is much less explicit. The lady is certainly a maid in B, and she is a maid in A if the first stanza is accepted as belonging to the ballad. Then it should be her father who proceeds so cruelly against her. The wine-drinking, followed by speedy death, may come, as it almost certainly does in some of the Scandinavian ballads, from the story of Ghismonda; and therefore the German-Dutch ballads, as they stand, may perhaps be treated as a blending of the first and the ninth tale of Boccaccio's fourth day. But there is a German meisterlied, printed, like B, C, D a, in the sixteenth century, which has close relation with these ballads, and much more of Boccaccio's ninth tale in it: 'Von dem Brembergers end und tod,' von der Hagen's Minnesinger, IV, 281, Wunderhorn, 1808, II, 229, epitomized in the Grimms' Deutsche Sagen, II, 211, No 500. The knight Bremberger has loved another man's wife. The husband cuts off his head, and gives his heart to the lady to eat. He asks her if she can tell what she has eaten. She would be glad to know, it tasted so good. She is told that it is Bremberger's heart. She says she will take a drink upon it, and never eat or drink more. The lady hastens from table to her chamber, grieves over Bremberger's fate, protesting that they had never been too intimate, starves herself, and dies the eleventh day. The husband suffers great pangs for having 'betrayed' her and her deserving servant, and sticks a knife into his heart.[foot-note]

The incident of a husband giving his wife her lover's heart to eat occurs in a considerable number of tales and poems in literature, and in all is obviously of the same source.

Ysolt, in the romance of Tristan, twelfth century, sings a lai how Guirun was slain for love of a lady, and his heart given by the count to his wife to eat. (Michel, III, 39, vv. 781-90.)

Ramon de Castel Rossillon (Raimons de Rosillon) cut off the head of Guillems de Cabestaing, lover of his wife, Seremonda (Margarita), took the heart from the body, 'fetz lo raustir e far pebrada,' and gave it to his wife to eat. He then told her what she had been eating (showing her Cabestaing's head), and asked her if it was good. So good, she said, that she would never eat or drink more; hearing which, her husband rushed at her with his sword, and she fled to a balcony, let herself fall (threw herself from a window), and was killed. (Chabaneau, Les Biographies des Troubadours en langue provençale, pp. 99-103, Manuscripts of the thirteenth and the fourteenth century.) Nearly the same story, 'secondo che raccontano i provenzali,' in the Decameron, IV, 9, of Messer Guiglielmo Rossiglione and Messer Guiglielmo Guardastagno. The lady says that she liked very much the dish which she had eaten, and the husband, No wonder that you should like when it was dead the thing which you liked best of all when it was living: what you have eaten was Guardastagno's heart. God forbid, replies the lady, that I should swallow anything else after so noble a repast; then lets herself drop from a high window.

In Konrad von Würzburg, 'Das Herz,' 'Das Herzmäre,' 1260-70, five or six hundred verses, a knight and a lady are inflamed with a mutual passion (tugendhafter mann, reines weib). The lady's husband conceives that he may break this up by taking her to the Holy Land. In that case, the knight proposes to follow; but the lady prevails upon him to go before her husband shall take this step, with the object of lulling his jealousy and stopping the world's talk. The knight goes, and dies of the separation. As his end was approaching, he had ordered his attendant to take out his heart, embalm it, enclose it in a gold box, and carry it to the lady. The husband lights upon the emissary, takes away the box, directs his cook to make a choice dish of the heart, and has this set before his wife for her exclusive enjoyment. He asks her how she finds it, and she declares that she has never eaten anything so delicious. She is then told that she has eaten the knight's heart, sent her by him as a token. God defend, she exclaims, that any ordinary food should pass my mouth after so precious victual, and thereupon dies (von der Hagen's Gesammtabenteuer, I, 225). The same story is introduced as an "example" in a sermon-book: 'Quidam miles tutpiter adamavit uxorem alterius militis.'[foot-note] The lady kills herself.

Again, in a romance of eight thousand verses, of the Châtelain de Couci and la Dame de Faiel (of the end of the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century), with the difference that the châtelain takes the cross, is wounded with a poisoned arrow, and dies on his way to France. (Jakemon Sakesep, Roman du Châtelain de Couci, etc., ed. Crapelet, 1829.) From this romance was derived The Knight of Curtesy and the Fair Lady of Faguell (in which the lady is chaste to her lord as is the turtle upon the tree), five hundred verses, Ritson's Metrical Romanceës, III, 193, from an edition by William Copland, "before 1568;" also a chap-book, curiously adapted to its time, 'The Constant but Unhappy Lovers,' London, 1707 (cited by Clouston, Popular Tales and Fictions, II, 191).

Descending to tradition of the present time, we find in the adventures of Rájá Rasálu, as told in verse and prose in the north of India, surprising agreements with Boccaccio's tale: a. Temple's Legends of the Panjâb, I, 64 f., 1883. b. The same, III, 240 f., 1886. c. Swynnerton in the Folk-Lore Journal, I, 143 ff., 1883, and in The Adventures of Rájá Rasálu, 1884, pp. 130-35. d. Clouston, Popular Tales and Fictions, II, 192, from a book privately printed, 1851. Rájá Rasálu kills his wife's lover, tears out his heart, a, heart and liver, d, takes of his flesh, b, c, roasts and gives to his wife to eat. She finds the meat is very good, a, no venison was ever so dainty, c. The king retorts, You enjoyed him when he was living; why should you not relish his flesh now that he is dead? and shows her the body of his rival. She leaps from the palace wall and is killed (c only). (Rájá Rasálu is assigned to our second century.)

A Danish ballad in Syv's collection, 1695, has one half of the story. A king has a man for whom his wife has a fancy chopped up and cooked and served to the queen. She does not eat. ('Livsvandet,' Grundtvig, II, 504, No 94 A, Prior, I, 391.)

Very like the Indian and the Provençal sage, but with change of the parts of husband and wife, is what Mme. d'Aulnoy relates as having been enacted in the Astorga family, in Spain, in the seventeenth century. The Marchioness of Astorga kills a beautiful girl of whom her husband is enamored, tears out her heart, and gives it to her husband in a stew. She asks him if the dish was to his taste, and he says, Yes. No wonder, says the wife, for it was the heart of the mistress whom you loved so much; and then produces the gory head. (Mémoires de la Cour d'Espagne, La Haye, 1691, I, 108.)

Going back to the twelfth century, we come, even at that early date, upon one of those extravagances, not to say travesties, which are apt to follow successful strokes of invention. Ignaure loves and is loved by twelve dames. The husbands serve his heart to their twelve wives, who, when they are apprised of what has passed, duly vow that they will never eat again after the precious mess which they have enjoyed. (Lai d'Ignaurès, ed. Monmerqué et Michel.) There are relics of a similar story in Provençal and in German, and a burlesque tale to the same effect was popular in Italy: Le Cento Novelle Antiche, of about 1300, Biagi, Le Novelle Antiche, 1880, p. 38, No 29.[foot-note]

A kitchen-boy plays a part of some consequence in several other ballads. A kitchen-boy is the hero of No 252, IV, 400, a very poor ballad, to be sure. There is a bad tell-tale of a kitchen-boy in 'Lady Maisry,' A, No 65, II, 114, and there is a high-minded kitchen-boy in 'The Lady Isabella's Tragedy.'[foot-note] 'A ballett, The Kitchen-boyes Songe' (whatever this may be), is entered as licensed to John Aide in the Stationers' Registers, 1570-71, Arber, I, 438. In about half of the versions of 'Der grausame Bruder' (see II, 101 f.), the king of England presents himself as a küchenjuug to the brother of a lady whom he asks in marriage after a clandestine intimacy.

A is translated by Knortz, Schottische Balladen, p. 22, No 9.

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