I have not found this piece in any printed collection older
than Herd, 1769, but it is cited in the second edition of Percy's
Reliques, 1767, II, 59 (preface to 'The GaberlunyieMan'), and was
known before that to Horace Walpole, who, as Percy remarks,
confounds it with 'The Gaberlunyie-Man,' or gives it that title:
Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, II, 202 f., second edition,
1759 (not mentioned in the first edition). It was probably in
circulation as a flying-sheet.[foot-note]
We are regularly informed by editors that tradition imputes
the authorship of both 'The Jolly Beggar' and 'The
Gaberlunyie-Man' to James Fifth of Scotland. 'The
Gaberlunyie-Man' was, so far as can be ascertained, first printed
in the Tea-Table Miscellany (in 1724), and I am not aware that it
is mentioned anywhere before that date. Ramsay speaks of it as an
old piece, but says nothing about the authorship. The tradition
as to James Fifth is, perhaps, not much older than the
publication in either case, and has no more plausibility than it
The copies in Pinkerton's Select Scotish Ballads, II, 35,
1783, Johnson's Museum, p. 274, No 266, 1790, Ritson's Scotish
Songs, I, 168, 1794, etc., are all from Herd's second edition,
1776. In this we have, instead of the Fa la la burden, the
following, presumably later (see Herd's Manuscripts, I, 5):
Motherwell's Manuscript, p. 124, has a recited copy which
seems to be B a as in Herd, 1776, corrupted by oral
transmission. It does not seriously differ from the original
until we come to the end, where we find an absurd stanza which is
derived from B b.
The variations of B b are not the accidents of
tradition, but deliberate alterations. 'The Jovial Beggarman,' in
The Forsaken Lover's Garland, No 15 of a collection of garlands,
British Museum, 11621. e. 1 ("Newcastle? 1750?"), is a
rifacimento, and a very inferior piece. Of this Rev. S.
Baring-Gould took down a copy from the singing of a laborer on
Dartmoor, in 1889.[foot-note]
'The Jovial Tinker and Farmer's Daughter,' British Museum, 1346. m. 7 (31),
Tinker and Farmer's Daughter's Garland,'
British Museum, 11621. a. 6 (34), is another
rifacimento, with less of the original in it.
The tinker, we are told at the outset, is a
noble lord disguised.
An English broadside ballad of the second half of the
seventeenth century, Pepys, III, 73, No 71, has the same story as
the Scottish popular ballad, and may have been the foundation of
it, but the Scottish ballad is a far superior piece of work. The
English broadside is given, substantially, in the notes.
'Der Bettelman,' Hoffmann u. Richter, Schlesische Volkslieder,
p. 45, No 24, has a generic resemblance to this ballad.[foot-note] So,
more remotely, a Flemish ballad, 'Ein schoner Krüppel,'
Hoffmann, Niederländische Volkslieder, p. 129 and elsewhere.
Again, a very pretty and innocent Portuguese ballad, 'O Cego,'
Almeida-Garrett, III, 191, No 35, Braga, Romanceiro Geral, p.
147, No 55, and Cantos pop. do Archipelago Açoriano, p.
372, No 76 (all in Hartung, II, 103 ff.), which Almeida-Garrett,
quite extravagantly, supposed might be derived from 'The
Gaberlunyie-Man,' brought home from Scotland by Portuguese
sailors. There is an accidental similarity in one or two points
with the Spanish ballad 'Tiempo es, el caballero,' Duran, I, 163,
No 307, Primavera, II, 91, No 158.
'The Gaberlunyie-Man' is given in an appendix.
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