List of the Child Ballads

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"The Twa Corbies", an Arthur Rackham illustration of Child ballad 26.

The Child Ballads is the colloquial name given to a collection of 305 ballads collected in the 19th century by Francis James Child and originally published in ten volumes between 1882 and 1898 under the title The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. [1]

The ballads[edit]

Child ballads
Number Title Synopsis
1 Riddles Wisely Expounded A knight refuses to marry a young woman unless she can answer the riddles he poses. Or the Devil threatens to carry off a young woman (or women) unless his riddles are answered.
2 The Elfin Knight A man and woman ask each other to do a series of seemingly impossible tasks.
3 The Fause Knight Upon the Road
4 Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight A man courts a woman and intends to kill her, but she turns the tables and kills him instead.
5 Gil Brenton
6 Willie's Lady A rank witch enchants her hated daughter-in-law so her baby will never be born. "Baby" is then made from loaf of wax, curses are overheard and removed, and a son is eventually born.
7 Earl Brand
8 Erlinton
9 The Fair Flower of Northumberland
10 The Twa Sisters [or Minnorie or Binnorie] A man courts the eldest of a group of sisters while falling in love with the youngest. The eldest sister murders the younger out of jealousy, but the eldest is often punished in the end.
11 The Cruel Brother
12 Lord Randall A young man has a conversation with his mother in which it is revealed that he has been poisoned by his sweetheart.
13 Edward A young man has a conversation with a female relative in which it is revealed that he had killed a male relative. He then pronounces a punishment upon himself.
14 Babylon; or, The Bonnie Banks o Fordie A man meets three sisters and threatens to kill each one in turn if she will not be his wife. He kills the first two, but when he tries to kill the youngest, he finds that he is their brother and takes his own life.
15 Leesome Brand
16 Sheath and Knife A sister is pregnant with her brother's child. She asks him to kill her, or dies in childbirth. He buries both of them and grieves. The sheath and knife represent his sister and child.
17 Hind Horn A man leaves his sweetheart while in possession of a ring which will turn pale when she is unfaithful to him. When the ring grows pale, he comes back and finds that she is about to be married to someone else. He exchanges clothes with a beggar, begs for wine from her, and slips the ring in the glass. She recognizes him and abandons her bridegroom.
18 Sir Lionel
19 King Orfeo King Orfeo's wife is stolen away by the fairies. He plays his instrument for the fairies in order to win her back.
20 The Cruel Mother A young woman becomes pregnant while unmarried. She kills her child after it's born and later sees its ghost. Sometimes there are two children.
21 The Maid and the Palmer (The Samaritan Woman)
22 St. Stephen and Herod
23 Judas
24 Bonnie Annie
25 Willie's Lyke-Wake
26 The Three Ravens (or Twa Corbies) A number of ravens see a dead knight and speculate about how they either cannot eat him because his hawk, hounds, and lady are watching him, or can eat him because he has been abandoned.
27 The Whummil Bore
28 Burd Ellen and Young Tamlane
29 The Boy and the Mantle
30 King Arthur and King Cornwall
31 The Marriage of Sir Gawain Gawain marries a loathly lady in order to save King Arthur from death. It is later revealed that she is a beautiful lady under a spell.
32 King Henry
33 Kempy Kay
34 Kemp Owyne
35 Allison Gross
36 The Laily Worm and the Machrel of the Sea
37 Thomas Rymer A minstrel meets an elfin lady under a tree and has to serve her in elf land for seven years.
38 The Wee Wee Man
39 Tam Lin A young woman saves her lover from being used for the teind on Hallows Eve.
40 The Queen of Elfan's Nourice
41 Hind Etin
42 Clerk Corvill
43 The Broomfield Hill
44 The Twa Magicians
45 King John and the Bishop
46 Captain Wedderburn's Courtship
47 Proud Lady Margaret
48 Young Andrew
49 The Twa Brothers
50 The Bonny Hind
51 Lizie Wan
52 The King's Dochter Lady Jean
53 Young Beichan [or Young Bekie]
54 The Cherry-Tree Carol Mary, the mother of Jesus, asks her husband Joseph to pick her fruit from a tree. When he refuses, Jesus causes the tree to bend its branches down to her.
55 The Carnal and the Crane
56 Dives and Lazarus
57 Brown Robyn's Confession
58 Sir Patrick Spens Sir Patrick is ordered by the king to bring the King of Norway's daughter home. A storm comes up while they are sailing back to Scotland from Norway and the crew of the ship are drowned.
59 Sir Aldingar Sir Aldingar is spurned by the queen and attempts to get revenge on her by putting a leper in her bed. A child saves her from the stake by championing her in a trial by combat.
60 King Estmere
61 Sir Cawline
62 Fair Annie
63 Child Waters
64 Fair Janet
65 Lady Maisry
66 Lord Ingram and Chiel Wyet
67 Glasgerion
68 Young Hunting
69 Clerk Saunders
70 Willie and Lady Maisry
71 The Bent Sae Brown
72 The Clerk's Twa Sons O Owsenford
73 Lord Thomas and Fair Annet
74 Fair Margaret and Sweet William
75 Lord Lovel A lord tells his lady he is going away. After a time he longs to see her so he returns, hears of her death and dies of grief. They are buried together and a lovers' knot grows.
76 The Lass of Roch Royal
77 Sweet William's Ghost
78 The Unquiet Grave
79 The Wife of Usher's Well
80 Old Robin of Portingale
81 Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard (or "Matty Groves") A noble lady seduces a commoner. They are caught in bed by her husband who kills her lover in a duel. He then also kills her after she expresses a continuing preference for the lover over him.
82 The Bonny Birdy
83 Child Maurice
84 Bonny Barbara Allen
85 Lady Alice
86 Young Benjie
87 Prince Robert
88 Young Johnstone
89 Fause Foodrage
90 Jellon Grame
91 Fair Mary of Wallington
92 Bonny Bee Hom
93 Lamkin
94 Young Waters
95 The Maid Freed from the Gallows
96 The Gay Goshawk
97 Brown Robin
98 Brown Adam
99 Johnie Scot
100 Willie O Winsbury
101 Willie O Douglas Dale
102 Willie and the Earl Richard's Daughter
103 Rose the Red and White Lily
104 Prince Heathen
105 The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington
106 The Famous Flower of Serving-Men
107 Will Stewart and John
108 Christopher White
109 Tom Potts
110 The Knight and Shepherd's Daughter
111 Crow and Pie
112 The Baffled Knight
113 The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry
114 Johnie Cock Despite his mother's warning, the titular character goes poaching in woods. He is betrayed to a group of foresters, but fights them off.
115 Robyn and Gandeleyn
116 Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly
117 A Gest of Robyn Hode
118 Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne
119 Robin Hood and the Monk
120 Robin Hood's Death
121 Robin Hood and the Potter
122 Robin Hood and the Butcher
123 Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar
124 The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield
125 Robin Hood and Little John
126 Robin Hood and the Tanner
127 Robin Hood and the Tinker
128 Robin Hood and the Newly Revived
129 Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon
130 Robin Hood and the Scotchman
131 Robin Hood and the Ranger
132 The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood
133 Robin Hood and the Beggar, I
134 Robin Hood and the Beggar, II
135 Robin Hood and the Shepherd
136 Robin Hood's Delight
137 Robin Hood and the Pedlars
138 Robin Hood and Allan-a-Dale
139 Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham
140 Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires
141 Robin Hood Rescuing Will Stutly
142 Little John a Begging
143 Robin Hood and the Bishop
144 Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford
145 Robin Hood and Queen Katherine
146 Robin Hood's Chase
147 Robin Hood's Golden Prize
148 The Noble Fisherman, or, Robin Hood's Preferment
149 Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor and Marriage
150 Robin Hood and Maid Marian
151 The King's Disguise, and Friendship with Robin Hood
152 Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow
153 Robin Hood and the Valiant Knight
154 A True Tale of Robin Hood
155 Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter
156 Queen Elanor's Confession
157 Gude Wallace
158 Hugh Spencer's Feats in France
159 Durham Ford
160 The Knight of Liddesdale
161 The Battle of Otterburn
162 The Hunting of Cheviot (The Ballad of Chevy Chase)
163 The Battle of Harlaw
164 King Henry Fifth's Conquest of France
165 Sir John Butler
166 The Rose of England
167 Sir Andrew Barton
168 Flodden Field (describes the Battle of Flodden Field)
169 Johnie Armstrong
170 The Death of Queen Jane
171 Thomas Cromwell
172 Musselburgh Field
173 Mary Hamilton
174 Earl Bothwell
175 The Rising of the North
176 Northumberland Betrayed By Douglas
177 The Earl of Westmoreland
178 Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon
179 Rookhope Ryde
180 King James and Brown
181 The Bonny Earl of Murray
182 The Laird O Logie
183 Willie MacIntosh
184 The Lads of Wamphray
185 Dick o the Cow
186 Kinmont Willie
187 Jock o the Side
188 Archie o Cawfield
189 Hobie Noble
190 Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead
191 Hughie Grame
192 The Lochmaben Harper
193 The Death of Parcy Reed
194 The Laird of Wairston
195 Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight
196 The Fire of Frendraught
197 James Grant
198 Bonny John Seton
199 The Bonnie House o Airlie
200 The Gypsy Laddie
201 Bessy Bell and Mary Gray
202 The Battle of Philiphaugh
203 The Baron of Brackley
204 Jamie Douglas
205 Loudon Hill, or, Drumclog (recounts the events of the Battle of Drumclog)
206 Bothwell Bridge
207 Lord Delamere
208 Lord Derwentwater
209 Geordie
210 Bonnie James Campbell
211 Bewick and Graham
212 The Duke of Athole's Nurse
213 Sir James the Rose
214 The Braes o Yarrow
215 Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow, or, the Water o Gamrie
216 The Mother's Malison, or, Clyde's Water
217 Broom of the Cowdenknowes
218 The False Lover Won Back
219 The Gardener
220 The Bonny Lass of Anglesey
221 Katharine Jaffray
222 Bonny Baby Livingstone
223 Eppie Morrie
224 The Lady of Arngosk
225 Rob Roy
226 Lizie Lindsay
227 Bonny Lizie Baillie
228 Glasgow Peggie
229 Earl Crawford
230 The Slaughter of the Laird of Mellerstain
231 The Earl of Errol
232 Richie Story
233 Andrew Lammie
234 Charlie MacPherson
235 The Earl of Aboyne
236 The Laird o Drum
237 The Duke of Gordon's Daughter
238 Glenlogie, or, Jean o Bethelnie
239 Lord Saltoun and Auchanachie
240 The Rantin Laddie
241 The Baron o Leys
242 The Coble o Cargill
243 James Harris (The Daemon Lover)
244 James Hatley
245 Young Allan
246 Redesdale and Wise William
247 Lady Elspat
248 The Grey Cock, or, Saw You My Father?
249 Auld Matrons
250 Henry Martyn [aka Henry Martin]
251 Lang Johnny More
252 The Kitchie-Boy
253 Thomas o Yonderdale
254 Lord William, or, Lord Lundy
255 Willie's Fatal Visit
256 Alison and Willie
257 Burd Isabel and Earl Patrick
258 Broughty Wa's
259 Lord Thomas Stuart
260 Lord Thomas and Lady Margaret
261 Lady Isabel
262 Lord Livingstone
263 The New-Slain Knight
264 The White Fisher
265 The Knight's Ghost
266 John Thomson and the Turk
267 The Heir of Linne
268 The Twa Knights
269 Lady Diamond
270 The Earl of Mar's Daughter
271 The Lord of Lorn and the Flas Steward
272 The Suffolk Miracle
273 King Edward the Fourth and a Tanner of Tamworth
274 Our Goodman
275 Get Up and Bar the Door
276 The Friar in the Well
277 The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin
278 The Farmer's Curst Wife
279 The Jolly Beggar
280 The Beggar-Laddie
281 The Keach i the Creel
282 Jock the Leg and the Merry Merchant
283 The Crafty Farmer
284 John Dory
285 The George Aloe and the Sweepstake
286 The Sweet Trinity (The Golden Vanity)
287 Captain Ward and the Rainbow
288 The Young Earl of Essex's Victory over the Emperor of Germany
289 The Mermaid
290 The Wylie Wife of the Hie Toun Hie
291 Child Owlet
292 The West Country Damosel's Complaint
293 John of Hazelgreen
294 Dugall Quin
295 The Brown Girl
296 Walter Lesly
297 Earl Rothes
298 Young Peggy Peggy secretly meets her lover, Jamie, against her family's wishes. They run away to get married. Peggy's father gives chase but by the time he catches up the wedding papers are signed.
299 Trooper and Maid
300 Blancheflour and Jollyflorice
301 The Queen of Scotland
302 Young Bearwell
303 The Holy Nunnery
304 Young Ronald
305 The Outlaw Murray

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fumerton, Patricia; Guerrini, Anita; McAbee, Kris (2010). Ballads and Broadsides in Britain, 1500–1800. Ashgate Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 0-7546-6248-9.