Babylon (ballad)

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"Babylon" or "The Bonnie Banks o Fordie" is Child ballad 14,[1] Roud 27.

"Mr. Motherwell gives a version under the title of Babylon; or, the Bonny Banks o' Fordie; and Mr. Kinloch gives another under the title of The Duke of Perth's Three Daughters. Previous editors have attempted to find a local habitation for this tradition, and have associated it with the family of Drummond, of Perth. As a legend exactly similar is current in Denmark. this appears a bootless quest."--John S. Roberts (1887)[2]


An outlaw comes upon three sisters in the woods. He threatens each one in turn to make her marry him. The first two refuse and are killed. The third threatens him with her brother or brothers. He asks after them and discovers that he is the brother. He commits suicide.


Forms of this ballad are known throughout all of Scandinavia.[3]


Dick Gaughan features it on his album No More Forever

Broadside Electric included it in the 1996 album More Bad News ...

Malinky played a version, called "The Bonnie Banks O Fordie", on their 2005 album The Unseen Hours

Nic Jones version of the song, "Banks of Fordie", is included on his 2006 compilation Game Set Match

John Jacob Niles version of "Bonny Farday", is included in his album, My Precarious Life in the Public Domain, and is printed in The Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles

Old Blind Dogs version of "The Bonnie Banks O' Fordie" is included on their 1992 album, "New Tricks"

Howard Mitchell version of "The Bonnie Banks of the Virgie O'" is included on his self-titled 1962 album.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Francis James Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, "Babylon or The Bonnie Banks o Fordie"
  2. ^ Roberts, John S., ed. (1887) The Legendary Ballads of England and Scotland. London: Frederick Warne; p. 194
  3. ^ Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v. 1, p. 171, New York: Dover Publications, 1965

External links[edit]