Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-md8df Total loading time: 0.265 Render date: 2021-11-30T16:33:46.104Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

3 - Gothic Beginnings: Dead Lovers Return

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 July 2019

David Atkinson
Affiliation:
Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen
Get access

Summary

AS WE SAW IN THE PREVIOUS chapter, the antiquarianism and medievalism of Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry fed into the emergence of the literary gothic, and by the end of the century dead lovers were starting to return with a vengeance: among others, Matthew Lewis's ‘Alonzo the Brave and Fair Imogine’, or the English versions of Gottfried August Bürger's Lenore. Child included ‘The Suffolk Miracle’ from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century broadsides in the English and Scottish Popular Ballads because of its status as an English counterpart of the ‘spectre bridegroom’ story of European tales and of Bürger's poem, but he passed over other revenant ballads from English broadsides. For reasons that apparently lie in matters of style and authorship, he chose to include ‘Fair Margaret and Sweet William’, but not its counterpart, ‘William and Margaret’, both of which were in print in the 1720s. But the ballad gothic did not spring from nowhere, and ‘William and Margaret’ represents an important signpost for the direction, or at least for one of the directions, the ballad would take during the course of the century.

‘In came Margarets grimely Ghost’

In the Beaumont and Fletcher play The Knight of the Burning Pestle (c.1607), Old Merrythought, perhaps best described as a burlesque character whose life is given over to song and mirth, sings the following lines:

When it was growne to darke midnight,

And all were fast asleepe,

In came Margarets grimely Ghost,

And stood at Williams feete.

In Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Percy identified this snatch of song with lines in the ballad ‘Fair Margaret and Sweet William’.2 That identification was endorsed by Child and has been generally accepted.3 In particular, Merrythought's stanza equates to the fifth stanza of Child's A text, quoted here directly from its broadside source, Fair Margaret's Misfortune:

When Day was gone, and Night was come,

and all Men fast asleep,

There came the Spirit of fair Margaret,

which caus'd him for to Weep.

Later, Merrythought sings again, ‘You are no loue for me Margret, I am no loue for you.’ This second snatch of song finds a very rough equivalent in the first half of the second stanza of Fair Margaret's Misfortune: ‘I see no harm by you Margaret; / nor you see none by me’.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Ballad and its Pasts
Literary Histories and the Play of Memory
, pp. 67 - 102
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2018

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×