> Folk Music > Songs > The King's Dochter Lady Jean

The King's Dochter Lady Jean / Fair Rosie Ann / Queen Jane

[ Roud 39 ; Child 52 ; G/D 7:1395 ; Ballad Index C052 ; trad.]

Katherine Campbell: Songs from North-East Scotland Alexander Keith: Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads and Ballad Airs

Willie Mathieson of Turiff, Aberdeenshire, sang a fragment of The King's Daughter on 17 July 1951 to Alan Lomax. It was included in 2000 on the Rounder anthology Classic Ballads of Britain and Ireland Volume 1 (which is an extended reissue of the 1960s Caedmon/Topic anthology The Child Ballads 1). It was also included in 2011, with the title Rosy Ann, on the Twos & Fews / Drag City anthology of 1950s Scottish recordings by Alan Lomax, Whaur the Pig Gaed on the Spree. The first of these albums noted:

These are the opening verses of a ballad of about 20 verses. After her seduction, the heroine discovers that her seducer is Lord Barnet’s only son and divulges that she is “the King’s dochter, Lady Jean”, whence Child’s title. Child has four texts; Bronson includes seven variants with tunes, including one from John Strachan. Bronson registers surprise that Child did not include this ballad as a version of The Bonny Hind (Child No. 50). The song is confined to Scotland, and three of the seven versions noted were collected by Gavin Greig at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

John Strachan of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, sang a fragment of Fair Rosie Ann to Hamish Henderson in 1952. This recording was included in 2005 on the anthology Hamish Henderson Collects. Mike Yates noted:

The King's Dochter Lady Jean has an opening similar to that found in the ballad Tam Lin (Roud 35; Child 39), although in this case there is no mention of the fairy-folk. Rather Rosie Ann is seduced by a mere mortal, a man who turns out to be her long-lost brother.

Hedy West recorded Queen Jane in 1979 in Bühlertal in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. This recordings was released in 2020 on her posthumous Fledg'ling album Untitled.

Maureen Jelks sang Fair Rosie-Anne in 2000 on her Tradition Bearers CD of Scots songs and ballads, Eence Upon a Time. She also sang it at Celtic Connections at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in January 2001. A recording of this was included in the following year on the festival's anthology Scots Women. Maureen Jelks noted on her album:

My version (Child 52) was put together for me by Peter Shepheard, another great singer I like very much. The tune (and much of the text by Gavin Greig) [is] from Alex Robb of New Deer, Aberdeenshire, in March 1909 (in Last Leaves No 21) and in Bronson' The Singing Tradition of the Child Ballads). The text is collated with a version Pete Shepheard collected from Martha (Peasie) Reid of Birnam, Dunkeld, in 1967 and the concluding verse Peter Buchan's (Ancient Ballads & Songs of the North of Scotland (pub. 1828) where the ballad is under the title Castle Ha's Daughter). It is the story of a young woman who meets a young man in the woods. He has his wicked way with her then, discovering that she is his sister, he is filled with remorse.

Jo Miller sang Lady Jean at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife in May 2009. This recording was released in the following year on the festival's anthology There's Bound to Be a Row (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 6). The album's booklet noted:

This powerful and rather beautiful ballad (Child 52) has only rarely been collected—perhaps because of its theme of rape and incest.

Martin Simpson sang Queen Jane in 2019 on his Topic album Rooted. A 2019 live recording was released on 2021 on his download album Live Before Lockdown. He noted:

My friend, David Suff, found two unreleased Hedy West recordings in the possession of Hedy's daughter. He sent copies of both to me, and on the second CD was Queen Jane. I assumed before hearing it that it was a version of The Death of Queen Jane and was wholly unprepared to find instead one of Hedy's greatest banjo arrangements and vocal performances of a US version of The King's Daughter Lady Jean (Child 52).

Lyrics

Willie Mathieson of Turiff, Aberdeenshire, sings a fragment of The King's Daughter

Fair Rosie Ann sat in her chamber high,
A-dressin’ of her silk so fine.
For she had to go to yon green wood,
To pull some nuts for to bring home.

She hadna pull-ed a nut, a nut,
A nut but scarcely three,
When a young man come into the wood,
To ruin this fair lady.

“To me come here, to me beguile,
Or to be my slave.
Your mantle or your maidenheid,
That some wain mun have.”

“Ye robbed me of my mantle,
I’ve anither een to spin,
But if you tak my maidenheid,
The like I'll never win.”

Maureen Jelks sings Fair Rosie-Anne

Fair Rosie-Anne sat on her castle wa'
Sewing at her satin seam,
And she's awa tae the guid greenwood
Some nuts for to pu' and bring hame.

She hadna pu'ed a nut, a nut,
A nut but barely three
When a young man he cam intae the wood
For tae ruin her fair bodie.

“Oh cam' ye here tae be my guide?
Or cam' ye tae be my slave?
Or cam' ye here, young man,” she said,
“Tae put me in my grave?”

“I cam' nae here tae be your guide
Nor cam' I tae be your slave;
It's your mantle or your maidenhead,
It's ain o' them I'll hae.”

“O gin ye tak' my mantle, young man,
Another I can caird and spin.
But gin ye tak' my maidenhead,
I'll never see it again.”

He's ta'en her by the middle sae sma'
And by the grass green sleeve,
And he's laid her low in the guid greenwood
And at her spake nae leave.

“O since ye've ta'en the wills o' me
The will o' me ye've ta'en
Will ye be sae guid, young man,” she said,
“As tell tae me your name?”

“My name, my name, fair maid,” he said,
“My name I'll not deny.
For I am Lord Barnet's only son
And he never had another but I.”

“If you be Lord Barnet's son
There's little between you and me,
For I am Lord Barnet's ae daughter
And he never had another but I.”

“Heel weel, heel weel, dear sister,” he said,
“Heel weel, heel weel, tae me.
For I wish my ship it had been wrecked
And sunk tae the bottom o' the sea.”

Fair Rosie-Anne sat in the greenwood
Lamentin' on what she'd done,
When her mother cam' intae the wood
Saying, “What ails thee, fair Rosie-Anne?”

“As I cam' ow'r yon high high hill
And doon by yon castle wa',
O heavy, heavy was the stone
That on my foot did fa'..”

“Dry up your tears, fair Rosie-Anne
And come awa hame wi' me,
For yoor brother John is new come hame,
Is new come hame frae the sea.”

“O haud your whist, dear mother,” she cried,
“O haud your whist fae me.
For he may be made welcome in a' the hoose
But he'll never be made welcome by me.”

O dowie, dowie rose she up,
And dowie she's gaed hame.
And she's ta'en off her silk mantle
And tae her bed she's lain.

Then in cam' her brother John,
Streaked back her yellow hair,
And tae her lips his ain did press
And words he never spake mair,
And words he never spake mair.

Jo Miller sang Lady Jean

The king’s young dochter was sittin at her windae,
Sewin a fine silken seam;
She’s lookit out o her braw bower windae,
And she saw the leaves growin green my love.

Acknowledgements

Maurenne Jelks' lyrics were transcribed by Roberto in the mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Fair Rosie-Anne (#52, from Maureen Jelks).