“Edwin (Edmund, Edward) in the Lowlands Low”

Alternate titles: “Young Emma”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2031))
Keywords: homicide father money execution love punishment separation
Found in: US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(England(Lond,South),Scotland(Aber)) Ireland

Description

Edwin, now rich, returns to his sweetheart after years at sea. At her advice, he goes to her father's inn in disguise. Her father murders him for his money. The girl learns the truth and turns in her father, who is executed

Notes

In Harry Cox's version on Voice17, Emma -- after singing the "shells in the ocean" verse found in "I Never Will Marry" -- then "sick and broken-hearted to Bedlam had to go, And her shrieks were of young Edmund who ploughed the lowland low." In that, and most of the rest of its text, it follows the Bodleian broadsides. Newfoundland versions -- all from the northern Avalon Peninsula -- seem based on the broadsides, keep or modify the "shells in the ocean" verse, and drop the Bedlam verse (which, I suppose, has no local meaning); see Karpeles-Newfoundland 32, Peacock, pp. 641-642 [the verse is almost unrecognizable] and "Young Edmund in the Lowlands" in _Songs of Newfoundland_ at the "MacEdward Leach and Songs of Atlantic Canada" site. A good, but not infallible, clue that the broadside version is being followed is the opening: "Come all you feeling lovers and listen to my song, While I unfold concerning gold, that guides so many wrong." Greig also has a broadside-based version that modifies "shells in the ocean" and drops the Bedlam verse (Greig 123 p. 1, "Young Emma," _Folk-Song of the North-East_). BS

The version in the Warner collection is unusual in that Edmund is murdered by a robber rather than by the father, and the truth does not come out for seven years. This version also makes no mention of Edmund's money. - RBW

Same tune

Cross references

Broadsides

Recordings

References

  1. Laws M34, "Edwin (Edmund, Edward) in the Lowlands Low"
  2. Belden, pp. 127-128, "Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (1 text)
  3. Randolph 140, "Young Edmond Dell" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
  4. BrownII 79, "Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (2 texts)
  5. Chappell-FSRA 36, "Amy and Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Brewster 35, "Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (1 text)
  7. Gardner/Chickering 12, "He Ploweed the Lowlands Low" (1 text)
  8. SharpAp 56, "Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (11 texts, 11 tunes)
  9. Creighton/Senior, pp. 220-222, "Young Edmund of the Lowlands" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. Peacock, pp. 641-642, "Young Edmond of the Lowlands Low" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Karpeles-Newfoundland 32, "Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (1 text, 1 tune)
  12. Flanders/Brown, pp. 106-108, "Young Edmon Bold" (1 text, 1 tune; the text, from manuscript, is slightly damaged as well as very curiously written)
  13. Mackenzie 27, "Young Edmund" (1 text)
  14. Leach, pp. 703-705, "Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (2 texts)
  15. Wyman-Brockway II, p. 42, "Young Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
  16. FSCatskills 49, The Lowlands Low" (1 text, 1 tune)
  17. Warner 57, "The Ploughboy of the Lowlands" (1 text, 1 tune)
  18. Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 106-107, "Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low (1 text, 1 tune)
  19. SHenry H113, p. 434, "Young Edward Bold/The Lowlands Low" (1 text, 1 tune)
  20. Morton-Ulster 32, "Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (1 text, 1 tune)
  21. JHCox 106, "Young Edwin in the Lowlands Low" (1 text)
  22. Darling-NAS, pp. 120-121, "Young Emily" (1 text)
  23. DT 330, EDWRDLOW*
  24. Roud #182
  25. BI, LM34