“Young Beichan”

Alternate titles: “Lord Beham”; “Susan Price”; “Lord Batesman”; “Lord Akeman”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1783 (Jamieson-Brown)
Keywords: wedding marriage promise courting prison escape
Found in: Britain(Scotland,England) US(Ap,MW,NE,NW,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)Ireland

Description

A young lord is taken prisoner by a foreign king. The king's daughter frees him after receiving a promise that he will wed her in seven years. Seven years later she comes to England to see him being married. When he sees her, he marries her instead

Notes

This song is commonly connected with the story of Gilbert Becket, the father of Thomas (the clerical adversary of England's Henry II). But, although the song's widespread currency implies that it is old, it is unlikely that it is that old.

Child believed that it may have been affected by the Becket legend, but was probably independent.

The plot very much resembles "The Turkish Lady" [Laws O26], and some scholars lump them, but the latter emphasizes the conversion of the princess rather than, as in this song, her pursuit and reunion.

It is interesting to note that, according to the tranlation of _Sir Gawain and the Green Knight_ made by James L. Rosenberg and edited with introduction by James L. Kreuzer (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1959, p. LII, the "love interests [in the crusading romances] were frequently unintentionally humorous: the Saracen princesses in literature were almost as aggressive in their behavior as the knights they aided."

A minor footnote: In the Scottish "Young Beichan" texts, the Turkish girl is typically called "Susan (Susie) Pye," with no obvious derivation that I can see. In the more numerous "Lord Bateman" texts, however, she is usually "Sophia." But "Sophia" (Greek for "wisdom") is not a Turkish name. Perhaps the girl had more reasons than love for wanting to escape. One might even speculate that she had (or that some singer intended her to have) a Christian mother. Or that she would rather marry an infidel than live in a harem.

And, yes, that's an awfully long chain of inference to hang on one name.... - RBW

Cross references

Broadsides

Recordings

References

  1. Child 53, "Young Beichan" (14 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #94}
  2. Bronson 53, "Young Beichan" (113 versions plus 9 in addenda)
  3. Dixon I, pp. 1-10, "Young Bondwell" (1 text)
  4. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 106-122, "Lord Bateman" (5 texts, all very full, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #8, #87}
  5. Randolph 11, "Lord Bateman" (4 texts plus a fragment, 3 tunes) {A=Bronson's #3, C=#44, E=#7}
  6. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 25-28, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 11E) {Bronson's #7}
  7. Eddy 10, "Young Beichan" (1 text)
  8. Gardner/Chickering 49, "Lord Bateman's Castle" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #80}
  9. Flanders/Brown, pp. 204-208, "Lord Bakeman" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #11}
  10. Flanders/Olney, pp. 54-57, "Lord Bakeman" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
  11. Flanders-Ancient2, pp. 9-69, "Young Beichan" (19 texts plus 6 fragments, 8 tunes; a few of the versions combine multiple collections from family members or have other complex histories) {F=Bronson's #1, H=#11}
  12. Davis-Ballads 12, "Young Beichan" (7 texts plus 2 fragments; the fragments, especially "I," might perhaps be "The Turkish Lady"; 2 tunes entitled "Lord Bateman and the Turkish Lady, or The Turkish Lady," "The Turkish Lady"; 3 more versions mentioned in Appendix A) {Bronson's #55, #47}
  13. Davis-More 16, pp. 102-110, "Young Beichan" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
  14. BrownII 14, "Young Beichan" (5 texts plus mention of 1 more)
  15. Chappell-FSRA 7, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #35}
  16. Hudson 8, pp. 75-76, "Young Beichan" (1 text)
  17. Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 210-213, "Young Beichan" (1 text, with local title "The Jailer's Daughter"; 1 tune on pp. 410-411) {Bronson's # 39}
  18. Creighton/Senior, pp. 26-34, "Young Beichan" (4 texts plus 1 fragment, 3 tunes) {Bronson's #64, #3, #13}
  19. Creighton-Maritime, pp. 7-8, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  20. Greenleaf/Mansfield 7, "Lord Ateman" (1 text)
  21. Peacock, pp. 210-213, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  22. Karpeles-Newfoundland 7, "Lord Bateman" (2 texts, 3 tunes) {Bronson's #101}
  23. Mackenzie 5, "Lord Bakeman" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #22}; "Lord Bateman" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  24. Lehr/Best 68, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  25. Leach, pp. 169-174, "Young Beichan" (2 texts)
  26. Wyman-Brockway I, p. 58, "Lord Batesman, or the Turkish Lady" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #98}
  27. Friedman, p. 128, "Young Beichan (Lord Bateman)" (1 text)
  28. OBB 44, "Young Bekie"; 45, "Young Beichan"; 164, "The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman" (3 texts)
  29. Warner 43, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  30. SharpAp 13 "Young Beichan" (7 texts plus 5 fragments, of which"D" and "L" in particular may be "The Turkish Lady"; 12 tunes){Bronson's #36, #99, #10, #107, #106, #110, #14, #57, #42, #41, #102, #68}
  31. Sharp-100E 6, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  32. Niles 22, "Young Beichan" (1 text, 1 tune)
  33. Gummere, pp. 256-259+356-357, "Young Beichan" (1 text)
  34. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 10, "Lord Bateman (Young Beichan)" (1 text, 1 tune, slightly edited) {Bronson's #14}
  35. Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 276-277, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  36. Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 100-102, "[Turkish Lady]" (1 text, 1 tune)
  37. Ritchie-Southern, pp. 22-23, "The Turkish Lady" (1 text, 1 tune)
  38. Hodgart, p. 41, "Young Beichan (Lord Bateman)" (1 text)
  39. DBuchan 7, "Young Bicham"; 8, "Young Bekie" (2 texts, 1 tune in appendix) {Bronson's #112}
  40. MacSeegTrav 8, "Young Beichan" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  41. TBB 2, "Young Beichan" (1 text)
  42. HarvClass-EP1, pp. 84-86, "Young Bicham" (1 text)
  43. Abrahams/Foss, pp. 101-103, "Lord Bateman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  44. SHenry H470, p. 491, "Lord Beichan" (1 text, 1 tune)
  45. LPound-ABS, 14, pp. 33-36, "Lord Bayham" (1 text)
  46. JHCox 8, "Young Beichan" (3 text plus mention of 1 more)
  47. JHCoxIIA, #7A-C, pp. 22-31, "A Turkish Lady," "Turkish Lady," "Lord Wetram" (3 texts, 3 tunes) {Bronson's #54, #53, #93}
  48. Darling-NAS, pp. 67-69, "Lord Bateman" (1 text)
  49. Silber-FSWB, p. 212, "Lord Bateman" (1 text)
  50. DT 53, LORDBATE* LRDBEICH* (The DT editors also list TURKLADY* as Child 53, but it belongs with Laws O26)
  51. Roud #40
  52. BI, C053