“Fair Annie”


(Annie's) lover is going off to fetch a bride. On his return, he orders Annie to serve his new bride. She does, but that night weeps for her lost lover. The new bride hears and visits her; they find they are sisters. The bride leaves her husband to Annie


Child makes much of the relationship between this song and the lai "le Freisne" of Marie de France. That there are similarities cannot be denied; in the lai, a woman bears twins, and leaves one at a convent to preserve her reputation, and eventually the separated reunite.

But the lai is much concerned with the mechanisms of separation and reunion, which are of no consequence at all in the ballad. It is possible that the two pieces are independent, or at best, entirely separate redactions of a very brief fragment of plot. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Child 62, "Fair Annie" (10 texts)
  2. Bronson 62, "Fair Annie" (7 versions)
  3. SharpAp 16 "Fair Annie" (1 text, 1 tune){Bronson's #4}
  4. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 446-448, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  5. Davis-Ballads 15, "Fair Annie" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3}
  6. Leach, pp. 196-201, "Fair Annie" (2 texts)
  7. OBB 42, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  8. Friedman, p. 114, "Fair Annie" (2 texts+2 fragments)
  9. PBB 50, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  10. Combs/Wilgus 16, pp. 114-118, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  11. Gummere, pp. 247-251+355, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  12. Hodgart, p. 44, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  13. DBuchan 9, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  14. TBB 3, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  15. SHenry H126, p. 510, "Fair Annie" (1 text, 1 tune)
  17. ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #423, "Fair Annie" (1 text)
  18. Roud #42
  19. BI, C062


Alternate titles: “The Sister's Husband”; “Rosanna”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1769 (Herd)
Found in: Britain(England(North),Scotland(Aber)) US(Ap,NE,SE) Ireland