“Young Ellender”


A father sees Ellender with a man. Father would send the man "across the salt sea Where the loud cannons they roar" and confine Ellender on "bread and no water Once a day" She would go with him. A gold ring breaks in two and each takes half. He leaves.


The notes to Phoebe Smith's version on Voice06 describe "the rather garbled text of 'Young Ellender.'" The elements of the fragmentary story are all familiar as are the images projected by the lines. It reminds me of parts of "Charming Beauty Bright" [Laws M3], "The Iron Door"[Laws M15], "The Jolly Plowboy"[Laws M24], "Pleasant and Delightful" and countless other token ballads. Nevertheless, so far I cannot make this a version of a ballad I know. I would add one or more of the keywords "captivity," "separation," "pressgang," "war" and "cross-dressing," if any of those attributes were more than hinted at or threatened.

Yates, Musical Traditions site _Voice of the People suite_ "Notes - Volume 6" - 25.8.02: "This appears to be a much fragmented version of Roud 539/Laws M15 'The Iron Door'...." The themes are right but I can't make the words fit. Line-by-line comparison with SHenry, Peacock, Creighton-NovaScotia and Creighton-Maritime shows that those texts are all closely related to each other and have no lines in common with "Young Ellender." - BS


  • Phoebe Smith, "Young Ellender" (on Voice06)


  1. Roud #1750
  2. BI, RcYoElle


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1969 (recording, Phoebe Smith)
Found in: Britain(England(Lond))