Edward
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

Information
Lyrics
This ballad is Child Ballad #13.

Edward appears in Percy's Reliques (1765). It was sent to Percy by Sir David Dalrymple who may have altered the lyrics and changed the hero's name to Edward. Because of the spelling in the original copy, there was suspicion that the ballad was not authentic. Child discounts this. Motherwell believed the ballad was an incomplete version of a longer ballad, possibly The Twa Brothers (#49) or Lizie Wan (#51). There are variants of the ballad in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany.

This version is from The Burl Ives Songbook and is a based on one of the variants collected by Sharp in the Appalachians.

For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site go to Francis J. Child Ballads.

What makes that blood on the point of your knife?
My son, now tell to me
It is the blood of my old grey mare
Who plowed the fields for me, me, me
Who plowed the fields for me.

It is too red for your old grey mare
My son, now tell to me
It is the blood of my old coon dog
Who chased the fox for me, me me
Who chased the fox for me.

It is too red for your old coon dog
My son, now tell to me
It is the blood of my brother John
Who hoed the corn for me, me, me
Who hoed the corn for me.

What did you fall out about?
My son, now tell to me
Because he cut yon holly bush
Which might have been a tree, tree, tree
Which might have been a tree.

What will you say when your father comes back
When he comes home from town?
I'll set my foot in yonder boat
And sail the ocean round, round, round
I'll sail the ocean round.

When will you come back, my own dear son?
My son, now tell to me
When the sun it sets in yonder sycamore tree
And that will never be, be, be
And that will never be.
Additional Versions
From The Burl Ives Songbook,
English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians, and
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
See Bibliography for full information.