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Midwest Folklore


Indiana University

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Abstract/ Summary

Andrew Lang Spoke of the murder of "The Bonny Earl" of Moray as "a deed which for years influenced the politics of Scotland." It is also the subject of one of the most beautiful and stirring of the Scottish ballads (Child 181), compelling even to people hearing or reading it for the first time. A ballad should certainly not be judged on whether or not it is good history; either it tells a story well or it does not. Neither will our knowledge of its historical background make us see a poor ballad as a good one. On the other hand, such knowledge can and often does add another dimension to our enjoyment. In the present study of "The Bonny Earl of Murray," for example, it can show us the ballad as both history and something that helped to make history—an expression of a people's anger.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Ives, E. D. (1959). "The Bonny Earl of Murray": The Ballad as History. Midwest Folklore., 9(3), 133-138.


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