- Lord Thomas and Fair Annet
Lord Thomas and Fair Annet (Child 73, Roud [http://library.efdss.org/cgi-bin/query.cgi?cross=off&index_roud=on&query=4&field=20 4] ) is a folk
ballad. [ Francis James Child, "English and Scottish Popular Ballads", [http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch073.htm "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet"] ]
Lord Thomas (or Sweet Willie) is in love with Fair Annet, or Annie, or Elinor, but she has little property. He asks for advice. His father, mother, and brother (or some of them) advise that he should marry the nut-brown maid with a rich dowry. His mother promises to curse him if he marries Annet and bless him if he marries the nut-brown maid. His sister warns her that her dowry may be lost and then he will be stuck with nothing but a hideous bride. Nevertheless, he takes his mother's advice.
Fair Annet dresses as splendidly as she can and goes to the wedding. The nut-brown maid is so jealous that she stabs Annet to death. Lord Thomas stabs both the nut-brown maid and himself to death. A rose grew from Fair Annet's grave, a brier from Lord Thomas's, and they grew together.
Several Norse variants of this ballad exist, althoug the man does not reject the woman on advice of his friends in them. [Francis James Child, "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads", v 2, p 180, Dover Publications, New York 1965]
Similarly to this one, in "
Fair Margaret and Sweet William", the hero rejects the heroine to marry for money; " Lord Lovel", containing some similar themes, has the heroine die for lack of hope. [Francis James Child, "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads", v 2, p 204, Dover Publications, New York 1965]
The grave plants that grow together are a motif to express true love, also found in many variants of "Barbara Allen" and of "
Tristan and Iseult", and in the legend of Baucis and Philemon.
This ballad has no connection with "
The Nut-Brown Maid", in which a nut-brown maid is the heroine.
Fair Margaret and Sweet William
* [http://www.contemplator.com/child/thomas.html "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor"] with some history
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