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Collection of ballads, songsheets: The Sicilian Maid

Collection of eighty street ballads on forty sheets, mostly with a woodcut printed at London, the majority by J. Catnach (1820ñ1830). London: n.p., n.d. University of Minnesota Libraries. WILSON Rare Books Quarto 820.1 C683.

Broadside pasted to album leaf 17, containing "The Golden Glove" (left column), and "The Keel Row" and "The Minute-Gun at Sea" (right column).

The Golden Glove.

Printed by J. Catnach, 2, Monmouth-court, <7> Dials. Battledores, Primers, &c. sold very cheap.
      A WEALTHY young squire of Tamworth we hear<,>
      He courted a nobleman's daughter so fair,
      And for to marry her it was his intent,
      All friends and relations gave their consent.
      The time was appointed for the wedding day,
      A young farmer was appointed to give her away<,>
      As soon as the farmer the young lady did spy,
      He inflamed her heart, O my heart<,> she did cry<.>
      She turn'd from the squire but nothing she said<,>
      Instead of being married she took to her bed<.>
      The thoughts of the farmer so run in her mind<,>
      A way for to have him she quickly did find<.>
      Coat, waistcoat & tro<u>sers she then did put on,
      And a hunting she went with her dog & her gun.
      She hunted all <ë>round where the farmer did dwell
      Because in her heart she did love him full well<.>
      She oftentimes fired, but nothing she kill'd,
      At leng<th> the young farmer came into the field,
      And to discourse with him it was her intent,
      With her dog and her gun to meet him she went<.>
      I thought you had been at the wedding<,> she cry'd<,>
      To wait on the squire, and give him his bride;
      No sir<,> said the farmer<,> I'll take sword in hand,
      By honour I'll gain her whenever she commands<.>
      It pleased the lady to find him so bold<,>
      She gave him a glove that was flower'd with gold;
      And told him she found it when coming along
      As she was a hunting with her dog & her gun<.>
      The lady went home with a heart full of love,
      And gave out a notice that she'd lost a glove,
      An<d> the man that found it & brought it to me<,>
      The man that did bring it her husband should be<.>
      The farmer was pleased when <he> heard of the news,
      With a heart full of love to the lady he goes<.>
      Dear honoured lady I have pick'd up a glove,
      And hope you will be pleased <t>o grant me your <l>ove.
      It is already granted<,> I will be your bride,
      I love the sweet breath of a farmer she cried,
      I'll be mistress of my dairy & milking my cows
      While my jolly farmer is whistling at plough.
      And when she was married she told of her fun
      How she went a hunting with her dog & gun<.>
      <B>ut now I have got him fast in a snare<,>
      <I'll> enjoy h<i>m for ever, I vow and declare<.>

Basic transcription and commentary (below) by Eric Welle.  Pointed brackets mark emendations.

The broadside ballad "The Golden Glove" inverts many of the traditional societal norms of early-modern England.  The female character is of the aristocratic class, and traditionally, such a woman would marry a man of equal or superior status.  She is depicted as disregarding this relationship to pursue her heart and marry a farmer, someone of inferior status.  Not only does she choose her husband independently, but she disregards the barriers of class when doing so.  This female character is the epitome of a "disorderly woman" (Wiltenberg 1992): she is unwilling to conform to societal standards.  And yet she is not portrayed as  being a menace to the patriarchal order.  The father is simply absent in this narrative, and the originally intended husband is hardly visible.  The absence of a dominating male figure implies that the heroine is not subject to any man: she is her own woman and follows her will.  Her transvestitism further suggests her "disorderly" nature.

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Michael Hancher
Department of English, University of Minnesota
URL: <http://umn.edu/home/mh/newgipsy.html>
Comments to: mh@umn.edu
Created 5 May 1997
Revised 29 June 1997