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Re: The Four Marys
Thank you very much Sally! This has puzzled me since I first heard "The
Corries" version of the song!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sally Spangler" <email@example.com>
To: "Sinclair Digest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 8:56 PM
Subject: The Four Marys
> The comments on the Four Marys prompted me to look up the background.
> This is what I found. Originally titled Mary Hamilton (child #173)
> Mary Hamilton one of Mary Stuart's four companions, bears a child to the
> "highest Stuart of all," kills it and hides the body, denying its
> existance even to her lover. When the body is found, Mary is taken to
> Edinburgh, tried, sentenced, and hanged.
> Sir Walter Scott in his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border" (1802)
> explained, that although the event took place in the court of Mary
> Stuart, the "highest Stuart" was not involved, nor was Mary Hamilton.
> Rather, a French serving woman bears a child by Mary Stuart's
> apothecary. the two of them kill the child and both were hanged in
> Edinburgh. It seems that Mary Stuart had complained about her husband,
> Lord Henry Darnley's infidelity. Somehow the story got rearranged to
> the Queen's companion and Lord Darnley.
> I have a new CD of old songs. It includes another version of this piece,
> and does not in any way, except for one chorus to resemble the
> original. Child printed 15 versions, with some 28 texts. Not
> surprising that this version is in variant to what I learned originally.
> The four Marys being Mary Hamilton, Mary Seaton, Mary Carmichael, and
> Mary Beaton. regards, Sally
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