Jon acknowledges this as “A very ancient story by all accounts. I think my favourite line is ‘in at her window the knight come a jumping’ ! A great tune by Carthy.”
Martin that is of course. It has several different titles, but the basic plotline is common across Europe and beyond, which at least gives the impression of something properly engrained in folklore and properly very old indeed. It’s in the Child collection as Ballad #4 and was also collected by Vaughan Williams. There are numerous recorded versions of this as you’d expect and Mainly Norfolk covers a fair few of them with sleeve notes and transcriptions. A.L. Lloyd point out that Outlandish in this case means ‘of the outlands’, or wilds, for which you can read Scotland in the British example. Quite why he’s so murderously inclined isn’t explained, but suggests a malevolent spirit or demon, although he could simply be a take-the-money-and-run-serial-killer. Whichever, he is outsmarted here and a good job it is too. I’ll also note that the parrot seems to be an oddity in Britain, although we are somewhat beset by them these days whether they are feral or genuinely migratory (I’ve seen plausible suggestions for both), this still seems a touch exotic. If anyone has a working knowledge of Asian myth you might be able to put Polly in her place. Jon clearly likes this having recorded it in both Spiers & Boden and Bellowhead modes. I’m glad to say that it survives well without the instrumental support of either and is another of the epics that has a strong enough story to carry it through regardless. Marvellous stuff, but remember ladies, be careful what you wish for!!