Thomas o Yonderdale is Child ballad number 253; Roud number 3890. Child assessed that this "apocryphal" ballad seemed like a recent fabrication from a pastiche of other ballads.
The Roud Folk Song Index is a database of around 250,000 references to nearly 25,000 songs collected from oral tradition in the English language from all over the world. It is compiled by Steve Roud, a former librarian in the London Borough of Croydon. Roud's Index is a combination of the Broadside Index and a "field-recording index" compiled by Roud. It subsumes all the previous printed sources known to Francis James Child and includes recordings from 1900 to 1975. Until early 2006 the index was available by a CD subscription; now it can be found online on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website, maintained by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). A partial list is also available at List of folk songs by Roud number.
Lady Maisry had many suitors to choose from. It was Thomas of Yonderdale who "gaind the love o this ladie," but once deprived of her virginity Thomas ceased coming near her bower. One day he passes by and overhears her speaking to the young son she bore by him, reproaching the father's neglect. Thomas is moved to tears, and declares he is come to "comfort" her. She reminds him of his earlier empty promise of marriage, and Thomas avows he will make good on the promise and marry her when he returns from voyage overseas.
Despite her wish for a storm, it is fine weather on Saturday, and he sails off to his destination (England, according to Buchan) where he tarries three months and seduces another maiden. Then Lady Maisry appears in a dream upbraiding his infidelity. He summons his errand boy at night to carry a letter to Lady Maisry. The boy promises to do so even if his legs gave out and he had to crawl in the dark. Thomas instructs that Lady Maisry be dressed in a silk gown and cramasie (crimson cloth) coat, and be given a horse to ride with bells on the tips of its mane, and fine trappings. She thus arrives, and appears as magnificent as the Scottish queen in the eyes of Thomas's would-be-bride (an Englishwoman, according to Buchan). Thomas's boy then explains that the guest is no queen but Thomas's first love, at which the pretender bride despairs that he will never choose herself over this rival, and indeed, when Lady Maisry confronts Thomas about what his intent was, Thomas declares his will to marry Lady Maisry. The jilted bride then asks what is in store for her, and is only offered a ride home in a fine coach. She negotiates to have Thomas cede two-thirds of his land to his brother, and arrange to have her marry the brother. But Thomas refuses to part with his land, and says he has no power to choose a bride for his brother.
Svend Grundtvig felt that this Scottish ballad, despite its suspicious and derivative nature, was probably based on an earlier form analogous to the Scandinavian ballad group represented by Danish Slegfred og Brud "Mistress and Bride" (DgF 255). Other cognates in this group are the Icelandic Elja kvæði (ÍF 48), Faroese Brúnsveins vísa (CCF 119), and the Norwegian Bendik og Videmø.. Francis J. Child makes hint of this parallel in passing, under the chapter for another Scottish ballad, No. 62 Fair Annie .
Svend Hersleb Grundtvig was a Danish literary historian and ethnographer. He was one of the first systematic collectors of Danish traditional music, and he was especially interested in Danish folk songs. He began the large project of editing Danish ballads. He also co-edited Icelandic ballads. He was the son of N. F. S. Grundtvig.
Francis James Child was an American scholar, educator, and folklorist, best known today for his collection of English and Scottish ballads now known as the Child Ballads. Child was Boylston professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard University, where he produced influential editions of English poetry. In 1876 he was named Harvard's first Professor of English, a position which allowed him to focus on academic research. It was during this time that he began work on the Child Ballads.
Fair Annie is Child ballad number 62, existing in several variants.
It may be noted that the Scandinavian ballad group is categorized TSB D 259: "Bride gives up bride-groom so that he may marry mistress".This is not what happens in "Thomas of Yonderdale," though it is what happens in Fair Annie and the Danish Skjøn Anna where the would-be-bride recognizes the mistress Annie/Anna as her long lost sister abducted abroad. Modern scholars however conclude that the Scandinavian ballad of Anna is of later composition, derived from a German original (Die schöne Hannale), and do not assign a TSB number to the Skjøn Anna group.
The Types of the Scandinavian Medieval Ballad: A Descriptive Catalogue (TSB) is the designation for a cataloguing system for Scandinavian ballads.
Billy Blind, Billy Blin, Billy Blynde, Billie Blin, or Belly Blin is an English and Lowland Scottish household spirit, much like a brownie. He appears only in ballads where he frequently advises the characters. It is probable that the character of Billy Blind is a folk memory of the god Woden or Odin from Germanic mythology, in his "more playful aspect" and he seems to have been the same character as Blind Harie, the "blind man of the game" in Scotland.
"Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight" is the English common name representative of a very large class of European ballads. The subject matter is frequently associated with the genre of the Halewyn legends circulating in Europe. There are a number of variants with different names.
Willie's Lady is Child ballad number 6 and Roud #220. The earliest known copy of the ballad is from a recitation transcribed in 1783.
"Young Beichan" is a ballad, which with a number of variants and names such as "Lord Baker", "Lord Bateman", and "Young Bekie", was collected by Francis James Child in the late 19th century, and is included in the Child ballad as number 53.
"Hind Etin" is a folk ballad existing in several variants.
Lord Thomas and Fair Annet is an English folk ballad.
King Estmere is an English and Scottish Child ballad and number 60 of 305 ballads collected by Francis James Child.
"Fair Margaret and Sweet William" is a traditional English ballad which tells of two lovers, of whom either one or both die from heartbreak. Thomas Percy included it in his folio and said that it was quoted as early as 1611 in the Knight of the Burning Pestle. In the United States, variations of Fair Margaret have been regarded as folk song as early as 1823.
"Clerk Colvill" is Child ballad 42.
The Bonny Birdy is Child ballad 82.
"Gil Brenton" is Child ballad 5, Roud 22, existing in several variants.
Lord Ingram and Chiel Wyet is Child ballad 66.
Willie and Lady Maisry is Child ballad number 70.
"Young Andrew" is an old song catalogued as Child ballad 48.
Sweet William's Ghost is an English Ballad and folk song which exists in many lyrical variations and musical arrangements. Early known printings of the song include Allan Ramsay's The Tea-Table Miscellany in 1740 and Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry in 1765. Percy believed that the last two stanzas of the version he published were later additions, but that the details of the story they recounted were original.
Lady Maisry is Child ballad 65, existing in many variants.
Lord Thomas and Lady Margaret or Clerk Tamas is a traditional folk song.
The Twa Knights is a traditional Scottish ballad. It was collected by Francis James Child as Child ballad number 268. It is highly possible that the ballad was popularly unknown in Scotland, and only known through print.
"Elveskud" or "Elverskud" is the Danish, and most widely used, name for one of the most popular ballads in Scandinavia.