The Fair Flower of Northumberland (2010)

SATB and Piano

Text from the Child collection of English Ballads, No. 2

Total duration ca. 3'40"

Single movement work

Premiered in February 2012

in Nashville, TN

by David Cassel and the Vanderbilt Chamber Singers

Listen to a recording of this work on Soundcloud

Audio clip performed by David Cassel and the Vanderbilt Chamber Singers


Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $1.00 per copy

The text of this setting was selected from the lengthy lyrics to The Fair Flower of Northumberland, found in the Child collection of English ballads. It tells a story of imprisoned Scottish knight, who woos the daughter of the  Earl of Northumberland to help him escape. When she helps him to the Scottish border, he offers that she be his mistress, but not his wife. The text ends with her being rescued from dire straights by two English knights and an admonition to beware of Scotsmen. Eschewing this distasteful final “moral” of the story, this musical setting focuses on the betrayal of the “fair flower.” The text is arranged so that the fate of“fair flower” is left unknown. Whether the she lies collapsed on the strand or has died of a broken heart is up to the audience and the performer to decide.