The words and music of these two songs are taken from "Songs and Ballads of the West: A Collection made from the Mouths of the People," by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, M.A., and Rev. H. Fleetwood Sheppard, M.A., published by Messrs. Methuen & Co., and Messrs. Patey & Willis, of London.
The author of this has the following interesting notes in regard to The Golden Vanity:
"Taken down words and air from James Olver, of Launceston. Melody noted down by Mr. Russell. This ballad was printed as 'Sir Walter Raleigh sailing in the Lowlands, showing how the famous ship called the Sweet Trinity was taken by a false galley; and how it was recovered by the craft of a little sea-boy, who sunk the galley,' by Coles, Wright, Vere and Gilbertson (1648-80). In this it is said to be sung 'to the tune of the Lowlands of Holland,' and in it there is no ingratitude shown to the poor sea-boy. In this version there are fourteen verses. It begins:
"It has been reprinted in Ashton: 'A Century of Ballads,' p. 201. Under the form of 'The Golden Vanity,' it is given with an air (of no value, and quite unlike ours) in Mrs. Gordon's Memoirs of Christopher North, 1862, ii, p. 317, as sung at a convivial meeting at Lord Robertson's by Mr. P. Fraser of Edinburgh, before Mr. J.C. Lockhart and Professor Wilson. This begins:
"This also is in fourteen verses. The broadside version printed by Such and Pitts, of Seven Dials, begins:
"This is in seven verses, and very imperfect. Verse two contains five lines, verse three only three, verse four and six have four lines, verses five and seven have three lines. Consequently, it would not be possible to 'put a tune to it.' Olver's melody is a very fine and striking one. It was adopted, with some modernization that spoiled it, by Clifton in the early part of this century, for his song of 'The Oyster Girl.' 'Sir Walter Raleigh,' says Mr. Ebbsworth, in his introduction to this ballad in the Roxburgh Ballads (V., p.418), 'never secured the popularity, the natural affection which was frankly given to Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. Raleigh was deemed arrogant, selfish, with the airs of an upstart, insolent to superiors, unconciliating with equals, and heartlessly indifferent to those in a lower position. The subject of the following ballad is fictitious - sheer invention, of course. The selfishness and ingratitude displayed by Raleigh agreed with the current estimate. He certainly had a daughter.' The tune to which 'The Golden Vanity' was set in the broadsides was 'The Sailing in the Lowlands,' and must therefore be an older air than the ballad. We obtained the same ballad at Chagford as 'The Yellow Golden Tree.' Our air is not earlier than the end of the last century. To a different tune it was a favorite fo'castle song forty or fifty years ago. We have heard this ballad to the tune we give at Mawgan-in-Pyder."
And of "The Green Bed" Mr. Baring-Gould says:
"Taken down from J. Masters, Bradstone; melody noted by Mr. Sheppard. The same melody set to the 'Outlandish Knight,' sung by Richard Gregory at Two Bridges, Dartmoor, he imported into the air a phrase from the 'British Grenadier.' 'The Green Bed' exists as a broadside in six double verses. Mr. Sheppard has rewritten the ballad, as the original was poor, condensing the story into somewhat shorter space. The air somewhat resembles 'The Girl I Left Behind Me.'"