Rattlin’ Bog: The Everlasting Circle

Leggi in italiano

Like the  hopscotch known by children of all continents, even the “song of the eternal cycle” is a drop of ancient wisdom that survived our day: as well as a mnemonic game it is also a tongue twister that becomes increasingly difficult with increasing speed .

Some say it’s Irish, some it’s an Irish melody about a Scottish text, (or vice versa), others say it’s from the South of England or Wales, or from Breton origins, doesn’ t matter, more likely it is a collective nursery rhyme and archetypal of those that are found in the various European countries, coming from an ancient prayer-song, perhaps from the spring ritual celebrations , or how much it has survived of the ancient teaching, for metaphors, of the cycle life-death-life.

albero celtaTREE OF LIFE

One can not but think of the cosmic tree as an universal symbol, that is, the absolute starting point of life. In symbolic language, this point is the navel of the world, the beginning and end of all things, but it is often imagined as a vertical axis that, located at the center of the universe, crosses the sky, the earth and the underworld.

Greta Fogliani in her “Alla radice dell’albero cosmico” writes “In itself, the tree is not really a cosmological theme, because it is first and foremost a natural element that, by its attributes, has assumed a symbolic function. The tree always regenerates with the passing of the seasons: it loses its leaves, it is dry, it seems to die, but then each time it is reborn and recovers its splendor.
Because of these characteristics, it becomes not only a sacred element, but also a microcosm, because in its process of evolution it represents and repeats the creation of the universe. Moreover, because of its extension both downwards and upwards, this element inevitably ended up assuming a cosmological value, becoming the pivot of the universe that crosses the sky, the earth and the afterlife and acts as a link between the cosmic areas.

Gustav Klimt: Tree of life, 1905

From the many variations while maintaining the same structure, the melodies vary depending on the origin, a polka in Ireland, a strathspey in Scotland and a morris dance in England .. The Irish could not transform it into a drinking song as a game-pretext for abundant drink (whoever mistakes drinks).
In short, everyone has added us of his.

RATTLIN’ BOG

“STANDARD” MELODY: it is the Irish one that is a more or less fast polka.

The Corries (very communicative with the public).

Irish Descendants

The Fenians

Rula Bula

THE RATTLIN BOG
Oh ho the rattlin'(1) bog,
the bog down in the valley-o;
Rare bog, the rattlin’ bog,
the bog down in the valley-o.
I
Well, in the bog there was a hole,
a rare hole, a rattlin’ hole,
Hole in the bog,
and the bog down in the valley-o.
II
Well, in the hole there was a tree,
a rare tree, a rattlin’ tree,
Tree in the hole, and the hole in the bog/and the bog down in the valley-o.
III
On the tree … a branch,
On that branch… a twig (2)
On that twig… a nest
In that nest… an egg
In that egg… a bird
On that bird… a feather
On that feather… a worm!(3)
On the worm … a hair
On the hair … a louse
On the louse … a tick
On the tick … a rash

NOTES
1) rattling = “fine”
2)  Irish Descendants  say “limb”
3) in the version circulating in Dublin (although not unique, for example it is also found in Cornwall) it becomes a flea

PREN AR Y BRYN

The Welsh version has two associative paths with the tree, one is the cosmic tree, the tree of life: the tree that stands on the hill that is in the valley next to the sea. So says the refrain, while the second chain starts from the tree and goes to the branch, the nest, the egg, the bird with feathers, and the bed. And here it stops sometimes adding a flea and then going back to the tree.

The less childish versions of the song once arrived at the bed continue with much more carnal conclusion (the woman and the man and then the child who grows and becomes an adult and from the arm to his hand plants the seed, from which grows the tree) . A funny way to teach the words of things to children, but also a message that everything is interconnected and we are part of the whole.

Heather Jones ♪

PREN AR Y BRYN
I
Ar y bryn roedd pren,
o bren braf
Y pren ar y bryn a’r bryn
A’r bryn ar y ddaear
A’r ddaear ar ddim
Ffeind a braf oedd y bryn
Lle tyfodd y pren.
II
Ar y pren daeth cainc,
o gainc braf
III
Ar y gainc daeth nyth
o nyth braf
IV
Yn y nyth daeth wy
o  wy  braf
V
Yn yr wy daeth cyw
o cyw braf
VI
Ar y cyw daeth plu
o plu braf
VII
O’r plu daeth gwely
o gwely braf
VIII
I’r gwely daeth chwannen…
English translation
I
What a grand old tree,
Oh fine tree.
The tree on the hill,
the hill in the valley,
The valley by the sea.
Fine and fair was the hill
where the old tree grew.
II
From the tree came a bough,
Oh fine bough !
III
On the bough came a nest,
Oh fine nest !
IV
From the nest came an egg,
Oh fine egg !
V
From the egg came a bird,
Oh fine bird !
VI
On the bird came feathers,
Oh fine feathers !
VII
From the feathers came a bed,
Oh fine bed !
VIII
From the bed came a flea ..

MAYPOLE SONG

Paul Giovanni in Wicker Man

MAYPOLE SONG
In the woods there grew a tree
And a fine fine tree was he
And on that tree there was a limb
And on that limb there was a branch
And on that branch there was a nest
And in that nest there was an egg
And in that egg there was a bird
And from that bird a feather came
And of that feather was
A bed
And on that bed there was a girl
And on that girl there was a man
And from that man there was a seed
And from that seed there was a boy
And from that boy there was a man
And for that man there was a grave
From that grave there grew
A tree
In the Summerisle(1),
Summerisle, Summerisle, Summerisle wood
Summerisle wood.

NOTES
1) Summerisle is the imaginary island where the film takes place

IN MES’ AL PRÀ

It is the Italian regional version also collected by Alan Lomax in his tour of Italy in 1954. Of Italian origin Lomax are the Lomazzi emigrated to America in the nineteenth century.
In July 1954 Alan arrives in Italy with the intent of fixing on magnetic tape the extraordinary variety of music of the Italian popular tradition. A journey of discovery, from the north to the south of the peninsula, alongside the great Italian colleague Diego Carpitella who produced over two thousand records in about six months of field work.

240px-Amselnest_lokilechIn this version from the tree we pass from the branches to the nest and the egg and then to the little bird. The context is fresh, very springly.. to explain the origin of life and respond to the first curiosity of children about sex ..
The song ended up in the repertoire of the scouts and in the songs of the oratory and young Catholic gatherings, but also among the songs of the summer-centers and kindergartens.

IN MES AL PRÀ
In mes al prà induina cusa ghʼera
ghʼera lʼalbero, lʼalbero in  mes al prà,
il prà intorno a lʼalbero
e lʼalbero piantato in mes al prà
A tac a lʼalbero induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera i broc(1),  i broc a tac a lʼalbero
e lʼalbero  piantato in mes al prà
A tac ai broc induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera i ram, i ram a tac ai broc,
i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero piantato in mes al prà.
A tac ai ram induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera le   foie, le foie a tac ai ram,
i ram a tac ai broc, i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero   piantato in mes al prà.
In mes a le foie induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼeraʼl gnal, il   gnal in mes a le foie,
le foie a tac ai ram, i ram a tac ai broc,
i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero   piantato in mes al prà.
Dentrʼindal gnal induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera gli   uvin, gli uvin dentrʼindal gnal,
il gnal in mes a le foie, le foie a tac ai ram,
i ram a tac ai broc, i broc a tac a lʼalbero e lʼalbero   piantato in mes al prà.
Dentrʼagli uvin induina cusa ghʼera,
ghʼera gli   uslin, gli uslin dentrʼagli uvin,
gli uvin dentrʼindal gnal,
il gnal in mes a le foie,
e foie a tac ai ram,
i ram a tac ai broc,
i broc a tac a lʼalbero
e lʼalbero piantato  in mes al prà.
English translation Cattia Salto
In the middle of the lawn, guess what was there, there was the tree, the tree in the middle of the lawn, the lawn around the tree and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
Attached to the tree guess what was there,  there were the branches, the branches attached to the tree, and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn
Attached to the branches guess what was there, there were the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches, the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
Attached to the twigs, guess what was there, there were the leaves, the leaves attached to the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches,
the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
In the middle of the leaves, guess what was there, there was the nest, the nest in the middle of the leaves,
the leaves attached to the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches, the branches attached to the tree, and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
Inside the nest, guess what it was,
there were the eggs, the eggs inside the nest,
the nest in the middle of the leaves, the leaves attached to the twigs, the twigs attached to the branches, the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn.
In the eggs, guess what was there
there were the little birds, the little birds inside the little eggs, the little eggs inside the nest,
the nest in the middle of the leaves,
the leaves attached to the twigs,
the twigs attached to the branches,
the branches attached to the tree
and the tree planted in the middle of the lawn

NOTES
1) “brocco” is an archaic term for the large branches dividing from the central trunk of the tree!

THE GREEN GRASS GROWS ALL AROUND

“The tree in the wood”, there is a womb, a resting place in that “and the green grass grows all around” ..

Luis Jordan

a children version

THE GREEN GRASS GROWS ALL AROUND
There was a tree
All in the woods
The prettiest tree
That you ever did see
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And on that tree
There was a branch
The prettiest branch
That you ever did see
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And on that branch
There was a nest
The prettiest nest
That you ever did see
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And in that nest
There was an egg
The prettiest egg
That you ever did see
And the egg in the nest
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And in that egg
There was a bird
The prettiest bird
That you ever did see
And the bird in the egg
And the egg in the nest
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.
And on that bird
There was a wing
The prettiest wing
That you ever did see
And the wing on the bird
And the bird in the egg
And the egg in the nest
And the nest on the branch
And the branch on the tree
And the tree in the ground
And the green grass grows all around, all around
The green grass grows all around.

LINK
http://www.instoria.it/home/albero_cosmico.htm
http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/27/bog.htm
http://thesession.org/tunes/583
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/610.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=57991
http://www.anpi.it/media/uploads/patria/2009/2/39-40_LEO_SETTIMELLI.pdf