Crea sito

Joan to the Maypole

Leggi in italiano

The song “John (Joan) to the Maypole” dates back at least to 1600, we know several text versions with the same title but also with different titles, (to “May-day Country Mirth”, “The Young Lads and Lasses”, ” Innocent Recreation “,” The Disappointment “) the first printed version dates back to 1630 when the melody is attributed to Felix White, and we find it in the collection” The Pills to Purge Melancholy “by Thomas D’Urfey c. 1720.

17th-century woodblock from the ballad sheet ‘The May Day Country Mirth’

The song describes a typical May Day on the lawn: couples dance around the May Pole to contend for the coveted award, the May garland. The winning couple will become King and Queen of May.
To organize May Day feast we need just a green, that is an open space outside the village, a well planted pole in the middle of the lawn, decorated with flower garlands, some “summer houses” where to sit in the shade and refresh with drinks.
In the painting by Charles Robert Leslie we see a scene celebrating the May with Queen Elizabeth depicted on the right in the foreground while being entertained by a jester. On the expanse of the second floor stands the May pole decorated with green garlands; around the pole the dances are taking place and the characters dressed by Robin Hood, Lady Marian, Fra Tack, but also a seahorse, a dragon and a buffoon (the classic characters of mummers and Morris) are well distinguishable.

MayDay_Leslie
Charles Robert Leslie – May Day in the reign of Queen Elizabeth

In the Victorian painting by William Powell Frith we find again the same situation described in the late medieval period: in the distance on the left stands out the profile of a church, not by chance: it was in fact the church that financed the May celebrations; with the beer sold, the parish church was maintained or the alms were distributed to the poor.

William Powell Frith (1819-1909) A May Day Celebration Oil on canvas 40 x 56 inches (101.6 x 142.3 cm) Private collection
William Powell Frith (1819-1909) A May Day Celebration

It is not even so strange that Beltane feast has merged under the control of the Catholic Church, but the Puritans were horrified by all May customs, thus May Pole and related celebrations see moments of obscurantism alternated with moments of tolerance (see more)

The tune is from “Margaret Board Lute Book” (here) the manuscript in the private collection of Robert Spencer, has been dated c1620 up to 1636 (it seems that lady Margaret took lessons from John Dowland).

Toronto Consort  from O Lusty May 1996 
in “The new standard song book”- (J.E.Carpenter) – 1866 with the title: “very popular at the time of Charles I”. A version of nine verses is featured in the broadside titled “The May-Day Country Mirth Or, The Young Lads and Lasses’ Innocent Recreation, Which is to be priz’d before Courtly Pomp and Pastime.” Bodleian collection, Douce Ballads 2 (152a ) and The Roxburghe Ballads: Illustrating the Last Years of the Stuarts Vol. 7, Part 1, edited by J. Woodfall Ebsworth (Hertford: Ballad Society, 1890) (see)

JOAN TO THE MAYPOLE
Chorus
Joan to the Maypole away, let us on,
The time is swift and will be gone;
There go the lasses away to the green,
Where their beauties may be seen
I
Bess, Moll, Kate, Doll,
All the gay lasses
have lads to attend them,
Hodge, Nick, Tom, Dick,
Jolly brave dancers,
and who can mend them?
[Chorus]
II
Did you not see the Lord of the May
Walk along in his rich array?
There goes the lass that is only his,
See how they meet and how they kiss.
Come Will, run Gill,
Or dost thou list to lose thy labour(1);
Kit Crowd scrape loud,
Tickle her, Tom, with a pipe and tabor!(2).
[Chorus]
III
There is not any that shall out-vie
My little pretty Joan and I,
For I’m sure I can dance as well
As Robin, Jenny, Tom, or Nell.
Last year, we were here,
When Ruff Ralph he played us a bourée,
And we, merrily
Thumped it about and gained the glory.
IV
Now, if we hold out
as we do begin,
Joan and I the prize shall win(3);
Nay, if we live till another day (4),
I’ll make thee lady of the May.
Dance round, skip, bound,
Turn and kiss, and then for a greeting.
Now, Joan, we’ve done,
Fare thee well
till the next merry meeting.
[Chorus]

NOTES
1) the exhortation refers to the musicians who are not yet ready with their instruments to kick off the dance.
2) Pipe and tabor or tabor-pipe is the three-hole flute associated with the tambourine, the flute is played with one hand and with the other one it is accompanied by a tambourine  (see more)
3) the May garland at stake
4) it is not clear whether the election dethroned the previous couple immediately or is the title valid for the following year.

second part

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/intorno-al-palo-del-maggio.html
http://www.maymorning.co.uk/426023492
http://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Joan_to_the_Maypole
http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/julia/ap1/Board.htm

http://cbladey.com/mayjack/maysong.html#JOAN%20TO%20THE%20MAYPOLE

Rolling home across the sea

Leggi in italiano

A “rolling home” is a traveling home on wheels, but it is also the title of the best known among the homeward-bound shanty. In America home is California or Boston, while in Europe it is England, London or Hamburg, but also Scotland, Ireland or Dublin, the song is equally popular on German and Dutch ships.
Taken from a homonymous poem written by Charles Mackay in 1858 it is considered a forecastle song, but it has also been a capstan shanty. The question of origin is still controversial, about twenty versions are known and according to Stan Hugill it could have a Scandinavian origin.

STANDARD VERSION

It is the version penned in the poem by Charles Mackay who wrote it on May 26, 1858 while he was on board “The Europe” going home and in effect the verses are a little more elaborate than the phrases usually used by the shantyman
Dan Zanes from Sea Music
Carl Peterson

ROLLING HOME
I
Up aloft, amid the rigging
Swiftly blows the fav’ring gale,
Strong as springtime in its blossom,
Filling out each bending sail,
And the waves we leave behind us
Seem to murmur as they rise;
“We have tarried here to bear you
To the land you dearly prize”.
CHORUS
Rolling(1) home, rolling home,
Rolling home across the sea,
Rolling home to dear old Scotland (2)
Rolling home, dear land to thee (3).
II (4)
Full ten thousand miles behind us,
And a thousand miles before,
Ancient ocean waves to waft us
To the well remembered shore.
Newborn breezes swell to send us
To our childhood welcome skies,
To the glow of friendly faces
And the glance of loving eyes.
III (5)
I have watched the rolling hillside
Of the wondrous river Clyde (6)
As I sailed away from Greenock
My heart beat fast inside
But I knew as I was sailing
Far from that Scottish shore
I will miss her every minute
But I’ll return once more.

NOTES
1) rolling has many meanings: it is generally synonymous with “sailing” but it can also derive from “rollikins” an old English term for “drunk”; often as Italo Ottonello suggests, we mean in a literal sense that the typical gait of the sea wolves is “rocking”
2) or England
3) according to Hugill the song comes from a Scandinavian version and he notes that the verse is sometimes sung as “the land’s forbee” with “forbee” = “passing by” or “near.” Förbi is Swedish stands for “past, by.”
4) Carl Peterson skips the 2nd stanza of Charles Mackay’s poem
5) the stanza was added by Carl Peterson
6) it refers to the rolling hills near the Clyde estuary that flows near the port city of Greenock, located on the southern coast

SCOTTISH VERSION

Old Blind Dogs from The Gab O Mey 2003, in a version with a lot of Scotsness

ROLLING HOME
I (1)
Call all hands to man the capstan
See the cable running clear
Heave around and with the wheel, boys
For our homeland we must steer
Chorus
Rolling home, rolling home
Rolling home across the sea
Rolling home to Caledonia
Rolling home, dear land, to thee
II
From the pines of California
And by Chile’s endless strand
We have sailed the world twice over
Every port in every land
III
And to all ye blaggard pirates
Who would chase us from the waves
Heed ye well that those who’ve tried us
Soon have found their watery graves
IV
We were boarded in Jamaica
Where the Jolly Rodger flew
But our swords were hardly drawn, boys
‘Ere they took a rosy hue
V
We return with precious cargo
And with bounty coined in gold
And our sweethearts will rejoice, boys
For they lo’e their sailors bold

NOTES
1) it resumes the II stanza of the poem by Charles Mackay

IRISH VERSION: Rolling home to Ireland

Irish Rovers different text and melody

ROLLING HOME TO IRELAND
I
I come from Paddy’s land
I’m a rake and ramblin’ man
Since I was young, I’ve had the urge to roam
So don’t you weep for me
When I’m sailing on the sea
For you won’t see me till I come rolling home
Chorus
Rolling home to Ireland, rolling home across the sea
Back to me own con-ter-ree (country)
Two thousand miles behind us
and a thousand more to go

So fill the sails and blow winds blow!
II
We sailed away from Cork
We were headed for New York
I’d always dreamed the sailor’s life for me
But the days were hard and long
With no women, wine, or song
And it wasn’t quite the fun I’d thought ‘twould be
III
We weren’t too long a-sail
When the wind became a gale
Our boat was tossed and turned upon the foam
With waves like moutains high
Well I thought that I would die
I wished to God that I was rolling home
IV
And when I reach the shore
I will go to sea no more
There’s more to life than sailing ‘round the Horn
Good luck to sailor men
When they’re headed out again
I wish them all safe harbor from the storm

LINK
https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/rolling-home
http://www.nathanville.org.uk/web-albums/burgess/scrapbook/victorian-culture/pages/The-collected-songs-of-Charles-Mackay.htm
http://www.darachweb.net/SongLyrics/RollingHome.html
http://www.contemplator.com/sea/rolling.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=67591

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=17029
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/oldblinddogs/rolling.htm
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandssongs/secondary/genericcontent_tcm4555620.asp

Rolling home

Read the post in English

Con “Rolling home” s’intende una casa viaggiante su ruote, ma è anche il titolo della più conosciuta tra le  homeward-bound shanty. In America casa è la California o Boston, mentre in Europa è l’Inghilterra, Londra o Amburgo, ma anche  la Scozia, l’Irlanda o Dublino, la canzone è altrettanto popolare sulle navi tedesche e olandesi.
Tratta da una poesia omonima scritta da Charles Mackay nel 1858 è considerata una forecastle song, ma è stata anche  una capstan shanty. La questione dell’origine è ancora controversa, si conoscono una ventina di versioni e secondo Stan Hugill potrebbe avere un’origine  scandinava.

LA VERSIONE STANDARD

E’ la versione riportata nella poesia di Charles Mackay che la scrisse il 26 maggio 1858 mentre era a bordo dell’Europa diretto verso casa  e in effetti i versi sono un po’ più elaborati rispetto alle frasi utilizzate di solito dallo shantyman
Dan Zanes in Sea Music
Carl Peterson


I
Up aloft, amid the rigging
Swiftly blows the fav’ring gale,
Strong as springtime in its blossom,
Filling out each bending sail,
And the waves we leave behind us
Seem to murmur as they rise;
“We have tarried here to bear you
To the land you dearly prize”.
CHORUS
Rolling(1) home, rolling home,
Rolling home across the sea,
Rolling home to dear old Scotland (2)
Rolling home, dear land to thee (3).
II (4)
Full ten thousand miles behind us,
And a thousand miles before,
Ancient ocean waves to waft us
To the well remembered shore.
Newborn breezes swell to send us
To our childhood welcome skies,
To the glow of friendly faces
And the glance of loving eyes.
III (5)
I have watched the rolling hillside
Of the wondrous river Clyde (6)
As I sailed away from Greenock
My heart beat fast inside
But I knew as I was sailing
Far from that Scottish shore
I will miss her every minute
But I’ll return once more.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Sul pennone, in mezzo al sartiame
soffia spedito un vento favorevole,
vigoroso come la primavera in fiore
riempie ogni vela e la flette,
e le onde che ci lasciamo dietro
sembrano mormorare con il movimento” Ci siamo attardate qui per sostenerti fino alla terra che hai cara”
Coro
Naviga a casa, naviga a casa

naviga a casa sul mare,
naviga a casa alla cara vecchia Scozia,
naviga a casa,  cara terra, a te

II
Dieci mila miglia buone dietro di noi
e un un migliaio davanti, le onde dell’antico oceano per trasportarci verso la terra che ricordiamo bene.
Le nuove brezzesi soffiano per guidarci verso i benvenuti cieli della nostra infanzia, al sorriso di volti amici e allo sguardo di occhi amorevoli.
III
Ho visto il profilo ondulato
del meraviglioso fiume Clyde
mente salpavo da Greenock
il mio cuore batteva forte
ma sapevo che stavo navigando
lontano dalla costa scozzese,
mi mancherà ogni minuto
ma ritornerò ancora una volta

NOTE
1)  rolling ha molti significati: in genere è sinonimo di“sailing” ma può anche derivare da “rollikins” un vecchio temine inglese per “ubriaco”; spesso come suggerisce Italo Ottonello si intende in senso letterale come “dondolante” la tipica andatura dei lupi di mare
2) oppure England
3) secondo Hugill la canzone deriva da una versione scandinava e rileva che il verso è a volte cantato come “the land’s forbee” con “forbee”= “passing by” o “near.” Förbi is svedese sta per “past, by.”
4) Carl Peterson salta la II strofa della poesia di Charles Mackay
5) la strofa è stata aggiunta da Carl Peterson
6) si riferisce alle colline ondulate nei pressi all’estuario del Clyde che sfocia in prossimità della città portuale di Greenock,  
situata sulla costa meridionale   stupende immagini del fiume 

LA VERSIONE SCOZZESE

Old Blind Dogs in The Gab O Mey 2003, in una versione con molta Scotsness


I (1)
Call all hands to man the capstan
See the cable running clear
Heave around and with the wheel, boys
For our homeland we must steer
Chorus
Rolling home, rolling home
Rolling home across the sea
Rolling home to Caledonia
Rolling home, dear land, to thee
II
From the pines of California
And by Chile’s endless strand
We have sailed the world twice over
Every port in every land
III
And to all ye blaggard pirates
Who would chase us from the waves
Heed ye well that those who’ve tried us
Soon have found their watery graves
IV
We were boarded in Jamaica
Where the Jolly Rodger flew
But our swords were hardly drawn, boys
‘Ere they took a rosy hue
V
We return with precious cargo
And with bounty coined in gold
And our sweethearts will rejoice, boys
For they lo’e their sailors bold
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Chiama tutti gli uomini per maneggiare l’argano, vedete come la catena scorre bene, avvolgetela ragazzi, perchè verso casa dobbiamo fare rotta
Coro
Navigo a casa, navigo a casa
navigo a casa sul mare,
navigo a casa a Caledonia,
navigo a casa, la cara terra, a te

II
Dai pini della California
e dalla spiaggia infinita del Cile
abbiamo navigato per il mondo due volte, in ogni porto e in ogni terra
III
A tutti voi furfanti di pirati
che vorreste inseguirci tra le onde
ascoltate bene che quelli che ci hanno provato hanno presto trovato la loro tomba nel mare
IV
Ci siamo imbarcati in Giamaica
dove veleggia il Jolly Roger
ma le nostre spade erano ben affilate, ragazzi
e hanno preso una tonalità rossa
V
Ritorniamo con il nostro prezioso carico e con abbondanza di  monete d’oro e le nostre innamorate si rallegreranno, ragazzi
perchè amano il loro marinai coraggiosi

NOTE
1) riprende la II strofa della poesia di Charles Mackay

LA VERSIONE IRLANDESE

Melodia diversa come pure il testo la Rolling home to Ireland degli Irish Rovers


I
I come from Paddy’s land
I’m a rake and ramblin’ man
Since I was young, I’ve had the urge to roam
So don’t you weep for me
When I’m sailing on the sea
For you won’t see me till I come rolling home
Chorus
Rolling home to Ireland, rolling home across the sea
Back to me own con-ter-ree (country)
Two thousand miles behind us
and a thousand more to go

So fill the sails and blow winds blow!
II
We sailed away from Cork
We were headed for New York
I’d always dreamed the sailor’s life for me
But the days were hard and long
With no women, wine, or song
And it wasn’t quite the fun I’d thought ‘twould be
III
We weren’t too long a-sail
When the wind became a gale
Our boat was tossed and turned upon the foam
With waves like moutains high
Well I thought that I would die
I wished to God that I was rolling home
IV
And when I reach the shore
I will go to sea no more
There’s more to life than sailing ‘round the Horn
Good luck to sailor men
When they’re headed out again
I wish them all safe harbor from the storm
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Vengo dalla terra di Paddy
sono un giramondo gaudentete
da quando ero ragazzo ho avuto la necessità di girovagare,
così non piangere per me
mentre navigo per mare
perchè non mi vedrai finchè non tornerò a casa
Coro
Navigando verso l’Irlanda, navigando verso casa per il mare
di ritorno nel mio paese

due mila miglia dietro alle spalle
e altri mille da fare, così gonfiate le vele e soffiate, venti, soffiate!

II
Abbiamo navigato lontano da Cork
eravamo diretti a New York
ho sempre sognato la vita del marinaio per me
ma i giorni erano duri e lunghi
senza donne, vino o canzoni
e non era proprio il divertimento che credevo
III
Eravamo da poco in alto mare, quando il vento è diventato una tempesta
la nostra barca fu sbattuta dai marosi
con onde alte come montagne.
Beh, pensavo che sarei morto
e sperai che Dio mi facesse ritornare a casa
IV
E quando raggiungerò la riva
non andrò più per mare
c’è di più nella vita che navigare intorno all’Horn.
Buona fortuna ai marinai
quando vanno di nuovo fuori
vorrei che fossero tutti al sicuro dalla tempesta

FONTI
https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/rolling-home
http://www.nathanville.org.uk/web-albums/burgess/scrapbook/victorian-culture/pages/The-collected-songs-of-Charles-Mackay.htm
http://www.darachweb.net/SongLyrics/RollingHome.html
http://www.contemplator.com/sea/rolling.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=67591

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=17029
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/oldblinddogs/rolling.htm
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandssongs/secondary/genericcontent_tcm4555620.asp

All for me Grog

Leggi in italiano

Yet another drinking song, “All for me Grog”, in which “Grog” is a drink based on rum, but also a colloquial term used in Ireland as a synonym for “drinking”.
grogThe song opens with the refrain, in which our wandering sailor specifies that it is precisely because of his love for alcohol, tobacco and girls, that he always finds himself penniless and full of trouble. To satisfy his own vices, johnny sells from his boots to his bed. More than a sea shanty it was a forebitter song or a tavern song; and our johnny could very well be enlisted in the Royal Navy, but also been boarded a pirate ship around the West Indies.

Nowadays it is a song that is depopulated in historical reenactments with corollaries of pirate chorus!
Al Lloyd (II, I, III)

The Dubliners from The Dubliners Live,1974

AC4 Black Flag ( II, III, VI)

 CHORUS
And it’s all for me grog
me jolly, jolly grog (1)
All for my beer and tobacco
Well, I spent all me tin
with the lassies (2) drinkin’ gin
Far across the Western Ocean
I must wander

I
I’m sick in the head
and I haven’t been to bed
Since first I came ashore with me plunder
I’ve seen centipedes and snakes and me head is full of aches
And I have to take a path for way out yonder (3)
II
Where are me boots,
me noggin’ (4), noggin’ boots
They’re all sold (gone) for beer and tobacco
See the soles they were thin
and the uppers were lettin’ in(5)
And the heels were lookin’ out for better weather

III
Where is me shirt,
me noggin’, noggin’ shirt
It’s all sold for beer and tobacco
You see the sleeves were all worn out and the collar been torn about
And the tail was lookin’ out for better weather
IV
Where is me wife,
me noggin’, noggin’ wife
She’s all sold for beer and tobacco
You see her front it was worn out
and her tail I kicked about
And I’m sure she’s lookin’ out for better weather
V
Where is me bed,
me  noggin’, noggin’ bed
It’s all sold for beer and tobacco
You see I sold it to the girls until the springs were all in twirls(6)
And the sheets they’re lookin’ out for better weather
VI
Well I’m sick in the head
and I haven’t been to bed
Since I’ve been ashore for me slumber
Well I spent all me dough
On the lassies don’t ye know
Across the western ocean(7)
I will wander.

NOTES
1) grog: it is a very old term and means “liqueur” or “alcoholic beverage”. The grog is a drink introduced in the Royal Navy in 1740: rum after the British conquest of Jamaica had become the favorite drink of sailors, but to avoid any problems during navigation, the daily ration of rum was diluted with water.
2) lassies: widely used in Scotland, it is the plural of lassie or lassy, diminutive of lass, the archaic form for “lady”
4) nogging: in the standard English noun, the word means “head”, “pumpkin”, in an ironic sense. Being a colloquial expression, it becomes “stubborn” (qualifying adjective)
5) let in = open
6) the use of the mattress is implied not only for sleeping
7) western ocean: it is the term by which the sailors of the time referred to the Atlantic Ocean

A GROG JUG

1/4 or 1/3 of Jamaican rum
half lemon juice (or orange or grapefruit)
1 or 2 teaspoons of brown sugar.
Fill with water.

Even in the warm winter version: the water must be heated almost to boiling. Add a little spice (cinnamon stick, cloves) and lemon zest.
It is a classic Christmas drink especially in Northern Europe.

 GROG

( Italo Ottonello)
The grog was a mixture of rum and water, later flavored with lemon juice, as an anti-scorb, and a little sugar. The adoption of the grog is due to Admiral Edward Vernon, to remedy the disciplinary problems created by an excessive ration of alcohol (*) on British warships. On 21 August 1740 he issued for his team an order that established the distribution of rum lengthened with water. The ration was obtained by mixing a quarter of gallon of water (liters 1.13) and a half pint of rum (0.28 liters) – in proportion 4 to 1 – and distributed half at noon and half in the evening. The term grog comes from ‘Old Grog’, the nickname of the Admiral, who used to wear trousers and a cloak of thick grogram fabric at sea. The use of grog, later, became common in Anglo-Saxon marines, and the deprivation of the ration (grog stop), was one of the most feared punishment by sailors. Temperance ships were called those merchant ships whose enlistment contract contained the “no spirits allowed” clause which excluded the distribution of grog or other alcohol to the crew.
 (*) The water, not always good already at the beginning of the journey, became rotten only after a few days of stay in the barrels.
In fact, nobody drank it because beer was available. It was light beer, of poor quality, which ended within a month and, only then, the captains allowed the distribution of wine or liqueurs. A pint of wine (just over half a liter) or half a pint of rum was considered the equivalent of a gallon (4.5 liters) of beer, the daily ration. It seems that the sailors preferred the white wines to the red ones that they called despicably black-strap (molasses). Being destined in the Mediterranean, where wine was embarked, was said to be blackstrapped. In the West Indies, however, rum was abundant.

LINK
http://www.drinkingcup.net/navy-rum-part-2-dogs-tankys-scuttlebutts-fanny-cups/
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=5512
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/allformegrog.html
http://www.lettereearti.it/mondodellarte/musica/la-lingua-delle-ballate-e-delle-canzoni-popolari-anglo-irlandesi/

Aileen Duinn, Brown-haired Alan

Leggi in italiano

“Aileen Duinn” is a Scottish Gaelic song from the Hebrides: a widow/sweetheart lament for the sinking of a fishing boat, originally a waulking song in which she invokes her death to share the same seaweed bed with her lover, Alan.
According to the tradition on the island of Lewis Annie Campbell wrote the song in despair over the death of her sweetheart Alan Morrison, a ship captain who in the spring of 1788 left Stornoway to go to Scalpay where he was supposed to marry his Annie, but the ship ran into a storm and the entire crew was shipwrecked and drowned: she too will die a few months later, shocked by grief. His body was found on the beach, near the spot where the sea had returned the body of Ailein Duinn (black-haired Alan).

 The song became famous because inserted into the soundtrack of the film Rob Roy and masterfully interpreted by Karen Matheson (the singer of the Scottish group Capercaillie who appears in the role of a commoner and sings it near the fire)

Here is the soundtrack of the film Rob Roy: Ailein Duinn and Morag’s Lament, (arranged by Capercaillie & Carter Burwelle) in which the second track is the opening verse followed by the chorus

FIRST VERSION

The text is reduced to a minimum, more evocative than explanatory of a tragic event that it was to be known to all the inhabitants of the island. The woman who sings is marked by immense pain, because her black-haired Alain is drowned at the bottom of the sea, and she wants to share his sleep in the abyss by a macabre blood covenant.

Capercaillie from To the Moon – 1995: Keren Matheson, the voice ‘kissed by God’ switches from the whisper to the cry, in the crashing waves blanding into bagpipes lament.

Meav, from Meav 2000 angelic voice, harp and flute

Annwn from Aeon – 2009 German group founded in 2006 of Folk Mystic; their interpretation is very intense even in the rarefaction of the arrangement, with the limpid and warm voice of Sabine Hornung, the melody carried by the harp, a few echoes of the flute and the lament of the violin: magnificent.

Trobar De Morte  the text reduced to only two verses and extrapolated from the context lends itself to be read as the love song of a mermaid in the surf of the sea (see also Mermaid’s croon)

It is the most reproduced textual version with the most different musical styles, roughly after 2000, also as sound-track in many video games (for example Medieval II Total War)

english translation
How sorrowful I am
Early in the morning rising
Chorus
Ò hì, I would go (1) with thee
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,

Brown-haired Alan, ò hì,
I would go with thee
If it is thy pillow the sand
If it is thy bed the seaweed
If it is the fish thy candles bright
If it is the seals thy watchmen(2)
I would drink(3), though all would abhor it
Of thy heart’s blood after thy drowning
Scottish Gaelic
Gura mise tha fo éislean,
Moch `s a’ mhadainn is mi `g eirigh,
Sèist
O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn, o\ hi\
shiu\bhlainn leat.
Ma `s e cluasag dhut a’ ghainneamh,
Ma `s e leabaidh dhut an fheamainn,
Ma `s e `n t-iasg do choinnlean geala,
Ma `s e na ròin do luchd-faire,
Dh’olainn deoch ge boil   le cach e,
De dh’fhuil do choim `s tu `n   deidh dobhathadh,

NOTES
1) to die, to follow
2) for the inhabitants of the Hebrides Islands the seals are not simple animals, but magical creatures called selkie, which at night take the form of drowned men and women. Considered a sort of guardians of the Sea or gardeners of the sea bed every night or only on full moon nights, they would abandon their skins to reveal their human form, to sing and dance on the silver cliffs (here)
3) refers to an ancient Celtic ritual, consisting in drinking the blood of a friend as a sign of affection (the covenant of blood), a custom cited by Shakespeare (still practiced by all the friends of the heart who exchange blood with a shallow cut and joining the two cuts; it was also practiced for the handfasting in Scotland: once the handfasting was above all a pact of blood, in which the right wrist of the spouses was engraved with the tip of a dagger until the blood spurts, after which the two wrists were tied in close contact with each other with the “wedlock’s band” (see more.)

by liga-marta tratto da qui

SECOND VERSION

Here is the version of Marjory Kennedy-Fraser (1857-1930) from “Songs of the Hebrides“, see also Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912) in his “Carmina Gadelica”.

Alison Pearce & Susan Drake from “A Harris love lament”  
Quadriga Consort  from “Ships Ahoy !” 2011  

(english translation Kennet Macleod)
I am the one under sorrow
in the early morn and I arising.
Chorus
Brown-haired Alan

Ò hì, I would go with thee
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,

Brown-haired Alan,
 I would go with thee
‘Tis not the death of the kine in May-month
but the wetness of thy winding-sheet./Though mine were a fold of cattle, sure, little my care for them today./Ailein duinn, calf of my heart,
art thou adrift on Erin’s shore?
That not my choice of a stranger-land,
but a place where my cry would reach thee.
Ailein duinn, my spell and my laughter,/would, o King, that I were near thee/on what so bank or creek thou art stranded,
on what so beach the tide has left thee.
I would drink a drink, gainsay it who might,
but not of the glowing wine of Spain
The blood of the thy body, o love,
I would rather,/the blood that comes from thy throat-hollow.
O may God bedew thy soul
with what I got of thy sweet caresses,
with what I got of thy secret-speech
with what I got of thy honey-kisses.
My prayer to thee, o King of the Throne
that I go not in earth nor in linen
That I go not in hole-ground nor hidden-place
but in the tangle where lies my Allan
(scottish gaelic)
Gura mise tha fo éislean,
Moch `s a’ mhadainn is mi `g eirigh
Sèist
Ailein duinn,

O\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ ru bhi\,
Hi\ ri bho\ ho\ rionn o ho,
Ailein duinn,
o\ hi\ shiu\bhlainn leat

Cha’n e bàs a’ chruidh ‘s a’ chéitein
Ach a fhichead ‘s tha do leine.
Ged bu leam-sa buaile spréidhe
‘s ann an diugh bu bheag mo spéis dith.
Ailein duinn a laoigh mo chéille
an deach thu air tir an Eirinn?
Cha b’e sid mo rogha céin-thir
ach an t-àit’ an ruigeadh m’ éigh thu.
Ailein duinn mo ghis ‘s mo ghàire
‘s truagh, a Righ, nach mi bha làmh riut.
Ge b’e eilb no òb an tràigh thu
ge b’e tiurr am fàg an làn thu.
Dh’ òlainn deoch ge b’ oil le càch e,
cha b’ ann a dh’ fhion dearg na Spàinne.
Fuil do chuim, a ghraidh, a b’ fhearr leam,
an fhuil tha nuas o lag do bhràghad.
O gu’n drùchdadh Dia air t’ anam
na fhuair mi de d’ bhrìodal tairis.
Na fhuair mi de d’ chòmhradh falaich,
na fhuair mi de d’ phògan meala.
M’ achan-sa, a Righ na Cathrach,
gun mi dhol an ùir no ‘n anart
an talamh-toll no ‘n àite-falaich
ach ‘s an roc an deachaidh Ailean

Another translation in English with the title “Annie Campbell’s Lament”
Estrange Waters from Songs of the Water, 2016

Chorus
Dark Alan my love,
oh I would follow you

Far beneath the great sea,
deep into the abyss

Dark Alan, oh I would follow you
I
Today my heart swells with sorrow
My lover’s ship sank deep in the ocean
I would follow you..
II
I ache to think of your features
Your white limbs
and shirt ripped and torn asunder
I would follow you..
III
I wish I could be beside you
On whichever rock or shore where you’re sleeping
I would follow you..
IV
Seaweed shall be as our blanket
And we’ll lay our heads on soft beds made of sand
I would follow you..

THIRD VERSION

The most suggestive and dramatic version is that reported by Flora MacNeil who she has learned  from her mother. Born in 1928 on the Isle of Barra, she is a Scottish singer who owns hundreds of songs in Scottish Gaelic. “Traditional songs tended to run in families and I was fortunate that my mother and her family had a great love for the poetry and the music of the old songs. It was natural for them to sing, whatever they were doing at the time or whatever mood they were in. My aunt Mary, in particular, was always ready, at any time I called on her, to drop whatever she was doing, to discuss a song with me, and perhaps, in this way, long forgotten verses would be recollected. So I learned a great many songs at an early age without any conscious effort. As is to be expected on a small island, so many songs deal with the sea, but, of course, many of them may not originally be Barra songs”

A different story from Flora MacNeil’s family: the woman is married to Alain MacLeann who dies in the shipwreck with all the other men of her family: her father and brothers; the woman turns to the seagull that flies high over the sea and sees everything, as a witness of the misfortune; the last verse traces poetic images of a funeral of the sea, with the bed of seaweed, the stars like candles, the murmur of the waves for the music and the seals as guardians.

Flora MacNeil from  a historical record of 1951.


English translation
O na hi hoireann o ho
Hi na hi i ri u hu o
Endless grief the price it cost me
‘Twas neither sheep or cattle
But the load the ship took with her
My father and my three brothers
As if this wasn’t all my burden
The one to whom I gave my hand
MacLean of the fair skin
Who took me from the church on Tuesday(1)
“Little seagull, seagull of the ocean
Where did you leave the fair men?”
“I left them in the island of the sea
Back to back, no longer breathing”
Scottish Gaelic
Sèist:
O na hi hoireann o ho
Hi na hi i ri u hu o
S’ goirt ‘s gur daor a phaigh mi mal dhut
Cha chrodh laoigh ‘s cha chaoraich bhana
Ach an luchd a thaom am bata
Bha m’athair oirre ‘s mo thriuir bhraithrean
Chan e sin gu leir a chraidh mi
Ach am fear a ghlac air laimh mi
Leathanach a’ bhroillich bhainghil
A thug o ‘n chlachan Di-mairt mi
Fhaoileag bheag thu, fhaoileag mhar’ thu
Cait a d’fhag thu na fir gheala
Dh’fhag mi iad ‘san eilean mhara
Cul ri cul is iad gun anail

NOTES
(1) Tuesday is still the day on which traditionally marriages are celebrated on the Island of Barra

FOURTH VERSION

Still a version set just like a waulking song and yet a different text, this time the ship is a whaler and Allen is shipwrecked near the Isle of Man.

Mac-Talla, from Gaol Is Ceol 1994, only the female voices and the notes of a harp, but what immediacy …

English translation
I am tormented/I have no thought for merriment tonight
Brown-haired Allen o hi, I would go with thee.
I have no thought for merriment tonight/But for the sound of the elements and the strength of the gales
Brown-haired Allen o hi,
I would go with thee.

CHORUS
Hi riri riri ri hu o, horan o o, o hi le bho
Duinn o hi, I would go with thee
But for the sound of the elements and the strength of the gales
Which would drive the men from the harbor
Brown-haired Allen, my darling sweetheart
I heard you had gone across the sea
On the slender, black boat of oak
And that you have gone ashore on the Isle of Man
That was not the harbor I would have chosen
Brown-haired Allen, darling of my heart
I was young when I fell in love with you
Tonight my tale is wretched
It’s not a tale of the death of cattle in the bog
But of the wetness of your shirt
And of how you are being torn by whales
Brown-haired Allen, my dear beloved
I heard you had been drowned
Alas, oh God, that I was not beside you
Whatever tide-mark the flood will leave you
I would take a drink, in spite of everyone
Of your heart’s blood,
after you had been drowned
Scottish Gaelic
S gura mise th’air mo sgaradh
Chan eil sugradh nochd air m’aire
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Chaneil sugradh nochd air m’air’
Ach fuaim nan siantan ‘s miad na gaillinn
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Hi riri riri ri hu o, horan o o, o hi le bho
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat~Ailein.
Ach fuaim nan siantan ‘s miad na gaillinn
Dh’fhuadaicheadh na fir bho’n chaladh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ailein Duinn a luaidh nan leannan
Chuala mi gun deach thu thairis
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Chuala mi gun deach thu thairis
Air a’ bhata chaol dhubh dharaich
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
‘S gun deach thu air tir am Manainn
Cha b’e siod mo rogha caladh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ailein Duinn a luaidh mo cheile
Gura h-og a thug mi speis dhut
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
‘S ann a nochd as truagh mo sgeula
‘S cha n-e bas a’ chruidh ‘san fheithe
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ach cho fliuch ‘s a tha do leine
Muca mara bhith ‘gad reubach
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Ailein Duinn a chiall ‘s a naire
Chuala mi gun deach do bhathadh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
‘S truagh a Righ nach mi bha laimh riut
Ge be tiurr an dh’fhag an lan thu
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat
Dh’olainn deoch, ge b’oil le cach e
A dh’fhuil do chuim ‘s tu ‘n deidh do bhathadh
Ailein Duinn o hi shiubhlainn leat

LINK
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/murray/ailean.htm
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/capercaillie/ailein.htm
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8239
http://folktrax-archive.org/menus/cassprogs/001scotsgaelic.htm

Admiral Benbow ballads

Leggi in italiano

The heroic exploits of Admiral John Benbow (1653-1702) are sung in some contemporary ballads dating back to the days of the Spanish Civil War. He was called “the Brother Tar” because he started his military carrier from below, as a simple sailor; thanks to his ingenuity, the courage and help of his mentor Admiral Arthur Herbert, Count of Torrington.
His activity, except for a parenthesis in which he gave himself to the merchant navy (1686-1689), was dedicated to the Royal Navy. He left the army the degree of master, after being brought before the court martial because of a dispute against an officer, it should be noted that the code of conduct between the officers was very rigid (and even today with military degrees there is little to joke) and after having brought his public apology to Captain Booth of the Adventure and repaid the fine with three months of work without pay, Benbow decided to resign. The following year he became the owner of the frigate Benbow roamed the Mediterranean and the English Channel hunting for pirates, earning the reputation of a skilled and ruthless captain. Returning to the navy in 1689 with the rank of third lieutenant on the Elizabeth, after four months he obtained the rank of commander of the York and he distinguished himself in the naval actions along the French coasts; he was then sent to the West Indies to eradicate piracy and in 1701 he was appointed vice-admiral. It is said that King William had offered the command to several gentlemen who refused (because of the climate) and so he exclaimed “I understand, we will spare the gentlemen and we will send to the Antilles the honest Benbow”

Tarpaulin&Gentleman

In the early English Navy there was a system of voluntary training: a captain used to take care of young boy and instruct them as long as they were unable to pass the aptitude test. However, there remained a dividing line between the tarpaulin officer, without a high social status and the gentleman officer, the privileged aspirant. In fact, the gentlemen obtained their license of ensign more for relationships of kinships that for merits, so that in 1677 it was introduced an entrance examination that had to precede a compulsory three-year training. But in 1730 they preferred to return to the old system of voluntary training.

THE LAST BATTLE

His last action, off the coast of Cape Santa Marta , was against Admiral Jean Du Casse and his fleet: from 19 to 25 August 1702; Benbow had seven ships at his command but his captains proved unwilling to obey orders: only on the afternoon of the first day a fight was waged and only the flagship and the Ruby under captain George Walton chased French ships with the intent to give battle, while the other english ships were kept out. The Ruby was put out of action on the 22nd and at this point the Falmouth in command of Samuel Vincent decided to line up with Benbow, but it was seriously damaged and forced to retreat, the same Benbow besieged by the French ships and subjected to a cannon shot had a mangled leg and he was brought below deck, where a war council was held with his officers who had all gathered together on board the flagship.
To see the war action in detail see

from Master and Commander

Benbow was determined to pursuit of battle, but his captains, believing they had no chance of victory, recommended him merely of pursuing the French ships: Benbow, convinced that a mutiny was being carried out against him, gave the order to return in Jamaica and sent his commanders beheind the court martial on charges of insubordination; Captain Richard Kirby and Captain Cooper Wade were found guilty and shot. Despite the amputation of his leg Benbow died two months after the battle and was buried in Kingston.

ADMIRAL BENBOW BY CECIL SHARP

The melody is equally popular and it is shared with the Captain Kidd ballad giving life to a melodic family used for various songs.
Among the songs of the sea in the series Sea Shanty Edition for the fourth episode of the video game Assassin’s Creed that include some ballads about the brave captains, to celebrate the victories or heroic deeds that led them to death.
The version in Assassin’s Creed from the text transcribed by Cecil Sharp on the song of Captain Lewis of Minehead (1906) the strophes, however, are halved (I, II, VI)

I
Come all you seamen bold
and draw near, and draw near
Come all you seamen bold and draw near
It’s of an Admiral’s fame Brave Benbow (1) was his name
How he sailed up on the main (2)
you shall hear, you shall hear
II
Brave Benbow he set sail
For to fight, for to fight
Brave Benbow he set sail
For to fight
Brave Benbow he set sail in a keen and pleasant gale
But his captains they turn’d tail in a fright (3), in a fright
III
Says Kirby unto Wade (4), “We will run, we will run.”
Says Kirby unto Wade, “We will run. For I value no disgrace
nor the losing of my place
But the enemy I won’t face
Nor his guns, nor his guns.”
IV
The Ruby (5) and Benbow fought the French, fought the French,
The Ruby and Benbow Fought the French.
They fought them up and down
‘Til the blood came trickling down
‘Til the blood came trickling down Where they lay, where they lay.
V
Brave Benbow lost his legs
By chain shot, by chain shot,
Brave Benbow lost his legs
By chain shot.
Brave Benbow lost his legs
And all on his stumps he begs
“Fight on, my English lads
‘Tis our lot, ‘tis our lot.”
VI
The surgeon dress’d his wounds Benbow cried, Benbow cried
The surgeon dress’d his wounds Benbow cried
“Let a cradle now in haste on the quarterdeck (6) be placed
That the enemy I may face
‘Til I die, ‘Til I die
Mary Evans Picture Library : J R Skelton in Lang, “Outposts of Empire” 1910

NOTES
1) Benbow made his career in the ranks of the Royal Navy in the late 1600s until he became Vice-Admiral
2) the West Indian Sea
3) in a fright: panicked
4) the captains who left the battle were tried and sentenced to death by desertion
5) the Ruby supported the attack of the flagship Breda against the French vessels
6) Benbow despite the injured leg (which will be amputated) wants to continue to give orders on the bridge and so requires a cradle to be able to remain seated and stretch the leg crushed, provisionally bandaged by the doctor

COPPER FAMILY VERSION

Paul Clayton, from “Whaling and sailing songs from the days of Moby Dick” 1954

I
It was often at Marais
Calling Benbow by his name
He fought on the raging main
You must know
Oh, the ship rocks up and down
And the shots are flying round
The enemy tumbling down
There they lay, there they lay
II
‘Twas Reuben (1) and Benbow
Fought the French, fought the French
‘Twas Reuben and Benbow
Fought the French,
Down on his old stump he fell
And so loudly he did call
Fight ye on, me English lads
‘Tis my lot, ’tis my lot
III
When the doctor dressed his wound
Benbow cried, Benbow cried
When the doctor dressed his wound
Benbow cried,
Let a bed be fetched in haste
On the quarterdeck be placed
That the enemy I might face
‘Til I die, ’til I die
IV
On Tuesday morning last
Benbow died, Benbow died
On Tuesday morning last
Benbow died
What a shocking sight to see
When Benbow was carried away
He was carried to Kingston church (2)
There he lay, there he lay

NOTES
1) the Ruby supported the attack of the flagship Breda against the French vessels
2) he was buried in the Parish Church of Kingston (Jamaica)

ADMIRAL BENBOW BY WILLIAM CHAPPELL

Entitled “Benbow, the Brother Tar’s song” the ballad was written by William Chappel in his “Old English Popular Music”.
“The tune is a variant of Love Will Find Out the Way, first published in 1651. Originally, it circulated in the world of fashion, but after 1680 it seems to have passed almost exclusively into the keeping of agricultural workers. Chappell collected it from hop-pickers in the mid nineteenth century, and Lucy Broadwood found it in Sussex in 1898.” (from here)
The action is very inaccurate (see above)
June Tabor & Martin Simpson from A cut above, 1982

I
We sailed from Virginia
and thence to Fayall
Where we watered our shipping
and then we weighed all.
Full in view on the seas, boys,
seven sails we did espy;
We mannéd our capstans
and weighed speedily.
II
Now the first we come up with was a brigantine sloop (1)
And we asked if the others was as big as they looked;
Ah, but turning to windward,
as near as we could lie
We saw there were ten (2) men of war cruising by.
III
We drew up our squadron in very nice line
And boldly we fought them for full four hours time;
But the day being spent, boys, and the night a-coming on
We left them alone till the early next morn.
IV
Now the very next morning the engagement proved hot
And brave Admiral Benbow received a chain shot;
And as he was wounded to his merry men he did say,
“Take me up in your arms, boys, and carry me away!”
V
Now the guns they did rattle and the bullets did fly,
But brave Admiral Benbow for help would not cry;
“Take me down to the cockpit, there is ease for my smarts,
If my merry men see me, it would sure break their hearts.”
VI
Now, the very next morning by break of the day
They hoisted their topsails and so bore away;
We bore to Port Royal where the people flocked much
To see Admiral Benbow carried to Kingston Church (3).
VII
Come all you brave fellows, wherever you’ve been,
Let us drink to the health of our King and our Queen,
And another good health to the girls that we know,
And a third in remembrance (4) of great Admiral Benbow.

NOTES
1) the French fleet under the command of Admiral Du Casse was escorting a convoy of troops, the flagship Breda captured the Anne, originally an English ship captured by the French
2) they were actually only 5
3) Benbow was buried in the Parish Church of Kingston (Jamaica)
4) in his honor Robert Louis Stevenson in his book “Treasure Island” inserts an “Admiral Benbow Inn” at the beginning of the story

LINK
https://www.historytoday.com/sam-willis/dark-side-admiral-benbow
http://bravebenbow.com/
http://bravebenbow.com/?page_id=136
http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=137
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2169
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=109642
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=56280
http://reelyredd.com/admiral-benbow-song.htm

https://mainlynorfolk.info/copperfamily/songs/admiralbenbow.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/admiralbenbow.html

Jack In The Green: Chimney Sweeps’ Day

Leggi in italiano
Green Jack ” (the Green Man) was a popular mask of the English May, from the Middle Ages and until the Victorian era, fallen into disuse at the end of the nineteenth century, it returned to show itself and spread to starting from the 1970s in May Day parades.

In the nineteenth century the first of May was the feast of the chimney sweeps and so the nursery rhyme “The first of May” says
Chimney Sweeps’ Day, Blackbird is gay,
Here he is singing, you see, in the “May”.
He has feathers as black as a chimney sweep’s coat.
So on Chimney Sweeps’ Day he must pipe a glad note.
Jack-in-the-Green from door to door
capers along with the followers four.
As May Day mummers are seldom seen,
let us all give a copper to Jack-in-the-Green.
(from here)

A chimney sweep maskered himself as “Jack in the Green”  slipping inside a pyramid-shaped wicker structure, covered with ivy and foliage, surmounted by a wreath of flowers. He went out into the streets with his other friends to dance and collect offers in money: they are a King and Queen (or a Lord and Lady), jesters, clowns, chimney sweeps and musicians.

G901506

First recorded in London in the 700, Jack-in-the-Greens were soon appearing across the country. The documentation collected by Keith Chandler is instead related to the publication in newspapers in the years 1820 and up to 1890 (see more)
A series of anecdotes on how the disguise was born (see more)

1835-may

THE GREEN MAN

Some scholars connect this disguise to the Green Man carved in the stones of medieval churches in Europe that is usually depicted only in the face, a human face metamorphosed in foliage.
“In the tenth century they begin to appear as illustrations on the manuscripts, especially in France, such as Bibles, books of Psalms and Ordals, books of hours, even works by famous theologians such as the” Moralia “of St. Gregory the Great, a exegesis of the book of Job, where they often merge with the intertwined motifs typical of Saxon and Celtic art: they are reminiscent of snakes that bite their tails, decorative motifs of evident stylistic practicality, and can be interpreted as pitfalls and obstacles of the earthly life.Afterwards they appear as architectural elements in the churches of Germanic style.They soon spread everywhere in churches, cathedrals and abbeys, but also in other buildings, ecclesiastical and not, both as architectural friezes, both in wooden furniture (like the benches), and also in the funeral art (on the tombs, in short) Their popularity grows between the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
In the simplest form, the faces are generally masculine, from whose orifices, eyes, nose, mouth and ears, foliage appears, often branches or leaves of vines, or which have leaves and bushes instead of beard and hair; these last ones seem almost versions of the Medusa to the masculine, which they resemble in a disturbing way. But there are also more abstract, where vegetation is predominant and the human features are only hinted at, barely distinguishable: heads made of leaves that would have pleased Arcimboldo. In spite of the name, it is not always human faces: often they are demons, masks (or stereotypes), even animals, in preference felines. Sometimes they are provided with teeth and seem to bite the branches. If in some cases their association with the evil one is evident, in others they seem decorative motives without particular meaning, more than anything else a demonstration of the taste for the absurd and the bizarre typical of the Middle Ages. “(translateb from here)

Dunblane Cathedral, Scotland XV secolo

The green men are not a product of Christianity (or they have been clothed with a new theological role) because we have a lot of sculptural decorations, and paintings dating back to the age of Imperial Rome ( Domus Aurea of Nero). Masquerones with plant decorations also recall sylvan gods like Pan, Bacchus, Dionysus, and so on, thus some scholars see in the symbol of the green man of early Christianity the intent to incorporate myths and practices of the most widespread mystery religions in the countryside. (see more)

Other characters connected to the Green Man are also the Wild Man, Puck and Robin Hood, the Green Knight opponent of Sir Galvano, but also the Christian Saint George. In psychology it is said to be an archetypal figure connected to the arboreal myths, or an example of the divinization of nature. (see first part)

Brian Froud: Green Man

JACK IN THE GREEN

Magpie Lane from “Jack in the Green”  1998: Jack in the green (composeb by Martin Graebe in 1972 ) and Jack’s Alive a traditional and popular dancing tune in England and Scotland.

Martin Graebe notes: “”This song was written when Cherri and I were living to the east of Exeter in the area that is marked on the Ordnance Survey map as “Jack in the Green.” We were also drinking fairly often in the pub of the same name and the connection led to the above bit of fantasy based on traditional themes. A number of people have told me at different times that they have heard “Jack in the Green” described as a traditional song. It was the first of my songs to turn up on the Internet, where it was described on the Digital Tradition database as a traditional song. Most recently, someone told me about an American CD of pagan music that includes Jack as an example of a traditional pagan song from the British Isles.”
in the video  “Hastings Jack in the Green Festival”

JACK IN THE GREEN
by Martin Graebe 1972
I
Now winter is over,
I’m happy to say,
And we’re all met again
in our ribbons so gay.
And we’re all met again
on the first day of Spring
To go about dancing
with Jack in the Green(1).
CHORUS
Jack in the Green, Jack in the Green
And we’ll all dance each springtime
with Jack in the Green

II
Now Jack in the Green
is a very strange man,
Tho’ he dies every Autumn,
he is born every Spring.
And each year on our birthday,
we will dance through the street,
And in return Jack
he will ripen our wheat.
 
III(2)
Now all you young maidens
I’d have you beware
Of touching young Jack,
for there’s strange powers there.
For if you but touch him,
there is many will tell
Like the wheat in our fields
so your belly will swell.
IV
With his mantle
he’ll cover the trees that are bare.
Our gardens he’ll trim
with his jacket so fair.
And our fields he will sow
with the hair of his head.
And our grain it will ripen
‘til Old Jack is dead(3)!
V
Now the sun is half up
and betokens the hour
That the children arrive
with their garlands of flowers.
So now let the music
and the dancing begin,
And touch the good heart
of young Jack in the Green!

NOTES
1) Jack is the diminutive of two different names James and John, but more than a name right here is to indicate the Green Man
2) Magpie Lane have skipped this stanza
3) it is the myth of the Spirit of the Wheat: the spirit of the Wheat-Barley never dies because it is reborn the following year with the new harvest, its strength and its ardor are contained in the whiskey that is obtained from the distillation of barley malt!

JACK’S ALIVE

Two dance tunes which I’d been playing for years, before I realised that they are in fact the same tune played in different time signatures. The first, in 6/8, is from Wilson’s Ballroom Companion, via one of Bert Simon’s Kentish Hops pamphlets. I first heard it played by the Oyster Ceilidh Band. Curiously their first LP was called Jack’s Alive, but this tune was not on it; they finally recorded it on their 20 Golden Tie-Slackeners album. I originally knew the 4/4 tune as an unnamed morris tune from Badby in Northamptonshire. Oyster Morris from Canterbury used it for a dance called ‘The Panic’ – originally ‘Pogle’s Panic’ – which had been written in the early 1980s by Pete Collinson. It was some years later that I found the tune in The Yetties’ The Musical Heritage of Thomas Hardy as ‘Jack’s Alive’.” (from here)

Aly Bain & Tom Anderson 
English country dance

Morris Dance

Bibliography
“The Green Man”  Richard Hayman
“Images of Lust: Sexual carvings on medieval churches”  Anthony Weir and James Jerman.

LINK
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/jack-in-the-green/
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/jack_gre.htm
https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/may-day-the-tradition-of-the-jack-in-the-green-and-chimney-sweeps/
http://www.greenmanenigma.com/history.html http://www.egreenway.com/meditation/greenman.htm http://www.mariateresalupo.it/simbolimitialchimiafiabe/maggio.html http://freespace.virgin.net/polter.geist/greenman_page0019.htm https://www.adf.org/articles/gods-and-spirits/general/jackingr.html http://www.acam.it/la-tradizione-del-maggio-e-il-culto-arboreo/ http://martingraebe.me.uk/onewebmedia/Jack_in_the_green.htm http://www.magpielane.co.uk/sleevenotes/jack_in_the_green/jack_in_the_green.htm http://www.magpielane.co.uk/sleevenotes/jack_in_the_green/jacks_alive.htm http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3730 http://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Jack’s_Alive_(3) https://thesession.org/tunes/3299

Jack in the Green festival

Leggi in italiano
man-natureThe Green Man is an archetypal figure connected with the cycle of nature, it is the immanent green force of Nature. The myth tells of a Goddess, the Mother, who generates her child, but this child is not immortal, and because the cycle of life is renewed, he must die.
His death and rebirth are the regeneration of the Spring and with it the regeneration of the community that celebrates the rite for propitiate fertility.

The Green Man  is the guardian spirit of the woods, perhaps an ancient god of vegetation and fertility transversal to many cultures that takes the name of Pan, Cernunnos, Dionysus ..

Heart of Faerie Oracle tarot, Brian & Wendy Froud

It is depicted as a human face among the green foliage or rather its skin is of foliage: in the illustration (Heart of Faerie Oracle tarot, Brian & Wendy Froud) they are artistically reproduced oak leaves, holly, ivy and the palmate leaf of the Maple. Two branches look like horns, the eyes are reddish like those of the fairies of Avalon, among the branches a sprig of mistletoe grows with its berry, the sacred plant of the Druids.
From the mouth of the Green Man sprouts the rowan twigs with the characteristic red berries. The rowan of the birds, as it is commonly called, represents in the Druidic tradition the rebirth of light after the winter and was therefore considered the tree par excellence of the awakening of Nature.

And yet all this veneration of the past was lost in the Middle Ages when the old gods died and the Green Man became a sort of decorative mask to be understood sometimes as benign but more often as a depiction of the evil one.

green-man
British Library, Add MS 18850, the ‘Bedford Hours’ , Paris XV century

 

TRIPLE NATURE OF GREEN MAN

Notre Dame la Grande, Politiers : X century

The deep bond between man and nature is all in the archetype of the green man, the man metamorphosed into a tree, the indissoluble bond between man and nature and its laws. A bond that instills fear but also peace and tranquility hence the ambivalence of the benign or malicious symbol depending on the context: the images smile benevolently or are mocking and fierce. But there is a third type of Green Man: one in which the faces seem scared and suffering.

If some Green Man, instead of joyous, look scary, we find others that, on the contrary, seem scared. These are certainly not demons, but we can not even associate them with images that celebrate the relationship between man and nature. We are faced with another value that this image can take on, that of suffering. In the late Middle Ages, especially after the terrifying experience of the pestilence known as the Black Death, there are rarely joyful and peaceful Green Men. Often branches and leaves stick out of the eyes, in an image that can be terrifying; sometimes the teeth are protruding or very pronounced, as if trying to bite the plant that protrudes from the mouth, to cut it and thus free itself from its suffocating grip. Finally, sometimes we find deformed faces and this too is a very strong signal for the medieval mentality: at that time, in fact, the deformities were a phenomenon much more frequent and known than in the present day, due to insecurity on the places of work, malnutrition and poor care for poor people, and not too advanced medicine. Such incidents in a man’s life were always associated with some divine punishment for his sins. A suffering face that turns into a plant, therefore, puts the accent on the boundary between natural and supernatural, and can sound like a warning against sin and temptations. Another typical representation that can be found is that of Green Man that show the language, probably inspired by the classic Gorgon masks, where it was supposed that this gesture had the sense to drive away evil. It is certain, however, that the people of the Middle Ages did not look at this image in the same way: beyond, in fact, the passages of the Bible that speak of the language as an “unseemly organ”, something that if shown could give rise to scandal, a face with the tongue outside also remembered the image of the hanged man, so certainly not pleasant. (translate from here)

JACK IN THE GREEN

Trisha Fountain Design

In the English folk tradition The Green Man is reborn in a popular May mask of medieval origins (and presumably even more ancient). “Green Jack” was a popular mask of the English May, from the Middle Ages and until the Victorian era, fallen into disuse at the end of the nineteenth century, it returned to show itself and spread to starting from the 1970s in May Day parades.

William Hone in his “The every day book” of 1878 describes the mask of Jack-o’-the-Green “Formerly a pleasant character dressed out with ribands and flowers, figured in village May-games under the name of The Jack-o’-the-Green would sometimes come into the suburbs of London and amuse the residents by rustic dancing.. A Jack-o’-the-Green always carried a long walking stick with floral wreaths; he whisked it about the dance, and afterwards walked with it in high estate like a lord mayor’s footman”

Jack’s mask is further spectacularized by the guild of chimney sweeps, with a boy inside a pyramid-shaped wicker structure, covered with ivy and foliage, surmounted by a kind of wreath of flowers. He went out into the streets with his other friends to dance and collect offers in money. see more

HASTINGS JACK IN THE GREEN FESTIVAL

As well as the other parts of England, the custom was lost in the early twentieth century, but in Hastings  (East Sussex, England) the local group of Morris dance, “Mad Jacks” has had the brilliant idea to resume the tradition, mainly organizing a noisy and green festival that lasts a long weekend from Friday to Monday! Songs and dances, drum races, folk music sessions, concerts, follow each other to culminate the last day in the costume parade with the Morris dancers, musicians, chimney sweeps, queens of May, wild men, and green men, to greet the return of Jack, so a long procession is formed behind him, from 10 in the morning until noon where they converges in the stage on the West Hill where among foods, drinks, performances of participants, crafts fair we spend the afternoon for arrive at 4 when Jack is symbolically killed and stripped of his leaves which are thrown to the crowd as a good luck charm.
Ewan Golder & Daniel Penfold movie (The Child Wren’s music),  they write in the video notes “Since 1983 folk-lore revivalists have organised the annual Jack In The Green Festival held over the May Day weekend in Hastings. The ‘Jack’, covered head to foot in garlands of flowers and leaves, is paraded through the streets before being ‘ sacrificed’. His death marks the end of winter and the birth of summer. Beltane is the Gaelic name of this festival. The film follows Jack’s journey through the streets of Hastings, to his inevitable demise upon the hilltop.

Jethro Tull,  from “Songs from the wood“, 1977

JACK IN THE GREEN
I
Have you seen Jack(1)-In-The-Green?
With his long tail hanging down.
He sits quietly under every tree –
in the folds of his velvet gown.
He drinks from the empty acorn cup
the dew that dawn sweetly bestows.
And taps his cane upon the ground –
signals the snowdrops it’s time to grow.
II
It’s no fun being Jack-In-The-Green –
no place to dance, no time for song.(2)
He wears the colours of the summer soldier –
carries the green flag all the winter long.
<
III
Jack, do you never sleep –
does the green still run deep in your heart?
Or will these changing times,
motorways, powerlines,
keep us apart?
Well, I don’t think so –
I saw some grass growing through the pavements today.
IV
The rowan(3), the oak and the holly tree(4)
are the charges left for you to groom.
Each blade of grass whispers Jack-In-The-Green.
Oh Jack, please help me through my winter’s night.
And we are the berries on the holly tree.
Oh, the mistlethrush is coming(5).
Jack, put out the light.

NOTES
1) Jack is the diminutive of two different names James and John, but more than a name right here is to indicate the Green Man
2) the first of May was the feast of Green Jack, with the masks that went around singing and dancing for begging
3)  The druids considered the rowan the tree of the Down of the year and it was the symbol of the return of light for its spring rebirth. But they consider most sacred the fruits that they thought were the food of the gods, able to rejuvenate, to prolong life, to satiate and to treat serious wounds. The tree was often planted near houses and stalls to protect them, because it was believed to turn away lightning; if it grew spontaneously close to the houses, it was a bearer of good luck. (translated from here)
4) Holly is a tree with masculine symbology, linked to fraternal love and paternity, the winter counterpart of the Quercia. Sir James George Frazer, in his book “The Golden Bough” and Robert Graves, in “The White Goddess” and “The Greek Myths”, they describe a ritual ceremony that was, according to them, practiced in Ancient Rome and in other more ancient European cultures: the ritual fight between King Holly and King Quercia, a struggle that guaranteed the alternation of winter and summer seasons.  (see more)
5) The thrushes and the blackbirds are insensitive to the toxicity of the holly berries and consume large quantities of them becoming the disseminators. The male holly starts to flower when it is about 20 years old and produces small, fragrant white-rosy flowers from May to June. The berries (on the female holly) are green and in autumn they become a shiny red similar to coral: they remain on the tree for the whole winter constituting an important source of food for the birds (be careful because the berries are instead toxic for the man)

second part

LINK
http://www.hastingsjitg.co.uk/
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/jack-in-the-green-chimney-sweeps-day/
http://www.angolohermes.com/Simboli/Green_Man/Green_Man.html
http://insidetheobsidianmirror.blogspot.it/2013/09/la-vera-natura-delluomo-verde.html

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

Beltane Chase: Fith Fath song

Leggi in italiano

THE  BELTANE CHASE SONG

The text was written by Paul Huson in his “Mastering Witchcraft” – 1970 inspired by the Scottish ballad “The Twa  Magicians“: Fith Fath is a enchantment of concealment or transmutation, in this lyrics it is the seasonal cycle of transmutations. Caitlin Matthews added a melody in 1978. Today the song is considered a traditional one.

The ritual of the Love chase was to be typical in Beltane when the Queen of May or the Goddess Maiden and the King of May, the Green Man was united to renew the life and fertility of the Earth: still in the Middle Age the boys dressed in green like forest elves ventured into the greenwood (the sacred wood), playing a horn so the girls could find them. Or they turned into hunters and followed magical transmutations with their prey.

Beltane Fire Festival: Green Man and the May Queen

Caitlin Matthews 
Damh The Bard from Herne’s Apprentice – 2003

Pixi Morgan

FITH FATH SONG
I
I shall go as a wren(1) in Spring
With sorrow and sighing on silent wing(2)
CHORUS I
I shall go in our Lady’s name
Aye till I come home again
II
Then we shall follow as falcons grey
And hunt thee cruelly for our prey
CHORUS II
And we shall go in our Horned God’s name(3)
Aye to fetch thee home again
III
Then I shall go as a mouse in May
Through fields by night and in cellars by day.
CHORUS I
IV
Then we shall follow as black tom cats
And hunt thee through the fields and the vats.
CHORUS II
V
Then I shall go as an Autumn hare
With sorrow and sighing and mickle care. (4)
CHORUS I
VI
Then we shall follow as swift greyhounds/ And dog thy steps with leaps and bounds
CHORUS II
VII
Then I shall go as a Winter trout
With sorrow and sighing and mickle doubt.
CHORUS I
VIII
Then we shall follow as otters swift
And bind thee fast so thou cans’t shift
CHORUS II

NOTES
1) The Gaelic name “Druidh dhubh” translates as “bird druid” also called “Bran’s sparrow” (the god of prophecy). Sacred animal whose killing was considered taboo and a bearer of misfortune, but not during the time of Yule. In his book “The White Goddess”, Robert Graves explains that in the Celtic tradition, the struggle between the two parts of the year is represented by the struggle between the king holly (or mistletoe), -the nascent year- and the king oak -the dying year. At the winter solstice the king holly wins over the king oak, and vice-versa for the summer solstice. In oral tradition, a variant of this fight is represented by the robin and the wren, hidden between the leaves of the two respective trees. The wren represents the waning year, the robin the new year and the death of the wren is a passage of death-rebirth. see more 
2) the mystery can not be revealed in words: the initiatory path is accomplished and once understood it is not possible to express.
3) the Horned God is a syncretic sum of ancient deities represented with horns and symbols of fertility and abundance (Celtic Cernunnos and Greek-Roman divinities Pan and Dionysus). According to some scholars, this deity was the pagan alternative of the Christian God, to whom those who remained anchored to the old traditions continued to pay veneration, in short, the ideal candidate for the figure of the Devil! But in my opinion it was been the Christian fanaticism to flatten and standardize all the other cults in a single devilish cult.
The idea of ​​the Horned God developed in the occult circles of France and England in the nineteenth century and his first modern depiction is that of Eliphas Levi of 1855, but it was Margaret Murray in “The Witch-cult in Western Europe”, 1921 to build the thesis of a unique pagan cult that survived the advent of Christianity. This theory, however, is not supported by rigorous documentation and certainly we can find the persistence up to the modern age of cults or beliefs present in various parts of Europe attributable to religion towards the Ancient Gods. Many of these beliefs were absorbed into Christianity and finally fought as diabolical when it was not possible to incorporate them into the new cult.
According to the Wicca tradition, the God is born at the Winter solstice, marries the Goddess to Beltane and dies at the Summer Solstice being the masculine principle equivalent to the triple lunar Goddess that governs life and death.

65440797_zernunn4

4) Similarly Isobel Gowdie, tried for witchcraft in 1662 in Scotland reveals to his torturers the formula of a Fith Fath
I sall gae intil a haire,
Wi’ sorrow and sych and meikle care;
And I sall gae in the Devillis name,
Ay quhill I com hom againe.
Much has been written about witches, especially on the great witch-hunt that took place on the two sides of the Christian religion one step away from the “Century of Enlightenment” and not in the dark Middle Ages. Symptom of a cultural change that will shake the “certainties” of the Western religion. Witches or sorcerers have always existed, they are those who use magic, who can see beyond the material accidents and undertake a journey of research and ancient knowledge. Obscene it was been what Catholics and Protestants did in their “struggle” for power, to annihilate those who were seen as a threat to the True Faith: a bloody struggle of religion that has exacerbated the boundaries of tolerance.

DEER ASPECT

Fith Fath is a spell of concealment or transmutation. It is reported and described in the book “Carmina Gadelica” by Alexander Carmicheal (vol II, 1900)
“They are applied to the occult power which rendered a person invisible to mortal eyes and which transformed one object into another. Men and women were made invisible, or men were transformed into horses, bulls, or stags, while women were transformed into cats, hares, or hinds. These transmutations were sometimes voluntary, sometimes involuntary. The ‘fīth-fāth’ was especially serviceable to hunters, warriors, and travellers, rendering them invisible or unrecognisable to enemies and to animals.” (from here)

English translation*
FATH fith(1)
Will I make on thee,
By Mary(2) of the augury,
By Bride(3) of the corslet,
From sheep, from ram,
From goat, from buck,
From fox, from wolf,
From sow, from boar,
From dog, from cat,
From hipped-bear,
From wilderness-dog,
From watchful ‘scan,'(4)
From cow, from horse,
From bull, from heifer,
From daughter, from son,
From the birds of the air, (5)
From the creeping things of the earth,
From the fishes of the sea,
From the imps of the storm.

FATH fith

Ni mi ort,
Le Muire na frithe,
Le Bride na brot,
Bho chire, bho ruta,
Bho mhise, bho bhoc,
Bho shionn, ‘s bho mhac-tire,
Bho chrain, ‘s bho thorc,
Bho chu, ‘s bho chat,
Bho mhaghan masaich,
Bho chu fasaich,
Bho scan (4) foirir,
Bho bho, bho mharc,
Bho tharbh, bho earc,
Bho mhurn, bho mhac,
Bho iantaidh an adhar,
Bho shnagaidh na talmha,
Bho iasgaidh na mara,
‘S bho shiantaidh na gailbhe

NOTES
* translated by Alexander Carmicheal
1) “deer aspect”; in reality with the spell it is possible to change into any animal form.
The red deer is the animal par excellence of the woods, the coveted prey of hunting, but also mythological animal lord of the Wood and of the Rebirth. For the Celts of the Gauls Cernunnos was the god of fertility with antlers on his head, the animal equivalent of the spirit of wheat. Magic guide, messenger of the fairies, the deer (especially if white) is associated with the Great Mother (and the lunar goddesses) but also with Lug (the Celtic equivalent of a solar deity). As Lugh’s animal it represents the rising sun (with the horns equivalent to the rays) and so in Christianity it is the representation of Christ (or of the soul that yearns to God): it is the king Deer cyclically sacrificed to the Mother Goddess to ensure fertility of the earth. “I am the seven-stage stag” sings the bard Amergin and so the druid-shaman should be dressed during the rituals with horns and deer skins see more
2) Danu (or Anu) mother goddess of the waters. It was the time of primordial chaos: dry deserts and boiling volcanoes, it was the time of the great emptiness. Then from the dark sky a trickle of water fell on the earth and life began to blossom: from the ground grew the sacred tree and Danu (the goddess Mother), the water that descended from the sky, nourished it. From their union the Gods were born ..
Hypogeic waters, labyrinthine caves, spring waters but also river running waters were the sites of prehistoric and protohistoric worship throughout Europe. In particular for the Keltoi Danu was the Danube near whose springs their civilization was born. see more
3) The name derives from the root “breo” (fire): the fire of the blacksmith’s forge combined with that of artistic inspiration and the healing energy. Also known as Brighid, Brigit or Brigantia, she is the goddess of the triple fire, patron saint of blacksmiths, poets and healers. He bore the nickname Belisama, the “Shining” and was a Solar Goddess (near the Celts and the Germans the Sun was female). It was dedicated to her the End of Winter Festival which was celebrated in Celtic Europe at the Calends of February. It was the party of IMBOLC, the festival of the purification of the fields and of the house to mark the slow awakening of Nature.
4) nobody knows that animal is a vigilant explorer, surely a mistake of transcription of Carmicheal
5) follows an invocation of the three kingdoms, Nem (sky), Talam (Earth) Muir (sea) and or if we want world above, middle and below

THE MIST OF AVALON

With the invocation a magical fog it is materialized, that is the mist of Avalon (or Manannan), which acts as a means of transport to the Otherworld. The fog has a dual nature, of concealment and of passage. Another word for “fog”, in Irish origins, is féth fiadha which means “the art of resembling”. Both gods and druids can evoke magical fog as a means of communication between the two worlds. The divination was therefore the féth fiadha.
The prayer “Fath Fith” seems to be the invocation of the hunter to hide from his prey, but it was also used as a form of divination in a “threshold place” for the magical experience of space such as the river bank or the coast of the sea, the compartment of an access door to the building or a bridge. But also time like dawn and sunset which are neither day nor night nor the holy days that are on the border between the seasons.
In doing so you find yourself in a place that is a non-place that some call the opaque world.

The Tale of Ossian and the Fawn

Still Alexander Carmicheal always in the chapter of Fith Fath tells the meeting of the boy Oisin (Ossian) with his mother: Ossian is a legendary bard of ancient Scotland or Ireland, compared to Homer and Shakespeare, thanks to the alleged discovery of his poems in Scotland . His legends chase in Ireland, Isle of Man and Scotland, but his popularity only grew in the mid-1700s when James MacPherson wrote “The Songs of Ossian” claiming to have found his manuscripts and fragments in the Scottish Highlands, among them a epic poem about Fingal, the father, who said he had “simply” translated, actually inventing: the ossianic fashion flared up throughout Europe giving life to Romanticism. continua

According to this Scottish version, Oisin borned by Finn Mac Coll (Fionn Mac Cumhaill) and a mortal woman, but previously Finn had been the lover of a fairy that he had abandoned to marry the daughter of men; so the fairy for revenge made the spell of the “Fath Fith” on the human bride turning her into a hind that went away and shortly thereafter gave birth to Oisin (the little fawn) on the island of Sandray (Outer Hebrides) in the Loch-nan-ceall in Arasaig.
Now we must make a leap of time and resume the story at the time of Ossian’s childhood when he returned to live with his father and the rest of the Fianna. One fine day, as usual, the are a-chasing a majestic deer on the mountain, when a magical mist descended over them, causing them to separate and disperse.
So Ossian wandered without knowing where he was and found himself in a deep green valley surrounded by high blue mountains, when he saw a fawn so beautiful and graceful that he remained admired to look at her. But when the spirit of the hunt took over in him and he was about to hurl the spear, she turned to look him straight in his eye and said “Do not hurt me, Ossian,I am thy mother under the “fīth-fāth,” in the form of a hind abroad and in the form of a woman at home. Thou art hungry and thirsty and weary. Come thou home with me, thou fawn of my heart “And Ossian followed her and passed a door in the rock and as soon as they crossed the threshold, the door disappeared and while the hind changed into a beautiful woman dressed in green and with golden hair.
After feasting on his fill, refreshed by drinks and music and having rested for three days, Ossian wanted to return to his Fianna, so he discovered that the three days in the mound under the hill, was equivalent to three years on earth. Ossian then wrote his first song to warn the mother-hind to stay away from the hunting grounds of the Fianna: ‘Sanas Oisein D’a Mhathair (Ossian’s To-To-His-Mother) of which Carmicheal reports a dozen stanzas

Stanilaus Soutten Longley (1894-1966)-Autumn

third part 

LINK
“I misteri del druidismo” di Brenda Cathbad Myers
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/beltane-love-chase/
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg2/cg2014.htm
http://www.annwnfoundation.com/ians-blog/pwyll-pen-annwn-shapeshifting-and-the-fith-fath
http://www.devanavision.it/filodiretto/default.asp?id_pannello=2&id_news=6950&t=IL_DRUIDISMO
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59312
http://www.ynis-afallach-tuath.com/public/print.php?sid=252

Tra terra e cielo, la cultura nei paesi dei Celti

Bad Behavior has blocked 750 access attempts in the last 7 days.