Archivi categoria: MITI/Mythology

Puck Fair: a rebellious billy-goat

Leggi in italiano

In the Irish village of Killorglin, County Kerry (South-West Ireland), the most curious feast is celebrate in August: a wild goat is brought to the village and crowned king for three days and three nights (10, 11 and 12 August) . Put unfortunately in a cage, he is hoisted on a high scaffolding that dominates the houses of the village, to look curiously the activities to which his subjects are dedicated: up there, although imprisoned, the beak is abundantly fed of food and water, and at the end of the fair he is returned to his mountain!

VIDEO

VIDEO

KILLORGLIN FAIR

The fair is full of events: horse fair, livestock, craft stalls, street performers, music, parades with the band, dance and fireworks. As is the case with these traditional festivals, the origins are remote and lost in the Middle Ages, so legends are never lacking: the origins are presumably related to the Celtic religion when to celebrate a good harvest they interceded with the god Lughsee more); the legend tells of two rival clans, and of a mountain beak that has had the promptness to warn the village from the armed attack; so the warriors of the village in turn armed themselves and prepared their defense, succeeding in defeating the enemy clan. The beak instead of roasting was crowned King Puck and taken to parade. Other stories bring the legend back to the times of Oliver Cromwell and the “invaders” become the English who went to Ireland to subdue the Irish to the Crown. The soldiers bothered a group of goats, but the head of the pack the “puck” instead of fleeing to the hills, rushed to the town of Killorglin to “warn” the inhabitants.

Other legends indicate the origin of King Puck at the beginning of the nineteenth century: the fair was already flourishing and, as usual, the sellers paid heavy tax to local lord; when the British government made illegal to impose tolls at livestock, horse and sheep fairs, attorney Daniel O’Connell suggested to devote the fair exclusively to goats, as they were not mentioned in the document (August 10, 1808 ); and to show of good faith, a goat was hoisted on a stage at the top of the fair banner.

Historically the fair has obtained legal status from King James I of England and Ireland (and James VI of Scotland) in 1603.

re capro
“Kings may come and Kings may go. But King Puck goes on forever.” The sculpture was inaugurated on August 5, 2001

THE GOATS IN MYTHOLOGY

Heidrun

The goat is not an unusual animal in the Celtic tradition and generally represents fertility. The Amaltea goat fed baby Zeus and the Norse goat Heidrun dispenses mead from its udders to the Valalla warriors.
Fauns and satyrs in Greek and Latin mythology personify sexual desire and libido, the horned god with deer antlers or goat-ram horns became the syncretic god of pre-Christian religions and lent his image to the Devil.

Thus in mythology and religions, the female of goat was represented with a positive image, symbol of nourishment, fertility and abundance, while the male of goat had negative connotations.

In Irish folklore, the bocánach (a goblin-goat) infests the battlefields while in the Scottish Highlands the Glaistig (half woman and half goat) is a of the guardian waters of the cattle. With long, beautiful blonde hair, she hides her animal bottom under a long green dress and attracts men with a song or dance to drink their blood, but in many parts of Scotland, glaistig are considered protectors of livestock and of shepherds, as well as of children left alone by their mothers watching over grazing animals. (see more)

gruagach

An Poc ar Buile – The Mad Billy Goat

The song was composed by Dónal Ó Mulláin (1880-1965) in 1940, and made famous in the 60s by Seán Ó Sé: singer-farmer of Scrahans, violin and organ player, as well as a gifted dancer, he composed poems and songs in gaelic that were prized and immediately become popular.
Ar buile = bulling means “being angry” that the term in Irish Gaelic translates as “madness, frenzy”.
The beak thus becomes the symbol of the combative and indomitable Irish spirit!

The Chieftains from Water from the Well 2000

Liam Devally 1966 (what a voice!)

Gaelic Storm from Tree 2001

English translation
I
As I set out with me pike in hand To Dromore(1) town to join a meithil (2) Who should I meet but a tan puck goat(3)
And he’s roaring mad in ferocious mettle.
Chorus
Aill-il-lu puill-il-iu – Aill-il-lu it’s the mad puck goat.
II
He chased me over bush and weed And thru the bog the running proceeded,
‘Til he caught his horns in a clump of gorse
And on his back I jumped unheeded.
III
He did not leave a rock that had a passage through
Which he did not run with force to destroy me
And then he gave the greatest leap
To the big slope of Faille Bríce…
IV
When the sergeant stood in Rochestown(4)
With a force of guards to apprehend us
The goat he tore his trousers down And made rags of his breeches and new suspenders
V
In Dingle(5) Town the next afternoon The parish priest addressed the meeting
And swore it was The Devil himself He’d seen ridin’ on the poc ar buile
Irish gaelic
I
Ag gabháil dom sior chun Droichead Uí Mhóradha
Píce im dhóid ‘s mé ag dul i meithil
Cé casfaí orm i gcuma ceoidh
Ach pocán crón is é ar buile…
[curfá] Ailliliú, puilliliú, ailliliú tá an puc ar buile!
Ailliliú, puilliliú, ailliliú tá an puc ar buile!
II
Do ritheamar trasna trí ruillógach,
Is do ghluais an comhrac ar fud na muinge,
Is treascairt do bhfuair sé sna turtóga
Chuas ina ainneoin ina dhrom le fuinneamh…
III
Níor fhág sé carraig go raibh scót ann
Ná gur rith le fórsa chun mé a mhilleadh,
S’Ansan sea do cháith sé an léim ba mhó.
Le fána mhór na Faille Bríce…
IV
Bhí garda mór i mBaile an Róistigh
Is bhailigh fórsa chun sinn a chlipeadh
Do bhuail sé rop dá adhairc sa tóin ann
S’dá bhríste nua do dhein sé giobail…
V
In Daingean Uí Chúis le haghaidh an tráthnóna
Bhí an sagart paróiste amach ‘nár gcoinnibh
Is é dúirt gurbh é an diabhal ba Dhóigh leis
A ghaibh an treo ar phocán buile…

NOTES
1) Dromore (County of Tyrone, Northern Ireland) in 1798 was a notorious den of rebels so whoever braced the pike did it to fight against the British
2) Meithil (pronuncia MEH-hill) = work gang is a group of farmers who go to help for an “extraordinary” job in the nearby farm. In America, tradition is still rooted and is called “barn raising”
3) a crazy goat !! that is the billy goat (also called beak).
4) Cork County of Munster
5) Dingle (County of Kerry) and its territory were the scene of the “Second Desmond Rebellion” (1579-80)

LINK
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMANF6_King_Puck_Killorglin_County_Kerry_Ireland
http://www.irishpage.com/songs/pocbuile.htm
http://www.celticartscenter.com/Songs/Irish/AnPocArBuile.html
http://celtana.ie/tag/daniel-oconnell/http://puckfair.ie/historyorigins
http://amayodruid.blogspot.it/2011_06_01_archive.html
http://stancarey.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/bulling-ar-buile-in-irish-english/
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=43534 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=27881

(Mer)Maid on the Shore

Leggi in italiano

A fertile vein of the European balladry tradition that has its roots in the Middle Ages, is the so-called “girl on the beach”; Riccardo Venturi summarizes the commonplace “solitary girl who walks on the shores of the sea – coming ship – commander or sailor who calls her on board – girl who embarks on her own will – rethinking and remorse – thoughts at the maternal / conjugal house – drama that takes place (in various ways)
In the “warning ballads” the good girls are warned not to fantasise, to stay in their place (next to the fireplace to crank out delicious treats and children) and not to venture into “male roles”, otherwise they will end dishonored or raped or killed. Better then the more or less golden cage that is already known, rather than free flight.
Every now and then, however, the girl manages to triumph with cunning, over the male cravings, so in the “(Fair) Maid on the Shore” she turns herself into a predator!

Mermaid
Rebecca Guay: Mermaid

MAIDEN IN THE SHORE

It is a mermaid, which the captain sees on a moonlit night, who is walking along the beach (it is well known that selkies and sirens can walk with human feet on full moon nights). Immediately he falls in love and sends a boat to carry her on his ship (by hook or by crook), but as soon as she sings, she casts a spell on the whole crew.
And here the fantastic and magical theme ends: the girl takes all gold and silver and returns to her beach, far from being a fragile and helpless creature, so also her looting the treasures recalls the topos of the siren that collects the glistening things from ships (after having caused shipwreck and death) to “furnish” his cave!
(mer)maid on the shoreBertrand Bronson in his “Tunes of the Child Ballads” classifies “Fair Maid on the Shore” as a variant of Broomfield Hill (Child # 43), the ballad was found more rarely in Ireland (where it is assumed to be original) and more widely in America (and in particular in Canada). Thus reports Ewan MacCall (The Long Harvest, Volume 3) “More commonly found in the North-eastern United States, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is a curious marine adaptation of the story in which the knight of the Broomfield Hill is transformed into an amorous sea-captain. The young woman on whom he has designs succeeds in preserving her chastity by singing her would-be lover to sleep.”

A.L. Lloyd sang The Maid on the Shore in his album The Foggy Dew and Other Traditional English Love Songs (1956) and commented in the notes “As the song comes to us, it is the bouncing ballad of a girl too smart for a lecherous sea captain. But a scrap of the ballad as sung in Ireland hints at something sinister behind the gay recital. For there, the girl is a mermaid or siren.

I
It’s of a sea captain that sailed the salt sea
the seas they were fine, calm and clear-o (1)
And a beautiful damsel he changed for to spy
walking alone on the shore, shore
walking alone on the shore
II
What I’ll give to you me sailors boys
and …  costly ware-o (2).
if you’ll fleach me that girl aboard of my ship
who walks all alone on the shore, shore
walks all alone on the shore
III
So the sailors they got them a very long boat
And off for the shore they did steer-o,
Saying, “Ma’am if you please will you enter on board
To view a fine cargo of ware (3), ware
To view a fine cargo of ware.”
IV
With much persuasion they got her on board
the seas they were fine, calm and clear-o,
she sat herself down in the stern of the boat
off for the ship they did steer, steer
off for the ship they did steer.
V
And when they’ve arrived alongside of the ship
the captain he order his chew-o,
Saying, “First you should lie in my arms all this night
and may be I’ll marry you dear, dear
may be I’ll marry you dear(4)
VI (5)
She sat herself down in the stern of the ship
the seas they were fine, calm and clear-o,
She sang so neat, so sweet and complete,
She sang sailors and captain to sleep, sleep
sang sailors and captain to sleep.
VII
She’s robbed them of silver, she’s robbed them of gold,
she’s robbed their costly ware-o.
And the captain’s bright sword she’s took for an oar
And she’s paddled away for the shore, shore/ paddled away for the shore.
VIII
And when he awaken he find she was gone
he would like a man in despair-o
… she deluded both captain and crew
“I’m a maid once more on the shore, shore
I’m a maid once more on the shore”

NOTES
having transcribed the text directly from listening, there are some words that escape me (and that for a mother-tongue are very clear!) Any additions are welcome !
1)  the verse is used as a refrain on the call and response scheme typical of the sea shanty
2) the captain promises a substantial reward to his sailors
3) in other more explicit versions the cabin boy is sent to show rings and other precious jewels, asking her to get on board to admiring ones more beautiful
4) in a more cruel version the captain threatens to give the girl to his crew, if she will not be nice to him
First you will lie in my arms all this night
And then I’ll give you to me jolly young crew,
5) It is missing
“Oh thank you, oh thank you,” this young girl she cried,
“It’s just what I’ve been waiting for-o:
For I’ve grown so weary of my maidenhead
As I walked all alone on the shore.”

In the Scandinavian versions of the story the girl is first enticed with flattery on board the ship and then kidnapped, in the French version L ‘Epee Liberatrice she is a princess who gets on the ship because she wants to learn the song sung by the young cabin boy: she falls asleep and when she wakes up she discovers to be on the high seas, she asks a sailor for a sword and kills herself, the Italian version (Il corsaro -Costantino Nigra) follows a similar story, but it is only the Irish version that dwells on the magic song of the siren.

The ballad has many interpreters mostly in the folk or folk-rock field.

Stan Rogers from Fogarty’s Cove (1976)
John Renbourn group from The Enchanted Garden, 1980 (strofe I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VIII)

Eliza Carthy from Rough Music, 2005

The Once from The Once 2009

I (1)
There is a young maiden,
she lives all a-lone
She lived all a-lone on the shore-o
There’s nothing she can find
to comfort her mind
But to roam all a-lone on the shore, shore, shore
But to roam all a-lone on the shore
II
‘Twas of the young (2) Captain
who sailed the salt sea
Let the wind blow high, blow low
I will die, I will die,
the young Captain did cry
If I don’t have that maid on the shore, shore, shore…
III (3)
I have lots of silver,
I have lots of gold
I have lots of costly ware-o
I’ll divide, I’ll divide,
with my jolly ship’s cres
If they row me that maid on the shore, shore, shore…
IV (4)
After much persuasion,
they got her aboard
Let the wind blow high, blow low
They replaced her away
in his cabin below
Here’s adieu (5) to all sorrow and care, care, care…
V  (6)
They replaced her away
in his cabin below
Let the wind blow high, blow low
She’s so pretty and neat,
she’s so sweet and complete
She’s sung Captain and sailors to sleep, sleep, sleep…
VI (7)
Then she robbed him of silver,
she robbed him of gold
She robbed him of costly ware-o
Then took his broadsword
instead of an oar
And paddled her way to the shore, shore, shore…
VII
Me men must be crazy,
me men must be mad
Me men must be deep in despair-o
For to let you away from my cabin so gay
And to paddle your way to the shore, shore, shore…
VIII (8)
Your men was not crazy,
your men was not mad
Your men was not deep in despair-o
I deluded your sailors as well as yourself
I’m a maiden again on the shore, shore, shore

NOTES
The textual version of the John Renbourn group differs slightly from Stan’s version
1) There was a young maiden, who lives by the shore
Let the wind blow high, blow low
no one could she find to comfort her mind
and she set all a-lone on the shore,
she set all a-lone on the shore
2) or Sea
3) The captain had silver, the captain had gold
And captain had costly ware-o
All these he’ll give to his jolly ship crew
to bring him that maid on the shore
4) And slowly slowly she came upon board
the captain gave her a chair-o
he sited her down in the cabin below
adieu to all sorrow and care
5) in the version of Renbourn the sentence is clearer, it is the pains of love that the captain tries to alleviate by rape the girl!
6) She sited herself in the bow of the ship
she sang so loud and sweet-o
She sang so sweet, gentle and complete
She sang all the seamen to sleep
7) She part took of his silver, part took of his gold
part took of his costly ware-o
she took his broadsword to make an oar
to paddle her back to the shore,
8) Your men must be crazy, your men must be mad
your men must be deep in despair-o
I deluded at them all as has yourself
again I’m a maiden on the shore,

 Solas from “Sunny Spells And Scattered Showers” (1997)

I
There was a fair maid
and she lived all alone
She lived all alone on the shore
No one could she find for to calm her sweet mind (1)
But to wander alone on the shore, shore, shore
To wander alond on the shore
II
There was a brave captain
who sailed a fine ship
And the weather being steady and fair (2)/”I shall die, I shall die,”
this dear captain did cry
“If I can’t have that maid on the shore, shore, shore
If I can’t have that maid on the shore”
III
After many persuasions
they brought her on board
He seated her down on his chair
He invited her down to his cabin below
Farewell to all sorrow and care
Farewell to all sorrow and care (3).
IV
“I’ll sing you a song,”
this fair maid did cry
This captain was weeping for joy
She sang it so sweetly, so soft and completely
She sang the captain and sailors to sleep
Captain and sailors to sleep
V
She robbed them of jewels,
she robbed them of wealth (4)
She robbed them of costly fine fare
The captain’s broadsword she used as an oar
She rowed her way back to the shore, shore, shore
She rowed her way back to the shore
VI
Oh the men, they were mad and the men, they were sad
They were deeply sunk down in despair
To see her go away with her booty so gay
The rings and her things and her fine fare
The rings and her things and her fine fare
VII
“Well, don’t be so sad and sunk down in despair
And you should have known me before
I sang you to sleep and I robbed you of wealth
Well, again I’m a maid on the shore, shore, shore
Again I’m a maid on the shore”

NOTES
1) the sentence would make more sense if it were instead “to calm his restless mind”
2) the reference to the good weather is not accidental, in fact the sighting of a siren was synonymous with the approach of a storm
3) that is having a good time with a presumably virgin
4) the woman is not just a thief but a fairy creature that steals the health of the sailors

LINK
Folk Songs of the Catskills (Norman Cazden, Herbert Haufrecht, Norman Studer)
http://home.olemiss.edu/~mudws/reviews/catskill.html
https://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/dung24.htm

https://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?lang=it&id=50848
http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/stan_rogers/the_maid_on_the_shore.html https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/themaidontheshore.html

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=35649
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=51828 http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/solas/maid.htm http://www.8notes.com/scores/5463.asp

Tiree love song: the green island of Tiree

Leggi in italiano

The Isle of Tiree of the Inner Hebrides is a stretch of green machair in which myriads of yellow buttercups emerge, a land almost completely flat that houses seem to rise from the sea; the island is always sunny and the strong winds assist windsurfers and kitesurfers, even keeping mosquitoes away!
In the nineteenth century Tiree counted 4500 ab definitely too much for its resources, so the duke of Argyll implemented assisted migration (in fact a typical maneuver by Highland Clearances) and between 1841 and 1881 more than 3600 people emigrated to Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand.
In Gaelic it is called “tir-lodh” – ‘the land of corn’ from the days of the 6th century Celtic missionary and abbot St Columba. Tiree provided the monastic community on the island of Iona, south east of the island, with grain, and it seems that several monks settled there at St Patrick’s Chapel, Ceann a ‘Mhara and Soroby.

THE SOUND OF ANCIENT SCOTLAND

The Kilmartin Sessions The Sounds Of Ancient Scotland, 1997

Tiree is an island with ancient settlements, renowned for its Clach a’Choire (the stone cauldron) or even Choire Fhionn MhicChumhail (the cauldron of Finn mac Cumaill). The name identifies a natural amphitheater near the village of Balephetrish (Vaul), a probable mythical center in prehistoric and medieval times, where the Ringing Stone is found, which emits a sharp and metallic sound similar to that of the gong or the bells when it is hit: the stone looks like a big egg on the spoon, legend has it that the boulder was thrown by a giant of Mull and if ever it was split the island would sink into the sea.
...a ‘rock gong’ similar to Clach a’ Choire, listed by John MacKenzie (1845, p8) as one of the seven wonders of Scotland – a huge granite erratic covered with 53 cupmarks, the deepest of which are at the most resonant parts of the stone…According to Fagg (1997 p86), Clach a’ Choire was ‘said to contain a crock of gold – but if it ever split Tiree will disappear beneath the waves.’ If true (Mrs Fagg mistakenly attributes the staement to SHIS) the legend thus contains both a motive for destroying such stones and a warning against doing so…Compare Newton 1992 p145 where it is claimed that if Clach a’ Choire ‘ever shatters or falls off the pedestal of small stones on which it rests, Tiree will sink beneath the waves.’  (from The Gaelic Otherworld, ed Ronald Black, here)

The Kilmartin Sessions: The Sounds of Ancient Scotland 

Clach a'Choire
Clach a’Choire (the stone cauldron) or the Singing Stone of the Isle of Tiree, the first xylophone of prehistory

 

Photographic reportage from The Crow Clan here

The island is dedicated a love song of the late nineteenth century titled Tiree love song, a song originally written in Gaelic by Alexander Sinclair (Alasdair Neaill Oig), a wine and spirits merchant  in Glasgow but a devoted “Tireeman”, being his family originally from the island.

SCOTTISH GAELIC VERSION: Am Falbh Thu Leam a Rìbhinn Òg (Will you come and go with me?)

In the song, he asks a young maiden to come with him over the sea where she will see everything she could desire in the isle of the west that once was his home: geese and white swans, views over the ocean to the neighbouring isles, the green meadows and the tranquillity of St Patrick’s chapel.He tells her of the songbirds, the bumble bees and the blaze on the cattle, the cormorants and ducks, the marram grass growing on the dunes and the fragrance of the machair flowers, all to be found on his favourite part of Argyll – the green island of Tiree.
The island abounds with ancient prehistoric remains or dating back to the time of St. Columba, next to the temple of St. Patrick we also find an ancient well with healing waters. Click on names on the interactive map in http://www.tireeplacenames.org/ to visit them all!!

Kenevara hill in Tiree Isle

Effie MacDonald of Middleton

(at the moment I did not find an English translation)
Séist
Am falbh thu leam a rìbhinn òg
No’n téid thu leam thar saile
Gum faic thu ann gach nì gu d’ mhiann
‘S an eilean shiar a dh’fhàg mi.
1
Ged nach faic thu coill’ no fiadh
Tha gèadh is eala bhàn ann
Cait’ bheil sealladh a chuain shiar
Nuair bhios na liadhan traighte.
2
Chì thu uiseag agus smeòrach
Lon dubh agus luachran
Seillean ruadh le mhil ‘s a ghàradh
‘S blàrag air gach buallan.
3
Chì thu sgairbh ‘tigh’nn ort o’n chuan;
Tha lachaidh ruadh a’ snamh ann;
Muran gorm a’ fàs m’ a bhruaich
Gach ceum mu ‘n cuairt d’ a’ thraighean
4
Cha ‘n fhaic thu nathair ann air grunnd
Ach luibhean ‘s cùbhraidh faileadh
A’ cinntinn ann bho linn gu linn
‘S an tìr ‘s an d’fhuair mi m’ àrach

 

ENGLISH “VERSION” Tiree love song

The transposition in English is by Hugh S. Roberton, already the author of the very popular songsThe Mingulay Boat SongWestering Home and Mairi’s Wedding, who makes a text re-elaboration rather than a translation and publishes it in his book Songs of the Isles (1950)

The Corries
Ryan’s Fancy (II, I, III)


CHORUS
He-ree he-ro my bonnie wee girl
He-ree he-ro my fair one
Will you come away my love
To be my own my rare one
I
Smiling the land! Smiling the sea!
Sweet is the scent(1) of the heather.
Would we were yonder,
just you and me,
The two of us together!
II
All the day long, out on the peat (2)
Then by the shore (3) in the gloaming
Stepping it lightly with dancing feet
And we together roaming
III
Laughter o’ love! Singing galore!
Tripping it lightsome and airy:
Could we be asking of life for more,
My own, my darling Mary?

NOTES
1) or “smell”
2) or “All together down by the sea”,
3) or “Down by the sea”

LINK
http://www.tireeplacenames.org/
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/69928/1/LuckyDip
https://www.calmac.co.uk/article/6138/An-island-dream-discovering-Tiree-by-bike
http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016.14.1.pdf
http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/sounds-clips/
http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/object/1997-232-10/
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=10536
http://gestsongs.com/11/tiree.htm

Tiree Love Song/Am Falbh Thu Leam a Rìbhinn Òg

Read the post in English

L’Isola di Tiree delle Ebridi interne è una distesa di verde machair in cui spuntano miriadi di ranuncoli gialli, una terra quasi del tutto piatta che le case sembrano sorgere dal mare; l’isola è sempre soleggiata e i forti venti assistono gli appassionati di windsurf e di kitesurfe tenendo anche  lontane le zanzare!
Nell’Ottocento l’isola contava 4500 ab decisamente troppi per le sue risorse, così il duca di Argyll attuò la migrazione assistita (in realtà una tipica manovra da Highland Clearances) e tra il 1841 e il 1881 più di 3600 persone emigrarono in Canada, Stati Uniti, Australia e Nuova Zelanda.
In gaelico è detta “tir-lodh” – la terra del grano perchè riforniva la comunità monastica della vicina Iona e sembra che vi si siano insediati diversi monaci presso la St Patrick’s Chapel, Ceann a’ Mhara e Soroby.

IL SUONO DEGLI ANTICHI SCOZZESI

The Kilmartin Sessions The Sounds Of Ancient Scotland, 1997

Tiree è un’isola con antichi insediamenti, rinomata per la sua  Clach a’Choire  (il calderone di pietra) o anche Choire Fhionn MhicChumhail (il calderone di Finn mac Cumaill). Il nome individua un anfiteatro naturale in prossimità del villaggio di Balephetrish (Vaul) probabile centro mitico in epoca preistorica e medievale in cui si trova la  Ringing Stone (la pietra canterina) che emette un suono acuto e metallico simile a quello del gong o delle campane quando viene colpita: sembra un grosso uovo sul cucchiaio ed è una pietra coppellata risalente al megalitico. La leggenda vuole che il masso sia stato lanciato da un gigante di Mull e se mai venisse spaccato l’isola s’inabisserebbe nel mare.
...un ‘rock gong’ simile alla Clach a ‘Choire, elencata da John MacKenzie (1845, p8) come una delle sette meraviglie della Scozia – un enorme masso erratico di granito coperto da 53 coppelle, le più profonde sono nelle parti più risonanti della pietra … Secondo Fagg (1997 p86), secondo la tradizione la Clach a ‘Choire conteneva dell’oro – ma se mai dovesse rompersi, Tiree sparirà sotto le onde. Se fosse vera (la signora Fagg attribuisce erroneamente l’affermazione a SHIS) la leggenda contiene quindi sia un motivo per distruggere tali pietre sia un avvertimento a non farlo … Confronta Newton 1992 p145 dove si afferma che se la Clach a ‘Choire dovesse mai frantumarsi o cade dal piedistallo di piccole pietre su cui poggia, Tiree affonderà sotto le onde’  (tratto da The Gaelic Otherworld, ed Ronald Black, qui)

da ascoltare nel cd The Kilmartin Sessions: The Sounds of Ancient Scotland 

Clach a'Choire
Clach a’Choire  (il calderone di pietra) ovvero la Pietra canterina dell’Isola di Tiree, il primo xilofono della preistoria

 

Reportage fotografico dal The Crow Clan qui

All’isola è dedicata una love song di fine ottocento dal titolo Tiree love song, una canzone in origine scritta in gaelico da Alexander Sinclair (Alasdair Neaill Oig), un commerciante di vini e alcolici residente a Glasgow ma un devoto “Tireeman”, essendo la sua famiglia originaria dell’isola.

LA VERSIONE IN GAELICO SCOZZESE: Am Falbh Thu Leam a Rìbhinn Òg (Will you come and go with me?)

Nella canzone il protagonista chiede a una giovane fanciulla di seguirlo oltre il mare per visitare l’isola di Tiree dove potrà trovare le cose più desiderabili: vaste colonie di uccelli marini, una vista sull’oceano e le vicine isole, verdi prati con api e il bestiame e la cappella di San Patrizio. L’isola abbonda di antichi resti preistorici o risalenti all’epoca di San Columba, accanto al tempio di san Patrizio troviamo anche un antico pozzo  dalle acque curative. Cliccate in nomi sulla mappa interattiva in http://www.tireeplacenames.org/ per visitarli tutti!!

l’altura di Kenevara nell’isola di Tiree

Effie MacDonald di Middleton

(al momento non ho trovato una traduzione in inglese)
Séist
Am falbh thu leam a rìbhinn òg
No’n téid thu leam thar saile
Gum faic thu ann gach nì gu d’ mhiann
‘S an eilean shiar a dh’fhàg mi.
1
Ged nach faic thu coill’ no fiadh
Tha gèadh is eala bhàn ann
Cait’ bheil sealladh a chuain shiar
Nuair bhios na liadhan traighte.
2
Chì thu uiseag agus smeòrach
Lon dubh agus luachran
Seillean ruadh le mhil ‘s a ghàradh
‘S blàrag air gach buallan.
3
Chì thu sgairbh ‘tigh’nn ort o’n chuan;
Tha lachaidh ruadh a’ snamh ann;
Muran gorm a’ fàs m’ a bhruaich
Gach ceum mu ‘n cuairt d’ a’ thraighean
4
Cha ‘n fhaic thu nathair ann air grunnd
Ach luibhean ‘s cùbhraidh faileadh
A’ cinntinn ann bho linn gu linn
‘S an tìr ‘s an d’fhuair mi m’ àrach

 

LA VERSIONE IN INGLESE: Tiree love song

La trasposizione in inglese è di Hugh S. Roberton, già autore delle popolarissime canzoni The Mingulay Boat SongWestering Home e Mairi’s Wedding, il quale ne fa una rielaborazione testuale più che una traduzione e la pubblica nel suo libro Songs of the Isles (1950)

The Corries
Ryan’s Fancy (II, I, III)


CHORUS
He-ree he-ro my bonnie wee girl
He-ree he-ro my fair one
Will you come away my love
To be my own my rare one
I
Smiling the land! Smiling the sea!
Sweet is the scent(1) of the heather.
Would we were yonder,
just you and me,
The two of us together!
II
All the day long, out on the peat (2)
Then by the shore (3) in the gloaming
Stepping it lightly with dancing feet
And we together roaming
III
Laughter o’ love! Singing galore!
Tripping it lightsome and airy:
Could we be asking of life for more,
My own, my darling Mary?
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Coro
He-ree he-ro mia bella ragazzina,
He-ree he-ro mia bella.
Vuoi venire con me, mia cara
per essere la mia diletta?
I
Terra ridente! Mare ridente!
Dolce è il profumo dell’erica
potremmo stare laggiù,
solo tu ed io,
noi due insieme!
II
Per tutto il giorno, sulla piana
e poi alla spiaggia nel crepuscolo
con passo lieve di danza
insieme vagheremo
III
Risate d’amore! Canti a iosa!
Saltellando allegri e spensierati
Potremmo chiedere di più alla vita,
mia cara Mary?

NOTE
1) oppure “smell”
2) oppure “All together down by the sea”,
3) oppure “Down by the sea”

FONTI
http://www.tireeplacenames.org/
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/69928/1/LuckyDip
https://www.calmac.co.uk/article/6138/An-island-dream-discovering-Tiree-by-bike
http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016.14.1.pdf
http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/sounds-clips/
http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/object/1997-232-10/
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=10536
http://gestsongs.com/11/tiree.htm

The Grey Selkie

Leggi in italiano

The best known of the ballads of the Orkney Islands, also as The Gray Silkie of Sule Skerry, tells of a selkie living on the rocky cliff of Sule. The ballad was collected by professor Child  ( # 113).

The legend says that to reproduce the selkie-male must be in human form and transmit his power to descendants: when his child is weaned on dry land, the selkie will return from the sea.

TRADITIONAL VERSION: The Gray Silkie

From Sailormen & Servingmaids 1961, a songs collection on field recordings from England, Scotland and Ireland with John Sinclair of the Fleet island, (melody collected in 1938 by Otto Anderson and transcribed in notation with text by Annie G. Gilchrist.)

John G. Halcro 
in Orkney, Land, Sea & Community, Scottish Tradition vol 21, recordings from the archives of the Scottish School of Studies of the University of Edinburgh (fragment recorded in 1973): “A brief version of it appears as no. 113 in Child without a tune, but this is no match for the variant which old John Sinclair of Flotta in the Orkney Isles turned up with in January 1934. He has since been visited by Swedish folklorists [i.e. Otto Andersson] and recorded for the BBC. Bronson remarks that his tune is a variant of the air often associated with Hind Horn, another ballad of traffic between spirits and mortals. Sinclair (who learned the song from his mother), worked all his life as a seaman, and a farmer-fisherman until his retirement. He now lives in a cottage by the sea where Silkies perhaps may still appear.”

Alison McMorland from Rowan in the Rock 2001

June Tabor from Ashore 2011

I
In Norway’s Land there lived a maid
“Hush ba-loo-lilly”. this maid began,
“I know not where my babe’s father is
Whether by land or sea does he travel in”
II
It happened on a certain day
When this fair lady fell fast asleep
That in came a good grey silkie
And set him down at her bed feet
III
Saying, “Awak’, awak’, my pretty fair maid,
For oh, how sound as thou dost sleep,
And I’ll tell thee where thy babe’s father is,
He’s sitting close at thy bed feet.”
IV
“I pray thee tell to me thy name,
Oh, tell me where does thy dwelling be?”
“My name is good Hill Marliner,
And I earn my living oot o’er the sea.
V
I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie in the sea,
And when I’m far from every strand
My dwelling it’s in Sule Skerry”
VI
“Alas, alas, that’s woeful fate,
That’s weary fate that’s been laid on me,
That a man should come from the West o’ Hoy
To the Norway Lands to have a bairn wi’ me.”
VII (1)
“My dear, I’ll wed thee with a ring,
With a ring, my dear, will I wed with thee.”
“Thee may go to thee weddings with whom thou wilt,
For I’m sure thou never will wed wi’ me.”
VIII
She has nursed his little wee son
For seven long years upon her knee
And at the end of seven long years
He came back with gowd and white monie (2)
IX
For she has got the gunner good
And a gay good gunner it was he,
He gaed oot on a May morning
And he shot the son and the grey silkie.
X
“Alas, alas, that’s woeful fate,
That’s weary fate that’s been laid on me.”
And eenst or twice she sobbed and sighed
And her tender hairt did break in three.(3)

NOTES
1) she asks silkie to marry her, but he refuses, telling her that she will marry another.
2) silkie pays the Norse tribute for his child
3) in another version, however, the woman decides to follow selkie and son throwing herself into the sea to prevent the prophecy from coming true

But the most widespread melody that became standard it is that of the American James Waters  (see first part)

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/sule-skerry.htm

http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/the-great-selkie-of-sule-skerry/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/greatsilkieofsuleskerry.html
https://www.scotslanguage.com/articles/view/id/4882

The Grey Silkie of Sule Skerry

Leggi in italiano

5494853578_b8a653b169Selkie / silkie / Selchie are the dialectal terms with which in Scotland and Ireland the shapeshifting creatures of sea are called; derive from selich, the Scottish archaic word for  gray seal of the oceans and the Atlantic seas: they are guardians of the sea, seal in the sea and man on earth.

ALL ABOUT SELKIE see here

The power of shapeshifters seems to be contained in their mantle (seal skin), selkies can no longer transform themselves without it and are forced to remain human. This condition is understood in a negative way, a sign of a lack or deprivation, as if the skins of Selkie there were also their soul.
Some researchers wanted to see the origin of the legend in the Finfolk, ( probably the Sami people) Scandinavian men who arrived on the islands and on the coast of Scotland aboard their leather kayaks, while gradually they were advancing at sea their canoe had absorbed water and  sank until only part of their trunk it could be seen.

Both male and female, they are described in their human form as beautiful creatures (long hair and big dark eyes, agile limbs), docile but at the same time endowed with seductive power. The legend says that to reproduce a selkie-male must be in human form and transmit his power to descendants: when his child is weaned on dry land, the selkie will return from the sea. Once when the infant mortality rate was very high, only children over the age of seventh could be considered out of danger and it was at the end of the seventh year that the selkie returned to take his child.
Selkie males were invoked by girls in search of lovers, pouring seven tears in the tide, while sailors were attracted to the female selkie who tried to take as their brides.

Selkie by Maryanne Gobble

THE GREAT SELKIE OF SULE SKERRY

The best known of the Orkney ballads, also known as The Gray Silkie of Sule Skerry, it tells of a selkie living on the rocky cliff of Sule. Skerry derives from the Norse “sker” which means rock in the sea .
The ballad was also collected by professor Child ( # 113).

tumblr_loialeB04U1r04h5zo1_500A young girl has a child from an unknown man who turns out to be a selkie: man on earth, seal at sea whose dwelling is the rocks of Sule. After seven years the sea creature returns to claim his son, giving him a chain of gold, and the mother lets him go.
She after some time gets married with a hunter who trades with animal skins. One day he returns home with the skins of two seals he had killed to give them to his wife: one was of an old gray seal, the other of a young seal with a golden chain around his neck! She dies, overwhelmed by the pain of this vision: her heart breaks or she chooses to follow selkie and son throwing herself into the sea to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

SELKIE PROPHECY

The enchantment of the story lies in particular in the narrative choice: the story is often described as in a nocturnal dream in which a man who claims to be silkie and father of the child, appears almost magically and, next to the cradle of the newborn as in fairy godmothers of fairy tales, he traces child’s destiny.

TWO TUNES

A first melody, which was shot in the folk revival of the 70s, it was written by the American James Waters in 1954 (popularized by Joan Baez); another melody is instead traditional and it was collected in 1938 by Otto Anderson from the voice of John Sinclair of the island of Flotta and transcribed in notation.

JAMES WATERS TUNE

A funeral lament in a lullaby form.

Castelbar  (I, II, IV, V, III, VI, VII, I)

Very intense version of Steeleye Span from Cogs, Wheels and Lovers, 2009, Maddy Prior and Peter Knight

Cécile Corbel ( I, II, IV as refrain, III, V, VI)

Seriouskitchen (Nick Hennessey, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer ) live: magic instruments, beautiful voices, intense expressiveness

I
An earthly nurse (1) sits and sings,
And aye, she sings by lily wean,
“And little ken (2) I my bairn (3)’s father,
Far less the land where he dwells in.
II
For he came one night to her bed feet (4),/And a grumbly (5) guest, I’m sure was he,/Saying, “Here am I, thy bairn’s father,/Although I be not comely.”
III
He had ta’en a purse of gold/And he had placed it upon her knee/ Saying, “Give to me my little young son,/And take thee up thy nurse’s fee.”
IV
“I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie on the sea,
And when I’m far and far frae land,
My home it is in Sule Skerrie.”
V
“And it shall come to pass on a summer’s day,/When the sun shines bright on every stane,/I’ll come and fetch my little young son,/And teach him how to swim the faem.”
VI
“Ye shall marry a gunner good/And a right fine gunner I’m sure he’ll be,/And the very first shot that e’er he shoots/Will kill both my young son and me.”
VII
“Alas! Alas! this woeful fate!
This weary fate that’s been laid for me!”/And once or twice she sobbed and sighed/and she joint to a sun and grey silkie (6)

NOTES
1) nourris = nurse
2) ken = know
3) bairn = child
4) bed fit = foot of the bed
5) grumly = strange, scary but also sad
6) or: And her tender heart did break in three

traditional tune

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/sule-skerry.htm
http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/sulesk.htm
http://thawinedarksea.blogspot.it/2010/04/selkie-pallawah-skin.html
http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/finfolk/index.html
https://japanesemythology.wordpress.com/study-notes-investigating-sealkins-selkies-and-sea-goddess-folklore/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/greatsilkieofsuleskerry.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=31375
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch113.htm
http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/recordings–info-113-great-silkie-of-sule-skerry.aspx
http://bestoflegends.org/fairy/selchies.html
http://fiabesca.blogspot.it/2013/06/acque-settentrionali-le-storie-della.html

Herr Mannelig, merry me! troll says

Leggi in italiano

A red thread connects the various countries of Europe, which once was united, if not politically, at least culturally, from the stories sung by the jesters and wandering minstrels. Thus we see how the subject of the Concealed Death that started from the North of the Scandinavian countries has reached the Romance languages in the South and in the West, in a plethora of variants. (first part)

THE MEETING WITH THE TROLL

One of these variants starts in the same Scandinavian countries, around a mythical creature typical of Norse folklore: the trolls.

A mythical creature also shared by the Anglo-Saxon culture and in the Tolkenian imagery described as crude and wicked, dedicated to the destruction of villages, the theft of cattle and the capture of unwary travelers, who are then often cooked. The troll fears the sunlight because he transforms him into stone.

HERR MANNELIG

soledadThe creature of this story is a female troll and she is convinced that by marrying a prince she can turn into a beautiful princess, and so she lures the unfortunate knights with sumptuous gifts. Sir Mannelig refuses her hand and the ballad ends here, but surely the story does not have a happy ending even for the human!
In the collective imagination, death is a woman dressed in black with a scythe, and Orcum in Latin is the god of the Underworld, hence of death. His appearance in the Roman pantheon is attributable to the Etruscans and outclassed by Hades he remained in the popular peasant consciousness under the figure of the Wild Man.

On the false line of Shreck (trolls are a bit like orcs) we can imagine that our troll is a princess under the spell of a witch, and only with the kiss of true love she will be able to resume her human form.
But we are in the Middle Ages and Mannelig is a Christian knight who does not let himself be subjugated by the temptations of the devil and therefore no kiss!

The ballad has been interpreted by many metal-folk groups with slightly different textual versions.

Garmarna  from “Guds spelemän” 1996 live version

Annwn from Orbis Alia with more medieval accents


I
Bittida en morgon innan solen upprann
Innan foglarna började sjunga
Bergatrollet friade till fager ungersven
Hon hade en falskeliger tunga
(ref.) 
Herr Mannelig herr Mannelig
trolofven i mig
För det jag bjuder så gerna
I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej
Om i viljen eller ej:
II
Eder vill jag gifva de gångare tolf
Som gå uti rosendelunde
Aldrig har det varit någon sadel uppå dem
Ej heller betsel uti munnen
III
Eder vill jag gifva de qvarnarna tolf
Som stå mellan Tillö och Ternö
Stenarna de äro af rödaste gull
Och hjulen silfverbeslagna
IV
Eder vill jag gifva ett förgyllande svärd
Som klingar utaf femton guldringar
Och strida huru I strida vill
Stridsplatsen skolen i väl vinna
V
Eder vill jag gifva en skjorta så ny
Den bästa I lysten att slita
Inte är hon sömnad av nål eller trå
Men virkat av silket det hvita
VI
Sådana gåfvor toge jag väl emot
Om du vore en kristelig qvinna
Men nu så är du det värsta bergatroll
Af Neckens och djävulens stämma
VII
Bergatrollet ut på dörren sprang
Hon rister och jämrar sig svåra
Hade jag fått den fager ungersven
Så hade jag mistat min plåga
English translation (from Wiki)
I
Early one morning before the sun rose up/Before the birds began to sing
The mountain troll proposed to the handsome young man
She had a false tongue
(ref.) Herr Mannelig, herr Mannelig, will you be betrothed to me?
For that, I offer you gifts very gladly
Surely you can answer only yes or no
If you wish to or not
II
To you I wish to give the twelve horses
That go in the grove of roses
Never has there been a saddle upon them
Nor a bridle in their mouths
III
To you I wish to give the twelve mills
That are between Tillö and Ternö
The stones are made of the reddest gold/ And the wheels are covered in silver
IV
To you I wish to give a gilded sword
That chimes of fifteen gold rings
And fight however you fight
The battle you would surely win
V
To you I wish to give a shirt so new
The best you will want to wear
It was not sewn with needle or thread
But crocheted of white silk
VI
Such gifts I would surely accept
If thou[wert a Christian woman
However, thou art the worst mountain troll
The spawn of the Neck and the Devil
VII
The mountain troll ran out the door
She shakes and wails hard
If I had got the handsome young man
I would have got rid of my plight.

Haggard from “Eppur si muove”, 2004, they sing it in Italian on a rock metal sound (symphonic metal or neo-classic metal). The German group is basically composed of about twenty musicians with Asis Nasseri as composer, who translated the text of the Swedish ballad into Italian

All’alba, prima che il sole sorgesse
E gli uccelli cantassero la canzone
La donna del troll con lingua falsa
Et ingannevole propose al signore:
“Herr Mannelig, herr Mannelig mi vorrai sposare
Per tutto quello che io ti darò?
Se vorrai, rispondi solo si o no
Farai così o no?
Ti darò i dodici mulini
Che stanno tra Tillo e Terno
Le macine sono fatte del più rosso rame
E le ruote sono cariche d’argento
Herr mannelig, herr mannelig mi vorrai sposare
Per tutto quello che io ti darò?
Se vorrai, rispondi solo si o no
Farai così o no?”
“Se tu fossi una donna cristiana
Riceverei volentieri regali così,
Ma io so che sei il peggiore troll
Figlio degli spiriti maligni.”
“Herr mannelig, herr mannelig mi vorrai sposare
Per tutto quello che io ti darò?
Se vorrai, rispondi solo si o no
Farai così o no?”

Tibetréa a folk rock that is not too techno but relies on the acoustic sound of the hurdy-gurdy and the harp and they also put the trumpet on it

And I could go on with more medieval-metal versions: In Extremo (here),  Othlan (here), Psalteria (here),  Cromdale (here)

Many also transcriptions in other languages see for example Sir Mannelig played by Brian Kay, at the Anglo-Saxon lyra

LINK
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/la-morte-occultata/
http://www.metalgermania.it/traduzioni/haggard/herr-mannelig.html
http://www.metalgermania.it/traduzioni/in-extremo/herr-mannelig.html

Concealed death: french, breton and occitan ballads

Leggi in Italiano

 Concealed death

LORD OLAF AND THE ELVES 
SCANDINAVIAN VARIANTS
BRITISH AND AMERICAN VERSIONS
FRENCH VERSIONS
ITALIAN VERSION

Professor Child collected the summary of a version from Brittany that is likely to be the link between the Scandinavian variants and the south of Europe ones.

BRETON TALE: The Count Nann

The count Nann and his wife were married at the respective ages of thirteen and twelve. The next year a son was born. The young husband asked the countess if she had a fancy for anything. She said that she should like a bit of game, and he took his lance and went to the wood. At the entrance of the wood he met a fairy (a dwarf in other versions). The fairy said that she had long been looking for him. “Now that I have met you, you must marry me.” “Marry you? Not I. I am married already.” “Choose either to die in three days or to lie sick in bed seven (three in other versions) years” and then die. He would rather die in three days, for his wife is very young, and would suffer greatly. On reaching home the young man called to his mother to make his bed; he should never get up again. He recounted his meeting with the fairy, and begged that his wife might not be informed of his death.
The countess asked: “What has happened to my husband that he doesn’t come home to see me?” She was told that he had gone to the wood to get her something. “Why were the men-servants weeping?” The best horse had been drowned in bathing him. She said they were not to weep; others should be brought. “Why were the maids weeping?” Linen had been lost in washing. They must not weep the loss would be supplied. “Why are the priests chanting (or the bells tolling)?” A poor person whom they had lodged had died in the night. “What dress should she wear for her churching – red or blue?” The custom had come in of wearing black.
On arriving at the church she saw that the earth had been disturbed; why was this? “I can no longer conceal it”, said her mother-in-law: “Your husband is dead.” “Take my keys, take care of my son; I will stay with his father.” (from here)

We find the same story in the French medieval ballad Le Roi Renaud which in the Occitan language becomes Comte Arnau (Arnau is Renaud). The rediscovery of the ballad of medieval origin takes place in full romantic fervor from the nationalisms and the antiquarian taste of traditional songs. I therefore refer to the excellent treatment of Christian Souchon for all the interweaving and in-depth analysis on the subject of Concealed Death  in  France (here).

Breton Ballad: An Aotrou Nann hag ar Gorrigan

In Brittany the ballad “Aotroù Nann” (Sir Nann and the Fairy) is circulated in dozens of versions but the pattern is always identical: the meeting with the fairy, the refusal of the knight, the choice to die slowly among the toments or by a fulminant death and the concealment of knight death to his young bride about to give birth. The rest are details varied according to singer taste. (see here and here).

Gwennyn from Avalon 2017  (track 8)
(under review)

FRENCH VERSION: LE ROI RENAUD

The French version sends king back home from war, wounded to death. (no enchanted forest and fairy here!) To his queen they concealed his death until his burial,probably because they do not want to create complications in the imminence of childbirth. However, after giving birth and finally getting out of bed to go to mass (and after a kilometer ballad full of concealment) The ballad ends tragically with queen who invokes death and immediately the earth opens up from under her feet swallowing her.

Even today the ballad is sung by folk singers  with medieval-inspired arrangements.
Pierre Bensusan
Le Poème Harmonique from Aux marches du palais


I
Le roi Renaud de guerre vint
tenant ses tripes dans ses mains.
Sa mère était sur le créneau
qui vit venir son fils Renaud.
II
– Renaud, Renaud, réjouis-toi!
Ta femme est accouché d’un roi!
– Ni de ma femme ni du fils
je ne saurais me réjouir.
III
Allez ma mère, allez devant,
faites-moi faire un beau lit blanc.
Guère de temps n’y resterai:
à la minuit trépasserai.
IV
Mais faites-le moi faire ici-bas
que l’accouchée n’l’entende pas.
Et quand ce vint sur la minuit,
le roi Renaud rendit l’esprit..
V
Il ne fut pas le matin jour
tous les valets pleuraient très tous.
Il ne fut temps de déjeuner
que les servantes ont pleuré.
VI
– Mais dites-moi, mère, m’amie,
que pleurent nos valets ici ?
– Ma fille, en lavant nos chevaux
ont laissé noyer le plus beau.
VII
– Oh pourquoi donc, mère m’amie,
pour un cheval pleurer ainsi ?
Quand Renaud reviendra,
plus beaux chevaux ramènera.
VIII
– Et dites-moi, mère m’amie,
que pleurent nos servantes ici ?
– Ma fille, en lavant nos linceuls
ont laissé aller le plus neuf.
XIX
– Oh pourquoi donc, mère m’amie,
pour un linceul pleurer ainsi ?
Quand Renaud reviendra,
plus beau linceul ramènera.
X
– Ah, dites-moi, mère m’amie,
Qu’est-ce que j’entends cogner ici ?
– Ma fille, ce sont les charpentiers
Qui raccommodent le plancher.
XI
– Ah ! Dites-moi, mère m’amie,
Pourquoi les cloches sonnent ici ?
– Ma fille, c’est la procession
Qui sort pour les rogations.  (1)
XII
– Mais, dites-moi, mère m’amie,
C’est que j’entends chanter ici ?
– Ma fille, c’est la procession
Qui fait le tour de la maison.
XIII
Or quand ce fut passé huit jours,
A voulut faire ses atours.
Or, quand ce fut pour relever,
à la messe  (2) elle voulut aller,
XIV
– Mais dites-moi, mère m’amie,
quel habit mettrai-je aujourd’hui ?
– Mettez le blanc, mettez le gris,
mettez le noir pour mieux choisir.
XV
– Mais dites-moi, mère m’amie,
qu’est-ce que ce noir-là signifie
– A femme relèvant d’enfant,
le noir lui est bien plus séant.
XVI
Mais quand elles fut parmi les champs,
Trois pastoureaux allaient disant :
– Voici la femme du seignour
Que l’on enterra l’autre jour !
XVII
– Ah ! Dites-moi, mère m’amie,
Que disent ces pastoureaux-ci ?
– Il disent de presser le pas,
Ou que la messe n’aura pas.
XVIII
Or quand elle fut dans l’église entrée,
un cierge on lui a présenté.
Aperçoit en s’agenouillant
la terre fraîche sous son banc.
XIX
– Ah ! Dites-moi, mère m’amie,
pourquoi la terre est rafraîchie?
– Ma fille, ne puis plus vous celer,
Renaud est mort et enterré.
XX
Puisque le roi Renaud est mort,
voici la clé (3) de mon trésor.
Voici mes bagues et mes joyaux,
prenez bien soin du fils Renaud.
XXI
Terre, ouvre-toi, terre fends-toi,
que j’aille avec Renaud, mon roi!
Terre s’ouvrit, et se fendit,
et ci fut la belle engloutie.
English translation*
I
King Renaud comes back from the war,
Holding his guts in his hands.
His mother who was on the battlement, Saw her son Renaud come.
II
– Renaud, Renaud, cheer you up!
Your wife has given birth to a king!
– Neither for my wife, nor for my son,
May I cheer up.
III
Go, my mother, hurry up.
Have a fine white bed set ready for me;
I have short time to remain here:
By midnight I shall pass away.
IV
But have it done it down here
So my wife in childbirth will not hear!
And when midnight came,
King Renaud gave back his soul.
V
Morning had not broken yet,
And soon the valets were all weeping.
And even before breakfast,
All the maidservants have wept.
VI
– Tell me my mother dear,
What are our valets weeping for?
– My daughter, while washing our horses,
They let the finest drown.
VII
– And why, mother dear,
Such a weeping for a horse?
When King Renaud comes back,
He will bring finer horses.
VIII
– Ah! Tell me, my mother dear,
why do our women servants weep?
– Dear, while washing our linen sheets
they have lost the newest.
XIX
-And why, mother dear,
should they weep so for a linen sheet?
When King Renaud returns,
he will buy finer linen sheets.
X
– Ah! Tell me, my mother dear,
What are those beatings I hear?
– My daughter, it’s the carpenters
Repairing the floor.
XI
– Ah! Tell me, mother dear
What do I hear ringing here?
– My daughter, it is the procession,
Going out for the rogations.(1).
XII
– Ah! Tell me, mother dear,
What are the priests singing here?
– My daughter, it is the procession,
Turning round the house.
XIII
And when eight days had passed,
She wanted to dress up to the nines.
And when she could get up
She wanted to go to the Mass.
XIV
-Ah! Tell me mother dear,
Which dress shall I wear today?
– Wear the white, wear the grey,
Wear the black to choose best
XV
– Ah! Tell me mother dear,
What does this black mean?
-To a woman who has given birth to a child,
Black is the most convenient.
XVI
But when they were amidst the fields
Three shepherds were saying:
-Look at the wife of that lord
Who was buried the other day!
XVII
-Ah! Tell me mother dear,
What are those shepherds saying?
_ They say to hurry up,
Otherwise we’ll miss the Mass.
XVIII
When she stepped inside the church
She was given a church candle.
he realized, while kneeling,
That the earth was fresh under her bench.
XIX
– Ah, Tell me, mother dear
Why is the earth fresh here?
– My daughter, I cannot hide it any longer:
Renaud is dead and buried.
XX
Since King Renaud is dead,
Here are the keys to my treasure.
Take my rings and my jewels,
Feed well Renaud’s son!
XXI
Earth, open up! Earth, burst open!
Let me join Renaud, my king!
Earth opened up, earth burst open,
And the beauty was swallowed.

NOTES
* from here and here
1) the rogations were processional chants mixed with prayers with which they went to bless the fields in the three days before Ascension (continued)
2) at one time woman was considered impure after childbirth and she could return to the community only after 40 days. The ballad reflects an archaic conception of woman in marriage: her only role is to generate descent and her destiny is to follow her husband in death. In reality, in the Middle Ages, high-ranking widows were conveniently remarried or sended in a convent.
3) the married woman was entrusted with house keys, pantry and wardrobe and they hanged them on the belt as a hallmark of their rank
4) holy ground for church

OCCITAN VERSION: LO COMTE ARNAUD

We realize immediately that death does not occur because of an evil mermaid or fairy. The war is responsible for the tragedy. The tale becomes more realistic and universal and stresses on the dramatisation by focusing more on the concealed death.
Arnau joins in a war, he is wounded and comes back at the beginning of summer (on Saint John’s day). He asks to have his bed made and after his last conversation with his mother he announces his death. Once the magical elements have been disregarded and substituted by a more realistic view of life, the second part can continue by adapting the version from Brittany to the story. The most important difference is that the hero’s wife has just given birth to a child. That makes the story more dramatic and the concealed death creates a sympathetic suspense in the audience until it is revealed. This is a common trait in most European variants. Another curiosity found in most versions concerns the dress she will have to wear while going to church: it must be black! It is basically a theatrical device. The listeners of ballads used to visualize the story with their third eye and could “see” the mother in law who actually spoke to them. It was as if she said: “You and I know why I have answered so.” The story is then similar to a Greek tragedy, like Oedipus King. We know the truth, but the characters do not; the truth will be revealed only in the topic and dramatic moment of the tragedy. In both cases the concealed truth gives vent to pietas as sympathetic attention toward the fragile and mortal. It is in this way that the tragedy of Arnau’s wife, amplified by the birth of a child, becomes a projection of something already lived, or hypothetically lived, in which we all recognize ourselves. With all the other listeners we become a sort of silent Greek chorus expressing a feeling of pietas. (from here)
Rosina de Pèira & Martina from Cançons de femnas 1980


I
Lo comte Arnau, lo chivalièr,
dins lo Piemont va batalhier.
Comte Arnau, ara tu ten vas;
digas-nos quora tornaras.
II
Enta Sant Joan ieu tornarai
e mort o viu  aici serai.
Ma femna deu, enta Sant Joan
me rendre lo pair d’un bel enfant.
III
Mas la Sant Joan ven d’arribar,
lo Comte Amau ven a mancar.
Sa mair, del pus naut de l’ostal,
lo vei venir sus son caval.
IV
“Mair, fasetz far prompte lo leit
que longtemps non i dormirai.
Fasetz-lo naut, fasetz-lo bas,
Que ma miga n’entenda pas.”
V
Comte Arnau, a que vos pensatz
qu’un bel enfant vos quitariatz?
Ni per un enfant ni per dus,
mair, ne ressuscitarai plus.
VI
“Mair, que es aquel bruch dins l’ostal?
Sembla las orasons d’Arnau.
La femna que ven d’enfantar
orasons non deu escotar.”
VII
“Mair, per la festa de deman
quina rauba me botaran?
La femna que ven d’enfantar
la rauba negra deu portar!”
VIII
“Mair, porque tant de pregadors?
Que dison dins las orasons?”
Dison: la que ven d’enfantar
a la misseta deu anar.
IX
A la misseta ela se’n va,
vei lo Comt’ Arnau enterar.
“V’aqui las claus de mon cinton,
mair, torni plus a la maison.”
X
“Terra santa, tel cal obrir,
Voli parlar a mon marit;
Terra santa, te cal barrar,
amb Arnau voli demorar.
English translation*
I
Earl Arnau, the knight
Joins in a war in Piedmont.
“Earl Arnau, now you are going;
Tell us when you come back.”
II
“I’ll come back before Saint John’s day.
Either dead or alive I will be here.
My wife, just before Saint John’s day,
Will make me father of a beautiful son.”
III
But Saint John’s day comes,
Earl Arnau is missing.
His mother sees him coming on horseback
From the top of the house.
IV
“Mother have my bed made,
I won’t sleep long.
Make it high or make it low,
Provided that my wife doesn’t hear.”
V
“Earl Arnau, what are you thinking of,
That you will leave your beautiful son?”
Neither for one son, nor for two,
Mother, I won’t raise from the dead.”
VI
“Mother what’s that noise in the house?
It sounds as if they were Arnau’s prayers.”
“Woman who has just given birth to a child
Must not listen to prayers.”
VII
“Mother, for tomorrow’s feast,
What will they wear me with?”
Woman who has just given birth to a child,
Must wear a black dress!”
VIII
“Mother, why so many people praying?
What do they say in the prayers?”
“They say: who has given birth to a child/Must go to the Mass.”.
IX
She goes to the Mass
Sees Earl Arnau buried:
“Here is the key of my belt,
I won’t come back home anymore.”
X
“Holy land, you must open up,
I want to talk to my husband.
Holy land, you must close,
With Arnau I want to remain.”

NOTE
* (from here)

Version from Piedmont (Italy)

FONTI
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/nann.htm
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/nannf.htm
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/chants/trador.htm
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/chants/roirenau.htm
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/chants/arnaud.htm

https://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?lang=it&id=2499
https://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?id=1049&lang=it
http://www.coroasiago.it/rinaldo.htm
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8862

The Concealed Death: Re Giraldin

Leggi in Italiano

 Concealed death

LORD OLAF AND THE ELVES 
SCANDINAVIAN VARIANTS
BRITISH AND AMERICAN VERSIONS
FRENCH VERSIONS
ITALIAN VERSION

Just as professor Child also Costantino Nigra brings back the theme of concealed death by a story of the old farmers of Castelnuovo.

The fairy’s present

rackham_fairy There was a hunter who often hunted on the mountainside. Once he saw a very beautiful and richly dressed woman under a rock bottom. The woman, who was a fairy, nodded to the hunter to approach and asked him to take her as his wife. The hunter told her he was just married and did not want to leave his young bride. The fairy gives him a casket containing a gift for the young wife, and advises him to hand it out only to her and by no means to open it. Of course, on his way home he cannot refrain from opening it and finds a splendid belt interwoven with gold and silver threads. Just to know what it will look like when worn by his wife, he ties it round the trunk of a tree. Suddenly the belt catches fire when the tree is hit by a flash of lightning. The hunter is hit, too and he hardly manages to drag himself home. He crumbles on his bed and dies.

Arthur_Rackham_1909_Undine_(7_of_15)In the Breton and Piedmontese version, the accent is placed more precisely on the second part of the story, that of the Concealed Death, a tipicall feature in all Romance languages of the ballad: Comte Arnau (in the Occitan version), Le Roi Renaud (the French one) and Re Gilardin (the Piedmontese one). The relationship between the knight-king and the fairy-mermaid is more nuanced than the Nordic versions, it seems to prevail a more “catholic” and intransigent view on sexual relations … in fact in the ballad greenwood and fairy disappear while the knight returns from the war wounded to death.

RE GILARDIN

La Ciapa Rusa (founders Maurizio Martinotti and Beppe Greppi) made many ethnographic researches with the elderly singers and the players of the musical tradition of the Four provinces -to be precise in Alta Val Borbera – a mountain area straddling four different provinces Al, Ge, Pv and Pc.
The ballad of medieval high origin, had already been collected and published in different versions by Costantino Nigra in his “Popular Songs of Piedmont”

The Ciapa Rusa in 1982 makes an initial arrangement of Re Gilardin
In this first version there is a sort of dramatic representation with the narrating voice (Alberto Cesa) the king (Maurizio Martinotti), the mother, the widow, the altar boy. We can imagine all the most tragic and comical scenes – turned into horror with the dead man who snatches a last kiss from his widow!

La Ciapa Rusa from  “Ten da chent l’archet che la sunada l’è longa – Canti e danze tradizionali dell’ alessandrino” 1982: compared to the translation, it seems more like a “literary” language than a dialect.

Gordon Bok and hig group, 1988 ♪ 
they follow with a good skill the Piedmontese version and in the notes Gordon says he has received the Ciapa Rusa version through the Italian music journalist Mauro Quai

The group refounded with the name of Tendachent (remain Maurizio Martinotti – ghironda and voice, Bruno Raiteri -violin and viola- and Devis Longo – voice, keyboards and flutes) again proposes the ballad in theri first album “Ori pari”, 2000 , with a more progressive sound (now the group is called Nord-Italian progressive folk-rock)

Donata Pinti from “Io t’invoco, libertà!: La canzone piemontese dalla tradizione alla protesta” 2010 ♪ featuring Silvano Biolatti on the guitar

RE GILARDIN*
I
Re Gilardin, lü ‘l va a la guera
Lü el va a la guera a tirar di spada
(Lü el va a la guera a tirar di spada)
O quand ‘l’è stai mità la strada(1)
Re Gilardin ‘l’è restai ferito.
Re Gilardin ritorna indietro
Dalla sua mamma vò ‘ndà a morire.
II
O tun tun tun, pica a la porta
“O mamma mia che mi son morto”.
“O pica pian caro ‘l mio figlio
Che la to dona ‘l g’à ‘n picul fante(2)”
“O madona la mia madona(3)
Cosa vol dire ch’i  sonan tanto?”
“O nuretta, la mia nuretta
I g’fan ‘legria al tuo fante”
III
“O madona la mia madona
Cosa vol dire ch’i cantan tanto?”
“O nuretta, la mia nuretta
I g’fan ‘legria ai soldati
“O madona , la mia madona
Disem che moda ho da vestirmi”
“Vestati di rosso, vestati di nero
Che le brunette stanno più bene”
IV
O quand l’è stai ‘nt l üs de la chiesa
D’un cirighello si l’à incontrato
“Bundì bongiur an vui vedovella”
“O no no no che non son vedovella
g’l fante in cüna e ‘l marito in guera”
“O si si si che voi sei vedovella
Vostro marì l’è tri dì che ‘l fa terra”
V
“O tera o tera apriti ‘n quatro
Volio vedere il mio cuor reale”
“La tua boca la sa di rose(4)
‘nvece la mia la sa di terra”
English translation**
I
King Gilardin was in the war,
Was in the war wielding his word.
(Was in the war wielding his word.)
When he was Midway, upon the journey, King Gilardin was wounded.
King Gilardin goes back home,/At his mother’s house he whished to die.
II
Bang, bang! He thumped at the door.
“O Mother, I am near to die.”
“Don’t thump so hard, my son,
Your wife has just given birth to a boy.”
“My Lady my mother-in-law
What does all their chanting mean?”
“O my daughter-in-law,
They want to feast your baby.”
III
“My Lady my mother-in-law
What does all their singing mean?”
“O my daughter-in-law,
They want to entertain the soldiers.”
“My Lady my mother-in-law
Tell me, how shall I dress?”
“Dress in red or dress in black,
It fits brunettes perfectly .”
IV
When she came to the church gate,
She encountered an altar boy:
“A wish you a good day, new widow.”
“By no means am I a new widow,
I’ve a child in its cradle and a husband at war.”
“O yes, you are a new widow,
Your husband was buried three days ago.”
V
“O earth, open up in four corners!
I want to see the king of my heart.”
“Your mouth has a taste of rose,
Whereas mine has a taste of earth.”

NOTES
* (From an original recording by Maurizio Martinotti in the upper Val Borbera)
** (revised by here)
1) it’s inevitable remembering Dante “Midway, upon the journey of our life” (with forest corollary), in this context it’s a point that changes forever the life of the king, or the hero.
2) probably he knew about his fatherhood at the time of his death
3) in the answers the real reason for the preparations is hidden: the king’s funeral is being set up
4) it is the dead king who speaks to his wife, but also the popular wisdom, the tearful burial times are still to come .. In the French (and Occitan) version of Re Renaud the earth opens up to swallow up the lady

RE ARDUIN

Cantovivo recorded the same ballad with the title “King Arduin” already collected from the oral tradition by Franco Lucà, in 1984 to Alpette Canavese, performer Battista Goglio “Barba Teck” (1898-1985)

RE ARDUIN
I
Re Arduin (1) a ven da Turin
Re Arduin a ven da Turin
Ven da la guera l’è stai ferì
Ven da la guera l’è stai ferì
II
“O mamma mia preparmi ‘l let
La cuerta noira e i linsöi di lin
III
O mamma mia cosa diran
Le fije bele ca na stan lì”
IV
“O no no no parla en tan
La nostra nora l’à avù n’infan”
V
“O mamma mia (2) disimi ‘n po’
Che i panatè a na piuren tan”
VI
“A l‘àn brüsà tüti i biciulan (3)
L‘è par sulì c’a na piuren tan”
VII
“O mamma mia cosa diran
Perché da morto na sunen tan”
VIII
“Sarà mort prinsi o quai signor
Tüte le cioche a i fan unur”
IX
“Re Arduin a ven da Turin
L‘è ndà a la guera l’è stai ferì”
X
“O tera freida apriti qui
Ch io vada col mio marì”
English Translation Cattia Salto
I
King Arduin comes from Turin
King Arduin comes from Turin
comes from the war and he was wounded, comes from the war and he was wounded
II
O mother dear, prepare me my bed
the black blanket and linen sheets
III
O mother dear what will they say
the fine ladies who stay there?
IV
Do not talk a lot / our daughter in law has had a baby
V
O  mother dear tell me why the bakers so cry?
VI
They burned all their breads
for they cry so much
VII
O mother dear what’s the news
for stroking the funeral bells?
VIII
The prince or some Lord will be dead/ all the bells do him honor
IX
King Arduin comes from Turin
comes from the war and he was wounded,
X
O  earth, open up now
that I’ll go with my husband

NOTES
* from here
1) King Arduin (Marquis of Ivrea and first king of Italy) is still extremely popular in the Canavese, tributing him in many historical re-enactments
2) in reality it is the daughter-in-law who asks for information on the laments and the dead bells (theme of hidden death) while in the first part (verses II and III) it is Arduino who speaks. Only in the 9th stanza is the death of Arduino announced
3) the “bicciolani” are biscuits typical of Vercellese, but in Turin the biciulan are long and thin breads (a bit pot-bellied in the middle and thin at the tips) the Piedmontese version of the baguette!

LINK
https://minimazione.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/re-gilardin-alla-guerra/
http://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?lang=it&id=1048
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/chants/italren.htm
http://www.nspeak.com/allende/comenius/bamepec/multimedia/saggio1.htm
http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/child-ballads-v2/child8-v2%20-%200371.htm
http://amischanteurs.org/wp-content/uploads/Canti-di-Donata-Pinti.pdf

Concealed death: Clerk Colvill & Georges Collins

Leggi in Italiano

Concealed death

LORD OLAF AND THE ELVES 
SCANDINAVIAN VARIANTS
BRITISH AND AMERICAN VERSIONS
FRENCH VERSIONS
ITALIAN VERSION

In The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, in Child ballad # 42 Clerck Colven (other titles Clerck Colvill or Earl Colvin) we find the same medieval ballad focused on the meeting between a knight about to marry and a fairy creature (or a jealous lover)

SCOTTISH VERSION:CLERK COLVILL CHILD # 42

The ballad begins with a quarrel between boyfriends: the future bride beseeches him not to visit his lover, a washerwoman, just on the eve of their wedding!
The knight denies any sexual involvement (normal administration!) but he is anxious to meet his lover again.
For a comparison between the versions A, B, C see the analysis by Christian Souchon (here)

Clerk-Colvill-ArthurRackhamThey have an obvious sexual relationship (in the coded language of the time), but then the man complains about his headache, she gives him a strip of fabric (poisoned) and announces his imminent death (or poisoning him by giving him one last kiss). The woman is clearly a water nymph and in fact as soon as the young man draws his sword to take revenge, she turns into a fish and dives into the water.

Frankie Armstrong from Till the Grass o’ergrew the corn 2006, ♪
The melody is an arrangement by Frankie from the one heard by Mrs. Brown from Falkirk, Stirling County.
Kate Fletcher & Corwen Broch from  Fishe or Fowle 2017, ♪
“One of many ballads from across Europe in which a man is doomed to death by his Other-Worldly lover.
We have used the words of Child 42 version B and the only existing melody for them from Mrs Brown (Anna Gordon) of Falkland. The transcribed melody has given rise to endless debate about how the words should fit to the refrain line of the music. We have chosen to sidestep the argument and sing the verses as given omitting the problematic line of melody.”

VERSION A
I
Clerk Colven (1) and his gay (2) lady
Were walking in yon garden green,
A belt (3) around her middle so small
Which cost Clerk Colven crowns fifteen.
II
“O harken to me, my lord,” she says
“O, harken well to what I do say:
If you go to the walls of Stream (4),
Be sure you touch no well fair’d maid.”
III
“O, hold your tongue,” Clerk Colven said,
“And do not vex me with your din.
I never saw a fair woman
But with her body I could sin.” (5)
IV
He’s mounted on his berry-brown steed
And merrily merrily rode he on,
Until he came to the walls of Stream,
And there he spied the mermaiden (6).
V
“You wash, you wash you mermaiden”,
“O, I will wash your sark of the silk (7).
It’s all for you, my gentle knight,
My skin is whiter than the milk(8).”
VI
He’s taken her by the milk white hand
And likewise by the grass-green sleeve,
he’s laid her down all on the grass,
Nor of his lady need he ask leave (9).
VII
“Alas! Alas!” says Clerk Colven,
“For oh so sore is grown my head.”
Merrily laughed the mermaiden,
“Aye, even on, till you be dead.”
VIII
“But you pull out your little pen-knife,
And from my sark you shear a gore,
And bind it round your lovely head,
And you shall feel the pain no more.”
IX
So he’s took out his little pen-knife,
And from her sark he sheared a gore,
He’s bound it round his lovely head;
But the pain it grew ten-times more.
X
“Alas! Alas!” cries Clerk Colven,
“For now so sore is grown my head.”
Merrily laughed the mermaiden,
“’twill I be away and you’ll be dead.”
XI
So he’s pulled out his trusty sword,
And thought with it to spill her blood;
But she’s turned to a fish again
And merrily sprang into the flood.
XII
He’s mounted on his berry-brown steed,
And drear and dowie rode he home,
Until he’s come to his lady’s bower
And heavily he’s lighted down.
XIII
“O, mother, mother, make my bed,
O, gentle lady, lay me down(10);
O brother, brother, unbend my bow(11),
It’ll ne’er be bent by me again.”
XIV
His mother she has made his bed,
His gentle lady laid him down,
His brother he unbent his bow,
It ne’er was bent by him again.

NOTES
1) according to the Danish folklorist Svend Grundtvig the name Colven is a corruption of Olafur in “Olvill” from the Faroese language (the Norse has long been spoken in the islands of Scotland). Also Clerck is a mispronunciation of Herr for Lord, in the stanza V the siren calls him “gentle knight”
2) as Giordano Dall’Armellina observes, the lady in other versions is defined lusty, that is greedy and ultimately possessive.
3) the belt is clearly a love token, it was customary, in fact, to exchange the promise of engagement, giving a “trinket” to the lady, not necessarily a diamond ring as we use today, but a hair clip or belt (obviously not less expensive)
4) in version B it is “Wells of Slane” misunderstood as “Wall of Stream” in version A; it could refer to the “Loch o ‘Strom” on the Mainland the largest of the Shetland Islands. The sacred well is generally a cleft in the earth in which the magical and healing water flows from the mother goddess’s womb, but if the spirit of the place is not placated it becomes deadly water. But here it represents the erotic energy that attracts the knight
5) translated into simple words: “do you think I’m the kind of man who goes to bed with every woman he meets?”
6) mermaiden is the siren, but he could be a nymph or an undine, the term with which the magical creatures of the inner waters are classified (see more). In Scotland and especially in the islands it is identified with a selkie
7) the beautiful girl is depicted as a washerwoman washing clothes by beating them on a marble stone (variant C and D). The image recalls the girl of the ford of the Irish tradition that is a harbinger of imminent death (banshee)
8) it is known that a snow skin was a fundamental requirement for the sexual excitement of the medieval knight
9) the whole stanza is a coded language to say that they have had a sexual intercourse
10) death in this case is not concealed and even the girlfriend immediately learns the news
11) in other versions says “O brother, take my sword and spear” to indicate that he will be buried with the warrior’s set as it was the custom in burials for people of rank in ancient European civilizations.

AMERICAN VERSION: GEORGE COLLINS 

Published in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs it is the D version collected by George Gardiner in 1906 from the voice of Henry Stansbridge of Lyndhurst, Hampshire. The version, however, is very corrupt and diversified compared to the ballad of Norse origins.
It is the version on which American variants are modeled, almost transformed into a murder ballad.

Sam Lee The Ballad of George Collins from ‘Ground of its own’ 2012 (winner of the Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2012 see more) : amazing video clip

Shirley Collins from The Sweet Primroses 1967Alan Moores in a folk-country arrangement by Spud Gravely  version (in Ballads and Song of the Blue Ridge Mountains) also known as George Allen

 Sam Lee Version ( da qui)
I
George Collins walked out one may
morning, when may was all in bloom
and who  should he see but a fair pretty maid, washing her white marble stone (1)
II
She whooped she hollered she called so loud,
she waved her lilly white hand
“Come hither to me George Collins -cried she- for your life it won’t last you long”
III
He put his foot on the broad water side,
across the river sprung he,
he gripped his hands round her middle (2) so small and he kissed her red ruby lips (3)
IV
Then he road home to his father’s old house, loudly knocked with the ring
“arise, arise my father- he cried-
rise and please let me in”
V
“Oh arise, arise dear mother -he cried-
rise and make up my bed”
“arise, arise dear sister -he cried-
get a napkin (4) to tie round my head.
VI
For if I should die tonight
As I suppose I shall
Please bury me under that marble stone
That lies in fair Ellender’s hall(5)”
VII
Fair Ellender sat in her hall
weaving her silk so fine
who should she see but the finest corpse(6) that ever her eyes shone on
VIII
Fair Ellender called unto her head maid
‘Whose corpse is this so fine?’
she made her reply “George Collins is corpse an old true lover of mine”
IX
“Oh put him down my brave little boys
and open his coffin so wide
but I may kiss his red ruby lips
ten thousand times he has kissed mine”
X
This news been carried to fair London town
And wrote on London gate(7),
“six pretty maids died all in one night
‘twas all for George Collins’ sake”

NOTES
1) It is the stone on which the washerwoman beats and rubs her clothes. Another “marble stone” returns cited in the VI stanza, the marble slab in the hall or hill of Ellender
2) in the modest language of ballads it indicates a sexual relationship. Despite the jealous lover threatened him with death, George kisses her and embraces her: he probably does not consider her a danger
3) it is the deadly kiss of the nymph, (or the kiss of the plague) the woman is never described as a supernatural creature
4) the poisoned cloth that we saw in version A and B of Clerck Colven still comes back to wrap the sufferer’s head, but this time it’s a normal bandage
5) elsewhere written as hill. George is in his father’s house announcing his imminent death and asking to be buried in Ellender’s property. Shirley Collins sings
Bury me by the marble stone
That’s against Lady Eleanor’s hall.”
6) 6) the coffin was brought into the house of the lady who asked to remove the lid so that she could still kiss the lips of her lover. The sentence is a bit to be interpreted, it is the lady-in-waiting (or the housekeeper) to ask who is the corpse in the coffin. And it is Ellender who answers that he was her lover.
7) The final stanza seems to be a nineteenth-century addition in an ironic key, the six women died because of the venereal disease of George

french and breton versions 

LINK
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch042.htm
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch085.htm
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/chants/colvill.htm
http://www.nspeak.com/allende/comenius/bamepec/multimedia/saggio1.htm
http://www.gestsongs.com/16/collins.htm

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18313
http://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/georgecollins.html
http://www.promonews.tv/videos/2012/11/01/sam-lee-ballad-george-collins-andrew-steggall
http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=2210
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=41600
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=140832
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=64646