Archivi tag: sea song

Báidín Fheidhlimidh

Leggi in Italiano

The island of Tory or better Oileán Thoraigh, is a grain of rice (measuring 5 km in length and 1 in width) 12 km off the northern coast of Donegal. Ancient fortress of the Fomorians that from here left to raid the coasts of Ireland, a race of primordial gods, like Balor of the Evil Eye, the Celtic god of darkness that had only one eye on the back of the head.
It is called the island of artists since a small community of painters has been established in the 1950s. The hundreds of people who live there are Gaelic speakers and have been “governed” since the Middle Ages by a king of the island: it is up to the king to explain the legends and traditions of the island to the tourists!

TORAIG~1
island of Tory
by Pixdaus 

Bright and verdant in summer it is flagellate from strong storms in the winter months, theater of great tragedies of the sea.
But above all it is a land of rabbits and birds among which we can distinguish the puffins of the sea with the characteristic triangular beak of a bright orange with yellow and blue stripes wearing the frak.

“UNA BARCHETTA IN MEZZO AL MAR”

“Phelim’s little boat” or “Báidín Fheidhlimidh” (Báidín fheilimi) is one of the “songs of the sea” and is taught to Irish children at schools being a rare example of a bilingual song. Almost certainly handed down for generations in oral form, the song may have been composed in the seventeenth century.
Despite appearing as a nursery rhyme, the ballad tells the story of Feilimí Cam Ó Baoill, or Phelim O’Boyle, who, to escape his bitter enemy, abandons Donegal. He was one of the Ulster leaders of the O’Neil clan, one of the largest tribal dynasty in Northern Ireland (see). A warrior-fisherman leader who, to avoid conflict with the Mac Suibhne clan, or Sweeney, takes the sea on a small boat to the island of Gola; but, still not feeling safe, he changes the route to the island of Tory, more jagged and rich in hiding places, even if more treacherous for the presence of the rocks. And right on the rocks the small boat breaks and Phelim drowns.

The Gaelic here is peculiar because it comes from Donegal and has different affinities with the Scottish Gaelic. Baidin is a word in Irish Gaelic that indicates a small boat and the concept of smallness returns obsessively in all verses; so the nursery rhyme has its moral: in highlighting the challenge and the audacity in spite of a contrary destiny, we do not have to forget the power of the sea and we must remind that freedom has a very high price.

Sinéad O’Connor from  Sean-Nós Nua 2002:  ua voice with such a particular tone; here the pitch is melancholic supported by a siren-like echo effect. In the commentary on the booklet Sinéad writes:
It tells the story of Feilim Cam Baoill, a chieftain of the Rosses [in Donegal] in the 17th century. He had to take to the islands off Donegal to escape his archenemy Maolmhuire an Bhata Bu Mac Suibhne. Tory Island was more inaccessible and seemed safer than Gola, but his little boat was wrecked there. For me, the song is one of defiance and bravery in spite of terrible odds. It is a song of encouragement that we should be true to ourselves even if being true means ‘defeat’. A song of the beauty of freedom. And a song of the power of the sea as a metaphor for the unconscious mind. It shows that we can never escape our soul.”

Na Casaidigh from Singing for memory 1998: a fine arrangement of the voices in the choir and a final instrumental left to the electric guitar in a mix between traditional and modern sounds very pleasant and measured.

Angelo Branduardi from Il Rovo e la Rosa 2013,  (his Gaelic is a bit strange!) the arrangement with the violin is very precious

English
I
Phelim’s little boat went to Gola,
Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it,
Phelim’s little boat went to Gola,
Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it
Chorus:
A tiny little boat, a lively little boat,
A foolish little boat, Phelim’s little boat,
A straight little boat, a willing little boat,
Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it.
II
Phelim’s little boat went to Tory,
Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it,
Phelim’s little boat went to Tory,
Phelim’s   little boat and Phelim in it.
III
Phelim’s little boat crashed on Tory,
Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it,
Phelim’s little boat crashed on Tory,
Phelim’s little boat and Phelim in it.
Donegal Gaelic
I
Báidín Fheidhlimidh d’imigh go Gabhla,
Báidín Fheidhlimidh ‘s Feidhlimidh ann
Báidín Fheidhlimidh d’imigh go Gabhla,
Báidín Fheidhlimidh ‘s Feidhlimidh ann
Curfá:
Báidín bídeach, Báidín beosach,
Báidín bóidheach, Báidín Fheidhlimidh,
Báidín díreach, Báidín deontach,
Báidín Fheidhlimidh’s Feidhlimidh ann.
II
Báidín Fheidhlimidh d’imigh go Toraigh,
Báidín Fheidhlimidh’s Feidhlimidh ann
Báidín Fheidhlimidh d’imigh go Toraigh,
Báidín Fheidhlimidh ‘s Feidhlimidh ann.
III
Báidín Fheidhlimidh briseadh i dToraigh,
Báidín Fheidhlimidh ‘s Feidhlimidh ann
Báidín Fheidhlimidh briseadh i dToraigh,
Báidín  Fheidhlimidh ‘s Feidhlimidh ann (1)

NOTES
1) or Iasc ar bhord agus Feilimí ann  [Laden with fish and Phelim on board]

THE DANCE: Waves of Tory

The island has also given the title to an Irish folk dance “Waves of Tory” which reproduces the waves breaking on the rocks! Among the dances for beginners is performed with one step and presents only a difficult figure called Waves.
see more

LINK
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18074#177081

https://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/dance-crib/waves-of-tory.html

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

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

In the Holy Ground Once More

Leggi in italiano

For a sailor “the promised land” (Holy Ground in the Bible) is nothing more than an area of the harbour or a street full of inns, pubs and taverns where to have fun with drinks, women and songs!
The one preferred by the Irish whalers, resumes the melody and part of the text of another sea shanty titled “Off to Sea Once More” or “Go to see Once More” (from uncertain origins too). There the sailor regrets being forced to go to sea again, because he has already spent all the money getting drunk and being robbed by a whore, in “The Holy Ground Once More” the sailor, being already on a whaler in the Arctic Sea, regrets not being on the Holy Ground!

The Wolfe Tones from Rifles of the IRA 1969

I
As I rolled(1) into Frisco, boys,I went upon the street
I drank and gambled all night long, as drunk as I could be
I drank and gambled all night long, till I could drink no more
‘Twas then that I thought that I’d like
to be back in the Holy Ground once more

CHORUS
Once more, boys, once more,
the Holy Ground once more
II
I shipped on the Angeline, me boys, down for the Arctic Sea
Where cold winds blow, amid frost and snow,
Was as cold as it could be, where cold winds blow
Amid frost and snow, but the good old ship she did roll
‘Twas then that I thought that I’d like
to be back in the Holy Ground once more

III
We weren’t long in the Arctic Sea, when we had spied a whale
With harpoon in my icy hands, to hit I dare not fail
With harpoon in my icy hand, I shot but I struck before
‘Twas then that I thought that I’d like
to be back in the Holy Ground once more

IV
When you’re aboard a whaling ship, with storms  and gales afore
Your mind is in some public house, that lies upon the shore
Your mind is in some public house, that lies upon the shore
‘Twas then that I thought that I’d like
to be back in the Holy Ground once more


NOTES
1) in the sea shanty the term rolling is used to indicate the somewhat oscillating walk typical of the sailor due to long periods spent on the rolling ships

http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/holy-ground/
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/go-to-sea-once-more/

LINK
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=15375

Sailor’s farewell: on the sailor’s side!

Leggi in italiano

A further variant of “Sailor’s Farewell” is titled “Adieu, My Lovely Nancy” (aka “Swansea Town,” and “The Holy Ground”) found in England, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and the United States. It’s developed on twice directions, on the one hand it’s the typical and cheerful sea shanty, sometimes rough and with a lot of drink, and on the other it becomes a more intimate and fragile vein, which reflects on the solitude and danger of the sea. In these versions the sailor is enlisted in the Royal Navy.

Copper Family: Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy is one of the best-known songs from the repertoire of the Copper Family. It was published in the first issue of the Journal of the Folk Song Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, in 1899, a version also released in Australia and entitled “Lovely Nancy”, in which it is only the handsome sailor who speaks during the separation on the shore.

Maddy Prior & Tim Hart 1968 from Folk Songs of Old England Vol. 1

The Ballina Whalers

Ed, Will & Ginger from a free session in front of the pub for “Ed and Will in A walk around Britain”

ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY
I
Adieu sweet lovely Nancy,
ten thousand times adieu
I’m going around the ocean love
to seek for something new
Come change your ring(1)
with me dear girl
come change your ring with me
for it might be a token of true love while I am on the sea.
II
And when I’m far upon the sea
you’ll know not where I am
Kind letters I will write to you
from every foreign land
the secrets of your heart dear girl
are the best of my good will
So let your body(2) be where, it might my heart will be with you still.
III
There’s a heavy storm arising
see how it gathers round
While we poor souls on the ocean wide are fighting for the crown (3)
There’s nothing to protect us love
or keep us from the cold
On the ocean wide where
we must bide like jolly seamen bold.
IV
There’s tinkers tailors shoemakers
lie snoring fast asleep
While we poor souls
on the ocean wide are ploughing through the deep
Our officers commanded us
and then we must obey
Expecting every moment
for to get cast away.
V
But when the wars are over
there’ll be peace on every shore
We’ll return to our wives and our families and the girls that we adore
We’ll call for liquor merrily
and spend our money free
And when our money is all gone
we’ll boldly go to sea.

NOTES
1) Ring is a proof of identity of the soldier that will sometimes remain absent for long years
2) In the part of dialogue ometted Nancy wants to dress up as a sailor to go with him.
3) the reference is always to broadside ballad version in which our johnny (slang term for sailor) has enlisted in the Royal Navy and wants Nancy to stay home waiting for him.

AMERICAN/ IRISH VERSION: ADIEU MY LOVELY NANCY

Julie Henigan from American Stranger 1997 “I learned this version from the Max Hunter Collection. Hunter was a traveling salesman and amateur folksong collector from Springfield, Missouri, who amassed an impressive number of field recordings from the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks. When I was a teenager I learned many songs from the cassette tapes of his collection that were housed in the Springfield Public Library.
Hunter recorded this song in 1959 from Bertha Lauderdale, of Fayetteville, Arkansas. She had learned the song from her grandfather, who, in turn, had learned it from his grandmother, when “he was a young child in Ireland.” Since I recorded the song on American Stranger (Waterbug 038), Altan, Jeff Davis, Nancy Conescu, Gerald Trimble, and Pete Coe have all added it to their repertoires.”

Altan from Local Ground, 2005

ADIEU MY LOVELY NANCY
I
Adieu, my lovely Nancy,
Ten thousand times adieu,
I’ll be thinking of my own true love,
I’ll be thinking, dear, of you.
II
Will you change a ring(1)
with me, my love,
Will you change a ring with me?
It will be a token of our love,
When I am far at sea.
III
When I am far away from home
And you know not where I am,
Love letters I will write to you
From every foreign strand.
IV
When the farmer boys
come home at night,
They will tell their girls fine tales
Of all that they’ve been doing
All day out in the fields;
V
Of the wheat and hay
that they’ve cut down,
Sure, it’s all that they can do,
While we poor jolly,
jolly hearts of oak(2)
Must plough the seas all through.
VI
And when we return again, my love,
To our own dear native shore,
Fine stories we will tell to you,
How we ploughed the oceans o’er.
VII
And we’ll make the alehouses to ring,
And the taverns they will roar,
And when our money it is all gone,
Sure, we’ll go to sea for more.

NOTES
1) Ring is a proof of identity of the soldier that will sometimes remain absent for long years
2) hearts of oak rerefers to the wood from which British warships were generally made during the age of sail. The “Heart of oak” is the strongest central wood of the tree.

000brgcf
Sailor’s farewell

Ralph Vaughan Williams: LOVELY ON THE WATER
Cecil Sharp: LOVELY NANCY
versione inglese: FARE YE WELL/ADIEU, LOVELY NANCY
versione inglese: ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY
versione americana/irlandese: ADIEU MY LOVELY NANCY
Sea shanty: HOLY GROUND

FONTI
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/adieusweetlovelynancy.html
https://www.acousticmusicarchive.com/adieu-sweet-lovely-nancy-chords-lyrics

Fare ye well, lovely Nancy

Leggi in italiano

000brgcfLover’s separation is a theme widespread in the english balladry and that of a sailor and a young maid it’s probably originated in the eighteenth century, as we find it in the illustrations of the time: some ballads dwell on the figure of Nancy in tears who die of heartbreak because she believes that the sailor has abandoned her.

THE SAILOR’S FAREWELL

A further version of the sailor’s farewell ballad comes from”Oxford Book of Sea Song” 1986 “that version was originally noted by Dr George Gardiner (text) and (probably) Charles Gamblin (tune) from George Lovett (born 1841) at Winchester, Hampshire. In January 1909, Ralph Vaughan Williams re-noted the melody because there was some doubt about the notation; it appears that he visited Mr Lovett and recorded his singing for later checking”.

A sailor bidding farewell from his weeping sweetheart 1790s

TEARS ON THE SHORE

Polly / Nancy is on the beach  to complain for having been abandoned by her sailor (who evidently left for the sea without marrying her).

There are many variations of the text, in this one we go back to the eighteenth century music
Baltimore Consort

FARE YE WELL, LOVELY NANCY
I
Fare ye well, lovely Nancy,
for now I must leave you.
I am bound for th’ East Indies
my course for to steer.
I know very well my long absence
will grieve you,
But, true love, I’ll be back
in the spring of the year(1).”
II
“Oh, ‘tis not talk of leaving me,
my dearest Johnny,
Oh, ‘tis not talk of leaving me
here all alone;
For it is your good company
that I do desire
I will sigh till l die
if l ne’er see you more.
III
In sailor’s apparel I’ll dress
and go with you,
ln the midst of all danger
your friend I will be;
And that is, my dear,
when the stormy wind’s blowing,
True love, I`ll be ready to reef your topsails.”
IV
“Your neat little fingers
strong cables can’t handle,
Your neat little feet
to the topmast can’t go;
Your delicate body
strong winds can’t endure.
Stay at home, lovely Nancy,
to the seas do not go.”
V
Now Johnny is sailing
and Nancy bewailing;
The tears down her eyes
like torrents do flow.
Her gay golden hair
she’s continually tearing,
Saying, “I’ll sigh till I die
if l ne’er see you more”.
VI
Now all you young maidens
by me take a warning,
Never trust a sailor
or believe what they say.
First they will court you,
and then they will slight you;
They will leave you behind,
love, in grief and in pain.

NOTES
1) as sea ballad  Lovely on the Water the sailor’s farewell is framed in an opening stanza that describes the coming of spring

SAILOR’S LETTER

Johnny is about to send a letter to his sweetheart to swear his true love and renew the promise of marriage (but everyone knows what happened to sailor vow)

Solas from Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers, 1997

ADIEU, LOVELY NANCY
I
“Adieu, lovely Nancy,
for now I must leave you
To the far-off West Indies
I’m bound for to steer
But let my long journey
be of no trouble to you
For my love, I’ll return
in the course of a year”
II
“Talk not of leaving me here,
lovely Jimmy
Talk not of leaving me
here on the shore
You know very well
your long absence will grieve me
As you sail the wild ocean
where the wild billows roar
III
I’ll cut off my ringlets
all curly and yellow
I’ll dress in the coats
of a young cabin boy
And when we are out
on that dark, rolling ocean
I will always be near you,
my pride and my joy”
IV
“Your lily-white hands,
they could not handle the cables
Your lily-white feet
to the top mast could not go
And the cold winter storms, well,
you could not endure them
Stay at home, lovely Nancy,
where the wild winds won’t blow”
V
As Jimmy set a-sailing,
lovely Nancy stood a-wailing
The tears from her eyes
in great torrents did a-flow
As she stood on the beach,
oh her hands she was wringing
Crying, “Oh and alas,
will I e’er see you more?”
VI
As Jimmy was a-walking
on the quays of Philadelphia
The thoughts of his true love,
they filled him with pride
He said, “Nancy, lovely Nancy,
if I had you here, love
How happy I’d be for
to make you my bride”
VII
So Jimmy wrote a letter
to his own lovely Nancy
Saying, “If you have proved constant, well, I will prove true”
Oh but Nancy was dying,
for her poor heart was broken
Oh the day that he left her,
forever he’d rue
VIII
Come all of you young maidens,
I pray, take a warning
And don’t trust a sailor boy
or any of his kind
For first they will court you
and then they’ll deceive you
For their love, it is tempestuous
as the wavering wind

HEART BREAKING

A melodramatic ending with sailor’s letter coming too late to the bedside of a dying Nancy.
Jarlath Henderson from Hearts Broken, Heads Turned, 2016  
Samplers, piano and an expressive voice for this young musician who won the BBC Young Folk Award in 2003.

FARE YE WELL, LOVELY NANCY
I
Fare thee well, lovely Nancy,
It’s now I must leave you,
To cross the main ocean
where the stormy winds blow,
let not my long journey
be of no trouble to you,
for you know I’ll be back
in the course of a year”
II
“Let’s talk not of leaving me here,
lovely Billy
Let’s talk not of leaving me
here all alone
for you know your long journey
at early will grieve me
stay at home lovely Billy
to the sea do not roar”
V-VI
As Billy went to sailing,
lovely Nancy stood a-wailing
The tears down her eyes
like fountains did flow
As Billy was a-walking
on the quays of Philadelphia
The thoughts of his true love,
still run throu his eyes
VII
So Billy wrote a letter
to his own true love Nancy
Saying, “If you prove constant,
then I will prove true”
Lovely Nancy on death bed
could not recover
when the news was brough to her
but his true love was death
VIII
So come on ye pretty fair maids,
and a warning take by me
care for a sailor or of his kind men
For first they will court you
and then they’ll deceive you
For their minds are imperfectual like the westerly wind

000brgcf

Ralph Vaughan Williams: LOVELY ON THE WATER
Cecil Sharp: LOVELY NANCY
english version: FARE YE WELL/ADIEU, LOVELY NANCY
english version: ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY
american/irish version: ADIEU MY LOVELY NANCY
sea shanty: HOLY GROUND

LINK
http://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/farewellnancy.html http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=27483
http://www.8notes.com/scores/4582.asp?ftype=gif

Farewell Lovely Nancy by Cecil Sharp

Leggi in italiano

“Farewell Lovely Nancy” or “Lovely Nancy” is a traditional ballad collected in 1905 by Cecil Sharp from Mrs. Susan Williams, Somerset (England), where the handsome sailor leaving for the South Seas, dissuades his sweetheart who would like to follow him disguising herself as a cabin boy, telling her that working aboard ships is not for females!

AL Lloyd writes in the notes to the LP “A Sailor’s Garland”: To dress in sailor’s clothes and smuggle oneself aboard ship was a pretty notion that often occurred to young girls a century or two ago, if the folk songs are to be believed. This song has been widely found in the south of England, also in Ireland.”

CROSS-DRESSING BALLADS

In the sea songs we find sometimes the theme of the girl disguised as a sailor who faces the hard life of the sea for loving and adventure.
The cross-dressing ballads are in fact mostly inherent in women who go to play a male job, such as the sailor or the soldier.

Ed Harcourt in Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys ANTI 2006, a very romantic, almost crepuscular version

Ian Campbell & Dave Swarbrick 1964

 John Molineaux  (live)


I.
“Fare you well me lovely Nancy
for it’s now I must leave you,
All along the Southern(1) sea
I am bound for to go.
Don’t let my long absence be
no trouble to you,
For I shall return in the spring
as you know.”
II.
“Like some pretty little seaboy
I’ll dress and go with you,
In the deepest of dangers
I shall stand your friend.(2)
In the cold stormy weather
when the winds are a-blowing,
My dear I’ll be willing
to wait for you then”

III.
“Well, your pretty little hands
they can’t handle our tackle,
And dour dainty little feet
to our topmast can’t go.
And the cold stormy weather love
you can’t well endure,
I would have you ashore
when the (raging) winds they do blow.
IV.(3)
So fare you well me lovely Nancy
for it’s now I must leave you,
All along the Southern sea
I am bound for to go.
As you must be safe
I’ll be loyal and constant
For I shall return in the spring
as you know.”

NOTES
1) in Sharp is “salt seas” but becomes “western ocean” in the version of A. L. Lloyd
2) in A. L. Lloyd becomes “My love, I’ll be ready to reef your topsail”.
3) the closing stanza in an Irish version written in Ancient Irish Music (1873 and 1888) by Patrick Weston Joyce says:
So farewell, my dearest Nancy, since I must now leave you;
Unto the salt seas I am bound for to go,
Where the winds do blow high and the seas loud do roar;
So may yourself contented be kind and stay on shore.

000brgcf
Ralph Vaughan Williams: LOVELY ON THE WATER
Cecil Sharp: LOVELY NANCY
english version: FARE YE WELL/ADIEU, LOVELY NANCY
english version: ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY
american/irish version: ADIEU MY LOVELY NANCY
sea shanty: HOLY GROUND

FONTI
http://www.contemplator.com/england/fnancy.html
http://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/farewellnancy.html http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=27483
http://www.goldenhindmusic.com/lyrics/FAREWELL.html

Lovely On The Water

Leggi in italiano  

Lover’s separation is a theme widespread in the english balladry and that of a sailor and a young maid it’s probably originated in the eighteenth century, as we find it in the illustrations of the time.

LOVELY ON THE WATER

The ballad “Lovely on the water”, collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the early 1900s, come from a broadside titled “Henry and Nancy, or the Lover’s Separation“. The story begins in the idyll of spring with two lovers walking, but that’s their farewell, the sailor has enlisted in the Royal Navy and wants her to stay home waiting for him. Although he professed to face the war for his country, the need for a wage is certainly the primary cause of his patriotism.

The Sailor’s Farewell, Charles Mosley (mid-eighteenth century) in National Maritime Museum .

Steeleye Span recorded Lovely on the Water in 1971 for their second album, “Please to See the King” and the sleeve notes commented”Certain folk songs had great popularity, and have been reported over and again, from end to end of the country. Others—including some masterpieces—seem to have had but tiny circulation. So Lovely on the Water, with a gorgeous melody and significant words, has been found only once, by Vaughan Williams at South Walsham, a few miles from Norwich. The song starts idyllically and ends ominously, like a sunny day that clouds over. The singer, a Mr Hilton, had fourteen verses, but Vaughan Williams, often a bit careless about texts, mislaid some. Missing verses probably concerned the familiar situation in which the girl volunteers to disguise herself as a seaman, in order to sail with her lover, but is hurriedly dissuaded.” (from here)
We find those missing verses in the text of the broadside “Henry and Nancy” (here)
Steeleye Span in “Please to See the King” 1971

Ken Wilson in “Not Before Time

Dhalia`s Lane in Hollymount 2005

Martha Tilston & Maggie Boyle in The Sea 2014 in  

LOVELY ON THE WATER *
I
As I walked out one morning
in the springtime of the year
I overheard a sailor boy
likewise a lady fair
They sang a song together
made the valleys for to ring
While the birds on the spray in the meadows gay
Proclaimed the lovely spring
II
Said Willy unto Nancy
“Oh we soon must sail away
For its lovely on the water
to hear the music play.
For our Queen she do want seamen
so I will not stay on shore
I will brave the wars for my country
Where the blund’ring cannons roar
III
Poor Nancy fell and fainted,
but soon he brought her to,
For it’s there they kissed and they embraced
and took a fond adieu.
“Come change your ring (1) with me my love
For we may meet once more;
but there’s One above that will guard you, love,
Where the blund’ring cannons roar
IV
Four pounds it is our bounty
and that must do for thee
For to help the aged parents
while I am on the sea
For Tower Hill[2] is crowded
with mothers weeping sore (3)
For their sons are gone to face the foe
Where the blundering cannons roar” 

Notes
1) the ring will be the proof of identity of the lovers who will sometimes remain separated for long years
2) Tower Hill in in London,London Borough of Tower Hamlets
3) while the men go to fight the enemy, the women greet them weeping because they know that many of them will never return home

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Ralph Vaughan Williams: LOVELY ON THE WATER
Cecil Sharp: LOVELY NANCY
english version: FARE YE WELL/ADIEU, LOVELY NANCY
english version: ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY
american/irish version: ADIEU MY LOVELY NANCY
sea shanty: HOLY GROUND

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/lovely-water.htm
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/lovelyonthewater.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/187.html
http://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/16873

http://www.britishtars.com/2014/03/the-sailors-farewell-date-unknown.html

THE BOLD PRINCESS ROYAL

“All’arrembaggio!” ovvero la narrazione dello scontro leggendario tra una nave mercantile inglese e una nave pirata. Una sea song popolare in Inghilterra, America e Canada, alcuni testimoni  asserivano si trattasse di un evento realmente accaduto, ma le date mutano,  così come il luogo di partenza e d’arrivo.  In effetti in nome “Princess Royal” era molto diffuso e così James Laurenson negli archivi di Tobar an Dualchais asserisce “This song was written in honour of a Shetland captain, Houston of Otterswick in Yell, who outsailed a pirate in his ship Princess Royal around 1840, and became famous on this account” (tratto da qui)
Già nel 1905 George Gardiner  aveva riportato una testimonianza dello scontro tra la “Princess Royal”, una nave mercantile battente bandiera inglese e la nave corsara francese The Adventure avvenuto nel 1789 che poi è stato divulgato ampiamente in numerosi boadside tra la metà e la fine del 1800.
At daybreak on 21 June 1789, HM packet Princess Royal, nine days out from Falmouth on her way to New York (other accounts say Halifax) carrying mail, was accosted and pursued by a brig which was later identified as the French privateer Aventurier. At 7 pm the Aventurier hoisted English colours and fired a shot, which the Princess Royal returned. After a further shot, the brig continued the pursuit. It was not until 3.30 am on 22 June that the Aventurier resumed its attack, this time with a broadside and musket fire. The Princess Royal was outmanned, with a crew of thirty-two men and boys with seventeen passengers as opposed to the Aventurier’s 85 men and boys; and out-gunned too, with six cannons against the brig’s sixteen. Nevertheless, the English ship gave a good account of herself, holding the privateer off for two hours; at the end of which time the Aventurier moved away, sustaining further damage to her stern. The French ship was obliged to return to Bordeaux for refitting, while the Princess Royal resumed her course, eventually arriving home on 31 October. (tratto da qui)
ASCOLTA Luke Kelly

ASCOLTA Mary Black

Versione Luke Kelly
I
On the fifthteenth of February
we sailed from the land
On the bold Princess Royal
bound for Newfoundland.
We had fifhty brave seamen
in the ship’s company
as boldly from the eastward
to the westward sailed we.
II
We had not been sailing
scarce days two or three,
When the man from our masthead
a strange sails he did see.
“She came bearing down on us
for to see what we were
And under her mizzen black colours she wore”.
III
“Oh Lord!” cries our captain,
“What shall we do now?
Here a-comes a bold pirate
to rob us, I know.”
“Oh no!” cries the chief mate,
“That never shall be so.
We’ll let out our reef, boys,
and away from them we’ll go.”
IV
Well this so bold pirate,
he hove alongside,
With a loud-speaking trumpet,
“Whence come you?” he cried,
Our captain being up, my boys,
he answered him so:
“We come from fair London;
and we’re bound for St. John.”
V
“Come, heave up your courses
and bring your ship to
I have a long letter
to send home by you.”
“Oh, I will not heave up my courses
and bring my ship to
That will be in some harbour,
not alongside of you.”
VI
And he chased us to the windward
for all that long day.
He fired shots all after us
but none could prevail
He fired shots all after us
but none could prevail
And the bold Princess Royal
soon show him her tail.
VII
“Oh Lord!” cries our captain,
“Now the pirate is gone,
Go you down to your grog, my boys,
go down, everyone.
go you down to your grog, my boys,
and be of good cheer,
While the Princess has sea-room,
brave boys, never fear.”
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
Il 15 di Febbraio
lasciammo la terra
sulla prode “Princesse Royal”
diretti a Terranova.
Avevamo 50 marinai coraggiosi
nell’equipaggio della nave
mentre arditamente da Est
verso Ovest navigavamo.
II
Eravamo in viaggio
da appena due o tre giorni
quando l’uomo di vedetta
vide delle strane vele
“Arriva virando verso di noi
per vedere chi siamo,
e porta sotto all’albero di mezzana il vessillo nero”
III
“Oddio * grida il capitano
“Cosa facciamo?
E’ in arrivo un pirata ardito
per derubarci,  credo”
“Oh no” grida il primo ufficiale
“Che non sia mai,
lasceremo una mano di terzarolo (1), ragazzi  e ci allontaneremo da loro”
IV
Beh questo pirata ardito
ci accostò
con una buccina dal suono acuto (2) “Da dove venite?” gridò,
il nostro capitano subito pronto, ragazzi, gli rispose così
“Veniamo dalla bella Londra
e siamo diretti a St. John.”
V
“Venite, cambiate rotta
e affiancate la vostra nave
perchè ho una lunga lettera
mandata da casa per voi”
“Oh non cambierò rotta
per affiancare la mia nave
lo farò in un porto,
non certo accanto a voi”
VI
E ci inseguì sopravento
per tutta la durata del giorno.
Ci sparò contro
ma nessuno prevaleva
ci sparò contro
ma nessuno prevaleva
e la prode Princesse Royal
presto gli mostrò la scia.
VII
“Oddio” – grida il capitano
“Ora il pirata è andato,
sotto con il grog, ragazzi
sotto per tutti.
Sotto con il grog, ragazzi
e siate di buon umore,
mentre la Princess è in mare
bravi ragazzi non abbiate mai paura”

NOTE
1) se ho ben capito il senso, il capitano ordina di dispiegare le vele al vento per potersi allontanare velocemente. In effetti furono le manovre diversive eseguite dai pochi marinai a bordo a salvare la nave dall’arrembaggio!
2) sto leggendo il terzo tomo della serie di Monaldi &Sorti intitolato “Mysterium” in cui si descrive un arrembaggio di fine 600 ad opera dei corsari barbareschi: lo squillo di trombe era un segnale consueto degli olandesi per salutare le altre navi in mare. La cosa strana è che la nave della nostra ballata battesse già bandiera nera: sarebbe stato più logico che in un primo momento mostrasse una bandiera “di camuffamento” per far si che l’altra nave si lasciasse avvicinare senza sospetti e solo in un secondo momento sostituisse la prima bandiera con quella pirata ( o la mezzaluna barbaresca)
3)  Il grog è una bevanda introdotta nella Royal Navy nel 1740: il rum dopo la conquista britannica della Giamaica era diventata la bevanda preferita dai marinai, ma per evitare problemi durante la navigazione, la razione giornaliera di rum era  diluita con l’acqua. (vedi)

Fonti
http://www.irish-folk-songs.com/the-bold-princess-royal-song-lyrics-and-guitar-chords.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/louis.killen/songs/theboldprincessroyal.html
http://www.contemplator.com/sea/proyal.html
http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/b/boldprin.html
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/67959/10