Archivi categoria: MITI/Mythology

Belle Dame sans Merci, by John Keats in music and film

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John Melhuish Strudwick

In 1819 the English poet John Keats reworked the figure of the “Queen of Faerie” of Scottish ballads (starting with Tam Lin and True Thomas) in turn writes the ballad “La Belle Dame sans Merci”, giving rise to a theme that has become very popular among the Pre-Raphaelite painters, that of the vamp woman who has however already a consideration in the beliefs of folklore: the
Lennan or leman shee – Shide Leannan (literally fairy child) that is the fairy who seeks love between humans. The fairy, who is both a male and a female being, after having seduced a mortal abandons him to return to his world. The lover is tormented by the love lost until death.
Fairy lovers have a short but intense life. The fairy who takes a human as lover is also the muse of the artist who offers talent in exchange for a devout love, bringing the lover to madness or premature death.
The title was paraphrased from a fifteenth-century poem written by Alain Chartier (in the form of a dialogue between a rejected lover and the disdainful lady) and became the figure of a seductive woman, a dark lady incapable of feelings towards the man the which falls prey to its spell. We are in reverse of the much older theme of “Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight

John William Waterhouse – La Belle Dame sans Merci (1893)

THE SEASONS OF THE HEART

In the ballad there are two seasons, spring and winter: in spring among the meadows in bloom, the knight meets a beautiful lady, a forest creature, daughter of a fairy, who enchants him with a sweet lullaby; the knight, already hopelessly in love, puts her on the saddle of his own horse and lets himself be led docilely in the Cave of the Elves; here he is cradled by the dame, who sighs sadly, and he dreams of princes and diaphanous kings who cry out their slavery to the beautiful lady.
On awakening we are in late autumn or in winter and the knight finds himself prostrate near the shore of a lake, pale and sick, certainly dying or with no other thought than the song of the fairy.
The keys to reading the ballad are many and each perspective increases the disturbing charm of the verses

There are two pictorial images that evoke the two seasons of the heart and ballad, the first – perhaps the most famous painting – is by Sir Frank Dicksee, (dated 1902): spring takes the colors of the English countryside with the inevitable roses in the first plan; the lady has just been hoisted on the fiery steed of the knight and with her right hand firmly holding the reins, with the other hand she leans against the saddle to be able to lean towards the beautiful face of the knight and whisper a spell; the knight, in precarious balance, is totally concentrated on the face of the lady and kidnapped.

caitiffknight
Sir Frank Dicksee La Belle Dame sans merci

The second is by Henry Meynell Rheam (painted in 1901) all in the tones of autumn, which recreates a desolate landscape wrapped in the mist, as if it were a barrier that holds the knight prostrate on the ground; while he dreams of pale and evanescent warriors (blue is a typical color to evoke the images of dreams) that warn him, the lady leaves the cave perhaps in search of other lovers.

Curiously, the armors of the two knights are very similar, but both are not really medieval and more suitable for being shown off in tournaments that on the battlefields. Elaborate and finely decorated models date back to the end of the fifteenth century.

Henry Meynell Rheam La Belle Dame sans merci

BELLE DAME SANS MERCI: a “live action short” by Hidetoshi Oneda

The ballad could not fail to inspire even today’s artists, here is a cinematic story a “live action short” directed by the Japanese Hidetoshi Oneda. The short begins with giving body to the imaginary interlocutor who asks the knight “O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms …” so we find ourselves in 1819 on an island after the shipwreck of a ship and we witness the meeting between the castaway and an old decrepit kept alive by regret ..

THE PLOT (from here) 1819. The Navigator and the Doctor survive a shipwreck only to find themselves lost in a strange forest. The Navigator is challenged by the gravely ill Doctor into pursuing his true passion – art. While he protests, the ailing Doctor dies. Later, the Navigator is beside a lake, where he finds an Old Knight who tells him his story: once, he encountered a mysterious Lady, and fell in love with her. But horrified by her true form – an immortal spirit and the ghosts of her mortal lovers – the Young Knight begged for release. Awoken and alone, he realized his failure. Thus he has waited, kept alive for centuries by his regret. The Navigator considers his own crossroads. What will he be when he returns to the world?

La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Hidetoshi Oneda – 2005

BELLE DAME SANS MERCI IN MUSIC

The first to play the ballad was Charlse Villiers Stanford in the nineteenth century with a very dramatic arrangement for piano but a bit dated today, although popular in his day.
The ballad was put into music by different artists in the 21st century.

Susan Craig Winsberg from La Belle Dame 2008

Jesse Ferguson

Giordano Dall’Armellina from “Old Time Ballads From The British Isles” 2007

Penda’s Fen (Richard Dwyer)

Loreena McKennitt from “Lost Souls” 2018

POETIC READING
 Ben Whishaw

I
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge is wither’d from the lake(1),
And no birds sing.
II
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest ‘s done.
III
I see a lily(2) on thy brow thy
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.’
IV
I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful — a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild(3).
V
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.
VI
I set her on my pacing steed
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery’s song(4).
VII
She found me roots of relish sweet
And honey wild and manna(5) dew,
And sure in language strange she said,
“I love thee true (6)
VIII
She took me to her elfin grot(7),
And there she wept and sigh’d fill sore(8);
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.
IX
And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dream’d — Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
On the cold hill’s side.
X
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried – “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”
Hath thee in thrall!”
XI
I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill’s side.
XII
And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.’

NOTES
1) not by chance the landscape is lacustrine, the waters of the lake are beautiful but treacherous, but it is a desolate landscape and more like the swamp
2) the lily is a symbol of death. The knight’s brow of a deadly pallor is bathed in the sweat of fever and the color of his face is as dull as a dried rose. The symptoms are those of the consumption: the always mild fever does not show signs of diminution, turns on two “roses” on the cheeks of the sick. It is also said that Keats was a toxic addict to the use of nightshade that in the analysis of Giampaolo Sasso (The secret of Keats: The ghost of the “Belle Dame sans Merci”) is represented in the Lady Without Mercy
3) the whole description of the danger of the lady is concentrated in the eyes, they are as wild but also crazy. The rider ignores the repeated signs of danger: not only the eyes but also the strange language and the food (honey wild)
4) the elven song leads the knight to slavery
5) the manna is a white and sweet substance. It is well known that those who eat the food of fairies are condemned to remain in the Other World
6) the fairy is expressed in a language incomprehensible to the knight and then in reality could have said anything but “I love you”; yet the language of the body is unequivocal, at least as far as sexual desire is concerned
7) the elf cave is the Celtic otherworldly (see more)
8) why the fairy is sorry? Would not want to annihilate the knight but can not do otherwise? Does she know that a man’s love is not eternal and that sooner or later his knight will leave her with a breaking heart? Is love inevitably destructive?

LA BELLA DAMA SENZA PIETA’

To the disquieting fascination of the ballad could not escape Angelo Branduardi the Italian Bard, the final part of the melody of each stanza takes the traditional English song “Once I had a sweetheart.”

Angelo Branduardi from La Pulce d’acqua 1977


Guarda com’è pallido
il volto che hai,
sembra tu sia fuggito dall’aldilà…
Vedo nei tuoi occhi
profondo terrore,
che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…
Guarda come stan ferme
le acque del lago
nemmeno un uccello che osi cantare…
“è stato in mezzo ai prati
che io la incontrai
e come se mi amasse lei mi guardò”.
Guarda come l’angoscia
ti arde le labbra,
sembra tu sia fuggito dall’aldilà…
“E`stato in mezzo ai prati
che io la incontrai…”
che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…

“Quando al mio fianco
lei poi si appoggiò
io l’anima le diedi ed il tempo scordai.
Quando al mio fianco
lei poi si appoggiò…”.
Che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…”
Al limite del monte
mi addormentai
fu l’ultimo mio sogno
che io allora sognai;
erano in mille e mille di più…”
Che bianche e gelide dita tu hai…”
Erano in mille
e mille di più,
con pallide labbra dicevano a me:
– Quella che anche a te
la vita rubò, è lei,
la bella dama senza pietà”.

BELLE DAME SANS MERCI: GERMAN VERSION

Faun from “Buch Der Balladen” 2009.


“Was ist dein Schmerz, du armer Mann,
so bleich zu sein und so gering,
wo im verdorrten Schilf am See
kein Vogel singt?”
“Ich traf ein’ edle Frau am Rhein,
die war so so schön – ein feenhaft Bild,
ihr Haar war lang, ihr Gang war leicht,
und ihr Blick wild.Ich hob sie auf mein weißes Ross
und was ich sah, das war nur sie,
die mir zur Seit’ sich lehnt und sang
ein Feenlied.Sie führt mich in ihr Grottenhaus,
dort weinte sie und klagte sehr;
drum schloss ich ihr wild-wildes Auf’
mit Küssen vier.
Da hat sie mich in Schlaf gewiegt,
da träumte ich – die Nacht voll Leid!-,
und Schatten folgen mir seitdem
zu jeder Zeit.Sah König bleich und Königskind
todbleiche Ritter, Mann an Mann;
die schrien: “La Belle Dame Sans Merci
hält dich in Bann!”Drum muss ich hier sein und allein
und wandeln bleich und so gering,
wo im verdorrten Schilf am See
kein Vogel singt.”
English translation (from here)
“What ails you, my poor man,
that makes you pale and humbled so,
among the withered seashore reeds
where the song of no bird is heard (1)?”
“I met a noble lady on the Rhine,
so very fair was she – a fairy vision,
her hair was long, her gait was light,
and wild her stare.I lifted her on my white steed
and nothing but her could I see,
as she leant by my side and sang
a song of the fairies.She led me to her cave house
where she cried and wailed much;
so I closed her wild deer eyes (2)
with four kisses of mine.
She lulled me to sleep then,
and I dreamt a nightlong song!
and shadows follow me since
be it day or night (3).I saw a pale king and his son
knights pale as death, face to face;
who cried out: “The fair lady without mercy
has you in her spell!”Thus shall I remain here alone
to wander, pale and humbled so,
among the withered seashore reeds
where the song of no bird is heard”


NOTES
1) lit “(where) no bird sings”
2) I assume it’s “Aug(en)” instead of “Auf'”
3) the original says “all the time” but I opted for (hopefully) more colorful English

LINK
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/belle.html http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/k/keats/john/la-belle-dame-sans-merci/
http://noirinrosa.wordpress.com/tag/la-belle-dame-sans-merci/ http://zerkalomitomania.blogspot.it/search/label/Belle%20Dame%20sans%20Merci
http://www.celophaine.com/lbdsm/lbdsm_top.html
http://www.craigrecords.com/recordings/la-belle-dame/

Corn Rigs are bonnie

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Corn Rigs  (Rigs o’Barley) was written entirely by Robert Burns in 1782 adapting it to an old Scottish dance air entitled “Corn Rigs are bonnie“. It seems to be particularly dear to the poet: it tells of the night of love with a beautiful girl among the sheaves of wheat, a magical full moon night…

The Annie of the song has been identified in Anne Rankie, the youngest daughter of a tenant farmer, John Rankine of Adamhill, of the farm that was a short distance from the Burns in Lochlea. In 1782, in September, the woman married a innkeeper, John Merry of Cumnock, so some doubt that in August she was among the sheaves of barley with the handsome Robert; others, however, point out that after 4 years (and once again in August) the poet, being in the neighborhood, was staying right at the inn of the two!
Burns gave Anne Rankie a lock of his hair and his portrait, which she kept together with the song.
Very bravely Burns, however, is silent on the identity of the beautiful Annie.

William Adolphe Bouguereau 1865
William Adolphe Bouguereau 1865

LAMMAS NIGHT

rigsThe analysis of the text unravels the dynamics of the relationship between the two lovers (according to my point of view): the night of Lammas, as usual in the Celtic tradition, is the night of August 1, a day of celebration for the farmers of the Scotland, day of rest and party before the beginning of the harvest.
Among the young it was customary to spend the night in the fields of wheat (or barley) but our Robert at first keeps away from such custom, the beautiful Annie is promised to another …
However, the youthful ardor finally wins and even the girl (without even being asked too much, reveals the bard) consents: the two meet in the fields of barley, at dusk, on a warm summer evening with the moon full to illuminate the night, and what a “happy night”!
The final verse takes up a concept dear to the poet: the best time is spent to love! And on that magical night it seems that the young Robert did it three times!

Ossian from Seal Song 1981 with the traditional Corn Rigs Are Bonnie melody, the video is very well done with the scrolling text, movies and vintage photos as well as “portraits” of the bard, all well structured in the evocation for images of the text

Paul Giovanni from The Wicker Man but with another melody

I
It was upon a Lammas(1) night,
When the corn rigs(2) were bonnie,
Beneath the moon’s unclouded light,
I held awa’ to Annie;
The time flew by wi’ tentless heed,
‘Til ‘tween the late and early,
Wi’ small persuasion she agreed
To see me thro’ the barley.
chorus
Corn Rigs and barley rigs,
Corn rigs are bonny:
I’ll ne’eer forget that happy night,
Amang the rigs wi’ Annie.
II
The sky was blue (3), the wind was still,
The moon was shining clearly;
I set her down wi’ right good will,
Amang the rigs o’ barley:
I ken’t(4) her heart, was a’ my ain(5);
I loved her most sincerely;
I kissed her o’er and o’er again,
Amang the rigs o’ barley.
III
I locked her in my fond embrace;
Her heart was beatin’ rarely:
My blessing on that happy place,
Amang the rigs o’ barley!
But by the moon and stars so bright,
That shone that hour so clearly!
She aye shall bless that happy night
Amang the rigs of barley.
IV
I hae been blythe(6) wi’ comrades dear;
I hae been merry drinking;
I hae been joyful gath’rin’ gear(7);
I hae been happy thinking:
But a’ the pleasures e’er I saw,
Tho’ three times doubled fairly,
That happy night was worth them a’,
Amang the rigs wi’ Annie.

NOTES
1) Lammas is the harvest festival that is celebrated on the first of August, whose origins date back to the Celtic festival of Lugnasad, a festival that marks the beginning of the first harvest (wheat and barley). In the Scottish country tradition it is like our day in San Martino, when the land is rented and the contracts are renewed.(see more)
2) The term Rigs describes an old cultivation technique that involves working the land in long and narrow strips of raised land (the traditional drainage system of the past): the fields were divided into earthen banks raised, so that the excess water drained further down the deep side furrows.
3) the indicated hour is that of twilight
4) knew
5) own
6) joyous
7) earning money

MELODY

Alasdair Fraser · Paul Machlis · Barry Phillips · Martin Hayes

SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCE

This song is best known with the title of Corn Rigs or Corn Rigs Are Bonnie and it is also a scottish country dance (see more) taken from the old traditions. During the harvest it was customary to dance among the sheaves of wheat, as shown in this vintage movie by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
VIDEO

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/lugnasad.html
https://giulsass.wordpress.com/istruzione/esperienza-antica/gest_terra_p_s/

Silver apples of the moon

MARGARET MACDONALD MAKINTOSH (1865-1933) The Silver Apples of the Moon
MARGARET MACDONALD MAKINTOSH (1865-1933)
The Silver Apples of the Moon

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The song of wandering Aengus was published in 1899, in the collection of poems “The Wind among the reeds” by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).

Aengus (Oengus)  is the god of love of Irish mythology, belonging to the mythical ranks of the Tuatha De Dannan, eternally young ruler of the Brug na Boinne near the banks of the river Boyne. It is said of him that he fell in love with a beautiful girl seen in a dream and, sick with love, looked for her for a long time before finding her and taking her to her kingdom.

In poetry, however, the character is a young mortal (perhaps the poet himself) in search of his poetic inspiration or the most ancestral side of knowledge. He tells of his initiation into the past, because he became old, in the perennial search for beauty, or poetic enlightenment, embodied by the girl with the apple blossoms in her hair.

The first to put the poem into music was the same Yeats who composed or adapted a traditional Irish melody: in 1907 he published his essay ‘Speaking to the Psaltery’ in which the poem is recited bardically, sung with the accompaniment of the psaltery; but many other artists were inspired by the text and composed further melodies.

Burt Ives with the title The Wandering of Old Angus  in ‘Burl Ives: Songs of Ireland‘ Decca DL 8444 (ca. 1954) in the liner notes the Yeats melody is credited

Judy Collins with the title ‘Golden Apples of the Sun’  – Golden Apples of the Sun 1962. “Learned from the singing of Will Holt, this stunning song is a musical setting of a W. B. Yeats poem ‘The Song of the Wandering Angus’. It is not a folk song, it tends to be an art song. It has a traditional feeling about it; the repetitiveness gives you the impression of an incantation, which the poem does too. Of her learning it I had heard the song almost two years ago. When I heard Will Holt sing it late one night at the Gate of Horn, I was greatly impressed, and determined to learn it. Will sang it for me a number of times, and even gave me a tape of it. I lived with the Golden Apples of the Sun almost a year-and-a-half before I ever sang it, and then it burst out one day – almost of its own accord – while I was visiting friends. It took me a long time to assimilate it, but now it’s part of me. I feel that the song has something to do with what people want – what they don’t have – and sometimes the desire for these things is almost as satisfying as the getting.'”

Donovan in H. M. S. 1971

Richie Havens in “Mixed Bag II” 1974

Christy Moore in “Ride On” 1986

Paul Winter & Karen Casey in Celtic Solstice 1999

Jolie Holland in Catalpa 2003

Waterboys in “An Appointment with Mr Yeats” 2011
an almost spoken version

Sedrenn  in De l’autri cotè 2013 (the review of the cd here

Robert Lawrence & Jill Greene (music by Jill Diana Greene) 2016

I
I went out to the hazel wood
because a fire was in my head(1)
and cut and peeled a hazel wand(2)
and hooked a berry to a thread.
II
And when white moths were on the wing
and moth-like stars were flickering out
I dropped the berry in the stream(3)
and caught a little silver trout(4).
III
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame
But something rustled on the floor
and someone called me by my name.
IV
It had become a glimmering girl
with apple blossom(5) in her hair
who called me by my name and ran
and vanished through the brightening air
V
Though I am old with wandering
through hollow lands and hills lands
I will find out where she has gone
and kiss her lips and take her hands.
VI
And walk among long dappled grass
and pluck till time and times are done
the silver apples of the moon
the golden apples of the sun(5).

NOTES
1) it’s the fire what characterizes the visionary experience of shamanism (see). In the book “The Fire in the Head” (2007) Tom Cowan examines the connections between shamanism and Celtic imagination, analyzing the myths, the stories, the ancient Celtic poets and narrators and describing the techniques used to access the world of the shamans. So the protagonist approaches the waters of the river to practice a ritual that allows him to travel in the Other World.
2) the hazelnut is the fruit of science and falls into the sacred spring, where it is eaten by salmon / trout (which becomes the salmon of knowledge).
3) most likely it is the Boyne River. According to mythology, Brug na Boinne or “Boyne River Palace” is the current Newgrange. Dimora del Dagda and then the son Aengus (Oengus) and the most important gods. The mound rises on the north bank of the Boyne River, east of Slane (County Meath).

new-grange
here is how the mound was once

4)A reference to a mythological tale by Fionn Mac Cumhaill (salomon of knowledge).

Even the trout is considered by the Celtic tradition as a guardian spirit of the waterways, and represents the Underworld, which it is materially embodied under the gaze of the poet in a young girl from the Other World, in a sort of dream or vision ( aisling) that disappears when the day is cleared: the poet tells us he will dedicate his life to chasing that girl or to reach (in life) the Other World
5) The apple tree and its fruit are always present in the Otherworld and most of the time it is a female creature to offer the golden apple to the hero or the poet. The apple is the fruit of immortality but also of death, of eternal sleep.
The access (in life) to the Other Celtic World is an honor reserved for poets, semi-divine heroes and a few privileged visitors (sometimes ravished by fairies for their beauty), Yeats hopes to be able to feed on Avalon apples and obtain the gift of immortality (poetic).

Aengus il vagabondo

Angelo Branduardi in “Branduardi canta Yeats” 1986 music by Donovan, text-translation by Luisa Zappa

Fu così che al bosco andai,
chè un fuoco in capo mi sentivo,
un ramo di nocciolo io tagliai
ed una bacca appesi al filo.
Bianche falene vennero volando,
e poi le stelle luccicando,
la bacca nella corrente lanciai
e pescai una piccola trota d’argento.
Quando a terra l’ebbi posata
per ravvivare il fuoco assopito,
qualcosa si mosse all’improvviso
e col mio nome mi chiamò.
Una fanciulla era divenuta,
fiori di melo nei capelli,
per nome mi chiamò e svanì
nello splendore dell’aria.
Sono invecchiato vagabondando
per vallate e per colline,
ma saprò alla fine dove e`andata,
la bacerò e la prenderò per mano;
cammineremo tra l’erba variegata,
sino alla fine dei tempi coglieremo
le mele d’argento della luna,
le mele d’oro del sole.

LINK
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=44244 http://branoalcollo.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/le-metamorfosi-di-yeats/ http://lebuoneinterferenze.blogspot.it/2010/02/le-mele-della-notte.html http://www.ilcerchiosciamanico.it/articoli/p2/123/il-regno-sotto-le-acque-il-recupero-dello-sciamanesimo-celtico-di-sharon-paice-macleod.html

Puck Fair: a rebellious billy-goat

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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

https://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
https://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