“The two sisters” ballad: Binnorie

Leggi in italiano

The murder ballad “The two sisters” originates from Sweden or more generally from the Scandinavian countries (see “De två systrarna), but has spread widely also in some Eastern countries and in the British Isles

The variants in which it is present are many as well as the titles: The Twa Sisters, The Cruel Sister, The Bonnie Milldams of Binnorie, The Bonny Bows o’ London, Binnorie and Sister, Binnorie, Minnorie, Dear Sister, The Jealous Sister (Minorie), Bonnie Broom, Swan Swims Sae Bonny O, The Bonny Swans, Bow Your Bend to Me.

IL TRIANGOLO AMOROSO

It tells the story of a love triangle with two sisters who contend for the attentions of a handsome young man, once his choice falls on the blonde one, the other (by chance with black hair) to have him all for herself, she kills her sister, pushing her down a cliff (or from the bank of a river).

20121002205259a31
John Faed: Cruel Sister

A dear theme to many pre-Raphaelite painters and more generally a recurring theme in 19th century painters (thanks to Sir Walter Scott’s good offices); in the painting of the Scot John Faed (1851) entitled “Cruel Sister” it is summarized the whole drama of jealousy at the center of history (read motive); a prince with an exotic charm (what a feathered hat!) holds a blond girl dressed in white satin by the hand, not only does the prince look at her and tenderly shakes her hand, but also points to a little dog in the foreground, to say, “here I am faithful”. What a grace and sweetness is suffused in the girl who, with modesty, turns her gaze to the ground, but her cheeks are colorated, a sign of a profound emotion that disturbs her. The other girl is slightly backward compared to the two lovers and , afflicted by dark thoughts, she looks at the prince; even if she grasps to his arm she is clearly the third wheel. (note that while the two lovers move with the same step the black lady moves in forward the left foot).

To understand the whole story, here is a Scottish fairy tale called “The Singing Breastbone” (from Fair is Fair: World Folktales of Justice of Sharon Creeden see) that already in the title announces a “gothic” story.

 

 The Singing Breastbone (Binnorie)

ONCE upon a time there were two king’s daughters who lived in a bower near the bonny mill-dams of Binnorie. And Sir William came wooing the elder and won her love, and plighted troth with glove and with ring. But after a time he looked upon the younger sister, with her cherry cheeks and golden hair, and his love went out to her till he cared no longer for the elder one. So she hated her sister for taking away Sir William’s love, and day by day her hate grew and grew and she plotted add she planned how to get rid of her.

Katharine Cameron (scot, 1874–1965): She has taken her by the lily white hand binnorie o binnorie

So one fine morning, fair and clear, she said to her sister, ‘Let us go and see our father’s boats come in at the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie.’ So they went there hand in hand. And when they came to the river’s bank, the younger one got upon a stone to watch for the beaching of the boats. And her sister, coming behind her, caught her round the waist and dashed her into the rushing mill-stream of Binnorie.
‘O sister, sister, reach me your hand !’ she cried, as she floated away, ‘and you shall have half of all I’ve got or shall get.’
‘No, sister, I’ll reach you no hand of mine, for I am the heir to all your land. Shame on me if I touch her hand that has come ‘twixt me and my own heart’s love.’
‘O sister, O sister, then reach me your glove !’ she cried, as she floated further away, ‘and you shall have your William again.’
Sink on,’ cried the cruel princess, ‘no hand or glove of mine you’ll touch. Sweet William will be all mine when you are sunk beneath the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie.’ And she turned and went home to the king’s castle.
And the princess floated down the mill-stream, sometimes swimming and sometimes sinking, till she came near the mill. Now, the miller’s daughter was cooking that day, and needed water for her cooking. And as she went to draw it from the stream, she saw something floating towards the mill-dam, and she called out, ‘Father ! father ! draw your dam. There’s something white–a merrymaid or a milk-white swan–coming down the stream.’ So the miller hastened to the dam and stopped the heavy, cruel mill-wheels. And then they took out the princess and laid her on the bank.
Fair and beautiful she looked as she lay there. In her golden hair were pearls and precious stones; you could not see her waist for her golden girdle, and the golden fringe of her white dress came down over her lily feet. But she was drowned, drowned !

And as she lay there in her beauty a famous harper passed by the mill-dam of Binnorie, and saw her sweet pale face. And though he travelled on far away, he never forgot that face, and after many days he came back to the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie. But then all he could find of her where they had put her to rest were her bones and her golden hair. So he made a harp out of her breast-bone and her hair, and travelled on up the hill from the mill-dam of Binnorie till he came to the castle of the king her father.
binnorie_2_by_tanmorna-d5fxw2h

That night they were all gathered in the castle hall to hear the great harper–king and queen, their daughter and son, Sir William, and all their Court. And first the harper sang to his old harp, making them joy and be glad, or sorrow and weep, just as he liked. But while he sang, he put the harp he had made that day on a stone in the hall. And presently it began to sing by itself, low and clear, and the harper stopped and all were hushed.
And this is what the harp sung:
‘O yonder sits my father, the king,
Binnorie, O Binnorie;
And yonder sits my mother, the queen;
By the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie.

‘And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
Binnorie, O Binnone;
And by him my William, false and true;
By the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie.’

Then they all wondered, and the harper told them how he had seen the princess lying drowned on the bank near the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie, and how he had afterwards made his harp out of her hair and breast-bone. Just then the harp began singing again, and this is what it sang out loud and clear:
‘And there sits my sister who drowned me
By the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie.’

And the harp snapped and broke, and never sang more.

Giordano Dall’Armellina writes in his essay: “Summing up the English and the Scandinavian versions a hundred texts have been calculated: it is as if every singer had fun inventing something different to distinguish himself from the others. In some Norwegian variants the harp crash into many pieces and the blond princess returns to life while her black-haired sister is either burned alive or buried alive as a punishment for the crime committed.
In another, always Norwegian, the bones of the girl are used to make a flute that is brought to her family to make it play by everyone. When the cruel sister plays it, the blood gushes from it, thus denouncing her guilt. It follows a punishment: the sister is condemned to be tied to four horses that leave in four distinct directions and that will cut her to pieces. In a Swedish version the miller saves the girl and brings her back to her family. In the end the blond princess will forgive her sister for the attempted murder” (translated from Giordano  Dell’Armellina: “Ballate Europee da Boccaccio a Bob Dylan”.)

As usual, the fairy tale lends itself to multiple readings outside the text, symbolism focuses on the meaning of the bones, the swan and the water element (see) and yet in the American version the ballad becomes a more typical murder ballad

FIRST VERSION: BINNORIE

In Scotland the ballad was printed in 1656 under the title “The Miller and the King’s Daughter” (see) and then ended in the Child Ballads, (# 10), in his “The English and Scottish Popular Ballads”: the versions in Child are about twenty to underline the wide popularity and diffusion of the story (and also for the melodies there are many versions).

The version analyzed, however is that of Sir Walter Scott (in “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border” 1802 see ) who with his books helped to reawaken the interest of contemporaries towards Medievalism.
The text is rich in Scottish terms, the plot is very similar to the fairy tale “The Singing Breastbone” of which the ballad seems to be the sung version, the tragic epilogue is tinged with magic with the bones of the girl become musical instrument to unmask the killer.

Custer LaRue&Baltimore Consort in The Daemon Lover, 1993 a medieval version


There were twa sisters sat in a bow’r(1)
Binnorie, O Binnorie (2)
There cam a knight to be their wooer.

By the bonnie mill-dams of Binnorie .
He courted the eldest wi’ glove and ring (3)/But he lo’ed the youngest aboon a’thing.
The eldest she was vexed sair
And sore envied her sister fair.
The eldest said to the youngest ane:
“Will you go and see our father’s ships come in”
She’s ta’en her by the lily hand
And led her down to the river strand.
The youngest stude upon a stane
The eldest cam’ and pushed her in.
“Oh sister, sister reach your hand
And ye shall be heir of half my land”
“Oh sister, I’ll not reach my hand
And I’ll be heir of all your land.”
“Oh sister, reach me but your glove
And sweet William shall be your love.”
“Sink on, nor hope for hand or glove
And sweet William shall better be my love.”
Sometimes she sunk, sometimes she swam
Until she cam to the miller’s dam.
The miller’s daughter was baking bread
And gaed for water as she had need.
“O father, father, draw your dam!
There’s either a mermaid or a milk-white swan (4).”
The miller hasted and drew his dam
And there he found a drown’d woman.
Ye couldna see her yellow hair
For gowd and pearls that were sae rare.
Ye coldna see her middle sma’
Her gowden girdle was sae braw.
Ye couldna see her lily feet
Her gowden fringes were sae deep.
A famous harper passing by
The sweet pale face he chanced to spy.
And when he looked that lady on
He sighed, and made a heavy moan.
He made a harp (5) o’ her breast bone
Whose sounds would melt a heart of stone.
The strings he framed of her yellow hair,/Their notes made sad the listening ear.
He brought it to her father’s ha’
There was the court assembled there.
He layed the harp upon a stane (6)
And straight it began to play alane.
“O yonder sits my father the King
And yonder sits my mother, the queen.”
“And yonder stands my brother Hugh
And by him, my William, sweet and true.”
But the last tune that the harp played then
Was: “Woe to my sister, false Helen”
NOTE
1) in the Middle Ages, bower indicated the private room of the lady of the castle, not exactly the bedroom when the room in which she stayed with her maidservants.
2) Scott replaces the refrain “Edinburgh, Edinburgh” inspired by the battle of Binnorie (to commemorate the Scottish wars of independence)
3) Giving the ring and the glove in medieval times was a promise of marriage. To be courted was the older sister, it was a matter of a arranged marriage. in which however the young falls in love with the younger sister
4)  The comparison emphasizes the purity and innocence of the girl who is presumed not to have encouraged the advances of the suitor.
5)  a magical harp, in fact, as soon as it is placed on a stone, it begins to sing alone. Here we refer to the Viking belief that the soul resides in the bones (the bones of the dead accuse their murderers). The killer sister who was about to marry, is unmasked by her sister’s ghost and will surely be punished as she deserves.
It is reasonable to assume that in the Scandinavian versions the instrument was in reality an arched crwth or lyra: also called “Germanic crwth” – to underline its northern origin – the instrument can also be equipped with a central keyboard and you play with the bow being probably the ancestor of the violin. In Wales it is called crwth (while in Ireland it is called cruith) and the central keyboard bears six strings, two of which the drone strings (“loafer string”). This instrument, which scholars are uncertain if they consider it to be completely indigenous and attributed to the Scandinavian area, (see)
6) referring to the ability of the harp to soften a heart of stone (black heart) so its magic song begins only when they placed it on a stone

Dorothy Carter with hammer dulcimer

LINK
Giordano  Dell’Armellina in “Racconti comuni in ballate italiane, svedesi e  britanniche: un confronto” see
Giordano  Dell’Armellina: “Ballate Europee da Boccaccio a Bob Dylan”.
http://members.chello.nl/r.vandijk2/ChildBallads010-019.html
http://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?id=49269&lang=it
http://walterscott.eu/education/ballads/supernatural-ballads/the-cruel-sister/

Lady Greensleeves

Leggi in italiano

Greensleeves is a song coming from the English Renaissance (with undeniable Italian musical influences) that tells us about the courtship of a very rich gentleman and a Lady who rejects him, despite the generous gifts.

It was the year 1580 when Richard Jones and Edward White competed for prints of a fashion song, Jones with “A new Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves” and White with “A ballad, being the Ladie Greene Sleeves Answere to Donkyn his frende “, then after a few days, White again with another version:” Greene Sleeves and Countenance, in Countenance is Greene Sleeves “and a few months later Jones with the publication of” A merry newe “Northern Songe of Greene Sleeves” ; this time the reply came from William Elderton, who wrote the “Reprehension against Greene Sleeves” in February 1581.
Finally, the revised and expanded version by Richard Jones with the title “A New Courtly Sonnet of the Lady Green Sleeves” included in the collection ‘A Handeful of Pleasant Delites‘ of 1584, was the one that became the final version, still performed today (at least as regards the melody and for most of the text with 17 stanzas).

The Melody

The melody is born for lute, the instrument par excellence of Renaissance (and baroque) music that has seen in England a fine flowering with the likes of John Jonson and John Dowland. As evidenced in the in-depth study of Ian Pittaway the ancestor of Greensleeves is the old Passamezzo.
By the late 15th century, plucked instruments such as the lute were just beginning to develop a new technique to add to their repertoire of playing styles, chordal playing, leading the way for grounds to be chordal rather than the single notes of the mediaeval period. One of the chordal grounds that developed was the passamezzo antico, meaning old passamezzo (there was also the passamezzo moderno), which began in Italy in the early 16th century before it spread through Europe. It’s a little like the blues today in that you have a basic, unchanging chord sequence and, on top of that, a melody is added. (from here)
The chorus of Greensleeves however follows the melodic trend of a  Romanesca which in turn is a variant of the passamezzo.

lute melody in “Het Luitboek van Thysius” written by Adriaen Smout for the Netherlands in 1595

Baltimore Consort  instrumental version in Renaissance style for dancing

We find a choreography of the dance  only in later times, in the “English Dancing Master” by John Playford (both in the edition of 1686 and then published several times in the eighteenth century) as an English country dance

The Legend

anne-boleyn-roseIn 1526 Henry VIII wrote “Greensleeves” for Anna Bolena, right at the beginning of their relationship.
A suggestive hypothesis because both the melody that the text well suited to the character, that of his own he wrote several piece still today in the repertoire of many artists of ancient music; however the poem was not transcribed in any manuscript of the time and therefore we can not be certain of this attribution.
The misunderstanding was generated by William Chappell who in his “Popular Music of the Olden Time” (London: Chappell & Co, 1859) attributes the melody to the king, misinterpreting a quote by Edward Guilpin. “Yet like th ‘Olde ballad of the Lord of Lorne, Whose last line in King Harries dayes was borne.” (In Skialethia, or Shadow of Truth, 1598: the ballad “The Lord of Lorne and the False Steward” dates back to time of Henry VIII (King Harries) and, according to Chappell has always been sung on the melody Greensleeves.

The Tudor serie + The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow

Gregorian“,  ( I, III, VIII, IX)

Irish origins!?

William Henry Grattan Flood in A History of Irish Music (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1905) was the first to assume (without giving evidence) the irish origins. “In a manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin … Under date of 1566, there is a manuscript Love Song (without music), written by Donal, first Earl of Clancarty. A few years previously, an Anglo-Irish Song was written to the tune of Greensleeves.
Since then the idea of Irish paternity has become more and more vigorous so much so that this song is present in the compilations of Celtic music labeled as irish traditional.

lady-greensleeves

A courting song or a dirty trick?

Walter+Crane-My+Lady+Greensleeves+-+(1)-S
Roberto Venturi observes in his essay
Already at the time of Geoffrey Chaucer and the Tales of Canterbury (remember that Chaucer lived from 1343 to 1400) the green dress was considered typical of a “light woman”, that is a prostitute. She would therefore be a young woman of promiscuous customs; Nevill Coghill, the famous and heroic modern English translator of the Canterbury Tales, explains – referring to an interpretation of a Chaucerian step – that, at the time, the green color had precise sexual connotations, particularly in the phrase A green gown. It was the dress of a woman with some grass spots, who practiced (or suffered) a sexual intercourse in a meadow. If a woman was said to have “the green skirt”, in practice it was a whore.
The song would then be the lamentation of a betrayed and abandoned lover, or of a rejected customer; in short, you know, something far from regal (although in every age the kings were generally the first whoremongers of the Kingdom). Another possible interpretation is that the lover betrayed, or rejected, has wanted to revenge on the poor woman by devoting to her a delicious little song in which he calls her a whore through the metaphor of the “green sleeves” (translated from here)

Many interpreters, with versions both in ancient than modern style (also Yngwie Malmsteen plays it with his guitar and Leonard Cohen proposes a rewrite in 1974)
Today the text is rarely performed and only for two or four stanzas, but it is a song loved by choral groups that sing it more extensively.

In ‘A Handful of Pleasant Delites’, 1584, from the collection of Israel G. Young (about twenty strophe see) all the gifts that the nobleman makes to his Lady to court her:  “kerchers to thy head”, “board and bed”, “petticoats of the best”, “jewels to thy chest”, “smock of silk”, “girdle of gold”, “pearls”, “purse”, “guilt knives”, “pin case”, “crimson stockings all of silk”, “pumps as white as was the milk”, “gown of the grassy green” with “sleeves of satin”, but also “men clothed all in green” and “dainties”!

So many versions (see) and a difficult choice, but here is:

Alice Castle live 2005

 Loreena  McKennitt in The Visit 1991 (I, III) interpreted “as if she were singing Tom Waits

Jethro Tull  in Christmas Album 2003 (instrumental version)

David Nevue amazing piano version!


chorus (1)
Greensleeves(2) was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves my heart of gold
And who but my lady Greensleeves.
I
Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously(3).
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.
II
Your vows you’ve  broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.
III
I have been ready at  your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.
IV
Thy petticoat of sendle(4) white
With gold embroidered gorgeously;
Thy petticoat of silk and white
And these I bought gladly.
V
If you intend thus to  disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.
VI
My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.
VII
Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.
VIII
Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.
IX
Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me
NOTE
1) the first two sentences are sometimes reversed and start in the opposite direction
2) In the Middle Ages the green color was the symbol of regeneration and therefore of youth and physical vigor, meant “fertility” but also “hope” and with gold indicating pleasure. It was the color of medicine for its revitalizing powers. Color of love in the nascent stage, in the Renaissance it was the color used by the young especially in May; in women it was also the color of chastity.
But the other more promiscuous meaning is of “light woman always ready to roll in the grass”. And the charm of the ballad lies in its ambiguity!
Green is also the color that in fairy tales / ballads connotes a fairy creature.
The Gaelic words “Grian Sliabh” (literally translated as “sun mountain” or a “mountain exposed to the south, sunny”) are pronounced Green Sleeve (the song is also very popular in Ireland especially as slow air). Grian is also the name of a river that flows from Sliabh Aughty (County Clare and Galway)
3) the expressions are proper to the courtly lyric
4) sendal= light silk material

in the extended version the gifts of the suitor are many and expensive and it is all a complaint about “oh how much you costs me my dear!”

“Extended version
IV
I bought three kerchers to thy head,
That were wrought fine and gallantly;
I kept them both at board and bed,
Which cost my purse well-favour’dly.
V
I bought thee petticoats of the best,
The cloth so fine as fine might be:
I gave thee jewels for thy chest;
And all this cost I spent on thee.
VI
Thy smock of silk both fair and white,
With gold embroidered gorgeously;
Thy petticoat of sendall right;
And this I bought thee gladly.
VII
Thy girdle of gold so red,
With pearls bedecked sumptously,
The like no other lasses had;
And yet you do not love me!
VIII
Thy purse, and eke thy gay gilt knives,
Thy pin-case, gallant to the eye;
No better wore the burgess’ wives;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
IX
Thy gown was of the grassy green,
The sleeves of satin hanging by;
Which made thee be our harvest queen;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
X
Thy garters fringed with the gold,
And silver aglets hanging by;
Which made thee blithe for to behold;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XI
My gayest gelding thee I gave,
To ride wherever liked thee;
No lady ever was so brave;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XII
My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XIII
They set thee up, they took thee down,
They served thee with humility;
Thy foot might not once touch the ground;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XIV
For every morning, when thou rose,
I sent thee dainties, orderly,
To cheer thy stomach from all woes;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!

SOURCE
https://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?id=53904&lang=it
http://greensleeves-hubs.hubpages.com/hub/FolkSongGreensleeves-Greensleeves   http://thesession.org/tunes/1598
http://ingeb.org/songs/alasmylo.html
http://tudorhistory.org/topics/music/greensleeves.html
http://earlymusicmuse.com/greensleeves1of3mythology/
http://earlymusicmuse.com/greensleeves2of3history/
http://earlymusicmuse.com/greensleeves3of3music/
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/alas-madame.htm

Yonder comes a courteous knight (The Baffled knight ballad)

Leggi in italiano

John Byam Liston Shaw: “The Baffled Knight”

A young knight strolls through the countryside meets a girl (sometimes he surprises her while she is intent on bathing in a river) and asks her to have sex. In truth, the approaches in secluded places between noblemen and curvy country girls even if paludated with bucolic verses, they ended much more prosaically with rape (if the gentleman “stung vagueness”)

But in this ballad the girl is a lady, and the dialogue between the two protagonists becomes rather a gallant skirmish of love, a game of love to make it more appetizing; the knight, however, does not yet know the rules because of his young age and is therefore mocked by the lady, courtesan much more experienced and cynical, skilled maneuverer of her lovers!

VERSION A: YONDER COMES A COURTEOUS KNIGHT

Child ballad #112
The gallant knight is called “Baffled knight” as usual term in the Scottish dialect of 1540-1550: “bauchle”, here in the meaning of “bewildered”, “perplexed” but also “juggled”. Originally the ballad is transcribed in Deuteromelia (1609) by Thomas Ravenscroft with a melody that he attributes to the reign of Henry VIII.

CARPE DIEM

The song is an exhortation to draw pleasure when the opportunity arises: the lady (as an expert courtesan) puts the young knight to the test by presenting the comforts of a bed that awaits them in the paternal home; so she enters first at home and closes off the naive (and inexperienced) knight. The lady does not hide her disdain for the knight who did not dare to get some among the branches!

Custer LaRue & Baltimore Consort from “Ladyes Delight: Entertainment Music of Elizabethan England”, 1998 ♪.
The Baltimore Consort give us a little musical jewel: the melody is performed in a cadenced manner and vaguely refers to the Dargason jig, as also reported in the first edition of “The Dancing Master” by John Playford (1651).

Lucie Skeaping & City Waits from” Lusty Broadside Ballads & Palyford Dances” 2011.
Sparkling and playful interpretation that I imagine salaciously mimed in the most fashionable living rooms of the time. A couple of verses are omitted from the original version. (they skip II, IV and VII )

Joel Frederiksen & Ensemble Phoenix Munich from “The Elfin Knight: Balads and Dances”

I
Yonder comes a courteous knight,
Lustely raking ouer the lay(1);
He was well ware of a bonny lasse,
As she came wandring ouer the way.
CHORUS
Then she sang downe a downe,
hey downe derry (bis)(2)
II
‘Ioue(3) you speed, fayre lady,’ he said,
‘Among the leaues that be so greene;
If I were a king, and wore a crowne,
Full soone, fair lady,
shouldst thou be a queen.
III
‘Also Ioue saue you, faire lady(4),
Among the roses that be so red;
If I haue not my will of you,
Full soone, faire lady,
shall I be dead.’
IV
Then he lookt east,
then hee lookt west,
Hee lookt north, so did he south;
He could not finde a priuy place,
For all lay in the diuel’s mouth.
V
‘If you will carry me, gentle sir,
A mayde(5) vnto my father’s hall,
Then you shall haue your will of me,
Vnder purple and vnder paule(6).’
VI
He set her vp vpon a steed,
And him selfe vpon another,
And all the day he rode her by,
As though they had been sister and brother.
VII
When she came to her father’s hall,
It was well walled round about;
She yode(7) in at the wicket-gate,
And shut the foure-eard(8) foole without.
VIII
‘You had me,’ quoth she, ‘abroad in the field,
Among the corne, amidst the hay,
Where you might had your will of mee,
For, in good faith, sir, I neuer said nay.
IX
‘Ye had me also amid the field(9)
Among the rushes that were so browne,
Where you might had your will of me,
But you had not the face to lay me downe.'(10)
X
He pulled out
his nut-browne(11) sword,
And wipt the rust off with his sleeue,
And said, “Ioue’s curse
come to his heart
That any woman would beleeue(12)!
XI
When you haue you owne true-loue
A mile or twaine out of the towne,
Spare not for her gay clothing,
But lay her body flat on the ground.

NOTE
1) ‘lay’ = lea, meadow-land
2)interlayer onomatopoeic and apparently non-sense of some ballads; also in the ballad The Three Ravens always reported by Ravenscoft this time in his Melismata. Vernon Chatman proposes as a translation for a sentence in the finished sense: We find in the Oxford Universal Dictionary (1955) that ‘down’ can be used as an adverb either attributively or by ellipsis of some participial word in the sense of “dejected.”” Also, we find that ‘a’ can be used as a preposition as in ‘a live’ or as an adjective in the sense of “all.” Further, we find that ‘hay’ can be used as an interjection in the sense of “thou hast (it)” and that it occurs in the phrase ‘to make hay’ this phrase meaning “to make confusion.” Thus, the sense of line two is something like the following: 1) Dejected all dejected, thou hast dejection [thou art dejected?], thou hast dejection; or 2) Dejected all dejected, confused and dejected, confused and dejected. Relative to line four we find in the Oxford Universal Dictionary that ‘with’ can be used to form adverb phrases denoting “to the fullest extent.” Thus, the sense of the fourth line is something like the following: Utterly (completely) dejected. Line seven presents the gravest difficulty; however, it can be surmounted. The problem here centers upon ‘derrie.’ Checking this time with Encyclopaedia Britannica (1956) we find that Londonderry was once named ‘Derry.’ Derry is an appropriate locale for the scene depicted in “The Three Ravens:” the Scandinavians plundered the city, and it is said to have been burned down at least seven times before 1200; it thus is a site of many battles. Line seven now “means” something like the following: Utterly dejected in Derry, in Derry, dejected, dejected.
3) Ioue = Jove; Jove you speed it is a kind of invocation of the type “Jupiter you assist”, but also a way of greeting. Jupiter is also the god famous for his love adventures and lust: in short, he did not miss one.
4) Lucie Skeaping sing ‘Ioue you speed, fayre lady,’ he said,
5) maid
6) purple and paule =  pomp and circumstance
7) ‘yode’ = went.
8) ‘foure-ear’d’ = ‘as denoting a double ass?’ (Child)
9) Lucie Skeaping sings’You had me, abroad in the field,
10) once safe, the lady mocks the inexperienced knight!
11)  the image is burlesque: the young man with a rusty sword because he never got to use it (swordsman inexperienced or clumsy as in the love duels) raises it to the sky pointing to Jupiter to attract lightning!
12) believe

ARCHIVE
TITLES: The Baffled Lover (knight),  Yonder comes a courteous knight, The Lady’s Policy, The Disappointed Lover, The (Bonny) Shepherd Lad (laddie), Blow away the morning dew, Blow Ye Winds High-O, Clear Away the Morning Dew
Child #112 A (Tudor Ballad): yonder comes a courteous knight
Child #112 B
Child #112 D ( Cecil Sharp)
Child #112 D (Sheperd Lad)
Blow Away The Morning Dew (sea shanty)

FONTI
http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=Child_d11201

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

Hey for Christmas

Tra i resoconti e le cronache di come in Inghilterra si festeggiassero i dodici giorni del Natale spicca questa canzoncina dal titolo “Hay for Christmas” in cui, anche se non espressamente citata, è chiaramente richiamata la festa dell’Epifania.

Shropshire Wakes

Il testo è contenuto in un foglio volante stampato a Londra alla fine del 1600. La melodia abbinata è la popolarissima Dargason

ASCOLTA Passamezzo
ASCOLTA The Baltimore Consort


I
Come Robin Ralph, and little Harry,
and merry Thomas at our Green,
Where we shall meet with Briget and Sary,
and the finest young wenches that ere were seen:
Then high for Christmas once a year
And where we have Cakes, both ale and beer (1)
And to our christmas feast there comes,/ Young men and Maid to shake their bums (2).
II
For Gammer Nichols has gotten a Custard
My Neighbour Wood a roasted Pig,
And Widdow Franklin hath beer & mustard,
& at the Thatcht house there is good swig.
III
There’s a fidler for to play e’ry Dance
when the young Lads and Lasses meet:
With which the Men & Maids will prance,
with the fidler before them down the street:
IV
The Morice dancers (3) will be ready
Meat and Drink enough to lade ye (4):
And in a Fools dress will be little Neddy,
to entertain our Christmas Lady (5)
V
And when that they shall all appear,
that are to be at our brave Wakes,
To eat iup the Meat(6), and drink up the Beer,/ And to play at cards for Ale and Cakes (7)
VI
Then Grace and sweetest Winnifret,
and all the Lasses on the place,
When that the young men they have met/ see how the Devils-dream (8) they’l trace:
VII
They side and then tun round about
and briskly trip it to each other:
And when they have danct it out,
they presently call for another
VIII
Ralph leading up with Sue in ‘s hand,
And Briget being by Robins side,
You’d laugh to see how they do stand:
with their heads together and feet so wide
IX
The dance being done the fidler plays Kissum (9)
which Dick and Harry soon did so,
And Randal the Taylor could not missum (10),
but he must kiss his Partner too.
X
Then they sat down to their good cheer,
and pleasant were both Maids and Men, /And having din d and drank their bear (11),
they rose and went to dance again,
XI
Thus they did daunce from noon till night,
and wer as merry as Cup and Can (12),
Till they had tyrd the Fidler quite (13),
and the sweat down their buttocks ran.
XII
Then they went to the little thatcht house,
and plaid at Cards a game or two,
And with the good Liquor did so carouse,/that they made drunk both Tom and Hugh.
XIII
The rest unto Hot-cockles (14) went,
but Neddy gave Nelly a blow too hard,
That all together by the ears they went,
and all their sporting soon was mar’d.
XIV
The Pots flew about the glasses were broke
Doll was taring Mol by th Quife (15),
Richard was pulling John by the throat,
at which the Hostess drew her knife.
XV
They took the Fidler and broke his pate (16)
and threw his fiddle into the fire:
And drunkenly went home so late,
that most of them fell in the mire.
XVI
The men went away and paid ne’r a groat,
but left the Maids to pay (17) for their chear,
Betty was forst to pawn her laste coat,
and ??? to leave her Garget (18) there :
XVII
And so my merry ballad is Ended,
when the Maids come agoin to these wakes
they’l first see the young lads manners mended
and make them pay for ale and Cakes.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto*
I
Venite Robin, Ralph, e il piccolo Harry
e l’allegro Thomas al nostro Ballo
dove ci incontreremo con Briget
e Sary,
e le più belle giovani ragazze che mai si siano viste:
Allora evviva il Natale una volta all’anno
dove abbiamo dolci e anche birra normale e birra luppolata,
e alla nostra festa di Natale là vanno
giovanotti e fanciulle a muovere
il culo
II
Gammer Nichols ha preso una  crema pasticcera
il mio vicino Wood un maiale arrosto
e  Widdow Franklin ha preso birra e mostarda
perchè in Casa Thatcht c’è  un bel divertimento
III
Ci sarà un violinista per suonare ogni danza quando i giovani ragazzi e le ragazze s’incontreranno: gli uomini e le donne  zompetteranno
con il violinista davanti a loro in cima alla fila
IV
I Morris terranno pronti cibo e bevande in abbondanza per rinfrescarsi e nell’abito del Matto ci sarà il piccolo Neddy a intrattenere la nostra Regina del Natale
V
Per ciò tutti si presenteranno
per essere alla nostra brava Veglia;
a mangiare carne e a bere birra
e a giocare alle carte, per le belle cose della vita
VI
Allora Grace e la graziosa Winnifret,
e tutte le ragazze al posto
non appena con i giovanotti si saranno accoppiate,  vedrai come danzeranno “The Devils-dream”
VII
Si metteranno in fila e poi gireranno in cerchio e allegramente si pesteranno i piedi l’un l’altro, e quando l’avranno danzata, ne richiederanno un’altra
VII
Ralph comanda con Sue per mano
e Briget sta al fianco di Robi
n,
rideresti nel vedere come sono messi:
con le teste vicine e i piedi così
distanti
IX
A danza terminata il violinista suona “Kissum”
che Dick e Harry subito fecero
e Randal il sarto non voleva sbagliare
e ugualmente doveva baciare la sua compagna
X
Poi si riposarono e per il loro buon umore  fu piacevole sia per le fanciulle che per i giovanotti
prendere delle  bevande e bere le loro birre, poi si alzarono e andarono a danzare nuovamente
XI
Così ballarono da mattino a sera e furono felici come “piselli nel baccello”
fino a quando finirono per stancare il violinista e il sudore scorreva giù per le  natiche
XII
Poi andarono al piccolo cottage con il tetto di paglia
e giocarono una partita o due a carte
e con il buon liquore fecero così baldoria
che si ubriacarono anche Tom e Hugh.
XIII
Il resto giocò a “mano calda”, ma Neddy diede a Nelly un colpo troppo forte che tutti quanti si presero per le orecchie e tutti i giochi subito naufragarono
XIV
Volarono  caraffe e i bicchieri furono infranti, Doll stava tirando Mol per la Cuffietta, Richard stava prendendo John per la gola a cui la padrona mostrava il coltello
XV
Presero il violinista e gli ruppero la testa e gettarono il violino nel fuoco: così ubriachi andarono a casa così tardi che la maggior parte di loro cadde nel fango
XVI
Gli uomini se se andarono e non pagarono un soldo,  ma lasciarono che le fanciulle pagassero per il divertimento, Betty fu la prima a dare il pegno la sua ultima giacchina  e ??? a lasciarci anche il collarino
XVII
E così la mia divertente ballata è finita
quando le ragazze ritorneranno di nuovo a queste veglie
per prima cosa si metteranno al riparo dalle abitudini dei giovanotti
e li faranno pagare per il divertimento.

NOTE
* questa è solo la prima stesura che ha bisogno di essere revisionata e meglio scritta
1) Nelle Isole Britanniche  si producevanoall’epoca prevalentemente birre non luppolate dette ALE; erano infatti le birre provenienti dal “continente” a contenere luppolo e quindi distinte con una parola diversa BEER!
2) l’espressione significa “dimenarsi”, ballare in modo sfrenato”
3) I Morris dancers sono danzatori in costume che si esibiscono in balli popolari risalenti al medioevo eseguiti con passo saltellato e l’uso di bastoni, fazzoletti ma anche spade e assordanti campanelle
4) to lade= prelevare (acqua o liquidi) con un mestolo sta per to  ladle, servire con un mestolo quindi “Drink enough to lade ye” con una traduzione letterale diventa: “bevanda bastante da mescersi”
5) è la Regina del Pisello, per motivi di rima menzionata come Regina del Disordine, ovviamente in coppia con Re Fagiolo (vedi Torta del fagiolo)
6) Meat in questo contesto sta più genericamente per cibo, l’ho tradotto con pasticci in riferimento alle preparazioni in crosta ripiene di carne
7) Cakes and Ale è un modo di dire per “the good things of life” 
8) “The Devils-dream
(il sogno del diavolo): la melodia è un reel e anche una popolare country dance, istruzioni e video qui; la melodia è conosciuta soprattutto in Scozia  con il titolo di “The Devil Amang the Taylors”  abbinata a una scottish country dance istruzioni e video qui
9) “The Cushion Dance” è descritta come la “danza dei baci” da qui il soprannome kissum” (istruzioni qui)
10 )trovato anche trascritto  ” And Randall the tailor he would not miss”
11) la trascrizione del testo dirattamente dai broadsides diventa a volte problematica sia per le condizioni d’usura dei fogli che per i carattere di stampa utilizzati: così ho interpretato il verso nel contesto
12) termine colloquiale per indicare una coppia ben assortita come ad esempio “pane e burro”, “culo e camicia”
13) “Till they had tired the fiddler quite”

A Game of Hot Cockles, attribuito a D Van Der Plaes fine 1600:  uno dei tipici giochi natalizi con cui si divertivano i giovani

14) Hot-cockles letteralmente “vongole calde” era un popolare gioco fin dal Medioevo, praticato un tempo dagli adulti e oggi forse solo dai bambini (diciamo che gli ultimi a giocarlo sono stati i ragazzi pre-telefonino), detto il gioco del soldato perchè tipico gioco da caserma, oppure gioco della “mano calda”.

15) Quife= coif
16) patehead, skull
17) la consuetudine di un tempo era che il violinista  venisse ingaggiato dai danzatori i quali lo pagavano a fine serata facendo una colletta
18) Garget = gorget

DARGASON

Anche intitolata Sedanny è una danza pubblicata nel “The English Dancing Master” di John Playford (1651)

ASCOLTA la versione di Gustav Holst St. Paul’s Suite 

Affresco Villa Caldogno: Invito alla danza, Giovanni Antonio Fasolo: è chiaramente illustrata una Dargason

FONTI
https://mainlynorfolk.info/john.kirkpatrick/songs/heyforchristmas.html
https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/shropshire_wakes.htm

https://thesession.org/tunes/9468
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/lod/vol2/dargason.html
http://www.englishcountrydancing.org/cowpercoles6.html

THE BROOM OF COWDENKNOWES

Una ballata che leggiamo dai quaderni di Bishop Percy (1768) con il titolo di “The Northerne Lasse”, con la nota di “Motivo scozzese noto come “The broom of Cowden knowes”, riportata anche nella raccolta del professor Francis J. Child, al numero 217 (vedi archivio ballate), in 14 varianti.

In un broadside inglese stampato prima del 1625 e conservato nella Roxburghe Collection presso la British Library così è scritto “The lovely Northerne Lasse Who in this ditty, here complaining, shewes What harme she got milking her dadyes Ewes. To a pleasant Scotch tune, called ‘The Broom of the Cowden knowes.'”
Il ritornello così recita
With, O the broome, the bonny, broome,
the broome of Cowdon Knowes!
Fain would I be in the North Countrey,
to milke my dadyes ewes.
La storia si discosta di poco dalla versione più diffusa e originaria (vedi prima parte): una pastorella che sta mungendo il gregge del padre è sedotta da un pastorello, resta incinta e viene cacciata, un giovane uomo ha pietà di lei e la sposa per avere una moglie “To be a true, obedient wife and observe your husband’s will“. Nel 1715-16 la ballata è stata riscritta in un broadside mantenendo il refrain della vecchia versione con un nuovo testo pro-giacobita, come narrata da un uomo che è stato esiliato per aver sostenuto la ribellione del 1715. (vedi)

LA VERSIONE SETTECENTESCA: The Broom o’ the Cowdenknowes

Nonostante Sir Walter Scott rivendichi di aver collezionato una più genuina versione popolare della ballata, quella che ha riscontrato maggior successo nei secoli è la versione riportata da Allan Ramsay nella raccolta “Tea-Table Miscellany” 1723, che alcuni critici ritengono sia una versione poetica secondo la moda bucolica del tempo, più che una ballata genuinamente popolare. L’incontro richiama peraltro un altrettanto bucolico amoreggiamento riscritto da Robert Burns dal titolo “Ca’ the Yowes” . Curiosamente anche qui si accenna ai boschetti di noccioli sulle rive di un torrentello..

huntwh10
The Hireling Shepherd (1851) William Holman Hunt

Il punto di vista è quello femminile  e l’incontro amoroso  tra i cespugli di ginestra, è  con il suo innamorato, anche lui pastorello, nelle versioni più antiche invece è uno straniero ad abusare della ragazza (un border reiver  vedi; le otto strofe originarie (nella versione dei Baltimore Consort ridotte a quattro) si soffermano più sui piaceri dell’amoreggiamento che sulle sofferenze delle sue conseguenze: solo in una strofa la ragazza accenna al fatto di essere stata bandita dalla sua famiglia e ne deduciamo che lo sia stata a causa della gravidanza fuori dal matrimonio. La melodia è quella riportata da John Playford nel suo “English dancing master” del 1651 (con il titolo di “The Bonny Bonny Broome“) insieme alla descrizione della danza relativa

ASCOLTA le melodia (per la danza qui) questa è la melodia diventata standard anche se arrangiata diversamente da quella riportata in John Playford (vedi)

ASCOLTA Baltimore Consort A trip to Killburn: Playford tunes and their Ballads” 1996 da ascoltare in versione integrale su Spotify


CHORUS

O, the broom(1), the bonny, bonny broom,
The broom o’ the Cowdenknowes(2)
I wish I were with my dear swain,
With his pipe and my ewes(3).
I
How blyth every morn was I to see
The swain come o’er the hill!
He skipt the burn(4) and flew to me:
I met him with good will.
II
I neither wanted ewe nor lamb,
While his flock near me lay:
He gather’d in my sheep at night,
And chear’d me a’ the day.
III
While thus we spent our time by turns,
Betwixt our flocks and play (5);
I envy’d not the fairest dame,
Tho’ ne’er so rich and gay.
IV
Adieu, ye Cowdenknows, adieu,
Farewel a’ pleasures there;
Ye gods, restore me to my swain,
Is a’ I crave or care.
TRADUZIONE DI CATTIA SALTO
CORO
O la ginestra (1), la bella ginestra
la ginestra di Cowdenknowes (2)
vorrei essere con il mio caro pastorello,
con il suo flauto e le mie pecore (3)
I
Come spensierata ogni dì andavo incontro al corteggiatore che, in arrivo dalla collina, saltava il ruscello(4) per correre da me, e l’incontravo volentieri
II
Io non volevo pecore o agnelli, mentre le sue greggi mi riposavano accanto: lui le radunava con le mie a sera e mi allietava tutto il giorno
III
Così passavamo il tempo a turni,
tra le nostre greggi e il diletto (5),
non invidiavo la più bella delle dame
perchè mai così ricca e allegra.
IV
Addio a te Cowdenknowes, addio,
addio a tutti quei piaceri;
perdio ritornare accanto al mio corteggiatore, è tutto ciò che bramo o di cui ho bisogno

NOTE
fiore-ginestra_m1) la ginestra  con la sua rigogliosa fioritura dorata ha spesso una precisa allusione sessuale nelle ballate. Forse per la forma del fiore che richiama la vulva femminile. Con la ginestra si facevano le scope nel Medioevo così con il termine inglese “broom” si indica entrambi: sulle scope volavano le streghe e la ginestra allude a una sessualità diabolica o quantomeno selvaggia, libera da regole. In genere nelle ballate quanto l’argomento è di natura sessuale vengono utilizzati nomi di erbe e fiori nel ritornello, proprio per avvertire l’ascoltatore. La brughiera è come il “greenwood” è un luogo “fuori legge” fuori dalla società civile dove accadono incontri fatati e illeciti, ma vissuti con una primitiva o primordiale innocenza.
2) Cowdenknowes (inglesizzato in Coldingknowes) è una tenuta scozzese sulle rive del fiume Leader nel Berwickshire vicino al villaggio di Earlston dove si aggirava nel 1200 “Thomas the Rhymer“. Il posto conserva ancora una traccia delle sue frequentazioni fatate nello stesso titolo della località “Cowden ” sta per colltuinn , che è una parola in gaelico scozzese per ” Hazel ” la pianta delle nocciole mentre la parola Knowes significa “Hill” quindi il nome si legge come le colline dei noccioli.
In Scozia le pecore venivano portate ai pascoli estivi il primo di maggio mentre gli uomini trasportavano gli strumenti necessari per riparare le capanne dai danni dell’inverno, le donne portavano cibo e utensili per la cucina. Iniziava la stagione della gioia delle danze e dei corteggiamenti.

The Leader valley at Cowdenknowes House, Berwickshire, 1843 [Scotland] di Edward Gennys Fanshawe
3) yowes=ewes pecore
4) burn, burnie=small stream, torrente
5) il termine play può avere diversi significati in questo contesto: più genericamente vuol dire divertimento, l’atto del divertirsi con allusione ai giochi sessuali.

THE BROOM OF COWDENKNOWES: LA VERSIONE PIU’ ATTUALE

E’ una versione abbastanza simile a quella pubblicata da Allan Ramsay, ma rivisitata in chiave moderna: prima di tutto si sposta il punto di vista da quello femminile a quello maschile e la storia è intesa decisamente come una storia d’amore. E’ stata la versione testuale e melodica di Archie Fisher, a diventare lo “standard” di quelle successive. In questa chiave non sappiamo perchè il ragazzo sia stato bandito, quasi come se la storia si fosse sovrapposta alla versione pro-giacobita circolata in broadside nel 1716

ASCOLTA Archie Fisher in Will Ye Gang, Love 1976

Silly Wizard in Wild and Beautiful 1981 (strofe I, III e IV)

ASCOLTA Kenny Speirs 2000

ASCOLTA Cherish the Ladies in The Girls Won’t Leave The Boys Alone (2001) dove il soggetto ridiventa la ragazza

CHORUS:
Oh the broom(1), the bonnie, bonnie broom
The broom o’ the Cowdenknowes(2)
Fain would I be in my own country
Herding my father’s ewes(3)
I
How blithe each morn was I tae see
My lass came o’er the hill
She skipped the burn(4) and ran tae me
I met her wi’ good will
II
We neither herded ewes nor lambs
While the flock near us lay
She gathered in the sheep at night
And cheered me all the day
III
Hard fate that I should banished (6) be
Gang way o’er hill and moor
Because I love the fairest lass
That e’er yet was born
IV
Adieu ye Cowdenknowes, farewell
Farewell all pleasures there
To wander by her side again
Is all I crave or care
TRADUZIONE  DI CATTIA SALTO
CORO
O la ginestra (1), la bella ginestra
la ginestra di Cowdenknowes (2)
come vorrei essere nel mio paese,
a condurre le pecore di mio padre (3)
I
Come spensierato ogni mattina andavo a vedere la mia ragazza in arrivo  dalla collina, saltava il ruscello (4)  e correva da me, e volentieri la incontravo.
II
Non conducevamo nè pecore nè agnelli, mentre le greggi riposavano accanto a noi, lei radunava le pecore a sera e mi allietava tutto il giorno
III
Amaro destino che fossi bandito (6)
mandato via  dalla collina e dalla brughiera, perchè amavo la più bella ragazza che mai sia nata
IV
Addio a te Cowdenknowes, addio
addio a tutti i piaceri laggiù,
camminare accanto a lei ancora una volta, è tutto ciò che bramo o di cui ho bisogno

NOTE
6) nella versione pro-giacobita la ballata è intitolata “New way of the Broom of Cowden Knows” che diventa “O my King” in “Jacobite Relics” Vol II (# 6)

FONTI
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/broomfield.htm#ginestra
http://www.ramshornstudio.com/broom.htm
http://www.houseofharden.com/cowdenknowes/broom.htm
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/broomcow.htm
https://sapientia.ualg.pt/bitstream/10400.1/1462/1/7_8_Rieuwerts.pdf
http://www.cowdenknowes.com/
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=48416
http://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/
thebroomofcowdenknowes.html

http://www.lizlyle.lofgrens.org/RmOlSngs/RTOS-BroomCowden.html
http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=ChildRef_217
http://www.rhapsody.com/search/track?page=2&query=cowden

Sailor’s farewell: dalla parte della bella Nancy/Polly

000brgcfRead the post in English  

Il tema della separazione tra i due innamorati è molto diffuso nelle ballate popolari e quella tra marinaio e giovane fidanzatina risale sicuramente al 1700: alcune ballate si soffermano sulla figura di Nancy in lacrime che muore di crepacuore perchè crede che il marinaio l’abbia abbandonata.

FARE YE WELL, LOVELY NANCY

Un’ulteriore versione dell’addio del marinaio (sailor’s farewell)  viene dall'”Oxford Book of Sea Song” 1986 “questa versione fu scritta dal Dr George Gardiner (testo) e (probabilmente) Charles Gamblin (melodia)  da George Lovett (nato nel 1841) a Winchester, Hampshire. Nel gennaio 1909, Ralph Vaughan Williams annotò nuovamente la melodia perché aveva qualche dubbio sulla precedente annotazione; sembra che abbia visitato il signor Lovett e registrato il suo canto per un successivo controllo”. (Malcom Douglas tradotto da qui)

Il marinaio saluta la fidanzatina in lacrime circa 1790

LE LACRIME SUL LITORALE

Oltre al momento della separazione questa seconda versione presenta ulteriori sviluppi: in uno si descrive Polly/Nancy rimasta sulla spiaggia che si lamenta e piange per essere stata abbandonata dal suo marinaio (che evidentemente se n’è andato per mare senza sposarla).

Ci sono molti varianti del testo, vediamo quella che ci riporta al Settecento anche come arrangiamento musicale.
Baltimore Consort


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.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I LUI
“Addio bella Nancy
perchè ti devo lasciare
sono in partenza per le Indie orientali
per seguire la mia rotta.
So bene che la mia lunga assenza
ti addolorerà,
ma amore, io ritornerò
nella primavera dell’anno”
II LEI
“Oh non parlare di lasciarmi
caro il mio Johnny,
oh non parlare di lasciarmi
qui tutta sola;
perchè è la tua cara compagnia
che io desidero,
piangerò fino a morire
se non ti vedrò mai più!
III
Come un marinaio mi vestirò
e verrò con te,
in mezzo ai grandi pericoli
ti sarò compagna;
e così mio caro, quando soffierà
il  freddo vento di tempesta,
amore, sarò pronta a ridurre le vele di gabbia”
IV LUI
“Ma le tue piccole manine non possono maneggiare le nostre grosse cime
e nemmeno i tuoi piedini delicati
posso salire sull’albero maestro;
il tuo corpo delicato
non può sopportare le raffiche di vento, resta a casa, Nancy cara
non andare per mare”.
V
Ora Johnny è per mare
e Nancy si lamenta,
le lacrime dai suoi occhi cadono
come torrenti in piena,
i capelli biondi
in continuazione si strappa
dicendo “Piangerò fino a morire
se non ti vedrò mai più”
VI
Allora tutte voi giovani fanciulle
ascoltate il mio avvertimento
non fidatevi di un marinaio
e non credete a quello che dicono,
prima vi corteggiano
e poi vi faranno piangere;
vi lasceranno a casa
care, a tormentarvi

NOTE
1) il verso riprende la sea ballad  Lovely on the Water  
in cui l’addio del marinaio è inquadrato in una strofa d’apertura che descrive l’arrivo della primavera

LA LETTERA

In un’altra versione l’aggiunta di ulteriori strofe descrivono Johnny in procinto di mandare una lettera alla fidanzata per giurarle amore eterno e rinnovarle la promessa di matrimonio (ma tutti sanno che fine fanno le promesse da marinaio)..

Solas in Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers, 1997


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
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I LUI
“Addio bella Nancy
che ora ti devo lasciare,
per le Indie Occidentali
sto per salpare,
che la mia lunga assenza
non ti crei affanno,
perche amore mio
io ritornerò entro l’anno”
II LEI
“Non dire che mi lasci qui,
Jimmy amore mio,
non dire che mi lasci
qui sulla spiaggia,
lo sai bene che
la tua lunga assenza mi addolorerà, perchè tu navighi nel vasto oceano
dove ruggiscono gli immensi flutti.
III
Mi taglierò i boccoli
biondi e ricci,
mi metterò i panni
di un mozzo,
e quando saremo fuori
nell’oscuro, beccheggiante oceano, starò sempre accanto a te,
mio orgoglio e gioia”
IV LUI
“Le tue mani bianche come giglio
non riuscirebbero a maneggiare le cime
e nemmeno i tuoi piedini delicati
riuscirebbero a salire sull’albero maestro e le fredde tempeste invernali
non saresti in grado di sopportare.
Resta a casa amata Nancy,
dove non soffia forte il vento.”
V
Appena Jimmy fu a bordo
la bella Nancy si lamentò,
le lacrime dagli occhi
scorrevano come torrenti
mentre stava sulla spiaggia
si torceva le mani
gridando “Ahimè
ti vedrò ancora?”
VI
Mentre Jimmy stava camminando
per il molo di Filadelfia
i pensieri del suo vero amore
lo riempivano d’orgoglio
diceva: “Nancy, amata Nancy
se ti avessi qui, amore,
quanto sarei felice
di farti la mia sposa!”
VII
Così Jimmy scrisse una lettera
alla sua amata Nancy
dicendo “Se mi sei restata fedele
allora ti mostrerò fedeltà”
Ma Nancy stava morendo, perchè il suo povero cuore si era spezzato il giorno in cui lui l’aveva lasciata e per sempre lui se ne sarebbe pentito.
VIII
Venite tutte voi giovani fanciulle, accettate il mio consiglio
e non fidatevi di un marinaio
o di altri della sua specie,
perchè prima vi corteggeranno
e poi vi inganneranno
perchè il loro amore è tempestoso come il vento incostante.

LA MORTE DI CREPACUORE

In questa versione sono tagliate le strofe centrali in cui Nancy vuole travestirsi da marinaio per seguire il suo bel marinaio, ma c’è il finale melodrammatico della lettera che giunge troppo tardi al capezzale della morta.

Jarlath Henderson in Hearts Broken, Heads Turned, 2016  
Campionatori,  pianoforte e una voce espressiva per questo giovane  musicista  che ha vinto il BBC Young Folk Award nel 2003.


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
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I LUI
“Addio bella Nancy
ora ti devo lasciare,
per attraversare l’oceano
dove soffiano i venti di tempesta,
che la mia lunga assenza
non ti crei affanno,
perchè io ritornerò
entro l’anno”
II LEI
“Non dire che mi lasci qui,
caro Billy
non dire che mi lasci
qui tutta sola,
lo sai bene che il tuo lungo viaggio
alla lunga mi addolorerà,
resta a casa caro Billy
non andare per mare”
V-VI
Appena Billy fu a bordo
la bella Nancy si lamentò,
le lacrime dagli occhi
zampillavano come fontane.
Mentre Billy stava camminando
per il molo di Filadelfia
i pensieri del suo vero amore
gli scorrevano innanzi agli occhi
VII
Così Billy scrisse una lettera
alla sua amata Nancy
“Se mi sei restata fedele
allora ti mostrerò che sono sincero”
La cara Nancy sul letto di morte
non si riprendeva
quando le fu portata la lettera
era già morta
VIII
Venite tutte voi giovani fanciulle,
accettate il mio consiglio
e non fidatevi di un marinaio o di altri della sua specie,
perchè prima vi corteggeranno
e poi vi inganneranno
perchè il loro amore è scostante
come il vento dell’ovest.
000brgcf
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
versione sea shanty: HOLY GROUND

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

JOHNNY LAD BY ROBERT BURNS

Johnny Lad” è una canzone tradizionale scozzese, già nursery rhyme e bothy ballad (vedi prima parte)

LE VERSIONI IN ROBERT BURNS

Una canzone così popolare non poteva non essere rielaborata anche da Robert Burns ; si conoscono infatti ben due sue versioni, una di sole due strofe con il titolo  di  “Cock Up Your Beaver” e l’altra  dal titolo  di “Hey how Johnie Lad“.

LA MELODIA: JOHNNY COCK THY BEAVER

Già un’ampia serie di variazioni sull’antica melodia scozzese erano state riportate da John Playford nel suo”The Division Violin”  e”The Division Flute” (1684-1685) e lo stesso Tourlough O’Carolan fece un suo arrangiamento per arpa in stile barocco .

Johnny cock thy beaver è una melodia da danza riportata sempre da Playford nel suo “The English Dancing Master (1686); ancora oggi è una melodia in repertorio tra i gruppi di musica antica. (altri titoli: “Horse and Away to Newmarket Races”, “Fenwick of Bywell”, “Gary Owen”, “Galloping over the Cow Hill”)

ASCOLTA Baltimore Consort (in versione integrale su Spotify)
ASCOLTA Javier Sáinz
ASCOLTA la melodia per flauto e liuto

UN BEAVER ALLA MODA

Beaver è un termine generico che indica il cappello di feltro realizzato con la pelliccia del castoro, ma il modello cambia a seconda delle mode.
Nel XVI secolo trionfa il cappello di feltro ad ampie e morbide falde (come quello dei Tre Moschettieri per intenderci) con abbondanza di piume, fibbie e nastri .
Lo vediamo in testa a Giacomo Stuart (incoronato re d’Inghilterra  nel 1603 e già re di Scozia con il nome di Giacomo VI) guarnito da un vistoso piumaggio e riccamente ingioiellato.
Fu invece Luigi XIV a lanciare la moda del tricorno (in inglese “tricorne” o “three cornered hat”) sul finire del Seicento, che sarà di moda per tutto il Settecento,  quello che nel nostro immaginario è il cappello del pirata per antonomasia! Era detto anche “Cocked” hat, perchè i lati erano piegati (cocked up) per dargli la forma.
Nell’Ottocento invece la moda cambia radicalmente e beaver diventa sinonimo di cappello a cilindro!

COCK UP YOUR BEAVER BY ROBERT BURNS

La canzoncina di sole due strofe riprende nella prima strofa il testo già riportato in forma di frammento da Herd (in Scots Songs, 1769) mentre la seconda strofa è stata scritta interamente da Burns: il testo sembra mettere in ridicolo i gentiluomini scozzesi  che seguirono a Londra il loro re  Giacomo VI, diventato nel 1603  Giacomo I d’Inghilterra -alla morte della regina Elisabetta I (l’ultima dei Tudor).

Pure James Hogg riportò la sua versione (in Jacobite Songs and Ballads of Scotland from 1688 to 1746) e ne riscrisse buona parte anche se la annotò come una “clever old song

ASCOLTA Wendy Weatherby


I
When first my brave Johnie lad
came to this town(1),
He had a blue bonnet(2)
that wanted the crown;
But now he has gotten
a hat and a feather,
Hey, brave Johnie lad,
cock up your beaver(3)!
II
Cock up your beaver,
and cock it fu’ sprush(4),
We’ll over the Border (%),
and gie them a brush;
There’s somebody there
we’ll teach better behaviour,
Hey, brave Johnie lad,
cock up your beaver!
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Quando per la prima volta  il mio audace Johnny arrivò in questa città (1)
aveva un berretto blu (2)
e voleva la corona;
ora indossa
un cappello con la piuma
Ehi bel Johnny
raddrizza  il tuo cappello (3)
II
Raddrizza  il tuo cappello,
e ornalo con un rametto (4)
passeremo il Border (5)
e daremo una ripassata (agli Inglesi);
c’è qualcuno là
a cui insegneremo le buone maniere
Ehi bel Johnny
raddrizza il tuo cappello!

NOTE
1) Londra. Si tratta evidentemente della delegazioni di nobili, dignitari e soldati al seguito del nuovo re che da Edimburgo si trasferisce a Londra
Il frammento di David Herd  riporta:
“Cock up your Beaver”
When first my dear Johny came to this town,
he had a blue bonnet, it wanted the crown;
but now he has gotten a hat and a feather,
Hey, my Johny lad, cock up your beaver.
Cock up your beaver, cock up your beaver,
Hey, my Johny lad, cock up your beaver;
cock up your beaver, and cock it nae wrong,
we’ll a’ to England ere it be lang.
[traduzione italiano: raddrizza il tuo cappello e mettilo bene, saremo in Inghilterra in men che non si dica]
2) il blue bonnet è il rustico berretto delle Highlands privo di fronzoli, si tratta più precisamente del Balmoral Bonnet o Scottish Balmoral (così chiamato però solo a fine Ottocento in omaggio al Balmoral Castle la residenza in Scozia della Regina Vittoria) La foggia del blu bonnet risale al 1500 e l’usanza di portarlo ha dato il soprannome di ‘Bluebonnets’ agli Highlanders. Il bordo inferiore è un nastro rigido  a quadretti oppure in tinta unita e le estremità sono lasciate pendere liberamente oppure sono annodate in un fiocco stretto (un linguaggio in codice per le ragazze: nel primo caso il giovanotto era libero e disponibile, nel secondo caso era fidanzato) . Si abbellisce con una piuma e la coccarda (sul lato sinistro) La variante irlandese prende il nome di Irish Caubeen
3) beaver è un cappello di feltro la cui foggia varia al mutare delle Mode. Cock up your beaver potrebbe anche voler essere un esortazione a indossare il cappello nel modo corretto e sottolineare la mancanza di gusto dei nuovi arrivati.
4) “Sprush” =”spruce” ogni clan ha un rametto distintivo. Nel 1700  lo Scottish Bonnet è abbellito da coccarda bianca, l’emblema del clan e una piuma
5) dicesi Border il territorio di confine tra la Scozia e l’Inghilterra

Le ulteriori strofe in Hogg proseguono:
III
Cock it up right, and fauld it nae down,
And cock the white rose on the band o’ the crown;
Cock it o’ the right side, no on the wrang,
And yese be at Carlisle  or it be lang.
IV
There’s somebody there that likes slinking and slav’ry,
Somebody there that likes knapping and knav’ry;
But somebody’s coming will make them to waver.
Hey, brave Johnnie lad, cock up your beaver!
V
Sawney was bred wi’ a broker o’ wigs,
But now he’s gaun southward to lather the Whigs,
And he’s to set up as their shopman and shaver.
Hey, brave Johnnie lad, cock up your beaver!
VI
Jockie was bred for a tanner, ye ken,
But now he’s gaun southward to curry goodmen,
With Andrew Ferrara  for barker and cleaver.
Hey, brave Johnnie lad, cock up your beaver!
VII
Donald was bred for a lifter o’ kye,
A stealer o’ deer, and a drover forbye,
But now he’s gaun over the border a blink,
And he’s to get red gowd to bundle and clink.
VIII
There’s Donald the drover, and Duncan the caird,
And Sawney the shaver, and Logic the laird;
These are the lads that will flinch frae you never.
Hey, brave Johnnie lad , cock up your beaver!

per la traduzione in francese qui

HEY HOW JOHNNIE LAD

La seconda versione invece si inserisce nel filone delle Bothy ballads già viste nella prima parte (qui) sui “problemi ” di coppia! Johnnie Lad è così  il tipico ragazzo delle Highlands

ASCOLTA Andy M. Stewart

ASCOLTA Rebecca Pidgeon

VERSIONE ROBERT BURNS
Chorus:
Hey how my Johnny lad
Ye’re no’ sae kind’s ye should have been;
Gin yer voice I hadna kent,
I couldna either trow ma een(2).
Sae weel’s ye micht hae tousled me(3)
And sweetly prie’d my mou bedeen (4): Hey how my Johnny lad..
I
My faither he was at the pleugh,
My mither she was at the mill,
My Billie he was at the moss,
an’ no ane near our sport tae spill.
The feint a body(5) was therein,
There was nae fear o’ bein’ seen:
Hey how my Johnny lad..
II
Wad ony lad wha lo’ed her weel
Hae left his bonny lass her lane
Tae sigh an’ greet(6) ilk(7) langsome hour
And think her sweetest minutes gane?
O had ye been a wooer leal.
We would hae met wi’ hearts mair keen: Hey how my Johnny lad…
III
But I maun(8) get anither jo,
Wha’s love gangs never oot o’ sight
And never lets the moments pass
When to a lass he can be kind.
So gang yer wa’s tae blinkin’ Bess,
Nae mair for Johnny shall she green(9): Hey how my Johnny lad...
traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
CORO
Hei Johnny, ragazzo mio
non sei stato così bravo(1) come avresti dovuto;
se non avessi riconosciuto la tua voce
non avrei creduto ai miei occhi!
Così bene avresti potuto spettinarmi
e dolcemente baciare la mia bocca, un tempo: Hei Johnny, ragazzo mio..
I
Mio padre era all’aratro
mia madre al mulino
il mio Billy era nella palude
non c’era nessuno nelle vicinanze a spiarci, non c’era un’anima nei paraggi
e proprio nessun pericolo d’essere visti: Hei Johnny, ragazzo mio
II
Potrebbe  un ragazzo che ami veramente
trascurare la sua bella ragazza  e da sola
lasciarla sospirare e lamentare per ore
al pensiero che i suoi momenti più felici siano finiti?
O se tu fossi stato un amante fedele!
Ci saremmo incontrati con cuori più appassionati: Hei Johnny, ragazzo mio
III
Ma io posso trovarne un altro
meno dimentico dell’amore,
che quando è il momento giusto
corre a dare piacere a una ragazza.
Così vai dunque da Bess che ti ammira,
non più  per Johnny sospirerà

NOTE
1) la ragazza si lamenta perchè il bel Johnny manca ai suoi doveri ossia non è tanto solerte nel fare l’amore
2) trow my een = “believe my eyes”
3) sae weel ye micht hae tousled me= so well you might have tousled me
4) prie’d my mou bedeen = to taste my mouth at once
5) feint a body = not a soul
6) greet: arcaico per to weep
7) ilk, ilka vecchio   termine scozzese per each-every
8) maun – must, will
9) green=long for

FONTI
http://www.scottish-wedding-dreams.com/scottish-bonnets.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=24649
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=7570
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=29962
http://sangstories.webs.com/johnnielad.htm http://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/pageturner.cfm?id=87798832
http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?96753-Johnny-Cock-Thy-Beaver-(Baroque-variations-1684)
http://bookkake.com/2009/12/07/cock-up-yer-beaver/
http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/CO_COLL.htm
http://www.janeausten.co.uk/beaver-hats-build-a-nation/
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/johnlad.htm

Yonder comes a courteous knight (The Baffled knight)

John Byam Liston Shaw: “The Baffled Knight”

Read the post in English

Un giovane cavaliere a spasso per la campagna incontra una  fanciulla (a volte la sorprende mentre è intenta a farsi il bagno in un fiume) e le chiede di fare sesso. Per la verità gli approcci in luoghi appartati tra nobiluomini e procaci contadinelle (o pastorelle) anche se paludati con versi bucolici, si concludevano molto più prosaicamente con lo stupro (se al gentiluomo “pungeva vaghezza” cioè se gli veniva voglia!).

Ma in questa ballata la fanciulla è una lady, e il dialogo tra i due protagonisti diventa piuttosto una galante schermaglia d’amore, un gioco d’amore per renderlo più stuzzicante; il cavaliere tuttavia non ne conosce ancora le regole a causa della sua giovane età ed è perciò preso in giro dalla dama, cortigiana molto più esperta e cinica, abile manovratrice dei suoi amanti!

VERSIONE A: YONDER COMES A COURTEOUS KNIGHT

Child ballad #112
Il cavaliere galante è etichettato come “Baffled knight” termine usuale nel dialetto scozzese del 1540-1550: bauchle“, qui nel significato di “sconcertato”, “perplesso” ma anche “raggirato”. In origine la ballata è trascritta nel Deuteromelia (1609) di Thomas Ravenscroft con una melodia che egli attribuisce al regno di Enrico VIII.

CARPE DIEM

La canzone è un’esortazione a trarre il piacere quando se ne ha l’opportunità: la dama (da esperta cortigiana) mette alla prova il giovane cavaliere prospettando gli agi del comodo letto che li aspetta nella casa paterna; così entra per prima in casa e chiude fuori l’ingenuo (e inesperto) cavaliere. La dama non nasconde il disprezzo verso il cavaliere che non ha osato prenderla tra le verdi frasche!!
Custer LaRue & Baltimore Consort in “Ladyes Delight: Entertainment Music of Elizabethan England”, 1998 ♪.
Come sempre i Baltimore Consort ci regalano un piccolo gioiello musicale: la melodia è eseguita in modo cadenzato e richiama vagamente la Dargason jig, come riportata anche nella prima edizione del “The Dancing Master” di John Playford (1651).

Lucie Skeaping & City Waits in” Lusty Broadside Ballads & Palyford Dances” 2011.
Le parti dialogate sono a due voci: interpretazione frizzante e scherzosa che mi immagino mimata salacemente nei salotti più alla moda del tempo. Sono omesse un paio di strofe rispetto alla versione originale. (saltano le strofe II, IV e VII)

Joel Frederiksen & Ensemble Phoenix Munich in “The Elfin Knight: Balads and Dances”


I
Yonder comes a courteous knight,
Lustely raking ouer the lay(1);
He was well ware of a bonny lasse,
As she came wandring ouer the way.
CHORUS
Then she sang downe a downe,
hey downe derry (bis)(2)
II
‘Ioue(3) you speed, fayre lady,’ he said,
‘Among the leaues that be so greene;
If I were a king, and wore a crowne,
Full soone, fair lady,
shouldst thou be a queen.
III
‘Also Ioue saue you, faire lady(4),
Among the roses that be so red;
If I haue not my will of you,
Full soone, faire lady,
shall I be dead.’
IV
Then he lookt east,
then hee lookt west,
Hee lookt north, so did he south;
He could not finde a priuy place,
For all lay in the diuel’s mouth.
V
‘If you will carry me, gentle sir,
A mayde(5) vnto my father’s hall,
Then you shall haue your will of me,
Vnder purple and vnder paule(6).’
VI
He set her vp vpon a steed,
And him selfe vpon another,
And all the day he rode her by,
As though they had been sister and brother.
VII
When she came to her father’s hall,
It was well walled round about;
She yode(7) in at the wicket-gate,
And shut the foure-eard(8) foole without.
VIII
‘You had me,’ quoth she, ‘abroad in the field,
Among the corne, amidst the hay,
Where you might had your will of mee,
For, in good faith, sir, I neuer said nay.
IX
‘Ye had me also amid the field(9)
Among the rushes that were so browne,
Where you might had your will of me,
But you had not the face to lay me downe.'(10)
X
He pulled out
his nut-browne(11) sword,
And wipt the rust off with his sleeue,
And said, “Ioue’s curse
come to his heart
That any woman would beleeue(12)!
XI
When you haue you owne true-loue(13)
A mile or twaine out of the towne,
Spare not for her gay clothing,
But lay her body flat on the ground.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Da lungi giunse un cavaliere cortese,
che razzolava lussurioso per i campi;
si accorse di una bella fanciulla,
mentre arrivava a passeggio per la via.
CORO
downe a downe,
hey downe derry
II
“Per Giove bella dama che andate spedita tra le foglie rigogliose,
se fossi re con indosso la corona, tosto bella dama,
voi sareste la mia regina.
III
Che Giove vi preservi bella dama,
tra le rose sì rosse,
se  non vi farò mia,
tosto bella dama
io morirò.”
IV
Così guardò a Est
e poi guardò a Ovest,
guardò a Nord e anche a Sud,
ma non riusciva a trovare un posto appartato che fosse nelle fauci del diavolo.
V
“Se condurrete me, gentile signore
una fanciulla, fino alla dimora paterna, allora potrete fare di me ciò che vorrete
tra gli agi e il lusso”.
VI
Egli la accomodò sul destriero
e lui ne montò un altro per sè
e per tutto il giorno le cavalcò accanto, proprio come se fossero sorella e fratello.
VII
Quando giunsero alla dimora paterna
si era ormai a buon punto,
ma ella entrò nel portone
e chiuse fuori lo sciocco asino.
VIII
“Potevate avermi – disse lei – fuori nei campi, tra il grano e l’avena, dove avreste potuto fare di me secondo la vostra volontà, perchè in verità Signore, non vi avrei detto di no.
IX
Potevate avermi anche in mezzo alla brughiera tra i giunchi maturi,
dove avreste avreste potuto fare di me secondo la vostra volontà,
ma non avete avuto il coraggio di stendermi a terra”
X
Egli sguainò
la spada arrugginita ,
la pulì sulla manica,
e disse”La maledizione di Giove
scenda su questo mio cuore
che crede ad ogni donna”.
XI
Quando hai la tua femmina innamorata
a un miglio o due fuori dalla città,
non risparmiare le sue gaie vesti,
ma appiattisci il suo corpo a terra!

NOTE
1) ‘lay’ = lea, meadow-land: il giovanotto è infoiato, gli basta vedere una dama sola per la campagna!
2) intercalare onomatopeico e apparentemente non-sense proprio di alcune ballate; anche nella ballata The Three Ravens sempre riportata da Ravenscoft questa volta nel suo Melismata. Vernon Chatman propende come traduzione per una frase in senso compiuto: We find in the Oxford Universal Dictionary (1955) that ‘down’ can be used as an adverb either attributively or by ellipsis of some participial word in the sense of “dejected.”” Also, we find that ‘a’ can be used as a preposition as in ‘a live’ or as an adjective in the sense of “all.” Further, we find that ‘hay’ can be used as an interjection in the sense of “thou hast (it)” and that it occurs in the phrase ‘to make hay’ this phrase meaning “to make confusion.” Thus, the sense of line two is something like the following: 1) Dejected all dejected, thou hast dejection [thou art dejected?], thou hast dejection; or 2) Dejected all dejected, confused and dejected, confused and dejected. Relative to line four we find in the Oxford Universal Dictionary that ‘with’ can be used to form adverb phrases denoting “to the fullest extent.” Thus, the sense of the fourth line is something like the following: Utterly (completely) dejected. Line seven presents the gravest difficulty; however, it can be surmounted. The problem here centers upon ‘derrie.’ Checking this time with Encyclopaedia Britannica (1956) we find that Londonderry was once named ‘Derry.’ Derry is an appropriate locale for the scene depicted in “The Three Ravens:” the Scandinavians plundered the city, and it is said to have been burned down at least seven times before 1200; it thus is a site of many battles. Line seven now “means” something like the following: Utterly dejected in Derry, in Derry, dejected, dejected.
3) Ioue = Jove; Jove you speed è una specie d’invocazione del tipo “Giove ti assista”, ma anche un modo di salutare. Giove è anche il dio famoso per le sue avventure amorose e la lussuria: insomma non se ne faceva scappare una.
4) Lucie Skeaping dice ‘Ioue you speed, fayre lady,’ he said,
5) maid
6) purple and paule = pompa magna, ossia tra gli agi e il lusso
7) ‘yode’ = went.
8) ‘foure-ear’d’ = così commenta il professor Child: ‘as denoting a double ass?’
9) Lucie Skeaping dice ‘You had me, abroad in the field,
10) una volta al sicuro la dama sbeffeggia il cavaliere inesperto!
11)  l’immagine è burlesca: il giovanotto con una spada arrugginita perchè non ha mai avuto modo di usarla (spadaccino inesperto o maldestro come nei duelli amorosi) la alza al cielo puntandola su Giove pluvio per attirarne i fulmini!!( uno spasso)
12) believe
13) nelle ballate non si andava tanto per il sottile, ogni femmina era una true-love ovvero il vero-amore

ARCHIVIO
TITOLI: The Baffled Lover (knight),  Yonder comes a courteous knight, The Lady’s Policy, The Disappointed Lover, The (Bonny) Shepherd Lad (laddie), Blow Ye Winds High-O, Clear Away the Morning Dew
Child #112 A (Tudor Ballad): yonder comes a courteous knight
Child #112 B
Child #112 D ( Cecil Sharp)
Child #112 D (Sheperd Lad)
Blow Away The Morning Dew (sea shanty)

FONTI
http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=Child_d11201

THE WREN SONGS: HUNTING THE WREN

wrenSopravvissuta in Irlanda fino ai nostri giorni la caccia dello scricciolo è un rituale pan-celtico che si svolge il 26 dicembre: l’uccisione dello scricciolo e la distribuzione delle sue piume avrebbe portato salute e fortuna agli abitanti del villaggio.
(prima parte continua)

Passando a una sommaria classificazione del materiale registrato, seguitemi quindi in questo viaggio per la campagna britannica e irlandese!

irish_flagIRLANDA

La tradizione è ancora diffusa nelle contee di Sligo, Leitrim, Clare, Kerry (in particolare Dingle), Tipperary, Kildare..

PRIMA MELODIA IRLANDESE: THE WREN SONG

Forse la melodia più diffusa ha l’andamento cantilenante di un girotondo e si conclude con una sarabanda, tutte le versioni testuali iniziano sempre con The wren, the wren, the king of all birds. Una delle tanti versioni è riporta anche in ‘Music of Ireland’ (Londra 1844) e come nota al testo F.W. Horncastle scrive: “On the anniversary od St Stephen’s Day groups of young villagers carry about a holly bush adorned with ribbons and with several wrens depending from it. This is conveyed from house to house with much ceremony, the wren-boys chanting several verses, the burthen of which may be collected from the lines of the song. Contributions are, of course, levied and the evening spent in merriment.”
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds(1),
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in a furze,
although he is little, his family’s great,
I pray you, good landlady, give us a treat(2).
Sing hey, sing ho! Sing holly, sing holly(6)!
A drop just to drink, it would cure melancholy

ASCOLTA The Clancy Brothers in Christams Album 1969 (strofe da I a VI) (con un bridge da The Boys from the Country Cork) La versione testuale risale al 1876 (in The Golden Bough, James Frazier)

ASCOLTA Baltimore Consort in Brigh Day Star: Music for the Yuletide Seasons 2009 (strofa I, IV, III, IIa, Va) anche se riprendono la melodia non cantano il ritornello

ASCOLTA Richie Kavanagh in The Mobile Phone 2009 con tanto di coretto di bambini e suono di campane


I
The wren, the wren,
the king of all birds(1),
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
although he was little his honour (2) was great,
Jump up me lads and give him a treat(2).
II(4)
As I was gone to Killenaule (5)
I met the wren upon the wall,
Up with me wattle and knocked him down
And brought him into Carrick town(6).
III
Droolin (7), droolin,
where’s your nest?
‘Tis in the bush that I love best
In the tree (bush), the holly tree(8)
Where all the boys do follow me.
CHORUS
Up with the kettle(9) and down with the pan, and you give us a penny to bury the wren
IV
We followed the wren three miles or more
Three miles or more, three miles or more,
Followed the wren three miles or more
At six o’clock in the morning.
V (10)
I have a little box(11) under me arm
Under me arm, under me arm,
I have a little box under me arm,
A penny a tuppence will do it no harm.
VI
Missus Clancy(12)’s a very good woman
A very good woman, a very good woman
Missus Clancy’s a very good woman
She gave us a penny to bury the wren.
TRADUZIONE  DI CATTIA SALTO
I
Lo scricciolo, lo scricciolo
il re di tutti gli uccelli(1)
nel giorno di S. Stefano fu catturato tra i cespugli
sebbene fosse piccolo, il suo spirito (2) era grande
alzatevi, ragazzi e fategli
un’offerta (3).
II (4)
Mentre andavo a Killenaule (5)
ho incontrato uno scricciolo sul muro
ho alzato il mio bastone e l’ho buttato giù
e l’ho portato a Carrick(6)
III
“Scricciolo, scricciolo
dov’è il tuo nido?”
“E” nei cespugli che preferisco
nell’agrifoglio (8)
dove mi inseguono tutti i ragazzi”
CORO
su la lattina (9) e giù la monetina,
dateci un penny per seppellire lo scricciolo.

IV
Abbiamo inseguito questo scricciolo per tre e più miglia,
abbiamo inseguito questo scricciolo per tre e più miglia,
abbiamo inseguito questo scricciolo per tre e più miglia
dalle sei della mattina
V (10)
Ho una piccola scatola(11) sotto il braccio, sotto il braccio
Ho una piccola scatola sotto il braccio
e un penny e tre pence andranno bene
VI
La signora Clancy (12) è proprio una brava donna,
una brava donna
e ci ha dato
La signora Clancy è una brava donna ci ha dato un penny per seppellire lo scricciolo.

NOTE
1) Una fiaba celtica per bambini racconta la sfida tra l’aquila e lo scricciolo per contendersi l’appellativo di re degli uccelli: essendo due uccelli avrebbe vinto chi fosse riuscito a volare più in alto! Lo scricciolo partì per primo e quando la possente aquila lo superò si sistemò sul suo dorso e si fece trasportare ancora più in alto, fino a spiccare di nuovo il volo e quindi vincere la gara. raccontata da Joe Heaney qui
2) letteralmente onore, ma qui è da intendersi più in termini “mistici”
3) in altre versioni è espressamente richiesto un penny, ma più spesso ai questuanti si dava un dolce (barm brack un dolce tradizionale all’uvetta e canditi associato con Halloween e anche con il Natale, una specie di panettone irlandese più speziato e asciutto rispetto a quello italiano!) vedi
4) Strofa alternativa: As I went out to hunt and all, I met a wren upon the wall, Up with me wattle and gave him a fall, And brought him here to show you all
5) Killenaule è un piccolo paese nella Contea di Tipperary in un area prevalentemente agricola.
6) Carrick-on-Suir è un paese un po’ più grande nella contea South Tipperary
7) droolin, Droilin in gaelico irlandese per wren (a Dingo dicono rolley)
8) sull’agrifoglio vedi
9) letteralmente: mettete su il bollitore e sotto con la padella!
10) strofa alternativa: I have a little box under me arm, A tuppence or penny will do it no harm, For we are the boys who came your way, To bring in the wren on St. Stephen’s Day
11) la scatola delle offerte, di solito una lattina. Il 26 dicembre era infatti nelle isole britanniche il Boxing day.
12) il nome della generosa signora non può che variare a seconda delle circostanze! Credo che i primi ad aver registrato la canzone siano stati proprio i Clancy bross.

wren-boys-ireland

THE WREN BOYS’ SONG

Un altro canto di questua dei wren boys sempre proveniente dall’Irlanda tratto da  “Ballads from the Pubs of Ireland”, 1968 di James Healy.
ASCOLTA Magpie Lane in “Knock at the knocker and ring at the bell” 2006 (su Spotify)


I
The wren, the wren,
the king of all birds
Saint Stephen’s day was caught in the furze,
We got him there as you can see,
And pasted him up on a holly tree.
CHORUS
Hurrah, my boys, hurrah,
Hurrah, my boys, hurrah.

Knock at the knocker and ring at the bell,
What will you give us for singing so well? 
Singing so well, singing so well,
What will you give us for singing so well?.

II
I get a little box under my arm,
a copper or two will do it no harm,
Knock at the knocker and ring at the bell,
And give us a copper for singing so well.
III
On Christmas day I turned the spit,
I burned my finger, I feel it yet,
Between my finger and my thumb
There’s a blister as big as a plum.
IV
God bless the mistress and the man,
Unto your house we bring the wren,
Though he’s little his family’s great,
Come out, come out, and give us a treat.
TRADUZIONE di CATTIA SALTO
I
Lo scricciolo,
il re di tutti gli uccelli (1)
nel giorno di S. Stefano fu catturato nel cespuglio,
lo abbiamo preso come potete vedere e legato su un agrifoglio (8).
CORO
Evviva miei ragazzi,
Evviva miei ragazzi,
scrollate il battente e suonate il campanello,
cosa ci date per cantare così bene?
Per cantare così bene, cantare così bene, cosa ci date per cantare così bene?
II
Ho una piccola scatola (11) sotto il braccio
e una monetina o due andranno bene
scrollate il battente e suonate il campanello,
dateci una monetina per cantare così bene
III
Il giorno di Natale ho girato lo spiedo
e mi sono bruciato il dito, lo sento ancora, tra l’indice e il pollice
c’è una bolla grande come una prugna.
IV
Dio benedica la signora e il signore,
nella vostra casa portiamo lo scricciolo, anche se piccolo, il suo spirito è grande, venite fuori e dateci un dolcetto

(seconda parte segue)

FONTI
http://piereligion.org/wrenkingsongs.html http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/wren.html http://www.sligoheritage.com/archwrenboys.htm http://www.joeheaney.org/default.asp?contentID=805 https://thesession.org/tunes/2828 http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/scottish/thewren.htm http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/folk-song-lyrics/Wren_Song.htm http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=7195 http://www.goldenhindmusic.com/lyrics/WRENBOY2.html