Archivi tag: June Tabor

Brigg Fair to meet love

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The Lammas Fairs as they say in the British Isles or the Country fairs as they are more commonly called in America are the big fairs that take place after the wheat harvest: a livestock market (especially horses) where farmers gathered to sell and buy summer products, but also an important socialization event for isolated farms.
In the season of abundance, the earth was thanked for its fruits, and joy was shared with music, dance and games. In the Celtic tradition it was Lughnasad, a fair dedicated to courtship and combining marriages (under the good offices of the god Lugh).
So in the ballads when it’s time for the fair the lovers meet to exchange their marriage vows

Donnybrook Fair 1859 by Erskine Nicol 1825-1904

BRIGG FAIR

The song Brigg Fair belongs to the English folk tradition and was reported on wax cylinder in the early 1900s by Percy Grainger who picked it up from Joseph Taylor(first two verses here); Grainger himself made an arrangement for a chorus of 5 voices adding further verses. The song also boasts a classic arrangement having been inspired by the “English raphsody” always composed in those years by Frederick Delius (here)

First of all, the instrumental version of The Full English, supergroup that starts with the wax recording of the early 1900s

The Queen’s six (arrangement by Percy Grainger)

La versione di  Percy Grainger
I
It was on the fifth of August-
er’ the weather fine and fair,
Unto Brigg Fair(1) I did repair,
for love I was inclined.
II
I rose up with the lark in the morning,
with my heart so full of glee(2),
Of thinking there to meet my dear,
long time I’d wished to see.
III
I took hold of her lily-white hand, O
and merrily was her heart:
“And now we’re met together,
I hope we ne’er shall part”.
IV
For it’s meeting is a pleasure,
and parting is a grief,
But an unconstant lover is worse
than any thief.
V
The green leaves they shall wither
and the branches they shall die
If ever I prove false to her,
to the girl that loves me.
NOTES
1)  Glanford Brigg in Lincolnshire at the ford of the river Ancholme: already the name is symptomatic of a traditional place of gatherings where cattle fairs and sporting competitions are held
2)”mirth, joy, rejoicing; a lively feeling of delight caused by special circumstances and finding expression in appropriate gestures and looks”. In Old and Middle English it’s chiefly a poetic word, meaning primarily ‘entertainment, pleasure, sport’, and especially ‘musical entertainment, music, melody’ (this is how we get musical glees and glee clubs and a current popular television series). Anglo-Saxon poets sang ‘glees’ (gleow) with their harps, and a common Middle English word for ‘minstrel’ is gleeman.

FOLK VERSION

Martin Carthy  writes” When Percy Grainger first went up to Lincolnshire in the early days of field recording (he was one of the first in England to use recording techniques in the collection of folksong) one of the men he recorded was a beautiful singer by the name of Joseph Taylor. Among the many songs taken down on the wax cylinders was Brigg Fair, slightly pensive but very happy. Mr Taylor subsequently became one of the first of the traditional (or “field”) singers to have recordings issued by a commercial recording company; he has great subtlety, beautiful timing, and, despite of his old age, a fine clear voice. (from here)

Martin Carthy from Byker Hill; 1967

Jackie Oates 2011

Shirley Collins 1964

June Tabor “Quercus” (2013)  Spotify 

I
It was on the fifth of August
The weather fair(hot) and mild
Unto Brigg Fair I did repair
For love I was inclined
II
I got(rose) up with the lark in the morning/with my heart full of glee(1)
Expecting there to meet(see) my dear(love)/Long time I’d wished to see
III
I looked over my left shoulder
To see what I might see
And there I spied(saw) my own true love/ Come a-tripping down to me
IV
I took hold of his(her) lily-white hand
And I merrily sang my heart
For now we are together
We never more shall part
V
For the green leaves, they will wither
And the roots, they’ll all decay
Before that I prove false to him(her)
The man(lass) that loves me well(true)

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/lugnasad.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/joseph.taylor/
http://mainlynorfolk.info/joseph.taylor/songs/briggfair.html
http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.it/2012/05/brigg-fair-and-history-of-glee.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpM_JQNBVYs
https://thesession.org/tunes/6799

Undaunted Mary or  “The Banks of the Sweet Dundee”

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“Undaunted Mary” or  “The Banks of the Sweet Dundee” is a nineteenth-century ballad reported in numerous broadside (since 1820) particularly popular in the British Isles (England, Scotland and Ireland) and also widespread in North America (USA) and Canada), still sung today (there are more than 170 versions)

Calling by Roy Palmer, “a 19th-century melodrama” it tells of a rich heiress who remains without parents,and she is forced by her uncle to take an arrogant husband; Mary is instead secretly in love with William, a simple peasant, but in the shadows her uncle plot to call the enlisters to take away her handsome William.
So the nobile suitor reoccurs or rather throws himself on the afflicted Mary trying to put her in front of the fait accompli, but she rebels, takes his pistols and kills him.
Her uncle hearing the shot runs to see and of course he wants to punish Mary, but she shoots her uncle mortally wounding him. At the point of death, his uncle leaves his estate in testament, paying tribute to the strength of mind demonstrated by his nephew (once when a girl of good family managed to shoot with guns it was considered an act of extreme courage)!

SEA SHANTY VERSION

So the version of John Short inserts the ballad “The Banks of the Sweet Dundee” in the structure of a sea shanty s following the melody and chorus of Heave Away, My Johnny (We’re All Bound to Go)
Barbara Brown from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 3 ♪  accompanied in the chorus by Keith Kendrick and Jackie Oates
This is another shanty where, with the tune and structure fairly consistent, different texts were used over time.  Sharp had only three verses from Short – but they immediately show his text to have been the folksong Banks of the Sweet Dundee.  Colcord also notes the use of Banks of the Sweet Dundee to this tune and notes that “this version was seldom or never sung on American ships.” Other texts used for this shanty include, as Colcord notes, Mr. Tapscott – which Short used to the New York Girls tune (see Mr. Tapscott).   Hugill quotes both Mr. Tapscott and The Banks of Newfoundland texts as sung to Heave Away Me Johnny. Whall and Colcord both surmise an 1850s’ origin to the shanty, but this assumption seems to be based on the fact that their texts are both Mr. Tapscott versions.  Hugill says that the most popular way of singing this shanty in the latter days of sail was with the ‘Sometimes we’re bound for Liverpool’’ set of words.  Perhaps we have an evolution here where the form, tune and chorus remains fairly consistent, but the texts used move from Banks of the Sweet Dundee to Mr. Tapscott to Sometimes we’re bound for Liverpool’.  Short, once again, gives us an early version and it may indicate that the shanty started life on the English side of the pond rather than the American. From Short’s three verses we have expanded the text from the closest broadside versions of Banks of the Sweet Dundee.  The full text would take too much time for even the longest of tasks so we have exercised some précis skills without, hopefully, destroying the story!   (from here)

I
It’s of a farmer’s daughter,
so beautiful I’m told
Heave away my Johnnies,
heave away
.
Her parents died and left her
five hundred pound in gold;
Heave away me bully boys,
we’re all bound to go.
Now there was a wealthy squire
who oft her came to see,
But Mary loved a ploughboy
on the banks of the sweet Dundee (1).
II
Her uncle and the squire
rode out one summer’s day,
“Young William he’s in favour,”
her uncle he did say.
“Indeed it’s my intention
to tie him to a tree (2)
Or to bribe the press gang (3)
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
III
Now the press gang came for William when he was all alone,
He boldly fought for liberty,
but they were six to one.
The blood did flow in torrents,
“Pray, kill me now,” says he,
“I would rather die (4) for Mary
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
IV
This maid one day was walking, lamenting for her love,
When she met the wealthy squire down in her uncle’s grove.
And he put his arms around her,
“Stand off, base man,” said she;
“For you vanished the only man I love from the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
V
And young Mary took his pistols
and the sword he used so free,
But she did fire and shot the squire
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
VI
Her uncle overheard the noise
and he hastened to the sound,
“Since you have shot the squire
I’ll give you your death wound!”
“Stand off!” then cried young Mary, “undaunted (5) I will be!”
She the trigger drew
and her uncle slew
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
VII
He willed his gold to Mary
who fought so valiantly,
Then he closed his eyes,
no more to rise,
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.

NOTES
1) Many question the name Dundee being a small town in Scotland but without a river of the same name. Obviously it can be any hill or mountain slope near Dundee, even a small stream in the surroundings. Among the hypotheses Ruairidh Greig suggests that it is a mispronunciation of a compound name Dun Dee referring to the river Dee (see more)
2) to leave him at the forest fairs as it was used in the past with poachers
3) The enlistment in the British armies was voluntary, so in the second half of the 1600s and until the mid 1800s, the recruiting sergeants with a young tambourine went around the countryside. They were good at convincing the young tipsy men who were in the inns, to take the infamous King’s Shilling.
And so on with crews for warships.
They used brutal methods with the system called “impressment” or forced recruitment by “press gangs” during mass raids, under the pretext of arrest for minor crimes in which the unfortunate person was just a vagabond and drunk tied up like a salami and boarded
4) we have some hypotheses (with related variations) on how it went: in fact some prefer the happy ending, so William is not killed, but only enrolled in the navy and then return and get married with the beautiful Mary
5) the archetype of the warrior woman corresponding to the strong and courageous adolescent female who does not lose her femininity, rather preserves it for the man who manages to marry her (usually after passing some tests). It is no coincidence that in some Piedmontese versions of the ballad, the virginity of the girl remaining in close contact with the male world is emphasized (see more)

FOLK VERSION

The June Tabor version stands out among all
June Tabor


I
It’s of a farmer’s daughter,
so beautiful I am told.
Her father died and left her
five hundred pounds in gold.
She lived with her uncle,
the cause of all her woe,
But you soon shall hear how this fair maiden  that causes his overthrow
II
Her uncle had a ploughboy young Mary loved fair well
And in her uncle’s garden
their tales of love they’d tell.
There was a wealthy squire
who oft her came to see
But still she loved her ploughboy
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
III
Her uncle and the squire
rode out once on summer’s day.
“Young William’s in favour,”
her uncle then did say,
“Indeed is my intention
to tie him to a tree
Or else to bribe the press gang
on the banks of sweet Dundee.“
IV
The press gang found young William when he was all alone;
He boldly fought for liberty,
but they were six to one.
The blood did flow in torrents,
“Pray, kill me now,” says he,
“I’d rather die for Mary
on the banks of sweet Dundee.“
V
One day this maid was walking, lamenting for her love,
She met the wealthy squire
down by her uncle’s grove.
He put his arms around her,
“Stand off, base man,” said she;
“I would rather die for William
on banks of sweet Dundee.“
 
VI
He put his arms around her
and tried to cast her down;
Two pistols and a sword
she spied beneath his morning gown.
Young Mary drew the pistols
and the sword he used so free;
And she did fire and shot the squire
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
VII
Her uncle overheard the noise
and hastened to the ground,
“Since you shoted the squire,
I’ll give you your death wound!”
“Stand off!” said Mary,
“undaunted I will be!”
The trigger she drew and her uncle slew on the banks of sweet Dundee.
VIII
The doctor was sent for
a man of noted skill,
And likewise a lawyer
that he maked  his will;
He left his gold to Mary
who’d fought so manfully
And closed his eyes,
no more to rise,
on the banks of sweet Dundee.

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/arthur-mcbride.htm
https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/15084/transcript/1
http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/teach/ballads/mary.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/255.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=113888

https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/heaveawaymyjohnny.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/thebanksofthesweetdundee.html

 

The Grey Selkie

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

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

TRADITIONAL VERSION: The Gray Silkie

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

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

Alison McMorland from Rowan in the Rock 2001

June Tabor from Ashore 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Admiral Benbow ballads

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

Tarpaulin&Gentleman

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

THE LAST BATTLE

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

from Master and Commander

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

ADMIRAL BENBOW BY CECIL SHARP

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

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

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

COPPER FAMILY VERSION

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

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

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

ADMIRAL BENBOW BY WILLIAM CHAPPELL

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

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

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

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

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

Banks of the Sweet Primroses

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It is the 50-60 years of folk revival when the first recordings of “The Banks of Sweet Primroses” begin to circulate; the Fairport Convention record the ballad on several occasions, as well as the folk revival of the years 70 re-proposes it with the names of great interpreters; the textual variations are minimal, the melody is substantially the same.

THE INCOSTANT LOVER

“The Banks of Sweet Primroses” is widespread in the English countryside of the South collected by the Copper family, printed in the nineteenth century as a broadside ballad.
Our beautiful gallant meets a maiden for the countryside and jumped on her; unfortunately he had not noticed that the girl was of his knowledge and that therefore she knowing already the boy: even on a desert island she would prefer the company of the birds rather than him.
The versions are sometimes only four stanzas but the last stanza handed down in the Copper family is comforting: the young man will surely find another girl who will be well disposed towards him!

June Tabor from At the Wood’s Heart 2005 (I, III, IV, V, VI)

Luke Kelly (I, III, IV, V)

Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker from digital download album “fRoots 53” 2015 (I, III, IV, V, VI)

I
As I roved out one midsummer (1)’s morning
To view the fields and to take the air
‘Twas down by the banks of the sweet primroses (2)
There I beheld a most lovely fair
II
Three long steps I stepped up to her,
Not knowing her as she passed me by,
I stepped up to her thinking for to view her,
She appeared to me like some virtuous bride.
III
Says I: “Fair maid, where can you be a going
And what’s the occasion of all your grief?
I will make you as happy as any lady
If you will grant me once more a leave. (3)”
IV
Stand up, stand up, you false deceiver
You are a false deceitful man, ‘tis plain
‘Tis you that is causing my poor heart to wander
And to give me comfort ‘tis all in vain
V
Now I’ll go down to some lonesome valley
Where no man on earth shall e’er me find
Where the pretty small birds do change their voices
And every moment blows blusterous winds (4)
VI
Come all young men (5) that go a-courting,
Pray pay attention to what I say.
There is many a dark and a cloudy morning
Turns out to be a sun-shiny day.

NOTES
1) Midsummer is the day of the summer solstice, equivalent to the day of St. John
2) the primrose which blooms in summer is a variety of primrose called common cowslip (scientific name primula veris), The common name cowslip may derive from the old English for cow dung, probably because the plant was often found growing amongst the manure in cow pastures.
3) Luke Kelly’s line” If you will grant me one small relief” , the sentences clearly allude to a second chance request to flirt
4) Luke Kelly ‘s line “And ev’ry moment blows blustrous wild”, it is probably a mistake in the oral transmission blustrous = blusterous windy stormy, wild=wind
5) in other versions a sentence for young girls: even if today they cry tomorrow they will find a man to marry!

LINK
https://mainlynorfolk.info/copperfamily/songs/banksofthesweetprimroses.html
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/songbook/s_prim.htm
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/week-53-banks-of-the-sweet-primroses/
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/451.html

http://www.fairylandtrust.org/how-to-see-fairies-part-one/

 

I pendii delle belle primule odorose

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Sono gli anni 50-60 del folk revival quando iniziano a circolare le prime registrazioni di “The Banks of Sweet Primroses“, Shirley Collins la intitola “The Sweet Primeroses” e i Fairport Convention la registrano in più occasioni, così anche il folk revival degli anni 70 la ripropone con i nomi di grandi interpreti, le varizioni testuali sono minime, la melodia è sostanzialmente la stessa.

L’AMANTE INCOSTANTE

E’ una ballad diffusa nella campagna inglese del Sud tra i canti della famiglia Copper circolata in stampa nell’Ottocento come broadside ballad.
Il nostro bel galante incontra una donzella tutta sola per la campagna e le zompa subito addosso; ahimè non si era accorto che la fanciulla era già stata una sua preda e che quindi conoscendo già il tipo anche su un isola deserta preferirebbe la compagnia degli uccelli piuttosto che la sua.
Le versioni sono talvolta di sole 4 strofe ma l’utlima strofa tramandata nella famiglia Copper è consolatoria: il giovanotto sicuramente troverà un’altra fanciulla che sarà ben disposta nei suoi confronti!

June Tabor in At the Wood’s Heart 2005 (strofe I, III, IV, V, VI)

Luke Kelly (strofe I, III, IV, V)

Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker in digital download album “fRoots 53” 2015 (strofe I, III, IV, V, VI)


I
As I roved out one midsummer (1)’s morning
To view the fields and to take the air
‘Twas down by the banks of the sweet primroses (2)
There I beheld a most lovely fair
II
Three long steps I stepped up to her,
Not knowing her as she passed me by,
I stepped up to her thinking for to view her,
She appeared to me like some virtuous bride.
III
Says I: “Fair maid, where can you be a going
And what’s the occasion of all your grief?
I will make you as happy as any lady
If you will grant me once more a leave. (3)”
IV
Stand up, stand up, you false deceiver
You are a false deceitful man, ‘tis plain
‘Tis you that is causing my poor heart to wander
And to give me comfort ‘tis all in vain
V
Now I’ll go down to some lonesome valley
Where no man on earth shall e’er me find
Where the pretty small birds do change their voices
And every moment blows blusterous winds (4)
VI
Come all young men (5) that go a-courting,
Pray pay attention to what I say.
There is many a dark and a cloudy morning
Turns out to be a sun-shiny day.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Mentre passeggiavo in una bella mattina di mezza estate per guardare i campi e prendere il fresco,
fu sui pendii (le rive) delle primule odorose
dove vidi la fanciulla  più bella.
II
Con tre balzi mi avvicinai a lei,
non avendola riconosciuta mentre mi passava accanto;
le andai vicino pensando di guardarla bene,
mi apparviva come una moglie ideale
III
Dico io “Bella donzella, dove state andando
e qual’è il motivo di tutto il vostro dolore?
Vi farò felice più di ogni altra madama
se mi darete soltanto un po’ di speranza”
IV
“State lontano voi falso imbroglione,
è chiaro che voi siete un traditore,
è per colpa vostra che mi si è spezzato il cuore
ed è inutile che mi confortiate ora!
V
Andrò in qualche valle
solitaria
dove nessun uomo sulla terra mi troverà
dove i piccoli uccellini si scambiano i richiami
e ogni momento soffiano venti impetuosi.”
VI
Venite voi giovanotti che andate ad amoreggiare
siete pregati di fare attenzione a quello che vi dico:
ci sono molte mattinate buie e nuvolose
che si trasformano in un giorno soleggaito

NOTE
1) Midsummer è il giorno del solstizio d’estate, equivalente al giorno di San Giovanni
2) la primula che fiorisce d’estate è una varietà di primula sempe spontanea detta primula odorosa (nome scientifico primula veris), rispetto alla primula comune che fiorisce da febbraio a marzo, la primula odorosa spunta nei boschi e nei prati da aprile a giugno, si differenzia per i fiori più piccoli e dal giallo brillante che crescono ad ombrella sorrette da un lungo stelo.
In Italia la primula viene anche detta Primavera, Primavera odorosa, Orecchio d’orso giallo, Fior d’cuch, Trombete, Filadora, ed anche Occhio di Civetta.
3) letteralemnte la frase dice “se mi concederete ancora una volta il permesso“, Luke Kelly dice” If you will grant me one small relief” (se mi concederete un po’ di sollievo) le frasi alludono chiaramente a una richiesta di seconda occasione per amoreggiare
4) Luke Kelly dice “And ev’ry moment blows blustrous wild” e si tratta probabilmente di un errore nella trasmissione orale blustrous =blusterous ventoso burrascoso, wild = vento
5) in altre versioni si cerca di confortare le giovani fanciulle: anche se oggi piangono domani troveranno un uomo che le sposi!

FONTI
https://mainlynorfolk.info/copperfamily/songs/banksofthesweetprimroses.html
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/songbook/s_prim.htm
https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/week-53-banks-of-the-sweet-primroses/
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/451.html

http://www.fairylandtrust.org/how-to-see-fairies-part-one/

 

The Banks of the Sweet Dundee

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“Undaunted Mary” anche con il titolo “The Banks of the Sweet Dundee” è una ballata ottocentesca riportata in numerosi broadside (a partire dal 1820) particolarmente popolare nelle isole Britanniche (Inghilterra, Scozia e Irlanda) e anche diffusa in Nord America (USA e Canada), cantata ancora oggi (si contano più di 170 versioni)

Definita da Roy Palmer “un melodramma del 19° secolo” si racconta di una ricca ereditiera che rimasta senza genitori viene costretta dallo zio a prendere come marito un prepotente riccastro; la fanciulla di nome Mary è invece segretamente innamorata del contadinello William, ma nell’ombra tramano zio e nobilastro che mandano a chiamare gli arruolatori perchè si portino via il bel William.
Così avendo il campo libero il pretendente si ripresenta o meglio si butta addosso all’afflitta Mary cercando di metterla di fronte al fatto compiuto, ma lei si ribella, s’impadronisce delle pistole e lo uccide.
Ecco che lo zio sente lo sparo e corre a vedere e naturalmente vuole punire la fanciulla, ma lei ha ancora un colpo in canna e spara allo zio ferendolo mortalmente. In punto di morte lo zio le lascia in testamento il suo patrimonio, rendendo omaggio alla forza d’animo dimostrata dalla nipote (un tempo che una fanciulla di buona famiglia riuscisse a sparare con le pistole era considerato un atto di estremo coraggio)!

LA VERSIONE SEA SHANTY

Così la versione di John Short inserisce la ballata “The Banks of the Sweet Dundee” nella struttura di una sea shanty seguendo melodia e coretto di  Heave Away, My Johnny (We’re All Bound to Go)
Barbara Brown in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 3 ♪  accompagnata nel coro da Keith Kendrick e Jackie Oates

“Questa è un’altra shanty in cui, con la melodia e la struttura abbastanza coerenti, sono stati usati diversi testi nel tempo. Sharp aveva solo tre versi di Short – ma hanno immediatamente mostrato il suo testo essere la folksong “Banks of the Sweet Dundee”.  Colcord ugualmente annota con l’uso di Banks of the Sweet Dundee su questa melodia “questa versione era raramente o quasi mai cantata sulle navi americane” Altri testi usati per questa shanty includono, come Colcord scrive, Mr. Tapscott – che Short usava con la melodia New York Girls  (vedi Mr. Tapscott).   Hugill cita sia i testi di Mr. Tapscott e di The Banks of Newfoundland cantati su Heave Away Me Johnny. Whall e Colcord hanno entrambi ipotizzato un’origine al 1850, ma questa ipotesi sembra essere basata sul fatto che i loro testi sono entrambi versioni di Mr. Tapscott. Hugill dice che il modo più popolare di cantare questa shanty negli ultimi giorni di vela era con il set di parole ‘Sometimes we’re bound for Liverpool’.  Forse abbiamo un’evoluzione qui dove la forma, la melodia e il coro rimangono abbastanza coerenti, ma i testi usati passano da Banks of the Sweet Dundee a Mr. Tapscott a Sometimes we’re bound for Liverpool. Insomma, ancora una volta, ci dà una versione iniziale e potrebbe indicare che la shanty si è originata sul versante inglese piuttosto che su quello americano. Dai tre versi di Short abbiamo esteso il testo alla versione  broadside più vicina di Banks of the Sweet Dundee. Il testo completo richiederebbe troppo tempo anche per i lavori più lunghi, quindi abbiamo esercitato alcuni tagli e riassunti senza, si spera, distruggere la storia!  (tratto da qui)


I
It’s of a farmer’s daughter,
so beautiful I’m told
Heave away my Johnnies,
heave away
.
Her parents died and left her
five hundred pound in gold;
Heave away me bully boys,
we’re all bound to go.
Now there was a wealthy squire
who oft her came to see,
But Mary loved a ploughboy
on the banks of the sweet Dundee (1).
II
Her uncle and the squire
rode out one summer’s day,
“Young William he’s in favour,”
her uncle he did say.
“Indeed it’s my intention
to tie him to a tree (2)
Or to bribe the press gang (3)
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
III
Now the press gang came for William when he was all alone,
He boldly fought for liberty,
but they were six to one.
The blood did flow in torrents,
“Pray, kill me now,” says he,
“I would rather die (4) for Mary
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
IV
This maid one day was walking, lamenting for her love,
When she met the wealthy squire down in her uncle’s grove.
And he put his arms around her,
“Stand off, base man,” said she;
“For you vanished the only man I love from the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
V
And young Mary took his pistols
and the sword he used so free,
But she did fire and shot the squire
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
VI
Her uncle overheard the noise
and he hastened to the sound,
“Since you have shot the squire
I’ll give you your death wound!”
“Stand off!” then cried young Mary, “undaunted (5) I will be!”
She the trigger drew
and her uncle slew
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
VII
He willed his gold to Mary
who fought so valiantly,
Then he closed his eyes,
no more to rise,
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Vi racconto della figlia di un contadino, molto bella mi dissero
vira a lasciare, miei marinai, 
vira a lasciare
I suoi genitori morirono e le lasciarono 500 sterline d’oro
Lasciatela mie bravi ragazzi
siamo tutti in partenza
C’era un ricco cavaliere  che andava spesso a trovarla
ma Mary amava un contadino
sui pendii della bella Dundee
II
Suo zio e il cavaliere andarono a cavallo un giorno d’estate
“Il giovane William è il favorito- lo zio gli disse –
perciò è mia intenzione legarlo ad un albero
o consegnarlo agli arruolatori
sui pendii della bella Dundee”
III
Ora gli arruolatori vennero per William quando si trovava solo,
lui combattè coraggiosamente per la libertà, ma erano sei contro uno.
Il sangue scorreva a fiumi
“Vi prego uccidetemi adesso-dice lui
preferisco morire per Mary
sui pendii della bella Dundee”
II
Questa fanciulla un giorno era a passeggio, piangendo per il suo amore
quando incontrà il ricco cavaliere nel bosco dello zio
e lui le mise le mani addosso “State al vostro posto, in guardia- disse lei-
perchè avete fatto sparire il solo uomo che amo dai pendii della bella Dundee”
V
E la giovane Mary prese le sue pistole
e lui la spada che usava in libertà
e fece fuoco uccidendo il cavaliere sui pendii della bella Dundee
VI
Lo zio udì lo sparo e  si affrettò verso il rumore
“Poichè avete ucciso il cavaliere vi colpirò a morte”
“State lontano -gridò la giovane Mary – impavida io sarò!”.
Ha tirato il grilletto
e ucciso suo zio
sui pendii della bella Dundee .
VII
Lui lascio in testamento il suo oro a Mary , che combattè così coraggiosamente, poi chiuse gli occhi
e non si alzò più,
sui pendii della bella Dundee

NOTE
1) In molti si interrogano sul nome Dundee essendo una cittadina della Scozia priva però di un fiume omonimo. Ovviamente può trattarsi di un qualunque pendio di collina o montangola nei pressi di Dundee, financo di un piccolo ruscelletto nei dintorni. Tra le ipotesi Ruairidh Greig suggerisce che sia una storpiatura di un nome composto Dun Dee riferito al fiume Dee (continua)
2) per lasciarlo in pasto alle fiere del bosco così come s’usava fare nei tempi passati con i cacciatori di frodo
3) L’arruolamento nelle armate britanniche era a base volontaria, così nella seconda metà del 1600 e fino alla metà del 1800, giravano per le campagne i sergenti reclutatori accompagnati da un giovane tamburino: erano bravi a convincere i giovanotti già un po’ alticci che si trovavano nelle locande, a prendere il famigerato scellino del Re (King’s Shilling). Analoga disinvoltura per quanto riguardava gli ingaggi degli equipaggi per le navi da guerra.
Si faceva ricorso a metodi brutali con il sistema detto “impressment” ossia l’arruolamento forzato ad opera delle “press-gang” nel corso di retate di massa o con il pretesto dell’arresto per reati minori in cui il malcapitato anche solo perchè vagabondo e ubriaco finiva legato come un salame e imbarcato (spesso privo di sensi).
4) e qui ci sono alcune ipotesi (con relative varianti) sul come sia andata: infatti alcuni preferiscono il lieto fine, così William non viene ucciso, ma solo arruolato in marina per poi ritornare e sposarsi con la bella Mary
5) l’archetipo della donna guerriera corrispondente alla femmina adolescente forte e coraggiosa che non perde la sua femminilità, anzi la preserva per l’uomo che riuscirà a sposarla (in genere dopo aver superato alcune prove). Non a caso in alcune versioni piemontesi della ballata si sottolinea la verginità della ragazza che resta tale pur a stretto contatto con il mondo maschile. (continua)

LA VERSIONE FOLK

Tra tutte spicca la versione di June Tabor
June Tabor


I
It’s of a farmer’s daughter,
so beautiful I am told.
Her father died and left her
five hundred pounds in gold.
She lived with her uncle,
the cause of all her woe,
But you soon shall hear how this fair maiden  that causes his overthrow
II
Her uncle had a ploughboy young Mary loved fair well
And in her uncle’s garden
their tales of love they’d tell.
There was a wealthy squire
who oft her came to see
But still she loved her ploughboy
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
III
Her uncle and the squire
rode out once on summer’s day.
“Young William’s in favour,”
her uncle then did say,
“Indeed is my intention
to tie him to a tree
Or else to bribe the press gang
on the banks of sweet Dundee.“
IV
The press gang found young William when he was all alone;
He boldly fought for liberty,
but they were six to one.
The blood did flow in torrents,
“Pray, kill me now,” says he,
“I’d rather die for Mary
on the banks of sweet Dundee.“
V
One day this maid was walking, lamenting for her love,
She met the wealthy squire
down by her uncle’s grove.
He put his arms around her,
“Stand off, base man,” said she;
“I would rather die for William
on banks of sweet Dundee.“
VI
He put his arms around her
and tried to cast her down;
Two pistols and a sword
she spied beneath his morning gown.
Young Mary drew the pistols
and the sword he used so free;
And she did fire and shot the squire
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
VII
Her uncle overheard the noise
and hastened to the ground,
“Since you shoted the squire,
I’ll give you your death wound!”
“Stand off!” said Mary,
“undaunted I will be!”
The trigger she drew and her uncle slew on the banks of sweet Dundee.
VIII
The doctor was sent for
a man of noted skill,
And likewise a lawyer
that he maked  his will;
He left his gold to Mary
who’d fought so manfully
And closed his eyes,
no more to rise,
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Vi racconto della figlia di un contadino, molto bella mi dissero
il padre morì  e le lasciò
500 sterline in oro
Viveva con suo zio,
la causa di tutto il suo dolore,
ma presto sentirete ciò che causò la rovina di questa bella fanciulla
II
Lo zio aveva un contadinello
che Mary amava assai
e nel giardino dello zio
si raccontavano storie d’amore.
C’era un ricco cavaliere
che andava spesso a trovarla
eppure lei amavail suo contadino
sui pendìì della bella Dundee
III
Suo zio e il cavaliere andarono a cavallo un giorno d’estate
“Il giovane William è il favorito-
lo zio gli disse –
perciò è mia intenzione
legarlo ad un albero
o consegnarlo agli arruolatori
sui pendìì della bella Dundee”
IV
Gli arruolatori trovarono il giovane William quando era tutto solo,
lui combattè coraggiosamente per la libertà, ma erano sei contro uno.
Il sangue scorreva a fiumi
“Vi prego uccidetemi adesso-dice lui-
preferisco morire per Mary
sui pendìì della bella Dundee”
V
Questa fanciulla un giorno era a passeggio, piangendo per il suo amore
quando incontrà il ricco cavaliere nel bosco dello zio
e lui le mise le mani addosso
“State al vostro posto, in guardia- disse lei- meglio morire per William
suipendii della bella Dundee”
VI
Gli mise la mani addosso
e cercò di buttarla giù,
due pistole e una spada
lei vide sotto alla cappa da passeggio.
La giovane Mary prese le  pistole
e lui la spada che usava in libertà
e fece fuoco uccidendo il cavaliere sulle pendìì della bella Dundee
VII
Lo zio udì lo sparo e
si affrettò verso il rumore
“Poichè avete ucciso il cavaliere
vi colpirò a morte”
“State lontano – disse Mary –
impavida io sarò!”.
Ha tirato il grilletto e ucciso suo zio
sui pendìì della bella Dundee .
VIII
Venne mandato il dottore
un uomo di rinomata abilità
e anche un avvocato
che fece il testamento
Lui lascio  il suo oro a Mary ,
che combattè così coraggiosamente, poi chiuse gli occhi
e non si alzò più,
sui pendìì della bella Dundee.

FONTI
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/arthur-mcbride.htm
https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/15084/transcript/1
http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/teach/ballads/mary.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/255.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=113888

https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/heaveawaymyjohnny.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/thebanksofthesweetdundee.html

 

Le ballate dell’ammiraglio Benbow

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Le gesta eroiche dell’Ammiraglio John Benbow (1653-1702) sono cantate in alcune ballate coeve risalenti ai tempi della Guerra di secessione spagnola. Era chiamato “the Brother Tar” perchè diede la scalata alla catena del comando militare dal basso, come semplice marinaio; grazie al suo ingegno, al coraggio e all’aiuto del suo mentore l’ammiraglio Arthur  Herbert, Conte di Torrington.
La sua attività, tranne una parentesi in cui si diede al commercio privato (1686-1689), fu dedicata alla marina militare. Lasciò la marina con il gradi di luogonentente (master, cioè l’ufficiale di rotta) dopo essere stato portato davanti alla corte marziale a causa di una battutaccia contro un ufficiale, c’è da rilevare che il codice di comportamento tra gli ufficiali era molto rigido (e ancora oggi con i gradi militari c’è ben poco da scherzare) e dopo aver porto le sue pubbliche scuse al capitano Booth dell’Adventure e ripagato la multa con tre mesi di lavoro senza paga, Benbow pensò bene di dimettersi. L’anno successivo diventato proprietario della fregata Benbow scorazzò per il mediterraneo e nel canale della Manica a caccia di pirati guadagnandosi la fama di capitano abile e spietato.  Rientrato nel giungo del 1689 nella marina militare con il grado di terzo luogotenente sull’ Elizabeth,  dopo nemmeno quattro mesi ottenne il grado di comandante della York e si distinse nelle azioni navali contro le coste francesi; venne mandato poi nelle Indie Occidentali a debellare la pirateria  e nel 1701 fu nominato vice-ammiraglio. Si dice che re Guglielmo avesse offerto il comando a parecchi gentlemen che però rifiutarono (a causa del clima) e così esclamò “Ho capito, risparmieremo i damerini e manderemo alle Antille l’onesto Benbow”

Tarpaulin&Gentleman

Nella Marina inglese degli inizi vigeva il sistema dell’addestramento volontario: un capitano prendeva al servizio dei giovani e li istruiva fintanto che non fossero in grado di superare l’esame attitudinale. Restava comunque una linea di demarcazione tra il tarpaulin officer, privo di alto status sociale e il gentleman officer, l’aspirante privilegiato. Di fatto i gentlemen ottenevano la loro patente di guardiamarina più per relazioni di parentele a fronte di una preparazione in mare superficiale, cosicchè nel 1677 fu introdotto un esame di ammissione che doveva precedere un addestramento di tre anni obbligatorio (oppure il candidato doveva avere già fatto esperienza nella marina mercantile). Ma nel 1730 si preferì ritornare al vecchio sistema dell’addestramento volontario.

L’ULTIMA BATTAGLIA

La sua ultima battaglia, al largo di Capo Santa Marta sulle coste dell’attuale Colombia,  fu quella ingaggiata contro l’ammiraglio Jean Du Casse e la sua flotta: la battaglia con relativo inseguimento durò dal 19 al 25 agosto 1702; Benbow aveva al suo comando sette navi ma i suoi capitani si dimostrarono poco propensi ad ubbidire agli ordini: solo nel pomeriggio del primo giorno venne ingaggiato un combattimento e solo la nave ammiraglia e la Ruby sotto il capitano George Walton si diedero all’inseguimento delle navi francesi con l’intento di dare battaglia mentre le altre navi si mantenevano defilate. La Ruby fu messa fuori combattimento il 22 e a questo punto la Falmouth  al comando di Samuel Vincent decise di schierarsi con Benbow, ma venne seriamente danneggiata e costretta a ritirarsi, lo stesso Benbow assediato dalle navi francesi e sottoposto a una bordata di cannonate si trovò con una gamba maciullata e venne portato sottocoperta, dove si tenne un consiglio di guerra con i suoi ufficiali nel frattempo riunitisi tutti a bordo dell’ammiraglia.
Per vedere in dettaglio l’azione di guerra vedi qui

dal film Master and Commander

Benbow era determinato a proseguire l’inseguimento per dar battaglia ma i suoi capitani ritenendo di non avere possibilità di vittoria raccomandavano di limitarsi a inseguire le navi francesi: Benbow convinto che si stesse mettendo in atto un ammutinamento nei suoi confrontii diede l’ordine di tornare in Giamaica e mandò i suoi comandanti davanti alla corte marziale con l’accusa di insubordinazione; il capitano Richard Kirby e il capitano Cooper Wade vennero riconosciuti colpevoli e fucilati. Nonostante l’amputazione della gamba  Benbow morì due mesi dopo la battaglia e venne sepolto a Kingston.

ADMIRAL BENBOW DI CECIL SHARP

La melodia è altrettanto popolare e si accomuna alla ballata Captain Kidd dando vita a una sorta di famiglia melodica utilizzata per varie canzoni.
Tra le canzoni del mare nella serie Sea Shanty Edition per il quarto episodio del video-gioco Assassin’s Creed si annoverano alcune ballate sui capitani coraggiosi, per celebrarne le vittorie o le gesta eroiche che li hanno portati alla morte.
La versione in Assassin’s Creed dal testo trascritto da Cecil Sharp sul canto del Capitano Lewis di Minehead (1906) le strofe però sono dimezzate (I, II, VI)


I
Come all you seamen bold
and draw near, and draw near
Come all you seamen bold and draw near
It’s of an Admiral’s fame Brave Benbow (1) was his name
How he sailed up on the main (2)
you shall hear, you shall hear
II
Brave Benbow he set sail
For to fight, for to fight
Brave Benbow he set sail
For to fight
Brave Benbow he set sail in a keen and pleasant gale
But his captains they turn’d tail in a fright (3), in a fright
III
Says Kirby unto Wade (4), “We will run, we will run.”
Says Kirby unto Wade, “We will run. For I value no disgrace
nor the losing of my place
But the enemy I won’t face
Nor his guns, nor his guns.”
IV
The Ruby (5) and Benbow fought the French, fought the French,
The Ruby and Benbow Fought the French.
They fought them up and down
‘Til the blood came trickling down
‘Til the blood came trickling down Where they lay, where they lay.
V
Brave Benbow lost his legs
By chain shot, by chain shot,
Brave Benbow lost his legs
By chain shot.
Brave Benbow lost his legs
And all on his stumps he begs
“Fight on, my English lads
‘Tis our lot, ‘tis our lot.”
VI
The surgeon dress’d his wounds Benbow cried, Benbow cried
The surgeon dress’d his wounds Benbow cried
“Let a cradle now in haste on the quarterdeck (6) be placed
That the enemy I may face
‘Til I die, ‘Til I die
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Bravi marinai venite tutti più vicino, più vicino,
Bravi marinai venite tutti
più vicino,
vi voglio raccontare del coraggioso Ammiraglio Benbow
di come navigava in mare
ascoltate, ascoltate.
II
Il coraggioso  Benbow alzò le vele
per lottare, per lottare
il coraggioso  Benbow alzò le vele
per lottare,
il coraggioso  Benbow alzò le vele
con un vento forte di burrasca
ma i suoi capitani fuggirono per vigliaccheria , per vigliaccheria.
III
Disse Kirby a Wade “Scappiamo
scappiamo”
Disse Kirby a Wade “Scappiamo
perchè non valuto il disonore
o la perdita della mia posizione,
ma i nemici non voglio affrontare
e nemmeno i loro cannoni, i cannoni”
IV
La Ruby e Benbow combattevano  i francesi, combattevano i francesi.  la Ruby e Benbow combattevano francesi
li combatterono in lungo e in largo
finchè il sangue iniziò a sgorgare
finchè il sangue iniziò a sgorgare,
à dove stavano, là dove stavano
V
Il coraggioso Benbow perse le sue gambe, per un colpo di cannone,
il coraggioso Benbow perse le sue gambe, per un colpo di cannone
il coraggioso Benbow perse le sue gambe, e sulle stampelle implora
” Combattete, inglesi
è il nostro destino, il nostro destino”
VI
Il chirurgo fasciò le sue ferite
Benbow gridò, Benbow gridò
Il chirurgo fasciò le sue ferite
Benbow gridò
“Portatemi subito una culla
e mettetela sul cassero
che i nemici combatterò
fino alla morte, fino alla morte.”
Mary Evans Picture Library : J R Skelton in Lang, “Outposts of Empire” 1910

NOTE
1) Benbow fece carriera nei ranghi della Marina Inglese sul finire del 1600 fino a diventare Vice-Ammiraglio
2) il mare delle Indie Occidentali
3) in a fright: in preda al panico
4) i capitani che abbandonarono la battaglia vennero processati e condannati a morte per diserzione
5) la nave Ruby sostenne l’attacco  dell’ammiraglia Breda contro i vascelli francesi
6) Benbow nonostante la gamba ferita (che gli verrà amputata) vuole continuare a impartire gli ordini  sul ponte di comando e così richiede una culla per poter restare seduto e distendere la gamba maciullata, fasciata in modo provvisorio dal medico di bordo (non sappiamo cosa ci facesse una culla a bordo di una nave da guerra e in effetti in altre versioni diventa una brandina o  un lettino)

LA VERSIONE DELLA FAMIGLIA COPPER

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


I
It was often at Marais
Calling Benbow by his name
He fought on the raging main
You must know
Oh, the ship rocks up and down
And the shots are flying round
The enemy tumbling down
There they lay, there they lay
II
‘Twas Reuben (1) and Benbow
Fought the French, fought the French
‘Twas Reuben and Benbow
Fought the French,
Down on his old stump he fell
And so loudly he did call
Fight ye on, me English lads
‘Tis my lot, ’tis my lot
III
When the doctor dressed his wound
Benbow cried, Benbow cried
When the doctor dressed his wound
Benbow cried,
Let a bed be fetched in haste
On the quarterdeck be placed
That the enemy I might face
‘Til I die, ’til I die
IV
On Tuesday morning last
Benbow died, Benbow died
On Tuesday morning last
Benbow died
What a shocking sight to see
When Benbow was carried away
He was carried to Kingston church (2)
There he lay, there he lay
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Spesso si trovava a Marais
si chiamava Benbow di nome,
di come combattè in mare
dovete sapere.
Oh la nave rollava su e giù
e i colpi volavano
il nemico facevano a pezzi
là dove stavano, là dove stavano
II
C’erano la Ruby e Benbow
a combattere i francesi, combattere i francesi. C’erano Reuben e Benbow
a combattere i francesi
dal suo moncone cadde
e così forte gridò
” Continuate a combattere, inglesi
è la mia sorte, è la mia sorte”
III
Quando il dottore fasciò la ferita
Benbow gridò, Benbow gridò
quando il dottore fasciò la ferita
Benbow gridò
“Che un lettino sia subito
portato sul cassero
che i nemici combatterò
finchè non morirò, finchè non morirò.”
IV
Il mattino di martedì scorso
Benbow morì, Benbow morì,
il mattino di martedì scorso
Benbow morì
che orribile visione
quando Benbow fu portato via
fu portato alla chiesa di Kingston
là giace, là giace.

NOTE
1) la nave Ruby sostenne l’attacco  dell’ammiraglia Breda contro i vascelli francesi
2) fu sepolto nella Chiesa Parrocchiale di Kingston (Giamaica)

ADMIRAL BENBOW DI WILLIAM CHAPPELL

Intitolata “Benbow, the Brother Tar’s song” la ballata fu trascritta da William Chappel nel suo “Old English Popular Music”.
“La melodia è una variante di Love Will Find Out the Way, pubblicata per la prima volta nel 1651. Inizialmente circolava nei salotti alla moda, ma dopo il 1680 passò nelle canzoni della classe lavoratrice in paricolare dei contadini. Chappell la collezionò tra i raccoglitori di luppolo a metà del XIX secolo e Lucy Broadwood la trovò nel Sussex nel 1898.” (tratto da qui)
Il racconto della battaglia è molto impreciso
June Tabor & Martin Simpson in A cut above, 1982


I
We sailed from Virginia
and thence to Fayall
Where we watered our shipping
and then we weighed all.
Full in view on the seas, boys,
seven sails we did espy;
We mannéd our capstans
and weighed speedily.
II
Now the first we come up with was a brigantine sloop (1)
And we asked if the others was as big as they looked;
Ah, but turning to windward,
as near as we could lie (2)
We saw there were ten (3) men of war cruising by.
III
We drew up our squadron in very nice line
And boldly we fought them for full four hours time;
But the day being spent, boys, and the night a-coming on
We left them alone till the early next morn.
IV
Now the very next morning the engagement proved hot
And brave Admiral Benbow received a chain shot;
And as he was wounded to his merry men he did say,
“Take me up in your arms, boys, and carry me away!”
V
Now the guns they did rattle and the bullets did fly,
But brave Admiral Benbow for help would not cry;
“Take me down to the cockpit, there is ease for my smarts,
If my merry men see me, it would sure break their hearts.”
VI
Now, the very next morning by break of the day
They hoisted their topsails and so bore away;
We bore to Port Royal where the people flocked much
To see Admiral Benbow carried to Kingston Church (4).
VII
Come all you brave fellows, wherever you’ve been,
Let us drink to the health of our King and our Queen,
And another good health to the girls that we know,
And a third in remembrance (5) of great Admiral Benbow.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Siamo salpati da Virginia
e poi da Fayall
dove abbiamo  imbarcato le provviste d’acqua poi siamo salpati.
In piena vista sui mari, ragazzi,
sette vele abbiamo adocchiato;
abbiamo levato l’ancora
e salpato rapidamente.
II
La prima nave che raggiungemmo era un brigantino
e abbiamo chiesto se gli altri erano grandi come sembravano;
Ah, ma virando al vento,
più vicino che si poteva
abbiamo visto che c’erano dieci navi da guerra che s’avvicinavano
III
Abbiamo schieratola nostra batteria in una linea molto precisa
e arditamente li abbiamo combattuti per ben quattro ore;
ma la giornata era trascorsa, ragazzi, e la notte stava arrivando
li abbiamo lasciati soli fino al mattino seguente.
IV
La mattina dopo, la battaglia si è dimostrato rovente
e il coraggioso Admiral Benbow ha ricevuto un colpo di cannone;
e mentre era ferito ai suoi uomini, ha detto,
“Prendetemi tra le vostre braccia, ragazzi, e portami via!”
V
Ora i cannoni hanno tuonato e le pallottole fischiato,
ma il coraggioso ammiraglio Benbow  non avrebbe pianto per chiedere aiuto;
“Portami giù nella cabina, per dare sollievo ai miei dolori
se i miei uomini mi vedessero, si spezzerebbero i loro cuori. ”
VI
Ora, il giorno dopo, al sorgere
del sole
loro [le navi francesi] issarono le vele e così si allontanarono;
noi ci portammo a Port Royal, dove la gente si affollava
per  vedere l’Ammiraglio Benbow portato a Kingston Church.
VII
Vieni tutti bravi compagni, ovunque voi siate
Beviamo alla salute del nostro re e della nostra regina,
un altro brindisi alla salute delle ragazze che conosciamo,
e il terzo in ricordo del grande ammiraglio Benbow.

NOTE
1) Il termine è di origine italiana (derivato da brigante, nella sua espressione originaria di componente una brigata, cioè gruppo di più persone da cui il termine). Infatti nel Quattrocento e nel Cinquecento il brigantino a vele latine era utilizzato frequentemente come unità per la guerra di corsa e la pirateria. Il brigantino era impiegato principalmente come cargo o nave di scorta; ebbe grande diffusione nel Mar Mediterraneo e nell’Europa del nord. (da wikipedia)
Le navi da guerra francesi al comando dell’ammiraglio Du Casse stavano scortando un convoglio di trasporto truppe. la nave ammiraglia Breda catturò la galera Anne , originariamente una nave inglese catturata dai francesi
2) è l’andatura di bolina quando la nave “stringe il vento”
3) le navi da guerra francesi erano in realtà solo 5 (come scorta alle navi da carico)
4) Benbow fu sepolto nella Chiesa Parrocchiale di Kingston (Giamaica)
5) in suo onore Robert Louis Stevenson nel suo libro “L’isola del Tesoro” inserisce una “Admiral Benbow Innall’inizio della storia

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

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

WALY WALY LOVE BE BONY

La ballata “Jamie Douglas” (riportata in Child #204) narra l’infelice matrimonio tra il Marchese e Lady Barbara Erskine, figlia del IX conte di Mar, i due si sposarono nel 1670 ma la donna venne ripudiata nel 1681 con l’accusa di adulterio: nella ballata Lady Erskine accusa James Lockhart di Blackwood (ovvero William Lawrie, detto Blackwood) di aver manovrato il marito contro di lei.


Ma alcuni studiosi ritengono che la ballata sia più antica, risalente ai tempi della Regina Maria Stuarda e in origine si trattasse del lamento di una fanciulla abbandonata piuttosto che di una moglie ripudiata.
“The ballad’s dramatic first-person style deserves comment, but of greater interest is the curious connection between ‘Jamie Douglas’ and the lyric complaint, ‘Waly, Waly, But Love Be Bonny’. As many as four stanzas of the lyric have infiltrated certain versions of the ballad. Since the lyric is so much more smoothly integrated than the ballad, one deduces that this moving lament of an abandoned girl about to become a mother is the older song. Seemingly the girl’s situation was so much like that of the discarded marchioness that borrowing was inevitable.” (tratto da qui)

Parte delle strofe sono migrate nel Folk Songs From Somerset di Cecil Sharp e Charles Marson (Londra, 1906) con il titolo di “Waly, Waly” Sharp però non aveva raccolto la canzone da un’unica fonte bensì aveva messo insieme a tavolino strofe prese da vari frammenti. vedi
 June Tabor

Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton from Declaration 2015 


I
Oh, waly (1), waly up the bank
and waly, waly down the brae,
And waly, waly up burnside
where I and my love used to go.
I was a lady of high renown
that lived in the North country;
I was a lady of high renown
when Jamie Douglas courted me.
II
And when we came to Glasgow town, it was a comely sight to see,
My lord was clad in the velvet green and I myself in cramasie.
And when my eldest son
was born and set upon
his nurse’s knee,
I was the happiest woman born
and my good lord, he loved me.
III
There came a man into our house
and Jamie Lockhart was his name
And it was told unto my lord
that I did lie in bed with him.
There came another to our house
and he was no good friend to me;
He put Jamie’s shoes beneath my bed and bade my good lord
come and see.
IV
Oh woe be unto thee, Blackwood,
and an ill death may you die,
You were the first and the foremost man that parted my good lord and I.
And when my lord came to my room this great falsehood for to see,
He turned him round all with a scowl and not one word would he speak to me.
V
“Come up, come up, now Jamie Douglas, come up the stair and dine with me, I’ll set you on a chair of gold and court you kindly on my knee.”
“When cockleshells turn silver bells and fishes fly from tree to tree,
When frost and snow turn fire to burn it’s I’ll come up and dine with thee.”
VI
Oh woe be unto thee, Blackwood,
and an ill death may you die,
You were the first and the foremost man that parted my good lord and I.
And when my father he had word
my good lord had forsaken me,
He sent fifty of his brisk dragoons
to fetch me home to my own country.
VII
O had I wist when first I kissed
that love should been so ill to win,
I’d locked my heart in a cage of gold and pinned it with a silver pin.
You think that I am like yourself and lie with each one that I see,
But I do swear by Heavens high, I never loved a man but thee.
VIII
‘Tis not the frost that freezes fell, nor blowing snow’s inclemency,
‘Tis not such cold that makes me cry, but my love’s heart grown cold to me.
O waly, waly, love is bonnie a little while when first it’s new,
But love grows old and waxes cold and fades away like morning dew.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Ahimè ahimè  riva
e ahimè ahimè pendio
Ahimè riva del ruscello dove io e il mio amore eravamo soliti andare!
Ero una dama illustre
che viveva nel Nord
ero una dama illustre
quando James Douglas mi corteggiò.
II
Quando andammo a Glasgow,
eravamo una bella coppia da vedere,
il mio Signore indossava del velluto verde e io ero in cremisi,
e quando il mio figlio più grande
nacque, sistemato
sulle ginocchia della sua tata,
ero la donna più felice al mondo
e il mio buon Signore mi amava
III
Poi venne un uomo in casa nostra
e si chiamava Jamie Lockhart
e fu detto al mio Signore
che io andai a letto con lui.
Poi ne venne un altro in casa nostra
e non era un buon amico per me;
mise le scarpe di Jamie sotto al mio letto e avvertì il mio buon Signore perché venisse a vedere
IV
Oh disgrazia su di te Blackwood
che tu possa morire di mala morte
tu fosti il primo e il più illustre uomo a separare il mio buon Signore e me.
E quando il mio Signore venne nella mia camera per occuparsi di questa grande menzogna, si voltò dall’altra parte sdegnato
e non mi disse una sola parola
V
“Vieni, ora Jamie Douglas, sali le scale e cena con me, ti farò sedere su una sedia d’oro e ti vezzeggerò sorridente sulle mie ginocchia”
“Quando le conchiglie diventeranno campanelle d’argento e i pesci voleranno tra gli alberi, quando gelo e neve bruceranno come fuoco allora salirò a cenare con te”
VI
Oh disgrazia su di te Blackwood
che tu possa morire di mala morte
tu che fosti il primo e il più illustre uomo a separare il mio buon Signore e me. E quando mio padre venne a conoscenza che il mio buon Signore mi aveva abbandonato
mandò 50 dei suoi valenti dragoni
per riportarmi a casa nel mio paese.
VII
Se avessi saputo quando baciai la prima volta che l’amore sarebbe stato così pericoloso da conquistare,
avrei chiuso il mio cuore in una gabba d’oro e appuntato con una spilla d’argento. Tu credi che io sia come te che sta con chiunque altro incontra, ma io giuro sull’Altissimo che non amai mai nessun altro uomo tranne te.
VIII
Non è la brina che congela cadendo, nemmeno l’inclemenza della neve
non è tale freddo che mi fa piangere, ma il cuore del mio amore che si raffredda nei miei confronti.
Ahimè ahimè amore è bello quando dapprima è nuovo, ma amore invecchia e si raffredda e svanisce come la rugiada del mattino.


NOTE
1) sinonimo di alas, esclamazione di dolore

FONTI
http://www.justanothertune.com/html/wateriswide.html
http://www.burnsscotland.com/items/v/volume-ii,-song-158,-page-166-waly,-waly.aspx
http://www.bartleby.com/243/87.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/walywaly.html
http://www.rampantscotland.com/songs/blsongs_waly.htm
http://www.mudcat.org/detail_pf.cfm?messages__Message_ID=2288552

I WILL SET MY SHIP IN ORDER

Una canzone tradizionale scozzese (da “Bothy Songs and Ballads”  di John Ord, 1930) dal titolo “I Drew My Ship” sul fecondo tema delle night visiting songs, inizia con una nave che salpa per dirigersi verso un porto tranquillo. Il modello a cui si fa riferimento è la ballata ‘The Drowsy Sleeper‘ e le melodie che si accompagnano al testo sono diverse (Allan Moore ne ha contate otto).

ASCOLTA dagli archivi di Tobar an Dualchais una registrazione sul campo del 1952 dalla voce di Willie Mathieson (1879- 1958). Nato a Ellon, Aberdeenshire, fu un bracciante agricolo in diverse fattorie del Banffshire. Raccolse e trascrisse un grande numero di canti popolari scozzesi che si trovano ora depositati presso “the School of Scottish Studies” -Università di Edimburgo.

Così Shirley Collins la registrò nel 1958 e Alan Lomax scrisse nelle note “I Drew My Ship was collected by John Stokoe in Songs and Ballads of Northern England [1899] with no source mentioned. Though it is similar in form and content to many other aubades or dawn serenades, we have not been able to find another song to which this is precisely akin. The listener who cares to compare the recorded version with that published by Stokoe will see how Miss Collins has breathed life back into the print and made something lovely and alive out of an unimpressive folk fragment.” (tratto da qui)

Per l’ascolto ho però scelto la versione dell’irlandese  Fiona Kelleher (con bellissime scene portuali crepuscolari e notturne come la melodia della canzone)

Il testo è ripreso da June Tabor in I Will Put My Ship in Order dal  CD A Quiet Eye 1999, fermandosi però alla V strofa. In questa versione la ragazza indugia troppo ad aprire e il ragazzo credendosi rifiutato, ritorna alla sua nave.


I
Oh, I will set my ship in order,
And I will set it to the sea;
And I will sail to yonder harbour
To see if my love minds on me.
II
I drew my ship into the harbour,
I drew her up where my true love lay.
And I did listen all at the window
To hear what my true love did say.
III
“Who’s there, all on my window?
Who raps so loud and would be in?”
“Oh, it is I, your own true lover,
I pray you rise, love, and let me in.”
IV
Slowly, slowly rose she up
And slowly, slowly came she down,
But when she had the door unlocked
Her true love had both been and gone.
V
“Come back, come back, my own true lover,
Come back, come back, all to my side.
I never left you nor yet deceived you
And I will surely be your bride.”
Traduzione di Cattia Salto
I
Metterò a posto la mia barca
e la porterò in mare
navigherò fino a quel porto
per vedere se il mio amore mi pensa.
II
Guidai la mia nave nel porto,
la guidai fin dove il mio amore stava.
E mi misi in ascolto alla finestra
per sentire ciò che il mio amore diceva.
III
“Chi è là, alla finestra
che bussa così forte e vuole entrare?”
“Sono io, il tuo vero amore
ti prego alzati, cara e fammi entrare”
IV
Piano, piano lei si alzò
e piano, piano scese giù
ma quando aveva la porta sbloccato,
il suo vero amore se n’era già andato
V
“Ritorna, ritorna il mio solo vero
amore
ritorna, ritorna da me.
Non ti lascerò e nè t’ingannerò mai
e di certo sarò tua moglie”

I WILL SET MY SHIP IN ORDER

Un’altra melodia però accompagna la canzone ed è quella scritta da Tony Cuffe per il gruppo di musica folk scozzese Ossian. In questa versione testuale l’indifferenza della ragazza è dovuta al rifiuto dei genitori di accogliere il ragazzo come corteggiatore. Il finale è tragico, la ragazza si getta in mare per essere stata abbandonata.

ASCOLTA Ossian –in “Borders” 1984 formazione quintetto Tony Cuffe (voce e chitarra), George Jackson (cittern), Iain MacDonald (flauto), Billy Jackson (arpa bardica), John Martin (violino)

ASCOLTA Capercaillie in “Choice Language” 2003 con la coppia con Karen Matheson (voce) e Donald Shaw (organetto e tastiere), una robusta sezione ritmica (Che Beresford batteria, David ‘Chimp’ Robertson percussioni e Ewen Vernal basso),  Mànus Lunny (chitarra e bouzouki)Michael McGoldrick (flauto, whistle e uillieann pipes) e Charlie McKerron (violino), uno tra i migliori album del gruppo

ASCOLTA Catriona Evans


I
Oh, I will set my ship in order,
I will sail her on the sea;
I’ll go far over yonder border
To see if my love minds on me.
II
And he sailed East, and he sailed West,
He sailed far, far, seeking land,
Until he cam’ to his true love’s window
And he knocked loud and would be in.
III
“Oh, who is that at my bedroom window
Who knocks so loud and would be in?”
“‘Tis I, ‘Tis I, your ain true lover
and I am drenched untae my skin.”
IV
“So go and go, and ask your faither
See if he’ll let you marry me;
And if he says no, come back and tell me
And it’s the last time I’ll trouble thee.”
V
“My father’s in his chamber writing,
Setting down his merchandise;
And in his hand he holds a letter
And it speaks much in your dispraise.
VI
“My mother’s in her chamber sleeping
And words of love she will not hear;
So you may go and court another
And whisper softly in her ear.”
VII
Then she arose put on her clothing,
It was to let her true love in;
But e’er she had the door unlockit
His ship was sailing on the main.
VIII
“Come back, come back, my ain dear Johnnie,
Come back, come back, and marry me.”
“How can I come back and marry you, love?
Oor ship is sailing on the sea.”
IX
“The fish may fly, and the seas run dry,
The rocks may melt doon wi’ the sun,
And the working man may forget his labour
Before that my love returns again.”
X
She’s turned herself right roun’ about
She’s flung herself intae the sea;
“Farweel for aye, my ain dear Johnnie
Ye’ll ne’er hae tae come back to me.”
Traduzione di Cattia Salto
I
Metterò a posto la mia barca (1)
e la porterò in mare
andrò lontano verso l’orizzonte
per vedere se il mio amore mi pensa.
II
E navigò a Est e navigò
a Ovest
Navigò alla ricerca di terre lontane
finchè ritornò alla finestra del suo vero amore
e bussò forte per poter entrare
III
“Oh chi è alla finestra della
mia camera
che bussa così forte e vuole
entrare?”
“Sono io, sono io il tuo vero amore
e sono inzuppato fino alle ossa (2).
IV
Allora vai, vai e chiedi a tuo padre
vedi se ti lascerà sposare con me;
e se dice no, ritorna da me a dirmelo
e sarà l’ultima volta che ti disturberò”
V
“Mio padre è nella sua stanza a scrivere
seduto accanto alla sua mercanzia
e in mano tiene una lettera
che è più di calunnie verso di te.
VI
Mia madre è nella sua stanza a dormire
e parole d’amore non sentirà;
così puoi andare e corteggiare un’altra
e sussurrare dolcemente nel suo orecchio”
VII
Allora lei si alzò e si vestì e stava per far entrare il suo vero amore,
ma non aveva la porta sbloccato,
che la nave salpò per il mare!
VIII
“Ritorna, ritorna mia caro
Johnny
ritorna ritorna e sposami”
“Come posso tornare indietro e sposarti amore?
La nostra nave è salpata in mare”
IX
“I pesci voleranno e i mari si prosciugheranno
Le rocce si fonderanno al sole
e l’uomo che lavora dimenticherà il suo lavoro
prima che il mio amore ritorni di nuovo”
X
Senza tanti indugi prese la decisione
e si gettò nel mare
“Addio per sempre, mio caro Johnny
non dovrai più ritornare da me”

NOTE
1) la frase è una metafora
2) un classico del genere: lo spasimante è infreddolito sotto la neve, il gelo o zuppo di pioggia!

FONTI
http://allanfmoore.org.uk/approcelt.pdf
https://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/idrewmyshipintotheharbour.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=120478