I’ll meet thee on the lea-rig by Robert Burns

ritratto di Robert Burns
Robert Burns – by Alexander Nasmyth 1787

Leggi in italiano

The lea-rig (The Meadow-ridge) is a traditional Scottish song rewritten by Robert Burns in 1792 under the title “I’ll Meet Thee On The Lea Rig“.
The term Rigs describes an old cultivation technique that involves working the land in long and narrow strips of raised land (the traditional drainage system of the past): the fields were divided into earthen banks raised, so that the excess water drained further down the deep side furrows. These bumps could reach up to the knee and hand sowing was greatly facilitated: the grass grew in the lea rigs.

THE TUNE

We find the beautiful melody in many eighteenth-century manuscripts, known by various names such as An Oidhche A Bha Bhainis Ann, The Caledonian Laddy, I’ll Meet Thee On The Lea-rig, The Lea Rigg, The Lea Rigges, My Ain Kind Dearie, My Ain Kind Deary O

Tony McManusAlasdair Fraser & Jody Stecher in Driven Bow 1988

John Carnie

Julian Lloyd Webber

THE LYRICS

rigsA “romantic” meeting in the summer camps declined in many text versions with a single melody (albeit with many different arrangements) that has known, like so many other Scottish eighteenth-century songs, a notable fame among the musicians of German romanticism and in good living rooms over England, France and Germany.

The oldest text can be found in the manuscript of Thomas D’Urfey, “Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy” 1698, by anonymous author who starts like this:
I’ll lay(rowe) thee o’er the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie O.
Although the night were ne’er sae wat,
And I were ne’er sae weary, O,
I’ll rowe thee o’er the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O;

With the title “My Ain Kind Dearie O” it is published later in the Scots Musical Museum vol I (1787) (see here) on Robert Burns’ dispatch to James Johnson with the note that it was the version originally written by the edinburgh poet Robert Fergusson ( 1750-74).
‘Will ye gang o’er the leerigg, my ain kind deary-o! And cuddle there sae kindly wi’ me, my kind deary-o!
220px-Alexander_Runciman_-_Robert_Fergusson,_1750_-_1774__Poet_-_Google_Art_ProjectRobert Fergusson died only 24 years old in the grip of madness while he was hospitalized in the Edinburgh Asylum because subject to a strong existential depression (and yet there are those who insinuate it was syphilis); he had just enough time to write about eighty poems (published between 1771 and 1773) and was the first poet to use the Scottish dialect as a poetic language; he lived for the most part a bohemian life, sharing the intellectual ferment of Edinburgh in the period known as the Scottish Enlightenment, always in contact with musicians, actors and editors; in 1772 it joined the “Edinburgh Cape Club”, not a Masonic lodge but a club for men only for convivial purposes (in which tables were laid out with tasty dishes and above all large drinks); for Robert Burns he was ‘my elder brother in Misfortune, By far my elder brother in the muse’.

Burn rewrote the poem in October 1792 for the publisher George Thomson, to be published in the “Selected Collection of Original Scottish Air” (in what will be the most commonly known version of The Lea Rig) published with the musical arrangement of Joseph Haydn (who also arranged the traditional My Ain Kind Deary version); and he also wrote a more bawdy version published in “The Merry Muses of Caledonia” (1799) under the title My Ain Kind Deary (page 98) (text here)
I’ll lay thee o’er the lea rig, Lovely Mary, deary O

Andy M. Stewart 1991, live

Roddy Woomble

Paul McKenna Band

and in the classic version on arrangement by Joseph Haydn
ASCOLTA Jamie MacDougall & Haydn Eisenstadt Trio JHW. XXXII/5 no. 372, Hob. XXXIa no. 31ter

Robert Burns
I
When o’er the hill the eastern star(1)
Tells bughtin time(2) is near, my jo,
And owsen frae the furrow’d field
Return sae dowf and weary, O,
Down by the burn, where scented birks(3)
Wi’ dew are hangin clear, my jo,
I’ll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
II
At midnight hour in mirkest glen
I’d rove, and ne’er be eerie(4), O,
If thro’ that glen I gaed to thee,
My ain kind dearie, O!
Altho’ the night were ne’er sae wild(5),
And I were ne’er sae weary, O,
I’ll(6) meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
III
The hunter lo’es the morning sun
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo;
At noon the fisher takes the glen
Adown the burn to steer, my jo:
Gie me the hour o’ gloamin grey –
It maks my heart sae cheery, O,
To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
english translation
I
When over the hill the eastern star
Tells the time of milking the ewes is near, my dear,
And oxes from the furrowed field
Return so lethargic and weary O:
Down by the burn where scented birch trees
With dew are hanging clear, my dear, I’ll meet thee on the grassy ridge, My own kind dear, O!
II
At midnight hour, in darkest glen,
I’d rove and never be frightened O, If thro’ that glen I go to thee,
My own kind dear, O:
Altho’ the night were  never so wild,
And I were never so weary O,
I’ll meet thee on the grassy ridge, My own kind dear, O!
III
The hunter loves the morning sun,
To rouse the mountain deer, my dear,
At noon the fisher takes the glen,
down the burn to steer, my dear;
Give me the hour o’ gloamin grey,
It maks my heart so cheary O
on the grassy ridge, My own kind dear, O!

NOTES
1) the morning star
2) milking time is early in the morning
3) or “birken buds”
4) or irie
5) in the copy sent to Thomson Robert Burns wrote “wet” then corrected with wild: a summer night with severe air with lightning in the distance
6) or “I’d”

Compare with the version attributed to the poet Robert Fergusson

SMM 1787
I
‘Will ye gang o’er the leerigg(1),
my ain kind deary-o!
And cuddle there sae kindly
wi’ me, my kind deary-o!
At thornie dike(2), and birken tree,
we’ll daff(3), and ne’er be weary-o;
They’ll scug(4) ill een(5) frae you and me,
mine ain kind deary o!’
II
Nae herds, wi’ kent(6) or colly(7) there,
shall ever come to fear ye, O!
But lav’rocks(8), whistling in the air,
shall woo, like me, their deary, O!
While others herd their lambs and ewes,
and toil for warld’s gear(9), my jo(10),
Upon the lee my pleasure grows,
wi’ you, my kind deary, O!
english translation
I
Will you go the over the lea rigg,
My own kind dear, O
And cuddle there so kindly
with me, my kind deary-o!
At thorn dry-stone wall and birche tree,
we will make merry, and never be weary-o;
They’ll screen unfriendly eyes from you and me,
My own kind dear, O!
II
No herds, with sheep-dogs there,
shall ever come to fear ye, O!
But larks whistling in the air,
shall woo, like me, their deary, O!
While others herd their lambs and ewes,
and toil for world’s riches, my sweetheart,
Upon the lee my pleasure grows,
with you, my kind deary, O!

NOTES
1) lea rigg = grassy ridge
2) thornie-dike= a thorn-fenced dike along the stream below the ridge
3) Daff = Make merry
4) ‘Scug’ is to shelter or take refuge. It can also refer to crouching or stooping to avoid being seen.
5) Een = evil eyes
6) Kent = sheperd’s crook
7) Colly = Schottisch sheep-dog
8) Lav’rocks =larks
9) Gear = riches, goods of any kind
10) Jo = sweetheart, my dear

Scottish country dance: “My own kind deary”

The Scottish Country dance entitled “My own kind deary” with music and dance instructions appears in John Walsh’s Caledonian Country Dances (vol I 1735)


for dance explanation see

LINK
http://www.tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Lea_Rig_(The) http://www.tunearch.org/wiki/Lea_Rig_(The) http://www.cobbler.plus.com/wbc/poems/translations/497.htm http://www.burnsscotland.com/items/v/volume-i,-song-049,-page-50-my-ain-kind-deary-o.aspx http://www.electricscotland.com/burns/songs/14MyAinKindDearieO.jpg http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/works/my_ain_kind_dearie/ http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook_text/ The_Poetical_Works_of_Robert_Fergusson_With_Biographical_1000304352/187 https://thesession.org/tunes/13977 http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=3380 http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=90757
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/w/103940/Franz-Joseph-Haydn-The-lea-rig

The Lea Rig (ti incontrerò tra i campi)

ritratto di Robert Burns
ritratto di Robert Burns – Alexander Nasmyth 1787

Read the post in English

The lea-rig (in inglese The Meadow-ridge) è una canzone tradizionale scozzese riscritta da Robert Burns nel 1792 con il titolo di “I’ll Meet Thee On The Lea Rig”.
Il termine Rigs si traduce in italiano con una desueta parola “porche”, una tecnica colturale che prevede la lavorazione del terreno in lunghe e strette strisce di terra rialzate ovvero il sistema di drenaggio tradizionale di un tempo: i campi si suddividevano in argini di terra rialzati, in modo che l’acqua in eccesso defluisse più in basso nei profondi solchi laterali. Queste cunette potevano arrivare fino al ginocchio  e il lavoro di semina a mano era notevolmente facilitato. Se la lavorazione del terreno era fatta con l’aratro esisteva uno strumento particolare il Mugellese che permetteva di lavorare i solchi tracciati con l’aratro  uno sì uno no, in modo da ricoprire i solchi non rilavorati e formare così porche e solchi di irrigazione. Le porche venivano poi sarchiate quando le piantine avevano raggiunto la dimensione opportuna. Si formavano con questo tipo di lavorazione i corn rigs e i lea rigs ossia le porche di grano e gli argini d’incolto dove cresceva l’erba.

LA MELODIA

Troviamo la bella melodia in molti manoscritti setteceneschi, conosciuta con vari nomi quali An Oidhche A Bha Bhainis Ann, The Caledonian Laddy, I’ll Meet Thee On The Lea-rig, The Lea Rigg, The Lea Rigges, My Ain Kind Dearie, My Ain Kind Deary O

Tony McManusAlasdair Fraser & Jody Stecher in Driven Bow 1988

John Carnie

Julian Lloyd Webber in Unexpected Songs 2006

LE VERSIONI TESTUALI

rigsUn incontro “romantico” nei campi estivi declinato in molte versioni testuali con un’unica melodia (sebbene con molti diversi arrangiamenti) che ha conosciuto, come tante altre canzoni scozzesi settecentesche, una notevole fama tra i musicisti del romanticismo tedesco e nei salotti bene  d’Inghilterra, Francia e Germania.

Il testo più antico si trova nel manoscritto di Thomas D’Urfey, “Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy” 1698, di autore anonimo che inizia così:
I’ll lay(rowe) thee o’er the lea rig,
My ain kind dearie O.
Although the night were ne’er sae wat,
And I were ne’er sae weary, O,
I’ll rowe thee o’er the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O;

Con il titolo “My Ain Kind Dearie O” è pubblicata successivamente nello Scots Musical Museum vol I (1787) (vedi qui) su invio di Robert Burns a James Johnson con la nota che si trattava della versione scritta originariamente dal poeta edimburghese Robert Fergusson (1750-74).
‘Will ye gang o’er the leerigg, my ain kind deary-o! And cuddle there sae kindly wi’ me, my kind deary-o!
220px-Alexander_Runciman_-_Robert_Fergusson,_1750_-_1774__Poet_-_Google_Art_ProjectRobert Fergusson morì a soli 24 anni in preda alla pazzia mentre era ricoverato nel Manicomio di Edimburgo perchè soggetto a una forte depressione esistenziale (e tuttavia c’è chi insinua si sia trattato di sifilide); fece in tempo a scrivere appena un’ottantina di poesie (pubblicate tra il 1771 e il 1773) e fu il primo poeta a usate il dialetto scozzese come lingua poetica; visse per lo più una vita da bohemien, condividendo il  fermento intellettuale di Edimburgo nel periodo conosciuto come l’Illuminismo scozzese, sempre a contatto con musicisti, attori ed editori; nel 1772 aderì alla loggia “Edinburgh Cape Club”, non proprio una loggia massonica ma un club per soli uomini per scopi conviviali (in cui si imbandivano tavolate con gustose pietanze e soprattutto grandi bevute); per Robert Burns fu ‘my elder brother in Misfortune, By far my elder brother in the muse’.

Burn riscrisse la poesia nell’ottobre del 1792 per l’editore George Thomson, affinchè fosse pubblicata nel “Selected Collection of Original Scottish Air” (in quella che sarà la versione più comunemente detta The Lea Rig) pubblicata con l’arrangiamento musicale di Joseph Haydn (il quale arrangiò anche la versione tradizionale My Ain Kind Deary); e scrisse anche una versione più bawdy pubblicata nel “The Merry Muses of Caledonia“(1799) con il titolo My Ain Kind Deary (pag 98) (testo qui)
I’ll lay thee o’er the lea rig, Lovely Mary, deary O

Andy M. Stewart 1991, live

Roddy Woomble

Paul McKenna Band

e nella versione classica su arrangiamento di Joseph Haydn
ASCOLTA Jamie MacDougall & Haydn Eisenstadt Trio JHW. XXXII/5 no. 372, Hob. XXXIa no. 31ter

Robert Burns
I
When o’er the hill the eastern star(1)
Tells bughtin time(2) is near, my jo,
And owsen frae the furrow’d field
Return sae dowf and weary, O,
Down by the burn, where scented birks(3)
Wi’ dew are hangin clear, my jo,
I’ll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
II
At midnight hour in mirkest glen
I’d rove, and ne’er be eerie(4), O,
If thro’ that glen I gaed to thee,
My ain kind dearie, O!
Altho’ the night were ne’er sae wild(5),
And I were ne’er sae weary, O,
I’ll(6) meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
III
The hunter lo’es the morning sun
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo;
At noon the fisher takes the glen
Adown the burn to steer, my jo:
Gie me the hour o’ gloamin grey –
It maks my heart sae cheery, O,
To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, O.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Quando sulla collina la stella dell’est(1)
dice che l’ora (2) di mungere le pecore è vicina, mia cara
e i buoi dal campo arato
ritornano così svogliati e stanchi;
giù al ruscello dove le betulle (3)
profumate di rugiada pendono bianche, mia cara,
ti incontrerò tra gli argini erbosi
mia cara amata
II
A mezzanotte, nella valle più tenebrosa
vagavo senza mai avere paura (4)
perchè per quella valle andavo da te
mia cara amata;
anche se la notte fosse sì tempestosa (5) e io sì tanto stanco
t’incontrerò tra gli argini erbosi
mia cara amata
III
Il cacciatore ama il sole del mattino
che risveglia il cervo della montagna, mia cara;
a mezzogiorno il pescatore cerca la valle e verso ruscello si dirige, mia cara
dammi l’ora del grigio crepuscolo
che fa diventare il mio cuore così allegro, per incontrarti tra gli argini erbosi, mia cara amata

NOTE
1) è la stella del mattino
2) bughtin-time = the time of milking the ewes; il tempo della mungitura è di prima mattina (una bella descrizione qui)
3) in altre versioni “birken buds” in effetti la frase ha più senso essendo Down by the burn, where birken buds
Wi’ dew are hangin clear = giù al ruscello dove le gemme rugiadose delle betulle pendono bianche

4) scritto anche come irie
5) nella copia mandata a Thomson Robert scrisse “wet” poi corretta con wild: una notte estiva  dall’aria grave con lampi in lontananza
6) ma anche “I’d”

Si confronti con la versione attribuita al poeta Robert Fergusson

anonimo in SMM 1787
I
‘Will ye gang o’er the leerigg(1),
my ain kind deary-o!
And cuddle there sae kindly
wi’ me, my kind deary-o!
At thornie dike(2), and birken tree,
we’ll daff(3), and ne’er be weary-o;
They’ll scug(4) ill een(5) frae you and me,
mine ain kind deary o!’
II
Nae herds, wi’ kent(6) or colly(7) there,
shall ever come to fear ye, O!
But lav’rocks(8), whistling in the air,
shall woo, like me, their deary, O!
While others herd their lambs and ewes,
and toil for warld’s gear(9), my jo(10),
Upon the lee my pleasure grows,
wi’ you, my kind deary, O!
traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
Verrai tra gli argini erbosi (1)
mia cara amata
per stare abbracciati là con tenerezza
con me, mia cara amata.
Accanto alla siepe (2) e alla betulla
saremo felici (3) e non ci stancheremo mai;
ci schermeranno (4)dagli sguardi malevoli (5) mia cara amata
II
Nessun gregge con bastone da pastore o cani lì, mai verrà a spaventarti
ma le allodole (8) che cantano nel cielo
e corteggiano come me , il loro amore.
Mentre gli altri conducono gli agnelli e le pecore
e si affaticano per le ricchezze (9) terrene mia cara (10),
nei campi cresce il mio divertimento
con te, mia cara amata

NOTE
1) lea rigg = grassy ridge
2) thornie-dike= a thorn-fenced dike along the stream below the ridge
3) Daff = Make merry
4) ‘Scug’ is to shelter or take refuge. It can also refer to crouching or stooping to avoid being seen. (come si dice in italiano “infrattarsi”)
5) Een = evil eyes
6) Kent = sheperd’s crook
7) Colly = Schottisch sheep-dog
8) Lav’rocks =larks
9) Gear = riches, goods of any kind
10) Jo = sweetheart

LA DANZA: “My own kind deary”

La Scottish Country dance dal titolo “My own kind deary”con tanto di musica e istruzioni per la danza compare in Caledonian Country Dances di John Walsh (vol I 1735)
VIDEO
Le istruzioni qui

FONTI
The Forest Minstrel, James Hogg (1810) http://www.tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:Lea_Rig_(The) http://www.tunearch.org/wiki/Lea_Rig_(The) http://www.cobbler.plus.com/wbc/poems/translations/497.htm http://www.burnsscotland.com/items/v/volume-i,-song-049,-page-50-my-ain-kind-deary-o.aspx http://www.electricscotland.com/burns/songs/14MyAinKindDearieO.jpg http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/works/my_ain_kind_dearie/ http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook_text/ The_Poetical_Works_of_Robert_Fergusson_With_Biographical_1000304352/187 https://thesession.org/tunes/13977 http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=3380 http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=90757
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/w/103940/Franz-Joseph-Haydn-The-lea-rig