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 Pressers by Mary Brooksbank

  Leggi in italiano

“The Pressers” is an anti-war song of the Scottish tradition reworked by Mary Brooksbank of Dundee on a text dating back to the Napoleonic wars. From the memory of a part of the song that she had learned as a child, Mary Brooksbank (1897-1978) expresses the anti-militarist sentiment of certain socio-cultural circles that have gathered around the folk revival of the 1960s.
A young peasant girl is in sore because her love has disappeared, ended up in a raid of the press gang and enlisted to fight and die in who knows what battlefield under the cannons of Napoleon Bonaparte.

THE WHITE SLAVES

It was the abolitionists who underlined the analogy between the slaves in the cotton plantations and the soldier (or the soldier-sailor), a prisoner in a military uniform: in the army the power relations are those of the master-servant, servants are the poor indigent and masters are the officers who often do not even try to disguise their contempt for the troops on which they exercise undisputed power of life and death.
Ray Fisher from “Willie’s Lady”, 1982


I
There is nocht in this wide world
but sorrow and care,
I weary (1) on Johnnie,
but Johnnie’s no there.
Sae waesome and dowie,
I feel like tae dee
Since the pressers (2) 
hae stolen my laddie fae me.
II
I look aroond the steading,
but Johnnie’s nae there,
At toil in the hairst field (3),
my hert it feels sair.
When I look tae yon high hills,
a tear blinds my e’e
Since the pressers
hae stolen my laddie fae me.
III
For he’s far ower yon high hills
and syne ower the sea
I ken nowhere my ain dear
laddie micht be.
In some foreign battlefield
maybe he’ll dee
Oh, curse on ye, Boney (4),
took my laddie fae me.
IV
Now the bonnie larks
singing mocks me in my care
But I’ll go on still hoping
till grey grows my hair.
Oh, ye wild winds a blowing
far ower the sea
Will ye blow back my bonnie
lad Johnnie tae me.

English translation Cattia Salto
I
There is nothing in this wide world
but sorrow and care,
I weary on Johnnie,
but Johnnie’s no there.
So woeful and mournful,
I feel like to die
Since the pressers
have stolen my boy from me.
II
I look around the steading,
but Johnnie’s no there,
At toil in the harvest field,
my heart it feels sore.
When I look to yon high hills,
a tear blinds my eye
Since the pressers
have stolen my boy from me.
III
For he’s far over yon high hills
and then over the sea
I know nowhere my own dear
boy might be.
In some foreign battlefield
maybe he’ll die
Oh, curse on you, Boney,
took my boyfrom me.
IV
Now the pretty larks
singing mocks me in my care
But I’ll go on still hoping
till grey grows my hair.
Oh, you wild winds a blowing
far over the sea
Will you blow back my bonny
lad Johnnie to me.

NOTES
1)referring to sadness and dispiritedness rather than exhaustion as in Eng.
2) Impressment, colloquially, “the press” or the “press gang“, refers to the act of taking men into a military or naval force by compulsion
3) the harvest was carried out by traveling teams of seasonal laborers who moved to the large Scottish Lowland farms.
4) Boney is for Napoleon. The origin of the name is perhaps “the Lion of Naples”

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/arthur-mcbride.htm
http://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/thepressers.html
https://www.folk-legacy.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=129

The Pressers

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“The Pressers” è una anti-war song della tradizione scozzese rielaborata da Mary Brooksbank di Dundee su di un testo risalente quanto meno all’epoca delle guerre napoleoniche. Dal ricordo di una parte della canzone che aveva imparato da bambina Mary Brooksbank (1897- 1978) esprime il sentimento anti-militarista di certi ambienti socio-culturali aggregatisi intorno al folk revival degli anni 60.
Una giovane contadinella si dispera perchè il suo ragazzo è scomparso, è finito in una retata delle press gang ed arruolato forzosamente per combattere e morire in chissà quale campo di battaglia sotto i cannoni di Napoleone Bonaparte.

GLI SCHIAVI BIANCHI

Furono gli abolizionisti a sottolineare l’analogia tra gli schiavi nelle piantagoni del cotone e il soldato (o il marinaio-soldato), un detenuto in uniforme militare: nell’esercito i rapporti di potere sono quelli del padrone-servo, servi sono i poveracci indigenti e padroni sono gli ufficiali che spesso non cercano nemmeno di dissimulare il loro disprezzo verso la truppa su cui esercitano un potere indiscusso di vita e di morte.
Ray Fisher in “Willie’s Lady”, 1982


I
There is nocht in this wide world
but sorrow and care,
I weary on Johnnie,
but Johnnie’s no there.
Sae waesome and dowie,
I feel like tae dee
Since the pressers (1) 
hae stolen my laddie fae me.
II
I look aroond the steading,
but Johnnie’s nae there,
At toil in the hairst field (2),
my hert it feels sair.
When I look tae yon high hills,
a tear blinds my e’e
Since the pressers
hae stolen my laddie fae me.
III
For he’s far ower yon high hills
and syne ower the sea
I ken nowhere my ain dear
laddie micht be.
In some foreign battlefield
maybe he’ll dee
Oh, curse on ye, Boney (3),
took my laddie fae me.
IV
Now the bonnie larks
singing mocks me in my care
But I’ll go on still hoping
till grey grows my hair.
Oh, ye wild winds a blowing
far ower the sea
Will ye blow back my bonnie
lad Johnnie tae me.

Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Non c’è altro in questo pazzo mondo che dolore e preoccupazioni
Sono triste per Johnny
ma Johnny non è qui
così nel dolore e nel pianto,
mi sento morire
da quando gli arruolatori hanno trafugato il mio ragazzo
II
Guardo nei caseggiati della fattoria
ma Johnny non c’è,
al lavoro nel campo da mietere,
il mio cuore si sente angosciato
quando guardo alle alte colline lontane, una lacrima mi acceca
da quando gli arruolatori hanno trafugato il mio ragazzo
III
Perchè è lontano oltre
le alte colline e il mare
non so dove il mio caro ragazzo potrebbe essere,
forse in qualche campo di battaglia straniero morirà.
Oh che tu sia maledetto Napo,
che mi hai preso il mio ragazzo
IV
Ora le belle allodole che cantano mi prendono in giro per i miei affanni
ma continuerò a sperare
finchè i capelli mi diventeranno grigi
oh voi raffiche di vento soffiate
lontano oltre il mare
e portate indietro il mio
bel ragazzo Johnny.

NOTE
1) Il sistema detto “impressment” si avvaleva di gruppi militari (press-gang) che con il pretesto dell’arresto per reati minori rastellavano vagabondi e ubriachi e li imbarcavano sulle navi-caserme: i villaggi lungo la costa delle isole britanniche erano visitati frequentemente da queste squadre perchè abitati da pescatori o uomini già esperti nella navigazione, ma anche nelle città dell’interno nessuno era al sicuro.
2) il lavoro della mietitura era svolto da squadre itineranti di braccianti stagionali che si spostavano nelle grandi fattorie delle Lowland scozzesi.
3) Boney equivalente al nostro diminutivo Napo per Napoleone. L’origine del nome è incerta potrebbe voler dire “il Leone di Napoli”, il primo nome illustre fu quello del Cardinale Napoleone Orsini (ai tempi di papa Bonifacio VIII)

FONTI
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/arthur-mcbride.htm
http://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/thepressers.html
https://www.folk-legacy.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=129

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