Hughie the Graham

Contrary to my usual, in which I go to find historical and anecdotal evidence on the characters of the ancient ballads, about Hughie Graeme, I just know that he is one of the many border reivers (the Lowlands Raiders) of medieval Scotland, a bully boy or a bandit, who, for a matter of honor, steals a mare to Bishop Aldridge of Carlisle (in English soil, just after the border). We are in about 1540 and our Hugh does not find a better way to take revenge on his horns; pursued by Sir John Scroope, captured and reported to Carlisle, he is tried and hanged for abigeate.
For the deepening of the story I refer to here
The ballad is classified by Child to the number 191 in several variations, but they are only two versions more popular in the folk revival: that of Robert Burns and that of sir Walter Scott.
On the other hand, we find the first print form in the “Pills to Purge Melancholy” by D’Urfey (1720), which transcribes the ballad with the title “The Life and Death of Sir Hugh of the Grime” (on the Chevy-chace melody) here
[Contrariamente al mio solito in cui mi picco di andare a scovare riscontri storici e aneddotici sui personaggi delle antiche ballate per Hughie Graeme mi basterà sapere che è uno dei tanti border reiver (i razziatori delle Lowlands) della Scozia medievale, un po’ testa calda, un po’ bandito, il quale per questioni d’onore ruba una giumenta al Vescovo Aldridge di Carlisle (in terra inglese, appena dopo il confine). Siamo nel 1540 circa e il nostro Ugo non trova modo migliore per vendicarsi delle corna; inseguito da Sir John Scroope, catturato e riportato a Carlisle, viene processato e impiccato per abigeato.
Per l’approfondimento della storia rimando a qui
La ballata è classificata nel corpus childiano al numero 191 in svariate varianti ma sono solo due le versioni più diffuse nel folk revival: quella di Robert Burns e quella di Walter Scott.
D’altro canto la prima forma in stampa la troviamo nel  “Pills to Purge Melancholy” di D’Urfey (1720) che trascrive la ballata con il titolo “The Life and Death of Sir Hugh of the Grime” (sulla melodia Chevy-chace) vedi]

Sir Walter Scott

We find a version similar to the one reported by D’Urfey just few centuries later in the Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882) by Bruce and Stokoe, or the version of Sir Walter Scott already published in his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border of 1803 (from William Laidlaw of Blackhouse)
[Una versione simile a quella riportata da D’Urfey la ritroviamo qualche secolo più tardi nel Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882) di Bruce and Stokoe, ovvero la versione di Sir Walter Scott già pubblicata nel suo Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border del 1803 (da William Laidlaw di Blackhouse)]

Scocha in “Bordering on”, 2013  greatly reduce the verses to just under half
[riducono abbondantemente le strofe a poco meno della metà]

I
Gude Lord Scroope’s tae the hunting gane,
He has ridden o’er moss and muir;
And he has grippit Hughie the Graeme,
For stealing o’ the Bishop’s mare.
II
But as they were dealing their blows sae free,
And both sae bloody at the time,
Ower the moss came ten yeomen sae tail,
All for tae take brave Hughie the Graeme.
III
Then they hae grippit Hughie the Graeme,
And brought him up through Carlisle toon;
The lasses and lads stood on the walls,
Crying, ‘Hughie the Graeme, thou’se ne’er gae doon’!
IV
Then they hae chosen a jury of men,
The best that were in Carlisle toon;
And twelve o’ them cried oot at once,
‘Hughie the Graeme, thou must gae doon’!
V
‘If I be guilty’, said Hughie the Graeme,
Of me my friends shall hae talk?
And he has loup’d fifteen feet and three,
Though his hands they were ded behind his back.
VI
‘Fare ye weel, Maggie my wife!
The last time we came ower the muir,
‘Twas thou bereft me of my life,
And wi’ the Bishop thou play’d the whore.
VII
Here Johnie Annstrang, take thou my sword,
That is made o’ the metal sae fine;
And when thou comest tae the English side,
Remember the death of Hughie the Graeme’

English translation Cattia Salto
I
Good Lord Scroope’s to the hunting gone,
He has ridden over morass and moor;
And he has gripped Hughie the Graeme,
For stealing of the Bishop’s mare.
II
But as they were dealing their blows so free,
And both so bloody at the time,
Over the morass came ten yeomen so tail,
All for to take brave Hughie the Graeme.
III
Then they have gripped Hughie the Graeme,
And brought him up through Carlisle town;
The lasses and lads stood on the walls,
Crying, ‘Hughie the Graeme, thou’ll never go down’!
IV
Then they have chosen a jury of men,
The best that were in Carlisle town;
And twelve o’ them cried out at once,
‘Hughie the Graeme, thou must go down’!
V
‘If I be guilty’, said Hughie the Graeme,
Of me my friends shall have talk?
And he has leaping fifteen feet and three,
Though his hands they were ded behind his back.
VI
‘Farewell, Maggie my wife!
The last time we came over the moor,
it was you bereaved me of my life,
And with the Bishop thou played the whore.
VII
Here Johnie Annstrang, take thou my sword,
That is made of the metal so fine;
And when thou comest to the English side,
Remember the death of Hughie the Graeme’
traduzione italiana di Cattia Salto
I
Il buon Lord Scroope (1) è andato a caccia,
Galoppando per paludi e brughiere;
E ha arrestato Hughie Graeme (2),
Per aver rubato la giumenta del vescovo (3).
II
Ma mentre si davan colpi a destra e a manca(4)/Entrambi assetati di sangue (5),
Arrivan dalla palude dieci cavalieri(6) in fila,
A catturare il coraggioso Hughie Graeme.
III
Allora hanno arrestato Hughie Graeme,
E riportato alla città di Carlisle (7);
Le ragazze e i ragazzi stavan sugli spalti,
Urlando, ‘Hughie Graeme, non ti impiccheranno mai (8)’!
IV
Poi hanno scelto una giuria di uomini,
Il meglio che c’era nella città di Carlisle;
E dodici di loro gridarono insieme,
‘Hughie Graeme, tu dovrai essere impiccato’!
V
“Se sono colpevole- disse Hughie Graeme,-
Quali amici miei dovranno parlare per me (9)?”/E fece un balzo di cinque metri (10) / Anche se l
e mani erano legate dietro la  schiena.
VI
“Addio Maggie, moglie mia!
L’ultima volta che andammo nella brughiera
Sei stata tu a privarmi della vita,
E con il vescovo facevi la puttana.
VII
Vieni qui Johnie Annstrang (11), prendi tu la mia spada,/Fatta di un metallo ben temprato;
E quando sarai nella parte inglese,
Ricorda la morte di Hughie  Graeme ‘

NOTE
testo Scocha qui la versione estesa qui
1) Lord Scroope= John o Henry Scroope: the Warden of Carlisle and of the West March, he caught Hugh near Solway Moss [lo “sceriffo” di Carlise e della Marca Ovest che catturò Ugo vicino a Solway Moss]
2) According to Prof. Child, the Grahams were one of the greatest clans on the English-Scottish border in the late 16thcentury [Secondo il Prof. Child, i Graham furono uno dei più grandi clan del Border tra Inghilterra e Scozia nel tardo XVI secolo]
3) Robert Aldridge, Bishop of Carlisle, seduced Hugh Graham’s wife, and in revenge Graham staged a raid and stole the bishop’s horse [Robert Aldridge, vescovo di Carlisle, sedusse la moglie di Hugh Graham e, per vendicarsi, Graham organizzò una razzia e rubò il cavallo del vescovo]
4) Hugh is seen with sympathy, he is the “gentleman”, a skilled swordsman who falls into an ambush, against the sheriff’s men has no escape. [Ugo è visto con simpatia, è il “galantuomo” provetto spadaccino che però cade in un imboscata, contro gli uomini dello Sceriffo non ha scampo.  Riccardo venturi traduce “mentre si tiravan colpi a rondemà” e nella nota spiega: Termine tipicamente livornese, ma è a mio parere l’unico che rende bene quel che si dice nel testo originale. Il termine livornese deriva peraltro dal francese: à ronde main.(” tratto da qui)
5) both so bloody at that time=letteralmente entrambi così cruenti.  Venturi traduce tutt’e due all’ultimo sangue in quel frangente (ho omesso at that time perchè ridondante in italiano)
6) concordo e sottoscrivo la nota di Venturi :” Difficile tradurre bene yeoman (termine derivato storicamente da young man. In genere indica(va) un piccolo proprietario terriero che prestava servizio in fanteria, oppure si armava a difesa degli interessi del grande latifondista appartenente alla grande aristocrazia.
7) Venturi nella nota scrive: importante e storica città del Cumberland (a soli 16 km di distanza dallo Scottish Border). Il suo nome è di origine brittònica, qualcosa come Car L(e)uel “città di Luel”. Si ricordi che, comunque, la pronuncia standard di “Carlisle” è [kar’la:jl].
8) letteralmente: “non andrai mai giù” con un duplico significato, non penzolerai mai dalla forca ma anche “non tramonterai mai” in senso lato “non sarai mai sconfitto”, ma anche “non ti dimenticheremo mai”
9) the Scocha omitted various verses in which Ugo’s friends interceded in his defense
[gli Scocha saltano varie strofe in cui gli amici di Ugo intercedono in sua difesa]
10) ci sono due ipotesi di traduzione loup’d= leaping ad indicare un tentativo di fuga o un sobbalzo del cuore; ma anche loup’d= looped e io mi immagino Ugo legato come un salame e con un cappio già intorno al collo, per impedirgli ogni tentativo di fuga
11) The most infamous Johnny Armstrong (Black Jock of Gilnockie) was executed in 1530 so Hughie couldn’t ask him for revenge but there were other infamous John Amrmstrongs. Marsden suggests it could have been a reference to Jock o’ the Side who was contemporary and named in a petition made to the Scottish Queen by the said bishop.. one of the Grahams listed as being transported from the Borders to Ireland after James VI becomes King of England is a “Hugh’s Francie”. In other words a Francis Graham who’s father was called Hugh. Of course it doesn’t prove anything other than there were people called Hugh Graham living on the border in the 16thC. (from here[Il più famigerato Johnny Armstrong (Black Jock di Gilnockie) fu giustiziato nel 1530, quindi Ugo non poteva chiedergli vendetta, ma c’erano altri famigerati John Amrmstrongs. Marsden suggerisce che avrebbe potuto essere un riferimento a Jock o ‘the Side che era contemporaneo e nominato in una petizione fatta alla regina scozzese dal suddetto vescovo .. uno dei Graham elencato come confinato in Irlanda dopo che James VI divenne Re d’Inghilterra è un”Hugh’s Francie”. In altre parole, il padre di Francis Graham si chiamava Hugh. Ovviamente questo prova solo che c’erano persone chiamate Hugh Graham che vivevano nel Border del XVI secolo.]

A different melody is sung by Ewan MacColl who follows a motif learned from  Thomas Armstrong of Newcastle.
[Una diversa melodia è cantata da Ewan MacColl che segue un motivo imparato da Thomas Armstrong di Newcastle.]

Ewan MacColl in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (The Child Ballads), Volume II {Bronson’s #6}

Ewan MacCall
Child #191 C*
I
Gude Lord Scroope’s to the hunting gane,
He has ridden oer moss and muir,
And he has grippet Hughie the Graeme,
For stealing o the bishop’s mare.
II
‘Now, good Lord Scroope, this may not be!
Here hangs a broad sword by my side,
And if that thou canst conquer me,
The matter it may soon be tryed.’
III
I neer was afraid of a traitor thief;
Although thy name be Hughie the Graeme,
I’ll make thee repent thee of thy deeds,
If God but grant me life and time.’
IV
‘Then do your worst now, goo Lord Scroope,
And deal your blows as hard as you can;
It shall be tried, within an hour,
Which of us two is the better man.’
V
But as they were dealing their blows so free,
And both so bloody ay the time,
Over the moss came ten yeomen so tall,
All for to take brave Hughie the Graeme.
VI
Then they hae grippit Hughie the Graeme,
And brought him up through Carlisle town;
The lasses and lads stood on the walls,
Crying, “Hughie the Graeme, thou’se neer gae down!”
VII
Then they hae chosen a jury of men,
The best that were in Carlisle town,
And twelve of them cried out at once,
Hughie the Graeme, thou must gae down!
VIII
Then up bespak him gude Lord Hume,
As he sat by the judge’s knee:
‘Twenty white owsen, my gude lord,
If you’ll grant Hughie the Graeme to me.’
IX
‘O no, O no, my gude Lord Hume,
Forsooth and sae it mauna be;
For were there but three Graemes of the name,
They suld be hanged a’ for me.’
X (omitted)
‘twas up and spake the gude Lady Hume,
As she sat by the judge’s knee:
‘A peck of white pennies, my good lord judge,
If you’ll grant Hughie the Graeme to me.’
XI (omitted))
‘O no, O no, my gude Lady Hume,
Forsooth and so ti mustna be;
Were he but the one Graeme of the name,
He suld be hanged high for me.’
XII
‘If I be guilty,’ said Hughie the Graeme,
‘Of me my friends shall hae small talk;’
And he has loupd fifteen feet and three,
Though his hands they were tied behind his back.
XIII
He looked over his left shoulder,
And for to see what he might see;
There was he aware of his auld father,
Came tearing his hair most piteouslie.
XIV
‘O hald your tongue, my father,’ he says,
‘And see that ye dinna weep for me!
For they may ravish me of my life,
But they canna banish me fro heaven hie.
XV
‘Fare ye weel, fair Maggie, my wife!
The last time we came ower the muir
‘Twas thou bereft me of my life,
And wi the bishop thou playd the whore.
XVI (omitted)
‘Here, Johnnie Armstrang, take thou my sword,
That is made o the metal sae fine,
And when thou comest to the English side
Remember the death of Hughie the Graeme.’

traduzione italiana di Cattia Salto **
I
Il buon Lord Scroope  è andato a caccia,
Galoppando per paludi e brughiere;
E ha arrestato Hughie Graeme,
Per aver rubato la giumenta del vescovo.
II
“Ora buon Lord Scroope, non c’è storia!
Ho qui lo spadone al mio fianco,
E se riesci a vincermi,
La questione sarà presto risolta”
III
“Non ho mai temuto un traditore e ladro,
Anche se ti chiami Hugh Graeme;
Ti farò pentire delle tue azioni,
Se solo Dio mi darà vita e avventure (1).”
IV
“Allora fai del tuo peggio, buon Lord Scroope,
E assesta i tuoi colpi più forte che puoi;
Si vedrà entro un ora
Chi dei due sarà il migliore.”
V
Ma mentre si davan colpi a destra e a manca/Entrambi assetati di sangue,
Arrivan alla palude dieci cavalieri in fila,
A catturare il coraggioso Hughie Graeme.
VI
Allora hanno arrestato Hughie Graeme,
E riportato alla città di Carlisle;
Le ragazze e i ragazzi stavan sugli spalti,
Urlando, ‘Hughie Graeme, non sarai mai impiccato’!
VII
Poi hanno scelto una giuria di uomini,
Il meglio che c’era nella città di Carlisle;
E dodici di loro gridarono insieme,
‘Hughie Graeme, tu dovrai essere impiccato’!
VIII
Allora parlò il buon Lord Hume
Mentre si mise in ginocchio davanti al giudice:/venti bianchi buoi, mio buon Lord
Se mi darai Hughie Graeme”
IX
O no, no mio buon Lord Hume,
Proprio così deve essere!
Se ci fossero tre Graeme con lo stesso nome,
Per me dovrebbero essere impiccati tutti .”
X
Allora parlò la buona Lady Hume
Mentre si mise in ginocchio davanti al giudice: una borsa d’argento (2) mio buon Lord giudice/ Se mi darai Hughie Graeme”
XI
O no, no mia buona Lady Hume,
Proprio così deve essere!
Se anche fosse il solo Graeme con quel nome,
Dovrebbe essere impiccato in alto per me”
XII
“Se sono colpevole- disse Hughie Graeme,-
I miei amici dovranno parlare per me?”
E fece un balzo di cinque metri
Anche se l
e sue mani erano legate dietro la  schiena.
XIII
Gettò uno sguardo dietro alla spalla sinistra (3)
Per vedere chi poteva scorgere;
Si accorse allora del suo vecchio padre
Che arrivava strappandosi i capelli come supplice.
XIV
“Frena la tua lingua padre, -dice lui-
E vedi di non piangere per me!
Perchè mi possono portare via la vita
Ma non possono bandirmi dall’Alto de’ Cieli. (4)”
XV
“Addio bella Maggie, moglie mia!
L’ultima volta che andammo nella brughiera
Sei stata tu a privarmi della vita,
E con il vescovo facevi la puttana.
XVI
Vieni qui Johnnie Armstran, prendi tu la mia spada,/
Fatta di un metallo ben temprato;
E quando sarai nella parte inglese,
Ricorda la morte di Hughie  Graeme ‘

NOTE
* da http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=Child_d19103
** vedasi anche la traduzione del buon Venturi qui
1) life and time: credo sia l’equivalente del nostro “tempo e modo”, ma ho tradotto un po’ più letteralmente
2) peck is an ancient unit of measurement that was used for grain. White penny is the old silver coin used in the Middle Ages
[il peck è un’antica unità unità di misura che si usava per la granaglie; in italiano si traduce come moggio, in senso lato indica una grande quantità. White penny è la vecchia moneta in argento in uso nel Medioevo]
3) Tied up and condemned to die, Hughie the Graeme is powerless to defend himself and as such he presented as the less dominant of the two main characters. Here, the formula indicates the
character’s despair, which is expanded in the following verse, where all he can do is assure
his grieving father that he will go to heaven. (noted from here)
[legato e condannato a morire, Hughie the Graeme non ha il potere di difendersi e come tale si presenta come il meno dominante dei due personaggi principali. Qui, la formula indica 
la disperazione del personaggio, che si espande nel verso seguente, dove tutto ciò che può fare è assicurare il padre addolorato che andrà in paradiso]
4) a profession of innocence, maybe Hugh has not stolen the mare but it is all a plot of the bishop to keep his wife
[una professione d’innocenza, forse Ugo non ha rubato la giumenta ma è tutta una macchinazione del Vescovo per potersi prendere sua moglie]

Robert Burns

For publication in the Scots Musical Museum the bard of Scotland collects the ballad of Hughie Graeme from the oral tradition of the Ayrshie, reworking some verses and adding some of his own. [Per la pubblicazione nello Scots Musical Museum il bardo di Scozia raccoglie la ballata di Hughie Graeme dalla tradizione orale dell’Ayrshie, rimaneggiando alcune strofe e aggiungendone di sue]

June Tabor live Tune mostly adapted from the Appalachian piece The Falls of Richmond. She recorded a version of this song on ‘An Echo of Hooves’ in 2003 [Melodia tratta dal brano appalachiano “The Falls of Richmond. registrò una versione per  ‘An Echo of Hooves’ 2003]

Malinky in The Unseen Hours 2005

Ian Bruce in Robert Burns: Scotland’s First Superstar, Vol. 1, 2014

Ian F. Benzie in Robert Burns the Complete Songs vol. 5, 1996

The Corries live 1974 (I, III, VIII, XI, XII, XIV)
lyrics here
intro spoken
The popular conception of a Scotsman is of a kilted Highlander on top of this hill, way up in the Highlands somewhere, clutching a claymore, and shouting, “Wha’s like us …”. But down in the Borders there used to be quite a martial scene, too, because that’s after all where the English stopped – or were stopped, I should say. And the Border clans, the Lowland clans used to be quite warlike, in particular the Graham. Clan Graham used to occupy the debatable land. They were always untameable.
[L’idea popolare di uno scozzese è quella di montanaro con il kilt in cima a una collina, da qualche parte nelle Highlands, che stringe uno spadone e grida “Non c’è nessuno come noi!”. Ma giù nella Marca un tempo c’era pure una  scena abbastanza marziale, perché dopotutto è dove gli inglesi si fermavano – o sono stati fermati, dovrei dire. E i clan del Border, i clan di pianura erano piuttosto bellicosi, in particolare i Graham. Il clan Graham era solito occupare la terra della discordia. Erano sempre indomabili.]

Child #191 B *
I
Our Lords are to the mountains gone,
A-hunting of the fallow deer;
They have grippit Hughie Graeme
For stealing of the bishop’s mare.
II
They have bound (tied) him hand and foot,
And led him up through Carlisle (1) town;
All the lads (and lasses) along the way
Cried, “Hughie Graeme you shall hang.”
III
“Loose my right hand free, he says,
Put my broadsword in my hand;
There’s none in Carlisle town this day,
Dare tell the tale (2) to Hughie Graeme.”
IV
Up and spake the good Whitefoord,
As he sat by the Bishop’s knee,
“Five hundred white stots (3) I’ll give you,
If you’ll give Hughie Graeme to me. (4)”
V
“Hold your tongue, my noble lord,
And of your pleading let it be,
Although ten Graemes were in this court,
Hughie Graeme this day shall die.”
VI
Up and spake the fair Whitefoord,
As she sat by the Bishop’s knee;
“Five hundred white pence I’ll give you,
If you’ll let Hughie Graeme go free.”
VII
“Hold your tongue, my lady fair,
And of your weeping let it be;
Although ten Graemes were in this court,
It’s for my honour he must die.”
VIII
They’ve ta’en him to the hanging hill(5)
And led him to the gallows tree;
Ne’er the colour left his cheek,
Nor ever did he blink his eye.
IX
Then he’s looked him round about,
Al for to see what he could see;
There he saw his father dear,
Weeping, weeping bitterly.
X
“Hold your tongue, my father dear,
And of your weeping let it be;
It sorer, sorer grieves my heart (6)
Than all that they could do to me.
XI
And you may give my brother John
My sword that’s made of the metal clear;
And bid him come at twelve of the clock
And see me pay the Bishop’s mare.
XII
And you may give my brother James
My sword that’s made of the metal brown;
And bid him come at four of the clock
And see his brother Hugh cut down.
XIII
Remember me to Maggy my wife,
The next time ye come o’er the moor;
Tell her, she stole the Bishop’s mare,(7)
Tell her, she was the Bishop’s whore.
XIV
And you may tell my kith and kin,
I never did disgrace their blood;
And when they meet the Bishop’s cloak,
Leave it shorter by the hood.” (8)
Traduzione italiana di Cattia Salto
I
I nostri Lord sono andati sulle montagne
A cacciare il daino
Hanno arrestato Hughie Graeme,
Per aver rubato la giumenta del vescovo.
II
Lo hanno legato mani e piedi
E riportato alla città di Carlisle (1);
I ragazzi (e le ragazze) lungo il cammino,
Urlavano, ‘Hughie Graeme, sarai impiccato’!
III
“Liberate la mia mano destra-dice lui-
e mettetemi lo spadone in mano;
Non c’è nessuno a Carlisle questo giorno
Che oserà raccontare favole a(2) Hughie Graeme.”
IV
Si alzò a parlare il buon Lord Whitefoord,
E s’inginocchiò davanti al vescovo:
“Darei cinquecento giovani buoi (3)
Se voi mi darete Sir Hugh Graeme.” (4)
V
“Frenate la lingua, mio buon Lord
Smettetela con questa supplica!
Anche se ci fossero dieci Graeme in questa corte,/ Hugh Graeme morirà oggi.”
VI
Si alzò a parlare la bella Whitefoord
E s’inginocchiò davanti al vescovo:
“Darei cinquecento misure d’argento
Se farete liberare Hugh Graeme.”
VII
“Frenate la lingua, mia bella Lady 
E smettetela con la lagna!
Anche se ci fossero dodici Graeme in questa corte,/ E’ per il mio onore, che deve morire”
VIII
Lo hanno portato alla collina della forca (5)
E messo sotto la forca
Mai il colore lasciò le sue guance
E nemmeno strizzò gli occhi
IX
Allora lui si guardò dietro alla spalla sinistra
Per vedere cosa riusciva scorgere;
Si accorse allora del suo amato padre
Che piangeva, piangeva amaramente 
X
“Taci, mio amato padre,
E smettila di piangere!
Ciò mi addolora assai più (6)
Di tutto quello che potrebbero farmi
XI
E tu darai a mio fratello John
la mia spada che è fatta d’acciaio
e pregalo di venire alle 12 in punto
Per vedermi pagare la giumenta del Vescovo
XII
E tu darai a mio fratello James
la mia spada che è fatta d’acciaio brunito
e pregalo di venire alle 4 in punto
Per vedere suo fratello Hugh penzolare”
XIII
“Ricordami a Maggy mia moglie;
La prossima volta che passerai per la brughiera,
Dille che lei rubò la giumenta del Vescovo (7),
dille che era lei la puttana del Vescovo. 
XIV
E dirai ai miei cari
Che non ho mai disonorato il loro lignaggio
E quando incontreranno il mantello del Vescovo
Che lo accorcino dal cappuccio (8)”

NOTE
* see the Scottish text published in the SMM [si veda il testo in scozzese pubblicato nello SMM]
1)  Robert Burns places the process further north, in Stirling (‘Strievelin toun’)
[Robert Burns colloca il processo più a nord, a Stirling (‘Strievelin toun’ )]
2) credo che l’espressione equivalga al nostro “fare la festa” nel senso di uccidere
3) young oxen
4) If ye’ll let Hughie Graham gae free
5) gallows hill
6) to see his father’s tears is more painful for Hugh than the gallow tree
[vedere il padre in lacrime è per Ugo più doloroso della prospettiva di finire impiccato
7) heavy insult against the bishop who in other versions was not so explicit
[pesante insulto nei confronti del vescovo che in altre versioni non era così esplicito]
8) let take his head! [che gli taglino la testa!]


Tay ammarey, O Londonderry

Ewan MacColl resumes the melody transcribed by Gavin Greig from the testimony of Mrs Lyall of Skene, near Aberdeen (Aberdeenshire). This tune was also later used by Fairport Convention for their ballad Sir Patrick Spens
[Ewan MacColl riprende la melodia trascritta da Gavin Greig dalla testimonianza delle signora Lyall di Skene, vicino ad Aberdeen (Aberdeenshire). La melodia è stata usata più tardi dai Fairport Convention per la loro ballata Sir Patrick Spens]

Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger – Hughie the Graeme in Classic Scots Ballads, 1956 {for tune cf. Bronson’s #4}

Ewan MaCall
Child #191 E *
I
The Laird o’ Hume he’s a huntin’ gone
Over the hills and mountains clear,
And he has ta’en Sir Hugh the Grame
For stealin’ o’ the Bishop’s mear.
chorus
Tay ammarey, O Londonderry
Tay ammarey, O London dee.
II
They hae ta’en Sir Hugh the Grame
And led him doon through Strievling toon,
Fifteen o’ them cried oot at ance,
“Sir Hugh the Grame he must gae doon!”
III
“Were I to die,” said Hugh the Grame
“My parents would think it a very great lack”
Full fifteen feet in the air he jumped
Wi’ his hands bound fast behind his back.
IV
Then oot and spak the Lady Black,
And o’ her will she was right free,
“A thousand pounds, my lord, I’ll give
If Hugh the Grame set free to me.”
V
“Haud your tongue, ye Lady Black
And ye’ll let a’ your pleading be!
Though ye would gie me thousands ten
It’s for my honour he would die.”
VI
Then oot it spak her Lady Hume
And aye a sorry woman was she,
“I’ll gie ye a hundred milk-white steeds
Gin ye’ll gie Sir Hugh the Grame to me.”
VII
“O Haud your tongue, ye Lady Hume
And ye’ll let a’ your pleading be!
Though a’ the Grames were in this court,
He should be hanged high for me.”
VIII
He lookit ower his left shoulder
It was to see what he could see,
And there he saw his auld faither
Weeping and wailing bitterly.
IX
“O, haud your tongue, my auld faither
And ye’ll let a’ your mournin’ be!
For if they bereave me o’ my life
They canna haud the heavens frae me.”
X
“You’ll gie my brother, John, the sword
That’s pointed with the metal clear,
And bid him come at eight o’clock
And see me pay the Bishop’e mear.”
XI
“And brother James, tak’ here the sword
That’s pointed wi’ the metal brown
Come up the morn at eight o’clock
And see your brother putten down.”
XII
Ye’ll tell this news to Maggie, my wife
Neist time ye gang to Strievling toon,
She is the cause I lose my life
She wi’ the Bishop played the loon.

Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
Il Laird di Hume è andato a caccia
sulle colline e le montagne
E ha sorpreso Sir Hughie Graeme,
A rubare la giumenta del vescovo.
coro
Tay ammarey, O Londonderry
Tay ammarey, O London dee.
II
Lo hanno legato mani e piedi
E condotto per la città di Stirling;
Una quindicina (1) di loro urlava con una sola voce: ‘Sir Hughie Graeme, sarà impiccato’!
III
“Se dovessi morire- disse Hughie Graeme,-
I miei genitori la considereranno una grande perdita”/E fece un balzo di 15 piedi in aria
Con le mani legate strette dietro la  schiena.
IV
Si alzò a parlare Lady Black,
E di sua spontanea volontà:
“Darei mille sterline mio signore
Se mi libererete Hugh Graeme.”
V
“Frenate la lingua, voi Lady Black
Smettetela con questa supplica!
Anche se me ne dareste diecimila,
E’ per il mio onore, che deve morire”
VI
Poi si alzò a parlare Lady Hume
E si una donna affranta lei era:
“Vi darei un centinaio di bianchi destrieri
Se mi darete Sir Hugh Graeme.”
VII
“Frenate la lingua, voi Lady Hume
Smettetela con questa supplica!
Anche tutti i Graeme fossero in questa corte,
Dovrebbe essere impiccato in alto per me”
VIII
Lui si guardò dietro alla spalla sinistra
Per vedere cosa riusciva scorgere;
Si accorse allora del suovecchio padre
Che piangeva e piagnucolava amaramente 
IX
“Taci, mio amato padre,
E smettila di piangere!
Perchè mi possono portare via la vita
Ma non possono bandirmi dal Paradiso”
X
Darai a mio fratello John la spada
Che è fatta d’acciaio
e pregalo di venire alle 8 in punto
Per vedermi pagare la giumenta del Vescovo”
XI
“E fratello James prendi la spada
Che è fatta d’acciaio brunito
Ritorna al mattino alle 8 in punto
Per vedere suo fratello penzolare
XII
“Darai la notizia a Maggie, mia moglie;
La prossima volta che passerai per Stirling,
Per colpa sua ho perso la vita,
Lei con il Vescovo saltava la cavallina”(2) 

NOTE
* from here
1) the judges obviously not impartial [sono i giurati ovviamente per niente imparziali]
2) to play the loun= to behave unchastely, commit fornication

And finally let’s enjoy this instrumental version of the Duo Menguy – Le Pennec
[E per finire godiamoci questa versione strumentale del Duo Menguy – Le Pennec]

FONTI
http://walterscott.eu/education/ballads/reiver-ballads/hughie-the-graeme/
http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=ChildRef_191
https://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?id=57570&lang=it
https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=2749
https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/hughiegraeme.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/479.html

http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/h/hughtheg.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=144233

Auld Lang Syne: melodies in search of an author

auld

Leggi in italiano

At New Year’s Eve the most widespread song in Scottish homes is Auld Lang Syne, a song sung all over the world on many occasions.
The song is accompanied by a collective ritual: in a circle we hold each other’s hands during the first verse. Then the arms must be crossed by grasping the hands of the neighbor during the last verse.

The title is composed of three terms in Scottish that mean old, long, since three words to indicate the past time, “the good old days”. This is an old song that Robert Burns says he heard from an elderly singer, Burns also states that the song had been passed down only orally. Here is the correspondence between Burns and the publisher George Thomson (1793): “The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man’s singing, is enough to recommend any air”

Similar rhymes and melodies date back to 1500: in particular two, the ballad Auld Kyndnes Foryett -in Bannatyne Manuscript 1568- and the ballad attributed to the court poet Sir Robert Ayton (1570-1638) published in 1711 by James Watson in “Choice Collection of Scots Poems” collection; for the latter some verses are the same that are found in the Burns’ ones.
Should auld Acquaintance be forgot,
a
nd never thought upon,
The Flames of Love extinguished,
And freely past and gone?
I
s thy kind Heart now grown so cold
I
n that Loving Breast of thine,
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old-long-syne?

In 1724 Allan Ramsay wrote in his “A Collection of Songs” the song entitled “Should auld acquaintance be forgot” (perhaps taken from the sixteenth-century ballad Auld Kyndnes Foryett) and the song was then published in Vol 1 of the “Scots Musical Museum” 1787, with the title “Auld Lang Syne” but the verses are light years away from those of Burns!

THE MELODIES 
"O Can Ye Labor Lea" 
"For old long Gine my jo"  
(from Playford in "Original Scotch Tunes" 1700)

Johnson publishes “Auld Lang Syne” from the first version of Burns in the Scots Musical Museum, vol 5, 1796; but Robert Burns sent his writings about this song even to the publisher George Thomson, and in particular his third version. Later, Thomson learns from Stephen Clarke that Johnson already had a copy of Burns’ song and that the melody was always transcribed by Johnson in the version of Ramsay. Burns, so he replies:‘The two songs you saw in Clarke’s are neither of them worth your attention. The words of ‘Auld lang syne are good, but the music is an old air, the rudiments of the modern tune of that name. The other tune you may hear as a common Scots country dance.’ Burns 1794.

So the first melody that Robbie calls “an old air” is that published by Johnson “O Can Ye Labor Lea“, while the second melody “For old long Gine my jo” is the one in Playford.

THE MARK OF A GENIUS

Burns’ merit was to write a couple of verses and to modify and arrange the others. A fragment written by Robert Burns in 1793 is kept at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum (see)

THE MERIT OF THE EDITOR

WhenGeorge Thomson published “Auld Lang Syne” in the “Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs”, 1799 replaced the first melody with the much more popular one in the eighteenth century called “The Miller’s Wedding” (formerly in “Scots Reels”, Bremner 1759) and commonly called ‘Sir Alexander Don’s Strathspey’ because also played by the famous violinist Niel Gow: a typically Scottish dance melody the strathspey!

THE EDITOR MELODY WITH BURNS’ VERSES


George Thomson republished “Auld Lang Syne” in 1817 with a new arrangement by the Czech composer Leopold Kozeluch


Burns had already reused the same melody in two songs: “O can ye labor lea” ( “I fee’d a man at Martinmas”) and “Coming thro ‘the rye.

THE LEGEND ON DAVID RICCIO

Lately on the web (of course only on Italian sites) in the wake of Jesse Blackadder’s novel “The Raven’s Heart”, 2011 they have spread the attribution of the melody to Davide Rizzo (or David Riccio as they called in Scotland ). The journalist and writer Renzo Rossotti (in “Assassinio in Scozia” da “Piemonte magico e misterioso”, Newton Compton Editori, 1994 see) in his “Assassinio in Scozia” reports an italian legend according to which David Riccio is the author of “Auld Lang Syne”, but this is indeed a legend.

Two old friends, meeting after many years of separation, remember the youth and toast to the old days! 

AULD LANG SYNE
Robert Burns 1799 (George Thomson)

Dougie MacLean in Tribute– 1996
Velvety voice, pronounced seductively scottish, guitar background, a delicate arrangement

AULD LANG SYNE Robert Burns in SMM vol 5 1796 (James Johnson)

 Jim Malcolm  in Acquaintance
Velvety voice, pronounced seductively scottish, a splash of notes on the piano, guitar and violin background. The melody is slightly different as the sequence of strophes I, IV, II, III, V and the theme of the Waltz is recorded in the final played by the guitar alone

Paolo Nutini

Eddi Reader


I
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days auld lang syne?
CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear(1),
For days auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For days auld lang syne!
II
We twa hae run about the braes(3)
And pou’d the gowans(4) fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit(5),
Sin days auld lang syne.
III
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid(6) hae roar’d,
Sin days auld lang syne.
IV
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp(2)
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o kindness(8) yet,
For days auld lang syne!
V
And there’s a hand my trusty fiere(7),
And gie’s a hand o thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught(8),
For days auld lang syne
NOTE
1) or “jo”
2) stowp= vessel, 
3) braes= hills,
4) gowans= daisies,
5) monie a weary fit= many a weary foot,
6) braid= broad
7) fiere= friend,
8) right guid-willie waught= “cup of kindness” good toast, friendly draught, 

 

brindisiPOPULARITY IN THE WORLD

The song has been translated all over the world (in at least forty languages). The popularity of “Auld Lang Syne” derives most probably from its inclusion with the title “Farewell Waltz” in the film “Waterloo bridge” (1940) directed by Mervyn LeRoy, with Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. This film was the prototype of the typical Hollywood melodrama.

The famous scene of the waltz.

The Farewell Waltz version was arranged by Cedric Dumont (1916-2007) Swiss composer, author and conductor and it was translated / arranged in Italian by the authors Larici & Mauri in 1943 like danceable. At the time, the Anglo-Saxon melodies were forbidden in Italy by the war censorship, but it was enough to change the title and arrangement and here is “Il valzer delle candele”!

IL VALZER DELLE CANDELE

Tati Casoni 

I
Domani tu mi lascerai
e più non tornerai,
domani tutti i sogni miei
li porterai con te.
II
La fiamma del tuo amor
che sol per me sognai invan
è luce di candela che
già si spegne piano pian.
III
Una parola ancor
e dopo svanirà
un breve istante di
felicità.
IV
Ma come è triste il cuor
se nel pensare a te
ricorda i baci tuoi
che non son più per me.
V
Domani tu mi lascerai
e più non tornerai,
domani tutti i sogni miei
li porterai con te.
VI
La fiamma del tuo amor
che sol per me sognai invan
è luce di candela che
già si spegne piano pian.

Nini Rosso.

The melody has finally become a new song titled “Il Canto dell’Addio” well know by all those who have been scouts, or have spent their summer in the italian colonies, or at the shelters run by priests and the like.

I
È l’ora dell’addio, fratelli,
è l’ora di partir;
e il canto si fa triste; è ver:
partire è un po’ morir.
RITORNELLO
Ma noi ci rivedremo ancor
ci rivedremo un dì
arrivederci allor, fratelli,
arrivederci sì.
II
Formiamo una catena
con le mani nelle man,
stringiamoci l’un l’altro
prima di tornar lontan.
III
Perché lasciarci e non sperar
di rivederci ancor?
Perché lasciarci e non serbar
questa speranza in cuor?
IV
Se attorno a questo fuoco qui,
l’addio ci dobbiam dar;
attorno ad un sol fuoco un dì
sapremo ritornar.
V
Iddio che tutto vede e sa
la speme di ogni cuor;
se un giorno ci ha riuniti qui,
saprà riunirci ancor.
VI
Ma non addio diciamo allor
che ancor ci rivedrem:
arrivederci allor, fratelli,
arrivederci insiem!
VII
Fratello non dolerti se
la fiamma langue già:
doman la stessa fiamma ancor
fra noi risplenderà.

second part

LINK
http://sarahannelawless.com/2009/12/31/happy-hogmanay/ http://www.electricscotland.com/HISTORY/articles/langsyne.htm http://www.electricscotland.com/history/articles/langsyne.htm http://www.robertburns.org/encyclopedia/AuldLangSyne.5.shtml http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/ online/AuldLangSyne/default.asp?id=4 http://burnsc21.glasgow.ac.uk/online-exhibitions/auld-lang-syne/ http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=16346 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=29124 http://www.kultunderground.org/art/305 http://www.kultunderground.org/art/395 http://www.renzorossotti.it/notetorinesi.htm#menestrello http://www.eddireader.net/tracks/erALS.htm

Corn Rigs are bonnie

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

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

William Adolphe Bouguereau 1865
William Adolphe Bouguereau 1865

LAMMAS NIGHT

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

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

Paul Giovanni from The Wicker Man but with another melody

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

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

MELODY

Alasdair Fraser · Paul Machlis · Barry Phillips · Martin Hayes

SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCE

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

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

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

ritratto di Robert Burns
Robert Burns – by Alexander Nasmyth 1787

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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

John Barleycorn must die!

Leggi in italiano

John Barleycorn (in Italian Giovanni Chicco d’Orzo) is a traditional song spread in England and Scotland, focused on this popular character, embodiment of the spirit of beer and whiskey. (see)
There are several text versions collected at different times; the oldest known is from 1460.
As often happens with the most popular ballads we talk about family in reference to a set of texts and melodies connected to each other or related.

The plot traced by Pete Wood is well documented and we refer you to his John Barleycorn revisited for the deepening: the first ballad that identifies a man as the spirit of barley is Allan-a-Maut (Allan del Malto) and it comes from Scotland .
The first ballad that bears the name John Barleycorn is instead of 1624, printed in London “A Pleasant new Ballad.To be sung evening and morn, of the bloody murder of Sir John Barleycorn” shortened in The Pleasant Ballad: as Pete Wood points out, all the elements that characterize the current version of the ballad are already present, the oath of the knights to kill John, the rain that quenches him, and the sun that warms him to give him energy, the miller who grinds him between two stones.

Originale screenprint by Paul Bommer (da qui)

THE DEATH-REBIRTH OF KING BARLEY

spirito-granoIt is narrated the death of the King of Barley according to myths and beliefs that date back to the beginning of the peasant culture, customs that were followed in England in these forms until the early decades of the ‘900.
According to James George Frazier in “The Golden Bough“, anciently “John” was chosen among the youth of the tribe and treated like a king for a year; at the appointed time, however, he was killed, following a macabre ritual: his body was dragged across the fields so that the blood soaked the earth and fed the barley.

More recently in the Celtic peasant tradition the spirit of the wheat entered the reaper who cut the last sheaf (who symbolically killed the god) and he had to be sacrificed just as described in the song (or at least figuratively and symbolically). see more

However, the spirit of the Wheat-Barley never dies because it is reborn the following year with the new crop, its strength and its ardor are contained in the whiskey that is obtained from the distillation of barley malt!

JOHN BARLEYCORN

“The Pleasant ballad” was set to the tune “Shall I Lie Beyond Thee?” on the broadside.63  This tune is quoted by a number of sources by a variety of very similar titles, including “Lie Lulling Beyond Thee” .  It is this writer’s belief from a variety of considerations, including Simpson 64 that these are one and the same tune.  There has been some confusion regarding the use of the tune “Stingo” for various members of the family.  Several publications say that John Barleycorn should be sung to this tune, (including Dixon), and some people have assumed this was the tune for “The Pleasant Ballad.”  These impressions seem to have originated from Chappell 65, who meant that “Stingo” was the tune for another member of the family “The Little Barleycorne”, a view which accords with his own comments on the version in the Roxburghe Ballads 66, with Simpson, and Baring-Gould who says ‘[Stingo] is not the air used in the broadsides nor in the west of England’ 67.  Two further tunes, “The Friar & the Nun” and “Twas when the seas were roaring”, are mentioned by Simpson.  Mas Mault has been suggested to be set to the tune “Triumph and Joy”, the original title of “Greensleeves”. 68 (Pete Wood)

In fact, as many as 45 different melodies have been used for centuries for this ballad, and Pete Wood analyzes the four most common melodies.

 MELODY 1

The 1906 version of John Stafford published by Sharp in English Folk Songs is probably the melody that comes closest to the time of James I
The Young Tradition

MELODY DIVES AND LAZARUS

The Shepherd Haden version became “standard” for being included in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.T

Traffic (Learned by Mike Waterson)

Traffic lyrics
I
There was three men come out of the West
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn(1) must die.
II
They ploughed, they sowed, they harrowed him in
Throwing clods all on his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John barleycorn was Dead.
III
They’ve left him in the ground for a very long time
Till the rains from heaven did fall
Then little Sir John’s sprung up his head
And so amazed them all
IV
They’ve left him in the ground till the Midsummer
Till he’s grown both pale and wan
Then little Sir John’s grown a long, long beard
And so become a man.
V
They hire’d men with their scythes so sharp
To cut him off at the knee.
They’ve bound him and tied him around the waist
Serving him most barb’rously
VI
They hire’d men with their sharp pitch-forks
To prick him to the heart
But the drover he served him worse than that
For he’s bound him to the cart.
VII
They’ve rolled him around and around the field
Till they came unto a barn
And there they made a solemn mow
Of Little Sir John Barleycorn
VIII
They’ve hire’d men with their crab-tree sticks
To strip him skin from bone
But the miller, he served him worse than that,
For he’s ground him between two stones.
IX
Here’s Little sir John in the nut-brown bowl(2)
And brandy in the glass
But Little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl’s
Proved the stronger man at last
X
For the hunts man he can’t hunt the fox
Nor so loudly blow his horn
And the tinker, he can’t mend Kettles or pots
Without a little of Sir John Barleycorn.
NOTES
1)  the spirit of beer and whiskey
2) The cask of walnut or oak used today to age the whiskey

Jetro Tull live


Damh The Bard from The Hills They Are Hollow

JOHN BARLEYCORN, MELODY 3

The version of Robert Pope taken by Vaughan Williams in his Folk Song Suite
version for choir and orchestra

JOHN BARLEYCORN, MELODY 4

from Shropshire
Fred Jordan live

Jean-François Millet - Buckwheat Harvest Summer 1868
Jean-François Millet – Buckwheat Harvest Summer 1868

JOHN BARLEYCORN BY ROBERT BURNS

The version published by Robert Burns in 1782, reworks the ancient folk song and becomes the basis of subsequent versions

The first 3 stanzas are similar to the standard version, apart from the three kings coming from the east to make the solemn oath to kill John Barleycorn, in fact in the English version the three men arrive from the West: to me personally the hypothesis that Burnes he wanted to point out the 3 Magi Kings … it does not seem pertinent to the deep pagan substratum of history: Christianity (or the cult of the God of Light) doesnt want to kill the King of the Wheat, unless you identify the king of the Grain with the Christ (a “blasphemous” comparison that was immediately removed from subsequent versions).

History is the detailed transformation of the grain spirit, grown strong and healthy during the summer, reaped and threshed as soon as autumn arrives, and turned into alcohol; and the much more detailed description (always compared to the standard version) of the pleasures that it provides to men, so that they can draw from the drink, intoxication and inspiration. Burns was notoriously a great connoisseur of whiskey and the last verse is right in his style!

The indicated melody is Lull [e] Me Beyond Thee; other melodies that fit the lyrics are “Stingo” (John Playford, 1650) and “Up in the Morning Early”
The version of the Tickawinda takes up part of the text by singing the stanzas I, II, III, V, VII, XV

Robert Burns
I
There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.
II
They took a  plough and plough’d him down,
Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead
III
But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show’rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris’d them all
IV
The sultry suns  of Summer came,
And he grew  thick and strong,
His head weel   arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
That no one  should him wrong.
V
The sober Autumn enter’d mild,
When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head
Show’d he began to fail.
VI
His coulour sicken’d more and more,
He faded into age;
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.
VII
They’ve taen a weapon, long and sharp,
And cut him by the knee;
Then ty’d him fast upon a cart,
Like a rogue for forgerie(1).
VIII
They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell’d him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turn’d him o’er and o’er.
IX
They filled up a darksome pit
With water to the brim,
They heaved in John Barleycorn,
There let him sink or swim
X
They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him farther woe,
And still, as signs of life appear’d,
They toss’d him to and fro.
XI
They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a Miller us’d him worst of all,
For he crush’d him between two stones.
XII
And they hae taen his very heart’s blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound.
XIII
John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
‘Twill make your courage rise.
XIV
‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy:
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.
XV
Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!
NOTES
1) the condemned to death were transported to the place of the gallows on a cart for the public mockery

Steeleye Span from Below the Salt 1972


I (Spoken)
There were three men
Came from the west
Their fortunes for to tell,
And the life of John Barleycorn as well.
II
They laid him in three furrows deep,
Laid clods upon his head,
Then these three man made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn was dead.
III
The let him die for a very long time
Till the rain from heaven did fall,
Then little Sir John sprang up his head
And he did amaze them all.
IV
They let him stand till the midsummer day,
Till he looked both pale and wan.
The little Sir John he grew a long beard
And so became a man.
CHORUS:
Fa la la la, it’s a lovely day
Fa la la la lay o
Fa la la la, it’s a lovely day
Sing fa la la la lay
V
They have hired men with the scythes so sharp,
To cut him off at the knee,
The rolled him and they tied him around the waist,
They served him barbarously.
VI
They have hired men with the crab-tree sticks,
To cut him skin from bone,
And the miller has served him worse than that,
For he’s ground him between two stones.
VII
They’ve wheeled him here,
they’ve wheeled him there,
They’ve wheeled him to a barn,
And thy have served him worse than that,
They’ve bunged him in a vat.
VIII
They have worked their will on John Barleycorn
But he lived to tell the tale,
For they pour him out of an old brown jug
And they call him home brewed ale(1).
NOTES
1) The oldest drink in the world obtained from the fermentation of various cereals. The beer originally was classified out as “beer” (with hops) and “ale” (without hops) . Its processing processes start with a spontaneous fermentation of the starch (ie the sugar) that is the main component in cereals, when they come into contact with water, due to wild yeasts contained in the air. And just as in bread, female food, EARTH, WATER, AIR and FIRE combine magically to give life to a divine food that strengthens and inebriates.
The English term of homebrewing or the art of home-made beer translates into Italian with an abstruse word: domozimurgia and domozimurgo is the producer of homemade beer in which domo, is the Latin root for “home”; zimurgo is the one who practices “zimurgy”, or the science of fermentation processes. The domozimurgo is therefore the one who, within his own home, studies, applies and experiments the alchemy of fermentation. Making beer for your own consumption (including that of the inevitable friends and relatives) is absolutely legal as well as fun and relatively simple although you never stop learning through the exchange of experiences and experimentati
on
see more

And finally the COLLAGE of the versions of Tickawinda, Avalon Rising, John Renbourn, Lanterna Lucis Viriditatis, Xenis Emputae, Travelling Band, Louis Killen, Traffic

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/barleycorn.htm
http://www.musicaememoria.com/JohnBarleycorn2.htm
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/j_barley.htm
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14888
http://www.omniscrit.com/2013/01/who-was-john-barleycorn-folk-song-and.html

Oh, are ye sleepin’ Maggie?

Leggi in italiano

From the tradition of “night visiting songs” the text is attributed to the Scottish poet Robert Tannahill and in fact various findings place the story in the woods of Paisley. ( in ‘The Poems and Songs of Robert Tannahill’ – 1874  assigned as a “Sleeping Maggie” melody.)
The heroine of this song was Margaret Pollock, a cousin of the Author by the mother’s side. She was the eldest daughter of Matthew Pollock (3rd) of Boghall, by his second marriage (mentioned in the Memoir of the Tannahills); and it is very probable the Poet beheld such an evening as he had described, in walking from Paisley over the high road to his uncle’s farm steading in Beith Parish. Margaret Pollock afterwards lived in family with William Lochhead, Ryveraes, and she and Mrs. Lochhead frequently sang that song together. Miss Pollock died unmarried (from here)

NIGHT VISITING IN DARK STYLE

The scene described is not really autobiographical (pheraps more in keeping with Robert Burns‘s temperament): the protagonist arrives at Maggy’s house in a dark and stormy night (the picture is rather gothic: an icy winter wind raging in the woods , a night of new moon without stars, the disturbing moaning of the owl, the iron gate that slams against the hinges) and he hopes that in the meantime the lover has not fallen asleep, letting come him in secret! And then no more worries or fears in the arms of Maggy every gloomy thought is dissolved!

http://www.jinua.com/movie/Sleepy-Hollow/
http://www.jinua.com/movie/Sleepy-Hollow/

I must mention the version collected by Hamish Henderson from the voice of Jeannie Robertson (see fragment of 1960) which shows a different melody from that later made famous by Tannahill Weavers.

The song was made known to the general public by the Tannahill Weavers, the good “weavers” of Robert Tannahill, also by Paisley,
At the moment you can find several live versions on you tube, but the best performances of the group are two: one in Mermaid’s Song 1992 (listen from Spotify) a faster version integrated with the reel “The Noose In The Ghillies” (with Roy Gullane , Phil Smillie, Iain MacInnes, Kenny Forsyth) and the first in Are Ye Sleeping Maggie 1976 with Roy Gullane, Phil Smillie, Hudson Swan, and Dougie MacLean (fiddle). In this first version the melody is slower and full of atmosphere (with hunder, wind and the rain effect)

Tannahill Weavers from Are Ye Sleeping Maggie 1976

Dougie Maclean (who collaborated with Tannahill Weavers from 1974 and until 1977 and then toured with them in 1980) in Real Estate -1988 and also in Tribute 1995


I
Mirk and rainy is the nicht,
there’s no’ a starn in a’ the carry(1)
Lichtnin’s gleam athwart the lift,
and (cauld) winds dive wi’ winter’s fury.
CHORUS
Oh, are ye sleepin’ Maggie
Oh, are ye sleepin’ Maggie
let me in, for loud the linn
is roarin'(2) o’er the Warlock Craigie(3).
II
Fearfu’ soughs the boortree(4) bank
The rifted wood roars wild an’ dreary.
Loud the iron yett(5) does clank,
An’ cry o’ howlets mak’s me eerie.
III
Aboon my breath I daurna’ speak
For fear I rouse your waukrif’ daddie;
Cauld’s the blast upon my cheek,
O rise, rise my bonnie ladie.
IV
She op’d the door, she let him in
I cuist aside my dreepin’ plaidie(6).
‘Blaw your warst, ye rain and win’
Since, Maggie, now I’m in aside ye.
V
Now, since ye’re waukin’, Maggie,
Now, since ye’re waukin’, Maggie,
What care I for howlet’s cry,
For boortree bank or warlock craigie?
English translation
I
Dark and rainy is the night
there’s no star in all the carry
lightning flashes gleam across the sky
and cold winds drive with winters fury.
CHORUS
Oh, are you sleeping Maggie
Oh, are you sleeping Maggie
let me in, for the loud the waterfall
is roaring over the warlock crag.
II
Fearful sighs on the elder tree bank
The rifted wood roars wild and dreary
Loud the iron gate does clank,
And cry of owls makes me fearful.
III
Above my breath I dare not speak
For fear I rouse your wakeful father
Cold is the blast upon my cheek
O rise, rise my pretty lady.
IV
She opened the door, she let him in
I cast aside my dripping cloak
“Blow your worst, you rain and wind
Since, Maggie, now I’m beside you.”
V
Now, since you’re woken, Maggie
Now, since you’re woken, Maggie
What care I for owl’s cry,
For elder tree bank or warlock crag?

NOTES
1) carry is for sky, “the direction in which clouds are carried by the wind”
2) howling
3) warlock crag is the name of a waterfall at Lochwinnoch that forms a large pool or a small pond
4) elder tree in which the fairies prefer to dwell
5) yett is gett according to the ancient custom of writing the two vowels interchangeably
6) plaidie  see more

Great horned owl and chicks. Image size 5.6 by 7.9 inches @ 300 dpi. Photo credit: © Scott Copeland

SLEEPY & DROWSY MAGGY REELS

“Sleepy Maggie” is a reel in two-part and is often paired with the “Drowsy Maggie” reel, sometimes the two melodies are, mistakenly, confused. In the version of Francis O’Neill and James O’Neill (in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland) it is in 3 parts.

Sleepy Maggie as reported by Fidder’s Companion is a traditional Scottish melody whose oldest transcribed source is in Duke of Perth Manuscript or Drummond Castle Manuscript (1734)

Sleepy Maggie is also known in Ireland under different names “Lough Isle Castle,” “Seán sa Cheo” or “Tullaghan Lassies” and is the model for “Jenny’s Chickens”.

Samuel Melton Fisher, Asleep, (1902)
Samuel Melton Fisher, Asleep, (1902)

“Drowsy Maggie” is instead a traditional Irish tune in 2, 3 or 4 parts, but much more popular at least at the recording level (it will be for its appearance in the movie “Titanic”!)

Gaelic Storm  (Titanic Set) – of course there is also the Scottish version: usually slow part and then it gets faster and faster so the title between in deception because there is nothing “sleepy” in the melody that comes to a final paroxysm .

SLEEPY MAGGIE

Sleepy Maggie Alasdair Fraser on fiddle
Sleepy Maggie
Gabriele Possenti  on a Mcilroy AS 65c (C)
Tullaghan Lassies Fidil Irish Fiddle trio
Jenny’s Chickens Shanon Corr on fiddle

DROWSY MAGGIE
John Simie Doherty Donegal fiddle master
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann live

The Chieftains 
 

Driftwood (Joe Nunn on fiddle)

Jake Wise live

Rock versions
Dancing Willow an Irish folk band from Münster (Germany)
DNA Strings from Cape Town ( South Africa)
Lack of limits faster more and more

 

LINKS
http://archive.org/details/poemssongsofrobe00tannrich
http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/64522/1;
jsessionid=B312B09442ED31BB18C4FDA5E2E2BB59

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59687
http://members.aol.com/tannahillweavers/
http://www.lochwinnoch.info/tales/warlock-craigie.php
http://thesession.org/tunes/787
http://thesession.org/tunes/27
http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/SLA_SLE.htm#SLEEPY_MAGGY/MAGGIE

There grows a bonie brier-bush

Leggi in italiano

“There grows a bonie brier-bush” is a traditional Scottish song modified by Robert Burns for editorial purpose and published in 1796 in the “Scots Musical Museum”; the double meaning concerned both the allusion to the relationship between a Jacobite rebel “Highland laddie” and a “Lowland lassie” follower of King George that the erotic context of the relationship (as we find it in the variant”The Cuckoo’s nest“)

Jean Redpath in Songs of Robert Burns, Vol. 3 & 4 1996
Junkman’s Choir in The Burns Sessions – Footage of recordings from inside Robert Burns’ Cottage, Alloway, Scotland (January 2018)

I
There grows a bonnie
brier-bush (1) in our kail-yard (2),
There grows a bonnie
brier-bush in our kail-yard;
And below the bonnie brier-bush
there’s a lassie and a lad,
And they’re busy, busy
courting in our kail-yard.
II
We’ll court nae mair below
the buss in our kail-yard,
We’ll court nae mair below
the buss in our kail-yard;
We’ll awa to Athole’s green (3),
and there we’ll no be seen,
Whare the trees and the branches
will be our safe-guard.
III
‘ Will ye go to the dancin
in Carlyle’s ha’ (4)?
Will ye go to the dancin
in Carlyle’s ha’ ?
Where Sandy (5) and Nancy
I’m sure will ding (6) them a’?’
‘ I winna gang to the dance
in Carlyle ha.’
IV
What will I do for a lad
when Sandy gangs awa?
What will I do for a lad
when Sandy gangs awa ?
I will awa to Edinburgh,
and win a penny fee (7),
And see an onie bonnie lad
will fancy me.
V
He’s comin frae the North
that’s to fancy me,
He’s comin frae the North
that’s to fancy me ;
A feather in his bonnet
and a ribbon at his knee (8),
He ‘s a bonnie, bonnie laddie,
and yon be he !

NOTES
Enghish translation *
1) in the ballads the rose is not only “a rose” but it is the symbol of love, symbolizes here the loss of virginity, the thorns are also a memento to the dangers of a sexuality outside of marriage
2) kail-yard is the garden in front of the door of the cottage, it has become synonymous with a group of storytellers of the end of the 19th century who often described Scottish rural life, often using dialectal forms.
3) Athole: Atholl is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands and derives its name from the Gaelic “ath Fodla” or New Ireland following the invasions in the island of the Irish tribes in the seventh century, Athole is the old name for the area of Perthshire

4) “Carlisle Castle is situated in Carlisle, in the English county of Cumbria, near the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it has been the centre of many wars and invasions. The most important battles for the city of Carlisle and its castle were during the Jacobite rising of 1745 against George II of Great Britain” (da Wiki)
5) Sandy is short for Alexander
6) to ding= overcome; wear out, weary; to beat, excel, get the better of.
7) panny fee= wages
8) in the eighteenth century there were no stretch fabrics so as to support the socks to the calves of the man (and the thighs of women) were used garters or ribbons turned several times around the leg and knotted (among which we must hide a small dagger) , even those who wore pants (adhering a bit like a tights) used to tie ribbons under the knee

LINK
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/kailyard.htm
http://sangstories.webs.com/cuckoosnest.htm
http://www.cobbler.plus.com/wbc/poems/translations/533.htm
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=86781
http://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/90262457
https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/14959

There grows a bonie brier-bush

Read the post in English  

“There grows a bonie brier-bush” è una canzone tradizionale scozzese modificata da Robert Burns per esigenze editoriali e pubblicata nel 1796 nello “Scots Musical Museum“; il doppio senso riguardava sia l’allusione alla relazione tra un ribelle giacobita “Highland laddie”  e una “Lowland lassie” seguace di re Giorgio che il contesto erotico della relazione (così come lo ritroviamo nella variante “The Cuckoo’s nest“)

Jean Redpath in Songs of Robert Burns, Vol. 3 & 4 1996
Junkman’s Choir in The Burns Sessions – Footage of recordings from inside Robert Burns’ Cottage, Alloway, Scotland (January 2018)


I
There grows a bonnie
brier-bush (1) in our kail-yard (2),
There grows a bonnie
brier-bush in our kail-yard;
And below the bonnie brier-bush
there’s a lassie and a lad,
And they’re busy, busy
courting in our kail-yard.
II
We’ll court nae mair below
the buss in our kail-yard,
We’ll court nae mair below
the buss in our kail-yard;
We’ll awa to Athole’s green (3),
and there we’ll no be seen,
Whare the trees and the branches
will be our safe-guard.
III
‘ Will ye go to the dancin
in Carlyle’s ha’ (4)?
Will ye go to the dancin
in Carlyle’s ha’ ?
Where Sandy (5) and Nancy (6)
I’m sure will ding (7) them a’?’
‘ I winna gang to the dance
in Carlyle ha.’
IV
What will I do for a lad
when Sandy gangs awa?
What will I do for a lad
when Sandy gangs awa ?
I will awa to Edinburgh,
and win a penny fee (8),
And see an onie bonnie lad
will fancy me.
V
He’s comin frae the North
that’s to fancy me,
He’s comin frae the North
that’s to fancy me ;
A feather in his bonnet
and a ribbon at his knee (9),
He ‘s a bonnie, bonnie laddie,
and yon be he !
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Nel nostro orto in cortile
cresce una bella rosa selvatica,
nel nostro orto in cortile
cresce una bella rosa selvatica
e sotto al bel rovo
ci sono una ragazza e un ragazzo
molti affaccendati
ad amoreggiare nel nostro orto
II
Non amoreggeremo più sotto
al cespuglio di rose nel nostro orto
non amoreggeremo più sotto
al cespuglio di rose nel nostro orto
partiremo per le praterie di Atholl,
e là non saremo più spiati
dove gli alberi e i rami
ci faranno da riparo
III
“Andrai al ballo
nel salone di Carlyle?
Andrai al ballo
Nel salone di Carlyle?
Dove Sandro e Agnese
di certo li batteranno tutti”
“Non andrò al ballo
nel salone di Carlyle”
IV
Come troverò un ragazzo
se Sandro se ne andrà?
Come troverò un ragazzo
se Sandro se ne andrà?
Andrò a Edimburgo
a guadagnarmi un salario
e vedere se un bel ragazzo
mi vorrà bene
V
Viene dal Nord
colui che mi sposerà
Viene dal Nord
colui che mi sposerà
Una piuma sul berretto
e un nastro alle ginocchia
E’ un bel, bel ragazzo
e da làggiù lui viene!

NOTE
1) nelle ballate la rosa non è solo “una rosa” ma è il simbolo della passione amorosa, simboleggia qui la perdita della verginità, le spine sono anche un memento ai pericoli di una sessualità fuori dal matrimonio
2) kail-yard è l’orticello davanti alla porta del cottage, è diventato sinonimo di gruppo di narratori di fine ’800 che descrissero, spesso servendosi di forme dialettali, la vita rurale scozzese.
3) Athole: Atholl si trova nel cuore delle Highlands scozzesi e deriva il nome dal gaelico “ath Fodla” ovvero Nuova Irlanda conseguente alle invasioni nell’isola delle tribù irlandesi nel VII sec, Athole è l’antico nome per l’area del Perthshire
4) “Il Castello di Carlisle  è un castello medievale inglese che si trova nella città di Carlisle, in Cumbria. Il castello ha oltre novecento anni ed è stato scenario di molti importanti episodi militari della storia inglese. Data la sua vicinanza ai confini fra Inghilterra e Scozia, fu per tutto il medioevo luogo di scontri e di invasioni. Le più importanti battaglie vissute però dalla città e dal castello di Carlisle furono durante le rivolte giacobite contro Giorgio I e Giorgio II, rispettivamente nel 1715 e nel 1745.” (da Wiki)
5) Sandy diminutivo di Alessandro
6) Nancy nel Settecento veniva usato come diminutivo di Anne ma anche più anticamente era il diminutivo di Annis (la forma medievale di Agnese)
7) to ding è un verbo scossese usato nel senso di eccellere, avere la meglio, superare, nel contesto vuole indicare la bravura della coppia di danzatori al gran ball di Carlisle
8) panny fee= wages
9) nel Settecento non esistevano i tessuti elasticizzati così per reggere le calze ai polpacci dell’uomo ( e alle cosce delle donne) si usavano delle giarrettiere o dei nastri girati più volte intorno alla gamba e annodati (tra cui alla bisogna si nascondeva un piccolo pugnale), anche chi portava i pantaloni (aderenti un po’ come una calzamaglia) usava annodare dei nastri sotto al ginocchio

FONTI
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/kailyard.htm
http://sangstories.webs.com/cuckoosnest.htm
http://www.cobbler.plus.com/wbc/poems/translations/533.htm
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=86781
http://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/90262457
https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/14959

Wee Willie Gray

Read the post in English
Testo: Robert Burns
Melodia: Wee Totum Fogg.
1795

 

Il Duca di Leeds da bambino ritratto di Hans Hausing, 1726

Robert Burns riporta per lo “Scots Musical Museum” un frammento di una canzoncina popolare (rielabarota da lui basandosi su pochi versi) dal titolo “Wee Willie Gray”. Una canzoncina per bambini in cui il piccolo Willy si veste con la corteccia del salice, i petali delle rose e dei gigli. Il piccolo Willy Gray è forse un folletto o un personaggio un po’ tonto dei racconti popolari,  anche se non si esclude che Robbie abbia voluto alludere ironicamente a qualche persona di sua conoscenza.
Ci immaginiamo il piccolo Willy che indossa il costume delle Highlands, con un tessuto in tartan a base rosso, e il caratteristico berretto, lo Scottish Bonnet che a partire dal 1700 viene abbellito da una coccarda, l’emblema del clan e una piuma.
Il completino è abbinato all’immancabile mantello in tartan (plaid)
In sintonia con il buffo personaggio anche la melodia (che alcuni studiosi ritengono composta da Robert Burns) è una saltellante hornpipe del Border.

Tony Cuffe & Rod Paterson in The Complete Songs of Robert Burns, Vol. 1 (Linn Records)


I
WEE Willie Gray,
an’ his leather wallet (1);
Peel a willie (2) wand,
to be him boots and jacket.
The rose upon the breer
will be him trouse an’ doublet,
The rose upon the breer
will be him trouse an’ doublet.
II
Wee Willie Gray,
and his leather wallet;
Twice a lily-flower
will be him sark and cravat (3);
Feathers of a flee
wad feather up his bonnet (4),
Feathers of a flee
wad feather up his bonnet.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Piccolo Willy Gray
e la sua scarsella
scorteccia una bacchetta di salice
per farsi gli stivali e la marsina:
la rosa sullo spino
sarà le sue braghe e il farsetto
la rosa sullo spino
sarà le sue braghe e il farsetto.
II
Piccolo Willy Gray
e la sua scarsella
due volte il giglio
sarà la sua camicia e la cravatta
la ali di una mosca
saranno le piume del berretto
la ali di una mosca
saranno le piume del  berretto

NOTE
1) Nel settecento il portafoglio era una scarsella che si portava agganciata alla cintura e conteneva sia le banconote che del cibo. Era considerato uno status symbol, relativamente all’agiatezza di chi lo indossava. Il portafoglio piatto come lo conosciamo oggi nasce piuttosto nell’Ottocento
2) willie= willow. Nelle leggende una bacchetta di salice è la bacchetta magica degli stregoni, oltre all’assonanza con il nome Willy non posso fare a meno di  pensare alla figura della scottish country dance chiamata “streep the willow”



3) La cravatta nel 700 era una sciarpa di mussola (con bordi impreziositi da trine e ricami a seconda dell’occasione) girata una o più volte intorno al collo e annodata sul davanti con un fiocco o un nodo semplice. Per lo più bianca dopo la rivoluzione francese diventa sinonimo di controrivoluzionari.
4) è il blue bonnet la cui foggia  risale al 1500 e che ha dato il soprannome di ‘Bluebonnets’ agli Highlanders

FONTI
https://www.padandquill.com/blog/2017/03/09/wallet-origins-and-history/
http://www.cobbler.plus.com/wbc/poems/translations/615.htm
http://burnsscotland.com/items/v/volume-vi,-song-514,-page-530-wee-willie-gray

Wee Willie Gray

Leggi in italiano
Lyrics: Robert Burns
Tune: Wee Totum Fogg.
1795

The Duke of Leeds as a child, in Highland costume, by Hans Hausing, 1726

Robert Burns reports for the “Scots Musical Museum” a fragment of a popular song (revived by him based on a few traditional verses) entitled “Wee Willie Gray”. A little children song in which little Willy dresses with the bark of the willow, the petals of roses and lilies. The little Willy Gray is perhaps an elf or a jerky character of lore, or pheraps Robbie wanted to allude ironically to some person of his knowledge.

We imagine the little Willy all dresses in the Highland costume, with a red-based tartan fabric, and the distinctive cap, the Scottish Bonnet that since 1700 is embellished with a rosette, the emblem of the clan and a feather. The look is outfitted with a tartan coat (plaid)
In tune with the funny character also the melody (which some scholars believe composed by Robert Burns) is jumping, double hornpipe from the Borders.

Tony Cuffe & Rod Paterson in The Complete Songs of Robert Burns, Vol. 1 (Linn Records)

I
WEE Willie Gray,
an’ his leather wallet (1);
Peel a willie (2) wand,
to be him boots and jacket.
The rose upon the breer
will be him trouse an’ doublet,
The rose upon the breer
will be him trouse an’ doublet.
II
Wee Willie Gray,
and his leather wallet;
Twice a lily-flower
will be him sark and cravat (3);
Feathers of a flee
wad feather up his bonnet (4),
Feathers of a flee
wad feather up his bonnet.

NOTES
for English translation
1) By the 1700s, wallets were still purse attached to the hip and carried everything from old notes to bits of food. It was considered a status symbol, relative to the comfort of the wearer. The flat portfolio as we know it today arises rather in the nineteenth century
2) willie= willow. In the legends a wand of willow is the magic wand, but it recalls the figure of the scottish country dance called “streep the willow”



3) The tie in the 700 was a muslin scarf (with borders embellished with lace and embroidery depending on the occasion) turned one or more times around the neck and knotted at the front with a bow or a simple knot. Mostly white after the French revolution, it became synonymous with counter-revolutionaries.
4) It is the blue bonnet whose style dates back to 1500s and which gave the nickname of ‘Bluebonnets’ to the Highlanders

LINK
https://www.padandquill.com/blog/2017/03/09/wallet-origins-and-history/
http://www.cobbler.plus.com/wbc/poems/translations/615.htm
http://burnsscotland.com/items/v/volume-vi,-song-514,-page-530-wee-willie-gray