The Streams of Bunclody

An emigration song written by an Irishman in America it is a nostalgic lament for his village Bunclody, on the Slaney River in Wexford County. The period is that of mid-late nineteenth century, although the date of its first publication is 1903 (in “Music of Ireland” by Neill). From America the song has rebounded in Ireland.
Also titled “The Maid of Bunclody” this song begins with the verse “Oh were I at the moss house“, the melody is quite similar “Cuckoo is a pretty bird ” which also includes a stanza: the verses are a classic of the genre , the nostalgia for a girl from which the protagonist had to leave because of economic hardship, the nostalgia for the village where he spent his youth and left all his relatives.

[Una emigration song scritta da un irlandese in America e nostalgico della sua Bunclody, sul fiume Slaney nella contea di Wexford. Il periodo è quello di metà-fine Ottocento, anche se la data della sua prima pubblicazione è il 1903 (in “Music of Ireland” di Neill). Dall’America la canzone è rimbalzata in Irlanda.
Anche intitolata “The Maid of Bunclody“, inizia con il verso “Oh were I at the moss house”, la melodia è abbastanza simile a “Cuckoo is a pretty bird” di cui riprende anche una strofa: i versi sono un classico del genere, la nostalgia per la ragazza da cui il protagonista si è dovuto allontanare a causa della ristrettezze economiche, la nostalgia per il paesello dove ha trascorso la sua gioventù e ha lasciato tutti i suoi parenti.]

In spite of this song’s popularity, there is remarkably little information on it; the Roud index gives only one example – the version recorded from Mrs Nellie Walsh of Wexford in 1948. Colm O Lochlainn gives a version of it in his ‘Irish Street Ballads entitled ‘The Maid of Bunclody and the Lad She Loves so Dear’ which he says he learned from his father, who came from Kilkenny. It seems to have first appeared in print in a Broadside version published in 1846. There is a local tradition that ‘The Streams of Bunclody’ was written in America by an immigrant from County Wicklow and sent back to Ireland

Jim Carroll

Nonostante la popolarità della canzone abbiamo poche informazioni su di essa; l’indice Roud cita un solo esempio – la versione registrata da Nellie Walsh di Wexford nel 1948. Colm O Lochlainn riporta una versione in ‘Irish Street Ballads” dal titolo ‘The Maid of Bunclody and the Lad She Loves so Dear’ che ci dice aver appreso dal padre, il quale proveniva da Kilkenny. Pare sia stata stampata la prima volta in un Broadside del 1846.”
(Jim Carroll)

A local historian Fr. Séamus de Vál is convinced that the current version of the melody derives from the transcription in the book “Irish Street Ballads” published in 1939 by Colm Ó Lochlainn of Kilkenny, a version that became popular after the performance of the group ” Emmet Spiceland “when they sang it at Croke Park for the 1968 hurling final.
For the local people melody see in the session page

Uno studioso di storia locale Fr. Séamus de Vál è convinto che la versione attuale della melodia derivi proprio dalla trascrizione nel libro “Irish Street Ballads” pubblicato nel 1939 da Colm Ó Lochlainn di Kilkenny, una versione diventata popolare dopo l’esibizione del gruppo “Emmet Spiceland” quando la cantarono a Croke Park per la finale di hurling del 1968.
Per la melodia originaria della popolazione locale vedi  https://thesession.org/tunes/12770

Luke Kelly

Sam Lee – The Moss House – live on The Ayala Show

Sean Doyle in The Light and the Half-Light 2004

Studio Group in Wold Music Ireland Vol. 1 2006

Deirdre Starr in “Between the Half Light” 2016

Oh were I at the moss house (1), where the birds do increase,
At the foot of Mount Leinster or some silent place,
By the streams of Bunclody where all pleasures do meet,
And all I would ask is one kiss from you, sweet.

Oh the streams of Bunclody they flow down so free,
By the streams of Bunclody I'm longing to be,
A-drinking strong liquor in the height of my cheer,
Here's a health to Bunclody and the lass I love dear.

The cuckoo (2) is a pretty good bird, it sings as it flies,
It brings us good tidings, and tells us no lies,
It sucks the young birds' eggs to make its voice clear
And the more it cries cuckoo the summer draws near (3).

If I was a clerk and could write a good hand,
I would write to my true-love that she might understand,
For I am a young fellow who is wounded in love
Once I lived in Bunclody, but now must remove.

If I was a lark and had wings I could fly
I would go to yon arbour where my love she does lie,
I'd proceed to yon arbour where my true love does lie,
And on her fond bosom contented I would die.

'Tis why my love slights me, as you may understand,
That she has a freehold and I have no land,
She has great store of riches, and a large sum of gold,
And everything fitting a house to uphold.

So fare you well father and my mother, adieu
My sister and brother farewell unto you,
I am bound for America my fortune to try,
When I think on Bunclody, I'm ready to die.

NOTES
1) As early as 1700, moss was used as an insulator and sealant in country houses.
Sometimes the cottage was built on a layer of moss or near by shrub covered with moss

or with moss on the roof
2) the cuckoo (male) no longer sings once the season of love is over (end of May);

the cuckoo is like a seer for his alleged longevity. see
3) floating verses from the song of the cuckoo 
The cuckoo is a fine bird he sings as he flies,
He brings us good tidings and tells us no lies.
He sucks the sweet flowers to make his voice clear,
And the more he cries cuckoo, the summer is nigh 

Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
Oh vorrei essere nella casetta con il muschio (1),
dove gli uccelli prosperano,
ai piedi del Monte Leinster o in un altro luogo solitario,
presso i torrenti di Bunclody dove si riuniscono tutti i piaceri,
e tutto ciò che chiederei è un tuo bacio, mia cara.

Oh i torrenti di Bunclody scorrono liberi,
vorrei essere presso i torrenti di Bunclody,
a bere liquore forte all'apice della gioia,
alla salute di Bunclody e della ragazza che amo.

Il cuculo (2) è un bel uccellino, canta in volo,
ci porta buone notizie, e non dice bugie,
succhia le uova degli uccellini per schiarire la voce (3)
e più egli grida, più l'estate si avvicina.

Se fossi uno studioso e sapessi scrivere bene
scriverei al mio amore affinchè capisca,
che io sono un giovanotto ferito dall'amore
che un tempo viveva a Bunclody, ma che ora deve partire.

Se fossi un allodola con le ali volerei
e vorrei andare in quel pergolato dove giace il mio amore,
mi dirigerei verso quel pergolato dove giace il mio amore,
e sul suo amato seno potrei morire contento.

Ecco perchè il mio amore mi ignora, come si può ben capire,
perchè lei è benestante e io non ho terra,
lei ha tante proprietà e una grande somma in oro
e tutto quanto necessario per mantenere una casa.

Così addio padre caro e madre, addio
sorella e fratello addio anche a voi
sono in partenza per l'America a cercare la fortuna
quando penso a Bunclody, sono pronto a morire.

NOTE
1) Già dal 1700 il muschio veniva utilizzato come isolante e sigillante 

nelle case di campagna o nei capanni dei taglialegna/cacciatori.
Talvolta si costruiva sopra uno strato di muschio o si addossava le abitazioni ad arbusti
ricoperti da muschio e, bagnando la costruzione, si velocizzava il suo processo di crescita.
2) il canto del cuculo è foriero di Primavera, anche perchè una volta terminata la stagione

dell’amore (fine maggio), il cuculo (maschio) non canta più.
La sua presunta longevità (nei proverbi si dice “”Vecchio come il cucco”) lo ha trasformato
in veggente.  vedi
3) versi fluttuanti dalla canzone del cuculo
The cuckoo is a fine bird he sings as he flies,
He brings us good tidings and tells us no lies.
He sucks the sweet flowers to make his voice clear,
And the more he cries cuckoo, the summer is nigh

Blow the man down sea shanty

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“Blow  the man down”, that is to knock a man down or strike with a fist, belaying pin or capstan bar, is a popular sea shanty.

There are a great variety of texts of this halyard shanty, with the same melody, and after the version for the cartoon character “Popeye” it has also become a song for children!

Billy Costello the voice of the first Popeye

According to Stan Hugill “the shanty was an old Negro song Knock A Man Down. This song, a not so musical version of the later Blow The Man Down, was taken and used by the hoosiers of Mobile Bay, and at a later date carried by white seamen of the Packet Ships.

Knock a man down

The original version probably comes from African-American workers, but ended up in the repertoire of liners along the transatlantic route. In his video Ranzo combines the melody of Stan Hugill with that of John Short: in the first text the shantyman would prefer to be on the ground, to enjoy themselves with drinks and girls.
Hulton Clint

There are three main themes.

FIRST VERSION: prime seamen onboard a Black Ball

The oldest version is the one in which the novice sailors are soon aware of the harsh and violent climate on the Black Baller.

black-ball
In addition to the flag the Black Ball of the Black Ball Line was drawn on the fore-topsail

As Hugill says ” Chief Mates in Western Ocean ships were known as “blowers”, second mates as “strikers”, and third mates as “greasers.”
Packets and Blowers
A Packet ship was one which had a contract to carry packets (formerly “paquettes”) of mail. The earliest and most famous transatlantic packet route was the Liverpool service, started in 1816 by the Black Ball Line, with regular departures from New York on the 1st and 16th of every month without fail, regardless of weather or other inconveniences. These early ships of 300 to 500 tons averaged 23 days for the eastward voyage and 40 days to return westward. Cabin passengers were usually gentlefolk of good breeding, who expected to find courtesy and politeness in the captains with whom they sailed. Packet captains were remarkable men, hearty, bluff, and jovial, but never coarse, always a gentleman.
The mates, on the other hand, had no social duties to distract their attention, and devoted their time and energies to extracting the very maximum of performance from both their vessel and its crew, so it is no surprise that it was on board the Black Ball liners that “belaying pin soup” and “handspike hash” first became familiar items of the shipboard regime. A hard breed of sailor was required to maintain the strict schedules whatever the weather, and it took an even harder breed of mate to keep this rough and ready bunch in some sort of order. If all else failed then then Rule of the Fist applied: to “blow a man down” was to knock him down with any means available – fist, belaying pin, or capstan bar being the weapons most often preferred. (from here)

“Capstan Bars” di David Bone 1932
CHORUS
oh! Blow the man down, bullies.
Blow the man down W-ay! hey?
Blow the man down!
Blow the man down bullies.
Blow him right down, give us the time and we’ll blow the man down!
Come all ye young fellers that follows the sea.
W-ay! hey? Blow the man down!
I’ll sing ye a song if ye’ll listen t’ me.
Give us the time an’ we’ll blow the man down!
‘Twas in a Black Baller I first served my time.
and in a Black Baller I wasted my prime.
‘Tis when a Black Baller’s preparin’ for sea.
Th’sights in th’ fo’ cas’le(1) is funny t’ see
Wi’ sodgers (2) an’ tailors an’ dutchmen an’ all,
As ships for prime seamen(3) aboard th’ Black Ball.
But when th’ Black Baller gets o’ th’ land
it’s then as ye’ll hear th’ sharp word o’ command.
oh! it’s muster ye sodgers an’ tailors an’ sich.
an’ hear ye’re name called by a son of a bitch.
it’s “fore-topsail halyards”(4), th’ Mate(5) he will roar.
“oh, lay along smartly you son of a whore”.
oh, lay along smartly each lousy recroot.
Wor it’s lifted ye’ll be wi’ th’ toe of a boot.

NOTES
1 )the forward part of a ship below the deck, traditionally used as the crew’s living quarters.
2) sodger vvariant of soldier is used as an insult in the sense of ambush, slacker, one who always tries to escape from work, that when there is work, goes away or retires
3) the inexperienced and the novices are good only for the easy maneuvers
4) fore-topsail halyards= In sailing, a halyard or halliard is a line (rope) that is used to hoist a ladder, sail, flag or yard; fore-topsai  the sail above the foresail set on the fore-topmast
5) Mate= first officer

The Seekers


I
Come all ye young fellows that follow the sea
To me weigh hey blow the man down
And pray pay attention and listen to me
Give me some time to blow the man down
I’m a deep water sailor just in from Hong Kong
If you’ll give me some rum I’ll sing you a song-
II
T’was on a Black Baller I first spent my time
And on that Black Baller I wasted my prime
T’is when a Black Baller’s preparing for sea
You’d split your sides laughing at the sights that you see
III
With the tinkers and tailors and soldiers and all
That ship for prime seamen onboard a Black Ball
T’is when a Black Baller is clear of the land
Our boatswain then gives us the word of command
IV
“Lay aft” is the cry “to the break of the poop
Or I’ll help you along with the toe of my boot”
T’is larboard and starboard on the deck you will sprawl
For Kicking Jack Williams commands the Black Ball
Aye first it’s a fist and then it’s a pall
When you ship as a sailor aboard the Black Ball

SECOND  VERSION: I’m a `Flying Fish’ sailor

The second version tells the story of a “flying-fish sailor” just landed in Liverpool from Hong Kong, swapped by a policeman for a “blackballer”. The sailor reacts by throwing the policeman on the ground with a sting and obviously ends up in jail for a few months.

Stan Hugill& Pusser’s Rum from Sailing Songs  (1990)


I’ll sing you a song if you give some gin
To me wey-hey, blow the man down
?? down to the pin
Gimme some time to blow the man down
As I was rolling down Paradise street(1)
a big irish scuffer boy (2) I chanced for to meet,
Says he, “You’re a Blackballer from the cut of your hair(3);
you’re a Blackballer by the clothes that you wear.
“You’ve sailed in a packet that flies the Black Ball,
You’ve robbed some poor Dutchman of boots, clothes and all.”
“O policeman, policeman, you do me great wrong;
I’m a `Flying Fish’ sailor(4) just home from Hongkong!”
So I stove in his face and I smashed in his jaw.
Says he, “Oh young feller, you’re breaking the law!”
They gave me six months in Liverpool town
For bootin’ and a-kickin’ and a-blowing him down.
We’re a Liverpool ship with a Liverpool crew
A Liverpool mate(5) and a Scouse(6) skipper too
We’re Liverpool born and we’re Liverpool bred
Thick in the arm, boys, and thick in the head
Blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down
With a crew of hard cases(7) from Liverpool town

NOTES
1) once the fun way for sailors, the 19th century Paradise street left today the place for Liverpool One,
2 sassy policeman or big Irish copper: scuffer is a typical nineteenth-century term for policeman
3) all the Black Baller line sailors wore their hair cut short
4) According to Hugill a flying-fish sailor is a sailor ” who preferred the lands of the East and the warmth of the Trade Winds to the cold and misery of the Western Ocean
5) first mate
6) scouse is a term used by the people of Liverpool which is also the name given to the local dialect. Originally born from the habits of the sailors of Liverpool to eat the stew of lamb and vegetables probably derived from the Norwegian “skause”. It refers to the English spoken language typical of Irish immigrants
7) hard cases: a tough or intractable person, a person who is hard to get along with.

JOHN SHORT VERSION: Knock a man down

The shantyman John Short sings a very personal version compared to the “Blow the man down” reported in the shanties archives, in the arrangement for the Short Sharp Shanties the authors write ” ” Fox-Smith, Colcord and Doeflinger all comment on the number of different texts which the shanty carried.  Hugill gives six different sets of words and Short’s words are not really related to any of them – so we have added ‘general’ verses from other versions.  Specifically, we’ve added the ‘Market Street’, ‘spat in his face’ and ‘rags are all gone’ verses – the rest are Short’s.”
Sam Lee from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 2 


As I was a-walking down Market street
way ay knock a man down, 
a bully old watchman I chanced for to meet
O give me some time to knock a man down.
Chorus

Knock a man down, kick a man down ;
way ay knock a man down,
knock a man down
right down to the ground,
O give me some time to knock a man down.

The watchman’s dog stood ten feet high (1),
The watchman’s dog stood ten feet high.
So I spat in his face by gave him good jaw
and says he “me young  you’re breaking the law!”
[chorus]
I wish I was in London Town.
It’s there we’d make them girls fly round.
She is a lively ship and a lively crew.
O we are the boys to put her through
[chorus]
The rags are all gone and (?the chains they are jam?)
and the skipper he says  (? “If the weather be high”?)
[chorus]

NOTES
A transcription still incomplete because I can not understand the pronunciation of the final verses
1) it was not unusual that the watchmen since the Middle Ages were accompanied with a dog, as can be seen from many vintage illustrations

THIRD VERSION: Beware of the drink whenever it’s free

000brgcf
The most widespread version is about an unfortunate meeting in Paradise street with a young “damself” sometimes compared to a ship in which, metaphorically, the sailor would want to embark.
The awakening is bitter, because he was shanghaiing on a Yankee ship. (see more)

the Haunted Saloon

I’ll sing you a song, a good song of the sea
Way – hey, blow the man down.
I trust that you’ll join in the chorus with me; Give me some time to blow the man down.
Chorus
Blow the man down, bully, blow the man down; Way – hey, blow the man down.
Blow the man down, boys, from Liverpool town; 
Give me some time to blow the man down.

As I was a-walking down Paradise street
A handsome young damsel I happened to meet
At the pub down on Lime street I then went astray
I drank enough stout for to fill Galway Bay
The next I remember I woke in the dawn
On a tall Yankee clipper that was bound round Cape Horn.
Come all ye young fellows who follow the sea
Beware of the drink whenever it’s free

Woody Guthrie from Songs of American Sailormen, 1988 version collected by Joanna Colcord


As I was out walkin’ down Paradise street(1),
To me way, hey, blow the man down!
A pretty young damsel I chanced for to meet,
Give me some time to blow the man down!

She was round in the counter and bluff in the bow,
So I took in all sail and cried “way enough now”(2)
I hailed her in English, she answered me clear
“I’m from the Black Arrow bound to the Shakespeare”
So I tailed her my flipper(3) and took her in tow
And yard-arm to yard-arm(4), away we did go
But as we were a-going she said unto me
“There’s a spankin’ full rigger(5) just ready for sea”
That spankin’ full rigger to New York was bound
She was very well mannered and very well found
But as soon as that packet was clear of the bar(6)
The mate knocked me down with the end of a spar
As soon as that packet was out on the sea
‘Twas devilish hard treatment of every degree
So I give you fair warning before we belay
Don’t never take heed of what pretty girls say.

NOTES
1) once the fun way for sailors, the 19th century Paradise street left today the place for Liverpool One,
2) way enough now from Weigh enough – Take the stroke, put the blades on the water and relax. “Weigh enough” (or “Wain…’nuff”, or “Way enough”) (USA) The command to stop what ever the rower is doing, whether it be walking with the boat overhead or rowing.
3) flipper= hand
4) yard-arm to yard-arm= Very close to each other.
5) rigger=packet
6) The bar of Mersey river.

Allen Robertson for the cartoon version of Jack Sparrow from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs 2007

I
Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down
Way aye blow the man down
Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow him away
Give me some time to blow the man down!
II
As I was a walking down Paradise Street
A pretty young damsel I chanced for to meet.
III
So I tailed her my flipper and took her in tow
And yardarm to yardarm away we did go.
IV
But as we were going she said unto me
There’s a spanking full-rigger just ready for sea.
V
So just as that lass I reached not to far
The mate knocked me down with the end of a spar.
VI
It’s starboard and larboard on deck you will sprawl
For Captain Jack Sparrow commands the Black Pearl
VII
So I was shangaiing aboard this old ship
she took off me money and gave me to sleep
VIII
So I give you fair warning before we belay,
Don’t ever take head of what pretty girls say.

CARRIBEAN VERSIONS

Two variants from the Nevis and Carriacou islands so Ranzo writes in the notes: “The variation from Nevis, with its repeated phrase “in the hold below”, suggests the song was once associated with stevedores loading cargo. This is fascinating, because it is consistent with (my reading of the) evidence that “Blow the Man Down” was initially a stevedore song, in which the act of blowing “the man down” was perhaps a metaphor for stowing each piece of cargo. Also, the many variations, “hit,” “knock,” “kick,” “blow” are consistent with other historical data that “knock a man down” was an/the early form. The variation was sung by Roy Gumbs and party of Nevis in 1962. Lomax recorded it, and Abrahams transcribed it in his 1974 book. The second variation is from Carriacou. It refers to a vessel named _Cariso_. It was sung by Daniel Aikens and chorus in 1962.”

LINK
http://www.contemplator.com/sea/blowdown.html
http://www.jsward.com/shanty/btmd/index.html
http://shanty.rendance.org/lyrics/showlyric.php/blowdown
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/blow-the-man-down.html
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/flying-fish-sailor.html http://www.acousticmusicarchive.com/blow-the-man-down-chords-lyrics
http://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/blowthemandown.htm
http://www.umbermusic.co.uk/SSSnotes.htm

The Irish Girl of Mr Tapscott

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“Mr Tapscott” is a sea shanty/emigration song known as “The Irish Girl”, “The Irish Emigrant”, ” Yellow Meal”. (see firt part)

The Irish Girl of Mr Tapscott

It tells the story of an Irish girl who, from Liverpool embarks on a packet ship of Mr. Tapscott directed to New York. Her arrival point is Brooklyn’s Irishtown not as famous as the Five Points in Manhattan but even more crowded by Irish immigrants. Irishtown was in the Fifth Ward / Vinegar Hill, an Irish stronghold full of illegal whiskey distilleries and detached from Anglo-American culture, in which even the police dared not set foot. Like the famous Irish revolutionary Michael Collins said in the movie, “There is one weapon that the British cannot take away from us: we can ignore them.”  More generally, the masses of poor and desperate Irish settled along the coast of Brooklyn, on the waterfront from Williamsburg to Gowanus.
The waterfront neighborhoods of antebellum Brooklyn was such a place. These neighborhoods of mostly English Protestants and old Dutch aristocracy were quickly overwhelmed by these Catholic “invaders” crippled by diseases, starving and with a legacy of rebelliousness, secrecy, violence and faction fighting within their fiercely communal cooperations. In short, these great numbers of Brooklyn immigrants were in no way interested in assimilating into the incumbent Anglo-Protestant culture. (from qui)

brooklyn-irishtown
A color drawing from 1855 looking west toward Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. Just beyond it in the area that looks shaded was “Irishtown.”

MR TAPSCOTT (John Short)

john-shortText and melody are a variant of “The New York gals” (“Can’t You Dance the Polka?”) This is what the authors of the Short Sharp Shanties project write in the notes: This shanty text is more widely known as The Irish Girl, The Irish Emigrant or Yellow Meal and the texts are fairly consistent – however, this text is one of only two instances where we have deliberately changed any words: we were not prepared to use the ‘N’ word – nor did Sharp, although he noted it, so we have used his text for the ‘Foulton Ferry’ verse. Short’s tune is, of course, more widely known as carrying New York Gals or Can’t You Dance the Polka (which are, arguably, text variants of Jack-All-Alone (a.k.a. Patrick Street/Barrack Street) – which used the tune of the polka Larry Doolan  (a.k.a.The Irish Jaunting Car) –  published 1852). The tune was also used for the American Civil War song The Bonny Blue Flag (1861) and subsequently for The Southern Girl’s Reply. The text has also been recorded, as a shanty, sung to Heave Away, Me Johnny (to which Short sang Banks of the Sweet Dundee (from here)

Sam Lee from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor Vol 1 

I
As I was a-walking down
by the Clarence Dock (1),
I overheard an Irish girl
conversing with Tapscott (2).
Chorus (after each verse):
And away you Santy (3), my dear Annie,
Oh you Santy, I’ll love you for your money
II
“Good morning Mister Tapscott,
good morning, sir,” says she,
“O have you got a ship of fame
to carry me o’er the sea?”
III
“O yes, I have a ship of fame,
tomorrow she sets sail,
She’s lieing in the Waterloo Dock taking in her mail.”
IV
The day was fine when we set sail
but night has scare begun (4)
A dirty nor’west wind came up
and drove us back again.
V
Our captain, being an Irishman,
as you shall understand,
He hoisted out his small boat on the banks of Newfoundland.
VI
‘Twas at the Castle Gardens (5) fair
they landed me on shore,
And if I marry a Yankee boy
I’ll go to sea no more.
VII
I went down to Foulton Ferry (6)
but I could not get across,
I jumped on the back
of a ferryboat man
and rode him like an hoss.
VIII
My father is a butcher,
my mother chops the meat,
My sister keeps a slap-up (7)
shop way down on Water Street (8).

NOTES
1) The port of Liverpool is a port system along the Mersey river estuary. The first basin of Liverpool was built in 1715 and then developed into a system of interconnected docks that allowed the movements of ships uninterruptedly despite the tides. Most of the small quayside of the southern part of the port of Liverpool were closed in 1971, as new basins were opened to accommodate the new cargo ships.
2)This shanty may have had a special appeal to Short: ‘Tapscott’ was William Tapscott from a Minehead (Somerset) family that had lived in the town (a neighbour to Watchet) from at least the mid-1770s.  William was an American packet ship broker, with offices on Regents Road, Liverpool, and Eden Quay, Dublin. He worked in conjunction with his brother James, who looked after the New York end of the business, and specialized in selling pre-paid passages to successful immigrants who now wished to bring their families to America.  They were agents for the Black Ball Line and, at one period, also for the Red Cross Line of American packets.  Together, they fleeced the unsuspecting. The Tapscott brothers were systematic villains, whose frauds began with their advertisements: although Taspcott advertised that his passages were on ships of over 1000 tons, and even as much as 2000 tons, in fact most were barely 600 tons. As their wealth increased the Tapscotts set up their own shipping line.  Cheap emigrant passages was the name of the game – but conditions were atrocious and the food poor (the ‘yellow meal’, i.e. corn grits, of the alternative title).  In 1849 William Tapscott was adjudged bankrupt, and in the same year was charged with fraud, concerning the money of shareholders in the business. He was found guilty and sentenced to three years’ penal servitude (from qui)
3 it recall to another sea shanty and to Santy Anna- Santiana . Santy here is used as a term of endearment in Italian could be Santina
4) Passengers often suffered from seasickness, especially with strong winds from the north wind
5) Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton or Castle Garden was a circular fort located in New York City in Battery Park, in the southern part of the island of Manhattan: from the mid-nineteenth century, it was used as the first sorting center for the european immigration. The station was in operation until 1890, when the federal administration, under pressure of a second and more massive immigration wave coming from all the states of Europe, decided to open a more functional one in Ellis Island.

New York 1850
John Bachmann. The Empire City, Birdseye View of New York and Environs, 1855

6) Fulton Ferry was the ferry that connected Brooklyn with New York and that remained in business until the construction of the famous bridge (1883) see more
7) nowaday we translates slap-up as “excellent” but I imagine a place to eat an economic meal (origins here),the term is however associated with a quality positive as something very good, but it may also mean a trendy place.
8) on the waterfront of Brooklyn

LINK
http://www.castlegarden.org/
http://visualizingnyc.org/essays/john-bachmanns-new-york/
https://artofneed.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/the-brooklyn-irish/
https://artofneed.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/brooklyns-irishtown/
https://artofneed.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/801/
https://www.vwml.org/record/CJS2/10/2877
https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/mrtapscott.html
http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/tapscott.shtml

Concealed death: Clerk Colvill & Georges Collins

Leggi in Italiano

Concealed death

LORD OLAF AND THE ELVES 
SCANDINAVIAN VARIANTS
BRITISH AND AMERICAN VERSIONS
FRENCH VERSIONS
ITALIAN VERSION

In The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, in Child ballad # 42 Clerck Colven (other titles Clerck Colvill or Earl Colvin) we find the same medieval ballad focused on the meeting between a knight about to marry and a fairy creature (or a jealous lover)

SCOTTISH VERSION:CLERK COLVILL CHILD # 42

The ballad begins with a quarrel between boyfriends: the future bride beseeches him not to visit his lover, a washerwoman, just on the eve of their wedding!
The knight denies any sexual involvement (normal administration!) but he is anxious to meet his lover again.
For a comparison between the versions A, B, C see the analysis by Christian Souchon (here)

Clerk-Colvill-ArthurRackhamThey have an obvious sexual relationship (in the coded language of the time), but then the man complains about his headache, she gives him a strip of fabric (poisoned) and announces his imminent death (or poisoning him by giving him one last kiss). The woman is clearly a water nymph and in fact as soon as the young man draws his sword to take revenge, she turns into a fish and dives into the water.

Frankie Armstrong from Till the Grass o’ergrew the corn 2006, ♪
The melody is an arrangement by Frankie from the one heard by Mrs. Brown from Falkirk, Stirling County.
Kate Fletcher & Corwen Broch from  Fishe or Fowle 2017, ♪
“One of many ballads from across Europe in which a man is doomed to death by his Other-Worldly lover.
We have used the words of Child 42 version B and the only existing melody for them from Mrs Brown (Anna Gordon) of Falkland. The transcribed melody has given rise to endless debate about how the words should fit to the refrain line of the music. We have chosen to sidestep the argument and sing the verses as given omitting the problematic line of melody.”

VERSION A
I
Clerk Colven (1) and his gay (2) lady
Were walking in yon garden green,
A belt (3) around her middle so small
Which cost Clerk Colven crowns fifteen.
II
“O harken to me, my lord,” she says
“O, harken well to what I do say:
If you go to the walls of Stream (4),
Be sure you touch no well fair’d maid.”
III
“O, hold your tongue,” Clerk Colven said,
“And do not vex me with your din.
I never saw a fair woman
But with her body I could sin.” (5)
IV
He’s mounted on his berry-brown steed
And merrily merrily rode he on,
Until he came to the walls of Stream,
And there he spied the mermaiden (6).
V
“You wash, you wash you mermaiden”,
“O, I will wash your sark of the silk (7).
It’s all for you, my gentle knight,
My skin is whiter than the milk(8).”
VI
He’s taken her by the milk white hand
And likewise by the grass-green sleeve,
he’s laid her down all on the grass,
Nor of his lady need he ask leave (9).
VII
“Alas! Alas!” says Clerk Colven,
“For oh so sore is grown my head.”
Merrily laughed the mermaiden,
“Aye, even on, till you be dead.”
VIII
“But you pull out your little pen-knife,
And from my sark you shear a gore,
And bind it round your lovely head,
And you shall feel the pain no more.”
IX
So he’s took out his little pen-knife,
And from her sark he sheared a gore,
He’s bound it round his lovely head;
But the pain it grew ten-times more.
X
“Alas! Alas!” cries Clerk Colven,
“For now so sore is grown my head.”
Merrily laughed the mermaiden,
“’twill I be away and you’ll be dead.”
XI
So he’s pulled out his trusty sword,
And thought with it to spill her blood;
But she’s turned to a fish again
And merrily sprang into the flood.
XII
He’s mounted on his berry-brown steed,
And drear and dowie rode he home,
Until he’s come to his lady’s bower
And heavily he’s lighted down.
XIII
“O, mother, mother, make my bed,
O, gentle lady, lay me down(10);
O brother, brother, unbend my bow(11),
It’ll ne’er be bent by me again.”
XIV
His mother she has made his bed,
His gentle lady laid him down,
His brother he unbent his bow,
It ne’er was bent by him again.

NOTES
1) according to the Danish folklorist Svend Grundtvig the name Colven is a corruption of Olafur in “Olvill” from the Faroese language (the Norse has long been spoken in the islands of Scotland). Also Clerck is a mispronunciation of Herr for Lord, in the stanza V the siren calls him “gentle knight”
2) as Giordano Dall’Armellina observes, the lady in other versions is defined lusty, that is greedy and ultimately possessive.
3) the belt is clearly a love token, it was customary, in fact, to exchange the promise of engagement, giving a “trinket” to the lady, not necessarily a diamond ring as we use today, but a hair clip or belt (obviously not less expensive)
4) in version B it is “Wells of Slane” misunderstood as “Wall of Stream” in version A; it could refer to the “Loch o ‘Strom” on the Mainland the largest of the Shetland Islands. The sacred well is generally a cleft in the earth in which the magical and healing water flows from the mother goddess’s womb, but if the spirit of the place is not placated it becomes deadly water. But here it represents the erotic energy that attracts the knight
5) translated into simple words: “do you think I’m the kind of man who goes to bed with every woman he meets?”
6) mermaiden is the siren, but he could be a nymph or an undine, the term with which the magical creatures of the inner waters are classified (see more). In Scotland and especially in the islands it is identified with a selkie
7) the beautiful girl is depicted as a washerwoman washing clothes by beating them on a marble stone (variant C and D). The image recalls the girl of the ford of the Irish tradition that is a harbinger of imminent death (banshee)
8) it is known that a snow skin was a fundamental requirement for the sexual excitement of the medieval knight
9) the whole stanza is a coded language to say that they have had a sexual intercourse
10) death in this case is not concealed and even the girlfriend immediately learns the news
11) in other versions says “O brother, take my sword and spear” to indicate that he will be buried with the warrior’s set as it was the custom in burials for people of rank in ancient European civilizations.

AMERICAN VERSION: GEORGE COLLINS 

Published in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs it is the D version collected by George Gardiner in 1906 from the voice of Henry Stansbridge of Lyndhurst, Hampshire. The version, however, is very corrupt and diversified compared to the ballad of Norse origins.
It is the version on which American variants are modeled, almost transformed into a murder ballad.

Sam Lee The Ballad of George Collins from ‘Ground of its own’ 2012 (winner of the Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2012 see more) : amazing video clip

Shirley Collins from The Sweet Primroses 1967Alan Moores in a folk-country arrangement by Spud Gravely  version (in Ballads and Song of the Blue Ridge Mountains) also known as George Allen

 Sam Lee Version ( da qui)
I
George Collins walked out one may
morning, when may was all in bloom
and who  should he see but a fair pretty maid, washing her white marble stone (1)
II
She whooped she hollered she called so loud,
she waved her lilly white hand
“Come hither to me George Collins -cried she- for your life it won’t last you long”
III
He put his foot on the broad water side,
across the river sprung he,
he gripped his hands round her middle (2) so small and he kissed her red ruby lips (3)
IV
Then he road home to his father’s old house, loudly knocked with the ring
“arise, arise my father- he cried-
rise and please let me in”
V
“Oh arise, arise dear mother -he cried-
rise and make up my bed”
“arise, arise dear sister -he cried-
get a napkin (4) to tie round my head.
VI
For if I should die tonight
As I suppose I shall
Please bury me under that marble stone
That lies in fair Ellender’s hall(5)”
VII
Fair Ellender sat in her hall
weaving her silk so fine
who should she see but the finest corpse(6) that ever her eyes shone on
VIII
Fair Ellender called unto her head maid
‘Whose corpse is this so fine?’
she made her reply “George Collins is corpse an old true lover of mine”
IX
“Oh put him down my brave little boys
and open his coffin so wide
but I may kiss his red ruby lips
ten thousand times he has kissed mine”
X
This news been carried to fair London town
And wrote on London gate(7),
“six pretty maids died all in one night
‘twas all for George Collins’ sake”

NOTES
1) It is the stone on which the washerwoman beats and rubs her clothes. Another “marble stone” returns cited in the VI stanza, the marble slab in the hall or hill of Ellender
2) in the modest language of ballads it indicates a sexual relationship. Despite the jealous lover threatened him with death, George kisses her and embraces her: he probably does not consider her a danger
3) it is the deadly kiss of the nymph, (or the kiss of the plague) the woman is never described as a supernatural creature
4) the poisoned cloth that we saw in version A and B of Clerck Colven still comes back to wrap the sufferer’s head, but this time it’s a normal bandage
5) elsewhere written as hill. George is in his father’s house announcing his imminent death and asking to be buried in Ellender’s property. Shirley Collins sings
Bury me by the marble stone
That’s against Lady Eleanor’s hall.”
6) 6) the coffin was brought into the house of the lady who asked to remove the lid so that she could still kiss the lips of her lover. The sentence is a bit to be interpreted, it is the lady-in-waiting (or the housekeeper) to ask who is the corpse in the coffin. And it is Ellender who answers that he was her lover.
7) The final stanza seems to be a nineteenth-century addition in an ironic key, the six women died because of the venereal disease of George

french and breton versions 

LINK
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch042.htm
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch085.htm
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/chants/colvill.htm
http://www.nspeak.com/allende/comenius/bamepec/multimedia/saggio1.htm
http://www.gestsongs.com/16/collins.htm

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18313
http://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/georgecollins.html
http://www.promonews.tv/videos/2012/11/01/sam-lee-ballad-george-collins-andrew-steggall
http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=2210
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=41600
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=140832
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=64646

Sweet Nightingale from Cornwall

Leggi in italiano

In Italy, the nightingale returns in mid-March and leaves in September. His song, melodious and powerful, presents a remarkable variety of modulations and phrasings, by able songwriter, so that one can speak of a personal repertoire different from bird to bird.
In the folk tradition the nightingale is the symbol of lovers and their love meeting, immortalized by Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet” he sings at the pomegranate and the only choice is between life and death: to stay in the nuptial thalamus and die or to leave for exile (and perhaps salvation)?

Romeo and Juliet, Heather Craft

JULIET
Wilt thou be gone?
It is not yet near day.

It was the nightingale,
and not the lark,

That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love,
it was the nightingale.

ROMEO
It was the lark,
the herald of the morn,

No nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.

Thus the song of the nightingale has assumed a negative characteristic, he is not the singer of joy as the lark but of melancholy and death.

CORNISH NIGHTINGALE

usignolo-pompei
Fresco detail Casa del bracciale d’oro, Pompeii

The fresco in the House of the Golden Bracelet, in Pompeii, dated between 30 and 35 AD. depicting scenes taken from a wooded garden, portrays a lonely nightingale among the rose branches.
And it is precisely for his nocturnal hiding in the thick of the wood that in the traditional songs he has approached to trivial kind with double meanings alluding to the erotic sphere and his sweet song is an invitation to abandon oneself to the pleasures of sex.
The folk song was probably born in Cornwall with the titles of”Sweet Nightingale”, “My sweetheart, come along” or “Down in those valleys below”.

“The words of Sweet Nightingale were first published in Robert Bell’s Ancient Poems of the Peasantry of England, 1857, with the note:“This curious ditty—said to be a translation from the ancient Cornish tongue… we first heard in Germany… The singers were four Cornish miners, who were at that time, 1854, employed at some lead mines near the town of Zell. The leader, or captain, John Stocker, said that the song was an established favourite with the lead miners of Cornwall and Devonshire, and was always sung on the pay-days and at the wakes; and that his grandfather, who died 30 years before at the age of a hundred years, used to sing the song, and say that it was very old.” Unfortunately Bell failed to get a copy either of words or music from these miners, and relied in the end on a gentleman of Plymouth who “was obliged to supply a little here or there, but only when a bad rhyme, or rather none at all, made it evident what the real rhyme was. I have read it over to a mining gentleman at Truro, and he says it is pretty near the way we sing it.”The tune most people sing was collected by Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould from E.G. Stevens of St. Ives, Cornwall.” (from here)

The song also includes a version in cornish gaelic titled “An Eos Hweg“, but it is a more recent translation from the folk revival of the Celtic traditions.  It is a popular song often sung in pubs today in repertoire of the choral groups.

Sam Lee & Jackie Oates from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 2 
Jackie Oates – The Sweet Nightingale (Live)

Alex Campbell – ‘Live’ 1968

THE NIGHTINGALE
I
“My sweetheart, come along!
Don’t you hear the fond song,
The sweet notes of the nightingale flow?/Don’t you hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below?
II
My sweetheart(1), don’t fail,
For I’ll carry your pail(2),
Safe home to your cot as we go;
You shall hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below.”
III
“Pray let me alone,
I have hands of my own;
Along with you I will not go,
To hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below”
IV
“Pray sit yourself down
With me on the ground,
On this bank where sweet primroses grow;
You shall hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below”
V
This couple agreed;
They were married with speed(3),
And soon to the church they did go.
She was no more afraid
For to walk in the shade,
Nor yet in the valleys below.

NOTES
1) Pretty Bets or Betty or Sweet maiden
2) the girl was a milkmaid and the young man offers to take home the bucket with fresh milk
3) certainly the girl had become pregnant

third part

LINK
http://www.an-daras.com/cornish-songs/Kanow_Tavern-Sweet_Nightingale.pdf
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=120955
http://www.efdss.org/component/content/article/45-efdss-site/learning-resources/1541-efdss-resource-bank-chorus-sweet-nightingale
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/english/mysweeth.htm

The Wild Wild Berry

A variation on the theme of the “The will of the poisoned man“, from the ancient Italian origins, known in the British Isles with the title of “Lord Randal“.
It is the story of a dying son, because he has been poisoned, who returns to his mother to go to bed and make his will. The background (known to the public at the time) is that of the meeting with the jealous lover or a fairy: she poisons him because he is about to marry a new bride. (see developments in Lord Olaf).
[Una variazione sul tema della Ballata dell’Avvelenato, dalle antiche origini italiane, conosciuta nelle Isole Britanniche con il titolo di Lord Randal
E’ la  storia di un figlio morente, perchè è stato avvelenato, che ritorna dalla madre per coricarsi a letto e fare testamento. Il retroscena (conosciuto dal pubblico del tempo e perciò taciuto) è quello dell’incontro con l’amante gelosa o una fata che lo avvelena perchè respinta dal giovane in procinto di sposarsi con un’altra. (vedasi gli sviluppi in Lord Olaf).]

The Wild Wild Berry

The English variant titled “The Wild Wild Berry” was reported by Ray Driscoll who collected it in Shropshire from an itinerant farmhand who sang it in the Cd “A century of Song” of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. This is how Gwilym Davies comments in the notes “The gem of Ray’s repertoire and unique to him.” The story is clearly the same as the Lord Randal but reworked. song is an old revival or is the product of the 19th Century re-working.Whatever the truth, the song has struck a chord with many revival folk singers on both sides of the Atlantic who are now performing it. ” (from here)
[La variante inglese intitolata “The Wild Wild Berry” è stata riportata da Ray Driscoll che l’aveva raccolta nel Shropshire da un bracciante agricolo itinerante che la canta nel Cd “A century of Song”  della English Folk Dance and Song Society. Così commenta Gwilym Davies nelle note “La perla del repertorio di Ray e l’unica sua versione. Ray ha imparato questa canzone, dal bracciante ambulante Harry Civil nello Shropshire, la storia è chiaramente la stessa di Lord Randal ma è stata rielaborata. La canzone è un vecchio revival o è il prodotto di una rielaborazione ottocentesca. Qualunque sia la verità, la canzone ha toccato il cuore di molti cantanti di folk revival di entrambe le sponde dell’Atlantico che ora lo stanno eseguendo” (tratto da qui)]

The murder weapon in this version are the poisonous berries of Dulcamara, named for its sweet taste with a bitter aftertaste.
[L’arma del delitto in questa versione sono le bacche velenose della Dulcamara denominata così per il suo sapore dolce con retrogusto amaro.]

DULCAMARA, magic plant

The term Solanum indicates more than a thousand plants, in particular the Dulcamara and the Erba Morella (which has white flowers and black berries) are common plants in Italy.
Some of these plants are consumed as vegetables (peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and potatoes) because the solanine is contained in very modest quantities, while others are poisonous plants (Belladonna, madragora, stramonium).
The Dulcamara is a plant that is used for medicinal purposes and sparingly even in the kitchen (as flavoring for vegetable and meat dishes). It grows in the woods, it blooms from May to July while the berries are born in autumn.
[Con il termine Solanum si indicano più di mille piante, in particolare la Dulcamara e l’Erba Morella (che ha però fiori bianchi e bacche nere) sono piante comuni in Italia.
Alcune di queste piante si consumano come ortaggi (peperoni, melanzane, pomodori e patate) perchè la solanina è contenuta in modestissime quantità, altre invece sono piante velenose (Belladonna, madragora, stramonio) .
La Dulcamara è una pianta che viene usata a scopi medicinali e con parsimonia anche in cucina (per insaporire piatti di verdura e carne).  Cresce nei boschi, fiorisce da maggio a luglio mentre le bacche nascono in autunno.]

Hladowski & Joyne

Sam Lee (partially I and III stanzas )


I
Young man came from hunting
faint and weary
What does ail my love, my dearie?
“O mother dear,
let my bed be made,
For I feel the gripe
of the woody nightshade (1)”
“Lie low, sweet Randall”
II
Come all you young men
that do eat full well
And them that sups right merry
‘Tis far better, I entreat,
to eat toads for your meat
Than to eat of the wild, wild berry
III
This young man, well, he died fair soon
By the light of the hunters’ moon(2)
‘Twas not by bolt, nor yet by blade
But the leaves and the berries (3)
of the woody nightshade
“Lie low, sweet Randall”
IV
This lord’s false love (4), well,
they hanged her high
For ‘twas by her deeds
that her lord should die (5)
Within her locks they entwined a braid
Of the leaves and the berries
of the woody nightshade
“Lie low, sweet Randall”
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Il giovane venne dalla caccia,
sfinito e stanco
“Cosa affligge il mio caro amore?”
“Oh cara madre,
fammi preparare il letto
perchè sento la morsa
della Dulcamara (1)”
“Sdraiati caro Randall”
II
Venite tutti voi giovani
che mangiate piuttosto bene
e coloro che cenano di gusto
è meglio assai, vi scongiuro,
mangiare rospi come pietanza,
piuttosto che mangiare la bacca velenosa
III
Beh, questo giovane è morto in fretta,
sotto la luce della luna dei cacciatori (2).
Non è stato il dardo, e nemmeno la lama,
ma le foglie e le bacche
della Dulcamara.
“Sdraiati caro Randall”
IV
La falsa innamorata di questo Sire, beh,
l’hanno impiccata
perché fu per mano sua
che il suo Sire dovette morire.
Con ciocche intrecciarono una treccia
di foglie e bacche
della Dulcamara
“Sdraiati caro Randall”

NOTE
1) Woody Nightshade è la Dulcamara (nome scientifico Solanum dulcamara)
2) It is the full moon of October, the month dedicated to hunting deer and foxes Hunter’s Moon is particularly bright and durable, giving the chance to spot their prey by night.
[la luna piena d’ottobre subito dopo la luna del raccolto, chiamata così per il mese della caccia ai cervi ingrassati dal periodo estivo e alle volpi che non possono più nascondersi nei campi ora nudi. Come la precedente, anche la Hunter’s Moon è particolarmente luminosa e durevole, dando così ai cacciatori la possibilità di individuare le prede di notte.]
3) Stephanie Hladowski says “deathly gripe”
4) Stephanie Hladowski says “His lord’s ships winch”
5) Stephanie Hladowski says “For she was the (a) cause of her love (lord) to die”.
letteralmente by her deeds = ad opera sua

The devil and the huntsman

Sam Lee has further reworked the “The Wild Wild Berry” (with Daniel Pemberton) turning it into the song “The devil and the huntsman” for the film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
[Sam Lee ha ulteriormente rielaborato la ballata dell’Avvelenato nella versione intitolata “The Wild Wild Berry” (insieme a Daniel Pemberton) trasformandola nella canzone “The devil and the huntsman” per il film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)]
Sam Lee

Daniel Pemberton lyrics
Young man came from hunting
faint, tired and weary
«What does ail my Lord, my dearie?»
«Oh brother dear, let my bed be made
I feel the gripe of the woody nightshade»


Many a man would die as soon (1)
Out of the light of a mage’s moon (2)

‘Twas not by bolt (3), but yet by blade
Can break the magic that the devil made
‘Twas not by fire, but was forged in flame
can drown the sorrows of a huntsman’s pain  (4) 


This young man he died fair soon
By the light of the hunters’ moon
‘Twas not by bolt, nor yet by blade
[But] of the berries of the woody nightshade

«Oh father dear lie here be safe (4)
From the path that the devil made»
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Il giovane cavaliere venne dalla caccia
debole, sfinito e stanco
“Cosa affligge il mio amato Sire?”
“Oh amato fratello fammi preparare il letto
perchè sento la morsa della Dulcamara”


Molti uomini moriranno presto,
lontano dalla luna luminosa di un mago

Non è stato il dardo e neppure la lama
a spezzare la magia che il diavolo ha fatto
non è stato il fuoco, ma fu forgiato nella fiamma, ciò che può affogare le sofferenze di un cacciatore afflitto


Questo giovane è morto in fretta,
sotto la luce della luna dei cacciatori.
Non è stato il dardo, e nemmeno la lama,
ma le bacche della Dulcamara.
“Oh amato padre resta qui in salvo
dal sentiero che il diavolo ha fatto”.

NOTE
there are some discrepancies between the text found on the net and the sung version
[ci sono alcune discrepanze tra il testo trovato scritto in rete e la versione cantata]
1) ) although Sam chants “Many a man would die as soon” the verse is written “Men need a man would die as soon”
[sebbene Sam canti “Many a man would die as soon” il verso si trova scritto “Men need a man would die as soon”]
2) the moon of the magician is clearly a particularly bright and silver full moon [la luna del mago è chiaramente una luna piena particolarmente luminosa e argentea]
3) Sam dice “bone” ma è più propriamente una freccia (nella versione originale bolt)
4) The first verse says that it was not burned by the flames, but tempered in water like steel, only the first passage in the fire and then in the water can “drown the suffering of a hunter in pain”
[anche qui la frase è un po’ involuta. 
Il primo verso dice che non è stato bruciato dalle fiamme, ma temprato nell’acqua come l’acciaio, solo il passaggio prima nel fuoco e poi nell’acqua può “affogare le sofferenze di un cacciatore in pena”]

LINK
http://www.loscrivodame.com/dulcamara/
https://www.ideegreen.it/dulcamara-proprieta-85863.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/lordrandall.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/105.html

Johnny the Brine

Una ‘Border Ballad’ trascritta dal professor Child al numero 114 in ben 13 versioni:  Johnny the Brine, Johnnie Cock, Johnnie (Jock)  o’ Breadislee, Jock O’Braidosly, Johnnie o’ Graidie sono i vari nomi con cui è identificato questo bracconiere/bandito del Border scozzese.

LA GUERRA AL BRACCONAGGIO

“La foresta ha occupato un posto importantissimo nella vita inglese fino dai tempi antichi; ancora durante il regno della regina Elisabetta, fitte boscaglie ricoprivano le aree di intere contee, ed il mondo della foresta aveva guardie, leggi e tribunali propri ai quali neanche i nobili ed il clero potevano sottrarsi completamente. Dall’invasione normanna fino a Giorgio III è stata una continua lotta, per lungo tempo assai sanguinosa, tra il popolo da una parte e, dall’altra, le inique leggi che trattavano l’uccisione d’un cervo alla stregua di un assassinio e sottoponevano i cacciatori di frodo, quando non alla morte, all’abbacinamento o alla mutilazione degli arti. La foresta veniva “monopolizzata” dalla nobiltà per l’esclusivo “sport” della caccia, mentre per la gente essa rappresentava uno dei pochi mezzi di sostentamento. Il bracconaggio era dunque un’attività rischiosissima e poteva davvero costare la vita, anche perché i guardacaccia avevano la facoltà di abbattere sul posto chiunque fosse stato scoperto a cacciare di frodo. Da qui la denominazione di “guerra del bracconaggio“, che rende esattamente l’idea di che cosa davvero si trattasse (anche perché le foreste, ideale rifugio di banditi e Outlaws, venivano spesso soggette a vere e proprie spedizioni militari.” (Riccardo Venturi tratto da qui)

Nell’Alto Medioevo i bracconieri  erano considerati alla stregua di fuorilegge e uccisi sul posto dai guardacaccia. Successivamente le pene si mitigarono prevedendo l’incarcerazione e/o l’amputazione della mano (o l’abbacinamento) fino alla pena capitale quando gli animali erano della riserva di caccia del Re. In Inghilterra con la Magna Charta libertatum (1215) vennero abolite le pene per la caccia di frodo, ma nella prassi quotidiana i giudici della contea (ovvero gli stessi nobili “derubati”) raramente erano ben disposti verso i bracconieri. Le condanne  nei secoli successivi furono progressivamente più miti e nel settecento il bracconiere rischiava solo la detenzione in carcere per qualche mese e/o le frustate. Era inoltre possibile pagare una multa (anche se salata) per riavere la libertà.

La ballata è ancora popolare in Scozia (dal Fife all’Aberdeenshire fino al Border) e le sue prime versioni in stampa risalgono alla fine del Settecento: si narra di un giovane che va a caccia di cervi, ma in sprezzo del pericolo, dopo il buon esito della caccia, se ne resta nel bosco appisolandosi dopo un lauto banchetto. Sorpreso da un servitore della zona viene denunciato ai guardacaccia del Re i quali gli tendono un’imboscata per ucciderlo: sono sette contro uno ma Johnny riesce a ucciderne sei. Il finale varia a seconda delle versioni: il settimo guardacaccia riesce a mettersi in salvo fuggendo sul cavallo, o viene lasciato in vita per poter riferire l’accaduto; in altre è un uccellino che viene inviato a casa con la richiesta di soccorso, ma la fine è sempre tragica e il bracconiere muore a causa delle ferite.

Johnny of Braidislee-Samuel Edmund Waller

LA VERSIONE ESTESA: Jock O’Braidosly

ASCOLTA The Corries, live

ASCOLTA Top Floor Taivers live in un arrangiamento molto personale


I
Johnny got up on a May mornin’
Called for water to wash his hands
Says “Gie loose tae me my twa grey dugs
That lie in iron bands – bands
That lie in iron bands”
II
Johnny’s mother she heard o’ this
Her hands for dool she wrang
Sayin’ “Johnny for your venison
Tae the greenwood dinnae gang – gang
Tae the greenwood dinnae gang”
III
But Johnny has ta’en his guid bend bow
His arrows one by one
And he’s awa’ tae the greenwood gane
Tae ding the dun deer doon – doon
Tae ding the dun deer doon
IV
Noo Johnny shot and the dun deer leapt
And he wounded her in the side
And there between the water and the woods
The grey hounds laid her pride – her pride/The grey hounds laid her pride
V
They ate so much o’ the venison
They drank so much o’ the blood
That Johnny and his twa grey dugs
Fell asleep as though were deid – were deid
Fell asleep as though were deid
VI
Then by there cam’ a silly auld man
An ill death may he dee
For he’s awa’ tae Esslemont (1)
The seven foresters for tae see – tae see
The foresters for tae see
VII
“As I cam’ in by Monymusk (2)
Doon among yon scruggs
Well there I spied the bonniest youth
Lyin’ sleepin’ atween twa dugs – twa dugs
Lyin’ sleepin’ atween twa dugs”
VIII (3)
The buttons that were upon his sleeve
Were o’ the gowd sae guid
And the twa grey hounds that he lay between
Their mouths were dyed wi’ blood – wi’ blood
Their mouths were dyed wi’ blood
IX
Then up and jumps the first forester
He was captain o’ them a’
Sayin “If that be Jock o’ Braidislee
Unto him we’ll draw – we’ll draw
Unto him we’ll draw”
X
The first shot that the foresters fired
It hit Johnny on the knee
And the second shot that the foresters fired
His heart’s blood blint his e’e – his e’e
His heart’s blood blint his e’e
XI (4)
Then up jumps Johnny fae oot o’ his sleep
And an angry man was he
Sayin “Ye micht have woken me fae my sleep
Ere my heart’s blood blint my e’e – my e’e
Ere my heart’s blood blint my e’e”
XII
But he’s rested his back against an oak
His fit upon a stane
And he has fired at the seven o’ them
He’s killed them a’ but ane – but ane
He’s killed them a’ but ane
XIII
He’s broken four o’ that one’s ribs
His airm and his collar bane (5)
And he has set him upon his horse
Wi’ the tidings sent him hame – hame
Wi’ the tidings sent him hame
XIV
But Johnny’s guid bend bow is broke
His twa grey dugs are slain
And his body lies in Monymusk
His huntin’ days are dane – are dane
His huntin’ days are dane
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Johnny si alzò un mattin di maggio
e domandò dell’acqua per lavarsi le mani
“Allora portatemi i miei due levrieri
sono legati con catene di ferro
sono legati con catene di ferro”
II
La madre di Johnny che seppe di ciò
si torse le mani dal dispiacere
” Johnny per la tua caccia
al bosco non andare
al bosco non andare”
III
Ma Johnny ha preso il suo buon arco ricurvo, le sue frecce una ad una
ed è andato nel folto del bosco
per catturare una cerva bruna laggiù – per catturare una cerva bruna laggiù
IV
Johnny tirò e la cerva bruna spiccò un balzo
e la ferì al fianco
e tra il fiume e il bosco
i suoi levrieri presero la preda,
la preda
i suoi levrieri presero la preda
V
Molto mangiarono della carne
e bevvero tanto sangue
Johnny e i suoi due levrieri
si addormentarono di colpo –
di colpo
si addormentarono di colpo
VI
Nei pressi venne un povero vecchio,
che peste lo colga,
che andava a Esslemont
per vedere i sette guardacaccia, –
vedere
per vedere i sette guardacaccia.
VII
“Mentre venivo qui da Monymusk
per quella boscaglia
vidi il ragazzo più bello
che giaceva addormentato tra due cani- due cani
giaceva addormentato tra due cani
VIII
I bottoni che portava alla maniche
erano d’oro zecchino
e i due levrieri tra cui era
disteso
avevano le bocche sporche di sangue- di sangue
avevano le bocche sporche di sangue
IX
Saltò su il primo guardacaccia
era il capitano di tutti loro
“Se quello è il giovane Jock o’ Braidislee andremo da lui –
andremo da lui”
X
Il primo colpo che i guardacaccia tirarono, colpì Johnny al ginocchio
e al secondo colpo che i guardacaccia tirarono, il sangue del suo cuore gli schizzò nell’occhio- occhio il sangue del suo cuore gli schizzò nell’occhio
XI
Saltò su Johnny risvegliandosi dal sonno
ed era un uomo pieno di rabbia
“Mi avete risvegliato dal sonno
il sangue del mio cuore mi è schizzato nell’occhio
il sangue del mio cuore mi è schizzato nell’occhio”
XII
Appoggiò la schiena contro una quercia e un piede contro la pietra
e tirò a tutti e sette
uccidendoli tutti tranne uno – uno
uccidendoli tutti tranne uno
XIII
Aveva quattro delle costole rotte
il braccio e la clavicola
e lo mise sul dorso del cavallo
per portare la notizia a casa, casa
per portare la notizia a casa
XIV
Il buon arco di Johnny è rotto
i suoi due levreieri sono morti
e il suo corpo giace nel Monymusk
i giorni della caccia sono finiti – sono finiti, i giorni della caccia sono finiti

NOTE
1) nell’Aberdeenshire si trovano ancora i resti del Castello di Esslemont
2) Monymusk è un ameno paesello, oggi la tenuta Monymusk gestisce una vasta area boschiava lungo le rive del fiume Don (vedi)
3) un classico espediente dei narratori che aggiungevano dettagli sfarzosi alla storia per destare meraviglia tra il pubblico
4) è una strofa riempitiva secondo lo schema della ripetizione tipico delle ballate popolari (vedi)
5) un passaggio un po’ brusco inerente il settimo guardacaccia lasciato in vita, anche se malconcio issato sul cavallo e liberato perchè fosse un testimone di quanto accaduto

SECONDA VERSIONE: Johnny the Brine

La versione è quella della traveller Jeannie Robertson un po’ più rielaborata nelle strofe finali.
ASCOLTA Sam Lee

ed ecco l’intervista filmanta dallo stesso Sam Lee in merito alla trasmissione orale della ballata all’interno della famiglia Robertson


I
Johnny arose one May morning
Called water to wash his hands
“so bring to me my twa greyhounds
They are bound in iron bands, bands
They are bound in iron bands”
II
Johnny’s wife she wrang her hands –
“To the greenwoods dinnae gang
for the sake o’ the venison
To the greenwoods dinnae gang, gang
To the greenwoods dinnae gang”
III
Johnny’s gane up through Monymusk
And doon some scroggs
And there he spied a young deer leap
She was lying in a field of scrub, scrub
She was lying in a field of scrub
IV
The first arrow he fired
It wounded her on the side
And between the water and the wood
His greyhounds laid her pride, pride
His greyhounds laid her pride
V
Johnny and his two greyhounds
Drank so much blood
That Johnny an his two greyhounds
They fell sleeping in the wood, wood
They fell sleeping in the wood
VI
By them came a fool old man
And an ill death may he dee
he went up and telt the forester
And he telt what he did lie, lie
And he telt what he did lie
VII
“If that be young Johnny of the Brine
then let him sleep on (1)”
but the seventh forester denied (2)
he was Johnny’s sister’s son, son
“To the greenwood we will gang”
VIII
The first arrow that they fired
wounded him upon the thigh,
And the second arrow that they fired
his heart’s blood blinded his eye, eye
his heart’s blood blinded his eye
IX
Johnny rose up wi’ a angry growl
For an angry man was he –
“I‘ll kill a’ you six foresters
And brak the seventh one’s back in three, three, three
And brak the seventh one’s back in three”
X
He put his foot all against a stane
And his back against a tree
An he’s kilt a’ the six foresters
And broke the seventh one’s back in three,
and he broke his collar-bone
An he put him on his grey mare’s back
For to carry the tidings home, home
For to carry the tidings home
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Johnny si alzò un mattin di maggio
e domandò dell’acqua per lavarsi le mani “Allora portatemi i miei due levrieri, sono legati con catene di ferro
sono legati con catene di ferro”
II
La moglie di Johnny si torse le mani
“Al bosco non andare
per amor della caggiagione
al bosco non andare, andare
al bosco non andare”
III
Johnny è andato per il Monymusk,
in mezzo alla boscaglia
e lì vide una giovane cerva
distesa nella macchia, macchia
distesa nella macchia
IV
La prima freccia scoccata
la ferì al fianco
e tra il fiume e il bosco
i suoi levrieri presero la preda, la preda
i suoi levrieri presero la preda
V
Johnny e i suoi due levrieri
bevvero così tanto sangue
Johnny e i suoi due levrieri
si addormentarono nel bosco, bosco
si addormentarono nel bosco
VI
Presso di loro venne un vecchio pazzo,
che peste lo colga,
e andò a chiamare i guardacaccia
per dire dove (John) dormiva, dormiva
per dire dove lui dormiva.
VII
“Se quello è il giovane Johnny of the Brine allora che riposi in pace” eccetto il settimo dei guardacaccia  che li rimproverò, era il figlio della sorella di Johnny, il figlio “e al bosco andremo”
VIII
La prima freccia che tirarono
lo ferì alla coscia, e la seconda freccia che tirarono, il sangue del suo cuore gli schizzò nell’occhio, il sangue del suo cuore gli schizzò nell’occhio
IX
Johnny si alzò con un urlo straziante
perchè era un uomo pieno di rabbia
“Ucciderò tutti i sei guardacaccia
e spezzerò la schiena del settimo in tre, tre, tre
e spezzerò la schiena del settimo in tre”
X
Mise un piede contro la pietra
e la schiena contro l’albero
e uccise tutti i sei guardacaccia
e spezzò la schiena del settimo in tre,
e gli ruppe la clavicola
e lo mise sul dorso della sua cavalla grigia
per portare la notizia a casa, casa
per portare la notizia a casa

NOTE
1) l’intendo dei guardiaboschi è di cogliere Johnny nel sonno perchè non si risvegli mai più
2) sono tutti daccordo a tendere l’imboscata mentre il bracconiere dorme indifeso, tranne il settimo guardacaccia, il quale li rimprovera, in alcune versioni si dice che nemmeno un lupo avrebbe attaccato un uomo inerme 

TERZA VERSIONE: Johnny O’Breadislee

ASCOLTA Hamish Imlach
ASCOLTA Old Blind Dogs in “Five” 1997


I
Johnny arose on a May mornin’
Gone for water tae wash his hands
He hae loused tae me his twa gray dogs
That lie bound in iron bands
II
When Johnny’s mother, she heard o’ this
Her hands for dule she wrang
Cryin’, “Johnny, for yer venison
Tae the green woods dinna ye gang”
III
Aye, but Johnny hae taen his good benbow
His arrows one by one
Aye, and he’s awa tae green wood gaen
Tae dae the dun deer doon
IV
Oh Johnny, he shot, and the dun deer lapp’t
He wounded her in the side
Aye, between the water and the wood
The gray dogs laid their pride
V
It’s by there cam’ a silly auld man
Wi’ an ill that John he might dee
And he’s awa’ doon tae Esslemont
Well, the King’s seven foresters tae see
VI
It’s up and spake the first forester
He was heid ane amang them a’
“Can this be Johnny O’ Braidislee?
Untae him we will draw”
VII
An’ the first shot that the foresters, they fired
They wounded John in the knee
An’ the second shot that the foresters, they fired
Well, his hairt’s blood blint his e’e
VIII
But he’s leaned his back against an oak
An’ his foot against a stane
Oh and he hae fired on the seven foresters
An’ he’s killed them a’ but ane
IX
Aye, he hae broke fower o’ this man’s ribs
His airm and his collar bain
Oh and he has sent him on a horse
For tae carry the tidings hame
X
Johnny’s good benbow, it lies broke
His twa gray dogs, they lie deid
And his body, it lies doon in Monymusk
And his huntin’ days are daen
His huntin’ days are daen
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Johnny si alzò un mattin di maggio
e andò al fiume per lavarsi le mani
aveva liberato per me i suoi due levrieri  legati con catene di ferro.
II
Quando la madre di Johnny seppe di ciò
si torse le mani dal dispiacere
gridando “Johnny per la tua cacciagione al bosco non andare”
III
Ma Johnny ha preso il suo buon arco ricurvo,
le sue frecce una ad una
ed è andato nel folto del bosco
per catturare una cerva bruna laggiù
IV
Johnny tirò e la cerva bruna diede un balzo
e la ferì al fianco
e tra il fiume e il bosco
i levrieri presero la preda
V
Nei pressi venne un povero vecchio
in animo che John dovesse morire,
ed è uscito da Esslemont
per vedere i sette guardacaccia
del Re
VI
Saltò su a parlare il primo guardacaccia
era il capitano di tutti loro
“Potrebbe essere Johnny O’ Braidislee? Andremo da lui!”
VII
E il primo colpo che i guardacaccia tirarono
colpirono Johnny al ginocchio
e al secondo che i guardacaccia tirarono il sangue del suo cuore gli schizzò nell’occhio
VIII
Appoggiò la schiena contro una quercia e un piede contro
la pietra
e tirò a tutti e sette i guardacaccia
uccidendoli tutti tranne uno
IX
Aveva rotto quattro delle costole di quell’uomo
il suo braccio e la clavicola
e lo mise sul dorso del cavallo
per portare la notizia a casa
X
Il buon arco di Johnny è rotto
i suoi due levreieri sono morti
e il suo corpo giace nel Monymusk
i giorni della caccia sono finiti
i giorni della caccia sono finiti


FONTI
http://www.mostly-medieval.com/explore/johnie.htm
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch114.htm
https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=9398
https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/johnnyobredislee.html
http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/oldblinddogs/johnny.htm
http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/j/johnobre.html
https://anglofolksongs.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/johnnie-o-breadisley/

Tommy’s Gone

Sea shanty variante della famiglia “To Hilo” nel progetto Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor sono riportate ben due versioni.
Il marinaio di queste sea shanty è Tom e al suo nome si abbinano un buon numero di porti, la lunghezza della canzone dipendeva dalla durata del lavoro (‘Stringing out’) e quindi la lista dei porti visitati dal nostro Tom è molto vasta.

Tommy’s Gone (Tommy’s Gone Away)

ASCOLTA Jackie Oates in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 1 (su spotify)


Tommy’s gone, what will I do?
Tommy’s gone away.
Tommy’s gone, what will I do?
Tommy’s gone away.
Tommy’s gone to Liverpool,
To Liverpool that noted school.
Tommy’s gone to Baltimore
To dance upon that sandy floor
Tommy’s gone to Mobile Bay,
To screw the cotton all the day..
Tommy’s gone to Singapore,
Tommy’s gone forevermore,
Tommy’s gone to Buenos Aires,
Where the girls have long black hair,
Tommy’s gone forevermore,
Tommy’s gone forevermore,
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Tommy se n’è andato, cosa farò?
Tommy è partito
Tommy se n’è andato, cosa farò?
Tommy è partito
Tommy è andato a Liverpool
a Liverpool quella scuola rinomata
Tommy è andato a Baltimora
a ballare sulla sabbia gialla
Tommy è andato a Mobile Bay
a raccogliere il cotone tutto il giorno
Tommy è andato a Singapore
Tommy se n’è andato per sempre
Tommy è andato a Buenos Aires
dove le ragazze portano i capelli neri e lunghi
Tommy se n’è andato per sempre

Tommy’s Gone to Ilo

La variante diffusa nel Canada.
ASCOLTA Sam Lee in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 2 (su spotify)


My Tom’s gone, what shall I do?
Away you Ilo (1).
My Tom’s gone, what shall I do?
My Tom’s gone to Ilo.
Tom’s gone to Liverpool
To Liverpool that packet school
Tom’s gone to Merasheen (2)
where they tied up
to tree (3)
Tom’s gone to Vallipo (4)
When he’ll come back I do not know
Tom’s gone to Rio
Where the girls put on show
Hilo town is in Peru
It’s just the place for me an’ you.
I wish I was in London town
then to see no more Ilo
A bully ship and a bully crew
Tom’s gone and I’ll gone too
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Tom se n’è andato, cosa farò?
via a Hilo
Tom se n’è andato, cosa farò?
Tommy è partito per Hilo
Tom è andato a Liverpool
a Liverpool a quella scuola navale
Tom è andato a Merasheen
dove bisognava agguantarsi alla crocetta
Tom è andato a Vallipo
quando ritornerà non lo so
Tom è andato a Rio
dove le ragazze si mettono in mostra
Hilo è una città del Perù
ed è il posto perfetto per me e te
Vorrei essere a Londra
e non andare più a Hilo
Una nave tosta e una ciurma di bulli
Tom è partito e partirò anch’io

NOTE
1) Hilo è il nome di un porto che si trova sia in Perù che  nelle Hawai (vedi)
2) anche scritto come Merrimashee c’è un isola di Merasheen a Terranova (Canada), ma più probabilmente è Miramichi, una cittadina del Canada, situata nella provincia del Nuovo Brunswick, ma anche un grande fiume che da il nome alla baia in cui sfocia, nel Golfo di San Lorenzo. Spesso i marinai ripetevano le canzoni ad orecchio ed era più probabile che venissero storpiati i nomi delle località che non si conoscevano.
3) vedi commento in Bonny Laddie, Heiland Laddie (My Bonnie Highland Lassie) 
4) Valparaiso in Cile

FONTI
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/hilo-in-the-sea-shanties/
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/514.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/tomsgonetohilo.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=147564

The Irish Girl of Mr Tapscott

Read the post in English 

“Mr Tapscott” è una sea shanty conosciuta con vari nomi “The Irish Girl”, “The Irish Emigrant”, ” Yellow Meal”, una via di mezzo tra una sea shanty e una emigration ballad.
In alcune versioni il testo è stato riscritto per il music-hall, per mettere in ridicolo l’irlandese di turno. (vedi prima parte)

The Irish Girl of Mr Tapscott

Si racconta di una ragazza irlandese che dal molo di Liverpool s’imbarca su una nave della Linea Marittima gestita dal signor Tapscott diretta a New York. Il suo punto d’arrivo è la Irishtown di Brooklyn non altrettanto famosa come i Five Points di Manhattan ma ancor più sovraffollata da immigrati irlandesi. La Irishtown era nel  Fifth Ward/Vinegar Hill, una roccaforte irlandese piena di distillerie di whisky illegale e avulsa dalla cultura anglo-americana, in cui nemmeno la polizia osava mettere piede. Come il famoso rivoluzionario irlandese Michael Collins ha detto nel film omonimo, “C’è un’arma che gli inglesi non possono toglierci: possiamo ignorarli”. Più in generale ingenti masse di poveri e disperati irlandesi si insediarono lungo il litorale di Brooklyn, sul lungomare da Williamsburg a Gowanus.
I quartieri lungomare di Brooklyn antebellum era un posto così. Questi quartieri di protestanti in gran parte inglesi e l’antica aristocrazia olandese furono rapidamente sopraffatti da questi “invasori” cattolici disabilitati dalle malattie, affamati e con un’eredità di ribellione, segretezza, violenza e combattimenti faziosi all’interno delle loro cooperazioni tenacemente comunitarie. In breve, questi grandi numeri di immigrati di Brooklyn non erano in alcun modo interessati ad assimilare la cultura anglo-protestante ufficiale.(tratto da qui)

brooklyn-irishtown
illustrazione del Fifth Ward di Brooklyn del 1855 la parte ombreggiata è la Irishtown, sullo sfondo a destra Manhattan con Battery Park sulla punta

MR TAPSCOTT (John Short)

john-shortTesto e melodia sono una variante di “The New York gals” (“Can’t You Dance the Polka?”) Così scrivono nelle note gli autori del progetto Short Sharp Shanties: “Il testo  è più noto come The Irish Girl, The Irish Emigrant o Yellow Meal con versioni abbastanza coerenti, tuttavia questo testo è uno dei due soli casi in cui abbiamo deliberatamente cambiato alcune parole: non eravamo disposti a usare la parola “N” – e nemmeno Sharp, benché l’abbia annotata, così abbiamo fatto ricorso al suo testo per il versetto di “Foulton Ferry”. Il motivo di Short è, ovviamente, più conosciuto come  New York Gals o Can’t You Dance the Polka (che sono, probabilmente, varianti del testo di Jack-All-Alone (alias Patrick Street / Barrack Street) – che usava la melodia della polka Larry Doolan (The Irish Jaunting Car) – pubblicata nel 1852). La melodia è stata utilizzata anche per la canzone della guerra civile americana The Bonny Blue Flag (1861) e successivamente per The Southern Girl’s Reply. Il testo è stato anche registrato, come una shanty, cantata per Heave Away, Me Johnny (che Short canta su Banks of the Sweet Dundee.   (tratto da qui)

Sam Lee in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor Vol 1 


I
As I was a-walking down
by the Clarence Dock (1),
I overheard an Irish girl
conversing with Tapscott (2).
Chorus (after each verse):
And away you Santy (3), my dear Annie,
Oh you Santy, I’ll love you for your money
II
“Good morning Mister Tapscott,
good morning, sir,” says she,
“O have you got a ship of fame
to carry me o’er the sea?”
III
“O yes, I have a ship of fame,
tomorrow she sets sail,
She’s lieing in the Waterloo Dock taking in her mail.”
IV
The day was fine when we set sail
but night has scare begun (4)
A dirty nor’west wind came up
and drove us back again.
V
Our captain, being an Irishman,
as you shall understand,
He hoisted out his small boat on the banks of Newfoundland.
VI
‘Twas at the Castle Gardens (5) fair
they landed me on shore,
And if I marry a Yankee boy
I’ll go to sea no more.
VII
I went down to Foulton Ferry (6)
but I could not get across,
I jumped on the back
of a ferryboat man
and rode him like an hoss.
VIII
My father is a butcher,
my mother chops the meat,
My sister keeps a slap-up (7)
shop way down on Water Street (8).
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Mentre camminavo
al  Molo Clarence
ascoltai una ragazza irlandese
conversare con Tapscott.
Coro
E andiamo Santina, mia cara Annie,
tu Santina, ti amerò per i tuoi soldi
II
Buon giorno signor Tapscott,
buon giorno signore -dice lei-
avete una nave di chiara fama
che mi porti oltre mare?”
III
“O si, ho una nave di chiara fama
che partirà domani
è in rada nel Molo Waterloo
a caricare la posta”
IV
Il giorno era bello quando salpammo, ma la notte ci mise in apprensione, un dannato vento di tramontana arrivò e ci ricacciava indietro.
V
Il Capitano, era irlandese,
come capirete,
ammarò la sua barcaccia sulle rive di Terranova.
VI
Fu a Castle Gardens
che mi sbarcarono a riva
e se sposerò un americano
non andrò più per mare
VII
Andai al  Fulton Ferry
ma non riuscii a salire sul traghetto, così saltai sulla schiena di un traghettatore e lo cavalcai come un cavallino
VIII
Mio padre è un macellaio, mia madre trita la carne, mia sorella tiene una bottega alla mano in fondo a Water Street.

NOTE
1) Il porto di Liverpool è un sistema portuale lungo l’estuario del fiume Mersey. Il primo bacino di Liverpool fu costruito nel 1715 sviluppandosi poi in un sistema di docks interconnessi che permettevano i movimenti delle navi ininterrottamente nonostante le maree. La maggior parte delle piccole banchine della parte sud del porto di Liverpool vennero chiuse nel 1971, man mano che s’inauguravano i nuovi bacini adatti ad ospitare le nuovi navi cargo.
2) Questa shanty aveva un fascino particolare per il marinaio Short: “Tapscott” era William Tapscott di una famiglia di Minehead (Somerset) che aveva vissuto in città (vicino a Watchet) almeno dalla metà del 1770. William era un affarista navale americano con sede a Regents Road, a Liverpool, e Eden Quay, a Dublino. Lavorò in collaborazione con suo fratello James, che si occupava della parte finale della tratta di New York e si specializzò nella vendita di passaggi prepagati agli immigrati arricchiti. Erano agenti della Black Ball Line e della Red Cross Line dei postali americani. Insieme, truffavano gli incauti. I fratelli Tapscott erano furfanti sistematici, a cominciare dalle dimensioni del carico venduto come 1000 tonnellate, e persino fino a 2000 tonnellate, mentre la maggior parte delle loro navi non superava le 600 tonnellate. Con l’aumentare della loro ricchezza, i Tapscot hanno creato la loro linea di navigazione. Passaggi economici per l’emigrante erano il nome dell’affare – ma le condizioni erano atroci e il cibo povero (il “pasto giallo”, cioè le pastone di mais del titolo). Nel 1849 William Tapscott fu dichiarato fallito, e nello stesso anno fu accusato di frode. È stato giudicato colpevole e condannato a tre anni di servitù penale  (tratto da qui)
3) richiamo ad un’altra  sea shanty e a Santy Anna- Santiana . Santy qui è usato come vezzeggiativo in italiano potrebbe essere Santina
4) I passeggeri soffrivano spesso il mal di mare specialmente con i forti venti di tramontana
5) Castle Clinton o Fort Clinton o Castle Garden era un forte circolare situato nella Città di New York a Battery Park, nella parte meridionale dell’isola di Manhattan: dalla metà del XIX secolo, fu utilizzato come primo centro di smistamento per l’immigrazione proveniente dall’Europa. La stazione fu in funzione fino al 1890, anno in cui l’amministrazione federale, sotto pressione di una seconda e più imponente ondata immigratoria proveniente da tutti gli stati d’Europa, decise di aprirne una più funzionale su Ellis Island.

New York 1850
John Bachmann. The Empire City, Birdseye View of New York and Environs, 1855, in primo piano Battery Park

6) Fulton Ferry era il traghetto che collegava Brooklyn con New York e che rimase in attività fino alla costruzione del famoso ponte (1883) vedi
7) slap-up oggi si traduce come “eccellente” ma alla luce delle sue origini sull’origine del termine vedere qui, m’immagino un posto dove mangiare un pasto economico antenato del fast-food, il termine è associato tuttavia a una qualità positiva come qualcosa di molto buono, ma può voler anche dire un posto alla moda.
8) sul lungomare del distretto di Brooklyn

FONTI
http://www.castlegarden.org/
http://visualizingnyc.org/essays/john-bachmanns-new-york/
https://artofneed.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/the-brooklyn-irish/
https://artofneed.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/brooklyns-irishtown/
https://artofneed.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/801/
https://www.vwml.org/record/CJS2/10/2877
https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/mrtapscott.html
http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/tapscott.shtml

General Taylor gained the day

Una sea shanty dal titolo “Carry him to his burying ground” o “General Taylor” ; riguardo alle origini c’è chi parteggia per i marinai inglesi e chi per gli schiavi afro-americani. AL Lloyd la imparò da ‘Harding the Barbadian Barbarian’ e Cecil Sharp la collezionò dal marinaio John Short.
Ci sono due riferimenti incrociati ad altri canti marinareschi: Santy Ano e Stormalong; Stormy è un marinaio del mito, il suo funerale è una sorta di ultimo addio alla gloriosa era dei grandi velieri, sconfitti sul finire dell’Ottocento dai battelli a vapore.

ASCOLTA Steeleye Span (voce Tim Hart) 1971

ASCOLTA Sam Lee in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor Vol. 1 su spotify, che la interpreta secondo la versione della collezione John Short così è scritto nelle note dell’album
Another shanty that refers to Stormy. Despite its popularity in recent years, this is a rare shanty in the collections. The extraordinary melodic lines of the shantyman’s lead, in what might be regarded as “chorus”, were, with difficulty, meticulously notated by Sharp, and are virtually impossible to replicate in performance—Sam [Lee] has followed the style rather than the exact notation. Other shantymen tend to sing a very simplified version—or give it all to the crew as chorus.

ASCOLTA Richard Thompson w/ Jack Shit Son Of Rogues Gallery ‘Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys ANTI 2013 su Spotify


General Taylor gained the day(1)
Walk him along, John, carry him along
Oh General Taylor he gained the day
Carry him to his burying ground
Chorus
To me way hey, you Stormy (2)
Walk him along, John, carry him along
To me way hey, you Stormy
Carry him to his burying ground
VERSIONE STEELEYE SPAN
Oh I wish I was old Stormy’s son
I’d build a ship ten thousand tons
I’d load her down with ale and rum
And every shellback should have some
Oh we dig his grave with a silver spade
And his shroud of the softest silk is made
And we lower him down on a golden chain
On every link we’ll carve his name
General Taylor’s dead and gone


VERSIONE RICHARD THOMPSON
We dig his grave with a silver spade
shroud of the finest silk is made
And we lower him down on a golden chain
On every link we’ll carve his name
General Taylor died long ago
He’s gone where the stormy winds won’t blow
General Taylor’s dead and gone
General Taylor’s dead and gone
Tell me where you’re Stormy
Tell me where you’re Stormy
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Il generale Taylor ha vinto il giorno(1)
accompagnalo John, portalo con te
il generale Taylor ha vinto il giorno
portalo al suo cimitero
Coro
a me via, ehi tu Stormy
accompagnalo John, portalo con te
a me via, ehi tu Stormy
portalo al suo cimitero
VERSIONE STEELEYE SPAN
Se fossi il figlio del vecchio Stormy
costruirei una nave di mille tonnellate. La stiverei con birra e rum
e tutti i marinai ne avrebbero un po’.
Scaviamo la fossa con una spada d’argento,
il sudario è fatto della migliore seta
e lo caliamo giù con una catena d’argento,
a ogni anello incideremo il suo nome
Generale Taylor è morto stecchito


VERSIONE RICHARD THOMPSON
Scaviamo la fossa con una spada d’argento, il sudario è fatto della migliore seta e lo caliamo giù con una catena d’argento,
a ogni anello incideremo il suo nome
il Generale Taylor morì molto tempo fa
è andato dove i venti di tempesta non soffiano più
Generale Taylor è morto stecchito
Generale Taylor è morto stecchito
Dimmi dove sei Stormy
Dimmi dove sei Stormy

NOTE
1) Il generale Zachary Taylor sconfisse il generale messicano Santa Ana a Buenavista nel febbraio 1847, contribuendo ad assicurarsi il Texas e ad ottenere la California, per gli Stati Uniti. Divenne Presidente degli Stati Uniti dopo la guerra con il Messico, ma morì dopo solo un breve periodo in carica. Nelle versioni irlandesi la verità storica viene stravolta ed è Santa Ana ad aver vinto la battaglia di quel giorno  (vedi)
2) al Generale Taylor viene tributato un funerale rituale come al leggendario Stormy

continua

FONTI
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/generaltaylor.html
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/santy-anna-santy-ano/
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/stormalong-john/
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=79270
http://www.contemplator.com/sea/stormalong.html