Archivi tag: Steeleye Span

Dark-Eyed Sailor, a reily ballad

Leggi in italiano

The song also known as “Fair Phoebe and her Dark-Eyed Sailor” originally from England, and is dated to a good approximation at the end of the nineteenth century. It is classified as a reily ballad or broken token ballad (because of the love pledge exchanged between the two lovers) on the model of a “return song” that was already the most popular in Classical times: in most of these ballads the man returns home after many years of absence at sea (war), and, not recognized by the woman, he puts her loyalty to the test. The girl, as a serious girl, refuses his courting because she has already been promised. The man so reassured, reveals himself to the woman and the two crown their love with marriage.

sailor-returnThe ballad recalls the archetypal figures of Ulysses and Penelope, when Ulysses, returned twenty years after the war (and his vicissitudes in the seas) to his Ithaca in disguise, is not recognized by his wife.

Collected in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and North America according to A.L. Lloyd all versions have a common matrix in the ballad published on a broadside printed by James Catnach (London 1813-1838) Flanders in “The New Green Mountain Songster” observes”The air to which it is almost universally sung, both in the old-country and American tradition, belongs to another ballad, “The Female Smuggler“.

Steeleye Span from “Hark! The Village Wait” (1970)

Christy Moore from Prosperus 1972

Quilty ( I, II, IV, VI, VII)

Olivia Chaney live The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions

I
As I went a walking (roved out ) one evening fair,
it being the summer(time) to take the air/I spied a female (maiden) with a sailor boy/and I stood to listen, I stood to listen/to hear what they might say.
II
He said “Young maiden (fair lady)
now why do you roam
all along by yonder Lee?”
She heaved a sigh and the tears they did roll, / “For my dark eyed sailor,
he ploughs the stormy seas.”
III
“‘Tis seven long years(1) since he left this land,
A ring he took from off his lily-white hand.(2)
One half of the ring is still here with me,
But the other’s rollin’
at the bottom of the sea.”
IV
He said “You can drive him from your mind/for another young man you surely will find.
Love turns a sight and it soon grows cold/ Like a winter’s morning
the hills are white with snow.”
V
She said “I’ll never forsake my dear
Although we’re parted this many a year/ Genteel(3) he was and a rake(4) like you/ To induce a maiden
to slight the jacket blue(5).”
VI
One half of the ring did young William show
She ran distracted in grief and woe
Sayin’ “William, William, I have gold in store(6)/ For my dark-eyed sailor
has proved his honour long”
VII
There is a cottage by yonder Lee,
the couple live there and do agree.
So maids be true when your lover’s at sea,
For a stormy morning
brings on a sunny day.
NOTES
1) Seven is a recurring number in ballads to indicate the duration of a separation. The reference to the number seven is not accidental: it is a magic or symbolic number linked to death or change. If a husband left for the war and did not return within seven years, the wife could remarry.
2) in this kind of ballads often appears an object through which the two lovers are recognized, either a gift exchanged or a ring broken in half as in this case
3) for gentle
4) A “rake” was a charming young lover of women, of songs, dedicated to gambling and alcohol, but also a lifestyle of fashion among the English nobles during the 17th century. And yet it is also a term used in a positive sense
5) wearing the blue jacket of the British sailor’s uniform
6) in other versions”I’ve lands and gold For my dark-eyed sailor so manly, true and bold

LINK
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/fair-young-maid-garden/
http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/maine-lumberjacks/songs-ballads%20-%200208.htm
http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfolk.php?id=926 http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=80849 http://www.itma.ie/inishowen/song/dark_eyed_sailor_kate_doherty http://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/songs/thedarkeyedsailor.html http://www.christymoore.com/lyrics/dark-eyed-sailor/
http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/13/sailor.htm http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=149660 https://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/LN35.html

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

The Grey Silkie of Sule Skerry

Leggi in italiano

5494853578_b8a653b169Selkie / silkie / Selchie are the dialectal terms with which in Scotland and Ireland the shapeshifting creatures of sea are called; derive from selich, the Scottish archaic word for  gray seal of the oceans and the Atlantic seas: they are guardians of the sea, seal in the sea and man on earth.

ALL ABOUT SELKIE see here

The power of shapeshifters seems to be contained in their mantle (seal skin), selkies can no longer transform themselves without it and are forced to remain human. This condition is understood in a negative way, a sign of a lack or deprivation, as if the skins of Selkie there were also their soul.
Some researchers wanted to see the origin of the legend in the Finfolk, ( probably the Sami people) Scandinavian men who arrived on the islands and on the coast of Scotland aboard their leather kayaks, while gradually they were advancing at sea their canoe had absorbed water and  sank until only part of their trunk it could be seen.

Both male and female, they are described in their human form as beautiful creatures (long hair and big dark eyes, agile limbs), docile but at the same time endowed with seductive power. The legend says that to reproduce a selkie-male must be in human form and transmit his power to descendants: when his child is weaned on dry land, the selkie will return from the sea. Once when the infant mortality rate was very high, only children over the age of seventh could be considered out of danger and it was at the end of the seventh year that the selkie returned to take his child.
Selkie males were invoked by girls in search of lovers, pouring seven tears in the tide, while sailors were attracted to the female selkie who tried to take as their brides.

Selkie by Maryanne Gobble

THE GREAT SELKIE OF SULE SKERRY

The best known of the Orkney ballads, also known as The Gray Silkie of Sule Skerry, it tells of a selkie living on the rocky cliff of Sule. Skerry derives from the Norse “sker” which means rock in the sea .
The ballad was also collected by professor Child ( # 113).

tumblr_loialeB04U1r04h5zo1_500A young girl has a child from an unknown man who turns out to be a selkie: man on earth, seal at sea whose dwelling is the rocks of Sule. After seven years the sea creature returns to claim his son, giving him a chain of gold, and the mother lets him go.
She after some time gets married with a hunter who trades with animal skins. One day he returns home with the skins of two seals he had killed to give them to his wife: one was of an old gray seal, the other of a young seal with a golden chain around his neck! She dies, overwhelmed by the pain of this vision: her heart breaks or she chooses to follow selkie and son throwing herself into the sea to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

SELKIE PROPHECY

The enchantment of the story lies in particular in the narrative choice: the story is often described as in a nocturnal dream in which a man who claims to be silkie and father of the child, appears almost magically and, next to the cradle of the newborn as in fairy godmothers of fairy tales, he traces child’s destiny.

TWO TUNES

A first melody, which was shot in the folk revival of the 70s, it was written by the American James Waters in 1954 (popularized by Joan Baez); another melody is instead traditional and it was collected in 1938 by Otto Anderson from the voice of John Sinclair of the island of Flotta and transcribed in notation.

JAMES WATERS TUNE

A funeral lament in a lullaby form.

Castelbar  (I, II, IV, V, III, VI, VII, I)

Very intense version of Steeleye Span from Cogs, Wheels and Lovers, 2009, Maddy Prior and Peter Knight

Cécile Corbel ( I, II, IV as refrain, III, V, VI)

Seriouskitchen (Nick Hennessey, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer ) live: magic instruments, beautiful voices, intense expressiveness

I
An earthly nurse (1) sits and sings,
And aye, she sings by lily wean,
“And little ken (2) I my bairn (3)’s father,
Far less the land where he dwells in.
II
For he came one night to her bed feet (4),/And a grumbly (5) guest, I’m sure was he,/Saying, “Here am I, thy bairn’s father,/Although I be not comely.”
III
He had ta’en a purse of gold/And he had placed it upon her knee/ Saying, “Give to me my little young son,/And take thee up thy nurse’s fee.”
IV
“I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie on the sea,
And when I’m far and far frae land,
My home it is in Sule Skerrie.”
V
“And it shall come to pass on a summer’s day,/When the sun shines bright on every stane,/I’ll come and fetch my little young son,/And teach him how to swim the faem.”
VI
“Ye shall marry a gunner good/And a right fine gunner I’m sure he’ll be,/And the very first shot that e’er he shoots/Will kill both my young son and me.”
VII
“Alas! Alas! this woeful fate!
This weary fate that’s been laid for me!”/And once or twice she sobbed and sighed/and she joint to a sun and grey silkie (6)

NOTES
1) nourris = nurse
2) ken = know
3) bairn = child
4) bed fit = foot of the bed
5) grumly = strange, scary but also sad
6) or: And her tender heart did break in three

traditional tune

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/sule-skerry.htm
http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/sulesk.htm
http://thawinedarksea.blogspot.it/2010/04/selkie-pallawah-skin.html
http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/finfolk/index.html
https://japanesemythology.wordpress.com/study-notes-investigating-sealkins-selkies-and-sea-goddess-folklore/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/greatsilkieofsuleskerry.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=31375
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch113.htm
http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/recordings–info-113-great-silkie-of-sule-skerry.aspx
http://bestoflegends.org/fairy/selchies.html
http://fiabesca.blogspot.it/2013/06/acque-settentrionali-le-storie-della.html

Lord Olaf (Herr Olof) and The Elves

Leggi in Italiano

 Concealed death

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

FAERIE MEETING

This medieval ballad ( from the North to the South of Europe) tells the story of a knight (Oluf, Olof or Olaf) and his meeting with a fairy creature asking him to dance (or to drink) with her: the knight refuses as he will be married in the morning, and the girl (elf or mermaid) places a curse on him (a quickly death for tomorrow).
rackham_fairy

DAME SANS MERCI

Robert Anning Bell, La belle dame sans merci

The fairy is the fatal woman archetype, with her irresistible appeal, who kills her lover.
The real situation behind this tale is clear: a jealous woman because her lover has chosen to marry another one, kills him; in the norse version, he does not yield to the sexual charme, in the Scottish one he lets himself be tempted for the last time; but the result is always death: the man who let himself be guided by lust is entrapped and addicted by sex.

FAIRY RINGS

The fairy creatures love to dance and they do it in a circle holding hands and intertwining in a farandole from the unbridled rhythm. Fairies dance all moon night from dusk to dawn, but the time spent in their ring can be during seven years (or even centuries). Once you enter the circle you are forced to stay until the end of the dancing party, losing track of time and freedom. Sometimes the megalithic stones circles are considerated a Fairies Ring

Ängsälvor (Meadow Elves) Nils Blommér, 1850: we see our knight approaching the Elven Garden in the distance towards the forest

Olaf returns home, meets his mother and sends her to call his relatives and his bride. At the arrival of his bride everyone tries to hide her the evidence of the groom death by vaguely answering the perplexed questions of the future wife, until at the time of consuming the marriage on their wedding bed, the woman he finds him dead.

Arthur_Rackham_1909_Undine_(7_of_15)

In a very dramatic ending both the bride and the mother of Olaf kill themselves or die for pain!
A derivation-conclusion of the story goes on in another red thread drawn for all Europe, “the poisoned testament“, in which the son on his deathbed after being poisoned by a mysterious lady, returns home to his mother and declares his last wishes.

SWEDISH VERSION: HERR OLOF

The story is partial: Olof is the son of the King and meets the mermaid on the beach, but he accepts her magic wine and remains enchanted. The siren will certainly lead him to death.

Sjungande Danse live

Garmarna

Gjallarhorn


I
Herr Olof han sadlar sin gångare grå
Så rider han sig till havsfruns gård
Herr Olof han red guldsadeln flöt
Han sjunker i havsfruns sköt
II
Välkommen välkommen herr Olof till mig
I femton år har jag väntat på dig
Var är du födder och var är du buren
Var haver du dina hovkläder skuren?
III
På konungens gård är jag födder och buren
Där haver jag mina hovkläder skuren
Där har jag fader och där har jag mor
Där har jag syster och bror.
IV
Men var har du åker och var har du äng?
Var står uppbäddad din bruaresäng?
Var haver du din fästemö
Med henne vill leva och dö?
V
Där har jag åker och där har jag äng
Där står uppbäddad min bruaresäng
Där haver jag min fästemö
Med henne mig lyster att leva och dö
VI
Men hör riddar Olof kom följ med mig in
Och drick ur min kanna det klaraste vin.
Var är du födder var är du buren
Var haver du dina hovklädder skuren
VII
Här är jag födder och här är jag buren
Här haver jag mina hovkläder skuren
Här har jag fader och där har jag mor
Här har jag syster och bror
VIII
Men var har du åker och var har du äng?
Var står uppbäddad din bruaresäng
Var haver du din fästemö
Med henne vill leva och dö
IX
Här har jag åker och här har jag äng
Här står uppbäddad min bruaresäng
Här haver jag min fästemö
Med dig vill jag leva med dig vill jag dö
English translation
I
Sir Olof has saddled his good grey mare,
And off he has ridden to the mermaid’s lair.
His saddle of gold floated high on the waves
And down sank Sir Olof to the mermaid’s embrace (1).
II
“O welcome, Sir Olof, and welcome to me!
Full fifteen years I have  waited for thee.
“Where were you born, and where you raised,
And where   were your courtly garments made? (2)”
III
“Twas in the king’s castle I was born and raised,
And it’s there that my   courtly garments were made.
“There lives my father, there lives my   mother,
And there live my sister and brother.”
IV
“But where are your fields and where are your lands,
And where in the   world does your bridal bed stand?
“Where in the world does your true love lie,
With whom you will live and die?”
V
“There are my fields and there are my lands,
And there is the place   where my bridal bed stands.
“There is the place where my true love does  lie,
With whom I have sworn to live and to die.”
VI
“Come in now, Sir Olof, sit down by me here,
And drink from my goblet of wine so clear.
“Now where were you born, and where were you raised,
And where were your courtly garments made?
VII
“Here I was born, and here I was raised,
And here is where my courtly garments were made.
“Here lives my father,   and here lives my mother,
And here are my sister and brother.”
VIII
“But where are your fields and where are your lands,
And where in the   world does your bridal bed stand?
“Where in the world does your true love lie,
With whom you will live and   die?”
IX
“Here are my fields and here are my lands.
Here is the place where my   bridal bed stands.
“Here is the place where my true love does lie,
With you I will live and   with you I will die.”

NOTES
1) this is clearly the last love meet, in view of the upcoming marriage
2) the siren always poses the same question, just as in the inquisitorial technique typical of the secret services and the state police, the same questions are obsessively repeated until the physical and mental exhaustion of the suspect; but only after drinking the love filter Olof is completely subjected to the siren and he has forgotten his human life.

Ogham live, instrumental version

In the Swedish folk tradition we also find other melodies and text versions, see for example “Herr Olof och Älvorna”.

DANISH VERSION: ÓLAVUR RIDDARARÓS

The Danish version follows the pattern: the knight who runs in the night is invited to dance with elves and he is hit by a curse (ie he is poisoned with a magical drink) after his refusal, he preferred death rather than being subjected to the fairy kingdom .

Valravn their version stops at the point where the fairy hits the knight to death


I
Ólavur ríður eftir bjørgunum fram,
– Kol og smiður við –
Fann hann upp á eitt álvarann.
– Ungir kallar, kátir kallar,
Gangiðupp á gólv,dansð lystillig!
II
Út kom eitt taðálvafljóð,
flættað hár á herðar dró.
III
”Ver vælkomin, harra Riddararós,
kom og dans og kvød fyri os”
CHORUS
Ungir kallar, kátir kallar,

Gangiðupp á gólv,
Ungir kallar, kátir kallar,
Gangiðupp á gólv,
dansð lystillig!

(“Eg kann ikki meira hjá álvum vera,
í morgin lati eg mítt brúdleyp gera”)
IV
”vilt tú ikki meiri hjá álvum vera,
sjúkan skai eg titt brúdleyp gera.”
V
”Fyrr vil eg i morgin til moldar gå,
enn eg vil sjey vetur liggja á strá”
VI
Hon skonkti honum í drykkjuhorn
har fór i táð eiturkorn
English translation *
I
Olaf rides along the mountains
with coal and smith (1)
He came upon an elven house
Young lads, happy lads, step up on the floor (2), dance merrily
II
Out came an elven maiden
Braided hair on shoulders lay
III
“Be welcome Olaf Knightrose
come to the dance and sing for us”
Chorus

Young lads, happy lads,
step up on the floor
Young lads, happy lads,
step up on the floor
dance merrily
(“I can no longer stay with the elves
for tomorrow I will wed”)

IV
Will you no longer stay with the elves
Sick I shall make your wedding
V
I would rather  be buried tomorrow
Then lie ill for seven winters (3)
VI
She filled him a drinkinghorn
in it went a grain of poison

NOTES
* from here
1) the interlayer recalls the telluric forces and the world below
2) fairy ring because of the typical dance in the circle preferred by fairies, the fairy circles are visually highlighted by a ring of mushrooms, flowers or trampled grass.
3 )seven years is the time that the rider will have to spend in the fairy world because he will no longer be able to leave the fairy ring until the dance stops (time flows differently in the fairy world)

Another title and melody from Sweden it is Elveskud (or Elverskud)

Himmerland live

NORWEGIAN VERSION: Olav Liljekrans 

Folque Dans, dans Olav Liljekrans

I
Olav rie til berget fram,
– Det leikar under fjøll –
dei elvekvinner gjekk i dans.
– Stig av hesten og dans –
II
Elvemøyi rette hand frå seg,
– Det leikar under fjøll –
kom du Olav, trø dans’ med meg.
– Stig av hesten og dans,
dans Olav Liljekrans,
stig av hesten og dans –
III
Danse med deg eg inkje må,
i morgo’ skó mitt bryllaup stå.
IV
Olav, Olav, trø dans’ med meg,
eit hovud av gull så gjeve eg deg.
V
Eit hovud av gull det kan eg vel få,
men danse med deg eg alli må.
VI
Olav, Olav, trø dans’ med meg,
ei silkje skjorte så gjeve eg deg.
Stig av hesten og dans,
dans Olav Liljekrans,
stig av hesten og dans –
VII
Ei silkje skjorte det kan eg vel få,
men danse med deg eg alli må.
VIII
Høyre du Olav Liljekrans,
du stig av hesten og trø i dans’.
Stig av hesten og dans,
dans Olav Liljekrans,
stig av hesten og dans –
English translation *
I
Olav was riding towards the mountains
They play under the high mountains
The elven women broke into dance.
“Dismount your horse and dance”
II
The elf maid reached out her hand,
“Come now, Olav, dance with me”
III
“Dancing with you – I can not,
for tomorrow my wedding is to be held.”
IV
Olav, Olav, come dance with me,
a “head”(1) of gold, I shall grant thee.
V
A “head” of gold, I wouldn’t mind having,
but dancing with you – that I’ll never do!
VI
Olav, Olav, come dance with me,
a silken shirt so I will give you.
VII
A silken shirt, I would gladly have,
but dancing with you – that I’ll never do!
VIII
Listen up, Olav Liljekrans,
you get off your horse, and start dancing!(2)

NOTES
* from here
1) ancient unit of measurement
2) the ballad breaks in half, the modern versions in practice halve the ancient narration, leaving at the same time space for an open ending

ENGLISH VERSION: DANCE WITH ME

The English version takes up the story as handed down by the Norwegian tradition.
In his essay Giordano Dall’Armellina highlights the erotic link between knight and fatal woman: “eroticism is permeated with magic, where reason loses touch with rational reality and promises magnificent gifts.”

Steeleye Span from All Around My Hat, 1975

I
A knight he rode his lonely way
Thinking about his wedding day (1)
As he rode through a forest near
The elf king’s daughter did appear
II
Out she stepped from the elfin band
Smiling she held out her hand
“Welcome Sir Knight, why such speed?
Come with me the dance to lead”
Chorus
Dance, dance, follow me
Round and round the greenwood tree
Dance, dance, while you may
Tomorrow is your dying day
Dance with me, dance with me
III
“Listen Sir Knight come dance with me,
Spurs of gold I’ll give to thee”
“Dance neither I will give nor may
Tomorrow is my wedding day”
IV
“Please Sir Knight come dance with me
A shirt of silk I’ll give to thee
A shirt of silk so white and fine
My mother has bleached
in the moon-beams shine”
V
“Please Sir Knight come dance with me
A crown of gold I’ll give to thee”
“Your crown of gold I’ll freely take
But I’ll not join your elfin wake”
VI
“Do you refuse to dance with me
A plague of death shall follow thee”
Between his shoulders a blow she dealt, such a blow he’d never felt

NOTES
1) while in the Scandinavian versions we imagine that the knight runs from his lover for a last night of passion, here and in the poetic version of Johann Gottfried von Herder a motive (or excuse) is more explicit: bring invitations to the guests for the imminent marriage

The Danish versions (Elverskud) had influence on German literature and the poet Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803) translated the ballad into German with the name of Der Erlkönigs

Even Goethe was inspired by history to write a romantic ballad – taken from italian Carducci with the title “La figlia del Re degli Elfi”.

second part

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/oluf.htmhttp://www.nspeak.com/allende/comenius/bamepec/multimedia/saggio1.htmhttp://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/child-ballads-v2/child8-v2%20-%200371.htmhttp://balladspot.blogspot.com/2016/03/sir-olof-and-elves.htmlhttp://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/T%C3%BDr:%C3%93lavur_Riddarar%C3%B3s/en

The Saucy Sailor Boy

Leggi in italiano

The nineteenth-century image of sailor is rather stereotypical: Jack Tar is a drunkard and a womanizer, perhaps a slacker and troublemaker, always ready to fight.
In sea songs from the female point of view sailor is often an unfaithful liar who has a girlfriend in every port even if he has a wife and children at home. Ridiculed and rejected by some, he is instead sought by others who absolutely prefer the love of a sailor (Sailor laddie)!
Sailor is watched more often with distrust by women, as in the sea song entitled “The Saucy Sailor Boy” where a young “saucy” sailor courts a country girl: it’s a “love contrast” that fits in a long popular tradition of bucolic argument, in which a man and a woman duet with amorous skirmishes; generally woman refuses man’s proposals, to preserve her virtue or to better stimulate his desire; man, on the other hand, promises seas and mountains, as well as eternal love, riches and the certainty of a comfortable life, just to conquer the woman’s graces.
In Saucy Sailor, however, she rejects the sailor with ill grace, because his clothes still smell of tar; the music changes when sailor shows his money but it’s too late and sailor doesn’ t want  to marry her anymore!

SAILOR’S CLOTHES

Clothes of Poor Jack, a British sailor of the late eighteenth century, are anything but poor: he is wearing a popular variant of the knee-length trousers, a sort of very wide trouser skirt. He wears a black tall round hat, and his long hair is loose on his neck, a white shirt with a stiff collar and a red neckcloth; characteristic yellow double-breasted waistcoat with narrow vertical red stripes, and an elegant blue short jacket with a long row of white buttons; light blue socks and black shoes with a beautiful metal buckles.

Poor Jack, Charles Dibdin, 1790-1791, British Museum: he wears slops, wide knee-length pants. The hair worn long until the mid-nineteenth century were kept in order, stopping them behind the back of the neck in a tarred tail, hence the nickname Jack Tar

But sailors like all the workers and men of the people also wore long trousers which became a standard of men’s clothing after the French revolution.

THE SAUCY SAILOR BOY

Text is found in many nineteenth-century collections and broadside especially in Great Britain and America, and probably it has eighteenth-century origins (William Alexander Barret in his “English Folksong” published in 1891 believes that this song appeared in print in 1781 and he cites its great popularity among girls who work in Eastern London factories.
The Tarry Sailor from trad archives (Andrew Robbie of Strichen, Aberdeenshire)  
Quadriga consort: early-music version
Harbottle & Jonas (from Cornwall): a swing version

Steeleye Span from Below the Salt, 1972 ( I, and from III to VIII): standard version in the repertoires of singers and folk groups

Wailin Jennys 

SAUCY SAILOR BOY
I
“Come, my dearest, come, my fairest,
Come and tell unto me,
Will you pity (fancy) a poor sailor boy,
Who has just come from sea?”
II
“I can fancy no poor sailor:
No poor sailor for me!
For to cross the wide ocean
Is a terror to me.
III
You are ragged, love, you are dirty, love,/And your clothes they smell of tar./So begone, you saucy sailor boy,
So begone, you Jack Tar(1)!”
IV
“If I’m ragged, love, if I’m dirty, love,
If my clothes they smell (much) of tar,
I have silver in my pocket, love,
And of gold a bright (great) store.”
V (2)
When she heard those words come from him, On her bended knees she fell./”To be sure, I’ll wed my sailor,
For I love him so well.”
VI
“Do you think that I am foolish?
Do you think that I am mad?
That I’d wed with a poor country girl
Where no fortune’s to be had?
VII
I will cross the briny ocean/Where the meadows they are green (3);
Since you have had the offer, love,
Another shall have the ring.
VIII
For I’m young, love, and I’m frolicksome, (4)
I’m good-temper’d, kind and free.
And I don’t care a straw (5), love,
What the world says (thinks)of me.

NOTES
1) Jack Tar is a common English term originally used to refer to seamen of the Merchant or Royal Navy, particularly during the period of the British Empire. Seamen were known to ‘tar’ their clothes before departing on voyages, in order to make them waterproof, in the eighteenth century they were usually used to tar their long hair in a ponytail to prevent it from getting wet or that the wind ruffled it
2)  Steeleye Span :
And then when she heard him say so
On her bended knees she fell,
“I will marry my dear Henry
For I love a sailor lad so well.”
3) Steeleye Span: I will whistle and sing
4) Steeleye Span :
Oh, I am frolicsome and I am easy,
Good tempered and free,
5) or “I don’t give a single pin”

SEA SHANTY VERSION: The Tarry Sailor

Stan Hugill in his Shantyman Bible (Shanties from the Seven Seas) tells us that The Tarry Sailor (Saucy Sailor Boy) in addition to being a forebitter song was occasionally sung during the boring hours of pumping water from the bilge when the pumps were operated by hand!  (see sea shanty)

Hulton Clint 

THE TARRY SAILOR
I
Come on my fair ones,
Come on my fan ones,
Come and listen unto me.
Could you fancy a boldly sailor lad
That has just come home from sea?
Could you fancy a boldly sailor lad
That has just come home from sea?
II
No, indeed, I’ll wed no sailor
For they smell too much of tar!
You are ruggy, you are sassy,
get you gone Jackie Tar.
III
I have ship on all the ocean,
I have golden great galore
All my clothes they may be all in rags,
but coin can buy me more
IV
If I am ruggy, if I am sassy
And may by a tarry smell
I had silver in my pockets
For they knew can every tell
V
When she heard him that distressed
down upon her knees she fell
Saying “Ruggy dirty saylor boy
I love more than you can tell”
VI
Do you think that I’m foolish,
Do you think that I’m mad?
That I’d wed the likes of you, Miss,
When there’s others to be had!”
VII
No indeed I’ll cross the ocean,
And my ships shall spread her wings,
You refused me, ragged, dirty,
Not for you the wedding ring.

Scottish sailors were excellent dancers and part of their training consisted of practicing Sailor’s Hornpipe


second part

LINK
https://www.britishtars.com/2014/01/poor-jack-1790-91.html
https://www.mun.ca/mha/mlc/articles/introducing-merchant-seafaring/jack-tar.php
http://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/songs/saucysailor.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=133473
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=16440

Hares on the Mountain with Sally the dear

Leggi in italiano

Cecil Sharp has collected nine different versions of the ballad “Hares on the Mountain”, a love hunt perhaps derived from “The Two Magicians
amorinoSome believe that the text was written by Samuel Lover (1797-1865) because he appears in his novel “Rory o ‘More”. But the theme of this love-hunting is antecedent and recalls an ancient initiation ritual if not a true enchantment of transformation (or concealment) fith fath.

Still popular in England, we find it more sporadically in Ireland, the United States and Canada, but in the 60s and 70s it was very popular in folk clubs, less widespread, however, the version from the male point of view.

Steeleye Span from Parcel of Rogues 1973: a sweet lullaby

HARES ON THE MOUNTAIN
I
Young women they’ll run
Like hares(1) on the mountains,
Young women they’ll run
Like hares on the mountains
If I were but a young man
I’d soon go a hunting,
To my right fol diddle de ro,
To my right fol diddle dee.
II
Young women they’ll sing
Like birds in the bushes,
If I were but a young man,
I’d go and bang those bushes.
III
Young women they’ll swim
Like ducks in the water,
If I were but a young man,
I’d go and swim after

NOTES
1) hare, birds and duck are animals associated with the three kingdoms, the middle world (Earth), above (Heaven) and below (Sea)

OH SALLY, MY DEAR

The same pattern is taken up in a ballad called with the same title or “Oh Sally my dear” of which we know mainly two melodies. Here the textual part is rendered as a blow and a response between the two lovers.

Shirley Collins & Davey Graham .  Fine arrangement of Davey on guitar

Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell slower melody, very magical

Alt-J in Bright: The Album 2017,  indie-rock version (I, III, IV, VI)

OH SALLY MY DEAR
I
“Oh Sally, my dear,
it’s you I’d be kissing,
Oh Sally, my dear,
it’s you I’d be kissing,”
She smiled and replied,
“you don’t know what you’re missing”.
II
“Oh Sally, my dear,
I wish I could wed you,
Oh Sally my dear,
I wish I could bed you”
She smiled and replied,
“then you’d say I’d misled you”.
III
“If all you young men
were hares on the mountain,
How many young girls
would take guns and go hunting?
IV
If the young men could sing like blackbirds and thrushes,
How many young girls
would go beating the bushes?
V
If all you young men
were fish in the water,
How many young girls
would undress and dive after?”
VI
“But the young men
are given to frisking and fooling (1),
Oh, the young men are given to frisking and fooling,
So I’ll leave them alone
and attend to my schooling”

NOTES
1) to take relationships with the girls lightly, without serious intentions. In this version the ballad has become a warning song on the old adage that man is a hunter

THE BLACKBIRDS AND THE THRUSHES

Same ballad handed down with another title
Niamh Parsons from “Blackbirds & Thrushes” 1999

Catherine Merrigan & Marion Camastral from “Wings O’er The Wind

Seamus Ennis

BLACKBIRDS AND THRUSHES
I
If all the young ladies
were blackbirds (1) & thrushes
If all the young ladies
were blackbirds & thrushes
Then all the young men
would go beating the bushes
Rye fol de dol diddle lol iddle lye ay
II
If all the young ladies
were ducks on the water..
Then all the young men
would go swimming in after
III
If all the young ladies
were rushes a-growing..
Then all the young men would get scythes and go mowing
IV
If the ladies were all
trout and salmon so lively
Then divil the men
would go fishing on Friday(2)
V
If all the young ladies
were hares on the mountain
Then men with their hounds
would be out without counting

NOTES
1) In the Celtic tradition: The blackbird (druid dhubh) is associated with the goddess Rhiannon. Legend has it that the birds of Rhiannon are three blackbirds, which are perched and sing on the tree of life on the edge of the otherworldly worlds. Their song, puts the listener in a state of trance, which allows him to go to the parallel worlds. (from here) see more
2) the expression perhaps refers to the fact that in the weekend you go fishing or that on Friday you eat fish

LINK
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=58904
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=73890 http://mainlynorfolk.info/shirley.collins/songs/haresonthemountain.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=31052

Beltane Love Chase: The Two Magicians

Leggi in italiano

63_rackham_siegfried_grimhildeLove Chase is a typical theme of popular songs, according to the proper ways of the courting song it is the contrast between two lovers, in whice he tries to conquer her and she rejects him or banters in a comic or coarse situation
So the ballad “The Twa Magicians” is a Love Hunt in which the natural prudery of the maid teases the man, because her denial is an invitation to conquer.

THE TWA MAGICIANS

The ballad originates from the north of Scotland and the first written source is in Peter Buchan’s “Ancient Ballads and Song of the North of Scotland” – 1828, later also in Child # 44 (The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child ). It is believed to come from the Norse tradition. The versions are numerous, as generally happens for popular ballads spread in the oral tradition, and even with different endings. In its “basic” form it is the story of a blacksmith who intends to conquer a virgin; but the girl flees, turning into various animals and even objects or elements of Nature; the man pursues her by changing form himself.
There is a written trace of the theme already in 1630 in a ballad entitled “The two kind and Lovers” – in which however the woman is to chase the man.
The ballad begins with the woman who says

if thou wilt goe, Love,
let me goe with thee
Because I cannot live,
without thy company
Be thou the Sunne,
Ile be the beames so bright,
Be thou the Moone.
Ile be the lightest night:
Be thou Aurora,
the usher of the day,
I will be the pearly dew,
upon the flowers gay.
Be thou the Rose,
thy smell I will assume,
And yeeld a sweet
odoriferous perfume

It is therefore a matter of complementary and non-opposing couples, a sort of total surrender to love on the part of the woman who declares her fidelity to man. Let us not forget that ancient ballads were also a form of moral teaching.
And yet we find buried in the text traces of initiation rituals, pearls of wisdom or druidic teachings, so the two wizards are transformed into animals associated with the three kingdoms, Nem (sky), Talam (Earth) Muir (sea) or world above, middle and below and the mystery is that of spiritual rebirth.
Other similarities are found with the ballad “Hares on the Mountain

BUCHAN VERSION

In general, the Love Chase ends with the consensual coupling.
Today’s version of “The Two Magicians” is based on the rewriting of the text and the musical arrangement of Albert Lancaster Lloyd (1908-1982) for the album “The Bird in the Bush” (1966);

(all the verses except XV and XVI)

Celtic stone from Celtic Stone, 1983: (American folk-rock group active in the 80s and 90s), an ironic vocal interpretation, a spirited musical arrangement that happily combines acoustic guitar with the dulcimer hammer (verses from I to VII, XI, IX, XIV, X, XV, XVI, XVII)

Damh the Bard from Tales from the Crow Man, 2009. Another minstrel of the magical world in a more rock version (verses from I to VII, XI, IX, XII, X, XIV, XV, XVI,XVII, XVIII)

Jean-Luc Lenoir from “Old Celtic & Nordic Ballads” 2013 (voice Joanne McIver) 
– a lively and captivating arrangement taken from a traditional (it’s a mixer between the two melodies)
Owl Service from Wake The Vaulted Echo (2006)
Empty Hats from The Hat Came Back, 2000 the choice of speech is very effective

VERSIONE A.L. Lloyd
I
The lady stood at her own front door
As straight as a willow wand
And along come a lusty smith (1)
With his hammer in his hand
CHORUS
Saying “bide lady bide
there’s a nowhere you can hide
the lusty smith will be your love
And he will lay your pride”.
II
“Well may you dress, you lady fair,
All in your robes of red  (2)
Before tomorrow at this same time
I’ll have your maidenhead.”
III
“Away away you coal blacksmith
Would you do me this wrong?
To have me maidenhead
That I have kept so long”
IV
I’d rather I was dead and cold
And me body in the grave
Than a lusty, dusty, coal black smith
Me maide head should have”
V
Then the lady she held up her hand
And swore upon the spul
She never would be the blacksmith’s love
For all of a box of gold  (3)
VI
And the blacksmith he held up his hand/And he swore upon the mass,
“I’ll have you for my love, my girl,
For the half of that or less.”
VII
Then she became a turtle dove
And flew up in the air
But he became an old cock pigeon
And they flew pair and pair
VIII
And she became a little duck,
A-floating in the pond,
And he became a pink-necked drake
And chased her round and round.
IX
She turned herself into a hare  (4)
And ran all upon the plain
But he became a greyhound dog
And fetched her back again
X
And she became a little ewe sheep
and lay upon the common
But he became a shaggy old ram
And swiftly fell upon her.
XI
She changed herself to a swift young mare, As dark as the night was black,
And he became a golden saddle
And clung unto her back.
XII
And she became a little green fly,
A-flew up in the air,
And he became a hairy spider
And fetched her in his lair.
XIII
Then she became a hot griddle (5)
And he became a cake,
And every change that poor girl made
The blacksmith was her mate.
XIV
So she turned into a full-dressed ship
A-sailing on the sea
But he became a captain bold
And aboard of her went he
XV 
So the lady she turned into a cloud
Floating in the air
But he became a lightning flash
And zipped right into her
XVI
So she turned into a mulberry tree
A mulberry tree in the wood
But he came forth as the morning dew
And sprinkled her where she stood.
XVII
So the lady ran in her own bedroom
And changed into a bed,
But he became a green coverlet
And he gained her maidenhead
XVIII
And was she woke, he held her so,
And still he bad her bide,
And the husky smith became her love
And that pulled down her pride.

NOTES
1) in popular songs the blacksmith is considered a synonym of virility, a very gifted lover with a portentose force. Here he is also a magician armed with a hammer while the girl is a antagonist (or complementary) holds a willow wand.
One thinks of a sort of duel or challenge between two practicing wizards
2) in ancient ballads some words are codes that make the alarm bells ring out in the listener: red is the color of fairies or creatures with Magic powers. Red was also the color of the bride in antiquity and is a favorable color for fertility
3) also written as “pot of gold” and immediately it come to mind the leprechaun
4) the hare-hound couple is the first of the transformations in the Welsh myth of Taliesin’s birth. Gwion is the pursued that turns into a lunar animal, takes in itself the female principle symbol of abundance-fertility, but also creativity-intuition, becomes pure instinct, frenzy.
The dog is not only predator, but also guardian and psychopomp ‘The dog plays with many populations the function of guardian of the sacred places, guide of the man on the night of death, defender of the kingdom of the dead, overseer in all cases of the kingdom spiritual.
In particular among the Celts it was associated with the world of the Warriors. In fact, the dog was present in the Warrior initiations. Hunting, like war, was a sacred act that could be accomplished only after an initiation and a ritual preparation of divine protection. (Riccardo Taraglio from Il Vischio e la Quercia) 
see more
5) scottish pancake: a special tool to cook the Beltane bannock.The two iron griddle could be smooth or variously decorated honeycomb or floral carvings, written or geometric designs, were hinged on one side and equipped with a long handle: placed on the fire it was turned over for cooking on the other side. In the Middle Ages they had become masterpieces of forging made by master wares or refined silversmiths, and they were a traditional engagement gift. see more

Ferro da cialde, Umbria, sec. XVI

SHARP VERSION

The song is reported by Cecil Sharp in One Hundred English Folksongs (1916) in the notes he says he heard it from Mr. Sparks (a blacksmith), Minehead, Somerset, in 1904.

Steeleye Span from “Now we are six”, 1974 – a funny video animation

I
She looked out of the window
as white as any milk
And he looked in at  the window
as black as any silk
CHORUS
Hello, hello, hello, hello,
you coal blacksmith

You have done me no harm
You never shall  have my maidenhead
That I have kept so long
I’d rather die a maid
Ah, but then she said
and be buried all in my grave

Than to have such a nasty,
husky, dusky, fusky, musky

Coal blacksmith,
a maiden, I will die

II
She became a duck,
a duck all on the stream
And he became a water dog (1)
and fetched her back again.
She became a star,
a star all in the night
And he became a thundercloud
And muffled her out of sight.
III
She became a rose,
a rose all in the wood
And he became a bumble bee  (2)
And kissed her where she stood.
She became a nun,
a nun all dressed in white
And he became a canting priest
And prayed for her by night.
IV
She became a trout,
a trout all in the brook
And he became a feathered fly
And caught her with his hook.
She became a corpse,
a corpse all in the ground
And he became the cold clay
and smothered her all around (3)

NOTES
1) water dog is a large swimmer retriever dog or a dog trained for swamp hunting,
2) the bumblebee is related to the bees, but does not produce honey and is much larger and stocky than the bee
3) “Which part of the word NO do not you understand?” that is, the categorical and virginal refusal of the woman to the sexual act repeatedly attempted by an ugly, dark and even stinking blacksmith. In escaping the man’ s longing she turns into duck, star, rose, nun and trout (and he in marsh dog, cloud, bumblebee, priest, fishing hook); apparently the girl prefers her death rather than undergoing a rape: this is a distorted way of interpreting the story, it is the “macho” mentality convinced that woman is not a victim but always in complicit with the violence and therefore to be condemned.
In my opinion, instead, it is the return to the earth with the fusion of the feminine principle with the male one; the two, now lost in the vortex of transformations, merge into a single embrace of dust and their death is a death-rebirth.

Beltane Fire Festival

THE BLACKSMITH

The hunter man here is a “supernatural” figure, the blacksmith was considered in ancient times a creature endowed with magical powers, the first blacksmiths were in fact the dwarves (the black or dark elves) able to create weapons and enchanted jewels. The art of forge was an ancient knowledge that was handed down among initiates.
So in the Middle Ages the figure of the blacksmith took on negative connotations, just think of the many “forges of the devil” or “the pagan” that gave the name to a place once a forge.

Vulcan Roman God, Andrea Mantegna

By virtue of his craft, the smith is a mighty man with well-developed muscles, yet precisely because of his knowledge and power the smith is often lame or deformed: if he is a mortal his impairment is a sign that he has seen some divine secret, that is, it has seen a hidden aspect of the divinity thus it is punished forever; it is the knowledge of the secret of fire and of metals, which turn from solid to liquid and blend into alloys. In many mythologies the same gods are blacksmiths (Varuna, Odin), they are wizards and they have paid a price for their magic.
The lameness also hides another metaphor: that of the overcame test that underlies the research, be it a spiritual conquest or a healing or revenge act (a fundamental theme in the Grail cycle).

But the magicians of the ballad are two so the girl is also a shapeshifter or perhaps a shaman.

SHAPE-SHIFTER

Cerridwen_EmpowermentThe theme of transformation is in Ovid’s Metamorphoses: a succession of Olympian gods who, through their lust, transform themselves into animals (but also in golden rain) and seduce beautiful mortals or nymphs.
The pursuit through the mutation of the forms recalls the chase between Cerridwen and his apprentice in the Welsh history of the the bard Taliesin birth (534-599) . A boy is escaping, having drunk the magic potion from the cauldron he was watching over; he escapes the wrath of the goddess by becoming various animals (hare, fish, bird). At the end he is a wheat grain to hide like a classic needle in a haystack, but the goddess changed into a hen eating it. From this unusual coupling is born Taliesin alias Merlin

THE SONG OF AMERGIN *
I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?


That is, in order to become Wisdom, to Understand, one must experience the elements …

This poem by Taliesin could condense the mystery of the initiatory journey, in which Wisdom is conquered with the knowledge of the elements, which is profound experience, identification, through the penetration of their own essence, becoming the same traveler the essence of the elements.
Changing shape means experiencing everything, experiencing oneself in everything in continuous change and experiencing the encounter between the self and the other, prey and predator, not separated but inseparably linked, as in a dance.from here)

SCIAMANIC FLIGHT

The main characteristic of the shaman is to “travel” in conditions of ecstasy in the spirit world. The techniques for doing this are essentially the ecstatic sleep (mystical trance) and the transformation of one’s spirit into an animal. As a magical practice it involves a transformation of a part of the soul into the spirit of an animal to leave the body and travel in both the sensitive and the supersensible world. Another technique is to leave your body and take possession of the body of a living animal.

In this way the shaman “rides”, that is, takes as a means to move, the bodies of animals that are also his driving spirits. In some rituals, psychoactive plants are used, or the drum beat, or the skins or the mask of the animal that you want to “ride” are worn. This practice is not free from risks: it may happen that the shaman can no longer return to his body because he forgets himself, his human being, or travels too far from the body and falls into a coma or the physical body dies because too weakened by separation.
The spirit can be captured in the afterlife or the animal can be wounded or killed on the ground level and therefore, as the soul of the shaman is captured or wounded or killed, so does his body report its consequences.

second part 

LINK
http://web.tiscali.it/artigianidaltritempi/fabbro.htm
http://www.ynis-afallach-tuath.com/public/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=252
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/thetwomagicians.html
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/sciamani.html
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch044.htm
http://www.contemplator.com/child/2magics.html
http://www.ynis-afallach-tuath.com/public/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=247
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=40723
http://www.yourultimateresource.com/the-two-magicians/

Lark in the Morning

Leggi in italiano

The irish song “The Lark in the Morning” is mainly found in the county of Fermanagh (Northern Ireland): the image is rural, portrayed by an idyllic vision of healthy and simple country life; a young farmer who plows the fields to prepare them for spring sowing, is the paradigm of youthful exaltation, its exuberance and joie de vivre, is compared to the lark as it sails flying high in the sky in the morning. Like many songs from Northern Ireland it is equally popular also in Scotland.
The point of view is masculine, with a final toast to the health of all the “plowmen” (or of the horsebacks, a task that in a large farm more generally indicated those who took care of the horses) that they have fun rolling around in the hay with some beautiful girls, and so they demonstrate their virility with the ability to reproduce.

Ploughman_Wheelwright
The Plougman – Rowland Wheelwright (1870-1955)

The Dubliners

Alex Beaton with a lovely Scottish accent

The Quilty (Swedes with an Irish heart)

CHORUS
The lark in the morning, she rises off her nest(1)
She goes home in the evening, with the dew all on her breast
And like the jolly ploughboy, she whistles and she sings
She goes home in the evening, with the dew all on her wings
I
Oh, Roger the ploughboy, he is a dashing blade (2)
He goes whistling and singing, over yonder leafy shade
He met with pretty Susan,, she’s handsome I declare
She is far more enticing, then the birds all in the air
II
One evening coming home, from the rakes of the town
The meadows been all green, and the grass had been cut down
As I should chance to tumble, all in the new-mown hay (3)
“Oh, it’s kiss me now or never love”,  this bonnie lass did say
III
When twenty long weeks, they were over and were past
Her mommy chanced to notice, how she thickened round the waist
“It was the handsome ploughboy,-the maiden she did say-
For he caused for to tumble, all in the new-mown hay”
IV
Here’s a health to y’all ploughboys wherever you may be
That likes to have a bonnie lass a sitting on his knee
With a jug of good strong porter you’ll whistle and you’ll sing
For a ploughboy is as happy as a prince or a king
NOTES
1) The lark is a melodious sparrow that sings from the first days of spring and already at the first light of dawn; it is a terrestrial bird which, however, once safely in flight, rises almost vertically into the sky, launching a cascade of sounds similar to a musical crescendo.
Then, closed the wings, he lets himself fall like a dead body until he touches the ground and immediately rises again, starting to sing again . see more
2) blade= boy, term used in ancient ballads to indicate a skilled swordsman
3) The story’s backgroung is that of the season of haymaking, starting in May, when farmers went to make hay, that is to cut the tall grass, with the scythe, putting it aside as fodder for livestock and courtyard’s animals . While hay cutting was a mostly masculine task, women and children used the rake to collect grass in large piles, which were then loaded onto the cart through the use of pitchforks.. see more

George Stubbs – Haymakers 1785 (Wikimedia)

Lisa Knapp from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017, from Paddy Tunney (only I, II) (Paddy Tunney The Lark in the Morning 1995  ♪), the most extensive version comes from the Sussex Copper family, but Lisa further changes some verses.

I
The lark in the morning she rises off her nest
And goes whistling and singing, with the dew all on her breast
Like a jolly ploughboy she whistles and she sings
she comes home in the evening with the dew all on her wings
II
Roger the ploughboy he is a bonny blade.
He goes whistling and singing down by yon green glade.
He met with dark-eyed Susan, she’s handsome I declare,
she’s far more enticing than the birds on the air.
III
This eve he was coming home, from the rakes in town
with meadows been all green and the grass just cut down
she is chanced to tumble all in the new-mown hay
“It’s loving me now or never”, this bonnie lass did say
IV
So good luck to the ploughboys wherever they may be,
They will take a sweet maiden to sit along their knee,
Of all the gay callings
There’s no life like the ploughboy in the merry month of may

 

THE ENGLISH VERSION

This version was collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1904 as heard by Ms. Harriet Verrall of Monk’s Gate, Horsham in Sussex, but already circulated in the nineteenth-century broadsides and then reported in Roy Palmer’s book “Folk Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams”. Became into the English folk music circuit in the 60s the song was recorded in 1971 by the English folk rock group Steeleye Span with the voice of Maddy Prior.

The refrain is similar to that of the previous irish version, but here the situation is even more pastoral and almost Shakespearean with the shepherdess and the plowman who are surprised by the morning song of the lark, but with the reversed parts: he who tells her to stay in his arms, because there is still the evening dew, but she who replies that the sun is now shining and even the lark has risen in flight. The name of the peasant is Floro and derives from the Latin Fiore.

Steeleye Span from Please to See the King – 1971

Maddy Prior  from Arthur The King – 2001

I
“Lay still my fond shepherd and don’t you rise yet
It’s a fine dewy morning and besides, my love, it is wet.”
“Oh let it be wet my love and ever so cold
I will rise my fond Floro and away to my fold.
Oh no, my bright Floro, it is no such thing
It’s a bright sun a-shining and the lark is on the wing.”
II
Oh the lark in the morning she rises from her nest
And she mounts in the air with the dew on her breast
And like the pretty ploughboy she’ll whistle and sing
And at night she will return to her own nest again
When the ploughboy has done all he’s got for to do
He trips down to the meadows where the grass is all cut down.

NOTES
1)plow the field but also plow a complacent girl

LARK IN THE MORNING JIG

“Lark in the morning” is a jig mostly performed with banjo or bouzouki or mandolin or guitar, but also with pipes, whistles or flutes, fiddles ..
An anecdote reported by Peter Cooper says that two violinists had challenged one evening to see who was the best, only at dawn when they heard the song of the lark, they agreed that the sweetest music was that of the morning lark. Same story told by the piper Seamus Ennis but with the The Lark’s March tune

Moving Hearts The Lark in the Morning (Trad. Arr. Spillane, Lunny, O’Neill)

Cillian Vallely uilleann pipes with Alan Murray guitar

Peter Browne uilleann pipes in Lark’s march

LINK
https://www.mustrad.org.uk/songbook/larkmorn.htm
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/thelarkinthemorning.html
http://thesession.org/tunes/62

Obby Oss Festival

Leggi in italiano

 

On May 1, in Padstow, a characteristic event called “Obby Oss Festival” is celebrated, centered on the Hobby Horse dance; Padstow is a small fishing port of North Cornwall on the mouth of the river Camel, now a tourist destination.

padstow oss
Oss and his teazer

The Oss are two, one of the Red group(the old horse) and the other of the Blue group (a more recent addition of the Victorian era): the masks are identical, looking fierce and black dressed , which emerge from a characteristic round shape (a circle of 2 meters) edged to the ground by the black fabric: the horses are led by their “teazers” a jugglers with a characteristic stick followed by a cortege of dancers and musicians (mostly drums and accordions): the dominant color in the parade is the white with red or blue depending on the group.

The Oss during his dance – revolving on himself and kicking – seems to war with the teazer or he is courting the young women, who if dragged under the mantle of the oss will become pregnant within the year (or they will get married by the year if they are still young maids)!

Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy and filmmaker George Pickow collected footage at Padstow in 1951

AT THE BEGINNIG

It is not easy to find the origins of the ritual that is celebrated in Padstow, some indications come from the history of the village: the first settlement was the monastery built by St. Petroc in his mission of evangelization (VI century), but it was destroyed by a Viking raid in 981. Thus the monks moved further inside to Bodmin. Some hypothesize that the ceremony took place on that occasion as an extreme attempt at defense.
obby_oss_sHistorical references of the Oss date back to the late Middle Ages (early 1500) with traces still in the Victorian era: in 1803 is documented the presence of a horse made with the skin of a stallion with a man inside who sprinkled water on the crowd.

Some scholars trace the ritual to pre-Christian celebrations, connected with the Celtic festival of Beltane. Donald R. Rawe compare the oss to thehobby  horses of the Morris dances that are associated with the May fertility rites. (see also the Robin Hood games for the May day). The branches of the May brought into the village, the symbolic coupling with the young women kidnapped under the skirts by the oss, the death and rebirth of the same oss are clear references to fertility that are part of the May Celtic celebrations. However little else can be affirmed with certainty and the verses of the “daytime” singing are rather obscure.
Equally numerous are the references to the winter rituals of Samain that began at the end of October and ended after about twelve days. During the Christmas period the disturbing mask of a horse (hodden or hooden horse), is led through the streets of the village by a “tamer” who held it by the bridle: the children tried to mount the horse and people throw sweets or coins into the mouth of the animal as propitiatory offers. see more

SPRING RITE OF DEATH-REBIRTH

In the singing the Padstow May Song (mostly they repeats the first verse) at some point the music stops the Oss collapses to the ground, the teaser caresses him with his characteristic bat and they sing a kind of dirge funeral
Oh where is Saint George? Oh where is he-O?
He’s out in his longboat, all on the salt sea-O.
Up flies the kite, down falls the lark-O.
Aunt Ursula Birdhood, she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park-O.
The oss dies then the “teaser” screams “Oss Oss” and the crowd answers “We Oss” thus the Oss comes back to life and gets up again to resume the dances..

Death-Resurrection of the Oss

Once between the two Oss was engaged a dance-fight, now the two parades march through the streets without ever meeting until late in the evening around the May Pole, before returning to their respective stables.

VIDEO
1930: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFW3xlSn3Ow
1932: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdDvOfUCfXk
1953: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA_e3LV6z0E
2012: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17911942

THE FAREWELL

The parade lasts all day from the morning around 11 am until evening and obviously several men alternate to play the Oss. At the end of the festival the Farewell to the Oss is sung with the phrase:
Farewell farewell my own true love
Farewell farewell my own true love

FAREWELL
I
How can I bear to leave you
One parting kiss I’ll give you
I’ll go what ‘ere befalls me
I’ll go where duty calls me
II
No more will I behold thee
Nor in my arms enfold thee
With spear and pennant glancing
I see the foe advancing
III
I think of thee with longing
Think though while tears are thronging
That with my last faint sighing
I whispered soft whilst dying

NIGHT SONG : Drink To The Old ‘Oss

The ritual of the oss begins, however, the night of May 1, at the stroke of midnight and until about two o’clock, with the Night Song, a clear song of begging, in which the youngsters are alerted to go into the woods to cut the branches of May: whoever sings asks in exchange for good phrases (prosperity, health, happiness) a little beer!

NIGHT SONG
I
Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is a-come unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May.
II
I warn you young men everyone
For summer is a-come unto day,
To go to the green-wood and fetch your May home
In the merry morning of May.
III
Arise up Mr. —- and joy you betide
For summer is a-come unto day,
And bright is your bride that lies by your side,
In the merry morning of May.
IV
Arise up Mrs. —- and gold be your ring,
For summer is a-come unto day,
And give to us a cup of ale the merrier we shall sing,
In the merry morning of May.
V
Arise up Miss —- all in your gown of green
For summer is a-come unto day,
You are as fine a lady as wait upon the Queen,
In the merry morning of May.
VI
Now fare you well, and we bid you all good cheer,
For summer is a-come unto day,
We call once more unto your house before another year,
In the merry morning of May


Steeleye Span live (they have recorded the song several times)

DAY SONG
I
Unite and unite, and let us all unite
For summer is a-comin’ today.
And whither we are going we all will unite,
In the merry morning of May.
II
The young men of Padstow, they might if they would,
For summer is a-comin’ today.
They might have built a ship and gilded it with gold
In the merry morning of May.
III
The young women of Padstow, they might if they would,
For summer is a-comin’ today.
They might have built a garland with the white rose and the red
In the merry morning of May.
IV
Oh where are the young men that now do advance
For summer is a-comin’ today.
Some they are in England and some they are in France
In the merry morning of May.
V
Oh where is King George? Oh where is he-O?
He’s out in his longboat, all on the salt sea-O.
Up flies the kite, down falls the lark-O.
Aunt Ursula Birdhood, she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park-O.
VI
With the merry ring and with the joyful spring,
For summer is a-comin’ today.
How happy are the little birds and the merrier we shall sing
In the merry morning of May.

Lisa Knapp from Till April Is Dead ≈ A Garland of May 2017

PADSTOW MAY SONG
I
Unite and unite
For summer is a-come unto day,
Unite and unite,
In the merry morning of May.
II
With the marry ring
For summer is a-come unto day
Adieu the marry spring
In the merry morning of May
III
Arise up Mr. …
In the merry morning of May.
IV
Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is a-come unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May.
V
Oh where is King George?
Oh where is he-O?
He’s out in his longboat,
all on the salt sea-O.
Up flies the kite,
down falls the lark-O.
Aunt Ursula Birdhood,
she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park-O.

TEXT MEANINGS

The May branches brought into the village, the symbolic coupling with the young women kidnapped under the skirts from the oss, the death and rebirth of the same oss are clear references to fertility that are part of the May Celtic celebrations. However little else can be affirmed with certainty and the verses of the “daytime” singing are rather obscure.
The young people who build a ship and cover it with gold, could symbolize the solar ship, and the theme of rebirth in a new afterlife it is the journey of purification of the soul of the deceased to the Hereafter.
The garland of red and white roses of young women (the colors of Beltane) symbolizes the union of the masculine principle with the feminine one and takes up again the theme of fertility propitiation. Even the last stanza is a clear reference to the lark, a messenger between the human and the divine, representation of youthful exaltation, a sacred and solar bird, symbol of good luck.
The interpretation of the verse already mentioned on the occasion of the funeral dirge in which the apparent death of the Oss is represented is very problematic!
Oh where is King George? Oh where is he-O?

oldossWHICH KING GEORGE?
The reference to the Hanover dynasty would start any historical dating to 1700, but on closer inspection the king is actually Saint George: it is precisely at this point when the Oss is about to die killed by the jester, that is Saint George who defeats the dragon, he is the solar god, who defeats the darkness, the Spring that defeats Winter.
But the most enigmatic of all is Aunt Ursula Birdhood with her old sheep! And here is the fantasy gallops and a local legend recalls an old woman who brought together the women of Padstow to drive away the Viking raiders (in another version become French) while the men were all out to sea to fish: disguised with the Obby Oss and guiding the women in a dancing procession to the beach Orsola has managed to get rid of the marauders convinced to see a monster!!
Some scholars see Birdwood as a mispronunciation of Birdwood and then link it to the figure of Robin Hood extensively connected to the celebration of May since the Middle Ages. Others recall the pagan myth concerning the goddess Freyja (or Sant’Orsola) who, with the name of Horsel or Ursel, welcomed the dead girls into the aftermath.

 second part

LINK
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/padstow.html
http://celtic.org/hobby.pdf
http://www.padstowlive.com/events/padstow-may-day http://grapewrath.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/chris-wood-andy-cutting-following-the-old-oss/

Lovely On The Water

Leggi in italiano  

Lover’s separation is a theme widespread in the english balladry and that of a sailor and a young maid it’s probably originated in the eighteenth century, as we find it in the illustrations of the time.

LOVELY ON THE WATER

The ballad “Lovely on the water”, collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the early 1900s, come from a broadside titled “Henry and Nancy, or the Lover’s Separation“. The story begins in the idyll of spring with two lovers walking, but that’s their farewell, the sailor has enlisted in the Royal Navy and wants her to stay home waiting for him. Although he professed to face the war for his country, the need for a wage is certainly the primary cause of his patriotism.

The Sailor’s Farewell, Charles Mosley (mid-eighteenth century) in National Maritime Museum .

Steeleye Span recorded Lovely on the Water in 1971 for their second album, “Please to See the King” and the sleeve notes commented”Certain folk songs had great popularity, and have been reported over and again, from end to end of the country. Others—including some masterpieces—seem to have had but tiny circulation. So Lovely on the Water, with a gorgeous melody and significant words, has been found only once, by Vaughan Williams at South Walsham, a few miles from Norwich. The song starts idyllically and ends ominously, like a sunny day that clouds over. The singer, a Mr Hilton, had fourteen verses, but Vaughan Williams, often a bit careless about texts, mislaid some. Missing verses probably concerned the familiar situation in which the girl volunteers to disguise herself as a seaman, in order to sail with her lover, but is hurriedly dissuaded.” (from here)
We find those missing verses in the text of the broadside “Henry and Nancy” (here)
Steeleye Span in “Please to See the King” 1971

Ken Wilson in “Not Before Time

Dhalia`s Lane in Hollymount 2005

Martha Tilston & Maggie Boyle in The Sea 2014 in  

LOVELY ON THE WATER *
I
As I walked out one morning
in the springtime of the year
I overheard a sailor boy
likewise a lady fair
They sang a song together
made the valleys for to ring
While the birds on the spray in the meadows gay
Proclaimed the lovely spring
II
Said Willy unto Nancy
“Oh we soon must sail away
For its lovely on the water
to hear the music play.
For our Queen she do want seamen
so I will not stay on shore
I will brave the wars for my country
Where the blund’ring cannons roar
III
Poor Nancy fell and fainted,
but soon he brought her to,
For it’s there they kissed and they embraced
and took a fond adieu.
“Come change your ring (1) with me my love
For we may meet once more;
but there’s One above that will guard you, love,
Where the blund’ring cannons roar
IV
Four pounds it is our bounty
and that must do for thee
For to help the aged parents
while I am on the sea
For Tower Hill[2] is crowded
with mothers weeping sore (3)
For their sons are gone to face the foe
Where the blundering cannons roar” 

Notes
1) the ring will be the proof of identity of the lovers who will sometimes remain separated for long years
2) Tower Hill in in London,London Borough of Tower Hamlets
3) while the men go to fight the enemy, the women greet them weeping because they know that many of them will never return home

000brgcf
Ralph Vaughan Williams: LOVELY ON THE WATER
Cecil Sharp: LOVELY NANCY
english version: FARE YE WELL/ADIEU, LOVELY NANCY
english version: ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY
american/irish version: ADIEU MY LOVELY NANCY
sea shanty: HOLY GROUND

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/lovely-water.htm
http://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/lovelyonthewater.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/187.html
http://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/16873

http://www.britishtars.com/2014/03/the-sailors-farewell-date-unknown.html