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The Holly and the Ivy Girl

In the British Isles the nineteenth-century tradition of Christmas wanted the houses to be decorated with evergreens and in general it was the children and women who took care of gathering and selling clumps and sprigs of holly, mistletoe and ivy.
Nelle isole britanniche la tradizione ottocentesca del Natale voleva che le case fossero decorate con sempreverdi e in genere erano i bambini e le donne ad occuparsi di raccogliere e vendere cespi e rametti di agrifoglio, vischio ed edera.
On the Christmas period the cities were crowded with street vendors with carts and large evergreen baskets, mostly of them young and extremely poor.
The Christmas song ‘The Holly and Ivy Girl” is a small fairy tale modeled on the poor little match girl: she sells the evergreens, stiff with cold, and she dies under the indifference of passers-by.
Durante il periodo natalizio le città erano affollate di venditori ambulanti con carretti e grossi cesti di sempreverdi, per lo più di giovane età ed estremamente poveri.
Il canto di Natale ‘The Holly and Ivy Girl‘ è una piccola fiaba sul modello della povera fiammiferaia: una bambina vende i sempreverdi intirizzita dal freddo, e come quella muore sotto l’indifferenza dei passanti.

Selling Christmas Trees ~ David Jacobsen ~ (1821-1871)

Buy My Nice Fresh Ivy

“The Holly and Ivy Girl ‘most commonly titled” (Come Buy) My Nice Fresh Ivy “is a Christmas song written by John Keegan (1809-49) on the O’Carolan’s Lament melody (Lament for Roe Owen O’Neill -Uaill Cuma Eogan Ruaid Ua Niall- by the Irish harpist Turlough O’Carolan)
The Holly and Ivy Girl‘ più comunemente  intitolato “(Come Buy) My Nice Fresh Ivy” è un canto di Natale scritto da John Keegan (1809-49) sulla melodia O’Carolan’s Lament dell’arpista irlandese Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738) –Lament for Roe Owen O’Neill (Uaill Cuma Eogan Ruaid Ua Niall)

Many of John Keegan’s poems and writings reflect the horrors of the Great Famine, and he himself died of cholera at a young age. The poem was published in the first edition of The Irishman (1849) and Keegan wrote it probably influenced by the fairy tale of the Little Match Girl by Andersen published just the previous year. An extended version of 8 stanzas is reported in “”The Ballads of Ireland” by Edward Hayes, 1855,
Molte delle poesie e scritti di John Keegan riflettono sugli orrori della Grande Carestia, e lui stesso morì di colera in giovane età. La poesia fu pubblicata nella prima edizione del The Irishman (1849) e Keegan la scrisse probabilmente suggestionato dalla fiaba della Piccola Fiammiferaia di Andersen pubblicata proprio l’anno precedente. Una versione estesa di 8 strofe è riportata ne “The Ballads of Ireland” di Edward Hayes, 1855,

Maureen Hegarty (I, II, I)

Cór Na Nog Rté Choir in ‘Evelyn,’ 2002 (I, II)


I
Come buy my nice fresh ivy
And my holly sprigs so green
I have the finest branches
That ever yet were seen
Come buy from me good Christians
And let me home I pray
And I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas times
And a happy New Year’s Day.
II
Ah! Won’t you take my ivy
The loveliest ever seen
Ah! Won’t you have my holly boughs
All you who love the green
Do take a bunch of each
And on my knees I’ll pray
That God may bless you Christmas
And be with you on New Year’s Day.
III
The cold wind whistled mournfully
O’er Dublin’s dreary town
And this a dying maiden (1) sang
While the cold hail rattled down
One stiff hand clutched her ivy sprigs
And holly boughs so fair
With the other she kept brushing
The haildrops from her hair
traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
“Comprate la mia bella e fresca edera
e i miei rametti di agrifoglio tanto verdi,
ho i rami più belli
che abbiate mai visto.
Comprate da me, bravi cristiani
e fatemi ritornare a casa, ve ne prego,
vi auguro un Buon Natale
e un felice Anno Nuovo”
II
“Ah! Non volete prendere la mia edera
La più bella mai vista.
Ah! Non volete avere il mio cespo d’agrifoglio
voi che amate i sempreverdi
prendetene un ramo di entrambi
e inginocchiata pregherò
che Dio benedica il vostro Natale
e che sia con voi a Capodanno”
III
Il vento freddo soffiava mesto
sulla tetra città di Dublino
e così una fanciulla esangue cantava
mentre il freddo nevischio cadeva,
con una mano intirizzita lei stringeva i rami d’edera e i rametti d’agrifoglio così belli,
con l’altra si ripuliva
il ghiaccio dai capelli

NOTE
1) in the current versions only the first two verses are sung, those in which the girl invites people to buy her goods with singing, behind the sad tone hides the drama of the story, she, numb and undernourished, is about to die , overwhelmed by hardship and her miserable life.
nelle versioni attuali sono cantate solo le prime due strofe quelle in cui la fanciulla invita con il canto la gente a comprare la sua merce, dietro al tono mesto si cela la drammaticità del racconto, la povera bambina tutta intirizzita e denutrita è in procinto di morire, sopraffatta dagli stenti e dalla sua misera vita.

So grim and statue-like she seemed, ‘twas evident the Death
Was lurking in her footsteps – while her hot impeded breath
Too plainly told her early doom – though the burden of her lay
Was still of life and Christmas joys, and a Happy New Year’s Day.


‘Twas in that broad, bleak Thomas Street, I heard the wanderer sing,
I stood a moment in the mire, beyond the ragged ring-
My heart felt cold and lonely, and my thoughts were far away,
Where I was many a Christmas-tide and Happy New Year’s Day.


I dreamed of wonderings in the woods among the Holly Green;
I dreamed of my own native cot and porch with Ivey Screen:
I dreamed of lights forever dimm’d – of Hopes that can’t return –
And dropped a tear on Christmas fires that never more can burn.


The ghost-like singer still sung on, but no one came to buy;
The hurrying crowd passed to and fro, but did not heed her cry;
She uttered on low, piercing moan-then cast her boughs away-
And smiling, cried-“I’ll rest with God before the New Year’s Day!”


On New Year’s Day I said my prayers above a new-made grave,
Dug recently in sacred soi, by Liffey’s murmuring wave;
The Minstrel maid from Earth to Heaven has winged her happy way,
And now enjoys, with sister saints, and endless New Year’s Day.

O’Carolan’s Lament

John Renbourn (acustic guitar)

Howard Baer (bagpipe)

John Doan (acustic guitar)

Howard J Foster (piano)

J.J. Sheridan (piano)

LINK
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=28256
http://iltemporitrovatodiantonella.blogspot.it/2014/12/storie-di-natale-la-piccola_10.html
https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/come_buy_my_nice_fresh_ivy.htm
https://www.joeheaney.org/en/holly-and-ivy-girl-the/

Pubblicato da Cattia Salto

folklorista delle Terre Celtiche

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