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Lyr Req: Fair Ellen (from Ewan MacColl)

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CHILD WATERS


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Happy! - July 7 (Sheila Stewart) (4)


GUEST,Sarah W. 12 May 11 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,RunrigtIM 12 May 11 - 11:51 PM
Joe Offer 12 May 11 - 11:56 PM
Joe Offer 13 May 11 - 12:24 AM
Snuffy 13 May 11 - 08:41 AM
Jim Carroll 14 May 11 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Sarah W. 15 May 11 - 07:16 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Fair Ellen - Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Sarah W.
Date: 12 May 11 - 08:20 PM

Has anybody written out the lyrics for Ewan MacColl's version of "Fair Ellen"?

I've tried for ages to get it figured out, but it's just too Scottish for me to understand! I have that big collection of Child Ballad lyrics, but there's not a version quite like the one he sings, there are some special lines and an interesting melody.

Ye canna gang with me Fair Ellen, unless you do this deed.
Unless you saddle me my horse and bridle me my steed...


Lie still lie still my bonnie bairn, ye work your mother woe
your father's high upon horseback and he rides out fast awa'
Your father's high upon horseback and we're low on the ground
your father's high upon horseback and cares nae whether we sink or swim...

Sometimes her color waxed red and other sometimes wan
She was always like a woman wi' bairn but no way like a man...

His mother was a stubborn woman she gaed both out an in
You might have brought a lighter horse boy than a woman in travellin'
Oh hold your tongue my mother dear, let all your folly be
Dear has this lady bought my love but now she's get it free.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fair Ellen - Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,RunrigtIM
Date: 12 May 11 - 11:51 PM

I got this as much as much as I can get. I did find this recording and this text where 63J is


You cannae gang with me fair ellen unless you do this deed
Unless you saddle me my horse
And bridle me my steed
And elgar


63J.1        THE knight stands in his stable-door,
        Says he, I will gae ride;
        A lady stands in her bower-door,
        Says, I'll ride by your side.
63J.2        'Ye shall not follow me, Burd Helen,
        Except ye do this deed;
        That is, to saddle to me my horse,
        And bridle to me my steed,
        And every town that ye come to,
        A liesh o hounds to lead.'
63J.3        'I will saddle to you your horse,
        Sae will I bridle your steed;
        And every town that we come to,
        A liesh o hounds I'll lead.'
63J.4        Take warning a', ye maidens fair,
        That wear scarlet and brown;
        In virtue leave your lammas beds,
        To follow knights frae town.
63J.5        'My dogs shall eat the white bread, Helen,
        And you the dust and bran;
        And you will sigh, and say, alas!
        That eer our loves began.'
63J.6        'Your dogs may eat the gude white bread,
        And I the dust and bran;
        Yet will I sing, and say, well's me,
        That eer our loves began.'
63J.7        'My horse shall drink the gude red wine,
        And you the water wan;
        And then you'll sigh, and say, alas!
        That eer our loves began.'
63J.8        'Your horse may drink the gude red wine,
        And I the water wan;
        But yet I'll sing, and say, well's me,
        That eer our loves began.'
63J.9        Then Willie lap on his white steed,
        And straight awa did ride;
        Burd Helen, drest in men's array,
        She walked by his side.
63J.10        But he was neer sae lack a knight
        As ance woud bid her ride,
        And she was neer sae mean a may
        As ance woud bid him bide.
63J.11        Sweet Willie rade, Burd Helen ran,
        A livelang summer's tide,
        Until she came to wan water,
        For a' men ca's it Clyde.
63J.12        The first an step that she wade in,
        She wadit to the knee;
        'Ohon, alas!' said that fair maid,
        'This water's nae for me!'
63J.13        The next an step that she wade in,
        She wadit to the pap;
        The babe within her sides twa,
        Cauld water gart it quack.
63J.14        'Lie still, lie still, my bonny bairn,
        For a' this winna dee;
        Your father rides on high horseback,
        Minds neither you nor me.'
63J.15        In the midst of Clyde's water,
        There stands a yird-fast stone;
        There he leant him ower his saddle-bow,
        And set that lady on,
        And brought her to the other side,
        Then set her down again.
63J.16        'O see ye not yon goodly towers,
        And gowd towers stand sae hie?
        There is a lady in yonder bower
        Will sinder you and me.'
63J.17        'I wish nae ill to your lady,
        She neer wishd nane to me;
        But I wish the maid maist o your love
        That drees far mair for thee.
63J.18        'I wish nae ill to your lady,
        She neer comes in my thought;
        But I wish the maid maist o your love
        That dearest hae you bought.'
63J.19        Four an twenty gay ladies
        Led Willie thro bower and ha;
        But the fairest lady amo them a'
        Led his horse to the sta.
63J.20        Four an twenty gay ladies
        Were a' at dinner set;
        Burd Helen sat at a by-table,
        A bit she coudna eat.
63J.21        Out it spake her Dow Isbel,
        A skilly dame was she:
        'O whare got ye this fine foot-page
        Ye've brought alang wi thee?
63J.22        'Sometimes his colour waxes red,
        Sometimes it waxes wan;
        He is liker a woman big wi bairn
        Nor be a waiting man.'
63J.23        'Win up, win up, my boy,' he says,
        'At my bidding to be,
        And gang and supper my gude steed,
        See he be litterd tee.'
63J.24        Then she is into stable gane,
        Shut tee the door wi a pin,
        And even amang Willie's horse feet
        Brought hame her bonny young son.
63J.25        When day was gane, and night was come,
        And a' man bound for bed,
        Sweet Willie and Dow Isbel
        In ae chamber were laid.
63J.26        They hadna been well lien down,
        Nor yet well faen asleep,
        Till up it wakens Sweet Willie,
        And stood at Dow Isbel's feet.
63J.27        'I dreamd a dreary dream this night,
        I wish it may be for guid;
        Some rogue hae broke my stable-door,
        And stown awa my steed.
63J.28        'Win up, win up now, Dow Isbel,
        At my bidding to be,
        And ye'll gae to my stable-door,
        See that be true or lie.'
63J.29        When she gaed to the stable-door,
        She heard a grievous groan;
        She thought she heard a bairn greet,
        But and a woman's moan.
63J.30        'When I was in my bigly bower,
        I wore but what I would;
        This night I'm lighter 'mang Willie's horse feet,
        I fear I'll die for cold.
63J.31        'When I was in my bigly bower,
        I wore gold to my tae;
        This night I'm lighter mang Willie's horse feet,
        And fear I'll die or day.
63J.32        'When I was in my bigly bower,
        I wore scarlet and green;
        This night I'm lighter mang Willie's horse feet,
        And fear I'll die my lane.'
63J.33        Dow Isbel now came tripping hame,
        As fast as gang coud she;
        'I thought your page was not a man,
        Ye brought alang wi thee.
63J.34        'As I gaed to your stable, Willie,
        I heard a grievous groan;
        I thought I heard a bairn greet,
        But and a woman's moan.
63J.35        'She said, when in her bigly bower,
        She wore but what she would;
        But this night is lighter mang your horse feet,
        And fears she'll die for cold.
63J.36        'She said, when in her bigly bower,
        She wore gold to her tae;
        But this night is lighter mang your horse feet,
        And fears she'll die or day.
63J.37        'Win up, win up, now Sweet Willie,
        At my bidding to be,
        And speak some comfort to the maid,
        That's dreed sae much for thee.'
63J.38        He is to the stable door gane,
        As fast as gang coud he;
        'O open, O open, Burd Helen,' he says,
        'Ye'll open the door to me.'
63J.39        'That was never my mother's custom,
        And hope it's never be mine,
        A knight into her companie,
        When she drees a' her pine.'
63J.40        'O open the door, Burd Helen,' he says,
        'O open the door to me;
        For as my sword hangs by my gair,
        I'll gar it gang in three.'
63J.41        'How can I open, how shall I open,
        How can I open to thee,
        When lying amang your great steed's feet,
        Your young son on my knee?'
63J.42        He hit the door then wi his foot,
        Sae did he wi his knee,
        Till doors o deal, and locks o steel,
        In splinders gart he flee.
63J.43        'An asking, asking, Sweet Willie,
        An asking ye'll grant me;
        The warst in bower in a' your towers,
        For thy young son and me.'
63J.44        'Your asking's nae sae great, Burd Helen,
        But granted it shall be;
        The best in bower in a' my towers,
        For my young son and thee.'
63J.45        'An asking, asking, sweet Willie,
        An asking ye'll grant me;
        The warst an woman about your bowers,
        To wait on him and me.'
63J.46        'The best an woman about my bowers,
        To wait on him and thee,
        And that's my sister Dow Isbel,
        And a gude woman is she.
63J.47        'Ye will take up my little young son,
        And wash him wi the milk;
        And ye'll take up my gay lady,
        And row her in the silk.
63J.48        'Be favourable to my lady,
        Be favourable, if ye may;
        Her kirking and her fair wedding
        Shall baith stand on ae day.
63J.49        'There is not here a woman living
        But her shall be my bride,
        And all is for the fair speeches
        I got frae her at Clyde.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fair Ellen - Ewan MacColl
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 May 11 - 11:56 PM

There's a YouTube recording of MacColl's rendition here (click)
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

    Child Waters [Child 63]

    DESCRIPTION: Ellen tells Child Waters she bears his child. Offered two shires of land, she would prefer one kiss. He rides; she runs, swims; as his page, she brings a lady for his bed, gives birth in the stable. He hears her wish him well and herself dead; he relents
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
    KEYWORDS: courting pregnancy love disguise childbirth
    FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber)) US(SE,So)
    REFERENCES (15 citations):
    Child 63, "Child Waters" (11 texts, 1 tune)
    Bronson 63, "Child Waters" (3 versions)
    Percy/Wheatley III, pp. 58-65, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    GreigDuncan6 1229, "Fair Ellen" (2 texts, 1 tune)
    Flanders-Ancient2, pp. 76-81, "Child Waters" (1 text, titled "Earl Walter," from the 1818 "Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
    Randolph 13, "The Little Page Boy" (1 fragmentary text, 1 tune, which Randolph places here though it also has lines from the "Cospatrick" version of "Gil Brenton" and which is so short it might go with something else) {Bronson's #3}
    BrownII 17, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    Leach, pp. 201-205, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    OBB 46, "Childe Waters" (1 text)
    Friedman, p. 122, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    PBB 47, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    Gummere, pp. 241-246+354-355, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    DBuchan 10, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    TBB 4, "Child Waters" (1 text)
    DT 63, CHDWATER

    Roud #43
    ALTERNATE TITLES:
    Fair Margaret
    Lord William and Lady Margaret
    Burd Ellen
    File: C063

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibliography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright $TrueYear by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: Fair Ellen (Child 63) - Ewan MacColl
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 11 - 12:24 AM

MacColl's recording of "Fair Ellen" (Child 63) appears on the Smithsonian-Folkways album, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Vol 3. Here is the transcription from the album notes.

FAIR ELLEN (Child #63)
(as sung by Ewan MacColl)

"Ye canna go wi me, fair Ellen,
Unless ye do this deed,
Unless ye'll saddle me my horse,
And' bridle me my steed,
An' ilka toon that we gang through,
A leash o' hounds to lead.

The knight he rode an' the lady ran,
Doon by yon water side,
Till they cam' to a wan water
That a' men ca' the Clyde,
But he never turned his horse about
To say, "Lady, will ye ride?"

The firstan step the lady stept,
It struck her to the knee,
An' sighin said the gay lady,
"This wadin's nae for me."

The nextan step the lady stept,
It struck her to the pap;
The babe between her sides twa
Wi' cold his chin did twack.

"Lie still, lie still, my bonnie bairn,
Ye work your mither woe;
Your father's high upon horseback,
An' he rides ower fast awa'.

"Your father's high upon horseback
An' we're low on the grun';
Your father's high upon horseback,
Caresna whether we sink or swim."

But in the midst of that water
There was a stan'in' steen;
He turned his great horse heid about
Took his lady on him ahin.

"Sit still, sit still, my gay lady,
Ye see na what I see;
I see the towers o' my father's castle,
An' the lamps are lighted high;
Wi' the best o' my father's horse boys
Weel sall ye wedded be."

"O haud your tongue now, good Lord John,
Ye work my body woe;
I hope to get your fair bodie
An' let your horse boys go."

When they had eaten an' weel drunken,
An' a' fou o' the best,
The lady sat at a bye table,
An' fain wad she had rest.

Sometimes her colour waxed red,
An' other sometimes wan:
She was always like a woman wi' bairn,
But nowise like a man.

“Win up, win up, my bonnie boy,
Dry down my great horse seen;
Ye gie him meat in due, season,
An’ water him at e’en.

Up she rose an’ oot she goes,
She kent na weel the inn.
In’s great horse sta’ she did down fa’,
An’ there she bore her son.

His mother was a stubborn woman,
She gaed fae bower to ha’:
“I think I hear a bairn greet,
An’ it isna far awa’."

Up he rose an’ oot he goes,
For he kent best the inn,
An’ even among his great horse feet
Got his lady an’ her young son.

"An askin, an askin, good Lord John,
An askin ye’se gie me:
The lowest room about your house
For your young son an’ me.”
"Your askin's nae sae great, my dear,
But granted it sall be:
The ae best room in a' my house
It sall be drest for thee;
An’ my ae sister, Lady Maisry,
An’ she sall wait on thee.

His mother was a stubborn woman,
She gaed baith oot an’ in:
“Ye micht hae brought a lichter horse boy
Than a woman in travailin'."

“O haud your tongue, my mother dear,
Let a’ your folly be;
Dear has this lady bought my love,
But now she’s get it free.

"Be blythe an' gay, my gay lady,
Be blyther an' ye may,
Your kirkin an' your fair weddin'
Sall baith be on ae day;
An' a' is for the soft answer
At Clyde's waters ye gae."



Notes:
FAIR ELLEN (Child 63) (Child Waters)
Child refers to this somewhat far-fetched story of devotion and cruelty as "a charming ballad which has, perhaps, no superior in English."

The Professor's choice of adjective is, to say the least, curious and one wonders what he would have made of a Hirschfield case-history. Of the eleven texts published by Child, ten are from Scots sources. Learned from Greig and Keith.

Glossary:
    Ilka - every
    Widin - wading
    Grun - ground
    Caresna - does not care
    Steen - stone
    Ahin - behind
    Haud - hold
    Fou - full
    Seen - soon
    Kent - knew
    Gaed - went
    fae - from
    An askin - a boon
    Ye’se - ye shall
    Ae - only
    Lichter - lighter
    Kirkin - the marriage ceremony


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fair Ellen - Ewan MacColl
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 May 11 - 08:41 AM

The glossary is wrong: Your kirkin an' your fair weddin' doesn't make much sense if "kirkin" is the same as "weddin". Kirkin' is actually just the Scottish form of the English word "Churching". Wikipedia says:
In Christian tradition the Churching of Women is the ceremony wherein a blessing is given to mothers after recovery from childbirth. The ceremony includes thanksgiving for the woman's survival of childbirth, and is performed even when the child is stillborn, or has died unbaptized.
Her churching and her wedding will occur at the same service.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fair Ellen - Ewan MacColl
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 May 11 - 05:11 AM

"kirkin" is the same as "weddin".
Kirking in Scotland was a custom where a newly married couple met up at church with their friends, usually on the first Sunfday after the wedding - also referred to as a 'kirking-party' - makes sense if placed the other way round in the ballad.
Churching was a (somewhat controversial in some places) 'cleansing' ceremony following a period where women were discouraged from, among other things, preparing food after the 'unclean act' of giving birth.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fair Ellen - Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Sarah W.
Date: 15 May 11 - 07:16 PM

Thank you!!


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