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Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher

17 Jul 17 - 01:28 AM (#3866480)
Subject: Lyr Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)
From: GUEST,EllenA

I would be grateful for help in finding lyrics to "Lord of the May," sung by Archie Fisher. It's a great song, and I'd like to sing it, but, alas, I cannot quite make out all the lyrics and have been unable to find them anywhere.

I heard Archie Fisher perform the song live at a house concert earlier this year (unfortunately, I didn't think to ask him about the words at the time!). He described this as a shape-changing ballad, and I think it's supposed to be one where a father accidentally kills his daughter while hunting. I believe that at least part of the refrain was taken from Robert Burns (see The Bonie Moor Hen), but the rest does not appear to be related to that poem.

Below is what I have transcribed so far -- the **ASTERISKED** parts are the ones I can't quite make out.   Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!


LORD OF THE MAY (I rede you beware of the hunting…); (Archie Fisher)

         [INCOMPLETE]
 
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For the Lord of the May has sorrow for, aye,
his daughter away wi' the faeries was ta'en
 
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
After mony's the year, to bring him some cheer
The Lord of the May to the hunting has gane
 
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
***??But he drew out (not?) his bow at a deer on a robe***??
***??but the bonnie white bird it sat on the stair (satin was stained?)
 
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
***?? For his arrow he shot but it harm-ed her not ***??
***?? For it died in the heart of his daughter (Elaine?) (his daughter's ___)? ***??
 
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
The Lord of the May has sorrow for, aye
his daughter away by the faeries was ta'en
 
--------------
Here's a link, for those of you who are on Spotify:
Lord of the May (Archie Fisher)

THANKS!


17 Jul 17 - 02:01 AM (#3866482)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Ellen -
Here's an article that tells a bit about the song:
http://floccinaucical.com/2015/09/archie-fisher-a-silent-song/

I bought the CD last year, but I can't find it. Have you looked in the CD booklet for lyrics, so should I keep searching the house for my copy of the CD? I can't understand the lyrics as well as you can.

-Joe-


17 Jul 17 - 02:06 AM (#3866483)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: GUEST

Thanks, Joe, yup, I did see that one, and appreciated the info, but maddeningly have not found the lyrics posted anywhere! The search continues! Let me know if you find any more leads!
--Ellen


17 Jul 17 - 02:09 AM (#3866484)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: GUEST

Oops, sorry, I was responding to a post about a blog link, not to your question about the CD booklet. No, I don't have the CD booklet, so it would be great if you could keep looking. Thanks!


17 Jul 17 - 04:19 AM (#3866490)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: GUEST,kenny

I played this song on the local community radio programme I co-present in Aberdeen a month or so ago, when Archie was due to appear at the Stonehaven Folk Festival, so have it downloaded from "iTunes". Here's what I hear from listening to it again.
Archie at his best.

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For the Lord of the May has sorrow for, aye,
his daughter away wi' the faeries was ta'en

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
After mony's the year, to bring him some cheer
The Lord of the May to the hunting has gane

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For he drew not his bow at a deer or a roe
But the bonnie white bird that sat on a stane [ stone ]

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For his arrow he shot but it harm-ed her not
For it died in the heart of his daughter Elaine

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
The Lord of the May has sorrow for, aye
his daughter away by the faeries was ta'en


17 Jul 17 - 05:14 PM (#3866676)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: GUEST,EllenA

Thanks, Kenny! I really appreciate your response.

The last two lines still seem odd to me, especially in the context of Archie Fisher having described this song as a shape shifting ballad:

So, it's apparently NOT that he aimed at the bonnie white bird and missed her, instead hitting his daughter, Elaine. Rather, I'd assume that the bonnie white bird WAS his daughter. But if so, how come the arrow harm-ed her (the bird) not? Do we assume that at the moment of impact, the bird is no longer his daughter, and flies away, unharmed, while his daughter is left dead with an arrow in her heart? I guess that's the idea. I didn't know that's how shape shifting worked. :-)

I'd be interested if anyone else has thoughts on this. Otherwise, I suppose this is how I'll sing it. Thanks again!!

--Ellen


18 Jul 17 - 04:32 AM (#3866749)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: GUEST,kenny

I did have one other thought, Ellen. I have listened to the track again, and can't quite tell, but it may not be "Elaine", but "alane", the Scots form of "alone". I guess we'll need to ask Archie.
All the best, Kenny


18 Jul 17 - 04:02 PM (#3866928)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: GUEST,Some bloke

Archie sang this earlier this year when we had him at Doncaster Roots. I put a video of him singing it on Facebook.

Haunting and sent a shiver up my spine.

A hero indeed.....


18 Jul 17 - 05:52 PM (#3866963)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: Joe Offer

Can anybody find the CD booklet, and does it have lyrics that can clear up our question? Mostl likely, the CD is within 20 feet of my desk, but I can't find the damn thing.


18 Jul 17 - 06:04 PM (#3866966)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: GUEST,EllenA

I'd love lyrics confirmation from anyone who has the printed lyrics or who might be able to ask Archie Fisher directly, but in the mean time, here is an excellent post that I received via email from my wonderful friend Casey (Diplocase on mudcat), that I am passing along with her permission. Seems like a reasonable enough explanation (inasmuch as faerie glamour and shape shifting are reasonable....) for the lyrics we think we've deciphered from listening to the recording!

--Ellen

===========================
Ellen - i would change only one phrase in the lyrics, see below.

my own take on this is that this is not a shape-shifting ballad but a fairy glamour ballad. the fairies enchanted the daughter, Elaine, into the appearance of a bird.

The Good Folk are said not to be able to physically change a thing, but only to sustain an illusion. Fairy enchantment is generally considered not to change the essence of the thing; it can only change human perceptions of it. Elaine, for example, couldn't fly, and the Fairies can't make her fly, but they can make others think she flies; they can make her think she flies; and they can make others see her as a bird. That would be consistent with her father seeing her as a bird, but a bird sitting on a stone--not the usual place to find a bird, but a reasonable place to find a young woman. Thus cats and other animals are said to 'see through' glamour and thus to know that an enchanted illusion is fake.

An example of this principle is that people who have been with the fairies are said sometimes to die of starvation: what they eat in faerie isn't actually food but leaves and grass enchanted to look, feel, taste and satisfy like food, but it's still leaves and grass in essence, and cannot nourish. Since the Good Folk eat and drink only for pleasure, not nourishment, that's fine for them but not for their human guests.   I would speculate that Elaine's fatal arrowhead was iron, which is said to allow one to perceive the true shape of an enchanted thing through the glamour.

When the bird was shot, Elaine's death released her from the enchantment and she once again had her true appearance, that of a woman.   In this scenario, what flew away would be, not a bird, but the persistent illusion of a bird that the fairies had created. I don't recall ever reading of the enchanted living thing separating itself at death from the glamour that had been cast over it, and the illusion going on alone for a while, but it is not counter to anything I've run into in fairy lore, either.

An interesting example of the interpenetration of the glamour and the enchanted being is the girl in La Blanche Biche (The White Doe, a French ballad). She tries to dissuade her brother from hunting the white doe, and tells her mother that she is a maiden by day and a white doe by night. When her brother's huntsman goes to butcher the doe killed in the hunt, he says "I know not what to say. She had a maiden's breasts and blonde hair" Another version says he found "her white hands" within the doe's skin. Inexplicably the doe is cooked and served anyway and the sister is able to speak to her brother from the plates of food! French ballads are a bit different from the Norse/Saxon tradition we know.

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For the Lord of the May has sorrow for aye:       for aye = forever, without end
his daughter away wi' the faeries was ta'en

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
After mony's the year, to bring him some cheer
The Lord of the May to the hunting has gane

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For he drew not his bow at a deer or a roe
But the bonnie white bird that sat on a stane [ stone ]

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
For his arrow he shot but it harm-ed her not
For it died in the heart of his daughter Elaine

I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
I rede you, beware o' the hunting, young man
The Lord of the May has sorrow for aye:
his daughter away by the faeries was ta'en


18 Jul 17 - 06:25 PM (#3866974)
Subject: RE: Req: Lord of the May (I rede you beware)-A.Fisher
From: Reinhard

The CD sleeve has no lyrics, just the note:

Lord of the May
(words traditional, music composed by Archie Fisher, © Archie Fisher, PRS)
Archie - guitar and vocal
I found the words on an old Xerox text in a book of Robert Burns poetry and it had a kinda banjo feel to it.