The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122008   Message #2671274
Posted By: Jim Carroll
04-Jul-09 - 03:55 AM
Thread Name: Pronunciation of Gaelic/Norn in 'King Orfeo'
Subject: RE: Pronunciation of Gaelic/Norn in 'King Orfeo'
This is the information which accompanies John Stickle of Lerwick's version from he Folk Songs of Briain series.
The only text in Child comes also from a Shetland singer.
Jim Carroll

7. KING ORFEO (Child 19), sung by John Stickle, Lerwick, Shetland; recorded by Patrick Shuldham-Shaw.

It is common experience to hear songs and tales in Gaelic about persons kidnapped by the little people, but such ancient lore has almost disappeared in other parts of the west. According to Bronson (Vol. 1, p. 275), this melody is also very ancient. 'That a tune should in the midst of the 20th century be recovered for this whisper from the Middle Ages was as little to be expected as that we should hear a horn from Elfinland blowing....' Child printed one version only of the ballad, but when Patrick Shuldham-Shaw went to the Shetlands to look for songs he was shown the following text that had appeared in the Shetland Times, written down from the recitation of Bruce Sutherland of Turf House, North Yell in 1865. The refrain was clearly derived from the Scandinavian original which runs...

Skoven aarlig gron                 - yearly green's the wood. . . .
Hvor hjorten han gaar aarlig         Where the hart goes yearly        

1. There lived a lady in yon haa,
Scowan orla grona.
Her name was Lady Lisa Bell
Where gurtin grew for Norla

2. One day the King a-hunting went;
They wounded the lady to the heart.

3. The King of the Fairies wi' his dart
Wounded his lady to the heart.

4. So when the King came home at noon.
He asked for Lady Lisa Bell.

5. His nobles unto him did say.
My lady was wounded but noo she is dead

6. Now they have ta'en her life fra me.
But her corpse they's never ha'

7. Now he have called his nobles aa
To waltze her corpse into the haa

8. But when the Lords was faen asleep
Her corpse out of the houses did sweep.

9. Now he's awa' to the wood, wood were.
And there he's to sit till grown o'er wi' hair.

10.    He had not sitten seven lang years
Till a company to him drew near.

11. Some did ride and some did ging.
He saw his lady them among.

12. There stood a haa upon yon hill.
There went aa the ladies tilt.

13. He is laid him on his belly to swim.
When he came it was a gray stone.

14. Now he's set him down ful wae.
And he's taen out his pipes to play.

15. First he played the notes of noy.
Then he played the notes of joy.

16. And then he played another reel
That might a made a sick heart heal.

17. There came a boy out of the haa
Ye're bidden to come in among us aa

18. The foremost man to him did say:
What thou ha' for thy play ?

19. For my play I will thee tell;
I'll ha' my Lady Lisa Bell.

20. Thy sister's son, that unworthy thing.
Tomorrow is to be crowned King.

21. But thou's take her and thou's go hem.
And thou shalt be king oe'r thy own.