The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2463   Message #3150119
Posted By: GUEST,northislandnz
07-May-11 - 09:27 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Old Scottish Lament / Fear a Bhata
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Scottish Lament / Fear a Bhata
A friend from Scotland (Sandy Nicolson) kindly gave me this, and gave permission for me to add it here to Mudcat for educational purposes.

Sandy wrote:
"Here are the words for Fear a' bhàta (based on those in a book of mine but updated with slightly more modern orthography in one or two places), together with a fairly literal translation of mine and then some very unpleasant-looking English transliteration of the phonetics [...]."

Fear a' bhàta

Fhir a' bhàta, na hòro èile,
Fhir a' bhàta, na hòro èile,
Fhir a' bhàta, na hòro èile,
Mo shoraidh slàn leat 's gach àit an tèid thu.

'S tric mi sealltainn o 'n chnoc as àirde,
Dh'fheuch am faic mi fear a' bhàta;
An tig thu 'n diugh, no 'n tig thu 'màireach?
'S mur tig thu idir, gur truagh a tà mi.

Tha mo chridhe-sa briste, brùite;
'S tric na deòir a' ruith o m' shùilean;
An tig thu 'nochd, no 'm bi mo dhùil riut,
No 'n dùin mi 'n doras, le osna thùrsaich?

'S tric mi faighneachd de luchd nam bàta,
Am fac' iad thu, no 'bheil thu sàbhailt';
Ach 's ann a tha gach aon dhiubh 'g ràitinn
Gur gòrach mise ma thug mi gràdh dhut.


A Translation (not to be sung):

The boatman

(O) boatman [lit. man of the boat], la la la [meaningless vocables],
Boatman, la la la,
Boatman, la la la,
My full farewell to you wherever you go.

Often I look from the highest hill,
(To) try to see [lit. that I will see] the boatman;
Will you come today, or will you come tomorrow?
And if you don't come at all, how pitiful am I.

My [emph.] heart is broken, bruised;
Often the tears run from my eyes;
Will you come tonight, or will my expectation be yours,
Or will I close the door, with a sorrowful sigh?

Often I ask of the boat crews,
If they have seen you, or if you are safe;
But [it is the case that] every one of them says
That I am foolish if I gave (my) love to you.


Crude English-based phonetics (I'd rather do IPA for accuracy, but here goes anyway):

Fair-a vaa'ta

Eer-a vaa'ta-na hawra wayla
Eer-a vaa'ta-na hawra wayla
Eer-a vaa'ta-na hawra wayla-Ma
hawry slaan-la'ts-gach aa'tch-an tchaytch-oo

Stree'k-me showlteen-ong cro'ck-as aarsh-tcha
Yee-ach-am fa-ee'k mee fair-a vaa'ta-An
tcheek-oon joo-nan tcheek-oo maarach-Smar
tcheek-oo eetchar-gar troo-agh-a taa mee

Haa-ma chree-a-sa breesh-tcha, broo'tcha
Stree'k-na jawr-a roo-yom hoolan-An
tcheek-oo nochk-nam bee-ma ghool roo't-Nan
doon-meen dorras-lay os-na hoorseech

Stree'k-mee faan-yochd-ja loochk-nam baa'ta-Am
fa'k-ad oo-na vayl-oo saavaltch-Ach
sown-a haa-gach ahn-yoog ra-ee'tcheen-goor
gawrach misha-ma hook-mee graa-ghoo't.


Pronounciation guide:

a as in llama, father etc. (except aa, ah, ai, aw, ay)
aa as in llama
ah as in serve, curve (roughly)
ai as in fair
aw as in sorry, caught etc.
ay as in safe
ee as in fear, feet etc.
o as in sock (except oo)
oo as in rude, smooth etc.
ow as in loud
' breathing, h-like sound
ch as in loch (except tch)
gh like ch but voiced (as g is to k)
h as in heavy (except ah)
i as in miss (except ai)
j as in jam
k as in kitten
l as in log (to a first approximation)
m as in mother
n as in never (except ng)
ng as in song
r as in rose (to a first approximation)
s as in song (except sh)
sh as in shine
t as in time (except tch)
tch as in stretch
v as in voice
w as in window (but softer; except aw, ow)
y as in yellow (except ay)

Stress falls at the beginning of each hyphenated group.