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Info Req: The Witches' Ballad

Sleepy Rosie 03 Feb 09 - 11:19 AM
Joan from Wigan 03 Feb 09 - 12:53 PM
Sleepy Rosie 03 Feb 09 - 02:16 PM
Sleepy Rosie 03 Feb 09 - 03:03 PM
Sleepy Rosie 03 Feb 09 - 03:31 PM
Sleepy Rosie 03 Feb 09 - 05:01 PM
Joan from Wigan 04 Feb 09 - 01:02 PM
GUEST 14 Dec 12 - 05:49 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WITCHES' BALLAD (Doreen Valiente)
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 11:19 AM

Written by Doreen Valiente
I've heard this one sung, and unlike a lot of other Pagan songs I've heard, I liked it (though I've also heard gross renderings of it too.)
Can't find the tune anyplace. Can someone provide?
Here are the lyrics as pimped off Sacred Texts page


THE WITCHES' BALLAD

Oh, I have been beyond the town, where nightshade black and mandrake grow,
And I have been and I have seen what righteous folk would fear to know!

For I have heard, at still midnight, upon the hilltop far, forlorn,
With note that echoed through the dark, the winding of the heathe horn.

And I have seen the fire aglow and glinting from the magic sword,
And with the inner eye beheld The Horned One, the Sabbat's lord.

We drank the wine, and broke the bread, and ate it in the Old One's name.
We linked our hands to make the ring, and laughed and leaped the Sabbat game.

Oh, little do the townsfolk reck, when dull they lie within their bed!
Beyond the streets, beneath the stars, a merry round the witches tread!

And round and round the circle spun, until the gates swung wide ajar,
That bar the boundaries of the earth, from faery realms that shine afar.

Oh, I have been and I have seen in magic worlds of Otherwhere.
For all this world may praise or blame, for ban or blessing nought I care.

For I have been beyond the town, where meadowsweet and roses grow,
And there such music did I hear as worldly-righteous never know.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: The witches' Ballad
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 12:53 PM

A Google search shows that music was put to Doreen's poem by Castalia, and is on her album "In Plain Sight". Go to Castalia's website , click through to her discography and the "In Plain Site" album, and as well as the full lyrics, there's a soundclip of a full verse, should be enough to get the tune.

I agree it's a beautiful song, thanks for the pointer, I'd like to learn that myself.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: The witches' Ballad
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 02:16 PM

That's interesting.
Castalia's version is much faster and jollier than the tune I recall hearing.

Though, it is indeed similar, if treated very differently.

If Doreen Valiente wrote the song, then it's been around a good long while. I wonder who composed the origonal tune for it, if indeed there was an origonal tune. And whether or not Castalia has adapted a more 'traditional' sombre version, or composed her own?

Any Wiccans on board got any thoughts on the matter??

What I particularly like about Valiente's song, is that she is describing an archetypical ritually induced Craft gnosis - "And with the inner eye beheld The Horned One, the Sabbat's lord." etc.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: The witches' Ballad
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 03:03 PM

How intriguing. This Victorian poem has the same title and some echoing themes, and scans the same: Witch's Ballad
Wonder if Valiente borrowed any of this? Wouldn't be unusual for early Wiccan writing to do so.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: The witches' Ballad
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 03:31 PM

Doh! Sorry Joan in Wigan, I now see that you say Valiente wrote the *poem*, so presumably there never was an 'origonal' tune...!

Well in that case, it would seem that others may have had similar ideas to Castalia and put the poem to a tune. Think I'll work with what Castalia has done here, slow it down substantially and try to recall what I can from what I *thought* was the 'traditional' version!

Still be most interested to know if there are any Wiccans onlist who might be able to offer their insights into tunes they may have heard for sung versions of Valiente's poem though.

PS Cheers to the elf who searched a link to the Sacred Texts page which I cited above.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: The witches' Ballad
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 05:01 PM

Hello CatElf, any chance you could change the title of this thread?
I'm actually interested in *any* information from Wiccan sources (or others) regarding this song/poem.


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Subject: RE: Info Req: The Witches' Ballad
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 01:02 PM

The poem itself is in loads of places on the internet, sometimes credited to Doreen Valiente, sometimes not (search on "Witches Ballad", with the quotes). It seems clear though, that it appeared in her book "Witchcraft for Today", which I'm sure I have somewhere, but I can't find it just this minute.

Having found Castalia's website, I didn't search any further for a tune. But of course, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that others have written tunes for it too. So I've searched further, and found a mention on this forum - a mother who says her daughter wrote a tune for it and sometimes sings it. The daughter, she says, is in a band called Blaming Grace , but neither their main website nor their myspace site have any mention or recording of that particular song. And it's unclear which of the band members is her daughter!

Not very helpful, I'm afraid, but will carry on looking.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Info Req: The Witches' Ballad
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 05:49 PM

thats a very good witch pome i loved it mabey you should make some more of them.


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