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Origins: New Year - bright wires and bugles

Penny S. 24 Jul 09 - 04:25 AM
Terry McDonald 24 Jul 09 - 04:49 AM
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Subject: Origins: New Year - bright wires and bugles
From: Penny S.
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 04:25 AM

OK, it's the opposite end of the year.

For years I've wondered about the meaning of this carol.

Version 1. Here we bring new water
From the well so clear
For to worship God with
This happy new year.

Sing Levy-dew, sing levy-dew,
The water and the wine
The seven bright gold wires
And the bugles that do shine.


Version 2. Here we bring new water from the well so clear,
For to worship God with, this happy new year;
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the wine,
With seven bright gold wires, and bugles that do shine;

Sing reign of fair maid, with gold upon her toe;
Open you the west door and turn the old year go;
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the wine,
With seven bright gold wires, and bugles that do shine;

Sing reign of fair maid, with gold upon her chin.
Open you the east door and let the new year in!
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the wine,
With seven bright gold wires, and bugles that do shine.

I've found accounts of a Welsh custom of taking new drawn well water round at the new year, accompanied by this song. But what on earth are the wires and the bugles about? Even if the bugles are beads. Sounds a bit mondegreeny.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Origins: New Year - bright wires and bugles
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 04:49 AM

It's a variant of 'Residue' on Waterson:Carthy's 'Holy Heathens....' album. I was puzzled about the 'seven bright gold wires' line and asked Tim van Eyken if I was hearing it correctly. He assured me that it was indeed 'wires.' I sing it as 'bright gold stars' because I think it makes more sense and (like Waterson: Carthy)'trumpets' rather than 'bugles.'


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