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Lyr Req: The Bloody Sarks (Ian Hall)

Reiver 2 26 Aug 09 - 08:10 PM
Jim McLean 27 Aug 09 - 12:18 PM
Leadfingers 27 Aug 09 - 01:56 PM
Reiver 2 27 Aug 09 - 03:05 PM
Jim McLean 28 Aug 09 - 01:52 PM
Reiver 2 28 Aug 09 - 05:14 PM
Uncle_DaveO 28 Aug 09 - 06:35 PM
Reiver 2 29 Aug 09 - 12:23 PM
Megan L 29 Aug 09 - 01:15 PM
Jim McLean 29 Aug 09 - 01:17 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Aug 09 - 08:54 PM
Reiver 2 31 Aug 09 - 02:46 PM
Reiver 2 31 Aug 09 - 07:15 PM
Jack Campin 31 Aug 09 - 07:31 PM
Reiver 2 01 Sep 09 - 12:01 PM
Charley Noble 01 Sep 09 - 02:53 PM
Reiver 2 05 Sep 09 - 07:51 PM
Effsee 05 Sep 09 - 10:48 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Sep 09 - 08:55 AM
HipflaskAndy 09 Sep 09 - 05:10 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Reiver 2
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:10 PM

I recently came across a splendid Scots song about Clan MacGregor, called "The Bloody Sark." I'd never heard it before. It's on YouTube performed by The Corries. The lovely Scots accent is so thick, however, that I can make out only about half the words. If anyone has the lyrics to the song and can post them on the Mudcat, I'd greatly appreciate it. I checked the digitrad and forum and didn't find it. [Only a link to Barbara Allen which was no help!]Thanks in advance. -- Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Jim McLean
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 12:18 PM

Where on youtube?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 01:56 PM

The Bloody Sarks


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Reiver 2
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 03:05 PM

The recording I heard first was a different YouTube post. It's at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhGBZdjxe21 and posted by "bronzemom". [I'm not sure how to transfer it here via a "blue clicky" as Leadfingers has done.] It's the same song -- and, yes, it's plural, Sarks, not Sark.

The video posting by Leadfingers shows the Corries playing and singing, while the other has a series of fine pictures of Scottish scenes, etc. I can actually understand more of the words of the "bronzemom" version than I can on the one posted above, but still need help.Hope someone can come up with the lyrics.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 01:52 PM

It sounds like a fairly new poem set to a variant of Willie's Gane tae Melville Castle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sarks
From: Reiver 2
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:14 PM

I'm curious as to how you see a connection to "Melville Castle"? Do you mean in regard to the tune [melody]? I don't see any connection with the lyrics -- although I don't claim to be able to understand a lot of the words. Any ideas as to where I might find the lyrics?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 06:35 PM

Here's the clicky you need to see The Bloody Sarks
Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Reiver 2
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 12:23 PM

There are several [at least 3, I think] videos of The Bloody Sarks on You Tube, but I don't see it on Uncle Dave's "clicky." Just go to You Tube and do a search for The Bloody Sarks [I think it IS plural] by the Corries. I'm still hoping someone will post the lyrics. Thanks.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Megan L
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 01:15 PM

there was a thread on this in 2002 old thread with words


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 01:17 PM

Reiver 2, go here for the lyrics and I meant the melody was similar to Willie's Gane ...

The Bloody Sarks


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLUIDY STAIR
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 08:54 PM

Don't know if this is any use. It has all the hallmarks of a pastische.
Jim Carroll

From Abbotsford Series of the Scottish Poets: [Vol. 7:] Scottish Ballad Poetry edited by George Eyre-Todd (Glasgow: William Hodge & Co., 1893), page 196:

THE BLUIDY STAIR.

[Rothesay Castle in Bute is said by tradition to have been the scene of the tragedy recorded in this ballad. Of the personages who took part in that tragedy nothing is known but what the ballad tells. One of the most ancient fortresses in Scotland, the Castle of Rothesay was a family possession of the Stewarts almost from the time of their first settlement in the country after the Battle of the Standard in 1138. During the reign of Malcolm the Maiden (l154-1165) Bute, previously a possession of Somerled, Lord of the Isles, was taken by the Steward; this being the first footing obtained on the larger isles of the west coast by the Scots. It is known to have been recaptured by the Norsemen in 1228; and in 1263, the eve of the Battle of Largs, it was once again taken by Haco the Norse king, and restored to Ruari, a descendant of Reginald, Somerled's second son. Upon one of these occasions the invaders, according to the Norse record, gained entrance by sapping the walls, when they killed the Stewart upon them. It is possible that the events of the ballad may have followed this occurrence. Four stairs, rising from the interior court, originally admitted the defenders to the top of the castle walls; and it is the most perfect remaining of these, whose worn and broken steps, said to be still stained with blood, descend behind the ruins of the ancient chapel, which is pointed out by tradition as the scene of the ballad.

So far as the present editor is aware, "The Bluidy Stair" is here printed in a ballad collection for the first time. It is derived from a guide-book to Rothesay Castle published by Bryce Ferguson, Rothesay, in 1878.]

Oh, Rothesay's tower is round about,
And Rothesay's tower is strang;
And loud within its merry wa's
The noise o' wassail rang.

A scald o' Norway struck the harp,
And a good harper was he;
For hearts beat mad, and looks grew wild
Wi' his sang o' victory.

A dark-eyed chief has left the board
Where he sat as lord and liege;
And he called aloud amidst the crowd
For Thorfinn, his little foot-page.

"Go, tell the stranger Isabel,
That she stir not from the bower,
Till darkness dons her blackest dress,
And midnicht marks the hour.

"And tell the Lady Isabel,
To come when the feast is o'er,
And meet upon the chapel stair
The chieftain Rory Mhor."

When the feast was o'er, and a' was hushed
In midnicht and in mirk,
A lady was seen, like a spirit at e'en,
To pass by the holy kirk.

She stood at the foot o' the chapel stair,
And she heard a footstep's tread;
For the wild Norse warrior was there,
Who thus to the lady said:

"I'm Rory Mhor, the island chief,
I'm Roderic, Lord of Bute;
For the raven o' Norway flies above,
And the lion o' Scotland is mute.

"I hate your kith, fair lady," he said,
"I hate your kith and kin;
And I am sworn to be their foe
Till life be dried within.

"Yet kiss me, lovely Isabel,
And lay your cheek to mine;
Though ye bear the bluid o' the High Steward,
I'll woo nae hand but thine."

"Awa, awa! ye rank butcher!"
Said the Lady Isabel,
"For beneath your hand my father dear
And my three brave brothers fell."

"It's I ha'e conquered them," he said,
"And I will conquer thee;
For if in love ye winna wed,
My leman ye shall be."

"The stars will dreip out their beds o' blue
Ere you in love I wed;
I rather wad fly to the grave and lie
In the mouldy embrace o' the dead.

"I canna love, I winna love
A murderer for my lord;
For even yet my father's bluid
Lies lapper'd* on your sword.          *clotted

"And I never will be your base leman,
While death to my dagger is true;
For I hate you, Chief, as the foe of my kin,
And the foe of my country too."

An eye micht be seen wi' revenge to gleam,
Like a shot star in a storm;
And a heart was felt to writhe, as if bit
By the never-dying worm.

A struggle was heard on the chapel stair,
And a smothered shriek of pain—
A deadened groan, and a fall on the stone—
And all was silent again.

The morning woke on the lady's bower,
But no Isabel was there;
The morning woke on Rothesay's tower,
And blood was on the stair.

And rain may fa', and time may ca'*          *drive.
Its lazy wheels about;
But the steps are red, and the stains o' bluid
Will never be washen out.

And oft in the mirk and midnicht hour,
When a' is silent there,
A shriek is heard, and a lady is seen
On the steps of the bluidy stair.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Reiver 2
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 02:46 PM

Hey, Jim McLain! Just what I wanted!! Thanks so much!!! Anyone who has any additional information about persons or events mentioned in The Bloody Sarks, I'd be greatly obliged for such information. I'm forwarding the lyrics on to Reiver 1 as he's working on an arrangement of the song. If we were still performing together, I'm sure we'd want to learn this. [That would not be easy now, as he's in Nanaimo, B.C. and I'm in Cottonwood, AZ!} Thanks, again, Jim McLain!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Reiver 2
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 07:15 PM

Maybe I should explain my particular interest in this song. Actually, I was interested mainly because it's a fine, lively song, and secondly,it sounded at though it MIGHT [or might not!] have some historic background, which is a passion of mine. What really caught my ear, however was the line about the shores of Loch Long being held by "the theives o'MacFarlane." My great grandmother was a McFarland and, if I'm not mistaken Clan MacFarland was, in those days, generally regarded as second only to Clan MacGregor as notorious cattle theives. [The full moon being referred to as "MacFarland's lantern," as the clansmen went off on cattle-reiving forays, etc.] I couldn't resist a song that made even indirect reference to the notoriety of my relatives... and of a fondly remembered singing partnership!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 07:31 PM

You might also be interested in the song "Aye Waukin O". Another title for it is "Jess Macfarlane". According to C.K. Sharpe, the original Jess Macfarlane was an aristocratic young lady whose reputation never recovered from shitting herself at table during a posh dinner.

The official, tribal loch of the Macfarlanes was Loch Sloy. As lochs go, it's not up to much. Look for it on Google Earth.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Reiver 2
Date: 01 Sep 09 - 12:01 PM

Thanks for the info., Jack. I'll try to look up "Aye Waukin O".   "Loch Sloy!" was the battle cry of Clan MacFarlane. The loch is now the site of a large dam and source of water for a major electric power operation of the Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. Water is piped down to the Loch Sloy Power Station near Inveruglas near the northern end of Loch Lomond. There is a tiny islet just offshore which was the location of a MacFarland stronghold, Inveruglas Castle, destroyed by Cromwell's Roundheads. Nothing now remains of it that can be seen from the shore.

Hopefully, Miss Jess was not a direct ancestor! There was at least one more MacFarlane lady who achieved some notoriety. According to the story, in 1589 the wife of the then Chief was having an affair with Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss. The MacFarlane clansmen hunted him to Bannachra Castle, burned it and killed Sir Humphrey. They then brought home to the unfortunate lady "an unspeakable portion" of Sir Humphrey's body and served it to her on a wooden plate with the words, "This is your share. You will understand yourself what it is."

I mentioned in a previous post the Clan MacFarlane well-deserved reputation as cattle theives. This is attested to not only by the full moon being referred to as "MacFarlane's Lantern," but also by the Clan pipe tune, "Thogail nam bo" or "Lifting the cattle.

Loch Sloy! Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Sep 09 - 02:53 PM

Reiver 2-

Be careful what old rocks you turn o'er!

Lord knows what ghosts you may stir up.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Reiver 2
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 07:51 PM

Aye, Charley. That's gude advice I'm shure!

I've one question which is really about only two words in the lyrics. The 1st verse, in the set of lyrics Jim McLain posted, the 2nd line reads"

The young MacGregor o' Glen Strae wi' eighty o' his men,
Upon the Argyle's sleekit word, pit Finlas Glen aflame,
The burnin', theivin', heilan' rant drove a' the beasts awa'
And left ahint twa dirkit men tae perish in the snaw.

Since line 3 refers to driving "the beasts awa', I thought the correct word in the 2nd line should be "herd" rather than "word."
But then, "sleekit," if I'm not mistaken, means "sly." I don't think even Argyle's herd would be described as "sly" whereas his "word" might be. Yet Clan MacGregor was known - to some, at least - for cattle theiving. {I'm trying not to turn over any old rocks, Charley, but it ain't easy.} So, I figured that the word "word" was correct.

Then, today, I find in an earlier thread on The Bloody Sarks, the 2nd line as:

"Fell upon Argyle's sleeping herd...."

I'm now beginning to think that the correct line should be "sleeping herd" rather than "sleekit word." And I'm inclined to transcribe the line that way. An unimportant "quibble" some may say, but I'd like to have it right. Other opinions as to which is correct??

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sark
From: Effsee
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 10:48 PM

..."Upon the Argyle's sleekit word, pit Finlas Glen aflame"...

I interpret these words as a Campbell giving a bit of misinformation to the McGregors to cause a bit of bovver!


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLOODY SARKS (Ian Hall)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 08:55 AM

Copied from http://www.angelfire.com/folk/scotfolk/sbsk.html


THE BLOODY SARKS
Ian Hall

The young MacGregor o' Glen Strae, wi' eighty o' his men.
Upon the Argyle's sleekit word, pit Finlas Glen aflame.

The burnin', theivin', heilan' rant drove a' the beasts awa'.
And left ahint twa dirkit men tae perish in the snaw.

By Fallisdaill the letter come frae black Dumbarton toon,
To show the way they were tae gae, tae bring MacGregor doon.

The bloody Sarks o' butchered men tae Jamie's court maun gae,
The widow women for tae show and tell of the affray.

Collquoune o' Luss could thole nae mair wi' trampeled savaged pride,
Buchanan levies mounted up to tan MacGregor hide.

From Leven's vale, Dumbarton toon, and a' these lowland parts,
The burgesses and fairmers came wi' vengance in their hearts.

The Campbell and the Cameron, MacDonald o' Glencoe
Ranked alang wi' Gregorach and marched o'er the snow.

Far o'er the loch frae Arket Glen and doon the pass Parlan
By Loch Long who's shores are held by the theives o' Macfarlane.

Collquoune wi' his windy lowland mob lined o'er the Fruin Glen
Five hundred foot, arrayed aboot, three hundred mounted men.

Yon godless hoard o' Gregorach, and others o' their kind,
Will creep nae mair frae their heiland lair wi' murderin in their minds.

Aye whither be it for some stirks or just a ween o' blacks
They're ay'ways quick, their dirks to stick, in ain anithers backs.

For honest men and good Scots law, we'll tramp the vermin oot
Just steady, bide, god's on oor side, o' that there is nae doubt.

Then like a torrent frae the glen, MacGregor's scarlet charge,
The Sassenach could ne'er withstand the claymore and the targe.

And all around the hellish screams o' torn and dyin' men,
Their precious blood seeped in the mud and drained in Fruin Glen.

And every beast was led awa', a full twa thousand heid.
And the sairest price the victors paid was twa MacGregor's deid.

But bide ye yet, the victor's feast, the worst was still tae show,
For the king proclaimed the Gregorach henceforth tae be outlaw
Aye the bold MacGregor and his clan were a' declared outlaw.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Bloody Sarks (Ian Hall)
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 09 Sep 09 - 05:10 AM

All this is MOST interesting to me - Must delve deeper
... I have a song I've been working on 'This I'll Defend'
(from our clan motto)
There's much here on I can use (lift! - hah!)
A-lifting I will go.... ;0)
Loch Sloy!!!! - Duncan McFarlane
www.duncanmcfarlane.co.uk
and
McF band Myspace


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