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Scots words in Flower of Northumberland

GUEST,Reiver 2 12 Jan 10 - 01:16 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 10 - 01:38 PM
GUEST 12 Jan 10 - 01:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jan 10 - 01:48 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Jan 10 - 02:47 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Jan 10 - 02:48 PM
BobKnight 12 Jan 10 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,EKanne 12 Jan 10 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Allan C 12 Jan 10 - 06:00 PM
GUEST 12 Jan 10 - 06:02 PM
GUEST 12 Jan 10 - 06:07 PM
Reiver 2 12 Jan 10 - 07:38 PM
Songbob 12 Jan 10 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Allan C 13 Jan 10 - 02:39 AM
Reiver 2 13 Jan 10 - 03:24 PM
GUEST 20 Mar 14 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Pádraig 07 Jan 17 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,DTM 07 Jan 17 - 04:43 PM
Gallus Moll 07 Jan 17 - 08:25 PM
Allan Conn 08 Jan 17 - 03:46 AM
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Subject: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST,Reiver 2
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 01:16 PM

One of my favorite songs is The Flower of Northumberland, [sometimes listed as The Fair Flower of Northumberland]. I want to make sure that the Scots words in the lyrics I have are correct in meaning and useage. [My attempts at English translation are in [brackets]. Any corrections or comments would be welcome.

THE FLOWER OF NORTHUMBERLAND

1] The Provost's daughter was walkin' alane [alone]
    (Oh, but her love 'twas easy won,)
   When she heard a Scots prisoner a-makin' his maen [moan = lament]
    (Aye, she was the flooer [flower] o' Northumberland.

2] He said, "If I had a lassie tae [to] set me free,
    (Oh, gin [if = although] her love 'twas easy won,)
   I would mak [make] her a lady o' high degree,
    'Ere she loosen me oot [out] o' this prison sae strang [strong]."

3] And she's awa'[away] ben [inside] tae [to] her faether's bedstock*
    (Oh, but her love 'twas easy won)
   And she's stolen the keys for mony [many] braw [brave] locks
    And loosen'd him oot o' his prison sae [so] strang.

4] And she's awa' ben tae her faether's staBLE,
    (Oh, but her love 'twas easy won)
   And she's stolen a steed that was baith [both] fleet and able,
    Aye, tae hurl [ride fast] them on tae bonnie Scotland.

5] As they were a-ridin' across the Scots moor
    He said, "Oh, but your love 'twas easy won,
Gae doon frae [from] your horse, you're a brazen-faced whoor [whore]
   Although you're the floor o' Northumberland."

6] "For I have a wife in my ain [own] coun-ter-ee,
    Oh, but your love 'twas easy won,
   And I cannae dae nothin' wi' a lassie like ye,
    So ye'll need tae gae back tae Northumberland.

7] "A cook in your kitchen I surely will be.
    Although my love 'twas easy won,
   For I cannae gae hame tae my ain coun-ter-ee,
    Although I'm the floor o' Northumberland."

8] A cook in my kitchen ye cannae weel [well] be,
    (Oh, but your love 'twas easy won),
    For my Lady she winnae [would not] hae servants like ye,
      E'en though you're the floor o' Northumberland."

9] But laith [loath] was he yon lassie tae taen [take].
    (Oh, but her love 'twas easy won.)
    So he's hired her a horse and he's hired an old man
    And he's sent her back hame [home] tae Northumberland.

10] But when she got in her faether did froon [frown],
    'Said, "Oh but your love 'twas easy won,
    Tae gang [go] wi' a Scotsman when you're barely sixteen.
      "Aye, and e'en you're the floor o' Northumberland."

11] But when she got in her maether [mother] did smile,
      'Said, "Oh, but your love 'twas easy won,
    But you're nae the first wha' the Scots hae beguiled,
      And you're welcome back hame tae Northumberland.

12] "Ye winnae [will not] want breid [bread] and ye winnae want wine,
      Oh, but your love 'twas easy won,
    And ye winnae want siller [silver] tae buy a man wi' [with]
      And, aye, you're the floor o' Northumberland."

I think I've got most of the words fairly close, but in verse 3, I'm confused about "bed stock." The only thing I can think of is the English "bedstead", but I can't find "stock" in the Scots Glossary here on Mudcat. Also, in the last verse, can someone explain the context of the mother's reference to her daughter's ability to "buy a man"? Is it just a reassurance that because she's from a wealthy family, and because she's attractive [the "floor o' Northumberland"!]she'll have no trouble finding a husband in spite of her amour with a married Scotsman?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 01:38 PM

I suspect, Reiver, that the "siller" reference (which, incidentally is I am pretty sure a generic for "money" not simply silver money) is two fold. First it references dowry customs, and also it is a suggestive comment that the daughter has not lost what really attracts a man, namely her sexual attractiveness and availability: the old comment that one does not miss a slice off a cut loaf.


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 01:43 PM

My ref book 'The Old Scots Tongue' defines stock as 'the fore part of a bed frame'


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 01:48 PM

"ben" here is "been"


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:47 PM

Ben in this context, is the 'other' part of a house. In days of yore houses with 2 rooms, were called a 'But and Ben'
Nowadays tae gang ben the hoose, is to go into the back room/s
Hurl is a difficult word. you can get a hurl on a trolley, i.e. a lift, or you can be hurled around in a barrow or similar.
It's to go for a ride really.
Bedstock is a wooden beam that runs across a bed, I assume in this case it had hooks on it, where the keys were hung
Bed Stock
You may find it here if you search


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:48 PM

DSL - SND1   BED-STOCK, n. The strong beam of wood that runs along the front of a bed. Not given in Concise nor in Un. Eng. Dict. but common in Eng. dial. (E.D.D.). [bd stk, or stok]
    *Bnff.2 1933:
    He sat on the bed-stock in `is stockin' soles, and yabble't awa' for mair than an `oor.
    *Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 44:
    Whan greapin for his ain bed-stock, He fa's whare Will's wife's lying.
    *w.Sc. 1846 W. Cross Disruption vi.:
    There's naething to gar us bide a minit after we come owre the bed-stock in the mornin'.
    [Bed + STOCK, O.E. stocc; cf. Du. stok, Ger. stock.]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DSL - SNDS   BED-STOCK, n. Add quots.:
    *Sc. 1698 H. Arnot Crim. Trials (1785) 89:
    She saw my Lady's head hanging over the bed-stock, her face swoln.
    *Ayr. 1764 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (15 Aug.):
    His Landlady saw her before his Bedstock.
    *Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption vi.:
    As we ha'e nae bag or baggage, there's naething to gar us bide a minit after we come owre the bed-stock in the mornin'.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From above linked pages


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: BobKnight
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 03:13 PM

"Ben," means through, as in "ben the hoose." An adjoining room as in "But and Ben."

Braw = good, as in she's a braw lookin lass.

Buy a man = dowry.

"Siller," would originally have been just silver, but became a generic term for money.


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST,EKanne
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:08 PM

Re. verse 9 -- I've always understood the first line as:-

                     "Laith was he, the lassie tae TINE"   

Meaning that he was unwilling to LOSE the girl, (but tried to behave a bit more honourably by sending her home with an escort).


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST,Allan C
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:00 PM

I know it originally supposedly had a more exact meaning but certainly in the Borders at least the word 'ben' is now used for going into another room whatever that other room is. So someone saying "I'll come ben" is simply saying they are coming through from another room.


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:02 PM

My profound thanks to all of you who responded. I'm happy to know that [for the most part] I was at least getting the words right. and the expanded meaning of some words and phrases ["siller" as any kind of money, and "buying a man" referring to a dowry] provide greater meaning to those lines. Bedstock is clear now, and I'm happy to know that it fits the story so well as a specific part of an early "bedstead."

I originally heard the word in verse 9 as "tine" [or "tyne"] but questioned it -- why, if he was "laith to lose her" was he making arrangements to do just that? I thought that I was not hearing the word correctly and that perhaps it was "taen" with the context of being loath to take her any further. It would make more sense [to me, at least] if there was a rhyming word meaning that he was too honorable to cause her to suffer greater disgrace and hardship. Lacking that, I guess either "tine" or "taen" could be used, but I think I'll go back to "tine" as that's what I first heard the the word to be

John and Bob, thanks to your explanations of "but and ben" I now understand what Harry Lauder was referring to about "a wee wife a'waitin', in a wee but and ben" in singing "A Wee Deoch and Doris." [It makes saying "It's a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht" all the more enjoyable!]

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:07 PM

the 'deoch an dorus' literally the drink at the door - to welcome a guest


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: Reiver 2
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 07:38 PM

My one and only complaint about the Mudcat Cafe: If I don't post on the site for awhile, the site "drops my cookie" and starts listing me as "Guest." Aggravating!! AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: Songbob
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 08:16 PM

I always thought it was "tyne," or "tine," but that it meant "to cause anxiety or make worry." In that context the meaning fits -- he didn't want to abandon her far from home and thus cause her anxiety, so he fee'd (paid) an old man to accompany her back home.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST,Allan C
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 02:39 AM

Tyne (tine is a variant spelling so both are correct) means to lose or forfeit something. I've not come across it meaning to 'make worry' and neither the Concise Scots Dictionary or Chambers Scots Dictionary give that definition. Though to be fair that doesn't prove anything!


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: Reiver 2
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 03:24 PM

Thanks Songbob and Allan. Perhaps you're both correct. If one is "lost", he/she is likely to be "worried and anxious." Right??

I just checked the glossary in Child's "English and Scottish Popular Ballads." It gives the meaning of "tane, taen, tean, teyne" as meaning "taken." He defines "tine, tyne, tayen" as "lose; to be lost, perish."

I think the correct word is "tyne" [tine] as meaning in the context of the verse, that he doesn't want to risk the the girl getting lost - or perhaps even dying - if he just abandons her, so he hires a horse and rider to see that she gets home safely. That way the verse - and the Scotman - makes perfect sense. His actions in providing the escort are concern for the girls' safety, not about any imagined "loss" on his part. [Who says Scotsmen can't be considerate, sensitive or even a bit tender-hearted?]

Thanks to all who responded to my query. Now I can sing the song with a lot more confidence in being able to explain what it's all about to those persons who may be even more Scots-dialect-handicapped than I am myself!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 06:53 AM

Hi,

Two things re these Scots lyrics:

1) in verse 9, the word is 'tine' - i.e. 'part with', like 'twine'

2) in last verse: the idea is money for a bride's dowry.


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST,Pádraig
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 03:44 PM

Nuala Kennedy accompanied by John Doyle sings this song "translated" into English. I think you can find it on youtube. The lyrics are as follows:

The provost's own daughter was walking her way

Oh but her love was easy won

When she spied a Scots prisoner a making his mane

And she was the flower of Northumberland



"It's oh, gin the lassie would marry me"

Oh but her love was easy won

"Well I'd make her a lady of high degree

If she'd loose me out of this prison so strong"



Oh she went down to her father's bed stock

Oh but her love it was easy won

And she's taken the keys for many's the best lock

And she's loosed him out of his prison so strong



Oh she went out to her father's stable

Oh but her love it was easy won

And she's taken a horse that's both fleet and able

To carry them back to bonnie Scotland



As they were a riding across the Scot's moor

He said, "Oh but her love it was easy won

Get down from my horse, you're a brazen faced whore

Although you're the flower of Northumberland"



"Oh I have a wife in my own country

Oh but your love it was easy won

And I cannot do nothing with a lassie like thee

Although you're the flower of Northumberland"



"It's a cook in your kitchen I surely will be"

Although my love it was easy won

"For I cannot go back to my own country

Although I'm the flower of Northumberland"



"As a cook in my kitchen you never will be

Oh but your love it was easy won

For my lady, she will not have servants like thee

So go get you back to Northumberland"



But loth was he the lassie to take

Oh but her love it was easy won
So he's hired an old horse and he's hired an old man

To carry her back to Northumberland



But when she got there, her Father did frown

And said, " Oh but your love it was easy won

To go with a Scotsman when you're barely sixteen
And you' were the flower of Northumberland"



But when she got there, her mother did smile

And said, " Oh but her love it was easy won

You're not the first lassie that the Scots have beguiled

And you're still the fair flower of Northumberland"



"For you wouldn't want bread and you wouldn't want wine

Although your love it was easy won

And you wouldn't want silver to buy a man

And you're still the fair flower of Northumberland"


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 04:43 PM

My use of these words are as follows...
Braw = Handsome (in this case)
Hurl = Normally, push (or ride in) say, a barrow. However, in this case though it would mean 'carry'
Ben = as others have said above it means 'through to another room or part of the house' (on the same level).


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 08:25 PM

Faither (not faether)

Mither (not maether)


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Subject: RE: Scots words in Flower of Northumberland
From: Allan Conn
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 03:46 AM

"Hurl" can mean various things and yes if we go for a "hurl" in the car then we are just going for a ride or drive in the car. But it also means doing something fast or forceful. If you hurl a stone then you know it is being thrown with force; if the rain is hurling down then you know it is very heavy rain not just a wee shower; and if a car is hurling down the hill then you know it is going very fast, possibly too fast. So for me the use of 'hurl' in the context here means more than simply carry. Closer alternative words for 'hurl them on" would possibly be to 'speed them on" so I think Reiver 2 already had that meaning.


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