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Lyr Req: Hermitage Castle (from Willie Scott)

sionnach 07 Sep 10 - 10:19 PM
Joe Offer 07 Sep 10 - 10:59 PM
Jack Campin 08 Sep 10 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Guest Gutcher 08 Sep 10 - 05:58 AM
sionnach 08 Sep 10 - 07:51 AM
sionnach 08 Sep 10 - 08:00 AM
Teribus 08 Sep 10 - 10:54 AM
sionnach 08 Sep 10 - 11:49 AM
Micca 08 Sep 10 - 01:55 PM
Joe Offer 08 Sep 10 - 07:37 PM
Diva 09 Sep 10 - 03:17 AM
Jim Dixon 25 Oct 10 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,karen k 26 Oct 10 - 05:09 AM
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Subject: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: sionnach
Date: 07 Sep 10 - 10:19 PM

I'm just learning a song Willie Scott used to sing - "Hermitage Castle". Most of the song is concerned with the (historical) visit by Mary Queen of Scots to her lover, the Earl of Bothwell, who lay recovering from wounds in Hermitage Castle. Fine so far. Now read the fifth and final verse:

"Wide wound the road to Hermitage, the jingling bits are done;
a ghostly band may cross the hill, and none will see them come;
None will see that white hand wave or from the ramparts turn
with tidings o the phantom troops that ride the Braidley Burn."
(Words from Alison McMorland's book "Herd Laddie o the Glen", p.56)

We know that Mary's visit took place, and that she and her entourage returned unscathed to Jedburgh the same day. This verse seems to imply that she didn't actually make it to Hermitage at all. Can anyone out there shed any light on this? Could it, for instance, be an import from some other ballad about the castle?


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Sep 10 - 10:59 PM

Sionnach, I don't have an answer to your question, but could you post the entire lyrics of the song? It sounds interesting.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 05:40 AM

I think it's just alluding to the fact that the Hermitage has been in ruins for a long time.


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: GUEST,Guest Gutcher
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 05:58 AM

My first reaction on reading the song was that it was a modern production so Jack may well be right.
I cannot say that I ever heard Willie singing this one.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: sionnach
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 07:51 AM

Thanks guys. Jack, that sounds the most reasonable explanation. I'll run with that unless someone comes up with something else.

Lyrics to follow, Joe.

Sionnach.


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Subject: Lyr ADD: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: sionnach
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 08:00 AM

^^HERMITAGE CASTLE
(traditional)

Aa four square walls o Hermitage stand stout and steep today;
wherein within the sheltered walls the wounded Bothwell lay.
The whaups will cry sae mournfully, the river runs as broon,
as when the willing slave of love, the queen, came riding doon.

To Hermitage, to Hermitage, the river laughed in glee;
the beeches tossed their crimson flags and glad at heart was she;
the hooves made music down the glen, their bits were jingling gay,
from Jedburgh to Hermitage, that bright October day.

To Hermitage, to Hermitage, what fears of robbers bold;
with buckler, sword, and Huntly's spear, the right of way to hold.
What raider on the border moss would so ungallant prove,
as crossed a shaft of beauty on the road that leads to love.

Now wave white hand to Hermitage; the watcher on the tower
shall wake the wounded warden at the rapture of the hour;
what het can burn sae bitterly? What steel can stab sae deep?
But love must bear the sting o it the watcher in the keep.

Wide wound the road to Hermitage, the jingling bits are done;
a ghostly band may cross the hill and none will see them come;
and none will see the white hand wave or from the rampart turn
with tidings o the phantom troops that ride the Braidley Burn.

[Alison McMorland, "Herd Laddie o the Glen", p.56]
Sung to the tune of "Tramps and Hawkers".
NB "whaup" = "curlew"


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: Teribus
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 10:54 AM

Could it be that the first four verses record the ride of mary Queen of Scots to visit Bothwell while the fifth transports to modern time and compares the castle and its surrounds to former days.

One of the things that strikes anyone who goes to Hermitage is the atmosphere around the castle and its seeming total isolation. In the time of Mary Queen of Scots, as George MacDonald Fraser stated in his book "Steel Bonnets" this castle lay in the heart of the most lawless place in Europe, either Monarch, Scot or English to impose his rule or authority on the place had to raise an army to do it.


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: sionnach
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 11:49 AM

Yes, Teribus, I've been pondering Jack's comment over coffee, and I'm coming to the same conclusion. The first line is "now"; from line 2 to the end of v.4 is a flashback all about Mary and Bothwell; and v.5 brings us back to "now". Makes sense now, thanks everyone.

Take what Teribus says about the lawlessness of the place, and add to that the association with the 13th century warlock De Soulis, you've got a really scary setting for a song...


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: Micca
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 01:55 PM

sionnach, Its a pretty scary place in 3D too!! I visited it once with a friend who lives in the Borders and realy creeped me out!! We didnt go inside as it was closed,I am not sure I would if it was open either. It had a brooding menacing quality that was tangible to both of us. That song capures some of the feel of the place!


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Sep 10 - 07:37 PM

Sionnach, thanks a lot for posting the lyrics!


-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Hermitage Castle (Willie Scott)
From: Diva
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 03:17 AM

I've never heard Willie sing it either. Micca! we could have gone and chapped the door of the keeper.....or climbed over the gate. Still talking about having a ballad recital there....wouldn't that be cool


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Subject: Lyr Add: HERMITAGE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 09:34 PM

From The Border Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly, Volume 15 (Glasgow: Carter & Pratt, 1910), page 200:

[This volume is classified as "snippet view" by Google Books (although it shouldn't be, it seems to me) but I was able to extract (I think) the complete text. However, I wasn't able to get any commentary. Perhaps the author's name is given there.]


HERMITAGE.

The four-square walls of Hermitage stand steep and stout to-day
As when within their sheltering strength the wounded Bothwell lay;
The lone whaups cry as mournfully, the river runs as brown
As when, the willing slave of love, a Queen came riding down.

To Hermitage! To Hermitage!—The river laughed in glee,
The betches tossed their crimson flags, and glad at heart was she!
The hoof made music down the glen, the bits were dancing gay
From Jedburgh to Hermitage that bright October day.

To Hermitage! To Hermitage!—What fear of robbers bold
With Moray's sword and Huntly's spear the right of way to hold!
What raider on the Border moss would so ungallant prove
As cross a shaft with Beauty on the road that leads to love?

Now, wave, white hand, to Hermitage!—Some watcher on the tower
Shall wake the wounded Warden to the rapture of the hour.
What hate can burn so bitterly, what steel can stab so deep,
But love may wrest the sting of it? Ho! Watcher on the steep!

Wide wound the road to Hermitage among the withered broom;
The cloud-wraiths gathered on the hills like messengers of Doom;
The whaups wheeled low upon the moor like broken souls and lost,
And shadows crossed the Braidlee Burn before the horses crossed.

Farewell, farewell, grey Hermitage! The jingling bits are dumb,
A ghostly band may cross the hill, but none will see them come!
And none will see a white hand raised, nor from the rampart turn
With tidings of the phantom troop that rides the Braidlee Burn!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hermitage Castle (from Willie Scott)
From: GUEST,karen k
Date: 26 Oct 10 - 05:09 AM

Has anyone asked Alison what her take on it is?


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