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Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'

Monique 23 Jul 11 - 02:29 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jul 11 - 03:04 AM
Anne Neilson 23 Jul 11 - 03:04 AM
Megan L 23 Jul 11 - 04:22 AM
Monique 23 Jul 11 - 08:13 AM
Rumncoke 23 Jul 11 - 09:06 AM
Anne Neilson 23 Jul 11 - 01:34 PM
Monique 23 Jul 11 - 02:08 PM
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Subject: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Monique
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 02:29 AM

Could you guys please help with the translation of   The Herdman's Song Scots lyrics that someone asked us at Mama Lisa's World. Here they are..

THE HERDMAN'S SONG

Luik thou, my hert, behaud an see;
What's liggin intil yon cribbie?
What babbie's yon, sae guid an fair?
At's my wee darlin Jesus thair!

2 Ah, Lord! at med aa cre-ature,
O hou art thou becum sae puir,
At thou upo thon hay will lie,
The feed o ass an clartie kye?

3 The silk an sander thee til aise
Ar fell course hay an sweillin claes,
Whaurin thou glories, grytest King,
As thou in heiven war in thy ring.

4 Ah, my dear hert, wee Jesus, hush!
Mak thee a beddie saft an sprush,
An I sall rock thee i my hert;
I'll nane lat thee my thochts depert.

... and what I've come up with:

Look you, my heart, behold and see;
What's resting into that crib?
What baby's there, so good and fair
That's my wee darling Jesus there!

Ah Lord! ----- I creature
O how art thou become so poor
That thou upon that hay will lie
The feed of ass and dirty cow?

The same one --- thee till/to ease (?)
Little very coarse hay and -- clothes
Wherein thou glories, greatest king
As thou in heaven war in thy ring ("reign/kingdom"??)

Ah, my dear heart, wee Jesus, hush!
Make thee a little bed soft and --
And I shall rock thee in my heart,
I'll not let thee my thought depart.

It's the best I could do but I never was a Scots speaker... nor an English speaker either!


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Subject: RE: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:04 AM

Ah, would that Little John Cameron were around to help with this!


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Subject: RE: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:04 AM

Hi, Monique -- does this help?

In v1, 'ligging' can also simply mean lying, and 'yon' can be that.

v2, I would think of line 1 as "Ah, Lord, that made all creature".

v3 -- my first thought was that the first line would be something like silk and satin, but the dictionary says that 'sandre' (their spelling) is a kind of striped silk (from 16th century on) and is short for the English Alexander -- which I haven't looked up yet! So I would read line1 as "The silk and sandre thee to comfort" as 'aise' can - by extension from ease - mean comfort.
And 'ar' (more usually or) also has the meaning of "sooner than/rather than".
'sweillin claes' would be swaddling clothes, and you're absolutely right that 'ring' means "reign".

v4 -- 'sprush' probably means something like "neat/tidy", or as we might still say "spruce".


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Subject: RE: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Megan L
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 04:22 AM

Look you my heart behold and see;
What's lieing asleep in yonder(that) crib
What babies that so good and fair
That's my little darling Jesus there

Ah Lord that made all creature
Oh how have you become so poor
That you upon the hay will lie
The feed of ass and dirty cattle

The silk and sander thee till aise
(this provides some difficulties sander one who delivered sand doesn't fit in context and aise meant ashes but again in this context would appear wrong perhaps they meant sandre which was sandlewood and used aise as a corruption of ease making the line)
The silk and sandlewood you to ease
Are very course hay and swaddling clothes
Where are your glories greatest king

Ah my dear heart little Jesus hush(be quiet)
Make your bed soft and spruce(Neat)
And I shall rock you in my heart
I will not let you from my thoughts depart.


awra best
frae meg


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Subject: RE: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Monique
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 08:13 AM

Many thanks to all of you!


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Subject: RE: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Rumncoke
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 09:06 AM

you could use plush for spruce in the last verse - to get a rhyme and a sense of comfort.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 01:34 PM

Are you looking for an understanding of the text, or a modern, rhythmic translation?


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Subject: RE: Help with Scots 'The Herdman's Song'
From: Monique
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 02:08 PM

For an understanding of the text. Actually, it's a weird request. A lady asked about a Swedish song and sent the same sheet music as the one I linked to in my OP. Here is the whole story. I have only one Swedish songbook without any "herden sång/visa" song as far as I could check but the song the lady provided could have once been translated into Swedish too. So the Scots text could have been a first step to find the original one if... there's an original one and if so, if it can actually be tracked down.


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