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DTStudy: Turn Ye to Me

DigiTrad:
TURN YE TO ME


Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 03:49 AM
Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 04:04 AM
Jack Campin 19 Apr 17 - 07:46 AM
leeneia 19 Apr 17 - 09:10 AM
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Subject: DTStudy: Turn Ye to Me
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 03:49 AM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

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Anybody know anything about the origins or other versions of this song? I'm building a database to supplement the Rise Up Singing Songbook. I'm reputed to know all the songs in the book, but I keep coming across songs in the book that I know nothing about. Today was "Turn Ye to Me." Here's what I found about the song on a blog titled A Clerk of Oxford:

    This is a song called 'Turn ye to me', by John Wilson (1785-1854), a Scottish poet who wrote under the pseudonym Christopher North (and who was, I see, a Magdalen man). You can hear the lilting tune here. Apparently "Mhairi dhu" means "Mary dear" - but I can't vouch for that or anything; my Gaelic is of the non-existent variety.


    The stars are shining cheerily, cheerily,
    Horo, Mhairi dhu, turn ye to me.
    The sea mew is moaning drearily, drearily,
    Horo, Mhairi dhu, turn ye to me.

    Cold is the stormwind that ruffles his breast
    But warm are the downy plumes lining his nest
    Cold blows the storm there,
    Soft falls the snow there,
    Horo, Mhairi dhu, turn ye to me.


    The waves are dancing merrily, merrily,
    Horo, Mhairi dhu, turn ye to me.
    The seabirds are wailing wearily, wearily,
    Horo, Mhairi dhu, turn ye to me.

    Hushed be thy moaning, lone bird of the sea;
    Thy home on the rocks is a shelter to thee;
    Thy home is the angry wave,
    Mine but the lonely grave
    Horo, Mhairi dhu, turn ye to me.

I found the MIDI at Robokopp and other Websites. I don't know where it came from originally.

Click to play (joeweb)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Turn Ye to Me
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 04:04 AM

Here are the Digital Tradition lyrics:

TURN YE TO ME

The stars are burning cheerily, cheerily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
The seamew is moaning drearily, drearily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
Cold is the stormwind that ruffles his breast
But warm are the downy plumes lining his nest
Cold blows the storm there, soft falls the snow there
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me

The waves are dancing merrily, merrily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
The seabirds are wailing wearily, wearily
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me
Hushed be thy moaning, lone bird of the sea
Thy home on the rocks is a shelter to thee
Thy house the angry wave, mine but the lonely grave
Ho-ro Mhai-ri-dhu, turn ye to me

words by Christopher North in 1816. tune ancient
sung by Gordon Bok on Seal Djiril
@animal
filename[ TURNYEME
TUNE FILE: TURNYEME
CLICK TO PLAY
SOF




Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Turn Ye To Me

DESCRIPTION: "The stars are shining cheerily, cheerily, Horo, Mhairi Dhu, turn ye to me. The seamew is moaning drearily, drearily...." "Hushed be thy moaning, lone bird of the sea.... Thy home is the angry wave, mine but the lonely grave...."
AUTHOR: Words: John Wilson ("Christopher North")
EARLIEST DATE: reportedly written 1816
KEYWORDS: love separation bird
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (2 citations):
DT, TURNYEME*
ADDITIONAL: cf. Kenneth Norman MacDonald, "The Gesto Collection of Highland Music," 1895 (reprinted 1997 by Llanerch Publishers), p. 19, "Ho Ro Mhairi Dhu" (1 Gaelic text, 1 tune)

Roud #23557
NOTES: This song by Christopher North was beautifully recorded by Gordon Bok; although I am far from sure it is traditional, I've included it on that basis. The interesting question is the tune. The Gesto Collection of Highland Music has a Gaelic tune, "Ho Ro Mhairi Dhu," or "Black Mary" (i.e. "dark-haired Mary"). It doesn't appear to be the same song, but the form implies that it might have been the original of the tune. Or might not, of course. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.2
File: DTturnye

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


I gather this is the same song identified by the National Library of Scotland as "The Sea Mew":
Anybody have an earlier source of this song? What I've found so far is this 1898 sheet music at the University of Virginia:
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Turn Ye to Me
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 07:46 AM

"Dhu" is "black" (in this context, dark-haired) not "dear".

It's common in collections around 1800, especially in separately published song sheets (which are never indexed very well).

Try Charles Gore's Scottish Music Index (you have to subscribe but I think it's free) for the first known version of the tune - probably Patrick Macdonald in the 1780s? North's version was first published in book form in Alexander Campbell's "Albyn's Anthology" of 1816.

BTW it's KEITH Norman Macdonald, but he's pretty irrelevant to the history of this one.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Turn Ye to Me
From: leeneia
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:10 AM

Thanks, all, for the lyrics and the tune.

That tune moves up and down the scale so much that It would be a good song for a beginner learning an instrument. As for the origin, 1816 is far enough back for me.


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