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Lyr Add: A Bhean Ud Thios (Irish) Fairy lullaby

Felipa 18 May 22 - 07:41 PM
Felipa 18 May 22 - 07:56 PM
Monique 19 May 22 - 04:28 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: A Bhean Úd Thíos (Irish) Fairy lullaby
From: Felipa
Date: 18 May 22 - 07:41 PM

"Superstitions about changelings and fairy abductions underline the theme of the song, ‘Seo hu leo’, or, as it is more commonly called, ‘A bhean ud thíos’. The song was written down by George Petrie from the singing of Mary Madden, a poor blind country woman from County Limerick but then resident in Dublin, and it was published by him in his ‘Ancient Music of Ireland’[1855]."

Petrie was not a fluent Irish speaker, but was assisted by Eugene O’Curry. To read O'Curry's commentary on the song, see: https://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/music/petrie_and_music_of_clare2.htm>
https://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/music/petrie_and_music_of_clare2.htm
from "Petrie and the Music of Clare" by Breandán Breathnach
====================
This song is a lullaby, but it appears that the song is set as a lullaby so the fairies won't realise that the woman singing is telling her husband how to rescue her from abduction by the fairies.

https://www.folkradio.co.uk/2021/11/video-lorcan-mac-mathuna-a-bhean-ud-thios/
"In Irish folklore, the fairies represent the opportunity and danger of the unknown. We find that fairies are an enigma that are beyond our reach for the most part but have the ability to pass through the veil that separates the supernatural from the mortal realms. They are vicarious, contrary, hard to predict, and frequently are blamed for misfortune.

"Fairies, it is said, steal children for their grieving women folk, and will steal young women for brides or nursemaids. In the Song, A Bhean Úd Thíos, a young bride, taken into the fairy Rath, tries to communicate with a washer woman with a message for her husband who she has been separated from for a full year. Her imploration finishes with a surprising subversive line.

“ 'For if he come not then, he need come never,
For they’ll make me Fairy Queen forever!' ”

A BHEAN ÚD THIOS

A bhean úd thíos, air bhruach an tsrutháin
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
An dtuigeann tusa fáth mo ghearáin?
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
S'é bliain is lá inniu ó fuadaíodh mé óm leannán
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
Is go rugadh isteach mé i Lios a Cnocáin
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó

Curfá:
Seoithín, seoithín, seoithín, seoithín, seoithín seó uil leo leo,
Seoithín, seoithín, seoithín, seoithín, seoithín seó uil leo leo.

Seo é anseo mo theach mór maiseach
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
Is mo leann úr agus seann leann ann
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
Mo mil bhuí agus céir bheach ann
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
Agus mo sheanduine air a nasc ann
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó

Abair le m' chéile teacht amárach
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
'S an coinneal chéireach i gcroí a dhearnáin
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
Scian choise duibhe a thabhairt na láimh leis
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
S' an capall tosaigh a bhualadh sa bhearna
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó

An luib a bhuaint, tá i ndoras a leasa
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
Mar shúil le Dia go rachainn leis abhaile
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
No mura dtaga sé faoin tràth sin
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
Go mbeidh mé im bhanríon air na mná seo
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó

Translation

oh woman below on the brink of the stream,
Sho hoo lo, sho hoo lo
Do you understand the cause of my wailing
Seóthú leó, seóthú leó
It's a year and a day since I was abducted from my darling
And carried into the fairy hillfort

chorus=
Shoheen, shoheen, shoheen, shoheen, shoheen, show uil lo low
Seoithín, seoithín, seoithín, seoithín, seoithín seó uil leo leo.

Here is my great beautiful house
There is abundant ale there, fresh and aged/old and new
Abundant yellow honey and bees wax
And many an old man tightly bound there.

Tell my husband to come tomorrow
With the wax candle in the centre of his palm
And in his hand bring a black-handled knife
And to strike the first horse out of the gap.

To pluck the herb that's in the door of the fort
With trust in God that I would go home with him.
For if he doesn't come within this time
I will be made queen over all these women. [and not return]

sheet music and ABC, source Dónal O' Sullivan Songs of the Irish https://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=ifdo.ca/~seymour/runabc/esac/IRL/0032

Some recordings
https://archive.culturalequity.org/field-work/ireland-1951-and-1953/macroom-i-151/bhean-ud-thios Elizabeth Cronin

Alan Lomax interviewing Elizabeth Cronin about A Bhean Úd Thíos

Lorcan Mac Mathúna

Mary McLaughlin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Bhean Úd Thíos (Irish) Fairy lullaby
From: Felipa
Date: 18 May 22 - 07:56 PM

An English language version - no author is attributed at https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=3500&c=68
Perhaps it is by Dónal O'Sullivan, who published songs in Irish along with both literal and poetic translations?

A FAIRY LULLABY

O woman, washing beside the river,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
My woeful wail, do you pity never?
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
A year ago I was snatched for ever,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
From my home to the hill where hawthorns quiver,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
Shoheen sho, strange baby O!
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
You're not my own sweet baby O!

'Tis there the fairy-court is holden,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
And there flow beor and ale so olden,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
And there are combs of honey golden,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
And there lie men in bonds enfolden,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine.
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
Shoheen sho, strange baby O!
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
You're not my own sweet baby O!

How many are there of fairest faces,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
Bright-eyed boys with manly graces,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine.
Gold-haired girls with curling tresses,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
And mothers who nurse - with sad caresses,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
Shoheen sho, strange baby O!
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
You're not my own sweet baby O!

O, tell my husband to come to-morrow,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
A waxen taper he first shall borrow,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
And black knife bring to cross my sorrow,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
And stab the flank of the first steed thorough,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
Shoheen sho, strange baby O!
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
You're not my own sweet baby O!

Say, pluck the herb where hawthorns quiver,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
And wish a wish that God may deliver,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
If he come not now - he need come never,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine,
For I shall be Queen of these Fairies for ever,
Hush-a-by baby, babe not mine.
Shoheen sho, ulolo,
Shoheen sho, strange baby O!
Shoheen sho, ulolo.
You're not my own sweet baby O!

----
The third verse in English is left out of the Irish language verses in the first message of this thread. It was, however, collected by Petrie, and you can see that verse in the imageat https://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/music/petrie_and_music_of_clare2.htm in old lettering.

The Mama Lisa pages give the following explanation of the last two verses:
"The candle is blessed for protection and the black-handled knife is the only weapon that will work against fairies. Striking the 1st horse out of the gap with the knife is referring to fairies horse. He must strike the 1st horse that comes out of the fort. Doing this will free his wife. By taking the herbs he will prevent the fairies from re-taking her."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Bhean Úd Thíos (Irish) Fairy lullaby
From: Monique
Date: 19 May 22 - 04:28 AM

At the bottom of Mama Lisa's page, you can read in the thanks blurb: "The English version is by Mr. Sigerson, who has preserved the rhythm of the original, in a faithful translation." -Shamrock (Vol. 8 - 1870)


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