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Origins:The Blackbird and his Mate/Royal Blackbird

DigiTrad:
THE ROYAL BLACKBIRD


corvi 23 Feb 02 - 04:21 PM
Sorcha 24 Feb 02 - 10:28 AM
corvi 24 Feb 02 - 11:12 AM
MartinRyan 24 Feb 02 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 21 Aug 02 - 03:21 PM
Anglo 22 Aug 02 - 11:37 AM
MMario 22 Aug 02 - 11:54 AM
Anglo 22 Aug 02 - 06:53 PM
Felipa 21 May 03 - 10:32 AM
Joe Offer 11 May 16 - 03:27 AM
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Subject: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: corvi
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 04:21 PM

This is an Irish air I am hoping to find lyrics too - anyone know if there are any? Irish of English will do Thanks

Search for "blackbird" threads


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 10:28 AM

I found a poem by Joyce Kilmer, To A Blackbird and His Mate.......is that what you wanted?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: corvi
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 11:12 AM

I found that poem too when I did a search - but I don't think it's related. The one I'm looking for is an Irish air and most of these were originally songs. I'm looking to find out if anyone knows what the song was that originated this tune. Thanks


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 01:39 PM

I've seen it listed as an air but never came across a set of words.

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLACKBIRD (from P W Joyce)
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 21 Aug 02 - 03:21 PM

P W Joyce's 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs' (1909) gives this: (with musical notation)

THE BLACKBIRD

On a fair summer's morning of soft recreation,
I heard a fair lady a-making great moan;
With sighing and sobbing and sad lamentation,
A-saying "My Blackbird most royal is flown.
My thoughts they deceive me, reflections do grieve me,
And I am o'erburdened with sad misery;
Yet if death it should blind me as true love inclines me
My Blackbird I'd seek out wherever he be.

Once in fair England my Blackbird did flourish,
He was the chief flower that in it did spring;
Prime ladies of honour his person did nourish,
Because that he was the true son of a king.
But this false fortune, Which still is uncertain,
Has caused this parting between him and me.
His name I'll advance, In Spain and in France;
And I'll seek out my Blackbird wherever he be.

The birds of the forest they all met together-
The Turtle was chosen to dwell with the Dove:
And I am resolved in fair or foul weather,
In winter or in spring, for to seek out my love.
He is all my heart's treasure, My joy and my pleasure,
And justly, my love, my heart shall follow thee;
He is constant and kind, and courageous of mind;
All bliss to my Blackbird wherever he be.

In England my Blackbird and I were together,
Where he was still noble and generous of heart;
And woe to the time that he first went from hither,
Alas, he was forced from thence to depart;
In Scotland he is deemed and highly esteemed;
In England he seemed a stranger to be;
Yet his name shall remain in France and in Spain;
All bliss to my Blackbird wherever he be.

It is not the ocean can fright me with danger;
For though like a pilgrim I wander forlorn,
I may still meet with friendship from one that's a stranger
Much more than from one that in England was born.
Oh, Heaven, so spacious, to Britain be gracious,
Tho' some there be odious both to him and me;
Yet joy and renown and laurel shall crown
My Blackbird with honour wherever he be.

It's number 376, p. 181.
He says:

In the early half of the last century this song was known and sung all over Ireland. It was particularly favourite in Limerick and Cork, so that I learned it at a period too early for me to remember.
An abridged copy of the song is given in Duffy's Ballad Poetry: but I give here the whole text, partly from memory, and partly from a ballad-sheet printed in Cork by Haly, sixty or seventy years ago. Duffy tells us that the song - i.e. the curtailed copy he has given - is found in a Scotch collection of Jacobite Relics. But the words are Irish - as much so as the splendid air, which is found in many Irish musical collections, both printed and MS., including Bunting's volume (1840), and which was, and still is, played everywhere by Irish pipers and fiddlers. My notation of the air follows the Munster musicians and singers of sixty years ago.
The "Blackbird" meant the Young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stuart. This custom of representing the Pretender - and much oftener Ireland itself - under allegorical names was common in Ireland in the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century; the original object of which was concealment, so that the people might be able to sing their favourite Jacobite and political songs freely in the dangerous times of the Penal Laws.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: Anglo
Date: 22 Aug 02 - 11:37 AM

That one's usually known as "The Royal Blackbird" I think. A fine air too, but not the same one as "The Blackbird" as in O'Neill, etc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: MMario
Date: 22 Aug 02 - 11:54 AM

bill - does the tune match that the tune in the DT ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: Anglo
Date: 22 Aug 02 - 06:53 PM

The tune in Joyce is very similar to the one in DT though it is not identical, even allowing for the fact that it is measured in eighth notes rather than in quarters and is in a different key. But no-one could say they are different tunes. You'll notice that the lyrics in DT are also slightly different from Joyce's, except for the third verse which is quite different. (But we're a long way from The Blackbird And His Mate, I trow).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Royal Blackbird
From: Felipa
Date: 21 May 03 - 10:32 AM

there is some discussion of Irish Jacobite songs on Mudcat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'The Blackbird and his Mate'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 16 - 03:27 AM

The Traditional Ballad Index cross-indexes "The Royal Blackbird" under this entry:

Blackbird (I), The (Jacobite)

DESCRIPTION: A lady is mourning for her blackbird, who "once in fair England... did flourish." Now he has been driven far away "because he was the true son of the king." She resolves to seek him out, and wishes him well wherever he may be
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1651 (Broadside, reprinted by Ramsay, 1740)
KEYWORDS: lament separation Jacobites
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1625 - Accession of Charles I
1649 - Execution of Charles I. Charles (II) forced into hiding. Britain becomes a commonwealth
1660 - Restoration of monarchy. Accession of Charles II.
1685 - Death of Charles II. Accession of James II and VII (a Catholic)
1688-1689 - Glorious Revolution deposes King James II
1720-1788 - Life of Bonnie Prince Charlie
1745-1746 - Jacobite rebellion of 1745, which ended in the defeat and final exile of Bonnie Prince Charlie
FOUND IN: US(So) Ireland Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Hogg2 33, "The Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune)
GreigDuncan1 117, "The Blackbird" (1 fragment)
Randolph 116, "The Blackbird" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 115-117, "The Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 116B)
OLochlainn-More 78, "The Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune)
PGalvin, pp. 16-17, "The Royal Blackbird" (1 text, 1 tune)
O'Conor, p. 36, "The Blackbird" (1 text)
Zimmermann 1, "The Blackbird" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Hayward-Ulster, pp. 19-21, "The Royal Blackbird" (1 text)
DT, RYLBLKBD*
ADDITIONAL: Charles Gavan Duffy, editor, The Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1845), pp. 139, "The Blackbird"
Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 246-248, "The Blackbird" (1 text)
H. Halliday Sparling, Irish Minstrelsy (London, 1888), pp. 143-144, 510, "The Blackbird"
ADDITIONAL: Thomas Kinsella, _The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse_ (Oxford, 1989), p. 255, "The Blackbird" (1 text)
Edward Bunting, The Ancient Music of Ireland (Mineola, 2000 (reprint of 1840 Dublin edition)), #98 and p. 92 [one verse], "The Blackbird"

Roud #2375
RECORDINGS:
Paddy Tunney, "The Royal Blackbird" (on IRTunneyFamily01)
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 28(67), "The Blackbird" ("Upon a fair morning, for soft recreation"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824; also Harding B 17(27a), Harding B 16(25a), Harding B 6(18), 2806 b.11(71), Harding B 11(297), Johnson Ballads 3041, Harding B 20(16), Firth c.26(219), "The Blackbird"; Harding B 19(107), Firth c.14(250), Harding B 11(1038), Harding B 11(3357), 2806 c.15(167) [almost entirely illegible], "The Royal Blackbird"
LOCSinging, sb10013b, "The Blackbird," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859; also as112050, "Royal Blackbird"
Murray, Mu23-y4:016, "The Blackbird," John Ross (Newcastle), 19C
NLScotland, L.C.1270(003), "The Blackbird," unknown, c. 1845

SAME TUNE:
The Lark Is Up (broadside Bodleian 2806 b.11(71))
NOTES: Sparling claims his six verse text is "an unmutilated version" accessible "for the first time in a hundred years.... In every other collection [including Duffy] it has appeared as three stanzas, made up of fragments." Zimmermann's text agrees essentially with Sparling's. - BS
The first broadside versions of this song date to 1650, obviously referring to Charles II, who was then in exile. It wasn't safe to refer to him by name, so the allegorical "blackbird" was used. It seems also to have been used of James II, and perhaps also to his son James III. However, the title came to be most strongly associated with Bonnie Prince Charlie.
After the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, the same situation arose as in 1650. It was generally not safe to speak of Charlie, so the Jacobites adopted various circumlocutions -- the "blackbird," the "moorhen," or simply "Somebody."
The Jacobite Rebellions had their roots in the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688/9. The British King James II (James VII of Scotland) was Catholic, and had just had a Catholic son. This was unacceptable, and James was overthrown on behalf of his Protestant daughter Mary II (died 1694) and her husband William III (died 1702). When Mary and her sister Anne died without issue (1714), the throne was awarded to the utterly disgusting George I of Hannover (died 1727). The result was the first Jacobite Rebellion in 1715, intended to bring James II's son James (III) back to the throne.
The rebellion sputtered, and another revolt in 1719 was stillborn.
In 1745, Prince Charles Edward (the son of James III) took up his father's cause. 24 years old, handsome, and with an aura of nobility, Charles thoroughly scared the Hannoverian dynasty, but was at last defeated and driven into exile. But his face and bearing burned their way into the hearts of the Scots for many years to come. - RBW
Also collected and sung by Kevin Mitchell, "The Royal Blackbird" (on Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, "Have a Drop Mair," Musical Tradition Records MTCD315-6 CD (2001)) - BS
Last updated in version 2.4
File: R116

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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