Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please

DigiTrad:
SAYS THE BLACKBIRD TO THE CROW
THE THREE CROWS (BILLY MACGEE MACGORE)
THE THREE RAVENS
THE THREE RAVENS (5)
THE TWA CORBIES (7)
THOMAS O YONDERDALE
THREE CRAWS
TWA CORBIES
TWA CORBIES 2
TWA CRAWS SAT ON A STANE


Related threads:
Twa Corbies (38)
Three Black Crows (21)
Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc. (46)
3 Ravens (Ravenscroft) what's it about? (38)
Lyr Req: Three Ravens, newer version? (22)
Lyr Req: The Twa Corbies (13)
Mudcatter's CD's Part 2 (16)
Help! Twa Corbies (12)
Lyr Req: Old Black Crow (6)
Info needed for 'Two Ravens' (13)
origins of 'Two Ravens' (4)
Lyr Req: Scot Gaelic Song - The Two Crows? (7)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Twa Corbies (Old Blind Dogs) (5)
Lyr Req: Three Black Birds (8)


GUEST,old bill 29 Mar 02 - 03:00 PM
DMcG 29 Mar 02 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 29 Mar 02 - 03:19 PM
RolyH 29 Mar 02 - 03:26 PM
RolyH 29 Mar 02 - 04:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Mar 02 - 06:51 PM
Bill D 29 Mar 02 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Boab 30 Mar 02 - 04:05 AM
DMcG 30 Mar 02 - 05:08 AM
masato sakurai 30 Mar 02 - 07:24 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Mar 02 - 12:16 PM
weepiper 30 Mar 02 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,Old Bill 31 Mar 02 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Mar 02 - 09:48 AM
masato sakurai 31 Mar 02 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,DMcG (slight cookie issue!) 31 Mar 02 - 12:08 PM
Shields Folk 31 Mar 02 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Boab 01 Apr 02 - 04:44 AM
DMcG 01 Apr 02 - 04:58 AM
Shields Folk 01 Apr 02 - 02:53 PM
DMcG 01 Apr 02 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Charmion 01 Apr 02 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Charmion 01 Apr 02 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Boab 02 Apr 02 - 04:07 AM
DMcG 02 Apr 02 - 04:25 AM
IanC 02 Apr 02 - 05:56 AM
Shields Folk 02 Apr 02 - 07:23 AM
IanC 02 Apr 02 - 08:14 AM
DMcG 02 Apr 02 - 08:22 AM
Pied Piper 02 Apr 02 - 11:20 AM
IanC 02 Apr 02 - 11:41 AM
weepiper 02 Apr 02 - 02:36 PM
CET 02 Apr 02 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Apr 02 - 11:31 PM
Roughyed 03 Apr 02 - 03:41 PM
IanC 04 Apr 02 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,DMcG at work 04 Apr 02 - 05:42 AM
IanC 04 Apr 02 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,maryrrf 04 Apr 02 - 09:29 AM
greg stephens 04 Apr 02 - 09:46 AM
greg stephens 04 Apr 02 - 10:17 AM
weepiper 04 Apr 02 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Boab 05 Apr 02 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Boab 05 Apr 02 - 04:32 AM
IanC 05 Apr 02 - 09:51 AM
Joe_F 05 Apr 02 - 06:41 PM
masato sakurai 05 Apr 02 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Boab 06 Apr 02 - 04:26 AM
IanC 25 Jun 02 - 12:25 PM
Orac 26 Jun 02 - 11:31 AM
MMario 27 Jun 02 - 10:28 AM
Richie 18 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Jan 12 - 09:09 AM
Lighter 18 Jan 12 - 09:53 AM
Richie 18 Jan 12 - 10:51 AM
Richie 18 Jan 12 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 Jan 12 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 22 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM
Paul Burke 22 Jan 12 - 06:39 PM
Bill D 22 Jan 12 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 26 Jan 12 - 10:06 AM
Anne Neilson 26 Jan 12 - 04:30 PM
Lighter 26 Jan 12 - 05:43 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,old bill
Date: 29 Mar 02 - 03:00 PM

I aim to sing Twa Corbies anglicised, but I'm stumped by the following words. Can anyone help?

Verse 2. 'In behind yon old [fail dyke????????]' Verse 4. 'You'll sit on his white [hause-bane????????]'

Thanks


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: DMcG
Date: 29 Mar 02 - 03:13 PM

You have the words right, according to Prof Child

A dyke is a ditch; the hause-bane is his skull, I think. I don't know what 'fail' means in this context.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 29 Mar 02 - 03:19 PM

My translation is an "Auld Fell Dike" meaning an earthen dam or dike.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: RolyH
Date: 29 Mar 02 - 03:26 PM

'Fail' means turf


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: RolyH
Date: 29 Mar 02 - 04:00 PM

Literal translation of 'hause-bane' is neck bone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Mar 02 - 06:51 PM

Ditch for dike suggests a pit in the ground, but in this case I'd imagine it's a raised one (in behind) - like a turf stack.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Mar 02 - 06:59 PM

I sure hope you don't Anglicize it too much...the song stands very well as it is...I have NEVER had anyone suggest they did not get the picture when I sang it..(off & on for 25 years)..(I'd much prefer to hear a 'few' words of explanation for most dialect, rather than changing the feel of the song.)

...pretty durn old Bill, myself


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 04:05 AM

"Ahent yon auld fell dyke"----behind yon old hillside stone wall. A "dyke" in Scotland [in the south at least] refers to a stone wall dividing and/or enclosing fields.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: DMcG
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 05:08 AM

Sounds like Bill D is right - we all get the picture without being too sure what the words mean! *BG*


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: masato sakurai
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 07:24 AM

THE TWA CORBIES (with notes)

The Twa Corbies (with stardard English translation)

The Twa Corbies (reading in Scottish)

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 12:16 PM

It'd be hilarious singing it with that translation in a Queen's English accent...

As I was walking all alone,
I heard two crows making a moan;
One said to the other,
"Where shall we go and dine today?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: weepiper
Date: 30 Mar 02 - 08:38 PM

"hause-bane" = collar bone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Old Bill
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 09:40 AM

Bill D and DMcG - have you ever heard an English person try to sing in Scots? It sounds bloody silly. Even when Ewan MacColl tried to sing in the Scots which he didn't use in eveyday speech it sounded forced. We should, I think, sing in our real accent unless we're a good imitator - and even that's dodgy. The important thing about a song is to communicate. How daft would it be if I sang something I didn't understand myself? If I don't know what a fail dyke and hause-bane are then neither will a section of my audience. After all, when songs travelled so did the dialect and therefore some of the words. But now we're onto a whole new subject.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 09:48 AM

I'm with you, Bill. If I can modernize a song without mutilating it, I do. Take a song by Burns, for example. I figure that if Robert Burns miraculously came to my house, I wouldn't make him talk like me. So why should he make me talk like him?

And so, for example, I feel free to change "ilka" to "every" and "a'" to "all." The purpose of language is to communicate, after all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: masato sakurai
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 11:40 AM

English and German translations are HERE; a Russian one HERE.

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,DMcG (slight cookie issue!)
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 12:08 PM

I agree the business of deciding whether to try to keep the original form or sing a translation of a song is tricky. I don't have any hard and fast rules myself, but I do feel that the original usually has cadences and other poetic structures that are very difficult or impossible to maintain in a translation. As a result I would normally try to keep close the original if I can. The problem is not just Scots songs of course. I have always preferred "Adeste Fidelis" to "O come all ye faithful" - the translations of the second verse (God of God/Light of Light/Begotten not created) is almost impossible to do well in English (drag-it-out, drag-it-out, cram-as-many-syllables-in-as-we-possibly-can is the usual form!). The same applies to old English and middle English to modern.

But I agree there does come a point at which the singer and audience have lost so much understanding of the original that your only choice is between using a translation and dropping the song altogether.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Shields Folk
Date: 31 Mar 02 - 03:56 PM

Lowland Scots is a form of English anyway. So do you mean translate into Queens/Modern/American(delete where appropriate)English?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 04:44 AM

ShieldsFolk---awa an scart yer whurrie wi a whin bush! Is English a form of French/Teutonic/Latin?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 04:58 AM

Boab: Risking life and limb here - you surely agree that one of the effects of the clearances of only about 250 years was to greatly displace Lowland Scots with incoming English speakers? This is why I think Shieldsfolk is more or less right. Highland Scots and places like the Shetlands are a completely different matter.

And yes, English is heavily influenced by French, German and Latin! On the other hand, it is more like 1000 years than 250 the the blending is more complicated.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Shields Folk
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 02:53 PM

With all respect DMcG thats Bollocks! Since the Dark Ages what is now lowland Scotland was settled by English speaking people, large parts of lowland Scotland only became part of Scotland in the 11th century. They have always been English speakers but consider themselves as Scots not English.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 04:55 PM

Yeah, I know! I don't know how many times Berwick has changed hands either, and there has been plenty of reiver activies, and all that! *G*

English is really too complex a language for any simple categorisation. I agree that what Lowlands Scots speak has been 'English' (as distinct to Gaelic, say) for many centuries. But every area - including I presume, North or South Shields? - has always prided itself on its local variations and dialect and Lowland Scots is no exception. In fact, that is probably why Boab - rightly - feels so passionate about his/hers. But the clearings were, I think, one of last times there was a major pressure on Scotland to conform to the standards imposed by the South. Certainly it is the last I know of with legal sanctions for not conforming.

What I expected people to object to is that the clearances are usually thought of as a Highland event, rather than Lowland. Just shows you can never be sure how people will react!

Best regards, Shields - I'm not offended! Feel free to correct this post as well!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Charmion
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 05:59 PM

Here in Ontario, we generally sing the Scots words in our genuine, flat Canadian accents complete with the nasal Irish 'r'. I have heard recordings of myself singing in German, sounding really quite Bonnish until I got to a word with the dreaded terminal 'r' ... and there we all were, back in the Ottawa Valley. Fortunately, my father -- born in Quebec of a very mixed English-Scots-Irish-Swiss family -- had a fairly complete Lallands vocabulary, so words like "hause-bane" are not off-putting. Actually, a German-speaker will find plenty of familiar words in Lallands; "hause" is "Hals", for example. For those without Scots-speaking relatives or an annotated volume of Burns, there's always the Oxford English Dictionary, which contains just about all the dialectical words you're likely to trip over in the British Isles.

Charmion


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Charmion
Date: 01 Apr 02 - 05:59 PM

Here in Ontario, we generally sing the Scots words in our genuine, flat Canadian accents complete with the nasal Irish 'r'. I have heard recordings of myself singing in German, sounding really quite Bonnish until I got to a word with the dreaded terminal 'r' ... and there we all were, back in the Ottawa Valley. Fortunately, my father -- born in Quebec of a very mixed English-Scots-Irish-Swiss family -- had a fairly complete Lallands vocabulary, so words like "hause-bane" are not off-putting. Actually, a German-speaker will find plenty of familiar words in Lallands; "hause" is "Hals", for example. For those without Scots-speaking relatives or an annotated volume of Burns, there's always the Oxford English Dictionary, which contains just about all the dialectical words you're likely to trip over in the British Isles.

Charmion


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 04:07 AM

There was a time when a fair whack of what is now southeast Scotland was in the realm of the King of Northumbria. The southwest was never at any time part of Northumbria. At various stages in the history of the south west the spoken language was an ancient form of Welsh. The demise of Gaelic as the language of Strathclyde is surprisingly recent---it was still almost universally used at the time of Mary, Queen of Scots. A mere glance at many of the old place-names---farms, etc.,makes this pretty obvious. We are, however, conducting a spurious discussion here; the Scottish Nation is one of the oldest in Europe. Border lands changed ownership and allegiances many times in the past, and I'm sure all of us here are aware of that fact. I am a wee bit puzzled by DmcG's reference to "Lowland clearances", though. Rab Burns was a contemporary of many of those who had to leave these shores for what they hoped would be a better living. Strange that he made no great song about it---? You could say that the clearances are ongoing; Scotland's population is in ongoing dangerous decline .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: DMcG
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 04:25 AM

Thanks Boab - I will back out quietly! What I was being lazy about expressing properly was that I believe the laws that lead to the clearances in the Highlands applied throughout Scotland and so had a psychological and cultural effect on the lowlands, even though I don't think they were a significant number of evictions (etc) there. As I said in my last post, I'm not in the least surprised people got confused by what I meant on this one. That tends to happen when you don't say what you mean. On the other hand it looks as if my last post managed to confuse my meaning still further. Perhaps I'd better just quit while I'm behind...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: IanC
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 05:56 AM

Boab

You're wrong. Strathclyde wa one of the ancient Anglian kingdoms by the 8th Century. In the 9th, they had teamed up with the picts to try and repel the invaders from the Irish (Dublin) Norwegian kingdom.

Cheers!
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Shields Folk
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 07:23 AM

Just to back someones argument for a change DMcG, here's a quote from the BBC that supports the idea that language and ethnicity defies simple categorisation. This comment was made in reference to the BBC program The Blood of the Vikings

"Surprisingly, mainland Scotland had a similar Celtic input as the population of southern England, showing that not only were the English never "homogenous Anglo-Saxons", but neither were the Scots predominantly Celtic."

But what the study showed was that Northern England (and Southern Scotland) was significantly Angle-ish

Click here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: IanC
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 08:14 AM

Quite important, but usually forgotten, is the fact that the "Germanic" tribes were, in fact, celtic tribes along with all the others to be found on the European mainland. The main difference was that they had not been conquered by the Roman empire. There was never any homogeneity of culture or religion, although neighbouring tribes were more similar in this way than those at some distance from each other.

Neither is there any justification for referring to some people in the British Isles (named, by the way, after the various tribal groupings living there before the coming of the "Anglo-Saxons") as "celts" or "celtic". Either they all are, or none of them are.

Scholars around 1800 were busy trying to prove that Scotland was different to England because it was a "Scandinavian" nation. Even as late as the second half of the C19th, Child (for example) seemed inclined to subscribe to this view. Now it seems to be the common view that "The English" are somehow different from the other "ethnic groupings" because of some historially observable fact. This is not so.

If you're looking for some kind of pure-blood "Celt", then your best bet would probably be the people of the Cambridgeshire fens in East Anglia who, until the C19th and often into the C20th, were highly interbred and often thought to be descendants of Boudicca's Iceni. They are short (the men are often less than 5ft tall), dark haired and quite shy people - I'm related to some of them. They also made up a large part of Cromwell's "New Model Army".

If you're looking for a different "Celtic" culture, then you're probably too late by about 1500 years (unless the surviving picts of C13th or C14th are what you're after). The whole thing is given the lie by the well commented and observable fact that English traditional music (for example) is nearer to both Irish and Scots cultures than they are to each other.

The genetic survey quoted by Shields Folk above is just objective evidence of what serious scholars already knew, that England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, are populated by people of seriously mixed race and culture.

Rant over (for the moment) :-)
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: DMcG
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 08:22 AM

My, haven't we got a long way from the Twa Corbies? Perhaps we'd better start a new thread. I would, if I knew how to link them properly.

In the interests of light relief while crossing threads, can anyone post that part of "1066 and all that" that summaries IanC's post above?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Pied Piper
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 11:20 AM

Ian C "the "Germanic" tribes were, in fact, celtic tribes".Gernanic and celtic are linguistic terms, and though they are both indo-europian languages they are different and have been seperate branches since well before the Romans came along.As far as I'm concerned you can only be a "Celt" if you speek a celtic language, this rules out most of the people who call them selves Scots.The idea that their is some celtic "race" is nonsense.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: IanC
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 11:41 AM

Pied Piper

Celtic tribes are so called because they used a type of axe called a Kelt or Celt. The languages you refer to are called Gaelic. Germanic is not a linguistic term.

Best if you read the scholarship, rather than the loosely defined stuff people have been making up for nearly a century.

:-)
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: weepiper
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 02:36 PM

Ahem! "Germanic is not a linguistic term"...tell that to my English Language and Celtic Department professors, mate. And "Celtic" in the linguistic sense refers to Welsh and Breton as well as Scottish and Irish Gaelic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: CET
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 10:54 PM

I would be interested to hear how other singers (non-Scots) approach a song like Twa Corbies. How do you deal with phrases like "bonnie blue e'en" and "theek oor nest"?

I agree with Bill and Leenia to a large extent. My experience has been that I sing Scottish songs better when I'm not trying to sound "Scottish". I'm actually quite a good imitator, but for some reason my voice tends to tense up.

Some Scots songs lend themselves very well to using standard English words. "Bonnie Susie Cleland" is a good example. You can sing it throughout without using Scottish dialect words and not lose any of the power of the song.

Twa Corbies is different though. This is as close to perfect as a folk song can get I think, and anglicizing it would spoil it. (There's a good English variant called the Two Crows, but that's quite a different song).

I haven't really begun to work on Twa Corbies yet, but I think I will. It's too good a song to pass up. I sing in French and German sometimes, so it should be possible.

Edmund


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 11:31 PM

Good for you, IanC. I for one, am sick of hearing about Celtic this and Celtic that. The Celts have been dead a long, long time.

I have been active in traditional music since 1982. We brought Irish and Scottish bands to town for years before we ever heard the term "Celtic music." I think that term came into use because Nashville and the media needed a term for the music that River Dance was using, and they didn't want to be honest and call it "authentic country music."

Anyhow, one day we put a ruler on the map of Europe and concluded that the distance from Turkey to Ireland is only about 700 miles. How do you suppose all these supposedly different races and cultures managed to remain so distinct across this short distance, given the wars, displacements and migrations of the centuries?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Roughyed
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 03:41 PM

I was told last year that this version of the song was in fact a parody of over-dramatic ballads and of comparatively recent origin. The tune Steleye Span used and a lot of people now sing is Breton and was put to the song in the 1960's. Even if it's true, I still think the song is great.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: IanC
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 03:03 AM

Actually, Old Bill, I was wondering if (as is probable) you were singing the version of Twa Corbies recorded by Steeleye. If so, this is a rewrite by Sir Walter Scott of the earlier English song The Three Ravens.

If you're having trouble with the Scots dialect and accent, why don't you just use an English version?

Cheers!
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,DMcG at work
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 05:42 AM

The Three Ravens is a sickly sweet ballad of enduring love - the Twa Ravens is practically a horror story! I don't doubt one inspired the other but they are hardly equivalent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: IanC
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 06:07 AM

DmG

The version in DT is, I think, from one of the "poetic" versions rather than from tradition (for which I ca only apologies) but there are other versions. As for Scott's "Twa Corbies", Hodgart (1950), for example, says

"Scott said that it had been communicated by C. Sharpe, as written down from tradition "by a lady", but it is poorly supported in folk tradition. For this reason, and from internal evidence, it is likely that the version is largely of Scott's making. It has become a narrative of domestic tragedy, with the story partly concealed ... instead of a rich symbolism, it has only brilliant pictorial imagery: almost everything is on the surface"

Yes, Scott was a good poet.

Cheers!
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,maryrrf
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 09:29 AM

This is a song I've wanted to learn but have kind of put it off because of the language/dialect issue - I can't think of a way to modify it that satisfies me and remains semi faithful to the original, and I don't think the average American would understand it as it is - not without a glossary. Regarding "Lallands" I spent some time in a small town in Scotland (Ayrshire) recently and whether you'd classify it as a different language - well, my opinion is no - but it is very, very difficult to understand. It's not just that they use some words that are different, it's the pronunciation and probably more than that - the cadence and inflection of their speech that's hard to catch.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 09:46 AM

I am fascinated by a definition of Celt as someone who speaks a Celtic language, as proposed in a message here. Anyone care to argue that anyone who speaks English is English? It would be well to remember that speakers of Celtic languages have been remarkably good at conquering other people, as have speakers of English, and subsequently remarkably good at imposing their language on the natives.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 10:17 AM

Wish I'd never used the words Celtic language inthe previous message.More bollocks has been talked on that subject than any other I can think of.Some clever bloke in the 17th century(Iforget his name) spotted the very real connections between Breton, Welsh, Cornish, Irish , Scottish and Manx Gaelic and called them Celtic, after the people who used to live north of Greece; (he thought the two groups might connected in some way). If only he'd called them"northwest seaboard languages" or something what a lot ofproblems of self-identity a lot of people might have been spared. On the other hand, what a lot of enjoyable ill-informed circular arguments we'd have failed to enjoy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: weepiper
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 01:41 PM

I don't think everyone who speaks a Celtic language is automatically "a Celt". I speak Gaelic and understand a bit of Welsh but I don't consider myself a Celt. I don't think that word has much relevance really these days except as a useful tag to distinguish between language groups or whatever.
I do get really narked at what gets labelled Celtic music though. It's totally overused, I mean if a band has a fiddle player they get called Celtic... eeesh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 04:29 AM

IanC--with respect, Ian, I stated that Strathclyde was never part of NORTHUMBRIA. I stand by that. My reference to the spoken language is borne out by historical record besides the still-extant place-names. And, for the record, I am in total agreement with those who deplore the willy-nilly use of the label "Celtic". There has been a trend in recent years, however, to indulgence in some kind of compulsion to denigrate all things Celtic. The reason for this is obscure, though evidence of it is unmistakeable. Perhaps it arises from some conscious or unconscious resentment of the success of culture and music which is claimed as "Celtic' by the proponents of the culture. In support of the "homogenous" theorists, by the way, some of the prominent Highland Scottish clans have their origins in the Norman conquest. Frazers, Colquhouns, Menzies and Gordons all were Norman in origin. My own name [which I wont reveal!] is Scandinavian via Normandy, and was first recorded in Aberdeen and Angus [shout "moo!" and I'll slay ye!] in the 11th century. Finally, I love Celtic music and song, and spend a lot of time playing it and singing it. And I always had the impression [perhaps wrong] that "the Twa Corbies" ---which is NOT a celtic song---was like Jock o' Hazeldean; another song from a different culture half-inched by Wattie Scott only this time not from Ireland but from the French "Les Deux Corbeax".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 04:32 AM

OOPS!---"CORBEAUX"!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: IanC
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 09:51 AM

Boab

Which French "Les Deux Corbeaux" are you referring to? The only one I know is by Alexander Dumas - Rather later than Scott. Also, though Scott loses the symbolism, he does keep in all the main characters of the English song. I'd like to see the French song if you have a copy.

Thanks! Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Joe_F
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 06:41 PM

Oddly, the German translation at the site given by Masato is not a translation of the Scottish version there, but of "The Three Ravens" with its (comparatively) happy ending.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 07:23 PM

So is this version by Spielleut (with mp3PRO):

12. Rabenballade
(melody originally Breton):
This song in its present form is the German version of the English ballad "The three ravens" by T. Ravenscroft (1611), but we used the melody of the Scottish version "The twa corbies", which was originally known as 'Al Alarc'h' (the swan) in Brittany.
(a capella)

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 06 Apr 02 - 04:26 AM

Sorry Ian--can't enlarge on what was in my last posting.I cannot even insist on the truth of the connection.As I say I had this impression; could be so, could be otherwise. Am enjoying the speculation though--a good way of learning!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: IanC
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 12:25 PM

Just thought I'd correct a mistake I'd unknowingly made in an earlier post.

It's true that Scott published the "Twa Corbies" but he did, indeed, get it from Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. I've been reading Sharpe's letters, published by Allardyce (1888) and the letter to Scott is there. Sharpe was quite happy, himself, to tidy up old ballads (and did so with a few others for Scott's books) so it could have been him rather than Scott who made the changes. Sharpe claimed to have got it from an aristocratic friend, but I'm looking at him more closely these days as he was clearly taking stuff from Allan Cunningham for publication (one letter survives from AC in Allardyce).

Scott's reply is also there, in which he says that the song is rather like the English ballad of "The Three Ravens" in Ritson, but with the end missing.

Cheers!
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Orac
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:31 AM

I prefer to sing the English (and maybe original) version of this song "The three ravens" which was in print in 1611 and is thought it could be as old as circa 1450. There are odd words in that which are now obsolete like "leman" which means a lover.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: MMario
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:28 AM

Orac - "leman" may be odd and obselete - but just about any reader of Historical smut Romance novels knows the word and its meaning. Probably the one good thing that can be said about Harliquin Romances. They do build people's vocabulary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM

Hi,

I've put some of my thoughts about the ballad on my site:

http://bluegrassmessengers.com/26-the-three-ravens-or-twa-corbies.aspx

I've also quoted Malcolm from this thread,

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:09 AM

I sing a quite different text, from The Legendary Ballads of England and Scotland compiled & edited by John S. Roberts, Chandos Classics 1900 (?) from Mr. Motherwell's Collection; otherwise unknown...

There were twa corbies sat on a tree; large & black as black might be;
an' the ane unto the ither gan say: aye, where shall we gan & dine today?
Shall we dine by the wild salt sea? Or shall we dine 'neath the greenwood tree?

As I sat by the deep sea strand, I saw a fair ship nigh at land;
I waved my wings I beat my beak, that ship it sunk & I heard the shriek.
The drowned ones lie, one, two & tree; I shall dine by the wild salt sea.

Come and I'll show ye a sweeter sight, there's a lonesome glen & a new slain knight;
an' his blood yet on the grass is hot; his sword half drawn, his shafts unshot.
And no one knows that he lies there, but his hawk, & his hound, & his lady fair.

His hound is to the hunting gone; his hawk tae fetch the wild fowl hame;
and his lady's awa' with another man, so we maun make our dinner long:
our dinner's sure, our feasting free, come & dine 'neath the greenwood tree.

Ye shall sit out on his white hause-bane, while I'll pike oot his bonny blue een;
An' ye'll take a tree of his yellow hair to theek wa nest when it grows bare:
the gowlden down on his young chin will do tae row my young ones in.

Aye cold and bare his bed will be when winter storms sing in the tree;
At his head a turf, at his feet a stone; he'll sleep nor hear the maiden's moan
Ower his white bones the birds shall fly, the wild dear bound & foxes cry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:53 AM

Thanks, Mick. An important printing.

Here's a splendid midi of "Ye Banks and Braes":

http://www.contemplator.com/scotland/bonidoon.html

It was also sometimes used for the text of "The Foggy, Foggy Dew." Works great for that too. In fact, I prefer it to the usual.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:51 AM

Hi,

The text above from The Legendary Ballads of England and Scotland compiled & edited by John S. Roberts, Chandos Classics 1900 is by Allan Cunningham, 1925.

It was written by Cunningham based on the extant versions and is not traditional.

Interestingly- there's already a version in the DT which is the second version collected of Cunningham's Scottish ballad in the US (See: Henry A, c. 1900). After Cunningham's Two Crows was published in Cleveland's Compendium (Philadephia, 1848, with subsequent editions reprinted in 1859 etc.) it began surfacing as a traditional ballad, but it was learned from this book- directly or second hand. The orginal, from Allan Cunningham, was printed in 1825 in Cunningham's Songs of Scotland, Vol. I, pp. 289-290. Cunningham rewrote Scott's (See Twa Corbies- Child A a.) and Ravenscroft's text (See Child A Three Ravens). I'll give Cunningham's original below.]

Here's the DT version title:

THE TWO RAVENS- From Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, Shoemaker 1931 Long popular in Clinton County, One of Clarence Walton's favorites.

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:07 AM

Hi,

Above post should be Alan Cunningham 1825 (what's 100 years anyway!!!)

Haha

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 09:20 AM

It was written by Cunningham based on the extant versions and is not traditional.

Sorry I missed this earlier; I was alerted to it earlier today by email & my initial response was to just let it lie, but the more I think about this idea of and is not Traditional so the more it vexes me. I'm sure my email correspondent will forgive me if I use my earlier reply to form the basis of this post (and I'm sure, if he wants, he might add some other fascinating glimpses on the subject of Cunningham).

As far as The Traditional is concerned, I still prefer George Mackay Brown's John Barleycorn to any of the so-called Traditional versions of the song, and this is certainly the case with respect of Cunningham's Corbies which is a far more toothsome piece than Scott's (and I've never much liked the An Arlac'h setting that many now think of being Tradition in itself). I feel 1825 has a hoary ancientness about it; it is very much Pre-Folk / Pre-Revival and chimes in heartily with the literary Balladry that proliferated at the time. Look at (say) Bell's Rhymes of the Northern Bards, which remains my earliest source for The Collier's Rant, a song I've never seen any 'folk processed' variations of, but was deemed significant enough to be included in that context, as well as in Crawhall's later Buek o' Newcassell Sangs (1888) with other material by known authors working in The Idiom at the time. So...   All songs were written by someone, and just because we know who wrote them doesn't make them any less Trad. - it just makes them anon.. Think of George Bruce Thompson's epic McGintine's Meal an Ale, the text of which was quickly assimilated into the both Grieg and Duncan Collection and the repertoir of such singers as Davie Stewart; think also of Tommy Armstrong & the other poetic song-makers whose muse is rooted deep in The Tradition, as oppose to the Idea of a Tradition, howe'er sae nebulous that Tradition may be - all the more so for the inclusion of such material.

As for Cunningham's Corbies, I've been singing it (to my own tune) for 25 years now thinking the text was anonymous. After all, all texts are anonymous until we find out who made them, or remade them, so do we think of this text as being folk processed or not? And why not? As I say, it's a vexing question not without easy answer unless one proceeds with the usual lines of Cultural Apartheid on which the Folk Revival is predicated as being a harvesting of the unlettered authentic by the very lettered paternalistic academia. However so quaint that notion may be (and however so sincere its exponents over the past century and more) I can't help but feel that the more one delves, so the more complex it gets, not just in terms of the material, but the philosophical approach of what we can consider as being Traditional and what we can't.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM

I too am hopelessly in thrall to this version, and filled with awe that we can now put a name to it. Allan Cunningham was nearly buried a mile from where I live...but it didn't quite work out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:39 PM

It would be very interesting to know how many of (say) Scott's ballads were original, titivated, or the whole cloth. Not that it matters much.

We know the song is 16th/17th century, but was it half as cynical then? Printed versions are all the evidence we have.

He had a pimple on his head,
Down a down hey down a down,
The more he picked it, the more it bled,
With a down
He had another on his bum
And that one made him very glum,
With a down, derry derry down a down


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 07:07 PM

As to 'traditional' vs. 'anon' vs. 'known composer'.... there are songs *I* prefer to whatever passes for the 'original'. It is often the case that many minds over dozens or hundreds of years can improve on both words & tunes--- but I DO prefer to know how & why they were changed, and much of the fun of 'folk' is tracing and comparing the history of versions.

I also am sure that many people's favorite version tends toward the one they heard first...especially if they have known & sung it for many years. (We see that here in requests for "Joe Blow's version" of 'The Ballad of Flatulent Fred'...often wanting chords & midis, also)

It is just hard to mentally edit something that has become part of you. There are a number of songs I learned in the hinterlands of faraway Kansas, in the 1960s, that I have since discovered were either bowdlerized, shortened, of simply 'pop' versions.. (for example the risque little ditty "The Bastard King of England". I know there are cleverer and more authentic versions, but I can't seem to get them past entrenched memories.)

What really bothers me is gratuitous and careless changes which are often just 'messing' with a good song, simply to have one that no one else does. In my collection of Child Ballads, there are some astoundingly atrocious sounds perpetrated by singers or groups who I suppose thought they were 'being creative'. I'll bet YOU have heard some of those.

I learned my version of "The Twa Corbies" from Jean Redpath, 40 years ago, and I really like the feel of the tune she used, and as I said way back up there, the point of the song is always clear to a **folk** audience, even with my non-authentic Scots accent. I suppose if I were a professional, and singing it for a mixed audience, I would either change a few words or explain them before I started.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 10:06 AM

And so, the first piece on my new Fiddlesangs project was to revisit my old version of the Twa Corbies as discussed above:

http://soundcloud.com/sedayne-fiddlesangs/the-twa-corbies-auld-fell-dyke


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 04:30 PM

To offer a little clarification on the matter of the tune most usually sung to 'The Twa Corbies'-

I first learned this ballad in 1957/8 at the Ballads Club in Rutherglen Academy, near Glasgow, which was started by our English teacher Norman Buchan, and we sang it to the Breton tune which had been matched to it by another English teacher Morris Blythman who taught in Glasgow (and who had been Norman's best man...). Both men were certainly familiar with it as a poem, but when Morris heard the Breton tune on holiday, he made an immediate connection.

This is what Norman had to say about it in the notes to the Wee Red Book -- as "101 Scottish Songs" was known amongst the folk community when it was published by Collins in 1962 --

    'This is one of the greatest of all our ballads. But a ballad is only a ballad when it is sung. It            lacked a tune, and I had never heard any successful attempt at providing a setting for it. This tune, an ancient Breton war song, was taught to Morris Blythman by the Breton folk-singer Zaig Montjarret, and he set the Scottish ballad to it. The result is astonishingly right. There is a curious submerged lilt in the tune which exactly sets the mood of the poem, with the jaunty chatter of the crows as against the macabre theme of their talk.'

Norman had used this musical version of the ballad in our second year English class, when I was aged 13, and set us homework to rewrite a modern version with the rhythms of the tune in our head. I wrote a ballad of a meeting between a young man who was pursuing a lassie who was promised elsewhere, but when she tried to refuse him gently, he stabbed first her and then himself, gathering her corpse into his arms for the finale -- "He pit his airms roon that lassie fair oh / An' she was his for evermair oh x2". (Remember, I was only 13, so what did I know of passion or anything else!)

Anyway, Norman published a Scottish traditional song in the Weekly Scotsman newspaper, every week for a year as I recollect -- around 1959/60 -- and included both 'Twa Corbies' and my version (together with other great songs such as 'The Gallowa' Hills', 'The Wark o' the Weavers', 'Coulters Candy', 'Birnie Bouzle', 'Tullochgorum', 'Come a' ye Tramps an' Hawker Lads', 'MacPherson's Rant' etc.). This then became the basis of the later publication of "101".

Anne Neilson.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 05:43 PM

Thanks for sharing, EKanne.

Adding the tune was one of those inspirational moments that wind up having a huge impact.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 25 September 9:06 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.