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Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea

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WHERE HELEN LIES


Related thread:
Lyr Req: Helen of Kirkconnel (10)


John in Brisbane 16 Feb 03 - 09:04 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Feb 03 - 09:31 PM
John in Brisbane 16 Feb 03 - 09:40 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Feb 03 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,Gary Olson 15 May 03 - 11:15 PM
GUEST,Boab 16 May 03 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Davetnova 16 May 03 - 04:07 AM
Jim McLean 16 May 03 - 11:48 AM
yrlancslad 16 May 03 - 07:28 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 16 May 03 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Boab 17 May 03 - 03:14 AM
GUEST 17 May 03 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Calum 17 May 03 - 08:06 AM
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Subject: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Feb 03 - 09:04 PM

I've posted a number of Scottish threads today, but would appreciate some feedback from those more knowledgable. The Burns version of Where Helen Lies is in the DT with the tune source given as 'Where Helen Lies'. I have a score of 'Kirkconnel Lea' which is not attributed to Burns, similar lyrics but refers to death by sword rather than gun. Did Burns base his version on an existing 'Kirkconnel Lea'?

I haven't had a chance to compare the music yet.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Feb 03 - 09:31 PM

The song is older than Burns, and the heroine's name varies; sometimes it's Eelin. She gets shot in all the examples I've seen, though.


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Feb 03 - 09:40 PM

Malcolm, is there a representative version in the DT? Our hero 'hew'd (the killer) down in pieces sma'...' and you're right Helen was indeed shot.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Feb 03 - 09:53 PM

WHERE HELEN LIES -Burns' adaptation of the older song.

Lyr Req: Helen of Kirkconnel -short discussion with useful information from Bruce Olson.


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: GUEST,Gary Olson
Date: 15 May 03 - 11:15 PM

John,

I found your posting from 1999 asking about the music to Amelia Earhart. Are you still interested? I have 2 versions in mp3 file form - one is a bluegrass version by the Country Gentlemen and the other is by a group called Plainsong. In both cases, the song is entitled Amelia Earhart's Last Flight. The words are the same as Dave McEnery's (approximately) but without the second verse. If you'd like these, I could email them to you. Just give me an email at glolson@att.net and I'll reply. This is one of my favorite songs - I play bluegrass and it is one in my repertoire.

Note: I also posted this reply to your original posting, but thought I should reply to a recent ones to up the odds you get this. Sorry if this is redundant.


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 16 May 03 - 02:48 AM

Some digression from the original query, but I hope for some comment--
One of my personal favourites, Ellen of Kirkconnel, I was once in my far past [!!] given the story that the song refers to an incident in the saga of the Scottish Covenanting struggle for religious freedom. The Scottish Protestants who were determined to continue with their preferred form of worship--against Royal decree---took to holding their services in remote countryside locations. One such was Kirkconnel Lea [nowhere near the village of Kirkconnel in the Vale of Nith, but located close to the border, near Langholm]. The story goes that a unit of Lagg's troopers surprised the group. Ellen and her Beau were members, and came under musket fire. Ellen was fatally wounded, and was avenged by the sword of her lover. This may simply be a fanciful tale made to fit the lyrics, although I have yet to hear any more plausible version. Any comment?


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: GUEST,Davetnova
Date: 16 May 03 - 04:07 AM

Boab - Interseting to herear about Kirkconnel Lea being near Langholm. I had always thought the song refered to the Kirkconnel In Nithsdale as the Society was declared in Sanquar and there is a memorial commemorating a massacre of Covenaters on a hilltop between the top of the Scaur valley and Sanquar/kirkconnel. Could you tell me any more, please.


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: Jim McLean
Date: 16 May 03 - 11:48 AM

I don't know if this has appeared anywhere else (I have looked) but as I have plenty of time just now I'll type it out! It's from Johnson's Musical Museum and written by William Stenhouse.

This old elegiac ballad was retouched by Burns -----
Helen Irvine, a celebrated beauty of the sixteenth century, and daughter of the Laird of Kirkconnel, in the county of Dumfries, was beloved by two gentlemen at the same time, who both resided in the neighbourhood. The name of the favourite suitor was Adam Fleming, that of the unsuccessful lover Bell of Blacket-house. The addresses of the latter, though seconded by the friends of the lady, being inflexibly rejected, he vowed to sacrifice Fleming to his resentment. Bent on this horrid design, he watched every opportunity of carrying it into execution, and one evening, while the happy pair were sitting on a romantic spot washed by the river Kirtle, the desperate lover suddenly appeared on the opposite bank with a loaded musket, which he levelled at the breast of his rival. Helen, aware of his atrocious aim, instantly threw her self before the body of her lover, and, receiving the mortal wound which was intended for him, fell back and died in his arms. The murderer fled beyond the seas, but was closely pursued from place to place by Fleming, who at length overtook him in the vicinity of Madrid. A furious combat ensued, which terminated in the death of the fugitive assassin. Fleming, on his return, went to visit the grave of his beloved Helen in the churchyard of Kirkconnel, and, stretching himself upon it, expired, breathing her name with his last sigh. His remains were interred by her side. The grave of the lovers is still pointed out, and on the tomb stone the inscription Hic jacet Adamus Fleming, is yet legible. A sword and a cross are sculptured on the stone, which the peasantry tell you represents the gun that shot Helen and the sword that killed her murderer......
Some of th peasantry allege, that Fleming was killed by an arrow in place of a bullet.
(There follows a poem printed in 1783 and one verse..
Her lover to shield from the dart
Most eagerly she interposed;
The arrow traspierced her fond heart
The fair in his arms her eyes closed.)

Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: yrlancslad
Date: 16 May 03 - 07:28 PM

This is the story I had too Jim, I think from the same souirce.


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 16 May 03 - 07:46 PM

A very abbreviated text with a fine tune for this song... though I suspect that it is 'a variant'... is on the 'Flight of the Green Linnet' CD. It indeed has the same story as above. J. McMenemy/Kornog
ttr


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 17 May 03 - 03:14 AM

Davetnova---The assumption that the "Kirkconnel ' referred to is the one in the Vale of Nith is understandable. [ your reference to Scaur Water etc. brings back memories--I'm a Glen of Afton native myself...]
Jim's posting I found very interesting. I confess I'd never before seen this story. It seems somehow to carry more authenticity. Kirtle Water runs north-south roughly halfway between Lockerbie and Langholm, and there is a small village there called "Kirkconnel. ' I don't think, even if the stories may be in doubt, that there is any dispute regarding the scene of the action.


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 03 - 05:52 AM

this song is in a beautiful old collection " the Lyric Gems of Scotland"


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Subject: RE: Where Helen Lies/Kirkconnel Lea
From: GUEST,Calum
Date: 17 May 03 - 08:06 AM

In the liner notes to either a Corries album (from the late seventies, IIRC - Sixteen Scottish Favourites rings a bell) or one of Ronnie Brownes solo albums (the love songs one, I assume), Ronnie noted that the gravestone of Helen could still be seen. He included the location, but I don't remember, and I don't have the album near to hand to check.

Cheers,
Calum
(a reformed Corries anorak)


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