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Freedom Come All Ye, need translation

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FREEDOM COME ALL YE


Related threads:
Hamish Henderson & Pete Seeger (5)
Hamish Henderson BBC TV Alba (2)
Anent Hamish Henderson published (3)
Origins: Freedom Come All Ye (Hamish Henderson) (23)
Folklore: 1963 film Hamish Henderson etc singing (2)
Hamish Henderson Archive appeal (28)
Hamish Henderson radio programme (44)
Tune Req: Hamish Hendersons Refusal (9)
Hamish Henderson commemoration (12)
alternatives to scottish national anthem (13)
Help: Scots Language in 'Freedom Come All Ye' (11)
OBIT: Hamish Henderson (1919-2002) (39)
Lyr Add: Freedom Come All Ye - parody (5)


GUEST,Len Wallace 15 Aug 03 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Senga 15 Aug 03 - 12:47 PM
Drumshanty 15 Aug 03 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Jim Mclean 15 Aug 03 - 02:17 PM
Jim McLean 15 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM
Big Tim 16 Aug 03 - 03:13 AM
gnomad 16 Aug 03 - 04:53 AM
Jim McLean 16 Aug 03 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,Yuval Berger 20 May 04 - 08:05 AM
GUEST 20 May 04 - 08:11 AM
The Borchester Echo 20 May 04 - 08:41 AM
Amos 20 May 04 - 01:58 PM
Cuilionn 20 May 04 - 10:20 PM
michaelr 21 May 04 - 01:59 AM
Dave Hanson 21 May 04 - 04:39 AM
Cuilionn 21 May 04 - 11:46 AM
michaelr 21 May 04 - 07:14 PM
Big Tim 12 Oct 06 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,wherriebob 12 Oct 06 - 10:42 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 12 Oct 06 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Scotus (minus cookie) 12 Oct 06 - 03:16 PM
Susanne (skw) 12 Oct 06 - 06:42 PM
Big Tim 13 Oct 06 - 05:00 AM
Big Tim 13 Oct 06 - 05:02 AM
Steve Howlett 10 Oct 09 - 12:03 PM
Big Tim 11 Oct 09 - 07:36 AM
BobKnight 11 Oct 09 - 10:55 AM
Big Tim 11 Oct 09 - 01:28 PM
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Subject: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: GUEST,Len Wallace
Date: 15 Aug 03 - 12:41 PM

Hello Mudcitions,

One of the songs I have come to love is Hamish Henderson's "Freedom Come All Ye". Problem is there are a few lines I have not been able to translate.

FREEDOM COME ALL YE
(Hamish Henderson)

Roch the wind in the clear days dawin
Blows the cloods heelstre-gowdie ow'r the bay

"Heelstre-gowdie"?

But there's mair nor a roch wind blawin
Through the great glen o' the warld the day.
It's a thocht that will gar oor rottans

"gar oor rottans"?

A' they rogues that gang gallus, fresh and gay

"A' they rogues that gang gallus"?


Tak the road, and seek ither loanins
For their ill ploys, tae sport and play.

"loanins"?

Many thanks for the help.

For music that'll ne'er dee,

Len Wallace


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: GUEST,Senga
Date: 15 Aug 03 - 12:47 PM

Heelster-gowdie: Head over heels
Gar oor rottans: Turn our stomachs
Gang gallus: Go boldly, shamelessly
Loanins: Places


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Drumshanty
Date: 15 Aug 03 - 01:43 PM

If you read it all in one go like this:

"It's a thocht that will gar oor rottans, a' they rogues that gang gallus, fresh and gay, tak the road, and seek ither loanins ..."

it might make a little more sense.

The whole thing means "it's a thought that will make our rottans (rats, or people who behave like rats), all those rogues who carry on boldly and shamelessly (as Senga said), take the road and seek other places ...

Hope that makes sense!


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: GUEST,Jim Mclean
Date: 15 Aug 03 - 02:17 PM

I have never believed the phrase means 'it's a thought that would make our rats,(or people who behave like rats)'?? do what?
The sense seems to be that whatever evil happening is blowing through the great glen..., it should upset or frighten us.
Usually the Scottish word 'gar' means to 'make' or 'force' but it has another meaning of 'filth' or 'slime' and I think the explanation 'turn our stomachs' makes more sense.
Jim Mclean


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM

Sorry, I forgot to set my cookie and logged out rather quickly! If you read the verse as 'It's a thought that would make our rats (all those rascals, etc) move away to cause havoc elsewhere' then you could understand the word 'rottens' to mean 'rats'.


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Big Tim
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 03:13 AM

For a full translation, and interpretation, check Dick Gaughan's website.


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: gnomad
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 04:53 AM

D Gaughan Homepage


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Jim McLean
Date: 16 Aug 03 - 05:33 AM

That's a good site, Big Tim, gnomad, and makes a good case for 'rats' as in my second posting. The Concise Scots Dictionary, under rottan, 'a rat'..with a second meaning of 'contemptuous term or term of endearment for a person.


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Subject: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: GUEST,Yuval Berger
Date: 20 May 04 - 08:05 AM

Hi All
I was wondering if someone might help me with a translation of this beautiful song to modern English.
Thanks
Yuval


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: GUEST
Date: 20 May 04 - 08:11 AM

But then it probably won't be as beautiful.


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 May 04 - 08:41 AM

Dick Gaughan makes a pretty fair stab at it here.

He calls it 'a descriptive interpretation' rather than a 'translation'.


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: Amos
Date: 20 May 04 - 01:58 PM

Seems a fair job to me.

A


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: Cuilionn
Date: 20 May 04 - 10:20 PM

Muckle thanks for that link, Countess Richard. Ah've been lairnin this sang aff the Hamish Henderson tribute album, "A' the Bairns o Adam", (If ye dinnae alreidy hae this, get it!!!), an tho Ah kythed (understood) maist o the wairds, some o the cannier bits & their multiple meanins escapit me.

Ah feel mair eddicatit, the noo!

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: michaelr
Date: 21 May 04 - 01:59 AM

Cuilionn, you must be channeling the late Little John Cameron. I said it to him and I'll say it to you (and please don't be offended): that Scots dialect is mighty cute when heard spoken, but reading it is nowt but tiresome.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 May 04 - 04:39 AM

Well done countess, I also agree with Dick that if Scotland gets it's own National Anthem it should be this fine song.
eric


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: Cuilionn
Date: 21 May 04 - 11:46 AM

Michael--

Aye, it daes tak a wee bit o wairk, aye? But wi'oot folk as can read & screeve it, the unco braw an bonnie leid (language) o the Scots wuid dwine awa, an NAEbody wuid KEN "Freedom Come All Ye", let alane be able tae read or sing it. A grait treasure wuid be lost tae humankind, or "a' the bairns o Adam", as the sang says.

Scots is a leid itsel, nae jist a slang or dialect o Sassun (English). Scottish folk theirsels are strugglin tae lairn tae celebrate a leid that wis beaten oot o them in generations past.

In trowth, Ah dinnae dae it justice masel, for Ah'm no but a lairner, an self-taught at that, but Ah dearly love the wit an wisdom--the pawkiness & canniness--o it, an the wide range o poetic possibilities. Tis a source o deepest joy tae luik or listen tae the wairk o an unco baird like Henderson an kythe it instantly, thrill tae the meanin an the emotion o it, an respond frae ma verra hairt wi nae need o interpretation or mitigation...

There is nae leid on yirth that disnae desairve oor attention & stewardship o its grait treasures. Ither leids hae their champions, an Ah support them. For me, Ah'm stairtin wi what Ah ken & what Ah can manage: the leids o Lallan Scots & Scottish Gaelic. Aye, ye micht nae ken ilka waird, but if ye pick up ane noo & then, Ah've dane ma pairt!

An Beannachd Oirbh/Blessings,

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: FREEDOM COME ALL YE
From: michaelr
Date: 21 May 04 - 07:14 PM

Well, I struggled through your last post, Cuilionn, and am in agreement that the old languages must be kept alive.

But it does make my eyes glaze over... :-)

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:35 AM

Anyone know when the song was written? And first published?


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: GUEST,wherriebob
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:42 AM

Not sure when it was written by Hamish Henderson probably around or after WWII but the advice to check Dick Gaughan's site is sound. the tune is much older than the song of course it's a pipe tune; 'The Bloody Fields of Flanders' Someone over at Footstompin will definitly know the answer.


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 12:00 PM

For what it's worth, I'd go with the contributions from Jim M and Drumshanty: the long sentence, across four lines of verse, I've always taken in that sense. Doesn't it chime well with the later verses? No doubt The School of Scottish Studies, in Edinburgh, would have more specific information on its date of composition - HH helped to set it up, and I believe ran the place for some time - but, again for what it's worth, isn't there some connection between the opening words and the speech about a "wind of change" blowing through ?Africa (wasn't that by MacMillan, the Conservative PM?), which might give an approximate date and even - if anyone require it - a specific identity for "the black lad ayont Nyanga"?


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: GUEST,Scotus (minus cookie)
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 03:16 PM

The song was first recorded on the 'Ding Dong Dollar' LP in the late 1950s and I believe that Hamish may have written it specifically for it.

I've always understood the 'gar oor rottans' means 'tear at our guts'.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 06:42 PM

[1984:] The most beautiful and the most famous of all these [sixties 'rebel'] songs was written a year before Polaris: "For the Glasgow Peace Marchers, May 1960". [...] It is still sung frequently all over Scotland and beyond. The language is richer [than that of the average 'rebel' song], yet so graphically used that the meaning is substantially clear before any glossary is consulted. It rightly took its place among the anti-Polaris songs, although - or perhaps because - its theme is broader, and the 'roch wind' is depicted as sweeping away oppression and war over the whole world. (Ailie Munro, Revival 74)


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Big Tim
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 05:00 AM

Thanks folks. I had seen both 1947 and 1960 given: looks like the latter.

In the 'Chapman' book of HH's poetry, titled funnily enough 'Freedom Come All Ye', (1999) the meaning of rottans is given as 'rats'. Gar definitely means 'make': my wife's grandfather was still using the word in the 1960, in Angus. So, I take 'gar oor rottans' to mean 'make our contemptible political leaders'.


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Big Tim
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 05:02 AM

PS, any info available on the 'Ding Dong Dollar' album?


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Steve Howlett
Date: 10 Oct 09 - 12:03 PM

I'd like to revive this thread, as I think it's highly relevant in the light of the need, expressed elsewhere on Mudcat, for good anti-racist songs.
The words as Hamish Henderson wrote them are on Dick Gaughan's website. Scroll down for Dick's opinion of how they should be sung by non-Scottish singers. He says that we should avoid attempting a 'Scottish' accent (good advice). But then he says that Luke Kelly sings it in a Dublin accent. I think Luke Kelly adapts his accent a little: he rolls the 'r's, and pronounces 'friends' as 'freends', which doesn't sound Dublin to me. I haven't heard Pete Seeger sing it. (I may have heard Billy Bragg sing it in his normal singing voice.)

Dick Gaughan also says that we should not attempt to translate unfamiliar words into standard English. That is where I disagree. The general feel of the song may come over, but some of the force of it is lost if we can't understand all the words.

If an adequate, or rather more than merely adequate translation can't be found, perhaps we should regretfully leave this wonderful and stirring song to the Scots.

But is it possible to render Hamish Henderson's words into a more universally recognisable English without losing the undoubted power and vitality of the original?

Anybody care to try?


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Big Tim
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:36 AM

Hamish Hernderson wrote the following letter to Pete Seeger, from Edinburgh, dated 6 October 1961.

'Dear Pete,
I'm just back from a late holiday in Ireland and found a tower of letters - including your own, and one from a lad who listened to your rendering of the 'FreedomCome-All-Ye' at Carnegie Hall on 16th Sep. I'm most pleased to hear that you like the song and that you've already begun singing it.

Of the songs in Ding Dong Dollar, only two - the Freedom Come-All-Ye and the sequence called 'Anti-Polaris' - are by me. These you are quite at liberty to print in 'Sing Out'. For the others you should contact Morris Blythman, 109 Balgrayhill Road, Glasgow, who is 'inspirer and begetter' of the whole collection, and author (or part author) of most of tem.

Morris has already begun recording more material for a 12" LP, and the best thing would be for Moe Asch [Director of Folkways records] to get in touch with him directly at his Glasgow address.

Here is a glossary of my own song:

roch=rough. dawin=dawn.
heelster-gowdie=headover heels. gar=make. rottans=rats, vermin.
gallus=bold, reckless. loanins=tracks, lanes.
callants=young lads ('gallants' is a misprint).
crousely craw=arrogantly crow.
(like many Scots phrases, this is most difficult to render: crouse can mean a lot of things, including 'conceited' and 'arrogant'; in conjunction with 'craw', it has the overtone of 'harsh' and 'raucous' as well).
wee weans=kids. clachan=hamlet.
herriet=harried. ane til ither=one to another.
hoodies=crows. barley bree=whisky.
geans=cherry trees. dings doon=knocks down.

Looking forward to seeing you in Novemver, Youys aye, Hamish'

So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth.
Quoted from the book 'The Armstrong Nose: selected letters of Hamish Henderson'. Polygon, Edinburgh, 1996.

PS I think 'our own' Jim McLean was also involved in Ding Dong Dollar.
PPS There's a lovely, no-nonsense version of 'Freedom-Come-All-Ye', by trad Dundee singer Jim Reid, on 'Scotland;the Music and the Song; 20 year profile of Greentrax'[record label].


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: BobKnight
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 10:55 AM

"Loanings" are also strips of agricultural land if I remember correctly, so in essence, get out and seek fresh fields.


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Subject: RE: Freedom Come All Ye, need translation
From: Big Tim
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 01:28 PM

O no, not more interpretation! HH told us what he meant by the words. There's a place called Greenloaning not far from Perth where HH was born.

In 'Freedom', HH didn't explain to Pete Seeger, 'broomielaw' (pronounced 'broomilaw') = a pier on the river Clyde in central Glasgow. It was on a ferry from there, to Belfast, overnight, that HH wrote another of his smashin songs, 'The Seven Men of Knoydart' (1948).

Maclean=John Maclean (1879-1923) Scottish socialist 'martyr'.
Springburn=district in northern Glasgow.


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