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two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)

DigiTrad:
DOWIE DENS OF YARROW
THE DOWIE DENS o' YARROW


Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Dreary Dream (John Jacob Niles) (8)
(origins) Origins: The Dewy Dens of Yarrow (44)
Lyr Req: The Heathery Hills of Yarrow (Child #214) (8)
Dowie Dens of Yarrow (35)
Lyr Req: Green Banks of Yarrow (#214 - Davenport) (3)
Lyr Req: Dowie Dens of Yarrow parody (3)
Lyr Req: Dowie Dens o' Yarrow (Davey Stewart) (7)
Downie Dens of Yarrow (6)
The Braes of Yarrow (5)


Roberto 28 Dec 03 - 12:06 PM
Joe Offer 28 Dec 03 - 12:36 PM
Roberto 28 Dec 03 - 04:03 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Dec 03 - 08:16 PM
Roberto 29 Dec 03 - 02:35 AM
Roberto 27 Jan 07 - 02:28 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 07 - 02:30 AM
Roberto 28 Jan 07 - 03:50 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jan 07 - 11:18 AM
eddie1 28 Jan 07 - 11:40 AM
Roberto 29 Jan 07 - 01:27 AM
GUEST,Matt Seattle 16 Dec 09 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,AllanC 17 Dec 09 - 03:00 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 11 - 01:13 AM
GUEST,Sara O'Keeffe 01 Apr 11 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Apr 11 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 02 Apr 11 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 02 Apr 11 - 01:58 PM
Micca 02 Apr 11 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 02 Apr 11 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,Del de Lorme in Chatham 20 Apr 11 - 04:25 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: DOWIE DENS OF YARROW (from Janet Russell
From: Roberto
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 12:06 PM

Could somebody please check and correct this transcription of The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow as sung by Janet Russell on Fyre & Sworde? I can't undertsand the name of the hill the ploughboy lad frae Yarrow is going up. Thank you. Roberto

In Thurrow town there lived a maid
Ye scarce could find her marrow
And she's forsook nine noble men
For a ploughboy lad frae Yarrow

Her faither he got word o' that
And he's bred a' her sorrow
He sent him forth to fight wi' nine
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow

She's washed his face and she's kaimed his hair
As she's aft done before-O
And she's made him look a knight sae fine
To fecht for her on Yarrow

Stay here, stay here, my bonnie lad
And bide wi' me the morrow
For my cruel brothers will ye betray
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow

As he gaed up by T... (?) Hill
And doon the braes o' Yarrow
'T was there in a den were nine armed men
Come to fecht wi' him on Yarrow

Did ye come here tae drink the wine?
Did ye come here tae borrow?
Or did ye come tae wield yer brand
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow?

I am not come tae drink the wine
Nor yet to beg or borrow
But I am come tae wield my brand
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow!

If I see you all, you are nine men
That's an unfair marrow
But I will fecht while last my breath
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow

And three he slew and three they flew
And three he's wounded sairly
Till her brither John stood up behind
And ran his body thorough

O mither, I hae dream'd a dream
A dream o' dule and sorrow
I dream'd that I pu'd heather bells
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow

O dochter I hae read your dream
I doubt it will prove sorrow
For your ain true love is pale and wan
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow

As she gaed up yon high high hill
And doon the houms o' Yarrow
'T was there she saw her ain true love
Lying pale and wan on Yarrow

She's washed him in a clear well-strand
She's dried him wi' the hollan
And aye she sighed, alas she cried -
For my love I had him chosen

Her hair it being three quarters lang
The colour it being yellow
She's tied it roond his middle sae small
And she's bore him doon tae Yarrow

O hold your tongue, my daughter dear
And talk no more of sorrow
I'll wed you soon on a better match
Than the ploughboy lad frae Yarrow

O faither, ye hae siven sons
Ye may wed them a' tomorrow
Ye may wed your sons, but ye'll ne'er wed
The bonny lass of Thurrow


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: janet russell's dowie dens of yarrow
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 12:36 PM

Hi, Roberto. I don't have that album, so I can't help you directly. Note that I've crosslinked this thread to the other threads we have on the song - those threads should help you somewhat.

Don't tell my wife, but I think I'm in love with Janet Russell. I wondered about her age, and somebody told me she's older than I'd think. This page says she was born in 1958. That isn't so old, is it?

What a lovely singer she is. I hate to tell you how many concerts I went to at Whitby Folk Week last year, just so I could see Janet Russell again.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: janet russell's dowie dens of yarrow
From: Roberto
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 04:03 PM

The booklet of the CD says the text Janet Russell sings was given to her by Sandra Kerr. The town of Thurrow is not identified. In other versions (Child J, for instance) there is a Thorro. No other version that I know mentions the name of the hill. It was a high, high hill, and that is all. I hope some Mudcatter has this CD and the time and will to find out the name of the hill and tell me about that. As for Janet Russell, I've never had the pleasure to see her, but I have always liked very much her recordings, although I swear, Joe, I'll avoid to "fecht for her on Yarrow" against you. Roberto


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: janet russell's dowie dens of yarrow
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Dec 03 - 08:16 PM

The only version of the song that mentions Thoro or Thorro, so far as I know, is Child's example J, which Roberto has already mentioned. It was noted from Marion Miller, Threepwood, Melrose, apparently by Thomas Wilkie, presumably in the first decade of the 19th century or a little earlier. Not the text we have here, though.

The hill is almost invariably just a "high, high hill" without a name; the only instance I know of where it is identified is in Jane Turriff's set, where it is referred to as "yon Tenniesbank", this being a localisation to the Tinnis Burn area, near Newcastleton. (Jane Tuffiff, Singin is Ma Life, Springthyme SPRCD 1038, 1996).

I should imagine that this is a collated rather than traditional text. Since lyrics are not printed in the CD insert, you will probably only get guesses in answer to this question unless you ask Sandra.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: janet russell's dowie dens of yarrow
From: Roberto
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 02:35 AM

Thank you, Malcolm. I think Tennies Hill is what Janet Russell sings.


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Subject: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow
From: Roberto
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 02:28 PM

Did ye come here tae drink the wine?
Did ye come here tae borrow?
Or did ye come tae wield yer brand
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow?

I am not come tae drink the wine
Nor yet to beg or borrow
But I am come tae wield my brand
On the dowie dens o' Yarrow!

This particular two verses I have taken from The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow
Janet Russell, on Fyre & Sworde, Songs of the Border Reivers, Fellside FECD131, 1998. The set is similar to Child J.

1. How to translate "beg or borrow" in this context?
2. wield the brand: I intend to swing the sword. Correct?

Thanks. R


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 02:30 AM

Hi, Roberto. I moved you over to this thread so we'd have the entire discussion of the Janet Russell version in one place.
"Everything I can beg, borrow, or steal" is an idiomatic English phrase. I guess in this context, it means "scrounge," to get something for nothing.

"Wielding a brand" should mean using a sword (for fighting).

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: Roberto
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 03:50 AM

Thanks, Joe. I think scrounge gets the idea. R


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 11:18 AM

There may also be a play on words here, in that 'borrow' can also (in Scottish usage, at any rate) mean "to pledge ... in liquor"; that may be implied in the first verse you quote.

"But I am come tae wield my brand" means (in Standard English) "But I am come to wield my brand". The usage is quite old fashioned, and nowadays mostly confined to poetic diction. 'Sword' is a perfectly good substitute if you feel the need to change it.

'Wield' is still used; not very much in everyday conversation, but extremely often in fantasy novels. There is an implication of skill and control that isn't well served by substituting 'swing;' I should stick to 'wield' if I were you.


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: eddie1
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 11:40 AM

Joe Offer
So you are my rival for the hand of the fair Janet?
How about rude word's at 30 paces - and I will tell your wife!
All's fair in love and scrabble!

Eddie


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: Roberto
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 01:27 AM

Malcolm, I don't need to change "wield my brand", but to be sure of its meaning. In old-faschioned poetic Italian, we have expressions that are literary the same, such as "roteare il brando", you can find it in chivalry poems. "Brando" for "spada" as "brand" for "sword". But I wanted to be sure. Thanks. R


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russe
From: GUEST,Matt Seattle
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 09:25 AM

An old thread, I know, but Tennies bank is in Scott's Minstrelsy version, not given by Child because it is a collation, but anthologised elsewhere.

There is indeed a Tinnis between Langholm and Newcastleton, but this is a long way from Yarrow However, after noticing a house with a Tinnis name while driving along the Yarrow valley the other week, I consulted my map and found Tinnis Farm and Old Tinnis right next to the Yarrow. Presumably one of Scott's sources had this specific localisation.


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST,AllanC
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 03:00 AM

Matt you are right in that there is no need to locate Tinnis way down the Newcastleton way. The name as you say exists right there in Yarrow itself. Other than that there is also the ruined Tinnis Castle in nearby Peeblesshire between Drumelzier and Dawyck. I'd have thought the geographic question in the version given is where on earth is Thurrow town?


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 01:13 AM

What is the name of the hill?

Francis James Child seems to consistently use "yon high high hill" in his sixteen versions and fragments. This is Child #214 under the title "The Braes o Yarrow." Titles include (preceding "of Yarrow":'
Dowie Downs, Dowy Dens, Dowy Houms, Dowie Dens, Yetts of Gowrie

Buckshot Dot


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST,Sara O'Keeffe
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 07:13 AM

Since we're talking 'Dowie Dens O Yarrow', has anyone heard Karine Polwart's version? It's very beautiful, but with an edge to it, like most of her stuff. If I had time now I would check the name of the hill in her version, but I really MUST book my Cropredy tickets!!


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 12:55 PM

I looked up 'brand' in my unabridged dictionary. Technically, the brand is the blade of a sword, but it's used poetically to refer to the entire sword.

It baffles me why the words for swords (brand, brandish) and the words for burning (brand, to brand) are linked etymologically.


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 11:52 AM

that word 'marrow' above should be 'merrow.' A merrow is a match or equal to something else. Marrow, on the other hand, is in the middle of bones. Precious stuff, because it produces blood cells.

And at one time Hercule Poirot planned to retire and cultivate vegetable marrows, whatever they are, but it didn't last.


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 01:58 PM

The Concise Scots Dictionary gives the definitions of 'marrow' as 'partner' or 'match' or 'spouse' among other things. I don't think there is any doubt that 'marrow' is the correct usage here. This is a Scottish ballad after all. Merrow is not even given as an alternative spelling!


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: Micca
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 02:13 PM

Marrow As in "THE COLLIER'S RANT

1. As me and me marra was gannin' to wark,
We met wi' the devil, it was in the dark,
I up wi' me pick, it bein' in the neet,
And knocked off his horns, likewise his club feet!"


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 10:21 PM

okay


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Subject: RE: two verses in Dowie Dens O Yarrow (Janet Russell)
From: GUEST,Del de Lorme in Chatham
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 04:25 AM

Digressing slightly, has anyone heard English folk singer Barry Skinner's version? It is absolutely superb, easily the best version I have heard. It's on his excellent LP 'Bed, battle and booze.'


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