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Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.

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 (46)
3 Ravens (Ravenscroft) what's it about? (72)
Three Black Crows (21)
Twa Corbies - transl. into Engl, please (63)
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)


Tradsinger 22 Jul 20 - 09:29 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Jul 20 - 08:12 AM
Tradsinger 22 Jul 20 - 07:25 AM
Snuffy 22 Jul 20 - 03:51 AM
Jeff Keller 21 Jul 20 - 05:14 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Apr 20 - 10:03 AM
Jack Campin 10 Apr 20 - 06:49 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Apr 20 - 06:36 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Apr 20 - 06:11 AM
Reinhard 10 Apr 20 - 01:10 AM
Jack Campin 09 Apr 20 - 07:50 PM
Jim McLean 31 Dec 19 - 01:48 PM
Jim McLean 31 Dec 19 - 01:46 PM
Jim McLean 31 Dec 19 - 01:43 PM
Jim McLean 31 Dec 19 - 01:40 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Dec 19 - 09:41 AM
Jim McLean 31 Dec 19 - 07:16 AM
Jim McLean 31 Dec 19 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Philippa 29 Dec 19 - 08:19 AM
Jack Campin 29 Dec 19 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Philippa 28 Dec 19 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Tony Fisk 17 Nov 18 - 08:59 AM
Reinhard 17 Nov 18 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Grishka 17 Nov 18 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Tony Fisk 17 Nov 18 - 05:28 AM
Joe Offer 16 Nov 18 - 09:39 PM
Lighter 16 Nov 18 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Tony Fisk 16 Nov 18 - 12:09 PM
Dave Rado 05 Oct 18 - 03:36 PM
Jack Campin 05 Oct 18 - 02:33 PM
Dave Rado 05 Oct 18 - 02:10 PM
GUEST 16 Jan 12 - 08:16 PM
Susanne (skw) 10 Mar 08 - 08:10 PM
Jim McLean 10 Mar 08 - 01:56 PM
eddie1 10 Mar 08 - 02:42 AM
Stilly River Sage 10 Mar 08 - 12:38 AM
dulcimerjohn 10 Mar 08 - 12:37 AM
GUEST,Michelle S. 10 Mar 08 - 12:13 AM
My guru always said 19 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM
Big Tim 19 Jun 06 - 01:54 PM
Vixen 19 Jun 06 - 01:04 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jun 06 - 10:15 AM
Mo the caller 19 Jun 06 - 05:21 AM
CeltArctic 19 Jun 06 - 12:33 AM
Big Tim 19 Jun 06 - 12:09 AM
RobbieWilson 18 Jun 06 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 18 Jun 06 - 06:17 PM
Bill D 18 Jun 06 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Jim McLean 18 Jun 06 - 05:12 PM
Big Tim 18 Jun 06 - 01:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Tradsinger
Date: 22 Jul 20 - 09:29 AM

Could be, Steve. Never thought of that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jul 20 - 08:12 AM

Hi Gwilym

I'd guess more likely later than that, with WWI soldiers. I have several late 19th century printed American versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Tradsinger
Date: 22 Jul 20 - 07:25 AM

No-one has mentioned the pub versions that have shown up in recent years, often to hymn tunes or "Banks and Braes". A typical start might be:

There were 3 crows sat on a tree and they were black as black could be.

Said one old crow unto his mate "What shall we have this day to ate (sic)."

I have collected 6 versions so far in Hampshire and Gloucestershire and also a couple of bawdy versions from members of the Royal Navy. My theory is that they came (back) into England via the 19th Century black-face minstrel shows.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Snuffy
Date: 22 Jul 20 - 03:51 AM

Or even a corny pastiche?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jeff Keller
Date: 21 Jul 20 - 05:14 PM

We yanks love Jon Heslop's "Dead Knight Behind the Hedge" (posted above), but we favor an alternate title: "A Cornish Pastiche". :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 20 - 10:03 AM

Not many people have ever heard of Sharpe, Jack, never mind knowing anything about him. That puts you in a very useful position. What little I've read makes me see him as some sort of ballad broker along with David Laing, Laing travelling about the country passing ballads back and forth. Both collaborated on getting Buchan's highly suspect material through the press. Either they were part of the conspiracy or very naïve, or had some other motive.

Most of the current academic attitudes to the Scottish ballads is that the great bulk of them were written during the 18th century, and a few even later. Do you have any thoughts on this?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Apr 20 - 06:49 AM

It has the kind of black cynicism that would have appealed to Sharpe (more so than to Scott), which makes that attribution a bit more plausible.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 20 - 06:36 AM

I ought to acknowledge the evidence regarding Sharpe claiming to have 'collected' it. See Malcolm's post of 01.04 12.12 AM. That doesn't stop me being sceptical about a solitary song with no corroboration.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Apr 20 - 06:11 AM

There seems to be some confusion over origin of Scott's 'Twa Corbies'. Like many an item in the Minstrelsy we can never be sure how much of each ballad owes itself to the pen of his contributors or indeed to his own pen. However as that particular composition has no evidence of existence prior to the Minstrelsy, those of us with a sceptical nature will give it the likely date of c1800.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Reinhard
Date: 10 Apr 20 - 01:10 AM

Julius Mosen (1803-1867) was a German poet. He is now remembered mostly for his patriotic poem the Andreas-Hofer-Lied, which is the official anthem of the Austrian State of Tyrol.

This is his...

Rabenlied (1843)

Zwei Raben flogen um einen Stein,
Die hörten nicht aus mit ihrem Schrei'n,

Der Eine sprach zum Gesellen sein:
Komm' fliege mit mir zum Rabenstein!

Auf hohem Rade da stecket ein Kopf,
Die Winde spielen mit dem Schopf.

Der andre sprach zum Gesellen sein:
Ich fliege nicht mit zum Rabenstein.

Der Kopf gehört 'ner Dirne an,
Die braucht ihn noch selber und muß ihn ha'n.

Sie hat ihr Kindlein umgebracht,
Sie brauchet das Haupt noch manche Nacht.

An ihrem Tod hat ihr Buhle Theil,
Sie brauchet das Haupt noch manche Weil'.

Er hat den Eid gebrochen entzwei,
Sie muß ihn mahnen an seine Treu'.

Ein Bann ist an ihren Kopf gethan;
Wir armen Raben, wir dürfen nicht d'ran.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Apr 20 - 07:50 PM

This is a different one. From Alexander Gray's "Ballads and Folk-Songs, Chiefly from Heine" (1920). It's a translation from the German of Mosen (who?). Looks like Mosen started with Scott's song and took it off to somewhere totally different.

The Corbies' Sang
Zwei Raben flogen um einen Stein

Twa corbies flew aboot a stane,
And aye they scraighed and made their maen.

Quo' ane, as they sat there their lane:
"Cummer, let's flee to the corbie-stane.

I ken o' a bonnie heid that's there;
The cauld wind blaws through its yallow hair."

The ither spak, and piked a bane:
"I winna flee to the corbies' stane.

An ill-daein' limmer's aucht that heid;
There's a lang road yet she maun gang wi'd.

She put her bairnie oot o' sicht;
She'll need her heid this mony a nicht.

Her lover had pairt in the deidly wrang;
She'll need her heid this mony a lang.

He lichtlie brok the aith her swore;
She maun gae by nicht and chap at his door.

She maun gae to his door when the knock stricks twel',
And speak o' the glame that lowes in Hell.

Till the curse frae the limmer's heid is ta'en,
We corbies daurna pike her een."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Dec 19 - 01:48 PM

Sorry "tune and lyric"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Dec 19 - 01:46 PM

Steve, further on in the same thread, Malcolm is in agreement that Ray Fisher "could be the knitter" of time and lyric.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Dec 19 - 01:43 PM

Steve,
On the thread below, Twa Corbies, dated 2000, Malcolm says the song was fitted in the 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Dec 19 - 01:40 PM

Hi Steve,
There are two threads running at the moment about the Twa Corbies. Malcolm reckoned the Breton tune was set to the lyrics sometime in the 1960s and was confused as to who set it, mentioning Ray Fisher.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Dec 19 - 09:41 AM

Hi Jim
Somewhat confused about your statement that 'Malcolm was wrong'. What exactly, in his 2 posts in 2004, did he get wrong? I don't see any reference by Malcolm to Morris or Ray.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Dec 19 - 07:16 AM

At this time of the year the Kings Choir Cambridge often sing the Vaughan Williams arrangement of "The Truth Sent from Above".
I have always thought this melody very similar to the Breton melody discovered by Morris Blythman and some research turned up the connection with tune AKA "The Hertfordshire Carol" with Wales, Cornwall and Brittany.
Very interesting!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 31 Dec 19 - 07:02 AM

Yes, I'm afraid Malcolm was wrong ... very unusual for such a brilliant and knowledgable man.
The facts are simple, Morris found the tune and Ray Fisher got it from him sometime in the very late 1950s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 29 Dec 19 - 08:19 AM

thanks for the confirmation (I'm taking the opportunity to correct my typo)< Jack


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Dec 19 - 05:23 AM

There is no serious evidence to suggest the choice of the Breton tune was due to anyone but Morris Blythman. He got it from a Breton piper and wrote down the circumstances - his description was published though I forget where. It caught on immediately in the Scottish folk scene.

The Breton tune has an irregular rhythm with variable bar lengths, and The Twa Corbies used to be sung that way in Scotland. I used to sing it, and Blythman's widow told me I was doing it the same way he did. But it's more often done with a metronomic rocked-up rumpty-tumpty beat these days - can we blame Steeleye Span for that? (I've never heard their version, and for that matter I don't think I've heard any of their stuff in 30 years).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 28 Dec 19 - 03:27 PM

had long noted the similarity of the Twa Corbies melody and a popular Breton folkdance tune. But I thought the tune went far back in the history of British folkmusic. How disillusioned I am to be told that Steeleye Span borrowed the Breton tune to set the Twa Corbies lyrics to. I was looking conformation of that attribution and I see from this thread that Jean Redpath recorded the Twa Corbies with Breton air before Steeleye Span, and that Jim McLean says that "Morris Blythman AKA Thurso Berwick set The Twa Corbies to the Breton tune Al Alarc'h sometime in the fifties." In another Mudcat thread, Malcolm Douglas wrote in Apr 2000 that the song was set to Al Alarch'h in the 1960s and that there are different opinions as to who set the lyrics to that tune.

https://folkhistory.blogspot.com/2013/11/twa-corbies-as-deconstructionist-ballad.html

The author suggests that the Twa Corbies was composed as a parody of or rebuttal of the sentimentality of The Two Ravens ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Tony Fisk
Date: 17 Nov 18 - 08:59 AM

Both of those YT links work for me in the UK...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Reinhard
Date: 17 Nov 18 - 08:05 AM

Joe, both MacColl videos play fine here in Germany. Maybe some of the restrictions aren't enforced anymore?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 17 Nov 18 - 07:33 AM

Three ravens sat upon a tree, head down? How strange! The lady must be from that old Norman family Montdegraine.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Tony Fisk
Date: 17 Nov 18 - 05:28 AM

Excellent news! Thanks for your help, both... I am free of copyright worries now.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 18 - 09:39 PM

Here are two MacColl recordings of the song. Unfortunately, the videos may not play outside the U.S. (wish they'd figure out an agreement that would remedy that):


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Nov 18 - 04:36 PM

MacColl's melody was published by Frank Kidson in "Traditional Tunes" in 1891.

Kidson relates that his informant, “Mr. John Holmes of Roundhay,” learned “The Three Ravens” “about 1825 from his mother’s singing…in a remote village among the Derbyshire hills, most aptly named Stony Middleton.”


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Tony Fisk
Date: 16 Nov 18 - 12:09 PM

Can anybody advise on the origin of the tune used by Ewan MacColl for Three Ravens, as opposed to that more commonly encountered (e. g. when classicalist sing it... Deller, Scholl etc) which I think must be from the Ravenscroft rendering? Is it Trad, Anon or does it have a known author?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Dave Rado
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 03:36 PM

Thanks Jack - I've edited the Wikipedia article accordingly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 02:33 PM

The Twa Corbies can't be traced before Scott's Minstrelsy, though I've posted a parody version of something like it which may be a bit earlier. So it looks like Three Ravens is the older, by a long way.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Dave Rado
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 02:10 PM

I'm confused. In this thread someone posted that the much darker Twa Corbies song dates from the 19th century, whereas the Three Ravens song was first published in 1611 and probably dates from the 16th century.

The Wikipedia article on the subject contradicts itself - it states in the introduction that:
A Scottish ballad called "Twa Corbies" ("Two Ravens" or "Two Crows") has lyrics based on "The Three Ravens"

... which implies again that "The Three Ravens" is the older of the two, but also further down, the same article states that:
"The Twa Corbies" is an even older Scottish song with a more dark and cynical tone from which Three Ravens probably came.

So which song really came first?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 08:16 PM

Hi,

I've been looking at US versions. The early versions from the minstrel stage were "lined out." I have two different texts- anyone have "Three Crows" from Christy's New Songster"?

Other (not minstrel) versions have taken the form of, and sung to the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

Comments?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 08:10 PM

We don't have Martini (dry or wet) in Germany, Jim - we have schnapps!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 01:56 PM

And if you ask for a dry Martini in Germany you get three!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: eddie1
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 02:42 AM

From a bit back - "does "twa" mean two? or does it mean 3 as in "trois"???"
The late Danny Kyle reckoned France was a great place cos' if you asked for twa whiskies, you got three!

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 12:38 AM

I'm only now reading MGAS's version--what a hoot, "Dead knight behind the hedge" indeed!

Yes, Michelle, a "murder mystery" it is. When my father sang to us as kids at bedtime that one came up fairly often and was a source of continual speculation and discussion. The woman and/or the fallow doe, played off by the varying interpretations of the song depending on the version you prefer.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: dulcimerjohn
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 12:37 AM

I do a version on electric dulcimer that is a mix of the one on 'Hark' and on the later SS record 'Time', ie a little mystic jam at end.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Michelle S.
Date: 10 Mar 08 - 12:13 AM

My high school English teacher thought this was one of the earliest murder mysteries:

NOBODY knows that the knight lies there,

except the Hawk, the Hound & the Lady fair.

Accordingly, she must ha' done 'im in.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: My guru always said
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM

Hope you won't mind me posting 2 more recent versions:

Three Ravens (Karine Polwart)

Three ravens sat upon a tree - Hey doun, hey derrie day
Three ravens sat upon a tree - Hey doun
Three ravens sat upon a tree
And they were black as black could be
And Sing la do la do a day

And the middle one said tae his mate - Hey doun, hey derrie day
The middle one said tae his mate - Hey doun
The middle one said tae his mate
Oh where shall we our dinner get
And Sing la do la do a day

And it's doun in yonder grass green field - Hey doun, hey derrie day
It's doun in yonder grass green field - Hey doun
It's doun in yonder grass green field
There lies a Knight that's newly killed
And Sing la do la do a day

And his horse is standing at his side - Hey doun, hey derrie day
His horse is standing at his side - Hey doun
His horse is standing at his side
And thinks he might get up and ride
And Sing la do la do a day

And his hounds are lying at his feet - Hey doun, hey derrie day
His hounds are lying at his feet - Hey doun
His hounds are lying at his feet
And they lick his wounds sae sore and deep
And Sing la do la do a day

There came a Lady full of woe - Hey doun, hey derrie day
There came a Lady full of woe - Hey doun
There came a Lady full of woe
As big with child as she could go
And Sing la do la do a day

And she's stretched herself doun at his side - Hey doun, hey derrie day
She's stretched herself doun at his side - Hey doun
She's stretched herself doun at his side
And for the love of him she's died
And Sing la do la do a day


And my absolute favourite - a compilation of the Twa Corbies & the False Knight created on the way to a folk club in Cornwall when Kathy Wallis (Cats) couldn't decide which to sing:

Dead Knight Behind the Hedge (Jon Heslop)

Oh where are you going
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
We're going for our lunch
Said the two crows as still they stood

How did you know I was here
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
Well we just had a hunch
Said the two crows as still they stood

Oh where is my horse & hound
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
They're nowhere to be found
Said the two crows as still they stood

Where is my Lady fair
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
She's buggered off somewhere
Said the two crows as still they stood

And what bit will you eat first
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
We're gonna eat your tongue
Said the two crows as still they stood

Uuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Said the dead knight behind the hedge
Well that was jolly fun
Said the two crows and flew away


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 01:54 PM

Two!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Vixen
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 01:04 PM

This one has long perplexed me, etymologically speaking...

does "twa" mean two? or does it mean 3 as in "trois"???

V


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 10:15 AM

I suspect that like many songs that go way back there was a deep and clear meaning, but the significance is lost on modern cultures. Songs and stories pulled a lot more weight at a time when the majority of the population couldn't read or write. Not all songs are as unsubtle as the Vicar of Bray in their messages (which has nothing to do with the age or message in the songs under discussion, I merely use it as an example).

I can imagine such a song (depending on the version) being an indictment or affirmation of the military or other leadership of the day. Which military and which leader are the question?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Mo the caller
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 05:21 AM

Then there's the song about the crow sat on the oak(oh, ho, the carrion crow)and the farmer who tried to shoot it, but shot his sow instead, when it flew off.
Message. The cuning birds will win out. (Or, philosophical, man tries to beat nature, nature takes revenge)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: CeltArctic
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 12:33 AM

There are message differences between the Twa Corbies and the Three Ravens. One is romantic and the other is cynical.

In The Three Ravens, the sub-storyline is about loyalty - his hounds lie at his feet, his hawks keep fowl away, and his lady buries him and then dies.

In the Twa Corbies, the sub-storyline is about how nobody cares once you are dead - his hounds have run off hunting other game, his hawks have flown away, and his lady has taken another mate.

Moira


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Jun 06 - 12:09 AM

The fleetness of life; that's about all I could think of too. Also, the dead man is a knight, so status counts for little in the end?

The anti-English version is interesting; but if the original song was English (1611), there seems to have been a good deal of adapting and evolving going on.

Yes Jim, the language and the melody are both quite something.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 06:25 PM

the third wee craw went and flew awa'

the fourth wee craw wisnae there at a'
on a cold and frosty morning


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Subject: Tune Add: THE CORBIE AND THE CROW
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 06:17 PM

This one does have a message, albeit not a very pleasant one...

I posted this to Usenet a few years ago. From William Macmath's manuscripts;
recorded from the lawyer John Christian in 1893 - he'd got it from his
Dumfries family. Apparently it's in Whitelaw's "Book of Scottish Song", which
I have no recollection of if I've ever seen it; Whitelaw thought Alexander
"Jupiter" Carlyle (the more-or-less-atheist minister of Inveresk in
Enlightenment times) wrote it.

X:1
T:The Corbie and the Crow
S:Edinburgh University Library Mic.M.605 (William Macmath MSS)
Z:Jack Campin, Valentines Day 2000
M:C
L:1/4
K:F
C|A>G Ac|A>G Ac|d>c cA |c2 z||
A|G>F GA|G>F GA|cf A>G|F3 |]

The corbie wi' his roupie throat ca'd frae the leafless tree,
"Come ow'r the loch! Come ow'r the loch! Come ow'r the loch tae me!"

The crow pit up her sooty heid, looked frae her nest whaur she lay,
And gied a fluff wi her rusty wings, and cried "Whaur tae, whaur tae?"

"To pyke a deid man lying there, ahint yon mickle stane".
"Is he fat, is he fat, is he fat, is he fat? If no we'll let him alane".

"He's frae merry England come to steal oor sheep and kill oor deer".
"I'll come, I'll come, for an Englishman is aye the best o' cheer".

"We'll breakfast on his bonnie breest and on his back we'll dine,
For the lave hae gane to their countrie and ne'er come back sin-syne".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 05:34 PM

message? Just a reflection on the fleetingness of this life, and how little you matter to those who follow...fodder for the birds, and dogs and lovers usually find someone else....

A universal truth? Maybe not, but something to ponder.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: GUEST,Jim McLean
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 05:12 PM

I don't think there has to be a message. I love the language of this poem and the setting to the Breton tune was a stroke of genius by Morris Blythman.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Twa Corbies / Three Ravens / etc.
From: Big Tim
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 01:44 PM

A number of birds poised to eat a dead human body - what's the message in the song?
(I've just been listening to Hamish Imlach's version today).


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Mudcat time: 23 September 2:37 PM EDT

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