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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Rob White Meaning: Farewell Farewell (Fairport Convention) (44) RE: Meaning: Farewell Farewell (Fairport Convention) 07 Jul 13

I love this beautiful song too, and play it a lot. I came to the idea that it might draw its imagery the Jacobite uprisings against the English throne in 1715 and 1745 - bearing in mind a folk-rock interest in the human tragedy of England and Scotland's long conflict; see Fotheringay's 'Fotheringay', and Steeleye Span's wonderful rendition of 'Parcel of Rogues' - guaranteed to have your fingers twitching to draw your Claymore from the thatch, even if you're English!!!

So, in this idea, the "winding road" is the road to exile for the failed supporters (in the '45) of Bonnie Prince Charlie. "And will you never cut the cloth" could be taken to refer to the racially motivated banning of the tartan in 1746, not relaxed till the next century. "Drink the light to be" might be the ritual raising of a glass to the forlorn hope of return of the Prince. The "bruised and beaten sons" are those who suffered the heavy retribution of the victorious English, and who perhaps resent the flight of the singer of the song; and "swearing a year" - well, all that's left to him as he flees his conquered country, perhaps never to see it again, is truth to his loved one: the only native "country" left to him now.

But as Richard Thompson says, "interpret as you wish". It certainly does no harm having that tragic imagery in your mind as you sing it though.

Rob White.

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