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Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O

GUEST,Pheasant Plucker 05 Apr 06 - 06:36 PM
michaelr 05 Apr 06 - 07:08 PM
Anglo 06 Apr 06 - 03:16 AM
Joe Offer 06 Apr 06 - 04:31 AM
Paul Burke 06 Apr 06 - 04:34 AM
MartinRyan 06 Apr 06 - 04:41 AM
MartinRyan 06 Apr 06 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Van 06 Apr 06 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Donovan McTwitcher 06 Apr 06 - 10:16 AM
GUEST 06 Apr 06 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Pheasant Plucker 06 Apr 06 - 01:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Apr 06 - 04:11 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 06 Apr 06 - 10:07 PM
Scotus 06 Apr 06 - 10:11 PM
Paul Burke 07 Apr 06 - 03:05 AM
Susanne (skw) 08 Apr 06 - 03:40 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: GUEST,Pheasant Plucker
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 06:36 PM

The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O

It was late in the evening, with the night coming on,
Young Willy went hunting with his dog and his gun,
The birds on the lake they were silent and dumb,
And the swan swam so bonnie by the light of the moon.

As Willy went walking all down the long lane
He met with the keeper, the keeper of game;
Saying, "Turn back young Willy, and turn back to Fife,
For there's death in dark waters that will cost you your life.

You may go a hunting o'er the lake and the ground,
But you never will see any sport to be found.
The birds on the lake they are silent and dumb,
Where the swan swims so bonnie by the light of the moon."

But young Willy, undaunted, to the lake he did go,
Where the swan swam so bonnie like a vision of snow.
The mist on the waters rose and gathered all round,
And he drew his last breath and he fell to the ground.

Oh the day of his funeral it will be a great sight,
Four-and-twenty soldiers will be dressed all in white;
They will stand at his graveside, and these words will say;
"Adieu to young Willy." and they'll all march away.

So if you would go walking in the kingdom of Fife
Remember young Willy who has lost his sweet life;
There is mist in the waters you must not breathe on
Where the swan swims so bonnie by the light of the moon.

Note: Swan dies from avian flu in Fife


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: michaelr
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 07:08 PM

PP, can you give some background on this (presumably trad) song? Such as, how old it is, where you got it from, and who has recorded it?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: Anglo
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 03:16 AM

Hah!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 04:31 AM

Well, it's certainly different from The Swan Swims Bonnie in the Digital Tradition.
Your creation, PP?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: Paul Burke
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 04:34 AM

It's a contemporary comment, and a good one at that. Didn't you notice that the soldiers are dressed in WHITE?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 04:41 AM

Molly/Polly Vaughan/Bonn etc.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: MartinRyan
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 06:28 AM

Mind you, from the resonance of the funeral description - it's not the 'flu the bird died of! Migration from Limerick via New Orleans?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: GUEST,Van
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 08:15 AM

On the bird flu front I notice that they say this is the first case of avian flu in the UK. What happened to the chickens in Orkney?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add:
From: GUEST,Donovan McTwitcher
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:16 AM

The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O

until it croaked from flu-ie-O

and now we're all afeard-ie-O

so lets all get hysterical-ie-O

and shoot every feathery fucker that flys-ie-O

bang bang bang bang bang-ie-O !!!!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:48 AM

quack cluck tweet squawk dead-ie-O


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: GUEST,Pheasant Plucker
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 01:29 PM

Thank you for the above comments. The temptation to 'explain' an original composition is one I mean to resist, but 'michaelr' was very astute in questioning the traditional sources. This is a pastiche of the ballad variously known as Willie Leonard, Royal Comrade, or The Lake[s] of Coolfin, with some references to Polly Vaughan, and The Twa Sisters as Martin and Joe have already noted. The extravagant funeral comes directly from some versions of the Willie Leonard song, while the 'soldiers in white' recall the white-suited MOD officials who supervised the burning of so many animal carcases in the recent foot-and-mouth epidemic in Britain.

The swan is a powerful emblem of purity and innocence in Irish and Scottish folklore and legend, and that this bird should be the factor which introduces a potential epidemic to the islands of Britain and Ireland seems worthy of response. As William Butler Yeats observed, it is a bird -
"So arrogantly pure, a child might think,
It can be murdered with a spot of ink."


Anyone seeking some accurate information about avian flu should start HERE first. As somebody has said, much more elegantly than I can express; "Ballads tell true stories, but a little further than the real facts can be stretched."

The virus is NOT transmitted by any sort of miasmic vapour; the vector of bird to human transmission is still being investigated, but it seems likely that actual close physical contact is involved; there is no human flu epidemic here - there might be one which could evolve from this strain of avian flu, but it hasn't happened yet.

Pheasant Plucker


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF THE GLIDING SWAN (Bob Dylan)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 04:11 PM

Then there's the song Bob Dylan sang on the wiped BBC TV play Thew MNadhouse on Castle Street:

THE BALLAD OF THE GLIDING SWAN

Tenderly William kissed his wife.
Then he opened her head with a butcher's knife.
And the swan on the river went gliding by.

Lady Margaret's pillow was wet with tears.
Nobody's been on it in twenty years.
And the swan on the river goes gliding by.

Little Billy Brown will shake with fright.
He's got a new daddy and mommy every night.
And the swan on the river goes laughing by...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:07 PM

Hamish Henderson took George and me to hear songs in a tinker camp near Aberdeen, in 1952. One of the girls sang a ballad with that refrain,"...and the swan she sweems sae bonnie-O." It's a poor recording as we had to run our Magnacorder with a car battery, and so her words are very hard to understand, but it's one of the well-known ballads. I'll try to find it and listen again- haven't heard those tapes in many years now, they're very brittle. I'm lookin for a home for them, and the L. of C. is interested, but no decision as yet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: Scotus
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:11 PM

- and strangely enough there IS an old ballad from the Fife coast (and not too far from Cellardyke) called 'The Elie Ladies' which is all about a girl being smuggled on board a ship in a barrel in place of a swan. Apparently it wasn't uncommon in those days to deliver swans in barrels for use as the main course in a banquet. Now would that hasten the the appearance of a mutated flu germ?!

Jack


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 03:05 AM

Yes, but it would have mutated to infect barrels, which might lead to a devastating outbreak of beer flu.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swan Swims So Bonnie-O
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 03:40 PM

Jean, I think what you're looking for is a version of 'Twa Sisters' (Child #10):
Dear sister, dear sister, wad ye take my hand
             Hae ho an' sae bonnie oh
An' put your foot on that marble stone
             An' the swan he swam so bonnie oh
(Version sung by Betsy Whyte on the 'Muckle Sangs' album.)


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