Monday, August 28, 2023

"The Twa Corbies," anonymous ballad


1  As I was walking all alane,
    I heard twa corbies making a mane;
    The tane unto the t’other say,
    ‘Where sall we gang and dine to-day?’

2  ‘In behint yon auld fail dyke,
    I wot there lies a new-slain knight;
    And naebody kens that he lies there,
    But his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair.

3  ‘His hound is to the hunting gane,
    His hawk, to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
    His lady’s ta’en another mate,
    So we may mak our dinner sweet.

4  ‘Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
    And I’ll pike out his bonny blue een;
    Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
    We’ll theek our nest when it grows bare.

5  ‘Mony a one for him makes mane,
    But nane sall ken where he is gane;
    Oer his white banes, when they are bare,
    The wind sall blaw for evermair.’

Source of the text - The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, edited by Francis James Child, Volume I, Part I. Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1882, page 253.

TJB: A man & a woman & a blackbird are one. This call-response ballad is lovely, dark & deep but how does the t’other corbie know all this, anyway?

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