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Clyde's Water

  • (Trad - Child #216)

    Willie stood at the stable door a-leanin' owre his steed
    A-looking at his white fingers till his nose began tae bleed

    Oh bring some corn to my horse and gie my young man meat
    And I'll awa' tae Maggie's bower I'll be there afore she sleeps

    Oh Willie, Willie dinna gyang, it's sair against my will
    Ye've the deepest pot in the Clyde tae cross, an' it's there that ye will droon

    The horse that I'm to ride upon cost me twice thirty pound
    An' I'll put trust in ma ain horse heels and he'll cairry me safe an' soun'

    So he rade o'er hills an' rade doon dales and doon yon dowie den
    But the rush that rose in Clyde's water wad have feared a hundred men

    Oh Clyde, ye Clyde, ye rollin' Clyde, yer waves are wondrous strong
    Mak' me a wreck as I come back but spare me as I gyang

    Oh Maggie, Maggie, Maggie dear oh rise an' lat me in
    For my boots are fu' o' Clyde's water an' I'm shiverin' tae the skin

    My stables are full o' horses, my sheds are fu' o' hay
    My beds are fu' o' gentlemen that winna leave till day

    Maggie wakened in the morning, and to her mother she ran
    Says, I dreamed that Willie was here last nicht an' I widnae lat him in

    So he rade o'er hills and rade doon dales and doon yon dowie den
    But the rush that rose in Clyde's water took Willie's cane fae him

    Leanin' owre his saiddle-bows to catch his cane through force
    The rush that rose in Clyde's water took Willie fae his horse

    Willie's brother stands on the bank, now how can Willie droon
    Oh turn ye tae yer high horse heid an' he'll learn ye how to sweem

    As sung by John Strachan on 'The Muckle Sangs'
    ----------

    So sleep ye, Maggie, waukin, Maggie, rise, come lat me in
    For my boots are fu' o' Clyde water, an' I'm soakin' tae the skin

    So who is that at my window, so fain he would be in
    'Tis yer own true lover Willie dear, frae Scotland he has came

    'Tis I hae nae lover there-oot, she cried, I hae nae lover but een
    It's the ae true love that I dae hae was here late yestreen

    S'well fare ye well then, false Maggie, since better canna be
    Oh I'll awa' the road I cam, nae mair come thee to see ...

    His brother stands upon yonder banks, says, Fie man, will ye droon
    So turn ye roon' t'yir high horse heid an' learn how to swim

    Oh why could I turn to my high horse head and learn how to swim
    It's the deepest pot in a' the Clyde, an' here that I maun droon

    ... Oh mother dear, come rede my drowsy dream
    I dreamt sweet Willie was at my gates, naer yin wid lat him in

    'S lie still, lie still, my Maggie dear, lie still an' tak' your rest
    Since your true love was at your gates, 'tis full three quarters past

    But it's Maggie rose, put on her clothes, an' to the Clyde she went
    The first step noo that she took in, it took her tae the knee

    The next step noo that she took in, it took her tae the chin
    In the deepest pot in a' the Clyde she found her Willie in

    So you have got a cruel mother, and I have got another
    But here we lie in Clyde water like sister and like brother

    As sung by Willie Edward on 'The Muckle Sangs'

 

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1912:] [The Drowned Lovers] Sometimes called Clyde's Water, Willie and May Margaret, or, The Mother's Malison. From fuller and less authentic versions [than the Skene MS, p. 50] we learn that May Margaret followed her lover and was drowned with him. (Johnson, Ballads xviii)

    [1979:] Child printed only three versions of this noble ballad, which has been carried forward strongly into our own day by oral transmission; all three are of surpassing interest to anyone wishing to survey the influence of 'remaking' of various sorts on our balladry. Child's A [...] is a magnificent example of supple and flexible ballad Scots. His C (Peter Buchan), which is by far the longest (29 verses) [is] in its own way a powerful piece of work. [...] Child's B is from Mrs. Brown of Falkland [...].
    Gavin Greig published a version - Peter Buchan nearly word for word - in his column in 'The Buchan Advertiser', and this may well have helped to keep the ballad in circulation in some areas; however, both versions you can hear now depend on family and local tradition going back before Gavin was born.
    John Strachan opens with the omen of ill fortune (nose bleeding) which is also to be found in Peter and the 'Buchanie', but his text is markedly different from theirs. It omits the motif of Willie's mother's curse which has provided the name for one of the titles given to the ballad (The Mother's Malison) although it might be argued that the curse is implicit in her strongly expressed disapproval.
    Willie Edward's version, a superbly enunciated example of 'auld style' ballad Scots, gives us the second half of the ballad. He starts at the point where Willie appeals to Maggie to let him in, and Maggie's mother (counterfeiting her daughter's voice, like another cruel mother in The Lass of Roch Royal) turns him away. Again, the text is different from both Peter and 'The Buchan Observer' [sic].
    Both our versions have the episode of Willie's brother standing on the river bank and telling him to 'turn to his high horse heid' and 'learn how to swim'. This episode, which is in Peter Buchan's text but not in Mrs. Brown's, is dismissed by Child as 'absurd'. However, if we look at the structure of the ballad, we can see that it is not so absurd after all. The opening scene of Clyde's Water is really a variant of a familiar folktale lead-in; Willie is offered his mother's warning (by implication with her blessing) but takes instead his much-prized horse, with her curse. It is therefore wholly in accordance with the techniques of oral composition that Willie, in extremis, should be reminded of his earlier trust in his 'ain horse heels'. And why should it be his brother who gives him this reminder? To an audience of earlier days, the minds of all its members saturated with the elemental folk motifs which link ballads and tales, there would have been no mystery - and no absurdity - about this one either. There are several ballads in which a mother's curse is associated with the death of one brother and the survival of another; [e.g. The Twa Brithers]. (Hamish Henderson, notes 'The Muckle Sangs')

  • [2001:] It seems surprising that this powerful and substantial ballad has only 45 Roud entries, and that none of them are from outside Scotland, in view of how popular ballads like Mary Hamilton were in North America. Child provided only three versions, but there are 12 in Greig-Duncan, and Bronson found 16. Most unusually, there seem to have been no broadside printings. (Notes Kevin & Ellen Mitchell 'Have A Drop Mair')

Quelle: Scotland

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