my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?

1.24.2006

Bonny Swan

Nearly ten years ago, I lived in the Madison Park district of Seattle, on the city's largest lake.
Often there were geese (too many) in the lake ... but, at least once, looking out my window, I saw a swan.

I listened to a lot of sad Celtic music then, and this, an adaptation by the singer Loreena McKennitt, was one of my favorites:

The Bonny Swan

A farmer there lived in the north country
And he had daughters one, two, three
These daughters they walked by the river's brim
The eldest pushed the youngest in

The swans swim so bonny o

Oh sister, oh sister, pray lend me your hand
And I will give you house and land
I'll give you neither hand nor glove
Unless you give me your own true love

the swans swim so bonny o

Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam
Until she came to a miller's dam

the swans swim so bonny o

The miller's daughter, dressed in red
She went for some water to make some bread

Oh father, oh daddy, here swims a swan
It's very like a gentle woman
They placed her on the bank to dry
There came a harper passing by

the swans swim so bonny o

He made harp pins of her fingers fair
He made harp strings of her golden hair
He made a harp of her breast bone
And straight it began to play alone

the swans swim so bonny o

He brought it to her father's hall
And there was the court, assembled all
He laid the harp upon a stone
And straight it began to play alone

the swans swim so bonny o

And there does sit my father the King
And yonder sits my mother the Queen
And there does sit my brother Hugh
And by him William, sweet and true

And there does sit my false sister, Anne
Who drowned me for the sake of a man.


the swans swim so bonny o

7 Comments:

Blogger Kyahgirl said...

I love Loreena!

xoxo

8:47 PM

 
Blogger Trina said...

I can't see any reference to "bonny" (especially with water involved) and NOT immediately think of Loch Lomond. And tear up like the sap that I am...

11:46 PM

 
Blogger Urban Chick said...

how funny

we have a photograph of a swan taken by mr chick in edinburgh that i was showing a chicklet for the first time today

great minds...

:)

4:14 AM

 
Blogger Kate said...

Oooh. I love that song too, but I knew a version of it by Pentangle called "Cruel Sister" with slightly different lyrics.

I love traditional ballads like that. My fav is prob. "Tam Lin" (very spooky and eerie and cool!), also love "John Barleycorn Must Die", "Crazy Man Michael", "the Deserter", "Matty Groves" etc etc.

All fast-paced stories full of blood, violence, passion, sex, magic and sadness... just like good fairytales should be. :-) I wish we sat around the fire singing songs like that in the evening, rather than sitting in front of the TV!

7:20 AM

 
Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

Boy! Talk about a harpy!
Now, that was harsh. But funny. In a sick sort of way.

8:32 AM

 
Blogger mireille said...

kate, Cruel Sister is another version of the celtic story about a sister who drowns another sister, who becomes a swan and then somehow comes back to tell the truth. TLP, yeah. Watch out for harpies.

9:00 AM

 
Blogger still life said...

Oh M thank you! That was absolutely amazing. I've never heard of this singer or this song. But I would love to hear the music that accompanies..

11:58 AM

 

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