Eight British and American Folk Songs

Song Cycle by Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906 - 1975)

Word count: 0

French (Français) translation: Huit chants britanniques et américains

1. Blow the wind southerly [sung text checked 1 time]

Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly;
blow the wind south o'er the bonny blue sea.
Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly;
blow, bonny breeze, my lover to me.
They told me last night there were ships in the offing
and I hurried down to the deep rolling sea.
But my eye could not see it, wherever might be it,
the barque that is bearing my lover to me.

[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Que le vent souffle du sud", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: John Versmoren

2. When we were first acquent [sung text checked 1 time]

John Anderson, my jo, John, 
  When we were first acquent, 
Your locks were like the raven, 
  Your bonie brow was brent; 
But now your brow is beld, John, 
  Your locks are like the snaw; 
But blessings on your frosty pow, 
  John Anderson, my jo! 

John Anderson, my jo, John, 
  We clamb the hill thegither, 
And mony a cantie day, John, 
  We've had wi' ane anither: 
Now we maun totter down, John, 
  But hand in hand we'll go, 
And sleep thegither at the foot, 
  John Anderson, my jo!

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Confirmed with The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns, Cambridge edition, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1897, page 223.


Researcher for this text: Pierre Mathé [Guest Editor]

3. Billy Boy [sung text checked 1 time]

Oh, where have you been,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Oh, where have you been,
Charming Billy?
I have been to seek a wife,
She's the joy of my life,
She's a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.

Did she ask you to come in,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Did she ask you to come in,
Charming Billy?
Yes, she asked me to come in,
There's a dimple in her chin.
She's a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.

Can she make a cherry pie,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she make a cherry pie,
Charming Billy?
She can make a cherry pie,
Quick as a cat can wink an eye,
She's a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.

How old is she,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
How old is she,
Charming Billy?
Three times six and four times seven,
Twenty-eight and eleven,
She's a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Billy Boy", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Martin Jahn

4. Oh! the Oak and the Ash [sung text checked 1 time]

A North Country maid up to London had strayed
Although with her nature it did not agree,
Which made her repent, and so bitterly lament,
Oh I wish again for the North Country.
  Oh the oak and the ash and the bonnie ivy tree,
  They flourish at home in my own country.

O fain would I be in the North Country,
Where the lads and lasses are making of hay;
There should I see what is pleasant to me,
A mischief light on them entic'd me away!
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc.
 
I like not the court, nor the city resort,
Since there is no fancy for such maids as me;
Their pomp and their pride I can never abide,
Because with my humor it does not agree.
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc. 

How oft have I been in Westmoreland green,
Where the young men and maidens resort for to play,
Where we with delight, from morning till night,
Could feast and frolic on each holiday.
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc.

The ewes and their lambs, with the kids and their dams,
To see in the country how finely they play;
The bells they do ring, and birds they do sing,
And the fields and the gardens are pleasant and gay.
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc.

At wakes and at fairs, being freed of all cares,
We there with our lovers did use for to dance;
Then hard hap had I, my ill fortune to try,
And so up to London, my steps to advance.
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc.
 
But still I perceive, I a husband might have,
If I to the city my mind could but frame;
But I'll have a lad that is North Country bred,
Or else I'll not marry, in the mind that I am.
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc.

A maiden I am, and a maid I'll remain,
Until my own country I again I do see,
From here in this place I shall ne'er see the face
Of him that's allotted my love for to be.
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc. 

Then farewell my daddy, and farewell my mammy,
Until I do se you, I nothing but mourn;
Rememb'ring my brothers, my sisters, and others,
In less than a year I hope to return.
  Oh the oak and the ash, etc.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Oh! Le chêne et la cendre", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Martin Jahn

5. Servants of King Arthur [sung text checked 1 time]

In good King Arthur's days
He was a merry king
He threw three servants out of his house
Because they wouldn't sing

Because they wouldn't sing
Because they wouldn't sing
He threw three servants out of his house
Because they wouldn't sing

The first he was a miller
And the second he was a weaver
And the third he was a little tailor
Three thieving rogues together

Three thieving rogues together
Three thieving rogues together
And the third he was a little tailor
Three thieving rogues together

The miller he stole corn
And the weaver he stole yarn
And the little tailor he stole broadcloth
For to keep these three rogues warm

For to keep these three rogues warm
For to keep these three rogues warm
And the little tailor he stole broadcloth
For to keep these three rogues warm

The miller he drowned in his dam
And the weaver he hung on his yarn
And the devil put his foot on the little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm

With the broadcloth under his arm
With the broadcloth under his arm
And the devil put his foot on the little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Les domestiques du roi Arthur", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Martin Jahn

6. Coming through the rye [sung text checked 1 time]

Chorus.
  O Jenny is all wet, poor body,
  Jenny is seldom dry:
  She draggled all her petticoats,
  Coming through the rye!

Coming through the rye, poor body,
Coming through the rye,
She draggled all her petticoats,
Coming through the rye!

Should a body meet a body
Coming through the rye,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?

Should a body meet a body
Coming through the glen,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need the world know?

Should a body meet a body
Coming through the grain,
Should a body kiss a body,
The thing is a body's own.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Come lasses and lads [sung text checked 1 time]

Come lasses and lads, get leave of your dads
And away to the maypole hie
For every fair has a sweetheart there
And the fiddler's standing by
For Willy shall dance with Jane
And Johnny has got his Joan
To trip it, trip it, trip it, trip it
Trip it up and down.

"You're out!" says Dick. "Not I!" says Nick
"'Twas the fiddler played it wrong."
"'Tis true!" says Hugh, and so says Sue
And so says everyone.
The fiddler then began
To play the tune again
And every girl did trip, trip it, 
trip it to the men.

"Goodnight!" says Harry. "Goodnight!" says Mary
"Goodnight!" says Paul to John
"Goodnight!" says Sue to her sweetheart, Hugh
"Goodnight!" says everyone.
Some walked and some did run
Some loitered on the way
And bound themselves, by kisses twelve, 
to meet the next holiday.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Martin Jahn

8. When Johnny comes marching home again [sung text checked 1 time]

When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay,
When Johnny comes marching home.

The old church bell will peal with joy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah, hurrah!
Their choicest pleasures then display,
Hurrah, hurrah!
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]