Translation © by David K. Smythe

The twa corbies
Language: English 
As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies making a mane;
The tane unto the [t'other]1 say,
'[Where]2 sall we gang and dine [today]3?'

"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]4 lady fair.

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 make our dinner sweet.

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

Many a one for him makes mane,
But nane sall ken [whare]2 he is gane:
O'er his white banes, when they are bare,
The wind sall blaw for evermair."

Authorship:

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Set in a modified version by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Percy Aldridge Grainger, John Ireland, Thomas Ravenscroft.

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by A. Aleksandrova ; composed by Sigizmund Mikhailovich Blumenfel'd.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by (Karl) Wilhelm Osterwald (1820 - 1887) ; composed by Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Sigizmund Mikhailovich Blumenfel'd.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Anna Teichmüller.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Oskar Ludwig Bernhard Wolff (1799 - 1851) [an adaptation] ; composed by Carl Banck.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799 - 1837) , no title, written 1828, first published 1828 ; composed by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Aliabev, Sigizmund Mikhailovich Blumenfel'd, Nikita Vladimirovich Bogoslovsky, Evgeny Ivanovich Bukke, Aleksandr Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky, Viktor Stepanovych Kosenko , Sergey Mikhailovich Lyapunov, Nikolai Karlovich Medtner, Ivan Alexandrovich Pomazansky, Vladimir Ivanovich Rebikov, Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov, Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein, V. Ryabov, Georgiy Vasil'yevich Sviridov, Ilya Fyodorovich Tyumenev, Aleksei Nikolayevich Verstovsky, Mikhail Yur'yevich Viel'gorsky.
  • Also set in Ukrainian (Українська), a translation by Ivan Yakovych Franko (1856 - 1916) ; composed by Viktor Stepanovych Kosenko .

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

  • ENG English (David K. Smythe) , "The two ravens", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Anonymous/Unidentified Artist) , no title, first published 1826


Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-02
Line count: 20
Word count: 139

The two ravens
Language: English  after the English 
As I was walking all alone,
I heard two ravens complaining;
The one to the other saying,
'Where shall we go and dine today?'

"In behind that old field wall,
I know that there lies a new-slain knight;
And nobody knows that he lies there,
But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair.

His hound is to the hunting gone,
His hawk, to fetch the wild-fowl home,
His lady's taken another mate,
So we may make our dinner sweet.

You'll sit on his white collar-bone,
And I'll peck out his pretty blue eyes;
With this lock of his golden hair
We'll roof our nest when it grows bare.

Very many for him lament,
But none shall know where he is gone:
Over his white bones, when they are bare,
The wind shall blow for evermore."

Authorship:

  • Translation from English to English copyright © by David K. Smythe, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
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Based on:

  • a text in English from Volkslieder (Folksongs) , "The twa corbies", published by Sir Walter Scott, as written down, from tradition, by a lady, from The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. 3, James Ballantyne, Edinburgh, first published 1803

 

This text was added to the website:
Line count: 20
Word count: 135