Thursday, March 23, 2006

Folk Songs

Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament

Baloo, my boy, lie still and sleep
It grieves me sore to hear thee weep
If thou'lt be silent I'll be glad
Thy moaning makes my heart full sad.
Baloo, my boy, thy mother's joy
Thy father bred me great annoy
Baloo, baloo, baloo, baloo
Baloo, baloo, lu-li-li-lu.

O'er thee I keep my lonely watch
Intent thy lightest breath to catch
O, when thou wak'st to see thee smile
And thus my sorrow to beguile.
Baloo, my boy, thy mother's joy
Thy father bred me great annoy
Baloo, my boy, lie still and sleep
It grieves me sore to hear thee weep.

Twelve weary months have crept away
Since he, upon thy natal day
Left thee and me, to seek afar
A bloody fate in doubtful war.
Baloo, my boy, lie still and sleep
It grieves me sore to hear thee weep
If thou'lt be silent, I'll be glad
Thy moaning makes my heart full sad.

I dreamed a dream but yesternight
Thy father slain in foreign fight
He, wounded, stood beside my bed
His blood ran down upon thy head
He spoke no word, but looked on me
Bent low, and gave a kiss to thee!
Baloo, baloo, my darling boy
Thou'rt now alone thy mother's joy.

Ah--if I lived to be a thousand, I could never learn all the marvelous things I'd love to learn.

The historical Lady Bothwell's husband was killed in 1640--the song was also sometimes called Baloo, My Boy, though. Fragments of this song have been around since at least the mid sixteenth century, though. Like nearly all folk songs, its history is murky, because it might well have been sung for years, in different incarnations, before anyone thought to write it down.

This is a cool site.

This one is fun, too.

5 comments:

jason evans said...

The mix of strength and vulnerability in that poem strikes its own wound.

Mark Pettus said...

Left thee and me, to seek afar
A bloody fate in doubtful war.


Doubtful war. I think I'm getting old, because I'm starting to believe that all wars are doubtful wars.

Mac said...

The thing about war that makes it so doubtful is that no one fights a war, thinking they're wrong.

Dawno said...

First your post then I saw a meme on Medievalist's LJ that she picked up from PNH's LJ and the song Medievalist picked is The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.

Two very somber and sobering laments I've read today. I perpetuated the meme on LJ with Country Joe and the Fish's Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag - when I recollect protest songs from my childhood, that's the one that comes to mind first.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Mac--You always find the most interesting sites to explore. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to your blog. Beside the fact that I just love the heck out of you!