Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafehuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily

DigiTrad:
BANKS OF SICILY
BANKS OF SICILY (2)


Related threads:
Chord Req: Farewell to Sicily / Banks of Sicily (8)
Chord Req: 51st Highland / Banks Of Sicily (7)
Lyr Req: 51st Highland Division Farewell To Sicily (22)


Keith A of Hertford 28 Feb 02 - 03:03 PM
Jeri 28 Feb 02 - 03:44 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Feb 02 - 03:49 PM
Irish sergeant 28 Feb 02 - 04:10 PM
Scabby Douglas 28 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM
Jeri 28 Feb 02 - 06:59 PM
little john cameron 28 Feb 02 - 08:12 PM
Dicho 28 Feb 02 - 11:00 PM
GUEST,Keith A at work 01 Mar 02 - 05:22 AM
mack/misophist 01 Mar 02 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Hector(Selkie) 01 Mar 02 - 11:12 AM
little john cameron 01 Mar 02 - 05:47 PM
Dicho 01 Mar 02 - 06:30 PM
Manitas_at_home 01 Mar 02 - 09:05 PM
Dicho 01 Mar 02 - 10:33 PM
Scabby Douglas 02 Mar 02 - 06:17 AM
jacko@nz 02 Mar 02 - 08:03 PM
Dicho 02 Mar 02 - 08:44 PM
Dicho 02 Mar 02 - 08:52 PM
Dicho 02 Mar 02 - 08:58 PM
Keith A of Hertford 03 Mar 02 - 08:00 AM
Keith A of Hertford 03 Mar 02 - 11:48 AM
Ferrara 03 Mar 02 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,ParaHandy 06 Jan 04 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Lighter 06 Jan 04 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Santa 06 Jan 04 - 04:30 PM
akenaton 06 Jan 04 - 04:50 PM
dick greenhaus 07 Jan 04 - 01:04 AM
Dave Hanson 07 Jan 04 - 05:04 AM
Jim McLean 07 Jan 04 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Santa 07 Jan 04 - 06:28 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 07 Jan 04 - 06:39 AM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jan 04 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,Santa 07 Jan 04 - 07:11 AM
Dave Hanson 07 Jan 04 - 07:28 AM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jan 04 - 07:37 AM
Jim McLean 07 Jan 04 - 08:37 AM
Jim McLean 07 Jan 04 - 09:51 AM
Dave Hanson 08 Jan 04 - 05:20 AM
Jim McLean 08 Jan 04 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,daveham 22 May 08 - 07:09 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 May 08 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 22 May 08 - 07:20 PM
Bill D 22 May 08 - 09:23 PM
GUEST,chaos_crafter 30 Jul 08 - 10:32 PM
GUEST,Chaos_crafter 30 Jul 08 - 10:48 PM
Dave Hanson 31 Jul 08 - 03:09 AM
George Papavgeris 31 Jul 08 - 06:00 AM
hannahma 27 Jul 09 - 03:25 AM
Selkie1 27 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM
Jim McLean 27 Jul 09 - 06:18 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Jul 09 - 08:08 AM
meself 27 Jul 09 - 09:49 AM
Rumncoke 27 Jul 09 - 10:31 AM
goatfell 27 Jul 09 - 10:42 AM
oggie 27 Jul 09 - 06:02 PM
Jim McLean 28 Jul 09 - 04:35 AM
Noreen 28 Jul 09 - 07:53 AM
akenaton 28 Jul 09 - 10:57 AM
Rumncoke 28 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM
goatfell 28 Jul 09 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 28 Jul 09 - 12:57 PM
Dave Hanson 29 Jul 09 - 04:45 AM
GUEST 15 Sep 11 - 02:38 AM
Charmion 15 Sep 11 - 08:51 AM
Keith A of Hertford 15 Sep 11 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 15 Sep 11 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 16 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM
Liberty Boy 16 Sep 11 - 02:07 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Sep 11 - 02:44 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 16 Sep 11 - 03:01 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Sep 11 - 03:25 AM
GUEST 16 Sep 11 - 04:05 AM
Keith A of Hertford 16 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 16 Sep 11 - 11:44 AM
Gurney 17 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM
GUEST,Andrew Calhoun 22 Sep 11 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,doc 15 Mar 12 - 07:09 PM
Paul Burke 15 Mar 12 - 08:19 PM
matt milton 16 Mar 12 - 07:45 AM
RobbieWilson 16 Mar 12 - 10:27 PM
GUEST,Johnnyboy 01 Jun 15 - 11:41 AM
Tattie Bogle 01 Jun 15 - 07:48 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:








Subject: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 03:03 PM

Many have been moved by this song even without knowing quite what all the expressons mean.The emotion is somehow communicated .
I offer here a glossary of dialect terms given in the "Modern Folk Ballads" edition of "Pocket Poets"
In this anthology, the word "bastards" is used where "swaddies" appears in the DT version.

pipie=pipe major; dozie=sleepy; fey=acting in a strange manner, as if having a presentiment of something out of the ordinary,or of death; unco=strange, unusual; chaulmers=rooms; kyles=straights; smoor the wiles=obliterate your fascination(literally,'smother'); drummie=drum major; beezed=polished (beezin= spit and polish); shielin=hut; byres and bothies=cow sheds and cottages; shebeens=boozers, drinking dens.

I sometimes anglicise verse two thusly-

The drumie he's polished the drummie he gleams,
He cannot be seen for his webbings bright sheen,
He's beazed himself up for a foto of him,
To leave with his lola his dearie.

I would then give "all the bricht chaulmers are eerie" as "The buildings stand empty and eerie"

Hope this is of some use to someone, somewhere.
Keith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 03:44 PM

The way I've heard the verse is:
The drummie is polisht, the drummie is braw
He cannae be seen for his wabbin ava
He's beezed himsell up for a photie an aa
Tae leave wi his Lola, his dearie

As to the line "aa the bricht chaumers are eerie," I'd always imagined the eerieness was because there were these brightly-lit rooms that were once full of people, sound and activity, and now the rooms still looked the same but were srangely silent and abandoned. One might have imagined ghosts when they looked in - perhaps not the ghosts of people, but of a time passed by.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 03:49 PM

"Eerie" in Scots usage also means dreary, dismal, dull, gloomy; which I think makes better sense here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 04:10 PM

I have to agree Malcolm. Especially if you understand the feelings that Hamish Henderson was trying to convey in the song. I sing the song on occasion but the lyrics I have are anglicized. Have to did up the Scots version Kindest regards, Neil


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM

Hmm..

I think that like others I have a problem with the notion of the words being Englished.. It's quite evident that Hamish Henderson took very great care in choosing the words and phrases in English and in Scots to make the impression and convey the emotion he wanted.

I think that it's a song that doesn't Anglicise easily or well. A lot of Scots songs can be transformed fairly easily - change "weel" to "well", "hame" to "home" and so on... I don't think this one is as douce...

To transform this one, you really have to set about it with a hammer, as Keith (in my opinion) has done. It ends up a different song, (which might be OK), but it's still a different song...

Cheers

Steven


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 06:59 PM

I agree Malcolm - it makes more sense. You still wind up with the incongruity of the brightly lit room feeling dreary and gloomy. I didn't know the different meaning of "eerie" in Scots, so I learned something. Thanks, Malcolm.

Someone in our local session sings the Clancy Brothers' anglicized version. In my opinion, a lot of the emotion that's in it the way Henderson's wrote it is just thrown away. What I feel when hearing Henderson's words is he seems torn between feeling joy at leaving and leaving a place and people he cared for, and it's the contradictions in the song that make it what it is. The anglicised verion sounds like it's more focused on simply leaving. I believe the line about the chaumers being eerie is necessary to convey the contradictory feelings.

Keith, I should have said this in my first post, but thanks for providing the translations. There have been quite a few questions here on the meaning of words in that song, so it'll be quite helpful. Also, I learn that the words mean and then forget because I don't have occasion to use words like "smoor" very often.

In case anyone's wondering:
The original and The (an) anglicized version.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: little john cameron
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 08:12 PM

Geez!! Gies a bre'k an' leave the sang alane.If ye cannae dae the richt words dinnae be ballsin it up wi' ither anes.Like wis said,the man pit a lot o' thocht intae it an' here ye go knackerin it.ljc(scunnered)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dicho
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 11:00 PM

Kyle - a strait or channel, not a straight.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Keith A at work
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 05:22 AM

I agree with everyone, including scabbie doug Steven.
English certainly has not any equivalent for "Fey"
The theme of strangeness in verse 1 I thought allowed for either meaning of eerie.
I usually sing the original, but I am aware it is largely incomprehensible in a Hertford pub.
Dicho, thanks for correcting my spelling.
Keith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: mack/misophist
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 10:23 AM

Fey origionally meant "touched by the Fey" i.e. strange, otherworldly. In WW I it came to mean "doomed or fated to die" possibly because of the strange moods seen in those who had given up expecting to live.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Hector(Selkie)
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 11:12 AM

Best not to translate (I think) from the Scots.Before singing this song I try to give a brief glossary of key words .e.g.I describe bricht chaumers lit.empty rooms,as the deserted barracks etc.Lallans dialect is so descriptive,for instance,this from one of my own compositions. When cranreuch cauld has gar'd the gimmers,coorie doon ahint the wa' an ye hae tholed the brattlin burn an'winter win's that ruin a' then ye maun haud tae me my love,an frae yer een I'll dicht the tears and in the cruivy o'my heart,i'll mak ye safe an'smoor the fears. etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: little john cameron
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 05:47 PM

Braw lines Hector.Gies the rest.Ah presume it maun be a sang?Whaur dae ye bide? ljc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dicho
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 06:30 PM

"Fey" is quite widespread in the USA and Canada, quite possibly because there is no real substitute. Because it is an old, old word, it has several meanings now, which are usually clear from the context of the writing or speaking.
Webster's Collegiate has quite a write-up. Part of it: Before 12th Century. Chiefly Scot. 1a. fated to die 1b. marked by a forboding of death or calamity; 2a able to see into the future 2b marked by otherworldly air or attitude. 2c crazy or touched; 3a precious 3b unconventional
I take it the Scottish use is mostly that listed under 1; in the States, 2b seems to be most common although 1a and 1b are not uncommon.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 09:05 PM

English certainly does have an equivalent for "fey" - it's "fey"!

It's certainly in my vocabulary and you'll find it often enough in Malory (though usually spelt differently) and, as pointed out, Webster's describes it as *Chiefly* Scots.

I think I would agree that meanings 2b & 3b are more usual in England than 1a or 1b which agree with Keith's glossary but I think that meaning 2c is probably more appropriate to the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dicho
Date: 01 Mar 02 - 10:33 PM

Hard to get two people to agree, let alone three or more. I go along with Keith for the meaning of the word fey in the song. One of the best songs from the wars-
Scabbie Doug, I haven't heard the word douce since my visit to Scotland. I don't think it is used over here, except possibly in the Maritimes of Canada.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 02 Mar 02 - 06:17 AM

Which was kinda my point...

douce - gentle, manageable, kind - obviously from the French "sweet" - but a word used in Scots to convey a certain meaning... which may not match exactly any single word in another language.

And "Farewell to Sicily" doesn't appear to be that kind of song (to me).

Cheers

Steven


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: jacko@nz
Date: 02 Mar 02 - 08:03 PM

I'm with LJC on this. The song does not translate into standard english at all well.

Dozie in scotland used to mean stupid, probably still does. So the pipie is being stupid and acting peculiarly. He surely is for he is not coming to the piss-up tonight.

I always understood the bricht chaumers to refer to the flames billowing out of the still burning bombed out buildings, an eerie sight under a strange grey sky

Missing from the glossary is an entry for ha', as in sheiling an ha'. Farm cottages and the farm house

Any publication that confuses swaddies with bastards is very suspect

Jack


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dicho
Date: 02 Mar 02 - 08:44 PM

Dozie- In this song, I would take it that the piper is "not with it," can't keep his mind on things, uncommunicative because of fey thoughts. Not stupid, which is another meaning of doze, but not the one indicated here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dicho
Date: 02 Mar 02 - 08:52 PM

Hamish Henderson is known because of this song and one or two others, but he is a scholar, folklorist and author who fought in WWII. he should be better known. See henderson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dicho
Date: 02 Mar 02 - 08:58 PM

Here's an overdone analysis from Dick Gaughan's website: Farewell


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 08:00 AM

Jack, The Pocket Poets gives an early version of the song.(see below) When it moved from barrack to concert hall, in 40s-50s Britain 'bastards' could not be sung. I prefer swaddies.
PP does give an explanation of dozie. I did not include it because it seemed obvious.It is- sleepy,'idle', inefficient (Army slang).
In the editor's introduction, (1966) he says" Henderson's soldiers' songs.....were tremendously popular with the troops, and have since become part of the common song. Many versions of Farewell To Sicily still circulate, and in a letter to me the author refers to the one he 'usually' now sings. ....(I have included, at the author's request, an early version of the Sicily ballad, though again with some small alterations by him.)"
Just to state my positiion again, I am not a Scot I like the song, I occasionally sing it and usually sing version 2 from the DT. I do not think version 1 is a worthy version.
Keith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 11:48 AM

I've just noticed a typo or mistake in the DT 'original' version, ie version 2. The line should be,

There's nae HAME can smoor the wiles o' ye.
Keith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Ferrara
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 08:33 PM

Thanks, Keith, for the glossary. Have been able to find some of the meanings over the years, but had to depend on the overall context for the rest.

I've sung this for 10 or 15 years. Heard Ed Miller sing it and I loved it. He was kind enough to write out the words for me on the back of a pink flyer of some sort. Still have it that way in my notebooks, too lazy to transcribe it....

There are strong opinions on either side, concerning the wisdom of either retaining or translating Scottish dialects. Bill and I lean toward retaining it whenever possible. I compromise on some songs, but have never changed a word of this into English. I just feel it would lose so much.

My father taught me songs in his Italian dialect (more or less Neopolitan). He insisted they didn't sound as good in Italian, much less in English. The Italians have a saying: "Tradittore, Traduttore," (sp.?) which means, "Translator, Betrayer." See, you can tell how much it loses by being put into English just from the sound, can't you? :-)

Rita F


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,ParaHandy
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 02:57 PM

What makes this song so special to me is that it comes directly from his own experiences as a soldier with the 51st Highlanders. The poignancy of leaving a place that has been both harsh with war yet friendly and welcoming as well is beautifully captured.

The tune is maybe second only to Roslin Castle in my list of sad melodies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 03:19 PM

The tune is a slow version of a standard pipe march, "Farewell to the Creeks." Played at speed, it's a rouser. In Ken Burns's "Civil War" series for PBS, the equally rousing "Dixie" was frequently played in a mournful tempo and to similar effect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:30 PM

Thanks for the above: I've been wondering for years who the "brick charmers" were. However, as the division is now leaving after some considerable time in Sicily, I doubt that the buildings would still be burning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 04:50 PM

Im a great lover of "braid scots",and Hamish was one of the best exponents. However, Iv always felt the popularity of the song ,was due in no small measure to the old pipe tune "Farewell to the creeks"
that Hamish set his words to.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 01:04 AM

For what it's worth, here are the words published by Hamish Henderson in his "Ballads of World War II"

THE HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

The pipie is dozie, the pipie is fey,
He wullnae come roon for his vino the day.
The sky ower Messina is antrin an' grey
And a' the bricht chaulmers are eerie.

Then fare weel ye banks o' Sicily
Fare ye weel ye valley an' shaw.
There's nae Jock will mourn the kyles o' ye
Puir bliddy bastards are weary.

And fare weel ye banks o' Sicily
Fare ye weel ye valley an' shaw.
There's nae hame can smoor the wiles o' ye
Puir bliddy bastards are weary.

Then doon the stair and line the waterside
Wait your turn, the ferry's awa.
Then doon the stair and line the waterside
A' the bricht chaulmers are eerie,


The drummie is polisht, the drummie is braw
He cannae he seen for his webhin ava.
He's beezed himsel up for a photo an' a
Tae leave wi his Lola, his dearie.

Then fare weel ye dives o' Sicily
(Fare ye weel ye shieling an' ha')
And fare weel ye byres and bothies
Whaur kind signorinas were cheerie.

And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
(Fare ye weel ye shieling an' ha')
We'll a' mind shebeens and bothies
Whaur Jock made a date wi' his dearie.

Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
(Leave your kit this side o' the wa')
Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
A' the bricht chaulmers are eerie.

(Tune " Farewell to the Creeks," a well-known Gordon Pipe March).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 05:04 AM

In that great anthology, The Scottish Folksinger, Peter Hall and the late Norman Buchan MP describe Hamish's song 'The Freedom Come All Ye' as " a noble use of Scottish dialect, I think this also applies to 51st Highland Devisions Farewell to Sicily.
In his book Modern Folk Ballads Charles Causley says that Hamish sent him the words to Farewell to sicily which used the word ' bastards ' rather than swaddies, this being his earlier version of the song.
eric


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 05:46 AM

I have heard Hamish singing 'bastards' but never 'swaddies'. There is an excellent CD, A tribute to Hamish henderson' just issued by Greentrax Records and Hamish sings this song on it and, again, says 'bastards' (although with a rather nevous chuckle after it). One word puzzles me, though. He sings 'puir' (poor) as 'pyure'. He, and others, always sang (sing) this as 'pair', the Scottish pronunciation of 'poor'. I always understood the spelling of puir to indicate to English readers that there was no long oo sound in Lowland Scottish speech.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 06:28 AM

I've not heard Hamish, but surely the alternative word is "squaddies" not "swaddies". A squaddie is a member of a squad, and is one current word for a soldier. I don't know how old the term is, though I don't think it recent. I recall Pete Rodger singing it as "squaddies" with the Blackpool Taverners in the mid-70s. However, I think that in WW2 a "swad" was a sandwich, had at your break, as in "tea and a swad".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 06:39 AM

I think that's "tea and a wad", Santa.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 06:54 AM

Swaddy is a perfectly good word for soldier or militiaman. Etymology uncertain, but perhaps Scandinavian.

And Dick; you OCR'd that text, didn't you? Human beings don't make those kinds of typo...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:11 AM

Yes, I was on my way to correct myself...you beat me to it - tea and a wad it was.

Wasn't a swabbie a sailor swabbing i.e. cleaning the deck?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:28 AM

Hamish wrote ' swaddies ' just dialect for the English term 'squaddie ' ie a member of a squad etc.
eric


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 07:37 AM

No. As I said, it's a separate word in its own right; not Scottish in particular, I think, though it probably continued in use there longer. The slang term Squaddy is only just getting into dictionaries, and I wouldn't be surprised if it arose by analogy with the older term, though we'd need somebody with bigger dictionaries than I have to confirm -or otherwise- that thought.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 08:37 AM

'Swaddies' can be found in 19th century American literature and also appears in The Trooper Cut Down In His Prime where it it defined as an English slang term for a soldier. I agree that it is not a particularly Scottish word as the Scottish word 'swad' means a swede or a turnip. Hamish didn't write 'swaddies'; he wrote (and sang) 'bastards'. I think 'polite' company may have replaced his original word.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 09:51 AM

According to Encarta: Swaddie (solder) [Early 19th century. Formed from a dialectal word used as an insult for a country person, of uncertain origin: perhaps from a Scandinavian source.]
The word 'swedebashers' is used as a derogatory term for farmers/peasants in the UK. Could there be a link?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 05:20 AM

Hamish did use both bastards and swaddies, as I said earlier he sent
Charles Causley the words fo his book Modern Folk Ballads which contained the Bastards line and said this was his earlier version, the later version used ' swaddies '
eric


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 08 Jan 04 - 11:13 AM

OK Eric, I knew Hamish well and he always sang 'bastards'. As you say, later on but only in 'proper' company, he sang 'swaddies'. When he was pissed (which was quite often) or in the house, he always sang 'bastards'. If you get the chance listen to him singing on the Greentrax CD. I know he was a great scholar and writer but I always got the feeling he learnt Lowland Scottish as he learned German, as a foreign language because when he sings Fareweel etc., he says 'water' not 'waater' and 'mourn' not 'murn'. He almost sounds like an Englishman singing Scottish .... not, however, in my opinion, as bad as McColl.
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,daveham
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:09 AM

What an education !
may i say that while agreeing with the sentiment of Scabby Douglas i.e. that "anglicising this great song is like taking a hammer to it."
I say that to do justice to Hamish and to all others who have associations, particularly the squaddies(my dad for one), the anglicised version will spread the word better.
However, my original search was to find the song version by the Macalmans. Who knows where I can find it. They did it on the Wally White ? show on Radio 2 ? about 30 years ago.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:18 AM

I love this song more than word can say, but every time I try singing it I start crying.

Nice to know Hamish sang bastards; I got mine off Clive Powell, who got it off Hamish, and Clive sings swaddies as he would of course because that's the kind of guy Clive is!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 22 May 08 - 07:20 PM

I seem to remember reading somewhere that swaddies is the original form from one of the Indian languages, and that squaddies was a later form by association with the English "squad".

It's a long time ago, but I can hear Hamish singing bastards with that intonation of his, but I also remember swaddies.

As for antrin, the only other place I can recall coming across it is in MacDiarmid's "Watergaw".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Bill D
Date: 22 May 08 - 09:23 PM

on this   page there are 8 McAlmans albums, but not that song. Perhaps they never recorded it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,chaos_crafter
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:32 PM

Another way of looking at "A' the bricht chaulmers are eerie" would be "all the bright chambers are darkened"
In other words all the rooms that once were full of light and joy are now dark and abandoned as their tenants depart.
All the lights are going out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Chaos_crafter
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 10:48 PM

Oh FWIW, I've strongly on the don't anglicise side in that part of the debate.
The song is beautiful in its original form. The reason (to me at least) for translating is to learn to understand it better and to better interpret other songs in the same dialect.

I'd love it if someone put it down in original form with the translation along-side for reference though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 03:09 AM

In my humble opinion it's better not to sing it than to destroy it's character by anglicising the words, the beautiful Scots dialect confers more than just the literal meaning of words.

eric


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 06:00 AM

GUEST, daveham

The McCalmans DID record the song on the album "Side by Side" (Transatlantic TRA 346, 1977), whose tracklist is:

Side One: Side By Side By Side (sondheim); Romeo and Juliet (Stan Kelly); Dancing Days (John Connolly/Bill Meek); Bellman's Song (Bill Meek); The Chair at the Table (unknown); Hornpipe; Farewell to Sicily (Henderson)
Side Two: Sheriff Muir; Loving Hanne; German Lairdie; Standing In the Rain (Sydney Carter); Broadside Man (John Connolly); Bound to Go; Side By Side (H Woods)

And yes, I own the vinyl, but I am not selling...:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: hannahma
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 03:25 AM

(lurker timidly raises hand)
I first heard the song on some folkie record, probably the Chad Mitchell Trio. Eventually I came to love the real thing. Maybe Anglicising the Scots song is "taking a hammer to it" but at least it introduces people to a great tradition, and as they develop,they come to learn and love the Scots language. Those who record and sing in Scots should consider posting a "translation" on the liner notes, etc. for beginners.
    I notice that although only one of my grandparents was Scottish, I could instantly understand most Scots dialect (Burns,etc) from a young age... think it's passed down in the blood?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Selkie1
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 05:44 AM

No, It's down to intelligent listening,guesswork and a good ear.but I doubt that you would understand "most Scots dialect" as most Scots dont! Henderson,like Burns before him, borrowed dialect words from other regions of Scotland if they fitted better, or enhanced the picture.On occasions, Burns even modified words to suit a line. In one of my own dialect songs,"Lallans Love" (Wildgoose Records WGS346 CD "Ingleneuk") the first line is, "When cranreuch cauld,has gar'd the gimmers coorie doon ahint the wa'" Now cranreuch, (hoar frost,Scots gael.) is not an Ayrshire word,but it does fit the line I think. The Auld,Scotch,dialect has died out in most areas,but a few try to keep it alive. I recall my brother being informed at our village school in the 50's that his "bits (shoes) were a' glaur" (mud) I don't think that many Culton weans, would understand that now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 06:18 AM

My sister, when at school in Paisley, West Scotland, was asked to translate "Oh fegs" said the old lady.
She wrote "Oh cigarettes" said the old lady.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 08:08 AM

I notice that although only one of my grandparents was Scottish, I could instantly understand most Scots dialect (Burns,etc) from a young age... think it's passed down in the blood?

With me it was a mixture of Scots relatives & a regular diet of Oor Wullie & The Broons from an early age; that and being brought up in Northumbria of course, which is culturally closer to Scotland than it is to England (WAV, if you're reading, please take note of this!) but I do believe in more occult methods of transmission as you suggest.

To hear Clive singing Banks of Sicily go to http://www.myspace.com/greatheresy - it's the first track, but it's set to random, but just click on it to play. Clive was a friend of Hamish, so this is first hand stuff!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: meself
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 09:49 AM

This curious statement appears above, from back in '02:

'"Fey" is quite widespread in the USA and Canada, quite possibly because there is no real substitute. Because it is an old, old word, it has several meanings now, which are usually clear from the context of the writing or speaking.'

This is not consistent with my experience - I don't believe I have ever heard this word spoken in Canada, and I've spent time all over the country, and listened to a lot of talk. And I think it's fairly rare to encounter it in print in North America, at least in any kind of serious work published within the past sixty years or so. Outside of certain children's books, you would be more likely to find it used in the sense of "precious" rather than in reference to the supernatural. That's my impression, anyway, for the benefit of future lexicographers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Rumncoke
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 10:31 AM

At junior school we sang

O'er the ocean flies a merry fay
Soft her wings are as the clouds of day

a very English song.

Also - eerie is quite common - it's use to describe abandoned rooms would surely be on the lines of strange and uncanny due to their being unoccupied, inducing a feeling of panic by their desolation.

Anne Croucher


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: goatfell
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 10:42 AM

what happened to LP's, they are now vinal


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: oggie
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 06:02 PM

Couple of points - I got told off by a piper once for singing "fey", he insisted that the word was "fu" meaning drunk. Not what Henederson wrote but an example of the folk process in action and at least it makes sense.

Secondly, there is film of Henderson describing how the song was written (BBC or C4 documentary many years ago). He was on the dockside at Salerno where the Scots were embarking and the Pipes broke into Farewell to the Creeks and as he said "The words came unbidden".

It is important to remember that the troops embarking for the invasion of Italy were the 8th Army. They had fought through North Africa, invaded Sicily and after a brief respite were about to invade again. These were battle hardened but weary troops who almost uniquely had been fighting throughout the war. They also knew the odds on survival.

Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 04:35 AM

The pipie is dozie, the pipie is fey
He wullnae come roun for his vino the day
The sky owre Messina is unco an gray
An aa the bricht chaumers are eerie

How would you rhyme 'fu' with 'grey'? and does it mean he was too drunk too get his daily dose of wine or whatever booze he drank?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 07:53 AM

Anne- that song is called Marianina, and was in Singing Together Summer 1968- identified as an Italian folksong at folkinfo :0)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: akenaton
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 10:57 AM

Back to "fey"

Hamish wrote it right!...The old Scots meaning was spellbound, whimsical,otherworldly.
That fits in with dozie perfectly.....maybe "introspective"

Fey was used often in the West of Scotland to describe someone who was dreamy or appering to be under a spell.....Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Rumncoke
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM

Only the tune is Italian - the words are English - very English with all those 'whithers' I think.

I learned it some ten or more years before Singing Together - we had to 'mouth the words' in a very overdone manner - the teacher was trying to obliterate the Yorkshire tone, and failing.

She was the one who got the morris dance teacher sacked for falling of her bicycle and showing her knee length bloomers to the whole school - I used to think that peripatetic meant to smell of hair conditioner. (aka gin)

She'd have had three fits at the idea of a dialect being spoken - never mind sung.

I wonder what she would have made of my reading Chaucer in the original, so English but not at all proper!!

Anne Croucher


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: goatfell
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:39 PM

the tune is called 51st highland farewell?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 12:57 PM

I `ad that Tony Deane out of "Elsie`s Band" in my cab the other day. I picked `im up at Cecil Sharpe `ouse and `e looked well pleased with `imself.
I said, " `ere Tony, you`re looking chipper. Your cd out or something"
`e said, " Nah. I`ve been looking up the meaning of the words in "Banks of Sicily" for my new book. It`s all about soldiers and what they say and I found it all in library."
I said, "Blimey. You learn something every day, don`tcha?. I thought it was about where the Mafia stuffed their money!!"


Whaddam I Like??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 04:45 AM

What on earth is Rumncoke talking about ? certainly got nowt to do with Hamish Hendersons song or the tune 51st Highland Divisions Farewell To Sicily.

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 02:38 AM

THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is fading, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina's an alien grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no home to cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry is off
    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie,

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is shined
    You won't know the man for he's dressed up so fine
    He's spiffed himself up for a photo to sign
    To leave with his Lola, his dearie.

       And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
    We'll remember ye barrooms and bothies
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
   We'll remember ye shacks and cowsheds
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.

first pass at a translation - Andrew Calhoun


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Charmion
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 08:51 AM

That's pretty good, Andrew. I've never been able to perform this very Lallands song with my sharp Canadian accent, so I might just use your version.

Next time you post, do name yourself in the From field.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 09:17 AM

Why "off" for "awa" instead of just "away"
Why "alien" for "unco" instead of just "uncommon"
Why "grove" for "shore"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 15 Sep 11 - 11:40 PM

thanks, Charmion, new to posting here though I've ended up here a hundred times looking for information. Getting closer to this. Could use "downcast" or "useless" instead of "haunted" but haunted is the most beautiful sound here, resounding in "foreign" and "all." It's the sound Hamish had through the song, "awe," but I've lost that mostly in the first half. "Useless" might be better. I'm singing from Farewell to the Creeks, A C C D, A C C D, with B as instrumental break. Actually I think it translates well, if you put the time in. I expect The Iliad was better in Greek, but there's no reason not to make it sensible.

    THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is haunted, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina is foreign and grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and grove.
    There's no home can cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry's gone over
    Down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is shined
    You won't know the man for his webbin's so fine
    He's spiffed himself up for a photo to sign
    To leave with his Lola, his dearie.

      Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye shanty and hall
   We'll all mind ye sheds and huts fondly (or sheds and hutches)
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye shanty and hall
    We''ll all mind ye boozers and bothies
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM

going with "valley and shade,"
and "the ferry's away."

ok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Liberty Boy
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 02:07 AM

IMHO this has to be song in Scot's dialact. It's meaningless otherwise!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 02:44 AM

"shore" and "haunted" are not even dialect, they are English!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 03:01 AM

According to Dick Gaughan, Scots is a separate language, not a dialect. I enjoy singing it in Scots. But I'd also like to have the song understood. I translated "Epie Morrie," which I also used to perform in crackling Scots, and when people could hear the story, they were on the edge of their seats. I really didn't think this was translatable, but y'all were so rude to the fellow's attempt earlier that I thought I'd take a pass at it. Well, a couple days' obsession. I'm happy with it, and expect Hamish would have appreciated it as well. I do understand why he wrote it in Scots, and that particular effect is lost, but there is more than that rendered in the song - the otherworldiness of performing ordinary activities under exhaustion and the threat of death. That to me is the heart of the song and its poetry, and I think it does translate here. Cheers folks, it's not as if you don't still have the original.

THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is haunted, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina is foreign and grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade.
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And fare well ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade.
    There's no home can cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry's away
    Down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is shined
    He cannot be seen for his webbin's so fine
    He's spiffed himself up for a photo to sign
    To leave with his Lola, his dearie.

      Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
   We'll all mind ye cowsheds and shanties
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
    We''ll all mind canteens and shanties
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 03:25 AM

I sometimes anglicise verse two thusly-

The drumie he's polished the drummie he gleams,
He cannot be seen for his webbings bright sheen,
He's beazed himself up for a foto of him,
To leave with his lola his dearie.

I would then give "all the bricht chaulmers are eerie" as "The buildings stand empty and eerie"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 04:05 AM

All the anglicised versions just sound stupid to me, English people should not sing this song at all if they can't get a grip on the Scots language,and then they really shouln't sing it anyway.

The translation into English is what we call ' bastardised '

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM

I agree, but sometimes I want listeners to know what is meant.
I could not match Henderson's poetry if I spent a lifetime trying.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 11:44 AM

"heedless" for "dozie."

All translations are just that - something lost and something gained. As I've said, I sing it in Scots and performed it that way for many years. There is no reason not to translate this, it is the same as translating Baudelaire. People who speak French might say that English translations of Baudelaire can never be as good as the French or just "sound stupid." People who don't speak French might yet be grateful for a glimpse of his work. A translation can be done well or poorly, and perhaps I have done it poorly, but there is no reason not to make the attempt. I except my audiences will take more interest in the song, and its subjects, and in Hamish Henderson, if they are given it in a form they can understand, rather than hearing some charming Scots sounds that they can't. To claim that Scots in particular shouldn't be translated is a form of narrow-minded conservatism I can't abide. Poets translate other poets whose work they are called to. Scots is no different in this respect than any other language.
For me "bright chambers" refers among other things to the hearts of the men.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Gurney
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM

Er, you live and learn.
I always heard the line as 'An' aa the bricht charmers are here-ee.'
All the flash girls are here to see us off.
I've even sung it that way.

Not that it matters.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: finished translation
From: GUEST,Andrew Calhoun
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 11:50 AM

One of the great things about doing a translation is how much that requires you to engage with the work itself. To think about the author's intentions, to see the beauty of the formal structure. HH is able to run the aa rhyme from verse 2 to 8. "Away" rhymes with "wall" in Scots and I can't do that, but I have run the rhymes through each section of four verses, and it feels important, to keep that long march feeling with the rhymes. I thought about "hazy" for the piper, among a hundred other words, but settled on the clearest depiction of his preoccupation, other than "distracted," which is less than poetic. "All the bright chambers are eerie" is such a resonant line. HH refers to "ye valleys," and "ye shibbeens and bothies," - but not to "ye signorinas" - there's an abstraction from the body there, eerie in itself. We'll remember the buildings. Chamber - room, gun, heart. When I learned this in Scots 35 years ago, I thought the drummer was leaving with Lola, it didn't get across that he was leaving the photo with her. And for several days while working on this, I thought "for a photo and aa" was a weak throwaway put in for the rhyme. I woke up one morning and it dawned on me that it wasn't "and all" in the sense of "and everything," but carried into all for the leave it with Lola. So I put in the word "it" for clarity. I ordered a used copy of "A' the Bairns o' Adam, A Tribute to Hamish Henderson" on Greentrax, and HH sings it there, having "kind signorinas are cheerie" after "Jock makes a date," which seems natural anyway. The only change in meaning from the original (other than losing the penumbra of an ambiguous one) is "kyles," which are straits, are "hills" here. "Shaw" is a wood, not a shore. The CD I got is used, and it is from radio station KVMR, marked as such, and on the back the music director wrote on a label: "Scottish war songs only a purist patriot could love except maybe 5,8,14." Not included in 5, 8, 14, are Farewell to Sicily, The Speaking Heart, or Freedom Come-All-Ye. I rest my case for translation. HH says they had expected to return to Italy, but were headed back to Scotland and then to France. "Leave your kit this side of the wall" seems like an image for going into battle. Wouldn't they be taking the kit with them on the ferry?

    THE 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION'S FAREWELL TO SICILY

    The piper is brooding, the piper is fey,
    He will not come round for his vino today.
    The sky o'er Messina is foreign and grey
    And all the bright chambers are eerie.

    Then farewell ye banks o' Sicily   
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade
    There's no Jock will mourn the hills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    And farewell ye banks o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye valley and shade.
    There's no home can cure the ills o' ye
    Poor bloody bastards are weary.

    Then down the stair and line the waterside
    Wait your turn, the ferry's away
    Down the stair and line the waterside
    All the bright chambers are eerie

    The drummer is polished, the drummer is tall
    He cannot be seen for his webbing at all
He's buffed himself up for a photo and all
For to leave it with his Lola, his dearie.

And fare well ye dives o' Sicily
   Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
    We''ll all mind canteens and shanties
    Where Jock made a date with his dearie.

      Then fare well ye dives o' Sicily
    Fare ye well ye cottage and hall
   We'll all mind ye stables and shanties
    Where kind signorinas were cheerie.

    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum
    Leave your kit this side o' the wall
    Then tune the pipes and drub the tenor drum—
    All the bright chambers are eerie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,doc
Date: 15 Mar 12 - 07:09 PM

There's pure and there's accessible. Sometimes you can have both, and that's grand. Sometimes it is worth compromising to have some of both.

The pipie has a right to be dozie and fey. He's seen too much of war; seen his best friends get blown away. Maybe he's been wounded himself. Maybe he's had one too many shells go off too close to his head.

They've all seen too much, these young men, but they won't talk about it. And neither will HH. What he will talk about are the ordinary things and the good times he's had; the girls, the booze-ups.
And how strange it feels not to be ducking shells or being afraid deep down in his guts. He's leaving it...and going somewhere where it will all happen again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Paul Burke
Date: 15 Mar 12 - 08:19 PM

I heard "the pipe is dozie, the pipie is fey, he winna be wantin his vino today"..

which gave me images of the piper being on fatigues for playing badly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: matt milton
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 07:45 AM

The more I think about this song, the more I wondered about whether Sicily has "banks". Wouldn't "beaches" be more appropriate? I don't tend to think of Sicily as riverrine.

Though I suppose Henderson may have been referring to sandbanks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 10:27 PM

The whole point is that it is how someone who was there thought at the time, not how some smartarse critic thought fifty years later


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: GUEST,Johnnyboy
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 11:41 AM

I'd always imagined that the Bricht Chaumers were the rooms where the lads met the lassies as it were.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Word meanings in Banks Of Sicily
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 07:48 PM

Just picking up on the tune (after all the discussion re the words!): as Lighter said in 2004, the original title of it was "Farewell to the Creeks" written by Pipe Major James Robertson in 1915, while he was a prisoner of war in Germany: only later, with the writing of the song in 1944, I think, did it become known as the 51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily.
"The Creeks" are up in the North East of Scotland, near Portknockie, on the Banffshire coast.
Hamish Henderson used other WW1 pipe tunes for his songs, e.g. Bloody Fields of Flanders by PM John McLellan for "Freedom Come All Ye" (song not written until 1960).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 September 9:41 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.