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Maiden fair, brown-haired one. The old Gaelic balows or lullabies, strange crooning ditties (they cannot be called songs), have also many of them been preserved. There is one that strikes me as peculiarly appropriate to some of the mothers of to-day :
Heigh o, heugh o, what'll I do wi' ye?
Heigh o, heugh o, what'll I do wi’ ye? Mony o'ye, little to gie ye. Ah, though this lullaby served to rock to sleep Highland bairnies years and years ago, the truth of this line is more forcibly illustrated at the present time than ever it was; it is the cry of hundreds and thousands of
poor overburdened mothers striving to be tender even at the iron gates of bitterest poverty, willing if need be to immolate themselves on the altar of helpless infancy.
The nursing song which follows is often used by Gaelic mothers. Its origin is attributed to some good fairy or light-o'-love,' who used to croon it over belpless infants, whom their necessarily busy mothers had to leave to their devices. I believe there are more verses, properly speaking, than those I have been able to find, in the last of which the good fairy indulges her indignation against Maolruainidh (the mother) for neglecting her child, in something extremely like malediction.
Ho, ro, Maolruainidh ghlinnichen.
1 A wooden dish.
Hech hey the Maryguiel, and the down-dee, &c. &c. Not much variety, but doubtless sufficient for the purpose.
With the weavers' song that comes next, I must leave the wide field that Scotland offers in this class of
Gae busk my bower to mak' it ready,
The bonnie lad that wears the plaidie,
Twist weel the plaidie,
That wears the tartan plaidie.
I ask nae mair to mak’ life cheerie;
Owre heather bell and mountain daisy. Like the Greek herdsmen and shepherds of old, the Scotch have their sheep-farmers' songs and their herders' choruses, and even the potato-workers in Ayrshire their own style of singing whilst they pursue their occupation. Any evening in August, you may see a picturesque-looking group of women wending their homeward way and singing as they go along; the bright red kerchief they adopt as headgear, and their striped petticoats and bare feet, are quite a feature in the most pastoral of all Scotland's counties.
I remember once hearing a band of these workers who were walking towards the town of Ardrossan, chanting a rather weird monotonous tune that somehow seemed familiar to me. It was not till a few days later I was able to trace the resemblance to a Dutch herring-fishers' song which is used frequently by the fishermen of Vaarlingen.
Mr. Frederic Ernest Sawyer, in a lecture delivered at Brighton before the British Archæological Association (August 21, 1885), quoted a mackerel-fishers' chant which is still used by the Brighton fishermen. Before commencing the mackerel fishing, a curious custom called “ bending-in,' doubtless corrupted from 'benediction,' and now consisting of a meal of bread and cheese to any child who may be found on the beach, is observed, and every night during the mackerel and herring fishing seasons, as the nets are cast over, the men repeat, as each barrel (which is attached to every ten nets) goes over :
Watch, barrel ! watch ! mackerel for to ketch ;
God send mackerel and never fail. At the last net the master says, ' Seas all !' for if he said · Last net!' he would never expect to see the nets again. Another version has been supplied by Mr. A. R. Marshall, as used by some Brighton fishermen, the lines being repeated by different men in the following form:
Captain. Now, men ! hats off !
God Almighty sends us a blessing, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
As we can lift in.
Bees, of Bees of Paradise,
And God made little boys to tend the rooks and crows. Hurra! An important section of Scandinavian songs are the herdsmen's. Their age is impossible to state, but they all bear the same character. The herdsman or maiden calls home the cattle from the mountain side, either with the cowhorn or Lur, or by singing a melody with the echo formed on the intervals of that instrument.
SCANDINAVIAN HERDSMAN'S Song.
Kersti lilla, Kersti lilla !
Tulleri lull, tulleri lull !
Långt bort i skogen! Song lightens the toil of the working hours, whether carried on out of doors, amid exposure to sun and wind and rain and frost, or within the stifling hut by the feeble light of a pine-wood splinter. So says Mr. Ralston in the preface to his admirable collection of
Russian Folk-Songs. By his kind permission I am enabled to give some examples of the working-songs of that country. Thus we find a special song used by the Beer-Brewers. A certain ceremony is observed in this as in most other Russian occupations. The younger women of the village go, followed by a festive rout, from cottage to cottage, offering braga-millet-and beer, first to old, then to young, singing all the while :
On the hill have we brewed beer,
On account of that beer shall we all clap our hands.
The following is a harvesting chorus sung by the reapers at the end of the harvest; they go to the fields all together and collect any ears which may have been left uncut. These they weave into a crown adorned with gold tinsel and field-flowers, and place it on the prettiest girl's head, after which they visit the owner's house, headed by a boy who carries a sheaf decked with flowers.
SONG OF THE HARVEST HOME.
For the crown of gold is woven. Another harvest song in the government of Vladimir is that sung when they lead the ears of corn on Trinity Sunday. When the winter rye is beginning to ear, the fields are solemnly visited by the peasants. The young people of each village meet together and draw up in two lines, linking their arms in such a manner as to form a kind of bridge, along which trips a little girl adorned with ribbons of various hues. The couples past whom she has gone run to the end of the lines, and take up their places again, so that the bridge of arms is always renewed until the fields are reached. There the girl jumps down, plucks a handful of ears, runs with them to the village, and throws them down close to the church.
Song. (Leading the Ears.)
To the white wheat.
O rye, with oats,
With wheat, with buckwheat. The sowing of the millet is another occasion for song; it is sung by two choirs opposite each other :
Oi, Did-Lado, we have sown.
But we will trample it, trample it.
1st. But with what will ye trample it!
1st. With a silken rein. And so on till the second chorus says:2nd. What is it then that
want ? 1st. What we want is a maiden !
On this one of the girls in the second choir goes over to the first, the two sides singing respectively :
2nd. Our band has lost.
1st. Our band has gained. Till all the girls have gone over from one side to another. The idea is similar to that of our nursery game ‘Nuts and May.'
Thus from the cradle to the grave song is the constant companion of the Russian's life. It is the delight of both sexes and of every age. The sports of childhood, the pleasures of youth, and all the varied occupations of mature years, have each their own appropriate accompaniment of song. The Khorovod’ is the choral dance with which Russian boys and girls greet the approach of spring. The * Zaplachki’ or wailing songs bring relief to the grief-stricken. The ‘Bylinas,’long metrical romances sung or recited by village minstrels, supply the epic element by recording famous historic exploits; and even that most prosaic of employments—loading with grain the ships lying in the wharf-adds some beautiful melodies to the répertoire of Russian national song, the women who carry on the work singing in chorus the while.
The following Chanson des Ouvriers,' or 'Workmen's Song,' is the perfect expression of that state of discontent in the working class which is the natural incentive to communism. It dates from about 1847-8.
CHANSON DES OUVRIERS.