Mudcat Café message #1536404 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31375   Message #1536404
Posted By: Roberto
06-Aug-05 - 11:02 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Great Silkie
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Great Silkie
Two more recordings (Sheena Wellington and Jean Redpath), but this time I need help (with Sheena Wellington's text) and I have a question on John Sinclair's version.
I can't get a couple of words in stanza 11, and I've put question marks where I'm not sure.
The question: John Sinclair noted by Otto Andersson in 1938 and John Sinclair recorded on Peter Kennedy's anthology Sailormen & Servingmaids (I think in 1961) are the same person?

The Great Silkie o' Sule Skerrie
Sheena Wellington, Strong Women, Live at Nitten (Newtongrange) Folk Club, Scotland, Greentrax CDTRAX 094, 1995. John Sinclair's tune.

In Norwa land there lived a maid
Baloo, balee (?), the maid began
O little ken I my bairn's father
Nor yet the land whaur he belang (?)

For it happened on a certain day
When this young maiden lay asleep
That in there come a Great Silkie
And sat him doon at her bed feet

Saying awake, awake, my bonnie maid
Awake, awake, as thou do sleep
I'll tell you whaur his faither is
He's sitting here at thy bed feet

I pray come tell to me your name
And tell me whaur your dwellin be
My name it is Gunn (?) Hein Mailer
I earn my living oot at sea

For I am a man upon the land
I am a Silkie on the sea
And when I'm far fae ony strand
My hame it is in Sule Skerry

A woe, a woe (?), a woeful fate
A weary fate that's been lain on me
That a man should come fae the West o Hoy
Tae the Norwa land tae hae a bairn wi me

My dear I'll wed ye wi a ring
Wi a ring, cried he, I'll wed with thee
Thou may go wed wi whom thou will
For I'm sure you'll never wed wi me

Then ye shall nurse my bonnie son
For siven years upon your knee
And at the end o siven lang years
I'll come and pay the nouris fee

And she has nursed his bonnie son
For siven years upon her knee
And at the end o siven years
He's come back wi gowd and white money

My dear I'll wed ye wi a ring
Wi a ring, cried she, I'll wed wi thee
Thou micht go wed wi whom thou will
For I'm sure you'll never wed wi me

An' I'll pit a gowd chain roond his neck
An a gey good gowd chain it'll be
And if e'er he comes tae the Norwa land
Ye micht hae ... a guid guess it is he

And ye shall marry a gunner guid
An a richt guid gunner he will be
And he's gaen oot on a May morning
And shot the son and the Great Silkie

A woe, a woe, a woeful fate
A woeful fate has been lain on me
And sighing sair she dropped i' (?) the strand
An her tender hairt, it brakt (?) in three



The Grey Silkie
Jean Redpath, Jean Redpath, Philo CD PH 2015, 1975. John Sinclair's version.

In Norwa land, there lived a maid
Baloo, my babe, this maid began
I ken na whaur your faither is
Nor yet the land that he dwells in

It happened on a certain day
When this fair maiden fell asleep
That in there come a grey silkie
And sat him doon at her bed feet

Saying - Awake, awake, my bonnie maid
For O how sound as thou dost sleep
I'll tell thee whaur his faither is
He's sitting close at thy bed feet

I pray come tell tae me your name
And tell me whaur your dwellin be -
My name it is Good Hein Mailler
An I earn my living oot tae sea

I am a man upon the land
I am a Silkie in the sea
And when I'm far fae every strand
My dwelling is in Sule Skerry

Alas, alas, this woeful fate
This weary fate that's been laid on me
That a man should a come fae the West o Hoy
Tae the Norwa lands tae hae a bairn wi me

My dear I'll wed ye wi a ring
Wi a ring my dear, I'll wed with thee
Thou may go wed wi whom thou will
I'm sure ye'll never wed wi me

Thou will nurse my bonnie son
For siven lang years upon your knee
And at the end o siven lang years
I'll come and pay the nurse's fee

She has nursed her little wee son
For siven lang years upon her knee
And at the end o seven lang years
He's come back wi gold and white money

My dear I'll wed ye wi a ring
Wi a ring my dear, I'll wed wi thee
Thou may go wed wi whom thou will
I'm sure ye'll never wed wi me

But I'll pit a gold chain roond his neck
An a gey good gold chain it'll be
That if ever he comes tae the Norwa lands
You can hae a guid guess it is he

And you will get a gunner good
An a gey good gunner it will be
An he'll gae oot on a May morning
An shoot the son an the grey silkie

And she has got a gunner good
An a gey good gunner I'm sure 'twas he
An he gaed oot on a May morning
An he shot the son and the grey silkie

Alas, alas, this woeful fate
This weary fate that's been laid on me
And ance or twice she sobbed and sighed
An her tender hairt, it brak in three