Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Basic Poetics - Ballads - (Alison Gross)

[Vittore Carpaccio (1455-1526) - San Giorgio e il drago (St.George and the Dragon) c.1502-08, at the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice]

[Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) - St. George and the Dragon,  the left panel of the Pesaro altarpiece (40 x 36cm) c.1471-74, at Musei Civici, Pesaro]

AG:  And then - Magic.. –  (page) fifty-one - If any of you know paintings by Carpaccio?  or other similar fellows – Bellini? – of the Saint.. killing the dragon.. what was it, St George killing the dragon?,  and the dragons are usually very strange little intimately-conceived monsters out of somebody’s psychedelic moment of fourteenth-century or thirteenth-century. There’s a sort of equivalent set of dragons here, and also some speech (this is very old but it sounds like present-day Geordie language (Northumbrian, the kind of talk you get out of Tom Pickard, who I mentioned before, who writes now in straight English as spoken in Newcastle) (It's) called "Allison Gross" – page fifty-one here – and it’s the guy talking about Alison Gros  

“O Allison Gross that lives in yon tow'r./ The ugliest witch i' the north country/ Has trysted me ae day up till her bowr,/And monny fair speech she made to me./ She stroaked my head, and she kembed my hair/An she sat me down saftly on her knee/Says. Gin ye will be my lemmon, so true/Sae monny braw things as I would you gi." - ("lemmon" - a  lover) - "She showd me a mantle o' red scarlet,/Wi gouden flowrs an fringes fine;/Says, Gin ye will be my lemmon so true/This goodly gift it sal be thine./Awa awa, ye ugly witch/Haud far awa and lat me be/I never will be your lemmon sae true,/An I wish I were out o your company".   
That “away away you ugly witch" ..awa' awa'.. "hold far away and let me be” – that’s straight talk as you can hear it now, amazingly, in Newcastle – "Awa awa, ye ugly witch/Haud far awa and lat me be"  
Well, so she bribed him with more  “saftest silk” and “good red gold" cups and jewels "fair to see" – and he repeats, "Awa awa, ye ugly witch/Haud far awa and lat me be/For I wouldna ance kiss your ugly mouth/For a' the gifts that you could gi'  (I would not once kiss your ugly mouth for all the gifts  you could gi').  
- Well,  so what happened then?
(She’s a witch, remember)  
“She's  turn'd her right and roun about/An thrice she blaw on a grass-green horn/An she sware by the meen and the stars abeen,/That she'd gar me rue the day I was born./ Then out has she taen a silver wand,/An she's turnd her three times roun an roun/She's muttered sich words till my strength it faild,/An I fell down senceless upon the groun/She's turn'd me into an ugly worm/And gard me toddle about the tree".." - ("worm", in that case would be a serpent or a dragon, an ugly dragon, that’s the Carpaccio dragon – "And gard me toddle about the tree" – made me – that’s kind of nice - "toddle" about the tree – She's turn'd me into an ugly worm/And gard me toddle about the tree./An ay, on ilka (every) Saturdays night,/My  sister Maisry came to me,/Wi  silver bason an silver kemb/To kemb my heady upon her knee/But or I had kissed her ugly mouth/I'd rather a toddled about the tree" -  But or I had kissed her ugly mouth/I'd rather a toddled about the tree" (He's real resolute about it!) 
Well, let’s see now, then, finally, the Queen of Heaven comes - "..as it fell out on last  Hallow-even/ When the seely court -  (the fairy court was riding by) ‘When the seely court was riding by,/The queen lighted down on a gowany bank/Nae far frae the tree where I wont to lye/She took me up in her milk-white han,/An she's stroaked me three times 'er her knee/She chang'd me again to my ain proper shape,/An I nae mair maun toddle about the tree"... I don’t know how to do it. -  "An I nae mair maun toddle about the tree".
The worm – an ugly worm, "toddling about the tree" is nice – It’s a very weird image. It’s.. also the relation, the sort of straightforward relation is interesting, Like, his take on - some women he likes and some women he don’t like, and that’s that. Simple as that. And that’s  sort of..  Actually, Tom Pickard, who writes in this sound, somehow has those same emotions – still
 – Yeah?

Student:  Steeleye Span sings that song
AG: Really?  Steeleye Span – that’s a band? they do this one? has anybody got a copy?
Student: They also do "Fause Knight on the Road"
AG: Really? -  I’ve never heard them done
Student; They change words a little bit to make it more.. melodic (with certain lines..)
AG:  Do they use their own tunes or do they have old tunes, do you think?
Student: I think they change the tunes for their own use
AG: Are people..have most people here heard those?
Student (2): No I haven’t
AG: Great..they’d be great to hear . Can we get them? Can you check out and see if we can get them?
Student: Oh yeah, I've got them here.
AG: You have them?
Student: Oh yeah
AG  Okay, make a tape. You don’t have the Joan Baez Lady (sic) Hamilton, or anything like that, do you?
Student: No
Student (2): I  might have it
AG: Who?
Student (2): I might have it, I’m not sure...
AG: Well check it out maybe we can put it on the tape and hear it some time
Student (2) I don't have the tape, I might have the record 
Randy (Roark): I can tape it.
AG: Randy does, If you can find out where he is…

Shall we go on with some more of these (ballads)? Is this of interest? Just cover a little bigger spectrum than what they have in the book?

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-six-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-two-and-a-half minutes in]

      [Allison Gross - Illustration by Vernon Hill - from Richard Chope's Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)]

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