pause musicale #2 The Two Sisters, an English murder ballad

L’une des histoires dont s’inspire Isabel Greenberg dans Les cent nuit de Héro est l’histoire tragique de deux sœurs qui aiment le même homme. J’avais entendu cette histoire à la radio, je devais avoir 10 ans, et elle m’avait énormément ému (la preuve, je m’en souviens encore !).  L’origine en est une ballade anglaise du XVII. De nombreuses variantes de cette chanson existent, on la retrouve aussi sous le titre de The Cruel Sister, Two Sisters, The Twa Sisters

Voici quelques versions glané sur youtube. Laquelle préférez-vous ?

les paroles de la version chanté par Emily Portman :

Two little sisters living in a bower
Oleander yolling
The youngest was the fairest flower
Down by the waters rolling

A noble knight came riding by
Oleander yolling
Two little sisters caught his eye
Down by the waters rolling

And he courted the eldest with diamonds and rings
Oleander yolling
The other he loved above all things
Down by the waters rolling

« Sister, sister, come down to the broom
Oleander yolling
We’ll hear the black birds change their tune
Down by the waters rolling. »

So she took her sister by the hand
Oleander yolling
And led her down to the river strand
Down by the waters rolling

And as they stood at the river’s brim
Oleander yolling
The eldest pushed her sister in

« Sister, sister, reach me your hand
Oleander yolling
And you’ll be the heir to my riches and land
Down by the waters rolling. »

« Oh Sister, sister, that will never be
Oleander yolling
Till salt and oatmeal grow of a tree
Down by the waters rolling. »

« Oh sister, sister, lend me but your glove
Oleander yolling
And you shall have my own true love
Down by the waters rolling. »

« It’s your own true love I’ll have and more
Oleander yolling
But you shall never come to shore

For your cherry cheeks and your long yellow hair
Oleander yolling
Made me a maid for evermore. »

Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam
Oleander yolling
Till she came to a miller’s dam
By the waters rolling

The miller and his daughter stood at the door
Oleander yolling
And watched her body floating to shore
Down in the waters rolling

« Oh father, father, draw your dam
Oleander yolling
For it’s either a mermaid or a swan
Down in the waters rolling. »

The miller he dragged her out on to the shore
Oleander yolling
And he stripped her of all that she wore
Down in the waters rolling

He laid her body on the bank to dry,
Oleander yolling
A minstrel he came riding by
Down by the waters rolling

And he made a harp of her breast-bone
Oleander yolling
Whose sound could melt a heart of stone

He took three locks from her long yellow hair
Oleander yolling
With them strung a harp so rare
Down by the waters rolling

And he took the harp to the king’s high hall
Oleander yolling
There was the court assembled all
Down by the waters rolling

And he laid the harp there upon a stone,
Oleander yolling
The harp began to play alone.

But the only tune that the harp would play was
Oleander yolling
The only tune that the harp would play
Down by the waters rolling

It sang: « Yonder sits my love the king,
Oleander yolling
How he’ll weep at my burying,
By the waters rolling

And yonder sits my sister the queen
Oleander yolling
She drownèd me in the cold, cold stream,
Down in the waters rolling »

les paroles de la version chanté par Clannad (et reprise par Ruth Navarre)

There were two sisters side by side
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
There were two sisters side by side
The boys are born for me
There were two sisters side by side
The eldest for young Johnny cried
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

Johnny bought the youngest a gay-gold ring
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
Johnny bought the youngest a gay-gold ring
The boys are born for me
Johnny bought the youngest a gay-gold ring
He never bought the eldest a single thing
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

Johnny bought the youngest a beaver hat
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
Johnny bought the youngest a beaver hat
The boys are born for me
Johnny bought the youngest a beaver hat
The eldest didn’t think much of that
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

As they were a-walking by the foamy brim
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
As they were a-walking by the foamy brim
The boys are born for me
As they were a-walking by the foamy brim
The eldest pushed the youngest in
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

Sister, oh sister, give me thy hand
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
Sister, oh sister, give me thy hand
The boys are born for me
Sister, oh sister, give me thy hand
And you can have Johnny and all his land
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

Oh sister, I’ll not give you my hand
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
Oh sister, I’ll not give you my hand
The boys are born for me
Oh sister, I’ll not give you my hand
And I’ll have Johnny and all his land
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

So away she sank and away she swam
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
So away she sank and away she swam
The boys are born for me
So away she sank and away she swam
Until she came to the miller’s dam
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

The miller, he took her gay-gold ring
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
The miller, he took her gay-gold ring
The boys are born for me
The miller, he took her gay-gold ring
And then he pushed her in again
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

The miller, he was hanged on the mountain head
Sing I-dum, sing I-day
The miller, he was hanged on the mountain head
The boys are born for me
The miller, he was hanged on the mountain head
The eldest sister was boiled in lead
I’ll be true unto my love if he’ll be true to me

voici les paroles de la version chanté par  The Pantagle et Old Blind Dogs:

There lived a lady by the North Sea shore
(Lay the bent to the bonnie broom)
Two daughters were the babes she bore
(Fa la la la la la la la la la)
<alternating with each of the lines below>
As one grew bright as is the sun,
So coal black grew the elder one.
A knight came riding to the lady’s door,
He’d travelled far to be their wooer.
He courted one with gloves and rings,
But he loved the other above all things.
Oh sister will you go with me
To watch the ships sail on the sea?
She took her sister by the hand
And led her down to the North Sea strand.
And as they stood on the windy shore
The dark girl threw her sister o’er.
Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam,
Crying, « Sister, reach to me your hand!
« Oh Sister, Sister, let me live,
And all that’s mine I’ll surely give. »
« (It’s) your own true love that I’ll have and more,
But thou shalt never come ashore. »
And there she floated like a swan,
The salt sea bore her body on.
Two minstrels walked along the strand
And saw the maiden float to land.
They made a harp of her breastbone,
Whose sound would melt a heart of stone.
They took three locks of her yellow hair,
And with them strung the harp so rare.
They went into her father’s hall
To play the harp before them all,
But when they laid it on a stone
The harp began to play alone.
The first string sang a doleful sound:
« The bride her younger sister drowned. »
The second string as that they tried,
In terror sits the black-haired bride.
The third string sang beneath their bow,
« And surely now her tears will flow

 

J’avais aimé le conte, j’adore cette chanson, ces chansons ! Toutes les versions sont très belles. Avec, peut-être une préférence pour celle de Emily Portman.


 British mysteries 2016_2.jpg

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