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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Three Ravens


File:Corvus corax -Donegal -Ireland -chicks-8.jpg

File:Corvus corax -Donegal -Ireland -chicks-8a.jpg

Common raven (Corvus corax) chicks on a nest, Donegal, Ireland: photos by Ciaran Lee, 2008
The Three Ravens: from Melismata, Musical Phansies Fitting the Court, Citie and Countrey Humours. To 3, 4, and 5 Voices.
London, 1611. (Music by Thomas Ravenscroft.) (1971 Da Capo facsimile scanned by Greg Lindahl.)

The Three Ravens

THERE were three ravens sat on a tree,
Downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
With a downe

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
They were as blacke as they might be.

With a downe derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe

(from Child's Book of Ballads)


human being said...

the first said, caw!
the second said, caaw caaw!
the third just kept silent...


lovely nursery rhyme... and slplendid photo...


How nice to see Thomas Ravenscroft's song here (!) -- plus the words too of course. Do you know my book Campion: On Song, an 'analysis' of one song by TC ("Now winter nights enlarge"), from The Third and Fourth Books of Ayres, w/ image on cover of original score of that song. You might enjoy it (if you could find it -- Routlege & Kegan Paul, 1981 -- must be in UC library). . . .

Anonymous said...

very traditional

where poe and castenada?

quoth the raven and the peyote

human being said...

what a careless crow i am!
shame on me...
when i first was here to this post... i was in a hurry (not to leave... but to think)... and i just read the part you put down the post... and thought it's all of it... and i added my funny addition...

now i come and see this comment by anonymous in my mailbox and something comes to my mind and i come to write it... then i look at the post again to rejoice in the beauty of the photo and the song... and i notice the song is continued... and gosh! i'm near to tears... it cuts sooooooo deep....

so beautiful and soulful!

and funny the feeling i experience is exactly in line with what i wanted to write for anon...

again thanks for all the beauty you share here with us... the beauty within you and the beauty you find in the world without...
(aren't they one?)

your are the cosmic soul of this world...

dear anonymous...
thanks for drawing me to this gem once more...(un)intentionallY...
this is for you:


modern is
plus an additional
whether it is real or fictional

that addition is nothing but
a new coat
it may come from
a peyote button's halluciantion
the solitude's paranoiac illusion
(sigh again)

what lies underneath
is the same traditional belief
the cry of a sweet lonely child
for a caring loving hug
it's the voice of your soul
and mine
and hers
and his
and theirs
and ours

all of us
in pairs


human being said...


Jesus Of Nazareth
on the cross
watched the crow
flying in the sky
so high and hollow

he thought sadly about
the man
in the abyss of the divine cactus
busy with a fallacious practice!
will he ever fall
to soar?

quoth the raven, nevermore!


TC said...

modern is
plus an additional
whether it is real or fictional

that addition is nothing but
a new coat



Yes, it was the traditional lore of the raven I was wanting to bring out. The root song is a very old Scots ballad, the Twa Corbies. There are many variant versions. In the one used here (a facsimile, from 1611) the point of view at the close is that of the dead man's lover. In another version, the POV of the birds takes over at the end. And we do understand that what the ravens are up to is a timeless form of biological recycling.

It was in order to evoke the ancient (atavistic?) sources of the ballad that I retained an antique presentation of the song, with music, in the post.

(The post is meant to link with the one below it, in both cases a warrior slain in battle becomes bird food.)

Thank you for the wonderful poems!

human being said...

thank YOU Tom... for all this great explanation...

'to evoke the ancient (atavistic?) sources of the ballad'

and all the beauty of this post was in this... and it did evoke them...
i'm always in search of these sources... roots that help us get closer to the core... to the truth...

yes... i noticed the link between all the items of this aviary series... including the post below... i kept that one for another time... for some reasons...



TC said...

Steve, re. Campion, see the new post up top today.