Thursday, March 28, 2013

Waly, Waly Gin Love Be Bony In An Upper Room

Every Maundy Thursday when I was a member of the church choir, we sang an evening service which was a remembrance of the Last Supper. The priest washed the feet of the alter servers (as Jesus was reported to have done for his apostles) and the choir sang the song "An Upper Room".

I've always loved the melody of that song and of course it is no surprise that it is yet another thing which Christianity "borrowed" from secular culture.

For your Thursday Tonic, you can enjoy James Taylor's version with "newer" (circa 1780 - a conglomeration of older songs in the verses) or read the even older version (1600's conglomeration of even older ancient songs) below:

Waly, Waly gin Love be Bony (old Scottish verses and ancient English air)

O, waly, waly, up the bank;
And waly, waly, down the brae;
And waly, waly, yon burn-side,
Where I and my love wont to gae.

I leaned my baek unto an aik (aik = oak),
I thought it was a trusty tree;
But first it bowed, and syne (syne = afterwards) it brake.
Sae my true love did lightly me.

O, waly, waly, but love be bony,
A little time, while it is new;
But when it's auld it waxeth cauld,
And fades away like morning dew.

O, wherefore should I brush my head?
O, wherefore should I kaim my hair?
For my love has me forsook,
And says he'll never love me mair.

Now, Arthur's Seat shall be my bed,
The sheets shall ne'er be touched by me;
Saint Anton's well shall be my drink,
Since my true love's forsaken me.

Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blow,
And shake the green leaves off the tree?
O, gentle death, when wilt thou come,
For of my life I am wearie.

'Tis not the frost that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaw's inclemency;
'Tis not the cauld that makes me cry,
But my love's heart grown cauld to me.

When we came in by Glasgow town,
We were a comelie sight to see;
My love was clad in black velvet,
And I myself in cramoisie.

But had I wist before I kist
That love had been sae ill to win;
I'd locked my heart in a case of gold,
And pinned it with a silver pin.

O, faith is gone, and truth is past,
And my true love's forsaken me;
If all be true that I hear say,
I'll mourn until the day I dee.

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