A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Norse warriors Houndes and Hawkes

Reproduced below is an intertesting folk song The Three Ravens, lifted from the Folk Songs of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

This ballad dates back to 1611 where it appears in Melismata. Musicall Phansies Fitting the Court, Cittie, and Countrey Humours by T. Ravenscroft.
It is also known as The Twa Corbies.
According to the The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World, the song deals with primitive superstition. "Perhaps in the folk mind the doe is the form the soul of a human mistress, now dead, has taken. Or it may be that the doe was considered an animal - paramour of the dead knight. Most probably the knight's beloved was understood to be an enchanted woman who was metamorphosed at certain times into an animal."
Interestingly the knight was furnished with the compliment of loyal hunting houndes and hawkes according to the ballad and the houndes remain loyal even to their fallen master.
A 15th Century story telling in verse of a dark-age event perhaps? Did the warrior beneath shield relate to the Norse people? Was the verse of the Scottish Borders where tales of hunting, and wars because of the hunt are known to have taken place? Where Viking Clans were known to have invaded and settled. The Rogue Deerhound historical investigations are still very much ongoing and fun.

Anyway, I’m sure his hounds were of the line we come to know as the Scottish Deerhounds when the need for labeling came along . . . enjoy

The Three Ravens

There were three ra'ens sat on a tree,
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
They were as black as black might be,
With a down.
The one of them said to his mate,
Where shall we our breakfast take?
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down

Down in yonder green field,
Down, a down, hey down, hey down,
There lies a knight slain 'neath his shield,
With a down.
His houndes they lie down at his feet,
So well they do their master keep,
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down.

His hawkes they fly so eagerly,
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
No other fowl dare come him night,
With a down.
Down there comes a fallow doe
As great with young as might she go
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down

She lifted up his bloody head,
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
And kissed his wounds that were so red,
With a down.
She got him up upon her back,
And carried him to earthen lake,
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down

She buried him before the prime
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
She was dead herself ere e'en-song time,
With a down.
God send every gentleman,
Such hawkes, such houndes, and such a leman.
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down

and if you wish to perform the song . . .


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