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I need help with some words...

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Old 30th July 2003, 17:22
Dirk_Sommer Dirk_Sommer is offline
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Well, thereīs an old scottish song, but I canīt understand some words... Iīd greatly appreciate any help you could give!

Iīll post the whole text for context and write the words I donīt understand in bold, so here it goes:

Donald's gane up the hill hard and hungry,
Donald comes down the hill wild and angry;
Donald will clear the gouk's nest cleverly,
Here's to the king and Donald Macgillavry.
Come like a weighbauk, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a weighbauk, Donald Macgillavry,
Balance them fair, and balance them cleverly:
Off wi'the counterfeit, Donald Macgillavry.

Donald's run o'er the hill but his tether, man,
As he were wud, or stang'd wi' an ether, man;
When he comes back, there's some will look merrily:
Here's to King James and Dnnald Macgillavry.
Come like a weaver, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a weaver, Dnnald Macgillavry,
Pack on your back, and elwand sae cleverly;
Gie them full measure, my Donald Macgillavry.

Donald has foughten wi' rief and roguery;
Donald has dinner'd wi banes and beggary,
Better it were for Whigs and Whiggery
Meeting the devil than Donald Macgillavry.
Come like a tailor, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a tailor, Donald Macgillavry,
Push about, in and out, thimble them cleverly,
Here's to King James and Donald Macgillavry.

Donald's the callan that brooks nae tangleness;
Whigging and prigging and a'newfangleness,
They maun be gane: he winna be baukit, man:
He maun hae justice, or faith he'll tak it, man.
Come like a cobler, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like a cobler, Donald Macgillavry;
Beat them, and bore them, and lingel them cleverly,
Up wi' King James and Donald Macgillavry.

Donald was mumpit wi mirds and mockery;
Donald was blinded wi' blads o' property;
Arles ran high, but makings were naething, man,
Lord, how Donald is flyting and fretting, man.
Come like the devil, Donald Macgillavry,
Come like the devil, Donald Macgillavry;
Skelp them and scaud them that proved sae unbritherly,
Up wi King James and Donald Macgillavry!
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Old 31st July 2003, 07:56
elmsella elmsella is offline
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here are the meanings....as you can see, some have alternatives

GAUK means a fool.
WEIGHBAUK is a set of scales, a balance or a state of indecision.
TETHER can be to restrain, a halter or to marry!
WUD can mean would, mad or wood.
STANG is a sting or to punish.
ETHER is either or adder.
WLWAND is an ells-measure, a measuring rod or a standard.
SAE means so, as or bucket.
RIEF is to plunder.
BANES are kings or would be superiors (pretenders).
THIMBLE is a tailors workshop.
CALLAN is a lad.
BROOKS means possesses.
TANGLENESS is indecision.
WHIGGING is dissenting.
PRIGGING means haggling.
NEWFANGLENESS is innovation or novelty.
BAUKIT is to hold back.
LINGEL is to fasten or fetter.
MUMPIT is stupid or dull.
MIRDS means flattery.
BLADS is large portions.
SKELP is to strike (hit).
SCAUD is to burn or torch.

I trust they make sense to you now.
Let me know......

"Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled, Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed, Or to victorie! "
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Old 31st July 2003, 09:05
Dirk_Sommer Dirk_Sommer is offline
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Cool Thank you so much !!

Now I get the meaning of that song !!

I tried some dictionaries as well as online-translation, but they were no help..

Then I remembered sitting at the source...

As said, thanks again !!

If I stumble upon some other ditties I wonīt understand, I know where to post them, now...
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Old 31st July 2003, 11:33
ScabbyDouglas ScabbyDouglas is offline
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Just a couple of points

The list of definitions elmsella posted are good, but I'd add a few comments.

"elwand sae cleverly; "
The song incites Donald MacGillivray to come like a tailor/weaver/cobbler/weighbauk etc... and then carries the metaphor to use terminology from that occupation or activity. So a tailor would use an Ell-wand (a measuring stick an "ell" in length), but in this case it does not mean a measuring stick, but Donald's sword.

"Donald will clear the gouk's nest cleverly"

A gouk, or gowk does indeed mean "fool", but it originally meant "cuckoo". If you read the verse, it talks about weighing things up and seeing off the counterfeit - and given the cuckoo's well-documented habit of laying its eggs in the nests of other birds, you can see that this is a "better reading of the verse than "fool's nest".

Donald's the callan that brooks nae tangleness;
"brooks" is usually used to mean not "possesses" but "allows" - so Donald will not permit any tangleness

"Donald has dinner'd wi banes and beggary,"
I'm sure that "banes" may appear in some dictionary somewhere as "kings" or somesuch, but by far the most common Scots meaning for "banes" is simply "bones".
I've never come across it used with the meaning you suggest elmsella..

In this context it would mean either: Donald has known hard times, i.e had nothing to eat but bones
He has eaten at tables where there was a pretense at plenty, but in reality the table was bare, perhaps meaning that he has kept the company of liars and cheats.

"As he were wud, or stang'd wi' an ether, man; " =
As though he were mad or stung (bitten) by an adder

THIMBLE - surely that's just the finger-protector that you wear when you are sewing?

I know that you may feel that I have poetically over-interpreted the meaning here, but if you re-read the song, you will see that it is layered with meanings - each of the metaphors is used very skilfully, and the writer intended to convey more than was being explicitly said.

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Old 4th September 2003, 03:53
HollyElise HollyElise is offline
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I remember this song! Where did you come across it, Dirk?
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Old 3rd October 2003, 15:38
CreepingJesus CreepingJesus is offline
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The only recorded version of this I know of is on Silly Wizard's "So Many Partings" album.

Here's some background that was posted at http://www.mudcat.org

I don't usually post great screeds of other people's stuff in forums but this is good.

"This is what William Donaldson, The Jacobite Song, has to say on 'Donald':
[1988:] It is well known [...] that [James Hogg] passed off his own Donald Macgillavry as a relic of outstanding merit and undoubted authenticity [...]. Donald Macgillavry was published in the first series of the 'Relics' with a highly appreciative note. 'This', proclaimed Hogg, 'is one of the best songs that ever was made...a capital old song, and very popular'. He then proceeded upon an inquiry, as solemn as it was specious, into the historical background, unearthing several apparently genuine Macgillavrys - John M'Gillavry, executed at Preston in 1716, a Colonel M'Gillavry of the MacIntosh regiment in the '45 - suggesting that 'a bard connected with that associated clan may have written it'. But the note is designed to do more than put a gloss of authenticity upon the song. Its delightful wrong-headedness seems intended (as do various of the other notes in the 'Relics') as a skit on the unsmiling pedantry apt then as now to afflict popular-song studies. Its author was, after all, one of the most masterly parodists in the country:
"The Clan- Macgillavry is only a subordinate one, so that the name seems taken to represent the whole of the Scottish clans by a comical patronymic, that could not give offence to anyone, nor yet render any clan particularly obnoxious to the other party, by the song being sung in mixed assemblies. It may, however, have been written in allusion to that particular clan, small as it was, as we see Macgillavry of Drumglass mentioned in some copies of the Chevalier's Muster-Roll."
Hogg may simply have wanted to make his own contribution to what was very much a living tradition. It is not impossible, however, that a deeper game was afoot and that the Shepherd, well aware that Donald Macgillavry was one of his best pieces, something a reviewer of the 'Relics' was almost bound to notice, may have falsified its credentials in this way in order to ensnare the distinguished critic Francis Jeffrey. [...] If Donald MacGillavry was indeed a literary ambush, Jeffrey walked right into it. In the 1831 edition of his 'Songs', Hogg jubilantly recorded this famous victory. The piece had been
"originally published in the Jacobite Relics, without any notice of its being an original composition; an ommission which entrapped the Edinburgh Review into a high but unintentional compliment to the author. After reviewing the Relics in a style of most determined animosity, and protesting over and over again that I was devoid of all taste and discrimination, the tirade concluded in these terms: 'That we may not close this article without a specimen of the good songs which the book contains, we shall select the one which, for sly, characteristic Scotch humour, seems to us the best, though we doubt if any of our English readers will relish it'. The opportunity of retaliating upon the reviewer's want of sagacity was too tempting to be lost; and the authorship of the song was immediately avowed in a letter to the Editor of Blackwood's Magazine. ''After all', said this avowal, 'between ourselves, Donald M'Gillavry, which he has selected as the best specimen of the true old Jacobite song, and as remarkably above his fellows for 'sly, characteristic Scotch humour', is no other than a trifle of my own, which I put in to fill up a page.'"
Jeffrey was not mistaken in one respect, however. Donald Macgillavry is one of the best things in the collection, set to a lilting 6/8 in a minor key ideally suited to the repetition and word-play packed into the stanzas, and issuing an exuberant summons to resentful Gaeldom to deliver the nation from the thraldom of Whiggery. The hero is one of the legion of Comic Gaels and has various conventional features; but Hogg treats him sympathetically, identifying with him in a way unthinkable a generation before. His Highlandman is not a clownish barbarian, but a formidable character with a decisive political role [...]. Successive verses elaborate the pattern established in the first. The initial four lines enlarge upon the Highlandman's fury, and then he is invoked in various forms, as a weaver, tailor, cobbler, and so on, and this takes up the rest of the octave [...]. This wealth of trade- simile does not exhaust Hogg's resources. The injustices suffered by the protean hero are transformed by the same profusely inventive intelligence. Donald's grievance is the traditional Jacobite one against 'Cess and Press, and Presbytery'. But these prosaic concepts are translated in four brilliantly alliterative lines into fresh and highly concrete terms [...].
Hogg summarises a world of abstract social and political concept - all the inequalities and injustice of the mercantile civilisation of Whig Scotland - by means of a fecund supply of images drawn, ironically, from commerce itself. This in part is what gives the song that energy which Jeffrey mistook for authenticity. One of the sources of its excellence lies in the balance struck between the comic impulse of the convention and the seriousness of the theme. Another lies in its deft interplay with the tune. The air is heptachordal in the Aeolian mode with a phrase pattern which would seem to indicate a triplet- and- refrain type text to coincide with its apparently tri- partite organisation, although it is actually binary in form. Hogg partially satisfies this impulse with refrain lines at the middle and end of his stanza, and in the third verse fulfils it almost exactly with the near-rhymes 'roguery, beggery, Whiggery'; but elsewhere he carefully avoids establishing it as the dominant pattern. The melody itself is highly organised and economical, with a haunting motif based on the interplay of tonic, dominant and flattened seventh. These intervals are strongly emphasised and Hogg takes advantage of their almost incantatory quality to invoke the Highlandman in appropriate form. The resulting texture of balance and contrast reveals him as a sensitive craftsman responsive to the underlying character of the melody and subtly reflecting its tensions in its lines. (Donaldson, Song 99ff)"
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