Two Valdyan folk songs (was: Hildegard's List)
|From:||Irina Rempt <ira@...>|
|Date:||Friday, March 26, 1999, 22:10|
On Thu, 25 Mar 1999, Nik Taylor wrote:
> Irina Rempt wrote:
> > _nove_ "woman's breast", _inove_ "bosom" (there's also the poetic
> > _isam_, meaning "two fruits")
> Interesting. "Two fruits" for "bosom"? I like that.
It actually comes from a little folk song, one of the very first
things I wrote in Valdyan:
Ni farean dorythe samea na pulay
Ni salnea dorythe samea na pulay
Ni parien dorythe brusean na brusay
Ni lhaye, razie, isamea na trisay.
Don't pick the fruit too green
Don't pick the fruit too ripe
Don't smoke the pipe too joyfully
Don't wantonly, lad, steal the two fruits.
It's meant as a jocular warning to a young man: all things in
moderation, and hands off the girls until you're sure you mean it.
_Brusen_ "pipe" and _brusa_ "to smoke" are derived from _brus_
"hemp", the only thing smoked in Valdyas until very recently when
_faranre_ "herb-south", tobacco, was imported from overseas. Most
people think _faranre_ is only fit to exterminate lice.
_Lhaye_ literally means "left(-handed)" and is used to express
something "not for real"; fiction is supposed to be written with the
left hand, facts with the right, regardless of the actual handedness
of the writer. The most famous book of folk tales, collected by King
Vegelin the Great's historian Mailei Halla in her old age, is called
_Mailei Hallei rainei lhayi gylsin_, "the Book of Halla's Left Hand".
The form of the song is called _hanleni halsen_ "starlings' song",
after a very old instance of the genre, generally thought to be the
Hanleni halsen varyenan laynat
Daysinen verein idanla le listat
Havien hinla laziena forat
Culea rachleni arlea a chalat?
The song of the starlings speaks of heroic deeds
In the morning rain the heron does its laundry
In the night the lark worships the stars
Who sees the true nature of birds?
When I published an article about this song in a a conculture
magazine, I misspelled the first line as "... varsinen laynat",
meaning "the song of the starlings says that I'm lying" :-)
The lark traditionally doesn't sleep, but flies above the clouds at
night. Its name _hinla_ means "high-bird".
_Hanleni halsin_ tend to have a rather plaintive melody, in a minor
key. It has four lines, usually rhyming aaaa, each with four feet; a
foot consists of two or three syllables, at least one long and one
short, at most two long and one short. All combinations of two or
three long or short syllables within those limits are permitted. A
syllable is long when it contains a diphthong or a long vowel (only
in southern dialects; long vowels have been shortened or
diphthongized everywhere except in the south) or a vowel followed by
two or more consonants in the same word. The last syllable is usually
unstressed; this is a result of the SOV-ness of Valdyan which makes
the last word of a sentence usually a verb with an unstressed ending.
This rhyme scheme might be very boring if it were not for the
penultimate (stressed) syllables being different and livening it up.
There is a song about King Vegelin the Great (Vegelin II, the
greatest king in history) modelled on the _hanleni halsen_. It has a
great many stanzas (and more are constantly being made up by the
travelling players who use the song in the folk play "King Valain and
the Witch", which is about the battle for the throne between the king
and his sister-in-law) all ending with _duyen anin Valain tay valan_
"when our lord Valain was king"; _Valain_ is a "familiar" and
slightly irreverent form of _Vegelin_, showing that the people who
made the song really liked their king.
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