Home Music Articles Forums Blog Chat More...      

Her answer


by

apb

 Genre: Spoken Word-Poetry

Get Flash to see this player.

Description
For Feter, rschletty and Ceilidh. A recital and some interpretation of the Robert Burns (above) poem Feter mentions in his her answer

I'm no expert, my favourite poems probably being Trigger Happy TVs "5 million" and "blah blah blah" (on youtube) but anyway, I do like Burn's "Tam O'Shanter":

My interpretation is that this is a 3rd party (*should be* female voice (not me) due to the title "Her answer" angrily responding to "the trusted, faithless man" who has turned up, unrepentant for his actions, trying to get in the house, where (presumably) the woman (he has wronged) lives (who he became smitten by in the summer).

I reasoned '3rd party' because of the "Is nocht to what poor she endures" line, instead of "Is nocht to what poor I endure". It still could be a direct response from the wronged woman. (Richard mentions "jo" meaning 'dear' or 'sweetheart', an argument for the direct response from the woman interpretation, although the modern day 'dearie' can be used scornfully to someone other than your sweetheart). It's also paired as a response to another poem O let me in thes ae night (in which it's the man's narrative, clearly trying to worm his way into the house) - would be funny if he
got someone other than his sweetheart- an older woman perhaps, responding :o) .. but if a direct response from said 'sweetheart', the odd "she"'s must refer to womankind in general.

'She' definitely 'ain't happy- perhaps it's because she
sees his excuse of the weather as a weak attempt to worm his way into the house - it is that too, but I think there is hints at she feels wronged by him in some other way, or really has a very bleak perspective on engaging in relations with him, or of 'man' in general.

The female starts by responding to his complaints/plees about the weather and reminds him that what he suffers is nothing compared to what she (womankind) suffers: she is feeling "now trodden (on) like the vilest weed" or would feel like that if she let him in, or has been even (the "now" gave me a leaning to that interpretation).

The last verse 'she' compares
[the wronged] woman (or womankind) to a bird (quite British to this day) that has been become the
prey of a 'Fowl'er (an old occupation of 'keeper or catcher of birds') and a warning/reminder that this is a common fate that befalls unwary, unwise women... and is quite ahead of it's time for womans liberation in the cry for women to be free (from the captivity of men) to choose their own destiny. He 'ain't getting in this night, that's for sure! :o)

Another more romantic inerpretation of this verse, could see the Fowler as her father, who since learning of their relationship in the summer, has confined her and her fear of repercussions and suffering at his hand, is what she endures and talks about, and she does want to let him in but cannot but she's still a bit miffed at the man for thinking it is just him that suffers.

Anyhoo, important things to remember is that in Scottish pronunciation, the last words
of many lines are intended to rhyme (I'd wager)... so I almost got the "disdain" "again" right
but not quite .. still a bit too "a-gen" as in normal English, should be "a-gain".
Same with "hours, pours and endures" all should have "oo" sound and "mead", "weed" and "read" with "ee" sound.

I opted to deliver the "I tell you now" like the Glaswegian fictitious character Rab C. Nesbit (as performed by Gregor Fisher) does his venomous ranting "Ah tell you this!", seemed appropriate :o)

Not sure about "cam" as "came" or as "cam" - I went for "came".

Nowadays, "ance" meaning "once" is commonly said as "wance" in Scottish slang/dialect.

I had a go at my own translation into "the de'il's tongue" as Burns lovingly referred to English as.

Sample used from Freesound (Creative Commons licensed: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/sampling+/1.0/)
October 4, 2007
By acclivity (http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/usersViewSingle.php?id=37876)
SqueakyGate.wav

Thanks to Richard Schletty for his help with the interpretation and translation.
Leave a Comment
You must be registered and logged-in to comment.
Lyrics
Robert Burns (1795)
======================
O tell na me o' wind an' rain, [Oh don't tell me about wind and rain]
Upbraid na me wi' cauld disdain, [Lecture me not with cold disdain]
Gae back the gate ye cam again, [Go back to the gate you came from again]
I winna let ye in, jo. [I won't let you in, dear]

Chorus-I tell you now this ae night, [I tell you now this (one) night]
This ae, ae, ae night; [this one, one, one night]
And ance for a' this ae night, [and once (and) for all- this one night ..]
I winna let ye in, jo. [I won't let you in, dear]

The snellest blast, at mirkest hours, [(weather)The severest blast at darkest hrs]
That round the pathless wand'rer pours [that round the pathless wanderer pours]
Is nocht to what poor she endures, [is nothing to what suffering/hardship she endures]
That's trusted faithless man, jo.
I tell you now, &c.

The sweetest flower that deck'd the mead, [The sweetest flower that covered the meadow?]
Now trodden like the vilest weed-
Let simple maid the lesson read
The weird may be her ain, jo. [The fate/destiny may be her own, dear]
I tell you now, &c.

The bird that charm'd his summer day,
Is now the cruel Fowler's prey;
Let witless, trusting, Woman say
How aft her fate's the same, jo! [how often her fate is the same, dear]
I tell you now, &c.
Song Stats
Hits: 3948
Comments: 35
Fans: 7
Plays: 170
Downloads: 0
Votes: 6
Uploaded: Dec 25, 2007 - 08:07:27 AM
Last Updated: May 27, 2008 - 10:59:21 AM Last Played: Apr 29, 2019 - 04:29:03 AM
Song License
Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Creative Commons

Song Actions
share on facebook share on twitter
Hardware:
Intel Mac Mini 1.66Ghz, 2GB RAM
Rode NT1-A mic with pop-shield
Software:
GB v3,
Ozone 3.
Comments
Outtaorbit said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Damn
Just when I thought I'd learn the speak...I realize I only know American...bummer. Love this.
Check out my latest song called My Last Great Depression
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Thanks ..
this was done following a chat yesterday with Richard and Feter .. as input to help a prospective female singer to
tackle it, to Feter's upload/music.

Considering myself a Celt, and not having done much Burns
before really in my life (Scottish national bard btw, like Shakespeare is to England) I thought I would give it a go and give them a little Christmas pressie and do summat different for me (again), keeps it fun.

My interpretation is probably very wrong .. feels right to
me though ..lol.

It's also a good one to post now, not as a Christmas song
but a reminder for New Year's Eve (or Hogmannay) that "Auld Lang Syne" is by Robert Burns.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
musichead said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
help!!
You are always helping !!! You are a great man!!
Check out my latest song called slow exit
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Thanks Steve ..
.. bit o'culture by-the-way :o)
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
reminds me
of fat bastard..."how'er mooch fer yeer beybee?"
this is a great thing, in all honesty. spoken word is one of my loves. many years ago, i was involved in a venture to bring spoken word and jazz combos to a coffehouse on the university of michigan campus. the deal fell through, but not my love for poetry readings and spoken word... nicely done, and good effects in the background...
merry christmas, Alan
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
LOL - Thanks Allen
.. emphasises why this should be read scornfully by a woman and not me really lol... though Burns was from Ayr (west coast), I do give this the 'harsher' Glaswegian accent - like the Fat Bastard character that (like others in "I married an axe murderer") Mike Myers based on a his Dad (or a Scottish relative of his I believe) from Glasgow .. so he could do a pretty authentic accent, if a little over-the-top for comic effect. Trying to maintain 'scorn' and 'anger' in your tone is surprisingly difficult, especially with drop-ins.

Perhaps we'll hear some poetry from you in the New Year?

God Jul!
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Crazy
LOv e that accent! All I could pick up was Ill tell ya now! very cool Its like a lost language!
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
:o)
.. that wasn't bad going! It's re-assuring to know men were getting a bollocking 212 years ago as well...lol.

Merry Christmas Tim- thanks for the comment.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
Feter said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Her Answer !
man ! ... now I m so thirlled wonder how
this can be sung ? .. I truley enjoyed
listening to the whole recital of this peom
I love it ..and thank you so very much
for the time and the details .hope everyone
would benefit and enjoy this thank you sovery much
Alan ..!!
Check out my latest song called Roll with it
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
:o)
..your welcome Feter, glad you enjoyed it.

/Alan
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Make it a duet?
Excellent! This moves forward Feter's idea. I hope a woman with a nice Gaelic or Scottish comes by and reads this...or sings it...with attitude. Thanks so much, APB.

Jo is derived from joy and means dear or sweetheart
See http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/jo

Snellest means sharpest, most piercing or most acute.
See http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/snellest

I had gotten this far with my translation into Midwestern U.S. English:

Oh, tell not me of wind and rain
Don't scold me with you cold disdain
Go back the way you came again,
I will not let you in, dear.

[Chorus]
I tell you now this very night,
This one and only night;
Once and for all, this night,
I will not let you in, dear.

The sharpest blast, at darkest hours,
That round the pathless wand'rer pours
Is nothing to what she endures
from men who flatter falsely, jo.

This morning, I discovered that "Her Answer" is indeed the woman speaking. She is rebuffing the man in Burn's immediately preceding poem who made these advances to the woman:

O Let Me In Thes Ae Night

O Lassie, are ye sleepin yet,
Or are ye waukin, I wad wit?
For Love has bound me hand an' fit,
And I would fain be in, jo.

Chorus--O let me in this ae night,
This ae, ae, ae night;
O let me in this ae night,
I'll no come back again, jo!

O hear'st thou not the wind an' weet?
Nae star blinks thro' the driving sleet;
Tak pity on my weary feet,
And shield me frae the rain, jo.
O let me in, &c.

The bitter blast that round me blaws,
Unheeded howls, unheeded fa's;
The cauldness o' thy heart's the cause
Of a' my care and pine, jo.
O let me in, &c.

Robert Schumann wrote an innovative "operatic duet" in 1840 called Liebhabers Stšndchen (Op 34 No 2) based on the two consecutive Burns poems mentioned above. In it, he takes the liberty of weaving stanzas from the two poems together so the young man and young woman appear to be in sharp dialog. Here is Wilhelm Gerhard's English translation of the German Liebhabers Stšndchen.

source: http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/notes/33107-B.pdf

Liebhabers Stšndchen (Lover%u2019s Serenade)
by Robert Schumann

He
Are you still awake, my love? Kisses and greetings!
Your lover draws near in the pouring rain.
Love has bound him hand and foot,
He longs to be with his sweetheart.

She
However stormy it is outside,
I know how cunning young men are.
Go back, go back to where you came,
I shall not let you in.

He
O let me in for just one night,
Just this single night,
It is love that brings happiness
(Get up and let me in!)

Listen to the weather-vanes!
Look how the stars are vanishing!
Don%u2019t let me stand here in the rain,
Let me into your little room.

She
Storms that threaten in the night
Cause wanderers who have lost their way
Less danger than the sweet flattery of men
Causes a young and ruddy girl.

He
If you don%u2019t grant me such a favour, my love,
Impatience will be the end of me,
And you alone, yes, you alone
Will be the cause of my early death.

She
No, no, no, no,
I shall not let you in

The little bird that sings and flies,
When he falls prey to the fowler%u2019s wiles,
And is finally trapped in his evil snares, cries:
Appearances are deceptive!

He
O let me in for just one night ...

She
No, no, no, I shall not open up ...


said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
lack of full ASCII support
Oh, no. Here is another case of special characters (like apostrophes and curly quotes) not being supported in these comment boxes. I thought Simon had mapped these special ASCII characters two years ago! Oh well, I think you can figure out how it's supposed to read.
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Thanks Richard ..
.. I hope it helps with pronunciation. I was confused by the "she" in *"Is nocht to what poor she endures" still am ..
even "jo" if it meant "dear" and not sweetheart, can be like modern day "dearie" or just someone "dear to me" perhaps.

Even when paired as the reply to the previous poem .. would be funny if he got the scolding rebuke from another than the
sweetheart he was trying to wake to let him in :o)
.. but I suspect you are right, despite the confusing * line.
I like your translation too - though I'm not sure if there is any flattering in "That's trusted faithless man, jo"- certainly derogatory.

Was fun to dig into and help as best I could. Thanks for
the feedback.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Curiosity #2
.. where did you find "snellest" meant "sharpest". That
particular word interested me you see.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Yo
Alan: I gave you the dictionary links above for snellest and
jo. The dictionary also has murkest but not mirkest.

As far as that line you question, I took a clue from the German libretto:

Storms that threaten in the night
Cause wanderers who have lost their way
Less danger than the sweet flattery of men
Causes a young and ruddy girl.

I am probably too harsh in translating as: "nothing to what she endures from men who flatter falsely, jo."

It seems to me that as the lassie speaks of "woman" in the third person, she is actually talking about herself. Of course I am no expert and I don't know a lick of Scottish.
said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
options
I translated snellest as sharpest because it fits the meter of that line and is synonymous with keenest, most piercing or most acute. Again, please see:

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/snellest
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
sharp
.. or piercing wind does make more sense. Sorry, missed the reference first skim through.

I'll update accordingly, thanks again for the enlightening
feedback, your a scholar and a gentleman.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
even ..
severest blast .. it's all academic - it's nasty out there
weather wise ..lol. :o)
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
mirk
does appear to be a synonym of "murk" see
mirk
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Olde Scottish to now
Very good, then. Enjoying the hunt for modern meaning.
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Found "weird"!
in obvious place: http://www.yourdictionary.com ..lol
has obsolete meaning: fate/destiny .. that makes that line a
bit clearer! :o)

I don't get the "cunning young men" bit from Schumann's
opera .. and the wanderer could simply be him?? .. rather
than 3rd party, but even if 3rd party.. I didn't see the connection there to 'causing her less danger' in the original text. (?)
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
I think ..
.. reading more in depth, that Schumann's interpretation was very romantic and thus the translation back from German to English is likely to have kept that romantic outlook. Burn's was by and large a romantic poet by all accounts- not always though.

I noted the absence of translation of the "now trodden like the vilest weed" and this 'flattery' and 'appearances are deceptive' seems pulled out of the air. The previous poem he states his love for her and that it's the coldness of her heart thats the cause "Of a' my care and pine"..no flattery I could detect, unless the statement of love is the flattery?.. she addresses his remark perhaps with "Upbraid na me wi' cauld disdain".

Why would she feel "trodden (on) like the vilest weed"?
Unless engaging in relations with the man makes her feel
that she'll move from the flower of the meadow to a squashed
weed...lol. Perhaps Schumann opted to censor this line.

I think there will be many unanswerable questions- fun
to try interpreting it all the same.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
jiguma said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Love that kind of talk!
Reminds me of my dad's mother - when she came to live with us (which she did for 25 years) none of my friends could understand a word she said. Not quite the same accent, but a strong one none the less. Actually, even after 25 years they couldn't understand her :)

The CD's on it's way Alann - it's a bloody long way from here to Sweden after all :)

Best wishes for 2008 - have a good Christmas day!

Neil
Check out my latest song called Closing Down
apb said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
:o)
thanks Neil. I'm sure your CD will get here soon .. bit worried your postal service are equipped with the same form of transport as in your picture though ;o)

Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmannay! weee hoo!! (dee dee diddly dee etc)
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
ceilidh said 4227 days ago (December 25th, 2007)
Alan
I lost my heart forever. Oh boy.........
Check out my latest song called Gartan Mother's Lullaby
apb said 4225 days ago (December 27th, 2007)
Burns
..was always popular with the ladies. Thanks for stopping in Pavla, glad you enjoyed this.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
said 4226 days ago (December 26th, 2007)
Nice one APB!
Well read!
apb said 4225 days ago (December 27th, 2007)
Thanks!
Great to get a nod from a fellow X-pat. Here ..
you'll like this: Christmas present
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
said 4224 days ago (December 28th, 2007)
I dig it!
tis a good poem to boot.
The style in which it was read is very suiting. I can see where you say that adding an angry tone is hard to do.
one thing that struck me was the quality of your voice. very nice!
having studied oral interpretation for a semester, i try to pick up on vocal inflections, tone, rate, and other nuances,etc...
i must say, nicely done alan!
apb said 4222 days ago (December 30th, 2007)
Thanks Jason
.. I did my best, but highly amateurish. I think I can honestly say I can count the times in my life I've read Burns poems on one hand, was fun trying.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
HipHopMoses said 4222 days ago (December 30th, 2007)
It's always about...
In any dialect it's always about the Ladies LOL. Nice post enjoyed the reading... not that it needed it but did you ever consider some music to match the ambience you have, maybe accenting the storm but also picking up on the rose amongst the weeds and or the bird that is now prey...I think it would be interesting to hear your take on it :D Thanks for sharing.
Moses
Check out my latest song called Would It Be
apb said 4222 days ago (December 30th, 2007)
Thanks ..
.. hmm, I haven't considered doing music for it myself but this post did have a little guest appearance in this fine "Sloppy Sally" experimental number: "The Piper and the Lovingly Kidnapped Drummer Boy".

I think 'the bird' is best left as a metaphor personally... and all I hear is torrential rain and wind, common Scottish weather :o)

Thanks for stopping by, listening and sharing your thoughts.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
saymme said 4038 days ago (July 1st, 2008)
Alan !
tx for this wonderful poem You do it so well...! (!) I'm back, been sometime since I heard it ! AMAZING language/dialect WOW ! Very well performed just perfect & the rain makes it even better ! : ) : )
Interesting w the Beatles interview8 )
http://www.macjams.com/forum/viewtopic.php?forum=22;showtopic=131689

tx PLR ! helena
apb said 4038 days ago (July 1st, 2008)
Tack Helena

..I'm the last person to be doing poetry really. It was just a bit of fun and hopefully of some use/input to Feter/rschletty in their duet idea/venture based on this poem set by Scotland's bard, Robert Burns.
Check out my latest song called Stowaway
caroline said 3830 days ago (January 25th, 2009)
cool....
wet! lovely to hear your voice alan - happy burn's nite xoxoxo
Check out my latest song called i'm a reunion maid MJRF 2010
Artist Info
artist photo
Name: Alan
Location: Sweden
send a note
My bio APB is my initials and although I'm from Scotland originally and do music, I have nothing else to do with APB (the band) just so you know. I have been fortunate to have been interviewed by Tobin Mueller for the MacJams Mu... [see more]

Check out some of my other songs:

Chat
Who's Online
176tune
Invisible Members: 0
Visitors: 141
Links