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The Uffington Horse



 Genre: Ballad

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This is a song that comes out of the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, England, so called because a figure of great antiquity is cut into the chalk hill near a place called Uffington, mostly interpreted as a horse at full gallop. It is thousands of years old, and is often associated with Epona, a Celtic Horse Goddess, or a precursor deity of even greater antiquity. There is extensive evidence of ancient burials on the slopes beneath it, so a connection with the fate of the dead seems natural, as if Epona, in the form of a great horse, was to carry the souls of the dead to the afterlife. One of the remarkable things about this figure is the strikingly dynamic and modern way in which the horse is presented, with simple, curving lines evidently aiming at artistic effect rather than painstaking naturalism. Another interesting point is that the figure is best seen from the air, as if underlining a symbolic function somehow midway between earth and sky.

There is something about the passage of a dead soul into something effortless, wonderful, and beautiful that strikes a chord even to this day, regardless of religious dogma, as if symbolic of a mystical truth that did not elude our distant ancestors, despite their otherwise strange and inscrutable ways.

It is not a considerable piece of music in itself, remaining rather unadorned, but nevertheless i hope that it conveys something of how it feels to see the horse near the wide, open sky in that majestic vale.
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The Uffington Horse

Up by the sky,
They buried their dead,
High under Uffington Hill,
Under the figure that looks to the West,
Forever both running and still.

How people ponder,
An age that has flown,
In the breeze where the sky-voices blow,

And ask why was the great horse was
made on the hill,
White in the green long ago?

But, oh, didn't you know, my friend,
That when you die,
You ride,
On horseback.!

Bones that were weathered,
And eaten and worn,
Lives that were hard and afraid,
Under the symbol that stays with the dead,
Their emptied out bodies were laid.

Still do the dying,
And the living look up,
To where the great horse figure flows,
Striding so gracefully out to the west,
Can’t you feel in your heart where it goes?

‘cos ,Oh....
Song Stats
Hits: 2808
Comments: 16
Fans: 5
Plays: 37
Downloads: 56
Votes: 0
Uploaded: Sep 10, 2010 - 05:28:25 AM
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2010 - 05:28:25 AM Last Played: Jun 17, 2019 - 07:50:01 AM
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Classical guitar.
ted23 said 3233 days ago (September 10th, 2010)
My lovely horse
I have memories of seeing this horse as a kid from the back of my dads car as we were heading somewhere on holiday.
Really like your song, the guitar tone is wonderful and I like your vocal,
Very nice

mrattue said 3232 days ago (September 10th, 2010)
Thank You!
Thanks for listening. The guitar i used is an old classical instrument that has been knocked about and weathered over the years every which way but still somehow contrives to sound good. This sort of song will probably only appeal to one or two listeners, but it is still a great feeling to know that it came over well to you. Being solitary plodder, it's gold dust.


Check out my latest song called Second Wind
johnwhitehead said 3232 days ago (September 10th, 2010)
Interesting & well sung melody. Love the harmonies at end. Evocative lyrics, too. Enjoyed this.
Check out my latest song called Wandering Blues
mrattue said 3232 days ago (September 11th, 2010)
Hats Off
Thanks for the comments. Really glad you liked it. Listened to your impressive and highly enjoyable bluegrass track (still bumping down that old road as i type!) and i take my hat (not a stetson) off to you for having time for a different and simple song from an English landscape.
Check out my latest song called Second Wind
michaeljayklein said 3232 days ago (September 10th, 2010)
Well done!
Very poetic lyrics--and nicely delivered!
Check out my latest song called There Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens!
mrattue said 3232 days ago (September 11th, 2010)
Thanks for the kudos. Impressed how MacJammers flit between genres and find something worthwhile in the strangest and simplest songs, even if they are far from what they normally listen to. Always felt a bit out of it before joining this crazy community. Not any more!
Check out my latest song called Second Wind
Symphony101 said 3232 days ago (September 11th, 2010)
Pure beauty
It's so authentic and beautiful ! Really heartfelt. Loved this !
Check out my latest song called Standing On The Brink (w/ Mosaica)
mrattue said 3231 days ago (September 11th, 2010)
Thank You!
Can't ask for much higher praise than that. All downhill from here! I really appreciate your taking time to comment. Thanks for listening.


Check out my latest song called Second Wind
Hickling_Stan said 3231 days ago (September 12th, 2010)
Nice one Marc. Simple but very heartfelt performance. If I could offer any advice the song sounds rather "hissy" in my headphones and the balence is a bit heavy in favour of the vocals over the nice guitar playing. Experiment a bit with your mic position and your recording levels and you should be able to improve the production for only limited effort. Cheers mark
Check out my latest song called Stone Nicely Stone
mrattue said 3230 days ago (September 12th, 2010)
Thanks for the pointers!
Both points are valid, i think. The guitar was not set up with even a mic, but just played close to my little mixing desk that has its own inbuilt, wide focus pickup. Inevitable that some hiss is going to get through. The plus side is that it seems to help achieve a warm sort of sound. The vocals are probably a bit too high, i agree, although the song is all about the lyrics and i suppose i wanted to make sure that they got across. Thanks for listening, and thanks for commenting.
Check out my latest song called Second Wind
magnatone said 3230 days ago (September 12th, 2010)
Uffington Horse
I've never seen this image before - what a fascinating story - i went and read up on it after reading your description. you captured the feel of it beautifully. i especially love your harmonies toward the end, and it might be cool to have more of them throughout the song. your voice has a very easy, natural flavor that suits this song well - congrats!
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and Variations
mrattue said 3230 days ago (September 13th, 2010)
Antique art
To be honest, i thought the subject matter too obscure, and the song too simple, but MacJams proved me wrong again! Glad it caught your eye and your interest! The horse figure has been doing that for a very long time, and will be doing it for a long time yet, i think.
Check out my latest song called Second Wind
jdholliday said 3230 days ago (September 12th, 2010)
amazingly well written
and equally well sung, great song!
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mrattue said 3230 days ago (September 13th, 2010)
Thank you!
Really surprised how this one has taken off and galloped away with some MacJammers! Thank you so much for your comments!
Check out my latest song called Second Wind
Char said 3114 days ago (January 6th, 2011)
Thank you
for the history lesson and the evocative song about the place and the meaning underlying its construction. Soothing but not at all sad. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Bound, v2. w Music by Dirigent
mrattue said 3113 days ago (January 7th, 2011)
Not Sad
Not possible to be sad on a galloping horse! With the wide green lines of that vale below, and the sky close enough to touch as the grassy hillside flies by below the thundering hoofbeats!

Check out my latest song called Second Wind
Artist Info
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Name: Marc Rattue
Location: Warminster United Kingdom
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Fifty something, reclusive, seafaring latecomer, up until a year or so ago a writer of poetry, but more recently moved into music, having found that the production of songs was possible with a minimum of talent with the aid of modern technology! I... [see more]

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Genre Info
A ballad is a story in a song, usually a narrative song or poem. It is a rhythmic saga of a past affair, which may be heroic, romantic or satirical, political (affected by the previous three types mentioned, refers to either glorifying the exploits o

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