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William Soutar was one of the most talented of the 20th century Scottish Renaissance poets who worked in the Scots language, often incorporating echoes of traditional forms such as the ballad.
This piece is a simple strophic setting of a stark poem about a love lost at sea. The first two verses beseech the listener for news of the lost fisherman; the third and fourth lead to the shocking truth that his dead body has been found.
Two other William Soutar settings which could be used as companion pieces include Day is Düne and Sang.
Glossary and pronunciation guide included.
O! shairly ye hae seen my love [surely you have] Doun whaur the waters wind: [down where] He walks like ane wha fears nae man [one who fears no man] And yet his e'en are kind. [eyes]
O! shairly ye hae seen my love At the turnin o' the tide; For then he gethers in the nets Doun be the waterside. [down by the waterside]
O! lassie I hae seen your love At the turnin o' the tide; And he was wi' the fisher folk [with] Doun be the waterside.
The fisher folk were at their trade No far frae Walnut Grove; [not far from] They gether'd in their dreepin nets [hanging] And fund your ain true love. [found your own]
William Soutar (1898-1943), from Collected Poems (1948)
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