Coronach (Mick Swithinbank)

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  • CPDL #16263:   
Editor: Mick Swithinbank (submitted 2008-02-27).   Score information: A4, 8 pages, 87 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Coronach
Composer: Mick Swithinbank
Lyricist: Alexander Scott (1920-1989) - Note: the composer has not been able to identify, or therefore to contact for permission, the copyright-holder to the words, but would be very happy to hear from them whether they have any objection to publication of this setting of a widely anthologised and deeply moving poem.

Number of voices: 6vv   Voicing: SATTBB (with minor divisions in S&A)
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: Lowland Scots
Instruments: A cappella

First published:

Description:

External websites:

Original text and translations

Lowland_Scots.png Lowland Scots text

Coronach (for the dead of the 5/7th Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders)
Waement the deid
I never did,
Ower gled I was ane o the lave
That someway baid alive
Tae trauchle my thowless hert
Wi ithers' hurt.

But nou that I'm far
Frae the fechtin's fear,
Nou I hae won awa frae aa thon pain
Back til my beuks and my pen,
They croud around me oot o the grave
Whar luve and langerie and blyness grieve.

Cryan the cauld words:
'We hae dree'd oor weirds,
But you that byde ahin,
Ayont oor ugsome hyne,
You are the flesh we aince hae been,
We that are bruckle brokken bane.'

Cryan a drumlie speak:
'You hae the words we spak,
You hae the sang
We canna sing,
Sen daith maun skail
The makar's skill.

'Makar, frae nou ye maun
Be singan for us deid men,
Sing til the warld we loo'd
For aa that its brichtness lee'd,
And tell hou the sudden nicht
Cam doun and made us nocht.'

Waement the deid
I never did,
But nou I am safe awa
I hear their wae
Greetan, greetan dark an daw
Till I their biddin dae.

English.png English translation

Dirge
Lament the dead
I never did:
too glad I was to be among those
who, somehow, survived,
to burden my spiritless heart
with others' hurt.

But now that I'm far
from the fear of the fighting,
now I have escaped from all that pain,
back to my books and my pen,
they crowd around me out of the grave,
where love, homesickness and happiness grieve,

Crying the cold words:
'We have suffered our fates,
but you that remain behind
after our terrible departure,
you are the flesh we once were,
we that are brittle broken bone.'

Crying confusedly:
'You have the words we spoke,
you have the song
we cannot sing,
as death must destroy
the poet's skill.

Poet, from now on you must
sing for us dead men,
sing to the world we loved,
no matter how its brightness lied,
and tell how the sudden night
came down and made us naught.'

Lament the dead
I never did,
but now that I am safely away,
I hear their woe,
lamenting darkly, unceasingly,
till I their bidding do.

Translation by Mick Swithinbank