Folk songs


The Song of the Spectres

[image: The Song of the Spectres.]

The Song of the Spectres.

When I was small I went
One afternoon, all by myself,
To Sion the Smith at Cellan
To fetch a peat–cutter
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

Wil and Lewys Leyshon
Were mending pothooks,
And Siorsi Wil and Sioni Sam
Were talking about ghosts
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

They talked of the Witch Ghost,
The Fairy Folk and the Goblin,
And a spectre with a terrible wail
That terrified the neighbourhood
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

Wiliam Puw from the Mill
And Nel came in, laughing,
Taling of the spirit of Mari Mwm
Following Twm Penderyn.
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

[People had seen] the ghost of a greyhound
Crossing the brow of the hill,
The ghost of the Gelli Thorn manservant
And the ghost of a horn winding
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

The ghosts of mewling cats,
The ghosts of cackling hens,
The ghost of Siorsi Wil's maid
Snoring in the inglenook
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

The ghost of Sian carding [wool]
And spinning it between her fingers,
The ghost of little Georgie [from] Penhill,
And the ghost of Wil shaving.
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

Bilo the Butcher's ghost
Crossing Loughor bridge
Terrifying the whole neighbourhood
By following Deio the Boatman
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

Sometimes the ghost of a funeral –
Great and small together –
The ghosts of noisy pigs,
And the ghosts of dogs, fighting
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

The ghost of a fine lady
Buying the ghost of a sheet;
The ghost of a plane and a carpenter’s axe,
The ghost of a square and compass
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.

The ghosts of people beginning
To make the ghost of a coffin,
Along with the ghost of a man with long strides
Running to [get hold of] the rope.
Sing dee–wack, ffoldi ridldi rai, ffoldi ridldi rai do.


Can yr Ysprydion.mp3
The Song of the Spectres

SFNHM Tape 635. Collected 14.2.64 from Mrs Edith Edwards (b. 1881), Neuadd–wen, Ystradgynlais, in the Swansea Valley.


Notes

Seven stanzas only were performed by the singer; the remainder of the 11 stanzas published in the present volume were among 18 later found on a (?19th century) 'ballad' leaflet. The complete text (which is in triban metre, incidentally) for the most part lists a series of apparitions. Although humorously intended, the whole amounts to a formless and somewhat tedious catalogue, but no doubt its numerous local allusions would have ensured its appeal, if only to a limited audience, when it was first published. The author is named on the leaflet as 'Deio Bach y Cantwr' ('Little Deio the Songster'). From another of his leaflet songs we learn that this was Dafydd Williams, a native of Morriston, near Swansea, who was eventually blinded after nearly forty years as a furnace–man at various works in Glamorgan: Cyfarthfa, Dowlais, Pen–y–cae, Cwmafan and Briton Ferry.

Click here to download the music to The Song of the Spectres
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