“Sair fyel’d hinny” (William Whittaker)

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  • (Posted 2023-12-20)  CPDL #78383:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-12-20).   Score information: Letter, 8 pages, 558 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: “Sair fyel’d hinny”
Composer: Anonymous (Traditional)
Arranger: William Whittaker
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB, divisi
Genre: SecularPartsongFolksong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1914 Stainer & Bell
Description:  Note by Whittaker: The picture is a pathetic one of an old man addressing a tree which he has known since youth, and comparing the condition of his active manhood with that od his decrepit old age. Noe he is “sair fyel’d” (sorely failed); when he was young he could leap a dyke, now he can scarcely step over a “syke” (an old Anglo-Saxon word for a tiny streamlet).

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Sair fyel’d hinny,
Sair fyel’d noo,
Sair fyel’d hinny,
Sin’ aa ken’d thoo.

Aa was young and lusty,
Aa was fair and clear,
Aa was young and lusty
Mony a lang year.

When aa was young and lusty,
Aa could loup a dyke,
But noo aa’m aad and stiff,
Aa can hardly step a syke.

When aa was five and twenty
Aa was brave and baald,
Noo at five and sixty
Aa’m byeth stiff and caald.

Thus said the aad man
To the Oak tree.
Sair fyel’d is aa
Sin’ aa ken’d thee.