Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beltane Chase Song? Folklorists in the house?

Many of you may be familiar with the "Beltane Chase Song," found in full here: (I chose this atheist link because it didn't involve purple, sparkly backgrounds.)

Now, I'm seeing this song described here and there as "traditional." Is it? Because it sounds suspiciously to me like somebody sat down and wrote it only a few decades ago. Probably because the series of transformations described closely mirrors those found in the story of Taliesin's birth by Cerridwen, only here, the female is being chased while the male is doing the chasing. The verses also closely mirror Isobel Gowdie's rhyme for turning into a hare. (I'd link, but this is easily googled.) I guess that doesn't mean some Victorian gentleman couldn't have been inspired by the Welsh story and composed this, or that the turns of phrase Gowdie used weren't common in traditional British verse. But I wouldn't know for sure. Does anyone have any thoughts?

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