Simon & Garfunkel: Scarborough Fair

Simon & Garfunkel Scarborough Fair

Scarborough Fair, una de las canciones de la película El graduado, no es composición original de Simon & Garfunkel sino una adaptación de una canción popular tradicional inglesa de origen medieval. Sus orígenes se remontan al parecer al siglo XII. El título hace referencia a la Feria de Scarborough, que en tiempos medievales representaba uno de los mayores puntos de referencia comercial de toda Inglaterra, con un enorme mercado que se prolongaba durante 45 días a partir del 15 de agosto.

Ambos
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there
for she once was a true love of mine.

Hombre
Tell her to make me a cambric shirt.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
Without no seam nor fine needlework
and then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to wash it in yonder dry well.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
Which never sprung water nor rain ever fell
and then she'll be a true love of mine.

Tell her to dry it on yonder thorn.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
Which never bore blossom since Adam was born
and then she'll be a true love of mine.

Ask her to do me this courtesy.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
And ask for a like favour from me
and then she'll be a true love of mine.

Ambos
Have you been to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
Remember me from one who lives there
for he once was a true love of mine.

Mujer
Ask him to find me an acre of land.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
Between the salt water and the sea-sand,
for then he'll be a true love of mine.

Ask him to plough it with a sheep's horn.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
And sow it all over with one peppercorn,
for then he'll be a true love of mine.

Ask him to reap it with a sickle of leather.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
And gather it up with a rope made of heather,
for then he'll be a true love of mine.

When he has done and finished his work.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Ask him to come for his cambric shirt,
for then he'll be a true love of mine.

Ambos
If you say that you can't, then I shall reply.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and Thyme.
Oh, let me know that at least you will try,
or you'll never be a true love of mine.

Ambos
¿Vas a la feria de Scarborough?
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Dale recuerdos a alguien que vive allí,
a aquella que una vez fue mi amor verdadero.

Hombre
Dile que me haga una camisa de lino.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Sin costuras ni finos bordados
y volverá a ser mi amor verdadero.

Dile que la lave en aquel pozo seco.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
De donde nunca surgió agua ni lluvia alguna cayó,
y volverá a ser mi amor verdadero.

Dile que lo seque sobre aquel espino
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Que nunca ha florecido desde que Adán nació,
y volverá a ser mi amor verdadero.

Pídele que lo haga por cortesía.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Y dile que a su vez me pida ella un favor a mí,
y volverá a ser mi amor verdadero.

Ambos
¿Has estado en la feria de Scarborough?
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Dame noticias de alguien que vive allí
de aquel que una vez fue mi amor verdadero.

Mujer
Pídele que me consiga un acre de tierra.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Entre el agua salada y la arena de la playa,
para que vuelva a ser mi amor verdadero.

Pídele que lo are con un cuerno de cordero.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Y que lo siembre todo de una sola pimienta,
para que vuelva a ser mi amor verdadero.

Pídele que lo siegue con una hoz de cuero.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Y que lo recoja con una cuerda de brezo,
para que vuelva a ser mi amor verdadero.

Cuando lo haya hecho y acabe su trabajo.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Pídele que venga por su camisa de lino,
para que vuelva a ser mi amor verdadero.

Ambos
Si dices que no puedes, entonces te responderé.
Perejil, salvia, romero y tomillo.
Oh, hazme saber que al menos lo intentarás,
o nunca serás mi amor verdadero.

Y como colofón, os dejo un artículo publicado en el Financial Times sobre la historia de esta canción.

Scarborough Fair — the ancient ballad that sparked a modern-day grudge

By David Honigmann

A few years ago, on a wet Wednesday in Basingstoke, Hampshire, The Imagined Village came to town. The collection of folk and world luminaries were dedicated to revitalising the English traditional songbook. One of them was the singer Billy Bragg, better known for DIY political punk. But now, dressed like East End royalty in a moleskin jacket frogged with pearl buttons, he mused about a song he first heard played at a school assembly in Barking, when he was 12, that had awakened in him “tangible feelings of place and belonging … Of the things that we refer to as Englishness”. A familiar guitar pattern rose underneath his words. How could this be, he asked, that “feelings of Englishness could be engendered in me by two Jewish geezers from Queens? How did that happen?”

The guitarist behind him could have answered that. Martin Carthywas not the first person to sing “Scarborough Fair”, not by a long chalk. The song dates back at least to the mid-17th century, and versions of its riddling quarrel between lovers setting each other impossible tasks feature prominently in the Child Ballads, songs anthologised in the 19th century by Francis James Child. Ewan MacColl recorded a dour version in 1957. Shirley Collins and Marianne Faithfullhad a go.

But it was Carthy who arranged it in the form in which it is best known today, Carthy who played it in the folk clubs of London, and Carthy who scribbled down the chords for an expatriate American who, stung by the commercial failure of his album with a childhood friend, was briefly licking his wounds in England.

When Carthy heard a copy of Simon and Garfunkel’s comeback album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, he was irate. Convinced that Paul Simon had not only used his arrangement but copyrighted it, he nurtured a decades-long grudge — and shared it with his English folk colleagues, many of whom had never liked Simon in the first place. Simon would walk into wider controversies when he recorded Graceland in South Africa, but none more deeply felt.

Not that it mattered at the time. “Scarborough Fair”, interwoven with Art Garfunkel’s countermelody “Canticle”, was a hit in 1966 and a bigger one in 1968 when Mike Nichols threaded it throughout the soundtrack of The Graduate. Forget feelings of Englishness; the song engendered feelings of any nationality you can mention. The Brazilian star Sérgio Mendes was quick off the mark with a funky bossa version, the female vocalists of Brasil ’66 audibly somewhere warmer than North Yorkshire. As “In den Gärten der Nacht”, it became a German-language easy-listening classic for Johannes Kalpers. But it was also plausibly Spanish (“La Feria de Scarborough”) or Czech (“Jarmark ve Scarborough”) or Italian (“La Fiera Del Perdone”).

Bobby Gentry and Glen Campbell were one step up from schmaltz, as was Nana Mouskouri (whether in English or French). Hong Kong pop idol Danny Chanw hispered his way through it. Everyone from Harry Belafonte to Edward Woodward to Miss Piggy— duetting with a lute-strumming Simon — went to the fair.

Others repurposed the song in their own ways. Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country” is built on its repeated refrain. The Stone Roses lifted the melody for “Elizabeth My Dear”. In the version by Apologetix, the evangelist J. John Jackson substitutes the words “offer your prayer” and “tell Him to make you a candle on Earth”. In this company, the performance by dystopians Queensrÿcheis almost faithful, verses of what passes in heavy metal for tasteful acoustic filigree alternating with up-to-11 clangs.

What of Martin Carthy? Eventually he grew tired of, in his own words, the “trudge through the grudge”. It turned out that his own publisher had, without his knowledge, copyrighted his arrangement and had been receiving royalties from Simon all along (Carthy had somehow managed to sign away his own claim in the small print of a contract). Carthy and Simon, reconciled, joined forces to sing the song in London in 1998, closing that circle.

So by the time he stood on that Basingstoke stage, Carthy could play “Scarborough Fair” without wincing. It unspooled to an accompaniment of glorious, intricate clouds of sitar from Sheema Mukherjee (usually of Transglobal Underground), the ancient incantation still in restless motion.

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