Lyke​-​Wake Dirge

by Isabel Northwode

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The earliest confirmed date for this song is 1616, but it is thought to be much older. It chronicles the journey a soul must take after death: after one night (ae nighte) in the comforts of home ("fire and fleet and candle-light"/a fire on the floor and candlelight) the soul must journey over the thorny moor ("Whinny-muir"), the Bridge of Dread ("Brig o' Dreead"), and finally to Purgatory itself. At each step the soul is challenged and weighed against the deeds done in life, and is either allowed to pass or is forced to endure the punishment.


This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
—Refrain: Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle-lighte,
—Refrain: And Christe receive thy saule.

When thou from hence away art past
To Whinny-muir thou com'st at last

If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,
Sit thee down and put them on

If hosen and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane
The whinnes sall prick thee to the bare bane.

From Whinny-muir when thou may'st pass,
To Brig o' Dread thou com'st at last;

If ivver thoo gav o' thy siller an' gowd,
At t' Brig o' Dreead thoo'll finnd foothod,

Bud if siller an' gowd thoo nivver gav nean,
Thoo'll doan, doon tum'le towards Hell fleames,

From Brig o' Dread when thou may'st pass,
To Purgatory fire thou com'st at last;

If ever thou gavest meat or drink,
The fire sall never make thee shrink;

If meat or drink thou ne'er gav'st nane,
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane;

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
—Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle-lighte,
—And Christe receive thy saule.


released June 24, 2016



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Isabel Northwode Toronto, Ontario

Peryn Westerhof Nyman, aka Isabel Northwode, is an historical reenactor who performs music from a variety of time periods. Originally from Canada, she is currently based in the UK.

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