Category Archives: Love

Kitty of Coleraine

As beautiful Kitty one morning was tripping,
With a pitcher of milk for the fair at Coleraine,
When she saw me she stumbled, the pitcher down tumbled,
And all the sweet buttermilk watered the plain.
“Oh, what shall I do now! ‘Twas looking at you now,
I’m sure such a pitcher I’ll ne’er see again.
‘Twas the pride of my dairy – oh, Barney McCleary,
You’re sent as a plague to the girls at Coleraine.”


I sat down beside her, and gently did chide her
That such a misfortune should give her such pain;
‘Twas the haymaking season – I can’t tell leave her
she vowed for such pleasure she’d break it again.
‘Twas the haymaking season, I can’t tell the reason,
misfortunes will never come singly, ‘tis plain.
For very soon after poor Kitty’s disaster,
The devil a pitcher was whole in Coleraine.

Mary of Tralee

Och hone! And is it true then that my love is coming back again?
And will his face like sunshine come to glad my cottage door?
‘Tis then the clouds will wear away and never will look black again,
For he’s written me a letter and we soon shall meet once more
He tells me he has gold in tore, but oh! he tells me something more,
He says tho’ we’ve been parted he has still been true to me;
And I’ve to him been faithful too, and will my dream at last come true?
Perhaps it’s in a coach and four he’s coming back from sea he’s coming back to me,
And he’s welcome as the sunshine to Mary of Tralee.


Och, hone! When Terry went away, it’s little we’d between us then,
We pledged our hearst, ’twas nothing else that we had got to pledge;
A heart of stone I’m sure it would have melted to have seen us then,
But the only stones that saw us were the cold ones ‘neath the hedge;
But now a lady he’ll make me, and Terry Lord Lieutenant be,
And won’t we keep a pig or two, if that should be the case!
But in spite of all his gold in store, if we but meet to part no more,
I’d give up every penny jist to see his darlin’ face,
For, he’s comin’ back to me,
And he’s welcome as the sunshine to Mary of Tralee.

Och, Terry, and I knew it, will become a great and mighty man,
There never was his equal, as I told him long ago;
He only had one failing, that he often was a flighty man,
But sure that was the whiskey, and not Terry’s self, you know.
But now that he has wiser grown, the whiskey p’r’haps he’ll let alone.
And if the boy for spirit lacks, he’ll find enough in me;
For when I ride in all my state, and he a Duke or Magistrate,
Sure not a pair more illigant in Dublin town you’ll see.
For he’s coming back to me,
And he’s welcome as the sunshine to Mary of Tralee.

Henry Joy McCracken (Version II)

It was on the Belfast mountains I heard a maid complain
And she vexed the sweet June evening with her heart-broken strain,
Saying “Woe is me, life’s anguish is more than I can dree,
Since Henry Joy McCracken died on the gallows tree.


“At Donegore he proudly rode and he wore a suit of green,
And brave though vain at Antrim his sword flashed lightening keen,
And when by spies surrounded his band to Slemish fled,
He came unto the Cavehill for to rest his weary head.

“I watched for him each night long as in our cot he slept,
At daybreak to the heather to McArt’s fort we crept,
When news came from Greencastle of a good ship anchored nigh,
And down by wee fountain we met to say good-bye.
‘He says, “My Love be cheerful for tears and fears are vain,”
He says, “My love be hopeful our land shall rise again,”
He kissed me ever fondly; he kissed me three times o’er,
Saying, “Death shall never part us my love forever more.”

‘That night I climbed the Cavehill and watched till morning blazed,
And when its fires had kindled across the loch I gazed,
I saw an English tender at anchor off Garmoyle,
But alas! No good ship bore him away to France’s soil.

And twice that night a tramping came from the old shore road,
‘Twas Ellis and his yeomen, false Niblock with them strode,
My father home returning the doleful story told,
“Alas,” he says, ” young Harry Joy for fifty pound is sold.”

“And is it true,” I asked her, “Yes it is true,” she said,
“For to this heart that loved him I pressed his gory head,
And every night pale bleeding his ghost comes to my side,
My Harry, my dead Harry, comes to his promised bride.”

Now on the Belfast Mountains this fair maid’s voice is still,
For in a grave they laid her on high Carnmoney Hill,
And the sad waves beneath her chant a requiem for the dead,
The rebel wind shrieks freedom above her weary head.

Vince Hearns

Vince Hearns

This is a second song about Henry Joy that I got from the singing of my friend Tim Lyons when we lived in Co. Clare. Tim subsequently recorded this song, which was written I believe by T.P. Cuming, although some ascribe its composition to P.J.McCall also. The song is the expression of the sentiments of Mary Bodle by whom McCracken fathered a child.

Two available versions.

Moorlough Mary

The first time I saw young Moorlough Mary
‘Twas in a market of Sweet Strabane;
Her smiling countenance were so engaging,
All other fair ones she did trapan.
Her killing glances bereave my senses;
No rest can I find either night or day;
In my silent slumber I start with wonder,
Saying ‘Moorluogh Mary, will you come away?’


From Moorlough banks I will never wander,
Where heifers gaze on yon pleasant soil;
Where lambkins sporting, fair maids resorting,
The timorous hare, and blue heather bell.
I’ll press my cheese, and my wool I’ll tease,
And my ewes I’ll milk by the eve of day;
The hurling moor-cock and lark alarms me;
From Bonnie Moorlough I’ll never stray.

I’ll go down to yon woodland to my situation,
Where recreation is all in view,
On the river Mourne where salmons sporting,
And sounding echoes bring something new.
The thrush and blackbird will join in chorus
With notes melodious on Liskea brae,
And the sweet lough stream I would restore you,
Saying’Moorlough Mary, will you come away?’

Were I a man of great education,
As I heard the wild ochone.
I’d lean my head on her snowy bosom,
In wedlock’s band, love, give me your hand.
I’d entertain her both eve and morning;
With robes I’d dress her both rich and gay;
With kisses sweet I would embrace her,
Saying ‘Moorlough Mary, will you come away?’

Fare thee well, then, young Moorlough Mary,
Ten thousand times I’ve bid you adieu;
While life remains in my glowing bosom.
I’ll never cease, love, but to think of you.
I’ll build my house upon yon high mountain,
I’ll deck it round with the berry tree,
Since I have gained you, young Moorlough Mary,
Though often times you have strayed from me.

Kitty Tyrell by Samuel Lover

You’re looking as fresh as the morn,
Darling,
You’re looking as bright as the day ;
But while on your charms I’m dilating
You’re stealing my poor heart away.
But keep it and welcome, mavourneen,
It’s loss I’m not going to mourn;
Yet one heart’s enough for a body,
So, pray give me yours in return;
Mavourneen, mavourneen,
O, pray, give me yours in return.


I’ve built me a neat little cot, darling,
I’ve pigs and potatoes in store;
I’ve twenty good pounds in the bank, love,
And may be a pound or two more.
It’s all very well to have riches,
But I’m such a covetous elf,
I can’t help sighing for something,
And darling that something’s yourself;
Mavourneen, mavourneen,
And that something, you know, is
Yourself.

You’re smiling, and that’s a good sign darling,
Say “yes,” and you’ll never repent ;
Or, if you would rather be silent
Your silence I’ll take for consent.
That good-natured dimple’s a tell-tale,
Now all that I have is your own ;
This week you’ll be Kitty Tyrell,
Next week you’ll be Mistress Malone;
Mavourneen, mavourneen,
You’ll be my own Mistress Malone.

The Low Backed Car

When first I saw sweet Peggy,
‘Twas on a market day,
A low-backed car she drove, and sat
Upon a truss of hay;
But when that hay was blooming grass,
And decked with flowers of Spring,
No flow’r was there that could compare
With the blooming girl I sing.
As she sat in her low-backed car –
The man at the turnpike bar
Never asked for the toll,
But just rubbed his owld poll
And looked after the low-backed car.


In battle’s wild commotion,
The proud and mighty Mars,
With hostile scythes, demands his tithes
Of death – in warlike cars;
While Peggy, peaceful goddess,
Has darts in her bright eye,
That knock men down, in the market town,
As right and left they fly –
While she sits in her low-backed car,
Than battle more dangerous far –
For the doctor’s art,
Cannot cure the heart
That is hit from that low-backed car.

Sweet Peggy, round her car, sir,
Has strings of ducks and geese,
BUT the scores of hearts she slaughters
By far out-number these;
While she among her poultry sits,
Just like a turtle dove,
Well worth the cage, I do engage,
Of the blooming god oflove!
While she sits in her low-backed car,
The lovers come near and far,
And envy the chicken
That Peggy is pickin’,
As she sits in her low-backed car.

0, I’d rather own that car, sir,
With Peggy, by my side,
Than a coach-and-four and gold galore,
And a lady for my bride;
For the lady would sit forninst me,
On a cushion made with taste,
While Peggy would sit beside me
With my arm around her waist –
While we drove in the low-backed car,
To be married by Father Maher,
Oh, my heart would beat high
At her glance and her sigh –
Though it beat in a low-backed car.

The Dawning of the Day

One morning early I walked forth
By the margin of Lough Leane
The sunshine dressed the trees in green
And summer bloomed again
I left the town and wandered on
Through fields all green and gay
And whom should I meet but a colleen sweet
At the dawning of the day.


No cap or cloak this maiden wore
Her neck and feet were bare
Down to the grass in ringlets fell
Her glossy golden hair
A milking pail was in her hand
She was lovely, young and gay
She wore the palm from Venus bright
By the dawning of the day.

On a mossy bank I sat me down
With the maiden by my side
With gentle words I courted her
And asked her to be my bride
She said, “Young man don’t bring me blame”
And swiftly turned away
And the morning light was shining bright
At the dawning of the day.

The Love Sick Maid

The winter it is past,
And the summer’s come at last,
And the small birds sing on every tree;
The hearts of those are glad,
Whilst mine is very sad,
Whilst my true love is absent from me.


I’ll put on my can of black,
And fringe about my neck,
And rings on my fingers I’ll wear;
And this I’ll undertake,
For my true lover’s sake,
For he rides at the Curragh of Kildare.

A livery I’ll wear,
And I’ll comb down my hair,
And I’ll dress in the velvet so green;
Straightways I will repair
To the Curragh of Kildare,
And ’tis there I will get tidings of him.

With patience she did wait,
Till the ran for the plate,
In thinking young Johnston to see;
But fortune proved unkind
To that sweetheart of mine,
For he’s gone to Lurgan for me.

I should not think it strange,
The wide world for to range,
If I could obtain my heart’s delight;
But here in Cupid’s chains
I’m obliged to remain,
Whilst in tears do I spend the whole night.

My love is like the sun,
That in the firmament doth run,
Which is always constant and true;
But yours is like the moon,
That doth wander up and down,
And in every month it’s new.

All you that are in love,
And cannot it remove,
For you pitied are by me;
Experience makes me know
That you heart is full of woe,
Since my true love is absent from me.

Farewell, my joy and heart,
Since you and I must part,
You are the fairest that e’er I did see;
And I never do design
For to alter my mind
Although you are below my degree.

Kerry Dance

Oh! The days of the Kerry dancing, oh! The ring of the piper’s tune,
Oh! For one of those hours of gladness, gone, alas! Like youth, too soon!
When the boys being to gather in the glen of a summer nigh,
And the Kerry piper’s tuning made us long with wild delight.


Chorus
Oh! To think of it, oh! To dream of it, fills my heart with tears;
Oh! The days of the Kerry dancing, oh! The ring of the piper’s tune;
Oh! for one of those hours of gladness, gone, alas! Like youth, too soon.

Refrain
Time goes on and the happy years are dead,
And one by one the merry hearts are fled;
Silent now is the wild and lonely glen,
Where the bright glad laugh will echo ne’er again.

Only dreaming of days gone by, in my heart I hear
Loving voices of old companions, stealing out of the past once more –
And the sound of the dear old music, soft and sweet as in days of yore,
When the boys began to gather in the glen of a summer night,
And the Kerry piper’s tuning made us long with wild delight.

Was there ever a sweeter colleen in the dance than Eily More?
Or a prouder lad than Thady, as he boldly took the floor?
“Lads and lasses to your places, up the middle and down again,”
Ah! The merry-hearted laughter ringing through the happy glen.

I’m lonesome since I crossed the hills and o’er the moor that’s sedgy;
With heavy thoughts my mind is filled, since I have parted with Peggy.
Whene’er I turn to view the place, the tears doth fall and blind me,
When I think on the charming grace of the girl I left behind me.

The hours I remember well when next to see doth move me;
The burning flames in my heart doth tell, since first she owned she loved me.
In search of someone fair and gay, several doth remind me;
I know my darling loves me well, though I left her far behind me.

The bees shall lavish, make no store, and the dove become a ranger;
The fallen water cease to roar, before I’ll ever change her.
Each mutual promise faithfully made by her whom tears doth blind me,
And bless the hour I pass away with the girl I left behind me.

My mind her image full retains, whether asleep or waking;
I hope to see my jewel again, for her my heart is breaking.
But if ever I chance to go that way, and that she has not resigned me,
I’ll reconcile my mind and stay with the girl I left behind me.

Mary Le More

As I strayed o’er the common on Cork’s rugged border,
While the dewdrops of morn the sweet primrose arrayed ;
I saw a poor female whose mental disorder,
Her quick glancing eye and wild aspect betrayed.
On the sward she reclined, by the green fern surrounded,
At her side speckled daisies and wild flowers abounded ;
To its inmost recesses, her heart had been wounded,
Her sighs were unceasing, ’twas Mary Le More.


Her charms by the keen blasts of sorrow had faded,
Yet the soft tinge of beauty still played on her cheek ;
Her tresses a wreath of primroses braided,
And strings of fresh daisies hung loose on her neck.
While with pity I gazed, she exclaimed “O, my mother!
See the blood on the lash! ’tis the blood of my brother –
They have torn his poor flesh! and they now strip another –
‘Tis Connor – the friend of poor Mary Le More.”

Though his locks were as white as the foam on the ocean,
Those wretches shall find that my father is brave;
“My father!” she cried, with the wildest emotion,
Ah, no! my poor father now sleeps in his grave.
They have tolled his death bell, they’ve laid the turf o’er him,
His white locks were bloody, no aid would restore him ;
He is gone! he is gone! and the good will deplore him,
When the blue waves of Erin hide Mary Le More.

A lark from the gold blossomed furze that grew near her,
Now rose and with energy carolled his lay ;
“Hush! Hush!” she continued, “the trumpet sounds clearer,
the horsemen approach! Erin’s daughters away!
Ah! soldiers, ’twas foul, while the cabin was burning,
And o’er a pale father a wretch had been mourning –
Go hide with the seamew, ye maids and take warning,
Those ruffians have ruined poor Mary Le More.

“Away! Bring the ointment – O God! See the gashes!
Alas! my poor brother, come dry my big tear!
Anon we’ll have vengeance for those dreadful lashes,
Already the screechowl and raven appear.
By day the green grave that lies under the willow,
With wild flowers I’ll strew and by night make my pillow,
‘Till the ooze and dark seaweed beneath the curled billow
Shall furnish a deathbed for Mary Le More”

There raved the poor maniac, in tones more heart-rending,
Than sanity’s voice over poured in my ear.
When lo! on the waste, and on the march towards her bending,
A troop of fierce cavalry chanced to appear.
Oh! the fiends! she exclaimed, and with wild horror started,
Then through the tall fern, loudly screaming she darted ;
With an over-charged bosom I slowly departed,
And sighed for the wrongs of poor Mary Le More.

Written by George Nugent Reynolds.