Rose of Tralee, The
DESCRIPTION: "The pale moon was rising above the green mountain." He describes his love's beauty. "Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me, Oh, no, 'twas the truth in her eyes Ever dawning, that made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee."
AUTHOR: Words: C. Mordaunt Spencer/Music: Charles W. Glover ?
EARLIEST DATE: 1883 (Smith/Hatt); originally published in London c. 1845
KEYWORDS: love lyric nonballad
FOUND IN: Ireland Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
O'Conor, p. 80, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)
Smith/Hatt, pp. 100-101, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)
Mackenzie 141, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #2037, p. 137, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 reference)
ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 493, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)
Bodleian, Harding B.11(1290), "The Rose of Tralee" ("The pale moon was rising above the green mountain"), H. Such (London) , 1863-1885
LOCSheet, sm1850 660580, "Rose of Tralee," Peters, Webb and Co. (Louisville), 1850; also sm1850 482010, "Rose of Tralee" (tune)
NOTES: Source: Re author--"St Patricks Day--March 17, 2003" on the Eastern Illinois University site. - BS
The editors of Granger's Index to Poetry lists two possible authors, the first possibility being William Pembroke Mulchinock (1820?-1864; this claim is supported, and perhaps derived from, Hoagland) and our listed author Spencer the second. (The latter attribution is supported by the uncredited Amsco publication The Library of Irish Music, which however seems to me to be a rather poor source. Sing Out, Volume 38, #4  lists Glover as the author, not separating the words and music; it gives Glover's dates as 1806-1863.)
Robert Gogan, 130 Great Irish Ballads (third edition, Music Ireland, 2004), p. 18, supports the attribution to Mulchinock, and notes that he was a frequent contributor to the well-known Irish journal The Nation. But Gogan also tells a pretty folkloric story about the song: That Mulchinock, who was from Tralee, fell in love with a local girl, Mary O'Connor, and sent him away. When he returned home, he met the funeral procession for his beloved Mary, and wrote this song in her memory. Obviously it could have happened. But what are the odds in real life?
Neither proposed author wrote anything else that has shown any sign of enduring.
The Sing Out! article reports that the song was sung by John McCormak in the 1930 movie "Song o' My Heart," which is what made the piece truly popular. - RBW
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