DESCRIPTION: "I'm lonely tonight, love without you... I love you dear Norah O'Neal." The singer's love he can never conceal. The nightingale's song reminds him of her. He says he will see her tomorrow; they will kiss. "I'll never be lonely again"
AUTHOR: Will S. Hays
EARLIEST DATE: 1866 (sheet music published by J. L. Peters & Bro. of St. Louis), but see the NOTES
KEYWORDS: courting love nonballad
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (3 citations):
O'Conor, p. 141, "Nora O'Neal" (1 text)
Hayward-Ulster, pp. 63-64, "Norah O'Neale" (1 text)
Huntington-Gam, p. 248, "Norah O'Neal" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bodleian, Firth c.26(298)[some words illegible], "Norah O'Neal" ("Oh! I'm lonely to night, love, without you"), T. Pearson (Manchester), 1850-1899; also Harding B 11(3772), "Norah O'Neill"
LOCSinging, as109760, "Nora O'Neal," H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878
NLScotland L.C.1269(158a), "Norah O'Neil," Poet's Box (address illegible), 1869
cf. "Shamus O'Brien" (sequel to this song)
Parody on Norah O'Neal, or Trying to Raise a Square Meal ("I'm thirsty, tonight, Jim, without you") (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 124)
NOTES: Source: Re author -- "The Music of William Shakespeare Hays 1837-1907" on PD Music site. - BS
William Shakespeare Hays was of course an American (born and died in Kentucky), as songs such as "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" attest, so this song is obviously "stage Irish" -- and yet, it seems to appear almost entirely in Irish collections.
There is a curiosity about the date. The sheet music says it's from 1866, and this is also the year given by Spaeth's History of Popular Music in America, p. 159. Yet Huntington says that it was found in the log of the Charles and Edward in 1858. I have to suspect that either the log is mis-dated or that the text was added to it later, but since I don't have access to the log myself, I can't prove it. - RBW
Broadside LOCSinging as109760: H. De Marsan dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
Last updated in version 4.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.