Red is the Rose
DESCRIPTION: The singer praises his love; they have promised faithfulness. But "It's all for the loss of my bonnie (brown)-eyes lass I'm leaving my homeland forever." Chorus: "Red is the rose that in yonder garden grows... But my love is fairer than any."
EARLIEST DATE: 1980 (Sing Out!)
KEYWORDS: love separation emigration flowers
FOUND IN: Ireland US(NE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 28, #2 (1980), p, 22, "Red Is the Rose" (1 text plus a variant stanza, 1 tune, the Joe Heaney version, with the variants being from Sarah Makem)
Harold Nestler, "Songs from the Hudson Valley" (article in _New York Folklore Quarterly_, Volume V, #2, Summer 1949), p. 93 "Come to the Highland" (1 text)
cf. "Loch Lomond" (tune)
NOTES [136 words]: Joe Heaney and Makem and Clancy both thought this older than "Loch Lomond," with which it shares a tune. While possible, I think this pretty unlikely. Obviously this is an emigration song, which hints at a nineteenth century date. Loch Lomond is probably eighteenth century. In terms of documented collections, "Loch Lomond" wins by about a century.
Even if this is older, it may not be Irish. Note that Nestler's New York version, which has the Heaney/Clancy chorus and many of the same words, opens
Come to the highlands with me, my bonnie boy, Come to the highland, my hoey, Come to the highland with me, my bonnie boy; My love is ffairer than any. It also has an interesting verse in which the singer and Willy went walking: "He pulled the red flower and I pulled the blue; The blue is the fairest of any." - RBW
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