Curragh of Kildare, The

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, the winter it has passed, And the summer's come at last, The small birds are singing in the trees." The birds are glad, but the singer is weary of being apart from his love and will set out for the Curragh of Kildare to learn of her.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (_London Rake's Garland_, according to Garland)
KEYWORDS: love separation bird
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf) Britain(England(Lond,South),Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (14 citations):
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #2, p. 2, "The Winter It Is Past" (1 fragment)
Greig/Duncan6 1104, "The Winter It Is Past" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs, p. 104, "Farewell, My Joy and Heart" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Gl 59, "My Love Is Like the Sun" (1 text)
Brocklebank/Kindersley-DorsetBookOfFolkSongs, p. 29, "Farewell My Joy and Heart" (1 fragment, 1 tune, probably this)
O'Conor-OldTimeSongsAndBalladOfIreland, p. 158, "The Love-Sick Maid" (1 text)
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 291-293, "The Braes of Yarrow" (1 short text plus a fragment, 1 tune; the "A" text is a composite lost love song with single stanzas from "The Braes o Yarrow," "The Curragh of Kildare," and others beyond identification; as a whole it cannot be considered a version of Child #214) {Bronson's #37}
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 54, "The Winter's Gone and Past" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hylands-Mammoth-Hibernian-Songster, p. 185, "The Winter It Is Past" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Hans Hecht, editor, Songs From David Herd's Manuscripts (Edinburgh, 1904), #104, pp. 243-244,327, "The Winter it is Past" (1 text)
James Johnson, Editor, _The Scots Musical Museum_ [1853 edition], volume II, #200, p. 208, "The Winter it is Past" (1 text, 1 tune)
Samuel Lover, The Lyrics of Ireland (London, 1858 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 71-72, "The Love Sick Maid"; p. 72, "The Winter it is Past"
J Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads, (Hertford, 1888 ("Digitized by Microsoft")), Vol. VI Part 1 [Part 16], pp. 237,240, "The Love-Sick Maid" (1 text) [specifically Roxburghe III, 680; _London Rake's Garland_, 1765, "A New Song, Made on a Young Lady Who Fell in Love With a Horse-Rider"]

Roud #583
Bodleian, Harding B 28(176), "Young Johnson" ("Cold winter's gone and past"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824; also Harding B 11(635), Harding B 16(54c), Harding B 16(55a), Harding B 25(394), Harding B 11(636), "Cold Winter is Past"; Harding B 28(236), "Cold Winter"; Harding B 17(54a), "Cold Winter" or "Young Johnson"; Harding B 20(53), "Cold Winter's Gone and Past"
cf. "Forglen (Forglen You Know, Strichen's Plantins)" (lyrics, form)
cf. "Adieu, False Heart" (lyrics)
NOTES [673 words]: Roud lumps a great many "cold winter is passed" type pieces under his #583 -- an understandable decision, given the state of the pieces. We try to restrict this item to "The Curragh of Kildare" and "The Winter It Is Past," filing the others separately
Which form is actually earliest I don't know with certainty; I called the piece "The Curragh of Kildare" rather than "The Winter It Is Past," even though the latter form seems better-attested, to make it clear that the Burns version is *not* original. - RBW
Broadside Bodleian Harding B 16(55a), among others, refers to "the borough of Kildare" rather than "the curragh of Kildare."
Greig: "The original version takes us back to the middle of the 18th century, and, as given in Herd's MSS., has the following verse -- Oh my love is like the sun ...."
Lover's "The Love Sick Maid," which has the verse quoted by Greig, "is taken from the 'Roxburg Collection' (Vol. iii, No. 680) in the British Museum."
Lover: "The celebrated race-course the Curragh of Kildare and also the town of Lurgan being named in the ballad prove it to be Irish. It has appeared, however, in collections of Scotch Songs, the verses that prove its Irish origin being omitted." Lover prints "The Winter it is Past" as a Scottish example.
Herd's text does not have "verses that prove its Irish origin." Hecht notes that "another version in The London Rake's Garland, 1765, bears the title: A new Song, made on a young Lady who fell in love with a Horse-Rider."
Hecht-Herd: "The musick of the preceding song may be found in Oswald's Collection of Scots tunes, [book X, p. 9] and is very fine."
Ebsworth: "This ballad has been erroneously described as written by Robert Burns ...." He points out that Burns's text adds only one verse -- Lover's second of four, "The Rose upon the brier...." -- to the Roxburghe text of eight verses. Lover claims, of the Burns text, "there is not a single Scotticism in the composition."
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Gl 59's three verses piece together parts of the Roxburghe text: Gl 59 v1.1-3 are from R v1.1-2; Gl 59 v1.4-6 are from R v4.3-4; Gl 59 v2.1-3 are from R v2.1-2; Gl 59 v2.4-6 are from R v3.3-4; Gl 59 v3 is from R v6. - BS
The "winter is past" lyric may have been suggested by Song of Solomon 2:11, but this is at best only a possibility; the parallel is slight. The King James version reads "For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone" ( (a scrap which has been set to music on occasion by classical composers).
Slightly closer is the parallel to one of John Gower's early French ballades (I'm not sure which one; I have only a translation, found in Garnett and Gosse's English Literature: An Illustrated Record, pp. 184-185 with no catalog indication), since it mentions not only the passing of winter but the rejoicing of birds, and it's a lost love piece. But while the one may have suggested the other, I doubt real dependence. - RBW
The Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs fragment is a puzzle. The source provided the tune and four of five lines: "Farewell, my joy and heart, Forever we must part. ... For I never do design, To alter my mind, So all of you know my decree." Maitland supplies the third line, "All happiness wait on thee!" from "'The Pair of Turtle Doves,' [sic] in Roxburghe Coll.,i.318"; actually from "The Paire of Northerne Turtles," which begins "'Farewell, farewell, my dearest deare, all happiness wait on thee! For now, alas! my turtle dove I am departing from thee" (source: William Chappell, The Roxburghe Ballads (Hertford, 1874 ("Digitized by Microsoft"), Vol. II, pp. 312-314, "The Paire of Northerne Turtles" (1 text)). It's not clear to me why Maitland picked that line from that text which has a different tune; the sense of the fragment may be the same as the sense of the broadside but they share no lines. Compare the fragment to Herd's ("But farewell my joy and heart, since you and I must part; Ye're the fairest of all I do see, I never do design to alter my mind, Altho' you're below my degree.") texts. - BS
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