Irish Girl, The
DESCRIPTION: (The singer meets a girl by the river, lamenting her love gone to America). (She describes the pain of love.) (She) wishes she were far away with her love, or were a butterfly or a nightingale or a rose to be with her lover
EARLIEST DATE: before 1845 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2654))
KEYWORDS: love separation bird loneliness floatingverses
FOUND IN: Ireland Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber)) US(Ap,MW,SE,So,SW) Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (27 citations):
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 292-293, "The Irish Girl" (3 texts)
Broadwood-EnglishTraditionalSongsAndCarols, pp. 60-65, "The Irish GIrl or The New Irish GIrl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Copper-ASongForEverySeason, pp. 246-247, "As I Walked Out" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #48, p. 2, "The Irish Girl"; #59, p. 2, "The Irish Girl"; #61, p. 2, "The Irish Girl" (3 text plus 2 fragments)
Greig/Duncan5 946, "The Irish Girl" (9 texts plus a single stanza on p. 595, 5 tunes)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H711, pp. 234-235, "The Manchester Angel" (1 text, 1 tune -- a fragment with no beginning)
OLochlainn-MoreIrishStreetBallads 2, "The New Irish Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 131, "The Irish Girl" (1 text)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 131, "The Irish Girl" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #223, "That Irish Girl" (1 text)
Davis-TraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 21, "The Lass of Roch Royal" (The "F" text in the appendix appears to be this, though heavily mixed with floating stanzas)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 159-161, "The Irish Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-2ed, p. 90, "The Irish Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bronner/Eskin-FolksongAlivePart2 46, "The Irish Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 180, "The Irish Girl" (1 text plus 2 fragments, 3 tunes, but the "A" text is "Handsome Molly"; "B" and "C" are single-verse fragments which may or may not be this song)
Sharp/Karpeles-EightyEnglishFolkSongs 44, "The Irish Girl" (1 text, 1 tune, a confused and conflate mix of this song and "Farewell Ballymoney (Loving Hannah; Lovely Molly)")
Reeves/Sharp-TheIdiomOfThePeople 48, "The Irish Girl" (1 text)
Dean-FlyingCloud, p. 109, "Molly Bawn" (1 short text)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 98, "The Lament" (1 text)
Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia, pp. 195-198, "Pretty Polly" (2 texts, 2 tunes, even more infected by floating material than most songs of this group, but it appears to be this piece)
Creighton-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 81, "My Irish Polly" (1 text, 1 tune, a long but very confused and mixed version)
Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs, p. 46, "Ruby Were Her Lips" (1 text, 1 tune)
O'Conor-OldTimeSongsAndBalladOfIreland, p. 15, "The Irish Girl" (1 text)
Green-OnlyAMiner-RecordedCoalMiningSongs, p. 230, "The Irish Girl" (1 text)
Hylands-Mammoth-Hibernian-Songster, p. 116, "The Irish Girl" (1 text)
DT, IRISHGRL* IRISHGR2*
ADDITIONAL: Maud Karpeles, _Folk Songs of Europe_, Oak, 1956, 1964, p. 47,"The Irish Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Robert Cinnamond, "I Wish My Love Was a Red Rose" (on IRRCinnamond02)
James McDermott, "Let the Wind Blow High or Low" (on IRHardySons)
Walter Pardon, "Let the Wind Blow High or Low" (on Voice10)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(2654), "The New Irish Girl," J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844; also Harding B 25(1341), "The New Irish Girl"
LOCSinging, as106240, "The Irish Girl," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859; also as106250, "The Irish Girl"
Murray, Mu23-y1:025, "The Irish Girl," James Lindsay Jr. (Glasgow), 19C
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.178.A.2(065), "The Irish Girl," James Lindsay (Glasgow), c.1875
cf. "Farewell Ballymoney (Loving Hannah; Lovely Molly)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Buddy Won't You Roll Down the Line" (lyrics)
cf. "Bonny Tavern Green" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Lover's Resolution" (floating lyrics)
I Wish I Were Yon Red, Red Rose
The Blue Cuckoo (the singer's name on IRHardySons)
NOTES [436 words]: This mostly-lyric piece easily degrades and easily mixes. Sedley and Sharp both had versions which mixed with "Farewell Ballymoney (Loving Hannah; Lovely Molly)"; iit is often hard to guess which song Roud will include a particular version with Sharp compounded the problem by tacking on verses from another version. And because the song is so lyric, it often loses parts (e.g. the Henry text has lost the first verses which describe the whole motivation). What tends to survive is the handful of "I wish I were" lyrics, e.g.
I wish I were a butterfly, I would light on my love's breast.
I wish I were a linnet, I would sing my love to rest.
I wish I were a nightingale, I'd sit and sing so clear,
I wish I were a red, red rose... and (he) to be the gardener.
Based on the contents, this could well be a degenerate fragment of "Erin's Flowery Vale (The Irish Girl's Lament)" [Laws O29]; at least some versions of this scattershot song seem to presuppose the situation described in that. But Laws ignores all the various versions of this song he should have known (e.g. Sharp, Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, Brown). It must therefore be assumed that he either separates them or that he thinks these versions too lyric to include in his list. In any case, we've separated them. - RBW
Some clarity is provided for this confusing song by the LOCSinging broadsides as106250 and as106250. Their description, omitting floating verses and floating themes, is: The singer meets an expensively dressed Irish girl, crying and tearing her hair. Her lover has left and she won't follow. The lover says "I was of some noble blood and she of low degree." Her lover still loves her.
All of the broadsides I have seen include the floating verse "I wish I was in Dublin town [or Manchester, or Monaghan], and sitting on the grass, With a bottle of whiskey in my hand and on my knee a lass, We'd call for liquors merrily, pay before we go, And fold thee in my arms let the winds blow high or low."
Among the floating verses is this by Walter Pardon on Voice10, connecting to "The Manchester Angel" version:
I wish I were in Manchester, a-sitting on the grass
With a bottle of whisky in my hand and upon my knee a lass.
Also collected and sung by David Hammond, "The Irish Girl" (on David Hammond, "I Am the Wee Falorie Man: Folk Songs of Ireland," Tradition TCD1052 CD (1997) reissue of Tradition LP TLP 1028 (1959)).
Broadside LOCSinging as106240: J. Andrews 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
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