> Cyril Tawney > Songs > Love is Kind

Love is Kind

[ Roud - ; trad.]

Cyril Tawney sang Love Is Kind in 1992 on his Neptune Tapes cassette In Every Port.

Lankum (then still known as Lynched) sang Love Is Kind on their 2014 album Cold Old Fire. They noted:

Robin Roberts, the American singer and folksong collector, who accompanied Alan Lomax and Séamus Ennis on their Irish collecting trips in 1951 and 1953, sang this song which came from a retired clipper ship's sailor living in Massachusetts. We first heard it from the Clancy brothers and Tommy Makem on their LP Sing of the Sea (1968). The refrain has been variously interpreted as ‘E awa’, ‘Hie awa’, ‘Haul awa’, and even ‘i a bha’, Scots Gaelic for ‘she was’. Interestingly, no-one seems to have understood it as the Gaelic ‘Oíche mhaith’ (Goodnight), which we always have. We respectfully dedicate this song to the memory of Teresa Dermody.

Nick Dow sang Love Is Kind on his 2020 album of love songs from the British Tradition, In a Garden Grove. He noted:

Collected by Alan Lomax from the retired Captain of a Yankee Clipper. Swiped by me from the band ‘Lankum’. I sent Ian (from Lankum) some of my recordings of Gypsy singers. Fair exchange is no robbery. The chorus is in Gaelic and is a blessing. This is becoming one of my most requested songs.


Lankum sing Love Is Kind

Oh love is kind to the least of men
    Oíche Mhaith
Though he be but a drunken tar
    Oíche Mhaith

So far from men, and the sight of land
Haul along, the sailor man

So take me to that star‐eyed maid,
For I was happy with her lain

Oh in the comfort of her bed
Let me lie until I'm dead

For love is kind to the least of men
Though he be but a drunken tar