> June Tabor > Songs > As I Roved Out

As I Roved Out / The Deluded Lover

[ Roud 3479 ; G/D 6:1165 ; Ballad Index K150 ; trad.]

Michael Gallagher of Belleek, Fermanagh, sang The Deluded Lover to Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle in 1953. This BBC recording 20023 was included in 1975 in Kennedy's book Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland and on his Folktrax cassette of songs sung by Brigid Tunney, Paddy Tunney and Michael Gallagher, The Mountain Streams. The album's liner notes commented:

Michael Gallagher, Brigid [Tunney]'s brother, Paddy [Tunney]'s Uncle Mick, was born in 1891 and, when recorded, was working as a boot repairer in Belleek. Previously he had been a farmer, and before that lived 33 years in Glasgow. Like his sister, he learned his songs from his parents and grandparents on both sides of the family, as well as from aunts, uncles and others. The Deluded Lover was from his aunt, Brigid, in Ballintra, Donegal. The title for this song was provided by the collectors; Michael called it As I Roved Out.

Michael Gallagher's nephew Paddy Tunney of Co. Fermanagh sang As I Roved Out on his 1962 Folk-Legacy album The Man of Songs. Diane Hamilton and Sean O'Boyle commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Some of the most charming of ordinary Irish love-songs are in the form of the pastourelle, which has been called the aristocratic progenitor of the “As I roved out one morning” type of ballad.

The air, which is one of the most elusive in all Irish folk-song, has never been published.

Isla Cameron sang As I Roved Out in 1962 on her and Tony Britton's Transatlantic album Songs of Love, Lust and Loose Living.

Planxty sang As I Roved Out in 1973 on their LP The Well Below the Valley; this track was also included in 1994 on the French anthology Planète Celtique. Andy Irvine commented:

We learned this sad and beautiful song from the singing of Paddy Tunney who lives in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. He has described it as dating back to the days of the famine, when any bit of property at all was enough to tempt a man to jilt his true love in favour of the lassie with the land.

June Tabor sang As I Roved Out in a BBC session recorded on July 23, 1978; this track was released in 1998 on her Strange Fruit / BBC CD On Air. She also recorded it in 1992 during the sessions for her Cooking Vinyl album Angel Tiger. This out-take was included a year later on the Actionaid charity album Giving People Choices. She recorded it again for Quercus' eponymous 2013 album, Quercus.

Kate Rusby sang As I Roved Out in 1997 on her CD Hourglass.

Terry Yarnell sang As I Roved Out on his 2001 Tradition Bearers CD A Bonny Bunch. He commented in his liner notes:

When I first heard this song, sung by Bridget Tunney of Castlecaldwell, Co. Fermanagh, I found the effect breathtaking. Her son Paddy, who also sings the song, talks of his first hearing his mother singing it, in his book The Stone Fiddle:

She put aside the hoops that held her cloth, whereon her needle and thread had wrought the most exotic rosebuds, open flowers and intricate patterns, and wove with her voice arabesques of sound that bested the embroidery. She sang me for the first time that beautiful song—As I Roved Out or The False Bride.

It is this kind of diamond that makes some of our traditional songs, and in the case of Bridget Tunney, the singer also, the equal of any kind of music or singing anywhere in the world.

Jack Crawford sang The Deluded Lover in 2008 on his WildGoose CD Pride of the Season. He commented in his liner notes:

Collected by Paddy Tunney from his mother Brigid Tunney in Belleek, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and published in The Stone Fiddle: My Way to Traditional Song (1979) under the title As I Roved Out or The False Bride.

Many interpretations have been proposed for this ambiguous song. In my view, the threads hold together if you think of “the lassie who has the land” as the Queen of England. “Marriage” to her is then an analogy for joining the army in an attempt to escape from poverty. His gift of the three-diamond ring, representing past, present and future, suggests that he married, or at least became engaged to, his poor deluded (and perhaps pregnant) lover before signing up.

Ewan McLennan sang As I Roved Out in 2008 on his Fellside CD Rags & Robes.

Jon Boden learnt As I Rowed Out from Planxty and sang it as the May 10, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He noted in the project's blog:

From Planxty. It has a beautiful melody, and there’s something about the story that rings true.

Voice Squad sang As I Roved Out on the 2014 anniversary anthology Folk Legacy: The 40th Girvan Traditional Folk Festival. There are no details given when this was recorded.

Teresa Horgan sang As I Roved Out in 2015 on her and Matt Griffin's CD Brightest Sky Blue.

Andy Turner learned As I Roved Out from the singing of Andy Irvine on Planxty's album. He sang it as the May 10, 2015 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week in two versions, one unaccompanied and one accompanied by Nick Passmore on bouzouki.

Arthur Knevett sang As I Roved Out on his 2016 CD Simply Traditional. He commented in his liner notes:

This song is also known as The Deluded Lover. I learnt this version from a 1986 recording of Bobby Eaglesham and it has remained a favourite ever since.

Lyrics

Michael Gallagher sings The Deluded Lover Terry Yarnell sings As I Roved Out

As I roved out on a bright May morning
To view the flowers and meadows gay,
Who did I spy but my own true-lover
As she sat under yon willow tree.

As I roved out on on bright May morning
To view the flowers and meadows gay,
Who should I spy but my own true lover
As she sat under yon willow tree.

I took off my hat and I did salute her,
I did salute her courageously.
But she turned around and the tears fell from her,
Saying, “False young man, you have deluded me!”

I took off my hat and I did salute her,
I did salute her courageously.
As she turned around and the tears fell from her,
Sayin', “False young man, you have deluded me!”

“For to delude you, how can that be, my love?
It's from your body I am quite free.
I'm as free from you as a child unborn
And so are you, my dear Jane, from me.

“For to delude you how can that be my love?
For from your body I am quite free,
I’m as free from you as a child unborn is,
And so are you, my dear Jane, from me.

“Three diamond rings, sure, I own I gave you,
Three diamond ring to wear on your right hand.”
“But the vows you made, love, you went and broke them
And married the lassie that had the land.”

“A diamond ring sure I own I gave you,
A diamond ring to wear on your right hand.
But the vows you made, sure you went and broke them
And married the lassie that had the land.”

“If I married the lassie that had the land, my love,
It's that I'll rue until the day I die.
Where misfortune falls, sure, no man can shun it;
I was blindfolded I'll ne'er deny.”

“If I married the lassie that had the land, my love,
It's that I'll rue until the day I die.
When misfortune falls sure no-one can shun it,
I was blindfolded I'll never deny.”

For at night when I go to my silent slumber
The thoughts of my true-love run in my mind.
When I turn around to embrace my darling,
Instead of gold, sure, it's brass I find.

At night when I go to my silent slumber
The thought of my true love run in my mind.
When I turn around to embrace my darling,
Instead of gold sure it's brass I find.

But I wish the Queen would call home her armies
From England, Ireland, from Americay and Spain.
And every man to his wedded woman
In hopes that you and I may meet again.

I wish the Queen would call home her armies
From the West Indies, Amerikay and Spain,
And every man to his wedded woman
In hopes that you and I might meet again.

Both Planxty and June Tabor (with nearly identical words) leave out the third verse:

Planxty sing As I Roved Out June Tabor sings As I Roved Out

As I roved out on a bright May morning
To view the meadows and flowers gay,
Whom should I spy but my own true lover
As she sat under yon willow tree.

As I roved out on a fine May morning
To view the meadows and flowers gay,
Who should I spy but my own true lover
As she sat under yon willow tree.

I took off my hat and I did salute her,
I did salute her most courageously.
When she turned around, well the tears fell from her,
Sayin’, “False young man, you have deluded me!”

I took off my hat and I did salute her,
I did salute her most courageously.
When she turned around, well the tears fell from her,
Sayin', “False young man, you have deluded me!”

“A diamond ring I owned I gave you,
A diamond ring to wear on your right hand.”
“But the vows you made, love, you went and broke them
And married the lassie that had the land.”

“A diamond ring I owned I gave you,
A diamond ring to wear on your right hand.”
“But the vows you made, love, you went and broke them
And married the lassie that had the land.”

“If I’d married the lassie that had the land, my love,
It’s that I’ll rue till the day I die.
When misfortune falls sure no man can shun it,
I was blindfolded I’ll ne’er deny.”

“If I'd married the lassie that had the land, my love,
It's that I'll rue till the day I die.
When misfortune falls sure no man may shun it,
I was blindfolded I'll ne'er deny.”

Now at nights when I go to my bed of slumber
The thoughts of my true love run in my mind.
When I turned around to embrace my darling,
Instead of gold sure it’s brass I find.

Now at nights when I go to my bed of slumber
The thoughts of my true love run in my mind.
When I turned around to embrace my darling,
Instead of gold sure it's brass I find.

And I wish the Queen would call home her army
From the West Indies, Amerikay and Spain,
And every man to his wedded woman
In hopes that you and I will meet again.

And I wish the Queen would call home her army
From the West Indies, Amerikay and Spain,
And every man to his wedded woman
In hopes that you and I will meet again.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Timothy Mellor for the information on the Michael Gallagher and Paddy Tunney recordings.

I copied Michael Gallagher's words from Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland.