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The Lovely Irish Maid / Blackwaterside

[ Roud 6319 ; Ballad Index Pea551 ; Mudcat 979 ; trad.]

Louis Killen recorded The Lovely Irish Maid in Winter 1977 at the Eldron Fennig Folk Museum of American Ephemera for his album Old Songs, Old Friends. He noted:

That period prior to 1961 also brought me that lovely air, Blackwateside, from the piping of Francis McPeake, in 1958, and the following year, The Lovely Irish Maid from the singing of Michael Cronin, of Macroom in County Cork, Eire, but who was living in Camden Town, London, at that time.

Sheila Stewart sang this song as Blackwaterside to Doc Rowe in Blairgowrie, Perthshire on 15 October 1998. These recordings were published in 2000 on her Topic CD From the Heart of the Tradition.

Lynne Heraud and Pat Turner sang The Bonny Irish Maid in 2007 on their WildGoose CD September Days. They noted:

A traditional Irish song of the imminent parting of two lovers, due to emigration.


Louis Killen sings The Lovely Irish Maid

As I walked out one May morning, so early as I strayed,
It being in the merry month of May the birds sang in the shade.
The sun shone out right merrily and the folly didn't win pride
With the primroses and daisies down by Blackwaterside.

I had not gone but half a mile when there by chance I spied
Two lovers talk, as they did walk down by Blackwaterside.
And as he entwined her in his arms, these words to her did say:
“It's in America I'll prove true to my lovely Irish Maid.”

“It's when you are in America some Yankee girls you'll find,
And you'll have sweethearts of your own, more pleasing to your mind.
You will forget those promises, those vows to me, you made.
Oh, stay at home, love, do not roam from your lovely Irish maid.”

“It's when I am in America, some Yankee girls I'll see,
But they must be very handsome to remind me, love, of thee;
For there's not one flower in yon green land, nor bloom in yonder glade
That can remind me love of thee, my lovely Irish maid.”

“O 'tis many's the foolish youth, ” she said, “Has fled to a foreign shore,
Leaving his loved one's fair behind, perhaps to meet no more —
For while crossing o'er the Atlantic foam sometimes their graves are made;
Oh, stay at home, love, do not roam from your lovely Irish maid.”

Like two fond hearts together this couple did embrace,
Like honey drops upon the dew, the tears ran down her face;
Saying, “There's not a day whilst you're away but I'll visit still these glades
Until you do return again to your lovely Irish maid.”