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A Wintry Evening
(Laws P20; Roud 175)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer’s home, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Tom Lenihan

As it was on a wintry evening as fast came down the snow,
O’er lofty hills and mountains the stormy winds did blow.
This damsel she came down all in the drifts of snow,
With her baby in her arms and she knowing not where to go.

She says: ‘Cruel was my father that shut the door in me.
And worse was my mother that such a sight could see.’
The tears rolled down, as they fell down they freezed before they fell,
And she says: ‘My cruel parents, oh, they used me worse than hell.’

She says, ‘My pretty baby, your precious life is gone.
‘Tis little your father knows how we are oppressed.
As cruel as his lot was, if he knew our hardship here,
He would fold us in his arms from this cold and wintry breeze.

‘Come all you pretty fair maids, a warning take from me;
Never believe a false young man or anything they’ll say.
For they’ll kiss you and they’ll court you until your favour is gained.
And they’ll leave you then in sorrow forever to remain.’


"This song of a young woman with an illegitimate child being abandoned by her parents and left to the mercy of the elements, possibly originated as 'The Fatal Snowstorm', a 'sentimental and flowery piece' composed by John Embleton c.1815. It is also to be found under the title 'Month of January', as sung by Sarah Makem of Keady, Armagh, and is similar to 'Mary of the Wild Moor' (Laws P21) which Tom Munnelly recorded from Clare singers. Tom learned this version from his mother."
Jim Carroll

See also
It Being on a Cold and Stormy Night sung by Katie Droney


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