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Blow the Candle Out
(Laws P17; Roud 368)
Martin Howley
Fanore, north west Clare
Recorded in singer's home, July 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Martin Howley

And I came to my true love’s window to hear her mournful pain;
She arose up gently from her nap to let her true lover in.
I wouldn’t wish it for five guineas love, if they would find it out;
So hold me in your arms till I blow the candle out.

And your father and your mammy in yonder bed do lie,
Embracing one another, and why not you and I.
Embracing one another love, and that without a doubt;
And I took her in my arms and I blew the candle out.

Sure, the eighth month was over, all but one day,
My love, he wrote me a letter saying he was going away;
My love he wrote me a letter, and that without a doubt,
That he never would return again for to blow the candle out.

And come all ye pretty fair maids, a warning take by me,
Never let those false young men an inch above your knee;
For they’ll kiss you and they’ll court you until your time be out,
They shall leave you where my love left me when he blew the candle out.

"Usually associated with ‘The London ‘Prentice’, which appeared in print in Thomas D’Urfey’s ‘Pills to Purge Melancholy’ in 1714, the plot of this song has surfaced in various guises, including the Scots song ‘She Raise and Loot Me In’, which was included twenty years later in William Thomson’s ‘Orpheus Caladonius’.
A song on a similar theme, but giving the woman as an enthusiastic participant rather than a victim was taken down by Cecil Sharp from a singer in Meshaw, Devon.
Petrie described it as ‘a very objectionable street ballad which appears to have had a very extensive popularity in the Munster counties during the latter half of the last [18th] century’.
Martin learned the song from a Travelling woman named Hegarty. ‘She was known as 'Mrs Stotered' because she was fond of the drink and used to say ‘I'm stotered’ (from stocious - drunk).
Ref: ‘Ancient Music of Ireland’, George Petrie, Dublin University Press 1855.
Other recordings: Jumbo Brightwell, Suffolk: ‘Who's That at My Bed Window’, Voice of The People No.10 Topic TSCD 660."

The above commentary, lyrics and recording are taken from ‘Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection’ (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.


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