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Daughter, Dearest Daughter
(Roud 1570)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Tom Lenihan

“Sixteen years Mamma," she said, I long for to be wed.
"To some clever young man that would comfort me in bed.
To some clever young man that will comfort me by night,
That will roll me in his arms and be my heart’s delight.”

“Hold you tongue, dear daughter, I’ll get for you a sheep.”
“Oh no, no no, Mamma,” she said, “It would cause me for to weep.
To weep, to weep, Mamma,” she said, “Is a thing I’ll never do.
For I’m young and airy, cracked and crazy, married I’d like to be.”

“Hold you tongue, dear daughter, I’ll get for you a cow.”
“Oh no, no no, Mamma,” she said, “It will cause me for to frown.
To frown, to frown, Mamma,” she said, “Is a thing I’ll never do.
For I’m young and airy, cracked and crazy, married I’d like to be.”

“Hold you tongue, dear daughter, I’ll get for you a man.”
“Oh do, do do, Mamma,” she said, “As soon as ever you can.
For the sooner the better Mamma,” she said, “You will get a young man for me,
For I’m young and airy, cracked and crazy, married I’d like to be.”

Conversation after song between Tom, Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll:
Tom: That’s it!
Jim: Where do you have that from, Tom?
Tom: Well I remember, Jim, as far back, that’s old, old traditional stuff. It must be from one of the brothers or sisters, I picked it up around the house there. I don’t remember anything else, but they all had that song in their young days.

"This is better known under the title ‘Whistle Daughter, Whistle’, although Tom’s text lacks the whistling motif found in many versions. Cecil Sharp collected it twice in England and once in America, but the texts he published were heavily edited. It appeared frequently in collections of children’s games. William Wells Newell in his ‘Games and Songs of the American Children’ claimed it to be ancient and pointed out its similarity to 15th and 16th Century Flemish, German and French rounds in which a monk or a nun is tempted to dance by various offers.

The only Irish version we could find in print is to be found in Joyce’s 'Ancient Irish Music', which is a re-written bowdlerised text accompanied by the following note:

'I remember three stanzas of a song to this air. The conception and plan are good, but two of the verses are too coarse for publication; and even the one I give had to be softened down in one particular word. I will give the song a new dress. The three verses are retained, as little altered as possible; and even the old rhymes are preserved. I have endeavoured also to carry out the original spirit and conception.'"

Reference:
Cecil Sharp’s Collection of English Folk Songs, Maud Karpeles (ed).
Ozark Folk-Songs, Vance Randolph.
Games and Songs of American Children, William Wells Newell.
Ancient Irish Music, P.W. Joyce, Dublin, 1901.
Early in the Month of Spring (audio cassette), VWML 001.
Jim Carroll

See also
Daughter, Dearest Daughter sung by Mikey Kelleher


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