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Erin’s Lovely Home
(Laws M6; Roud 1427)
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan
Inagh
Recorded in singer's home, September 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

When I was young and in my prime, my age just twenty-one,
I acted as a servant unto a gentleman.
I served him true and honest, and very well it’s known;
But in cruelty, he banished me, from Erin’s lovely home.

And where want he did banish me I mean to let you hear;
I own I loved his daughter, and she loved me as dear.
She had a large fortune, but riches, I had none;
And that’s the reason I must go from Erin’s lovely home.

‘Twas in her father’s garden all in the month of June;
We were viewing all the flowers, all in their youthful bloom.
She says, “My dearest William, if along with me you’ll roam,
We will bid adieu to all our friends in Erin’s lovely home.”

Sure, I gave consent that very night, along with her to roam
From her father’s dwelling; it proved our overthrow.
The night was bright, by the moonlight, we both set out alone,
Thinking we’d get safe away from Erin’s lovely home.

When we landed in Belfast, just by the break of day,
My love, she then got ready, our passage for to pay.
One thousand pounds she counted down, saying, “This shall be your own,
But do not mourn for those we’ve left in Erin’s lovely home.”

Tis of our sad misfortune I mean to let you hear.
‘Twas in a few hours after, her father did appear.
He marched me back to Omagh Jail in the county of Tyrone,
And there I was transported from Erin’s lovely home.

Now when I heard my sentence passed, sure, it grieved my heart full sore;
But parting from my true love, sure, it grieved me ten times more.
I had seven links upon my chain, for every link a year,
Before I can return again to the arms of my dear.

While I lay under sentence, before I sailed away,
My love, she came into the jail and this to me did say:
“Cheer up your heart, don’t be dismayed, for I will ne’er you disown,
Until you do return again to Erin’s lovely home.”

"Circulated widely as a ballad sheet, some versions of this bear the indelible stamp of the printer's influence with a first verse which opens, 'All ye that are at liberty, I pray you lend an ear.' Colm O Lochlainn first got it from a friend in Belfast who had learned it in Irish. It was to be heard extensively in England, sung, as one writer put it, 'by singers as English as the land they tilled.' It was also found in Scotland by Aberdeenshire collector Gavin Greig, who was told that ‘… it was the most popular of songs, and that everyone who could sing at all, sang it.’
Refs: ‘The Foggy Dew’, Frank Purslow, EFDSS Publications, 1974; ‘Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection’, Vol. 6, eds. Shuldham-Shaw/Lyle/Petrie, pub. Mercat Press, 1995
Other recordings: Mary Ann Haynes: ‘Here's Luck to a Man’, Musical Traditions MTCD320; Geordie Hanna, ‘On the Shores of Lough Neagh’, Topic 12TS 372"

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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