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Farewell Lovely Mary
(Laws K14; Roud 527)
Nora Cleary
The Hand, near Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer's home, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Nora Cleary

Farewell lovely Mary, I am now going to leave you.
To the East and West Indias, my sad course I’ll steer.
I know my long absence will trouble you Mary,
But my love I’ll be with you in the spring of the year.

The big ship is sailing, lovely Mary is wailing.
Her lily white bosom lay as white as the snow,
And her gay-golden locks she lay continually tearing,
Stay at home lovely Mary to the seas do not go.

'I will dress like a sailor my love I’ll go with you,
In the brink of all danger your friend I will stand.
And if any cold breezes or storms come upon you,
My love I’ll be with you to obey your command.'

Your tiny little body cold winds could not endure it.
Your tiny little footsteps to the top mast could not go.
And your small little fingers strong cables could not handle.
Stay at home lovely Mary to the seas do not go.

Farewell lovely Mary I am now going to leave you,
To the East and West Indias my sad course I’ll steer .
I know my long absence will trouble you Mary,
But my love I’ll be with you in the spring of the year.

Although my long absence may trouble you Mary,
Don’t let any false notions run in through your mind.
For although we are parting we’ll be true and loyal hearted,
And when I’ll return I will make you my bride.

The big ship was sailing, lovely Mary was wailing,
Her lily white bosom lay as white as the snow.
Her gay-golden locks she lay continually tearing,
Stay at home lovely Mary to the seas do not go.


"Colm O Lochlainn includes this in 'More Irish Street Ballads' under the title 'Farewell Dearest Nancy'. English collector Henry Hammond wrote about a similar version to this entitled 'Farewell Lovely Nancy' which he found in Hampshire:

'The song seems to be a rewrite of an Irish song called 'Adieu, Lovely Mary', which appears in Joyce's 'Ancient Music of Ireland' to the same tune.'"
Jim Carroll


See also
Farewell Lovely Mary sung by Austin Flanagan
Farewell Lovely Mary sung by John Lyons


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