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Nora O’Neill
(Roud 4976)
Martin Reidy
Tullaghaboy, Connolly
Recorded in the singer’s home, July 1983

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Martin Reidy

I am lonely tonight love without you.
And I sigh for one glance of your eye.
For sure there’s a gem love, about you,
Whenever that you are nigh.

Like the beam of the star when it’s smiling.
That glance which your eye can’t conceal.
For your voice is so sweet and beguiling,
That I love you, sweet Nora O’Neill.

Don’t think that I ever would doubt you.
My love I will never conceal.
But I’m lonely tonight love, without you.
My charming young Nora O’Neill.

The nightingale singing in the wild woods,
As if every note that he knew
Was learned from your sweet voice in childhood,
To remind me, sweet Nora, of you.

And I do think so often about you.
And you don’t know how happy I feel.
But I’m lonely tonight love, without you.
My charming young Nora O’Neill.

Don’t think that I ever would doubt you.
My love I will never conceal.
But I’m lonely tonight love, without you.
My charming young Nora O’Neill.

And why should I weep tears of sorrow?
Or why should my hope lose its place?
Won’t you meet me, my darling, tomorrow?
And I smile on your beautiful face.

Oh meet me, oh say will you meet me,
With a kiss at the foot of the lane?
And I promise whenever you greet me,
That I’ll never be lonely again.

Conversation after the song between Martin Reidy, Pat Mackenzie and Jim Carroll:
Jim: Where did you have that from, Martin? Do you remember?
Martin: I suppose a songbook – that’s where I got most of my songs from. ‘Tisn’t like the songbooks that’s going now. When I was young and I’d go to town … they’d be going around the streets selling ballads, but you wouldn’t get very good songs from them. You’d get better songs, better words of songs out of the songbooks.

“This first appeared in ‘The Wearing of the Green Song Book’ (Boston: 1869); no author or editor of the book is named as such so presumably the publisher was also the editor; the song itself is unaccredited. Martin believed he got it from one of the many songbooks he purchased in Ennis when he was a young man, but he wasn’t certain. He said he never heard anybody sing it, so he must have used an air from a song he already knew, as he did with a number of his songs.”
Jim Carroll


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