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Páistín Fionn
(Child 221)
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan
Inagh

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

My páistín fionn is my soul’s delight,
Her heart laughs out in her blue eyes bright,
The bloom of the apple her bosom white,
And her neck like the March swan's in whiteness.

You are my delight, my delight, my delight,
You are my delight and my darling.
You are my delight and my comfort all night,
And I’ll roll you nine times before morning.

Were I in the village where sports prevail,
Between two barrels of brave brown ale.
My fair little sister to list my tale,
How jovial and happy I make thee.

You are my delight, my delight, my delight,
You are my delight and my darling.
You are my delight, and my comfort all night,
And I’ll roll you nine times before morning.

In favour for nine long nights I’ve lain,
From lying in the hedge-row beneath the rain.
Whistling and calling for you once again,
So a whistle or call might awake you.

You are my delight, my delight, my delight,
You are my delight and my darling.
You are my delight and my comfort all night,
And I’ll roll you up tight in my arms.

From kinsfolk and friends my fair-eyed flee,
And all the beautiful maids that be.
But never I’ll leave, sweet grá mo chroí,
Till death in your service o’ertake me.

You are my delight, my delight, my delight,
You are my delight and my darling.
You are my delight and my comfort all night,
And I’ll roll you nine times before morning.

“'An Páistín Fionn', originally in Irish, was very popular throughout Ireland mainly because it tended to be taught in schools and in Irish summer colleges in the Gaeltachtaí. It seems to have been popular in West Clare - Micho Russell sang it regularly. Nioclás Tóibín from An Rinn, Waterford had a particularly fine Irish version. It was printed (in Irish) in ‘Irish Popular Songs’ by Edward Walsh (1847) and in ‘Irish Ministrelsy’, James Hardiman wrote:

'Paistheen Fionn, pronounced Fin, which may be a translation of either Fair Youth or (Fair) Maiden, is an ancient and popular Connaught song. The air is sweet but of a plaintive or melancholy strain such as can scarcely fail to remind the hearer that it is ‘the music of a people who have lost their freedom'. By the Paistheen Fion, I am inclined to think, was meant the son of James II, but the allegorical songs of the Irish will be alluded to in another part of this work. The ingenious translator requests me to observe, that he fears he has not succeeded in transferring all the tenderness of the original word Suirin. The disinterested affection, the adhesion of kindred, the endearing diminutiveness expressed by it, are such, as perhaps excel, what even the languages of Italy have been so celebrated for imparting. The curfá or chorus, has been frequently used by our bards. Carolan introduces it in his "George Brabazon," and it may be found in other places. The term curfá, "put under," is used metaphorically. It signifies, a call from the singer to the hearers, to join their voices in raising the song, as mariners, or workmen, unite their strength in lifting burthens. In general, the chorus has but little, and often no connection whatever, with the words. I have known the same chorus in Irish to be employed in the service of several songs.'”

Reference:
Irish Minstrelsy or Bardic Remains of Ireland, with English poetical translations, James Hardiman, London, 1831.
Jim Carroll

See also
Páistín Fionn sung by Pat MacNamara


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