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The Green Wedding
(Child 221; Roud 93)
Pat MacNamara
Kilshanny, near Ennistymon
Recorded in Considine’s Bar, Kilshanny, August 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Pat McNamara

There was a squire lived in Edinburgh Town and a squire of a high degree,
He courted a country girl and a comely girl was she,
She got consent from her father and mother, from young and old likewise,
But still she cried: 'Sure, I am undone', and the tears rolled from her eyes.

And he wrote his love a letter, to be sure for to dress in green,
For a suit of the same I will put on, your marriage to prepare,
A suit of the same I will put on, those colours we shall wear,
And away we’ll drive into Edinburgh Town with our company and ask no leave.

'Oh you’re welcome now, you’re welcome, sure, where are you been all day?
Or did you see those fairy troops that rode along the way?'
He scoffed at her, and smiled at her, and thus to her did say:
'There might have been some fairy troops now, that rode along the way.'

And now out spoke the angry groom, now an angry man was he:
'If it is to fight that you came here, I am the man for thee.'
'‘Twas not to fight that I came here, but friendship for to show,
So come give me one kiss from your bonny bride’s lips and away from thee I’ll go.'

And he caught her by the lily white hand and by the grass-green sleeve,
He took her away from the wedding house with his company, asked no leave,
The birds did play, the pipers played most glorious to be seen,
And away they rode into Edinburgh Town with their company dressed in green.

Corrected verse recited later:

'You’re welcome, you’re welcome, where have you been all day?
Or did you see those gentlemen that rode along this way?'
He scoffed at her, he smiled at her and thus to her did say:
'Or there might have been some fairy troops that rode along the way.'


“A rare version of the Scots bride abduction ballad, ‘Katherine Jaffray’ (Child 221), Child’s earliest versions date back to 1802. The story provided the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott’s well-known poem ‘Young Lochinvar’. It has turned up in England a few times during the last century and was widely collected in the U.S. and Canada. Apart from the two Clare versions, the only Irish oral sources are Tom Moran of Mohill, County Leitrim and Birmingham singer Mrs Cecelia Costello of Galway parentage. Previously, it seldom turned up in Ireland; Petrie give the tune only under the title ‘The Fairy Troop’ and a version appeared in the ‘Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society’ in 1904, collected from a singer in Belfast who learned it from her parents in Galway.”

Jim Carroll


See also
The Green Wedding sung by Nora Cleary

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