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Where the Lovely Rivers Flow
(Roud 6368)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer's home, 1980

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Tom Lenihan

I’ll sing tonight of a fairy land in the lap of the ocean set,
And of all the lands I’ve travelled o’er, ‘tis the fairest I have met.
Where the willows weep and the roses sleep and the balmy breezes blow,
In that dear old land, that sweet old land, where the lovely rivers flow.

But alas, how can I sing, ‘tis in exile brings a strain.
And the dear old land my youthful love, I may never see again.
And the very joy that fills my breast must ever change to go.
For that dear old land, that sweet old land, where the lovely rivers flow.

I’ll sing of the lonely old graveyards where our fathers’ bones are laid.
Where the clusters stand, those ruins grand, that our tyrant foes have made.
And I’ll strike the harp with a mournful drenge till the glistening tears will flow,
For that dear old land, that sweet old land, where the lovely rivers flow.

I’ll sing of Emmet lonely grave and of his lonely fate.
Of his early doom and his youthful bloom and his spirit more than brave.
And oh, how blessed and calm he rests though his grave be cold and low,
In that dear old land, that sweet old land, where the lovely rivers flow.

I’ll sing of Ireland’s ancient days when her sons were kingly men.
Who’ll head the chase, the manly race through forest, field and glen.
Whose only word was a shining sword whose pen a patriot blow,
For that dear old land, that sweet old land where the lovely rivers flow.


"Apart from Tom’s version, the only other documented example of this was found in Newfound, sung by John Noftall of Fleur de Lys in 1929. The singer said:

'I sang this once to a foreign-going sea-captain, an Englishman, who approved of it greatly and said, “’Tis a charmer”.'"
Reference:
Ballads and Songs of Newfoundland, Greenleaf and Mansfield, Harvard Univ. Press 1933.

Jim Carroll

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