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Willie the Ploughboy
(Roud 2938)
John Lyons
Newmarket-on-Fergus
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

John Lyons

There was a fair maiden in the old country,
Sweethearts she had many of every degree.
She rolled in great riches and free from all care,
Till her father’s own ploughboy did her heart ensnare.

One day as she walked on her father’s domain,
Willie the ploughboy was ploughing the plain.
He looked so handsome as he sang a gay song,
To cheer up his horses as he went along.

Quiet closely she watched him from under a shade,
It was on her ploughboy that she always gazed.
He whistled so cheerily at the woods did resound,
And the birds on each bramble stood silently round.

She called on her ploughboy to rest for a while,
He turned around with a nod and a smile.
Her cheeks blushed like roses as these words she did say -
‘You are deep in my mind love, this many a long day.

Your ploughing you’ll give over and that very soon.
We’ll go to Amerikay where thousands do go;
We’ll go to Amerikay and plough the deep foam,
I’ll be proud of my ploughboy wherever I roam.’

“Despite the popularity of this theme of lovers fleeing the disapproval of parents by emigrating, in this case the daughter of a wealthy farmer and a ploughboy, we were surprised to find only two versions of this particular song; one from John Maguire of Fermanagh (1973) and a version from Dolly McMahon, recorded by Seamus Ennis for the BBC in 1960. Perhaps not coincidentally, Dolly was recorded at a public session in Quilty, a few miles from both Ollie Conway’s and Michael Falsey’s homes, so it is possible that both or either of them heard it and learned it then.”
Jim Carroll

See also
The Ploughboy sung by Ollie Conway
The Ploughboy sung by Michael Falsey


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