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Cailín Deas Crúite na mBó
(Roud 3139)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer’s home, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

It being on a fine summer's morning,
As the birds sweetly tuned on each bough,
I heard a fair maid sing most charming
As she sat a-milking her cow.
Her voice was enchanting, melodious,
Which left me scarce able to go,
And my heart it was soothed with solace,
By the cailín deas crúite na mbó.

I courteously did salute her:
'Good morning, most amiable maid.
I am your captive slave for the future.'
'Kind sir, do not banter,' she said.
'I am not such a precious rare jewel
That I should enamour you so,
I am but a plain country girl,'
Says the cailín deas crúite na mbó.

'The Indians afford no such jewel,
So precious or transparent clear.
Oh, don't refuse to be my jewel,
But consent and love me, my dear.
Take pity and grant my desire,
And leave me no longer in woe.
Oh, love me, or else I’ll expire,’
Sweet cailín deas crúite na mbó.

'I don't understand what you mean, sir,
I ne'er was a slave yet to love.
These emotions I have no experience,
So I pray these affections remove.
To marry, I can assure you,
That state I will not undergo.
So, young man, I pray you'll excuse me,'
Says the cailín deas crúite na mbó.

'Had I the wealth of great Homer
Or all on the African shore,
Or had I great Devonshire's treasure,
Or had I ten thousand times more;
Or if I had the lamp of Aladdin
And had I his genies also,
I would rather live poor in the mountain
With the cailín deas crúite na mbó.'

'I beg you withdraw and don’t tease me,
I cannot consent unto thee.
I'm prepared to live single and airy
Till more of this world I see.
New cares they would me embarrass,
Besides, sir, my fortune is low,
And until I get rich I'll not marry,'
Says the cailín deas crúite na mbó.

'A young maid is like a ship sailing,
She don't know how far she may steer.
For in every blast she's in danger,
So, consent love and banish each fear.
Take pity and grant my desire
And leave me no longer in woe.
Oh, love me, or else I’ll expire,
Sweet cailín deas crúite na mbó.'


"A four verse parody entitled ‘The Pretty Maid Milking Her Goat’ taken down from a Pennsylvania miner, Daniel Walsh of Centralia, Colombia County by George Korson, has as a first verse:

It was a cold winter morning
As I went to work for my grub,
I heard a maid sing most charming
As she sat on the heel of a tub;
Her mouth was both large and commodious,
A small boy might skate down her throat;
Her bull-frog bass voice was melodious,
As she sat there milking her goat.

The accompanying note reads: 'The Pretty Maid Milking Her Goat, for all its mocking text, is sung to one of the loveliest of all Irish melodies'. The only other Irish recording listed in the Roud Index is from Mrs Martha Gillen from Antrim, made by the BBC in 1954. In his note to the song in ‘Mount Callan Garland’, collector Tom Munnelly points out that the singer had the following verse as the penultimate one, but refused to sing it in the presence of women for fear of giving offence. The singer has omitted it here.

An old maid is like an old almanac,
Quite useless when once out of date.
If her ware isn't sold in the morning
At noon it must fall to low rate.
Oh, the fragrance of May is all over
The rose leaves its beauty, you know.
All bloom is consumed in October,
Sweet cailín deas crúite na mbó.

Ref: ‘Pennsylvania Songs and Legends’, George Korson, pub. John Hopkins Press, 1960.
Other recordings: Martha Gillen, Antrim, BBC record 21840. Recorded by Seamus Ennis."

The above commentary, lyrics and recording are taken from ‘Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection’ (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.

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