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Edward the Beauty and Boast of Athlone
Siney Crotty
Ross, Kilbaha
Recorded in London, date unknown

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Siney Crotty

Young men ? sympathise in my sorrow,
And pity a poor maid that’s sorely oppressed.
For since Cupid first stung me with his kindling arrow,
My mind is tormented, I can’t find no rest.
I am hourly repining and constantly crying
For a handsome young fellow as ever was known.
For since Adam’s creation, you’ll find in no nation,
A youth like young Edward, the boast of Athlone.

In the spring when the small birds they all join together,
They would charm the green groves and valleys likewise.
They refreshing breezes denote the mild weather
The violets do spring and the ?
It was in that very season, a young man most pleasing,
His charm and affection unto me made known.
I vow and declare, my heart did ensnare,
Young Edward the beauty and boast of Athlone.

As I happened to stray, by the clear river Shannon,
Where I first saw young Edward going out for a stroll.
He saluted me most kindly, crying ‘Dearest Mary Mahon,
I hope I can escort you through the dark shady groves.
I hope you won’t refuse me, I pray, do excuse me.’
Those words he repeated in his soft mellow tone.
I being sorely bent on my course straight I went
With young Edward, the beauty and boast of Athlone.

I courted young Edward for better than three years,
A most modest young fellow as ever drew breath.
Until a comrade of mine on us did discover,
And soon put an end to our joy and our mirth.
She told his aged mother that we went together,
And to have us parted, away from his home,
It’s in grief I do relate it, the job they completed,
And banished young Edward, the boast of Athlone.

But since he is gone, may kind fortune shine on him,
And keep him from harm, no matter where he’ll roam.
May providence protect him, and angels may guard him
Until he’s safe landed on a far distant shore.
And may that unhappy girl who banished my pearl,
May she feel her remorse until her last dying moan.
And likewise his aged mother who took delight forever
To banish young Edward the boast of Athlone.

“Len Graham and Cathal McConnell recorded this song from Barney McManus, Boho, County Fermanagh, in the 1960s; Cathal gave it to Siney, who added it to his repertoire. Apart from this, there is no indication of where this song came from; it appears not to have been recorded from another source singer, nor are there any versions in print. The theme: courtship, betrayal and parental opposition, along with suggestions of class-misalliance and finally, enforced banishment, are familiar enough in the oral tradition (see ‘Gra Geal mo Chroi’ and ‘Banks of Sweet Dundee’ as examples of these). The origins of the song are a bit of a mystery; it is possible it was locally made.”
Jim Carroll

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