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It Being on a Cold and Stormy Night
(Laws P20; Roud 175)
Katie Droney

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Katie Droney

It being on a cold and stormy night when fast fell down the snow,
Over hills and lofty mountains where stormy winds do blow.
A damsel she fell down to me all in a draft of snow,
With a baby in her arms and she knew not where to go.

She says, ‘My pretty baby I’ll shelter you on my breast,
For it’s little does your dadda know how sorely we’re distressed.
Hard-hearted as he is my love, if he knew how we do fare
He’d embrace us in his arms from the cold, cold wintry air.’

And cruel was my father that shut the door on me.
And far worse was my mother, such a pitiful sight to see.
For cold and stormy was that night that pierced my heart full sore,
And far worse was that false young man that sold his love for gold.

She said, ‘My pretty baby, your innocent life is gone.
My tears they will revive you just as they trickle down.
My tears they will revive you and freeze before they fall,
It was my cruel parents that used me worst of all.

She flew into a wilderness and she knelt down on a stone,
She prayed to God almighty to have mercy on her soul.
She kissed her baby’s cold pale lips and laid it by her side,
She turned her eyes to heaven above and they both lay down and died.

So let this be a warning to all fair maids so gay:
Never to believe a false young man or anything he’ll say.
He’ll kiss you and he’ll court you, until your mind he’ll gain.
He’ll leave you there behind him in sorrow and in shame.


"This song of a young woman with an illegitimate child being abandoned by her parents and left to the mercy of the elements, possibly originated as 'The Fatal Snowstorm', a 'sentimental and flowery piece' composed by John Embleton c.1815. It is also to be found under the title 'Month of January', as sung by Sarah Makem of Keady, Armagh, and is similar to 'Mary of the Wild Moor' (Laws P21) which Tom Munnelly recorded from Clare singers. Tom learned this version from his mother."
Jim Carroll

See also
A Wintry Evening sung by Tom Lenihan

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