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Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
(Roud 562; Laws P7)
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan
Recorded in singer's home, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

Come all you lads and lassies and listen to me a while.
I'll sing to you a verse or two that will cause you all to smile.
It's all about a young man - that I'm going to tell you now,
Oh, he lately came a-courting of the maid of the sweet brown knowe.

Says I, ‘My lovely darling, won’t you come along with me?
We'll both go out together and married we will be.
We'll join our hands in wedlock bands and speaking to you now,
And I'll do my best endeavour for the maid of the sweet brown knowe.’

This fair and fickle young thing, she knew not what to say.
Her eyes they shone like diamonds bright, and merrily did play;
She says, ‘Young man, your love subdue, for I'm not ready now.
And I'll tarry another season at the foot of the sweet brown knowe.’

Says I, ‘My lovely darling, how can you say so?
Look down on yonder valley where my garden crops do grow.
Look down on yonder valley where my horses, men and plow
Are at their daily labour for the maid of the sweet brown knowe.’

‘If they're at their daily labour, kind sir, it’s not for me.
I've heard of your behaviour, indeed I have,’ said she.
‘There is an inn, where you call in, I hear the people say,
Where you rap and you call and you pay for all and go home at the break of day.’

‘If I rap and call and pay for all, sure the money is all my own.
I’ll never spend your fortune, for I hear you have got none.
You thought you had my poor heart broke, in speaking to me now,
But I'll leave you where I found you, at the foot of the sweet brown knowe.'


“The earliest reported account of this in print was as a Broadside entitled ‘Maid of the Sweet Brown Howe’ produced in Dublin in 1867. It appeared in America under various titles such as ‘The Maid of the Logan Bough’ and ‘The Maid of the Mountain Brow’. Numerous suggestions have been made as to the meaning of ‘Brown Knowe’: that it was a ‘knoll’ with Middle English and Norse antecedents, a knowe (rounded hill) or the Gaelic word ‘cnoc’, meaning hill or mountain. The location for the song is said to be on the Ramelton/Rathmullan Road in County Donegal, the left turn or elbow on the road to Ramelton at the bottom of the hill is known locally as the Brown Knowe.”
Jim Carroll

See also
Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe sung by Pat MacNamara

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