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Molly Bawn
(Roud 9500)
Mikey Kelleher
Quilty and Depford, London
Recorded in London, 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Mikey Kelleher

In Carlow town there lived a maid she was a beauty bright,
Many the man came courting her and at both day and night.
Many the man came courting her his fortune for to try,
But it makes no matter Molly Bawn young men can tell a lie.

Molly was young and foolish, as I told you before.
She'd sooner go and hide herself like she did in days of yore.
Six long months and longer I am in love with thee,
She said, ‘If you’re a gentleman prove loyal and marry me.’

‘To marry you dear Molly Bawn it’s a thing I’ll never do.
Those foolish things you told me, I don’t know what I’ll do.
Go home you foolish creature and do the best you can,
And tell ‘em your love has parted you and proved a false young man.’

Molly wouldn’t hang herself or repair and stood disgraced.
She’d sooner go and drown herself into some silent place.
Walk along the Liffey banks, her body to destroy
And later in the afternoon, in her watery grave she’ll lie.

Two or three days after her love he came to swim.
Walking round the Liffey banks and gazing at the brink.
Taking off his shoes and clothes he sprang into the deep,
And there he found his Molly Bawn and she layin' fast asleep.

Ten times he kissed her cold soft lips when he knew she was dead and gone.
'May the Lord have mercy on your soul, I proved a false young man.
But who will tell my parents that they need not look for me?
This very day in the cold, cold clay I’ll lie with you Molly.


“While the theme of a pregnant young woman being abandoned by her lover and committing suicide is common enough in the oral tradition, there seems to be only one other example of this particular song having been recorded, from Mrs Eileen Sheridan (originally from Kerry) in London in 1956. The best known of these type of songs, ‘Caroline of Edinburgh Town’ can be found elsewhere in this collection sung by Nora Cleary and Tom Lenihan.”
Jim Carroll

See also
In Carlow Town sung by Jamesie McCarthy

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