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Sprightly Young Damsel
(Roud 18473)
Michael ‘Straighty’ Flanagan
Recorded in a bar in Inagh, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Michael 'Straighty' Flanagan

I’ll sing of a sprightly young damsel that lived in the county Kildare.
She was pretty, quite charming and handsome; her features were blooming and fair.
Her parents had great store of riches, she was sprightly and funny with all.
But at night she was quite discontented, with her face turned up to the wall.

She got up very early one morning, complained of a pain in her head.
She dressed herself cosy and warm and called her mamma out of bed.
She says, “My dear mother I wonder why my tears do abundantly fall;
Every night I do lie cold and shiver, with my face turned up to the wall.”

She says, “My dear daughter be easy, I guess what’s the cause of your woe.
Won’t you marry Sean Moore the fat miller who lives in the valley below?
For he has both money, land, riches, a well furnished kitchen and hall.
And with him you never need grumble with your face turned up to the wall.”

“Don’t you know my own darling Willie, who lives down at the lake?
His heart is both mild soft and tender, he used me both early and late.
I’d rather my own darling Willie without e’er a penny at all,
Than thousands with that dusty old miller who’ll leave me lying cold to the wall.”

“Don’t speak any more about Willie,” her mother this instant replied.
“For ‘tis neither my will or intention that you should be ever his bride.
For he has neither money nor riches nor bacon in kitchen or hall.
Nor is he the man I intended to keep you at night from the wall.”

“Ah,” she says, “my dear mother I wonder why you should such nonsense uphold.
I find a great change in your temper, and crazy as you’re getting old;
For when you were youthful and merry, you’d give money, land, riches and all
In to some sprightly young fellow who’d keep you at night from the wall.”

At this the poor mother relented and seeing her dear daughter in grief,
And soon she quickly consented to give her mind ease and relief.
And then she prepared a grand wedding, rice puddings, punch, whiskey and all,
And married she was to her Willie, who rolled her far down from the wall.

“I think it far better in winter when Willie goes off to the plough;
Go and get up his pail and his piggin*, and go milking his one-horned cow.
Than thousands of money, land, riches, and bacon in kitchen and hall,
Than to lie with that dusty old miller who’ll leave me lying cold to the wall.”


"*‘Piggin’: a small wooden bucket with one stave projecting above the rim for use as a handle; it is also called a pipkin.
While the theme of the frustrated young woman longing for a husband is a popular one in the tradition (see Mikey Kelleher's ‘Daughter, Dearest Daughter’), the only other version of this we have heard of was sung by Martin Long of Inagh. Michael learned this from a ballad sheet which he recalled buying in Ennis Town in 1914."

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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