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Why Don’t You Love the Old Love?
(Roud 5216)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded in singer's home, July 1976

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Tom Lenihan

Why don’t you love the old love? Why don’t you love long?
Why don’t you love the old love till the new love comes on?
You can tell them that you love them, for their minds for to please,
But when their back is turned you can love whom you please.

When first to this country, a stranger I came.
There was few in it that knew me, or could tell my name.
‘Twas my sad grief and my woeful downfall,
That my love was confined between lime and stone wall.

Green grows the rushes and the tops of them small;
My love she is little, she is comely withal.
My love she is little, she is tidy and smart;
And the love that I have for her, it will never leave my heart.

To some she gives ribbons, and to more she gives gloves.
To others she gives money for to furnish their purse.
To me she gives nothing who loved her so dear
And who’s taking my love from me may not in the New Year.

I passes my love’s window both early and late,
The look she gives at me my very heart would break.
The look she gives at me ten thousand would kill,
While there’s life in my body I will love my love still.

I’ll buy my love a sugar stick both strawberries and pears,
Every morning a cup of nice tea.
I’ll dress you my darling and take you away,
Into New York we’ll be sailing in the merry month of May.


“Another song which Tom appears to be the only source, this is made up largely of ‘floaters’, verses that have been found in numerous songs. The two obvious comparisons here are 'Green Grows the Rushes/Laurels', which is one of the 'Died for Love' genre, and 'The America Stranger'.”
Jim Carroll

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