Dear Irish Boy (2) (The)

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DEAR IRISH BOY [2], THE (An Buacaill Dileas Ua Eirinn). AKA and see "Dear Irish Maid," "Wild Irish Boy (1)." Irish, Slow Air (3/4 time). E Aeolian (O'Neill, Roche): G Minor (Haverty, Howe): D Minor (Joyce). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "This was universally known, sung, and played in my early days (c. 1845). The words smack of the classical schoolmaster, and there are a few strained expressions. Nevertheless, taken as a whole it is very pleasing: and its under-current of tenderness more than compensates for the spice of pedantry. The pathetic beauty of the air renders praise from me unnecessary. I give it here just as I learned it. My versions of air and words differ from those already published. There is another song to this air, 'O, Weary's on Money, and Weary's on Wealth,' which will be found in the collections of Duffy, Williams, Lover, Barry, and others" (Joyce). John Moulden finds the first publication of the song to be in the Dublin Monthly Magazine of March, 1842, as gives two sets of words (calling the 'My Connor' set the older). The magazine records that the air was contributed by a Mr James Barton and was believed to be the composition of his brother, John Barton, who had other compositions to his credit. The lyrics below are found in H. Halliday Sparling's Irish Minstrelsy (1887).

My Connor, his cheeks are as ruddy as morning,
The brightest of pearls do but mimic his teeth,
While nature with ringlets his mild brows adorning,
His hair Cupid's bow-strings, and roses his breath.
Smiling, beguiling, cheering, endearing,
Together how oft o'er the mountains we strayed,
By each other delighted and fondly united,
I have listened all day to my dear Irish Boy.

No roebuck more swift could fly over the mountain,
No veteran bolder meet danger or scars;
He's sightly, he's sprightly, he's clear as the fountain,
His eyes twinkle love - oh! He's gone to the wars.
Smiling, beguiling, etc.

The soft tuneful lark, his notes changed to mourning,
The dark screaming owl impedes my night's sleep,
While lonely I walk in the shade of the evening,
Till my Connor's return I will ne'er cease to weep.
Smiling, beguiling, etc.

The war being over, and he not returned,
I fear that some dark, envious plot has been laid,
Or that some cruel goddess has him captivated,
And left here to mourn his dear Irish maid.
Smiling, beguiling, etc.

In the recent past it was a favorite slow air of pipers, with versions renditions on record by Willie Clancy, Tommy Reck, Leo Rowsome and Felix Doran. James Kelly (1996) remarks that the air was a favourite of County Clare fiddlers Bobby Casey and Joe Ryan.

Source for notated version: Chicago Police Sergeant James O'Neill, a fiddler originally from County Down and Francis O'Neill's collaborator [O'Neill].

Printed sources: Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 3), 1859; No. 201, p. 95. Howe (Musician's Omnibus, No. 2), c. 1864; p. 101. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 398, p. 207. O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 68, p. 42 (appears as "The Wild Irish Boy"). O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 73, p. 13. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1913; p. 25, No. 50 (2nd setting).

Recorded sources: Capelhouse Records, James Kelly – "Traditional Irish Music" (1996). Claddagh CC11, Leo Rowsome – "The Drones and Chanters, vol. 1." Ossian OSS 53, Fintan Vallely – "Totally Traditional Tin Whistles." Danny O'Donnell – "The Donegal Fiddler."




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