Dobbin's Flowery Vale (1)
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DOBBIN'S FLOWERY VALE . AKA and see "My Fair-haired Darling (2)," "Charmer with the Fair Locks," "Maid of Templenoe," "One evening in June," "Youth and Bloom," "Mavourneen na Gruaige Baine." Irish, Air (4/4 time). F Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Leonard Dobbin, explains O Boyle, was a man of wealth and substance in County Armagh in the early 19th century, and lent his energies to civic improvement. He constructed most of the now attractive Armagh street known as "Dobbin Street," and laid out the lands along the banks of the Ballinahone River according to progressive landscaping patterns for the time which tried to incorporate both parks and manufacturing. O Boyle quotes the 19th century author Stuart in Historical Memoirs of Armagh who gushingly wrote "to men of contemplative and tranquil minds who love to listen to the clack of mills alternately swelling and dying on the breeze and who hear with delight the murmur of descending waters and the choral song of birds, this rural spot must surely appear a charming retreat." Though the anonymous folk-poet who composed the lyric evidently agreed with Stuart, the local populace was not generally so kind, and dubbed the venture "Dobbin's Folly." The 'flowery vale' is in modern times "almost obliterated by a Housing Estate." Joyce (1873) remarks there were few tunes better known in Munster in the 19th century than this, and that he knew portions of a half-dozen songs set to the melody. One of the songs he knew began:
By the Blackwater side, not far from Castle-Hyde, there dwells a most beautiful creature;
She's slender tall and straight, and in beauty quite complete, and charming in every feature,
I met her the other day as I roved along the way, and I asked where my darling was going;
She said she meant to go as far as Templenoe, and I begged to accompany my storeen.
Another song set to the melody begins:
One morning fair as Phoebus bright her radiant charms displayed,
And Flora in her mantle green those verdant plains arrayed.
As I did rove throughout each grove, no care did me assail,
Till a pair I spied by the water side in Dobbins flowery vale.
See also note to "My Fair-haired Darling (2)."
Source for notated version: "From Mr. Joyce b.b.p. 36" [Stanford/Petrie].
Printed sources: Joyce (Ancient Irish Music), 1873/1890; No. 96, p. 98. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 789, p. 197.