I'm a poor stranger and far from my own (1)

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I'M A POOR STRANGER AND FAR FROM MY OWN [1]. Irish, Air (3/4 time). G Major (Joyce): B Flat Major (Stanford/Petrie). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "Both air and words of this song are well known in the South of Ireland, and I have been acquainted with them as long as I can remember" (Joyce, Old Irish Music). In Joyce's 1873 Ancient Irish Music, he says of the air: "An English friend assures me that he heard the words of the following song many years ago, among the peasantry of the south of England; and he believes the air also to be the one I give here. The mention of nightingales in the first verse points to an English origin, the third verse looks very like Irish manufacture. I sent the air to Mr. Chappell, the great master of English popular music, and he has written to me, saying that he has some faint recollection of having heard it before; and expressing the opinion that it ought to be published. Both the air and the words are well-known in the south of Ireland, and I have been acquainted with them as long as I can remember. I think the air is Irish; but I give it here subject to any future claims from other quarters" (p. 73).

As I went a walking one morning in spring,
To hear the birds whistle and nightingales sing;
I heard a fair lady a-making great moan,
Saying, "I'm a poor stranger, and far from my own."

And as I drew night her I made a low jee (bow?)
I asked her for pardon for making so free;
My heart it relented to hear to her moan,
Saying, "I'm a poor stranger, and far from my own."

I'll build my love a cottage at the end of this town,
Where lords, dukes and earls shall not pull it down;
If the boys they should ask you what makes you live alone,
You can tell them you're a stranger and far from your own.

Source for notated version: "From (the Irish collector) Mr. Joyce" [Stanford/Petrie].

Printed sources: Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 27. Joyce (Ancient Irish Music), 1873; No. 72, p. 73. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 392, p. 200. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 800, p. 200.

Recorded sources:




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