Nobleman's Wedding (The)

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NOBLEMAN'S WEDDING, THE. Irish, Air (4/4 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "This pretty ballad was a favourite in my father's house, from whose singing I learned it in my childhood. More than half-a-century ago I gave it to Dr. Petrie, who published the air in his 'Ancient Music of Ireland', p. 180. He gives three versions, the third of which is the one given by me (not the first, as he states by an oversight). Instead of the peasant words, however, he has given a ballad by William Allingham, founded on the original. Patrick Kennedy has also given the ballad in his 'Banks of the Boro' (p. 194): but this version has been largely constructed by himself. I give here from memory the very words of the peasant song; and they will be found nowhere else. The air, I must observe, has been republished in several settings--including my own--in the Stanford-Petrie collection" (Joyce) (for which see "Once I was at a nobleman's wedding (1)," "Once I was at a nobleman's wedding (1)," "Once I was invited to a noble wedding (3)".) See note for "Once I was at a nobleman's wedding (1)" for more.

Joyce's English lyric goes:

Once I was invited to a nobleman's wedding,
She was a young virgin that proved unkind;
And now that she's married she thinks on her loses,
Her former true lover still runs in her mind.

The supper being ended and all things being ready,
The bridegroom and bride stood among the nobles all;
And scarcely the words of the marriage rite were spoken,
When her former true liver appeared in the hall.

How can you lie on another man's pillow,
You that were a true love of mine so long?
Now you have left me to wear the green willow
Quite broken-hearted for your sake alone.

Here is the ring, like your vows it is broken,
Here it is back for you again;
You gave it to me as a true lover's token,
But now it no longer with me shall remain!

The bride as she sat at the head of the table,
Each word that he spoke she marked it right well;
To bear it longer she was quite unable,
And down at the bridgegroom's feet she fell.

Here is just one request that I ask for,
It is the first and the very last to be;
To sleep this night along with my mother,
And ever ever after along with thee.

This one request it was granted her fairly,
Sight and sobbing she went to her bed;
The very next morning, early full early,
They rose and they found this young bride was dead.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 413, p. 224.

Recorded sources:




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