Paddy Will You Now?

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PADDY WILL YOU NOW? AKA and see "It is Day," "Johnny will you now?," "Ta na la," "Thaunalaw," "Tow Row Row." Irish, March (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. O’Neill (1922) says: “The above setting differs not materially from that in Clinton's 200 Irish Melodies for Flute, Dublin 1840. Under the same name a much simpler version appears in Haverty's 300 Irish Airs, New York 1858, having but the exceptional number of 13 bars altogether. To the editor this strain was known in boyhood days as ‘Tow Row Row’ both names being taken from the first line of the song Tow Row Row, Paddy, will you now, which song by the way cannot be found in any Irish collection at present available. ‘Ta na la’ or ‘It is day’ one of three tunes of that name in Stanford-Petrie Collection is obviously the same strain. The arrangement however is quite different; the melody and chorus together consisting of but 17 bars. To add to the diversity, we find that the arrangement of ‘Paddy will you now’ to which is set Gavan Duffy's poem ‘Watch and Wait’ in Ballads and Songs by the Writers of The Nation Dublin, 1845, is limited to 14 bars.” The song can be found in varying degrees of vulgar as well as lullaby versions. One rather sanitized version goes:

As I was kissing the daughter so fair,
Who should come in but her blanked old mother;
Caught me in her daughter's lap,
Slapped my face, and shouted murder.

Tow, row, row! Paddy, will you now?
Take me now, while I'm in humor;
And that's just--now!--tow-row-row.

As I was tripping down the stairs,
Who should I meet but her blanked old father;
With a brace of pistols in his hand,
To shoot the man that kissed his daughter.

The song was quoted by Charles Dickens (Household Words: A Weekly Journal, 1858) and Thomas Hardy (in his poem "Sitting on the Bridge" from Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses). A version in Charles Villiers Stanford's Complete Collection of Petrie's Irish Music (1905) appears under the title "Ta na la" (It is day), and the melody was the vehicle for the songs "Watch and Wait," Charles Gavan Duffy's "Sady as a muffled drum" and others.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 3), 1859; No. 284, p. 142. O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 51.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]

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