Ploughboy (3) (The)

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PLOUGHBOY [3], THE. Irish, Air (4/4 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "I learned this song when I was very young, from Paddy Connors, a carpenter, of Fanningstown near Kilfinane Co. Limerick: but I heard others sing it. The words were often printed on ballad-sheets, of which I have one. Paddy sang this song with immense spirit and feeling: you'd think he was inspired. Words and air are now published for the first time" (Joyce). Sean Ó Boyle (1976) remarks that the song was an English or Scottish transplant to Ireland but that, like "Barbara Allen," "The Dark-Eyed Gypsies" and others, it was often sung to an Irish air. The words to the song that Joyce prints begin:

As a jolly young ploughboy was viewing his land,
Whilst his horses lay under a shade;
He whistled and he sang as he gaily walked along,
And by chance he espied a comely maid, a comely maid,
And by chance he espied a comely maid.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 412, p. 223.

Recorded sources:




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