She's the Dear Maid to Me
X:1 T:She’s the dear maid to me M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Mournfully" S:Joyce – Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D Mixolydian E|D2E G2A|A3 A2B|c2A G2E|(D3 D2) c/d/| e2d c2e|d3 c2B|A2B c2e|d3 c2d| e2d c2e|d3 c2A|G2E DEG|A3 ABc| d2e c2A|A2B GED|E3 D2D|(D3 D2)||
SHE'S THE DEAR MAID TO ME. Irish, Air (6/8 time, "mournfully"). D Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "The words of this rude, though very popular, ballad were printed from a broadsheet in Duffy's Ballad Poetry of Ireland. I have also a copy on a printed sheet not differing materially from this. I give the opening verse here. Hugh Reynolds was executed in Cavan in the year 1826, for housebreaking and attempted abduction. Pretty full details of the tragedy are given by Duffy along with the song. I knew 'Catherine MacCabe' about fifty years ago: but she was then a married woman, and of course bore a different name. The air has not been printed till now” (Joyce).
My name it is Hugh Reynolds, I come of decent parents,
Near Cavan I was born as you may plainly see;
By loving of a maid, one Catherine MacCabe,
My life it is betrayed she's the dear maid to me.
The maid being referred to as "dear" is an idiom meaning "I have paid dearly for her" or "she has cost me dearly" (Joyce). See also Francis O'Neills "<incipit title="load:dear" width=850 link="https://tunearch.org/wiki/She's a Dear Maid to me">She's a Dear Maid to me</incipit>," an almost identical title, buy a musically different air.