When a man's in love he feels no cold

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WHEN A MAN'S IN LOVE HE FEELS NO COLD (Ni b-fuil aon fuact air graideoir). Irish, English; Slow Air (4/4 time). Ireland, Ulster. G Major/Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. "When a man's in love he feels no cold" [Roud 990; Laws O20; Ballad Index LO20] was written by Hugh McWilliams (b. 1783) of Glenavy, County Antrim, and published in his Poems and Songs on Various Subjects (1831), in which the indicated tune is "Moses Gathering the Children." Researcher John Moulden traced "Moses gathering the Children" to various English printed ballads, and noted the title is often "An answer to the Freemason's hymn" of which the first line is "When Moses numbered all his men". However, the words have been sung to other melodies, including a variant of "Star of the County Down", which is also the air to a few of the versions of the song "Dives and Lazarus." The "Star of the County Down" melody is said (by A.A. Lloyd) to have been the one "most frequently heard in the streets of London in the mouths of men seeking employment" in the 19th century. McWilliams' lyric begins:

When a man's in love he knows no cold
Like me not long ago.
To see his girl like a hero bold,
He'll plough through frost and snow.
The moon she'd gently shed her light
Along me weary way,
Until I came to that sweet place
Where all my treasure lay.

Source for notated version: Francis O’Neill’s assistant, transcriber, and contributor to his early volumes, fiddler Sergeant James O’Neill of the Chicago police, who learned the song from his mother, Mary Mulholland, in his native County Down [O’Neill].

Printed sources: O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 164, p. 29.

Recorded sources: Rough Trade Records, Alasdair Roberts - "Farewell Sorrow" (2003).




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