The Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle
(MacEdward Leach) MIDI

See also: The Blooming Bright Star Of Bell Isle
(Gerald S Doyle)

And also: Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle
(Irish Descendants)

One evening for pleasure I rambled,
To view the fair fields all alone;
Down by the banks of Loch Erin,
Where beauty and pleasure were known.

I spied a fair maid at her labour,
Which caused me to stay for a while;
I thought her the goddess of beauty,
The blooming bright star of Belle Isle.

I humbled myself to her beauty,
"Fair maiden, where do you belong?
Are you from the heavens descended,
Abiding in Cupid's fair throng?"

"Young man, I will tell you a secret,
It's true I'm a maid that is poor;
And to part from my vows and my promise,
Is more than my heart can endure."

"Therefore I'll remain at my service,
And go through all hardship and toil;
And wait for the lad that has left me,
Alone on the banks of Belle Isle."

"Young maiden, I wish not to banter,
'Tis true I came here in disguise;
I came to fulfill my last promise,
And hoped to give you a surprise."

"I own you're the maid I love dearly.
You've been in my heart all the while;
For me, there is no other damsel,
Than my blooming bright star of Belle Isle."

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a Newfoundland traditional ballad, The Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle [Laws H29] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1950/1964) ....####
Sung by Eddy Primroy [1928-1999] of Pouch Cove, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was published as The Blooming Bright Star Of Bell Isle by Gerald S Doyle in Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, 1st Ed, pp.68-69, 1927, and 2nd Ed, p.73, 1940, in which Doyle noted that his variant was printed as #133 on p.268 of Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf [1895-1980] and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968). Mansfield noted that the words were printed by permission of Gerald S Doyle of St John's and that the air was from Patrick Lewis of Fleur de Lys. Also, Mansfield noted the words that Pat Lewis sang were slightly different from Mr Doyle's text since his memory of the words was faulty.

A variant was also collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Michael Aylward [1925-1989] of Kings Cove, NL, and published as The Star Of Belle Isle in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, p.598, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

The variant from the MacEdward Leach collection is identical to The Star Of Belle Isle collected by Kenneth Peacock, except for two additional verses at the end as follows:

This couple they both got married,
In wedlock and soft unity;
May the great God above them protect them,
And give them long life in the land.

May the great God above them protect them,
And loyalty be theirs all the while;
And honey may sweeten their comfort,
Along on the banks of Belle Isle.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this lovely lyric is generally considered to be of local origin, possibly because of its reference to Belle Isle. Although he had done no sleuthing, he strongly suspected an Old World original for this Newfoundland variant. The dialogue form and rather flowery language is pure eighteenth or perhaps seventeenth century (see Bright Phoebe as one of many lyrics of this type). It has appeared in the Greenleaf-Mansfield collection Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland with a different tune. The lovely Mixolydian tune of the present variant is very similar to the tune of another Irish-inspired native love song The Green Shores Of Fogo. As a matter of fact, Peacock concluded, Michael Aylward learned all his best songs in the strongly Irish Fogo-Joe Batt's Arm area and probably picked the tune up there. It was Aylward's sensitive style of singing which led Peacock to its source among the talented singers of Fogo, Joe Batt's Arm, and Tilting.

A similar variant was recorded as Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle by the Irish Descendants (Blooming Bright Star, trk#7, 2001 CD, Sextant Records, Markham, ON, Distributed in Canada by Koch International, Recorded in 2000 at Great Big Sea Studio, St John's, NL, and produced by Derek Harrington).

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