Sweet Gertie (MacEdward Leach)

See also: The Maid Of Sweet Gartheen (Peacock)

Come all ye gentle muses,
draw near and lend an ear,
Until I sing for the praise
of a comely maiden fair;
Until I sing for the praise
of her I'm going to name,
Her skin far fairer than
the swan swims on yon pearly stream.

The charms of this comely maid
I mean for to revive,
The stars shone o'er her shoulders broad,
her eyes like stars did shine;
Her gentle waist and carriage neat
it so confounded me,
That maid I'm sure will be the cure
if she don't fancy me.

Now me and my father roamed
out to take the air,
"Are you going to throw yourself away,
my darling son?" said he;
"To marry a poor servant girl,
our friends they are too mean,
Oh, stay at home, my darling son,
along with Marilyn."

"No, father, cruel father,
don't part me from my dear,
I would not part my darling girl
for ten thousand pounds a year;
If I were purser to King George's crown
I would make her my queen,
And high renown I'd wear the crown
for the maid of Sweet Gertie."

'Twas early the next morning
a horse he did prepare,
He took my darling far, far away,
a place I knew not where;
I may go view my darling's room
where she had oftimes been,
It's here in pain I do remain
for the maid of Sweet Gertie.

It is no use in talking,
I'll take my pen in hand,
And John O'Brien it is my name,
I live in flowery land;
My time I spent in discontent
since first her face I've seen,
Her place abode lies near a road
at home in Sweet Gertie.

####.... Written by John O'Brien per the lyrics. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, Maid Of Sweet Gortein, published by H Such (London) sometime between 1849 and 1862, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(2292) ....####

Collected in 1950 from William (Will) Joseph O' Brien [1880-1971] of Cape Broyle, 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 collected in 1960 from Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published as The Maid Of Sweet Gartheen in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, pp.375-376, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this Irish song appears in a collection called Irish Street Ballads edited by Colm O Lochlainn (Dublin, 1939). Gartheen is written 'Gurteen' in this book and 'Gorteen' in a collection of songs and ballads called Irish Come-All-Ye's by Manus O'Connor (New York, 1901).


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