Johnny Coughlin (Kenneth Peacock)
(Johnny Gallagher)

As I was a-smoking, my pipe in my hand,
I said, "Johnny Coughlin, you're a handsome young man;
If you'll take this bounty and come along with me,
From the sweet County Carlow, strange faces to see."

Put my hand in my pocket, one shilling I drew,
"Take this, Johnny Coughlin, in hopes you'll prove true."
And when he took the money the bargain was made,
Five ribbons he bought her for her bonnet so gay.

"You can go where you've a mind to,
I have no one to mourn,
My mother is dead and will never return;
My father got married, a step-mother brought in,
Unto me she proved cruel and I'll not call her kin."

How happy is the mother who never reared a son,
How little did she ever think what hardships would come;
Not a quilt nor a blanket for to cover my skin,
But an old broken sentry-box where the tide drifted in.

Here's adieu to County Carlow and the girl I adore,
Here's adieu to County Carlow where the big ships do roar;
Where the small trout and salmon on the sandy banks lie,
With my hooks and small line to catch them I'd try.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, Johnny Gallagher. Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, Johnny Golicher, published by H Such (London) sometime between 1849 and 1862, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 11(1912) ....####

Collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from William Stevens [1900-1970] of Bellburns, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 2, pp.469-470, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that although his wife, Clara, sang many songs, this is the only song Peacock could persuade Mr Stevens to sing. It was all the more disappointing because this Irish lament revealed a fioritura style of the highest quality. The text, however, seems to be in rather poor condition; though just poor enough to make it rather mysterious and interesting.


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