The Maid Of Sweet Gartheen (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Sweet Gertie (MacEdward Leach)

Come all you gentle muses
I pray now lend an ear
While I relate the praises
of a comelye maiden fair;
'Twas her cherry cheeks and her ruby lips
that stole away my heart,
And death I'm sure will be the cure
if my love and I must part.

The praises of that fair one
I intend for to unfold,
Her hair hung down in ringlets
like links of shining gold;
'Twas the curling of her yellow locks
that fractured quite my brain,
And there is a road lies near her abode
to the town of sweet Gartheen.

Long time in private courting
for to let no one know,
For fear my father's anger
would prove our overthrow;
For she being a poor servant-girl,
she was quite below my means,
But still for all I loved that girl,
the maid of sweet Gartheen.

So my father he came to me
and this to me did say:
"Oh son, oh son, you are doing wrong
to throw yourself away,
For to marry with a servant-girl
whose parents are so mean,
So be advised and do not wed
but along with me remain."

I said: "Father, dearest father,
don't deprive me of my dear,
For I'd rather have my own true love
than a million pounds a year;
And if I could sit on Queen Victoria's throne
I would choose her for my queen,
And with high renown she would wear the crown,
That maid of sweet Gartheen."

A horse and carriage was then prepared
and they took my love so fair,
They took my love unto a place,
a place I know not where;
Her window I have often passed
thinking she might be seen,
And in hopes to get another glimpse
of that maid of sweet Gartheen.

So 'tis now my song is ended,
my verses they are done,
While England is my dwelling place,
old Ireland is my home;
I sometimes wander back
to the places we have been,
Along the road lies near her abode
to the town of sweet Gartheen.

So now my song is ended
I will now lay down my quill,
For John O'Brien is my name,
I was born on yon flowery hill;
My time I spent in merriment
when first my love I seen,
But now in pain I must remain
for that maid of sweet Gartheen,

####.... Authored 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 1960 by Kenneth Peacock from Mrs Mary Ann Galpin [1872-1962] of Codroy, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 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).

A variant was collected in 1950 from William (Will) O'Brien [1874-1956] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published as Sweet Gertie in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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