MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Mountains of Mourne
Monica Rossiter NFLD 1 Tape 7 Track 1
Cape Broyle Audio:
Ballad / homesick

Oh Mary this London is a wonderful sight,
With the people all working by day and by night,
They don't sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat,
But there's gangs of them diggin for gold in the streets,
At least when I asked them that's what I was told,
So I just took a hand in the diggin for gold,
But for all that I found there I might as well be,
Where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

I believe that when writing a wish you expressed,
As to how the fine ladies in London were dressed,
Well, if you believe me when asked to a hall,
Faith they don't wear a top to their dresses at all,
l've seen them meself and you could not …
… if they were bound for a ball or a bath,
Don't be starting them fashions now Mary McCree,
Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep down to the sea.

l've seen England's king from the top of a bus,
I never knew him though he means to know us,
And though by the saxon we once were oppressed,
Yet I cheered (God forgive me) I cheered with the rest,
And now that his visit to Eryin's green shore,
We'll be much better friends than we've been here before,
When we got all we want we're as quiet as can be,
Where the Mountains of Morne sweep down to the sea.

You remember young Peter O'Laughlin of course,
WeIl now he is here at the head of the force,
I met him today he was crossing the strand,
And he stopped the whole street with one wave of his hand,
And there we stood talking of days that are gone,
Whilst the whole population of London looked on,
But for all these great powers his wish is to be,
Where the Mountains of Mourne swept down to the sea.

There's beautiful girls here Oh never mind,
With beautiful hips nature never designed,
Their faces all covered with powder and cream,
But O'Laughlin remarked with regard to the same,
That if at those roses you bent there to sip
The colours might all come away on your lip,
So l'll wait for the wild rose that's waiting for me,
Where the Mountains Of Mourne swept down to the sea.


Notes

Sources: Henry 606 ("The Green Hills of Antrim").

History: The author is Percy French. According to http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/BalladSearch.html, the song references the 1905 visit of King Edward VII to Ireland (although this is not evident in the version on this website).

Text notes: An Irishman in London writes to his girl, describing the city and lamenting that he wants to be home.

Tune notes:A 6/8 metre tune in a major key. The form, aaba (with double lines for each letter) reflects the most popular song form in North America in the 20 th century.

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