The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98210   Message #3959966
Posted By: Joe Offer
03-Nov-18 - 10:21 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Matt Hyland
Subject: ADD Version: Matt Hyland

There was a lord lived in this town,
   Who had a handsome comely daughter,
Was courted by a fair young man,
   Who was a servant to her father,
But when her parents came to know,
   They vowed they'd make him leave the island,
This lady knew her heart would break,
   Had she to part with young Matt Hyland.

The lord discoursed with his dear wife fair,
   One night alone in their bed-chamber,
'Matt Hyland I will send afar,
   I fear my child doth stand in danger.'
This lady gay in ambush lay,
   While deep depressed she lay repining;
'My father I will him deceive,
   Won't I protect my own Matt Hyland.'

Straightway off to her love she went,
   And ordered him for to awaken,
Saying 'arise my dear and go your way,
   For this night you will be taken.
Last night I heard my father say,
   In spite of fate he would transport you,
So arise my dear and leave this place,
   For you know right well I do adore you.'

'Oh, must I go away,' he said,
   'Oh, must I go without my wages,
Without a shilling in my purse,
   Just like a poor forlorn stranger?'
'Here's fifty shillings in bright gold,
   Ain't that far more than my father owes you,
So arise, said she, and go your way,
   For I wish to God I'd gone before you.'

'Twas on a bank they both sat down,
   Just for the space of one half hour,
And not a word either speak,
   But down their cheeks the tears did pour.
She laid her head upon his breast,
   Around his neck her arms entwined them,
'No lord nor duke nor earl I'll wed,
   I'll wait for you, my own Matt Hyland.'

The lord surveyed his daughter's plight,
   One night alone as she lay crying,
'I will give you leave to bring him back,
   since there's none you style above him.'
She wrote a letter then in haste,
   For him her heart was still repining,
She brought him back, to the church they went,
   And she made a lord of young Matt Hyland.

Notes: Here's a song that has become increasingly popular during recent years, since Tommy McDermott, from Co. Fermanagh, sang it in the ballad competition the year he won the all-Ireland championship. In fact it seems to be sung traditionally only in south-west Ulster. The story of the parents of a 'high-born' young lady, attempting to foil her marrying a man of 'lower degree' is a favourite one of these islands. There are many songs with a similar theme, though the ending is by no means as happy as in this song. Just one personal observation — I have always thought that the young man was a little too interested in the material things of life (verse 4). However, with such a beautiful air I refuse to countenance a marriage of anything but true minds.

Source: Folksongs Sung in Ulster, compiled by Robin Morton (Mercier, 1970). Song #1, pages 1-2. Melody MIDI available upon request.