The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #51211   Message #779060
Posted By: GUEST,Storyteller
08-Sep-02 - 09:45 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req/Add: Bright Silvery Light of the Moon
Subject: Lyr Add: LAMENT TO THE MOON and BRIGHT SILVERY...
Here are the words as I've taken them down from Packie's singing, and I'm sure that Bonnie Shaljean will be able to correct any mishearings that I may have made. It is a tribute to Packie's artistry that he transforms this rather maudlin piece into a beautiful and very moving song.

LAMENT TO THE MOON

As I strayed along at the close of the day,
About the beginning of June,
'Twas there in the glade I espied a fair maid,
As she sang her lament to the moon.

Roll along, silv'ry moon; guide the traveller on his way,
Whilst the nightingale sings her sweet tune.
There is no time so sweet, as when true lovers meet,
By the bright silvery light of the moon.


My love was young, and a bold fisherman,
His arms were brawny and strong.
His voice was clear, and a pleasure to hear
When singing an old shanty song.

But his boat went down, and my true love had found
A grave 'neath the deep angry sea,
Never more to return, and its for him I'll mourn,
Till the day that the clay covers me.

He bought me a ring; we appointed the day;
For its married we were to be soon.
But alas to my grief, he now lies in the deep,
Cut down like a rose in full bloom.

Roll along, silv'ry moon; guide the traveller on his way,
Whilst the nightingale sings her sweet tune.
There is no time so sweet, as when true lovers meet,
By the bright silvery light of the moon.


As sung by Packie Byrne, and recorded by Mike Yates (London, 1974).
Issued on Topic LP 'Packie Manus Byrne: Songs of a Donegal Man' 12TS257 1975, and on Veteran CD 'Donegal & Back! Songs, ballads and whistle tunes from Packie Byrne' VT132CD, 2002.

Walton's Treasury of Irish Songs and Ballads gives an anonymous version where the dead youth appears as one of the heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising:

THE BRIGHT SILVERY LIGHT OF THE MOON

As I went out from my cot at the close of the day,
About the beginning of June,
By a jessamine shade I beheld a fair maid,
And she sadly complained to the moon;
"Roll on, silvery moon, guide the traveller's way,
While the nightingale sings in full tune;
But never again with my lover I'll stray
By the sweet silvery light of the moon."

"As the hart on the mountain my lover is brave,
And so handsome, so manly, and clean;
So kind, so sincere, and he loved me so dear,
Oh, Eamon, thy equal was never yet seen.
But now he is dead and gone to his lone bed,
Cut down like a flower in full bloom;
He had fallen asleep, and poor Jane's left to weep
By the bright silvery light of the moon.

"For he died for his country, my sweetheart so true,
For Ireland he gave his young life;
He fell with our heroes, when mourners were few,
Mid the rifle-fire, cannon, and strife.
And his brothers-in-arms, 'neath that bright Easter sun,
Fought and prayed that the dawn would come soon-
'Gainst the fierce, foreign foe, till the Vict'ry was won
By the sweet silvery light of the moon."

Elizabeth Cronin had the title 'Roll on, silvery moon' in one of her song-lists, but did not write down the words to it, and there do not appear to be any recordings of her singing it. Possibly Jean Ritchie (Kytrad) might remember if she ever heard Bess sing it.

I agree with brad that Breda McKinney also sings it beautifully - a true daughter of Inishowen!