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Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)

Rosemaryanne 27 May 11 - 04:30 PM
Joe Offer 27 May 11 - 05:21 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Jun 11 - 09:35 AM
Jim Dixon 01 Jun 11 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Lorna Baker 08 Apr 12 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,Naomi O'Connell 05 Feb 13 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Feb 13 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Steven Paul Browne 25 Oct 13 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,Ciarán 12 Dec 13 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,,Steven Paul Browne 07 Dec 14 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,Liz Hall and Linda Pratley 18 Aug 15 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Aug 15 - 12:23 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREY MAN (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: Rosemaryanne
Date: 27 May 11 - 04:30 PM

THE GREY MAN
(Words by John o' the North
Music by Ruth Mervyn)

On a summer day, quiet and still
The grey man came across the hill,
Tall was he and long his stride
and he cast no shadow at his side.
Tall was he and long his stride
and he cast no shadow at his side.

Tall and forbidding stooped and grey
and a chill went with him on his way.
Down the path I watched him go
where it falls away to the rocks below.
Down the path I watched him go
where it falls away to the rocks below.

Over the boulders and through the scree
Down he went, Down to the sea,
And I have heard that it bodeth ill
to see the grey man cross the hill,
But well or ill or sun or rain,
I never wish to see him again.

Words by John o' the North
Music by Ruth Mervyn

I think this song is about the grey man described in this article. I came across it in a harp book in the library when I was in Dublin 18 years ago.

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/aberdeenshire/hauntings/the-grey-man-of-ben-macdhui.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man(John o' the North/R. Mervyn)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 May 11 - 05:21 PM

I'm curious about John o' the North, and Google doesn't tell me much about him. Apparently, John wrote poems used as recitations, and some that were set to music by others. One was "Dirty Work," with music by Havelock Nelson. Mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker recorded the song.

I found two books of verses by John o' the North:
  • The Dancing Men and other verses, published in Belfast in 1950
  • Various Verses, published in Belfast in 1945.
It appears that Harry T. Browne may be the true name of "John o' the North."
Can somebody tell me more about John o' the North?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Jun 11 - 09:35 AM

Joe: You're correct that John o' the North was the pseudonym of Harry T. Browne. I found that information in the catalog entries of several libraries that have his work. This additional information is from WorldCat.org:

Songs with words by John o' the North and music by Havelock Nelson:

ADVENTURE
Toronto, Ont.: Gordon V. Thompson, ©1962

JINNIFER - JANNIFER
London: Legnick, [©1963]

LAZY LIZZIE
London: J. Curwen & Sons, ©1964.

THE KING'S DAUGHTER
London: Legnick, ©1974

JACK O' LANTERN
London: A. Lengnick, ©1982.

DIRTY WORK
Sand Hutton, Yorkshire: Banks Music Publications, ©1985.

THE BLACK CAT
York: Banks Music, ©1990

Songs for Joanna: [1] LITTLE BETTY BLAND [2] A WINDY STORY.
Wendover: Roberton Publications, ©1990

Song with words by John o' the North and music by Alan Owen:

THE KING OF THE MANTELPIECE
London: J. Curwen & Sons, ©1966.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ALL SOULS' NIGHT (John o' the North)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Jun 11 - 09:53 AM

From The Hallowed Eve: Dimensions of Culture in a Calendar Festival in Northern Ireland by Jack Santino (Lexington, Ky.: Univ. Press of Kentucky 1998), page 166:


ALL SOULS' NIGHT
John o' the North

The door's on the latch,
The turf burns red,
Turn low the lamp
And go to bed.

For on this night
Them that's away
Could be back again
Out of the clay.

They'll come in the dark
To the warm turf,
From the coul' sod
And the wet surf.

And you in the loft
Can breathe a prayer
For the wakin' dead
That's gathered there.

When the mornin' comes
You'll rise from bed,
And find on the hearth
The turf still red.

Poker and tongs,
And creepie and chair
Will be all the way
You left them there.

But you'll draw the blind
With a touch of fear,
For you'll know in your heart
There was strangers here.

Peace to the soul
Of each wanderin' guest;
God be with them
And give them rest.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,Lorna Baker
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 12:54 PM

Harry T Browne was a cousin of my Granda's, Jimmy Lennon, from Larne. I remember my Granda reciting me his poetry when I was a child and have a box in my attic with a signed copy of Various Verses. My Granda was from Kilwaghter in County Antrim, and had a 'real' and 'natural' Ulster Scots tongue so his renditions of both his own and 'Uncle Harry's' poetry was so much more exciting to listen to than those readers who now try very badly to put on the Hame Tongue.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,Naomi O'Connell
Date: 05 Feb 13 - 11:45 PM

Dear Lorna,

I have been doing some research for a song recital coming up this March in New York where I have programmed a song by Havelock Nelson, which sets the poem Dirty Work of Harry T Browne. Great to read what you have written! Would you happen to have any more information about him?

Cheers,

Naomi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Feb 13 - 10:14 AM

Thank you for posting the poems, Jim and Rosemaryanne. I think the Grey Man is Old Man Winter. What do you think?
=========
Re Ulster Scots dialect:

Here's a video whose subject is the Ulster Scots dialect. I assume the speaker is using that dialect himself. Is that true?

speaking

I believe my ancestors on my mother's sides were Ulster Scots, so I'm interested.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,Steven Paul Browne
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 11:23 PM

This is my Great grandfather's poetry!!
Dunno if anyone is reading this lately but yeah...it's nice to know other folk are still interested in his work!!
Anyhoo I'm still living in Larne and so is my Dad


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,Ciarán
Date: 12 Dec 13 - 11:43 AM

Hello all, particularly Steven,

I just purchased a second hand copy of your grandfather's Various Verses at the Old Abbey Bookshop in Holywood, County Down. The poems are utterly delightful. They won't be delighting me for much longer, I am sorry to say, as it has been bought as a gift which will be given on Friday.

I hope you are all well,

Ciarán


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,,Steven Paul Browne
Date: 07 Dec 14 - 10:21 PM

It's been a while since I checked back here but Ciarán,I hope the book was well received! Well,Blessings to everyone!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,Liz Hall and Linda Pratley
Date: 18 Aug 15 - 05:23 PM

On an impulse we looked up John o' the North this evening. We are his great nieces and have fond memories of him dropping into our house on Victoria Road, Larne. Our mother was particularly fond of him.

He had a Triumph Mayflower with a walnut dashboard, very exciting to us because not many people had cars at all. Sometimes he would take some of us for drives up the coast road.

He and Aunt Annie lived in a beautiful (Art Deco?) house and occasionally we and our cousins visited and had a great time in the large and lovely garden which Aunt Annie looked after.

Uncle Harry loved language, literature and Irish culture and influenced us for the rest of our lives.

He was born in Nottingham as far as we know and brought to Ireland as a small child, we think after his father died. His brother was our grandfather.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Grey Man (John o' the North/R Mervyn)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Aug 15 - 12:23 PM

Thank you for sharing your memories, Liz and Linda.


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