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Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?

DigiTrad:
THE ROSE OF TRALEE


Related threads:
Lyr Add: The Man from Tralee (Martyn Travis) (28)
Lyr Req: Pride of Tralee Town (24)
Help...Irish Folk Music in Tralee (10)
Chords Req: Rose of Tralee (from Christy Moore) (5)
Tennessee Waltz / Rose of Tralee-Are they related? (11)
Rose of Tralee Festival (1)


Brack& 08 Sep 98 - 07:49 PM
Dan 26 Apr 99 - 06:44 PM
Bruce O. 26 Apr 99 - 09:58 PM
Ferrara 26 Apr 99 - 10:30 PM
Ferrara 26 Apr 99 - 10:32 PM
Brakn 27 Apr 99 - 05:14 AM
Brakn 27 Apr 99 - 05:37 AM
John in Brisbane 27 Apr 99 - 08:13 PM
Mick Lowe 27 Apr 99 - 08:23 PM
AKS 13 Nov 99 - 05:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Nov 99 - 09:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Nov 99 - 08:00 PM
dick greenhaus 14 Nov 99 - 11:13 PM
AKS 15 Nov 99 - 02:04 AM
Brakn 15 Nov 99 - 07:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Nov 99 - 03:12 PM
Stewie 15 Nov 99 - 05:40 PM
AKS 16 Nov 99 - 04:24 AM
JedMarum 22 Jul 03 - 06:21 PM
dulcimer 22 Jul 03 - 10:32 PM
Leadfingers 23 Jul 03 - 02:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jul 03 - 05:30 AM
JedMarum 23 Jul 03 - 09:10 AM
IanC 23 Jul 03 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Dale 23 Jul 03 - 10:20 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jul 03 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Dale 23 Jul 03 - 04:08 PM
SINSULL 23 Jul 03 - 06:57 PM
toadfrog 23 Jul 03 - 11:20 PM
GUEST,still cookieless paddymac 23 Jul 03 - 11:34 PM
JedMarum 24 Jul 03 - 12:00 AM
ard mhacha 24 Jul 03 - 01:22 PM
Art Thieme 26 Jul 03 - 07:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jul 03 - 07:24 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jul 03 - 10:35 PM
Bert 27 Jul 03 - 02:15 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jul 03 - 06:24 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jul 03 - 07:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jul 03 - 08:14 PM
Nigel Parsons 27 Jul 03 - 08:18 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jul 03 - 08:52 PM
JedMarum 28 Jul 03 - 08:53 AM
s&r 28 Jul 03 - 09:02 AM
Irish sergeant 17 Mar 07 - 06:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 07 - 06:55 PM
Irish sergeant 17 Mar 07 - 06:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 07 - 07:03 PM
Irish sergeant 17 Mar 07 - 07:09 PM
Joe Offer 13 Nov 10 - 08:23 PM
Joe Offer 14 Nov 10 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,mg 14 Nov 10 - 01:28 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Nov 10 - 02:26 AM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Nov 10 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,JC 14 Aug 11 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Aug 11 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,LIghter 18 Aug 11 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,SM 16 Feb 13 - 09:38 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Feb 13 - 11:37 AM
Lighter 16 Feb 13 - 02:01 PM
Lighter 16 Feb 13 - 02:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Feb 13 - 06:29 PM
Lighter 16 Feb 13 - 08:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Feb 13 - 12:43 PM
Lighter 17 Feb 13 - 02:26 PM
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Subject: Rose of Tralee
From: Brack&
Date: 08 Sep 98 - 07:49 PM

Just noticed that on the DT this song has a verse missing. Here it is.

In the far fields of India, 'mid wars dreadful thunders
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me
But the chill hand of death has now rent us asunder
I'm lonely tonight for the Rose of Tralee


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Subject: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: Dan
Date: 26 Apr 99 - 06:44 PM

My brother told me that Rose of Tralee has a final verse wherein she dies or has died? Is that right? Is it a legitimate verse or an add-on? How does it go?


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: Bruce O.
Date: 26 Apr 99 - 09:58 PM

She doesn't die in the 1870 copy in the Levy sheet music collection, box 134, #089.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: Ferrara
Date: 26 Apr 99 - 10:30 PM

This verse was entered in a forum thread some time ago:

In the far fields of India, 'mid war's dreadful thunders
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me
But the chill hand of death has now rent us asunder
I'm lonely tonight for the Rose of Tralee

Try a forum search on Rose of Tralee for more info (the Forum Search doesn't work on my computer, I had saved the extra verse in my text copy of the song) but I'm pretty sure no source was given for this verse. I'm pleased to learn that it isn't in Levy's sheet music, because it's pretty morbid compared to the first two verses and hits you like a hammer at the end of the song. I'm glad to have a clear conscience about leaving it out.

Not being in the sheet music doesn't mean too much, in one sense. Copyrights were violated right and left and this kind of parlor song was shamelessly pirated and revised. So take your pick. - Rita F


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: Ferrara
Date: 26 Apr 99 - 10:32 PM

Just to make my last post clear. I strongly suspect the original song had two verses, but the third verse may be a fairly early addition.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: Brakn
Date: 27 Apr 99 - 05:14 AM

The song was about William Pembroke Mulchinock and Mary O'Connor.

There are a couple versions of the song's story

William was involved (not directly) with a murder at an election meeting in Tralee, and then took off to be a war correspondent in India. It was at the time of the Indian mutiny. When he came back to Tralee, he was having a drink one day when a funeral passed. It was Mary O'Connor's. He then married someone else and went to America. The marriage broke up, he returned to Tralee and was buried beside Mary.

Alternatively, Mulchinock's father was of high rank in the British Army and regarded his son's love affair with Mary O'Connor as a scandal. He arranged for his son to be posted to India where William was severely injured and blinded when a field gun exploded. Mary O'Connor died of a broken heart not knowing what had happened to her William.

The pure crystal fountain is at Skannagh Cross, which I presume is near Tralee.

I found the third verse in an old magazine.

Regards Mick Bracken


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: Brakn
Date: 27 Apr 99 - 05:37 AM

Also, it is said that Mulchinock was a republican Protestant who contributed to the Republican paper "The Nation". Mary died of tuberculosis.

Mick Bracken


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 27 Apr 99 - 08:13 PM

I must admit that when I saw the additional verse some time back I found it hard to accept it as part of the original song - given the abrupt transition in time. But the more I look at it the more I feel comfortable.

The new verse has very similar sentiments and phrasing to one of the verses in Rose of Allendale - and maybe some others. Are they roughly contemporary songs?

Regards
John


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee--additional verse
From: Mick Lowe
Date: 27 Apr 99 - 08:23 PM

Mick
Where d'you get all that info from?. I'm always interested in the "stories" behind the songs
Mick


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Subject: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: AKS
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 05:09 PM

Hello again folk-folks! I was wondering the other day whether there could be any details & facts added here at MC to the story of 'The Rose of Tralee' (http://www.iol.ie/~rose/)? How about't? I really do like stories - like the one of Spancill Hill - behind songs.

AKS from Joensuu, Pohjois-Karjala, Finland


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Nov 99 - 09:23 PM

Here's what Vin Garbutt has to say in the notes to his CD Bandalised, where he sings the Rose and does it justice, with three verses that aren't often heard (at least one of which he wrote himself, and one he didn't, and I'm not sure about the one in between, but I'm pretty sure that is Vin's as well). I think the story is as moving as the one behind Spancil Hill:

"William Mulchinoc was a blind old man when he wrote the Rose for his childhood sweethear Mary O'Connor. She was a servant girl, and his parents, disapproving of their son's affection for someone so lowly, sent him off to become an officer in the British Army. While he was serving in India, Mary died of consumption.

"William never married, and never forgot his Rose of Tralee

"I (that is, Vin Garbutt) was given the India verse by a priest in London, and I wrote the last verse because I thought William deserved a mention."

And here are the three extra verses he sings (the others are in the Digital Tradition - and I don't think even Harry Fox will claim they aren't Public Domain):

    On the far plains of India, mid war's distant thunder
    Her beauty was solace and comfort to me
    And all for the truth in her eyes ever dawning
    I'm lonesome tonight for the Rose of Tralee

    As chill autumn breezes, their promises keeping
    Sweep in through my window, my blind eyes can see
    Those visions of manhood its heartache providing
    And parents denying the Rose of Tralee.

    She was lovely and fair, I was young and I was foolish
    To think that a bride to me Mary could be
    Ah no, though her heart was won, from her I parted
    And left broken hearted the Rose of Tralee.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ROSE OF ALLANDALE
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Nov 99 - 08:00 PM

A song that in some ways parallels the Rose if Tralee, (though it is in so sense a variant of that song),and that I'm curious about, is the Rose of Allendale.

The heroine here is also called Mary, some of the action takes place in far flung places (Africa as against India with the Rose of Yralee), and my gut feeling is that the Rose of Allendale isn't meant to be there in the flesh, but as a picture and a memory, as withn the Rose of Tralee in Vin Garbutt's priest's verse. (though I could be wrong on that)

But I haven't a clue who wrote it and when, and if it was inspired by the Rose of Tralee. I think it's probably Scottish, or possibly North of England rather than Irish in origin.

Rather surprisingly it's not in the Digital Tradition, so here are the verses I've got:

The morn was fair, the skies were clear,
No breath came o'er the lea,
when Mary left her highland home,
and wandered forth with me
Though flowers decked the mountainside,
and fragrance filled the vale
By far the fairest flower there
was the Rose of Allendale.

(Cho)The Rose of Allendale, sweet Rose of Allendale
By far the sweetest flower there was the Rose of Allendale.

Whene'er I wandered, east or west,
Though fate began to glower
A solace still she was to me
In sorrows lonely hour
When tempests lashed our lonely barque
And rent her shivering sail
One maiden form withstood the storm
Twas the Rose of Allendale

And when my fevered lips were parched
On Afric's burning sands
She whispered hopes of happiness
And tales of distant lands.
My life had been a wilderness
unblessed by fortune's gale,
Had fate not linked my lot to her's,
The Rose of Allendale.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Nov 99 - 11:13 PM

Ah, McGrath-- Rose of Allandale (with three A's) is in the DT.
To find it, the simplest way is to search for
[Rose od Al*] to cover possible alternate spellings.
Like McGraw and McGrath.
(the square brackets indicate a phrase;
the asterisk is a wild card, representing any combination of letters.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: AKS
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 02:04 AM

On The Corries' 'Silver Collection' the Rose of Allendale is given to be by Nelson/Jeffreys/arr by B/W and the two Irish Roses of A. that I have (one by Mary Black) are trad, melody being slightly different from the Scottish one.

Moreover, I've seen Rose of Tralee been mentioned to be by E.M. Spencer & C.W. Glover (words and music).

Another couple of 'Scarborough Fairs by PS' or what is this all about, anybody know??

AKS on a grey Monday morning


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Brakn
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 07:20 AM

Type Tralee in the Forum QuickSearch to find a few previous threads.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 03:12 PM

Or Greenhaus and Greenhouse. Or Kevin and Coemhghen if we're going for alternative ways of spelling the same name.

As I said, I had thought it'd be in there somewhere. Most other songs worth singing seem to be. But a copyright like Nelson/Jeffreys sounds suspiciously like a rip-off copyright on an existing song.HFA style. Maybe someone out there has more info?


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Stewie
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 05:40 PM

McGrath,

'Rose of Allendale' appeared in Part II 'Old Songs from Rottingdean' of Bob Copper's 'Early to Rise: A Sussex Boyhood' in 1976. Part II of that book completed the publication of the Copper family songbook that was begun in Bob Copper's 2 previous books - 'A Song for All Seasons' and 'Songs & Southern Breezes'. I don't know if that was the first publication of the song. It has 3 minor differences to the text you gave - 'highland cot' for 'highland home', 'lour' for 'glower' and 'quivering sail' for 'shivering sail'.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: AKS
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 04:24 AM

About the Roses:

The 'Tralee one' in Levy collection seems to be a completely different song, both lyrics and tune aren't the same as in Mullchinock's Rose. Could 'she' still be the same Mary, what d'ya think?

Levy gives 4 publications before 1923 of The Rose of Allandale (with 3 a's) by Charles Jefferys (lyr) and Samuel Nelson (mus). So it seems to be PD, provided the two gentlemen have died before 1929. (As you say McGrath, I also did find it suspicious in the first place, but now we know better)

greets AKS


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: JedMarum
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 06:21 PM

nice story about origins of Rose of Tralee. Any reason to believe it? Or is it simply lovely urban legend?

Beautiful song.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: dulcimer
Date: 22 Jul 03 - 10:32 PM

At this site is the full story--a little long to print here, but worth the reading http://www.roseoftralee.ie/history.html#. Not a urban legend.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 02:05 AM

As I understand it the Rose Of Allandale was written in the eighteen forties and had a reasonable run as a Victorian parlour song.At this time it was 'collected'by which ever Copper was singing in the pub at Rottingdean and continued in the families repertoire until Martin Carthy 'collected'it from them in about nineteen sixty. A couple or three years ago pre Mike Harding Folk on Two had a sesion pianist and tenor do the original as published and Martin singing his version.I
believe thee was oe word and one note difference, which says something
for the Aural Tradition if nothing else.I believe mr Geoffey and mr Nelson were the original composers.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 05:30 AM

That version of the story of the Rose of Traleee that dulcimer linked to, is a bit padded out and overdone, but I think the essential facts, as summarised in Vin Garbutt's note that I posted above, are well enough attested.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: JedMarum
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 09:10 AM

I am curious about the song's recording history ... if it languished in the realm of 'parlor song' until 1960 it seems very unlikely my American born parents would have grown up hearng it. Accroding to Aunt and my father - this song was a favorite of their father and he sang it to them throughout their childhood. It must have been recorded by a few folks, along the way before Martin Carthy found it.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: IanC
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 09:33 AM

Jed

A search on "Rose of Tralee" in the British Library's "National Sound Archive" (CADENSA) reveals that the archive contains 239 recordings of the song, the earliest dated being by Edin Schneider in 1929, though some of the undated ones may well be earlier as (e.g. John McCormack recorded it a few times).

:-)


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 10:20 AM

Well, surprisingly enough, John McCormack did not record it until 1929 as well. In fact, his studio recording is from 1930. I would certainly have been willing to bet that he recorded it before then.

This information is from the EXCELLENT John McCormack Home Page by Paul W. Worth.   Definitely worth a visit, plan on staying a while.

  • Rose of Tralee, The (C. Mordaunt Spencer/Charles W. Glover; or words and music? by William Pembroke Mulchinock; or words & music are traditional)
    • film 35mm, 70mm (1929)
    • BVE 58586-1, -2 (19 February 1930)
    • Notes: References differ regarding the credits for this song. It seems possible that Spencer and Glover adapted a song for publication that they assumed was traditional. It may also be that Mulchinock wrote the lyric and fitted it to a traditional melody. The notes to Rego RCD-3022 cite an article in "The Kerryman" (newspaper), dated 7 December 1935 assert that the song hails from Co. Kerry and was written about 90 years earlier (ca. 1845), and that it was popular in Kerry for a long time. This article goes on to cite an anthology of Irish poetry, The Minstrel of Erin, published in 1903 (Fodhla Printing Co.), edited by Terence O"Hanlon, in which the verses are given as anonymous. In Mulchinock's obituary ("The Nation," 1846), the 1935 article continues, he is described as "a well-known contributor to "The Nation" and is given credit for writing "The Rose of Tralee." The Rego notes also cite a July 24, 1909 article in "The National Hibernian," Washington D.C. which credits Maurice Musgrave as the composer (presumably of words and music). Uncertainties about the origins of this song have yet to be clarified.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 12:33 PM

"...the song hails from Co. Kerry and was written about 90 years earlier (ca. 1845), and that it was popular in Kerry for a long time."

Not too surprising, give that Tralee is in Kerry, and Mulchinock was a Kerryman.   But I'd be a bit doubtful about any obituary for him in 1846, since he died in 1864...


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 04:08 PM

Possibly the 6 and 4 were just transposed somewhere along the way. Pretty soon those sorts of errors become "fact."

That is sort of like the misinformation about the birthdate of Annette Hanshaw which was mistakenly listed somewhere as 1910 instead of the correct 1901.   Later articles were appearing commenting on what a remarkable singer she was for a teenager. Actually, she was a remarkable singer no matter what the age, but that is another story.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: SINSULL
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 06:57 PM

Can't find the recording but somewhere I have liner notes telling the same story about Mary O'Connor. But it states that he went to India to avoid prosecution for an assault or murder. His parents were happy to separate the pair - they were not thrilled with his affair with a servant girl.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: toadfrog
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 11:20 PM

There is a thread HERE on Rose of Allandale, with some very intelligent observations by Malcom. Or at least they sound very intelligent; I personally think its an awfully bland, soupy song.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,still cookieless paddymac
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 11:34 PM

Hoagland's "1000 years of Irish Poetry," 1947, 1975; (ISBN 1-56852-235-5), attributes the usual four verses to William Pembroke Mulchinock (1820? - 1864) Nothing in there regarding the air, however.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 12:00 AM

"1000 years of Irish Poetry" is a fine book. I've read quiet a bit of the ancient stuff, but never bothered with the section on modern lyrics, I'm ashamed to say! Could be good bedtime reading tonight, though!


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 01:22 PM

Mary Black`s singing of The Rose of Allendale is a long way from being bland, subsitute beautiful. Ard Mhacha


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 07:06 PM

Oh, to have a recording of John McCormack doing all the verses noted here for Tralee---that'd be fine.

We have 18 albums----- twelve inch 33 & 1/3 rpm LPs by John McCormack. Some day I'll get them all put on CDs for my Carol. The old turntable gave up the ghost long ago.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 07:24 PM

Ah, the Count! We've got eight LPs, with recording sessions stretching from 1906 to 1941. And a replacement turntable that we got last year.

The terrible thing with some great sigers is you start listening to the singing and forgetting the song, and you don't get that with McCormack


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 10:35 PM

Although I really do think that The Rose of Allandale is irrelevant to this discussion (though it does have the word "rose" in the title, which I suppose may confuse beginners) it seems to be necessary to say a few words about it in order to correct some misapprehensions stated earlier in this recently revived thread.

It is an English parlour song, though as has been mentioned here, and in other threads, it entered the repertoire of the Copper family of Rottingdean in Sussex; so far as I can tell, all arrangements of the song recorded by revival performers such as Mary Black are based (often at several removes) upon their modification of it, which is a great deal more interesting, musically, than the original. Any suggestion that the song is "trad" is due to laziness or deliberate mendacity on the part of performers or record companies; it is well known who wrote the song, and it was widely published in popular songbooks during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was not until the late 1960s that "folk" artists picked up on the Copper's modified form of the song, and there is little excuse for mis-representing it in the way that many seem to have done. The Copper's recording, incidentally, properly credited the original composers; though it appears that a lot of people didn't bother to read that bit.

Mary Black, unfortunately, regularised the phrasing and turned it into something like a Country and Western number, and a good few people have since copied her handling of it, which owes its best post-Copper features to Nic Jones (not Martin Carthy, as wrongly suggested earlier), often under the mistaken impression that it is in some way an Irish song. As she recorded it, it is merely pretty rather than beautiful.

Does anyone have anything further -and substantive- to say about The Rose of Tralee? The original two verses were out on broadsides at least as early as the 1860s (and there was at least one parody current at that time, too); the story given in the earlier link looks superficially convincing, but I have to wonder how much of the circumstantial detail is attested, and how much invented.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Bert
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 02:15 AM

Or Greenhaus and Greenhouse... My sister's name is ChateauVert. When I called her Greenhouse she said "Er, Green Mansion actually"


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 06:24 PM

"the mistaken impression that it is in some way an Irish song. "

Well, it is now. In some way, not of course in all ways.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 07:47 PM

Well, yes; in the same way that "God Bless the Child" and "Lovin' You", which Mary Black recorded on the same album, are Irish songs. I think that you know fine well what I was saying. Whether there is much to be gained by splitting hairs I rather doubt.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:14 PM

There's a difference between saying a song is not of Irish origin, though that it is sonetimes erroneously thought to be, and saying that it is not in any way an Irish song, in spite of the fact that it has entered the oral repertoire of people who don't have a clue where it came from, or where they first heard it, and is sung all over the country.

Saying that it is in some sense a Irish song isn't the same as saying that it isn't just as much, or even more, at home elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:18 PM

Coming new to this thread, I note MGoH's post above, giving "an extra 3 verses" and spot a couple of 'typos', and the fact that the 3rd additional verse looks more likely to scan to the chorus (although it also looks to need to be followed by the chorus). I cut 'n' paste it here with corrections (comments?) in Italics

On the far plains of India, mid war's distant thunder
Her beauty was solace and comfort to me
And all for the truth in her eyes ever dawning
I'm lonesome tonight for the Rose of Tralee

As chill autumn breezes, their prmises keeping    promises
Sweep in through my window, my blind eyes can see
Those visions of mnahood its heartache providing    manhood
And parents denying the Rose of TYralee.    Tralee

She was lovely and fair, I was young and I was foolish    delete second'and' whether to scan to verse or chorus
To think that a bride to me Mary could be
Ah no, though her heart was won, from her I parted
And left broken hearted the Rose of Tralee

Just my thoughts!
Is this ready for moving to a DTStudy thread? We can do so with some of the work already done!

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jul 03 - 08:52 PM

Although I have lived in Yorkshire for nearly 31 years now, I am not a Yorkshireman. It takes longer than that. In the same way, The Rose of Allandale is not an Irish song, though it has doubtless been sung there, in the form into which the Copper family moulded it (and which Nic Jones further modified) for nearly the same amount of time. You're still splitting hairs, McGrath! We may as well let it drop, though, and agree to differ, as that discussion really doesn't belong in this thread. :^)


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 08:53 AM

Malcolm Douglas I don't know/care much about The Rose of Allendale, but regarding The Rose of Tralee your comments "The original two verses were out on broadsides at least as early as the 1860s" intrigue. That, in fact is what I suspected; the first two verses were written by the original author but the rest of the song and the legend around it, grew in later years.

So when my mid-19th century ancestors came to the US singing this song, they probably only knew the first two verses.


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Subject: RE: Rose of Tralee; anything to add ...?
From: s&r
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 09:02 AM

If you're in Ireland while the Rose of Tralee festival is on, make sure to catch it on RTE (I think). It's wonderful. Low budget, but good natured and sometimes hysterically funny. I remember one year where the entrant from New South Wales came on to the Welsh National Anthem, and the winner's crown was so loose that it fell over one eye, at which the grandmother leaped on to the stage to help and tangled her own hair in the crown as well.

It's a sort of beauty contest where anyone from anywhere with some Irish acestry can enter: if she wins she becomes the Rose of Tralle for twelve months


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Subject: Origins: How old is The Rose of Tralee
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 06:45 PM

I was wonderingh, how old is the song The Rose of Tralee? I may be revamping my Civil War songbook for a C.B.E. project for college and if it is of the period would love to include it. Thanks Neil


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Subject: RE: Origins: How old is The Rose of Tralee
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 06:55 PM

1845. See Traditional Ballads Index.

Traditional Ballad Index entry:

    Rose of Tralee, The

    DESCRIPTION: "The pale moon was rising above the green mountain." He describes his love's beauty. "Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me, Oh, no, 'twas the truth in her eyes Ever dawning, that made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee."
    AUTHOR: Words: C. Mordaunt Spencer/Music: Charles W. Glover ?
    EARLIEST DATE: 1883 (Smith/Hatt); originally published in London c. 1845
    KEYWORDS: love lyric nonballad
    FOUND IN: Ireland Canada(Mar)
    REFERENCES (5 citations):
    O'Conor, p. 80, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)
    Smith/Hatt, pp. 100-101, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)
    Mackenzie 141, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)
    DT, TRALEE*
    ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 493, "The Rose of Tralee" (1 text)

    Roud #1978
    BROADSIDES:
    Bodleian, Harding B.11(1290), "The Rose of Tralee" ("The pale moon was rising above the green mountain"), H. Such (London) , 1863-1885
    LOCSheet, sm1850 660580, "Rose of Tralee," Peters, Webb and Co. (Louisville), 1850; also sm1850 482010, "Rose of Tralee" (tune)

    Notes: Source: Re author--"St Patricks Day--March 17, 2003" on the Eastern Illinois University site. - BS
    The editors of Granger's Index to Poetry lists two possible authors, the first possibility being William Pembroke Mulchinock (1820?-1864; this claim is supported, and perhaps derived from, Hoagland) and our listed author Spencer the second. (The latter attribution is supported by the uncredited Amsco publication The Library of Irish Music, which however seems to me to be a rather poor source. Sing Out, Volume 38, #4 [1994] lists Glover as the author, not separating the words and music; it gives Glover's dates as 1806-1863.)
    Robert Gogan, 130 Great Irish Ballads (third edition, Music Ireland, 2004), p. 18, supports the attribution to Mulchinock, and notes that he was a frequent contributor to the well-known Irish journal The Nation. But Gogan also tells a pretty folkloric story about the song: That Mulchinock, who was from Tralee, fell in love with a local girl, Mary O'Connor, and sent him away. When he returned home, he met the funeral procession for his beloved Mary, and wrote this song in her memory. Obviously it could have happened. But what are the odds in real life?
    Neither proposed author wrote anything else that has shown any sign of enduring.
    The Sing Out! article reports that the song was sung by John McCormak in the 1930 movie "Song o' My Heart," which is what made the piece truly popular. - RBW
    File: OCon080

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: How old is The Rose of Tralee
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 06:59 PM

Q:
Thank you so much! You also helped me with another project that I'm working on. and quickly too! Thanks again! Neil


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Subject: RE: Origins: How old is The Rose of Tralee
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 07:03 PM

First printed in the U. S. in 1850? See sheet music of that date at American Memory.


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Subject: RE: Origins: How old is The Rose of Tralee
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 07:09 PM

That works. Thanks again. Neil


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Subject: ADD Version: THE ROSE OF TRALEE
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Nov 10 - 08:23 PM

The earliest version of this song I could find was at the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress, sheet music published in 1850 by Peters, Webb and Co., Louisville, Kentucky. This two-page sheet is a guitar arrangement by G.F. Francis, and has only two verses. The original songwriter is not identified.

The Bodleian Library also has a song sheet published sometime between 1864 and 1885 by H.P. Such. Here is that version, which is just slightly different from what's in the Digital Tradition:

THE ROSE OF TRALEE
(unattributed)

The pale moon was rising above the green mountain,
The sun was declining beneath the blue sea,
When I stray'd with my love to the pure crystal fountain,
That stands in the beautiful vale of Tralee.
     She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
     Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me.
     Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eye ever dawning,
     That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee!

The cool shades of evening their mantle was spreading,
And Mary, all smiling, was listn'ng to me,
The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding,
When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee.
     Tho' lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
     Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me.
     Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eye ever dawning,
     That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee!

Note:The American sheet music (1850) differs with these lyrics in two places:
  • The pale moon was riding above the green mountain
  • The cool shades of evening their mantle were spreading


My guess is that these are the only two original verses of the song. The India verse and the others above seem to me, to be later additions. McGrath's post says Vin Garbutt got the India verse from a priest in London, and Garbutt wrote the last verse. McGrath's post does not explain the source of the penultimate verse.


The song is usually credited to C. Mordaunt Spencer and Charles William Glover, but I really didn't find any credible documentation of authorship. The Rose of Tralee festival claims it was written by a wealthy Protestant who fell in love with a poor Catholic maid in his service. Here's the story, as told by http://www.roseoftralee.ie:
    The Story of the Rose of Tralee Mary O'Connor lived in the middle of Tralee town, in Brogue Lane, which took its name from the broguemakers (or shoemakers) who lived and worked there. Mary lived in a thatched cabin with her parents, sisters Brigid and Ellen and younger brother Willie. Her father was a broguemaker, and her mother worked as a dairymaid. Mary was very beautiful; she had long dark hair and soft, shining eyes.

    Her status as the daughter of a broguemaker and dairymaid meant Mary was destined for work as a maid or house-help. When she was 17 she secured employment as a kitchen maid for the Mulchinock household in Tralee.

    The Mulchinocks were a wealthy family of merchants who owned a wool and linen draper's shop on the site of what is now Heaton's department store in Tralee.

    Michael Mulchinock had married Margaret McCann and they lived in the grand Mulchinock house, West Villa. The family owned a considerable amount of land around the house and the neighbourhood, as well as property in town. They had servants, coachmen, gardeners and farmhands.

    Michael died of a fever in 1828, so Margaret Mulchinock was head of the household when Mary O'Connor started working in the kitchens of West Villa. Also living in the house were Margaret's sons William Pembroke, Edward, Henry and her married daughter Maria.

    Mary O'Connor was delighted to be given employment at West Villa, and soon Margaret's daughter, Maria, seeing that Mary was intelligent and kind to her children asked her to be maid to her daughters Anne and Margaret.

    Margaret Mulchinock's sons had grown to be young men and William was becoming a dreamer. In the eyes of his family he was good-for-nothing, and even worse: a poet.

    In November 1840 Henry, William's younger brother, died. William was inconsolable as he was closer to William than his more practical brother Edward. He wrote a poem about his feelings:

    For him of the fair young brow I weep,
    Who takes in the churchyard now his sleep;
    For he was the star above sun-bright,
    That tinged with the light of love my night.

    It wasn't long before William met his sister's new nursemaid. As soon as he saw Mary he was transfixed by her eyes, her grace, her long dark hair and delicate skin.

    Mary and William began to meet each other every day by the well in the grounds of West Villa, that looked out over the sea and mountains. Sometimes they walked down Lover's Lane or up to Clahane to dance.

    One night beneath the pale, silvery moon William asked Mary to marry him. However, William's family disapproved of him seeing Mary, the broguemaker's daughter who lived in a small peasant house in the middle of town. Whilst Mary loved William, she knew that their union could never be, as it would force him to turn his back on his family and he would begin to regret the day he'd ever met her. She declined his offer of marriage.

    William refused to give up. He wrote a song for Mary to try and convince her otherwise.

    The pale moon was rising above the green mountains,
    The sun was declining beneath the blue sea,
    When I strayed with my love by the pure crystal fountain,
    That stands in the beautiful Vale of Tralee.

    She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,
    Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me.
    Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning
    That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

    But Mary still refused to marry him.

    The next evening, after attending a political rally in town, William went to visit Mary at West Villa and gave her a ring which he placed on her finger. Suddenly the door burst open and a friend of William's rushed in to inform him that William had been accused of the murder of a man at the rally. Two men had got into a fight and as leader of one of the rebel groups challenging the upcoming election, William had been held responsible. William's friend informed him there was a warrant out for his arrest and a reward of 100 gold sovereigns for finding him. He was told to make for Barrow Harbour and get on a wine ship that was leaving that night. William kissed Mary goodbye and told her he would return soon.

    William made his way to India where he worked as a war correspondent. Here he met an officer from Limerick who asked William what had bought him to India. When William told him the officer said he would use his influence to get William returned to Ireland, and to Tralee, a free man.

    So in 1849, some six years after leaving Tralee, William returned. He stopped off at The Kings Arms in Rock Street for a drink before planning to visit Mary in nearby Brogue Lane. The landlord began to draw the curtains to mark the passing of a funeral coming down the street. On enquiring who the funeral was for, William was told it was for a local girl from Brogue Lane, a lovely and fair young woman named Mary O'Connor - the Rose of Tralee.

    William was devastated and his heart broken. There was nothing left for him but to visit Mary's grave on the outskirts of town. The famine was at its height in Ireland at this time and most of the country's eight million inhabitants were trying to survive on a diet of potatoes alone.

    William never got over Mary's death, and despite marrying and having children with an old flame he refused to forget her.

    William moved with his family to New York in 1849 but returned alone six years later to Tralee and lived the rest of his life in Ashe Street. He died in 1864 at the age of 44 and at his request was buried at the graveyard in Clogherbrien next to his true love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

    You can visit Mary O'Connor's grave at the graveyard in Clogherbrien by taking the Fenit road out of Tralee and the graveyard is on the right hand side.
If you visit the prosperous town of Tralee, you'll get the impression that this one song has made a lot of money for the community.


The earliest documentation of authorship by C. Mordaunt Spencer and Charles William Glover, is sheet music dated 1935. Can anybody find earlier documentation? Could it actually be an American Tin Pan Alley song? the best I could find was in a Dover Publicatons book titled Popular Irish Songs, edited by Florence Leniston (1992) This book has copies of sheet music from various publishers published between 1808 and 1914. The sheet music for "Rose of Tralee" is undated, published by C. Bradlee & Company of Boston. The undated sheet music credits C. Mordaunt Spencer for the lyrics and Charles William Glover for the music. The index for Popular Irish Songs says the song was originally published in London in 1845 - but I still don't see anything that really documents that publication date and location.

-Joe-


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Subject: ADD: Rose of Tralee (different song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 12:05 AM

The Bodleian Library has a song sheet dated 1860 with an entirely different song, also titled "Rose of Tralee." You'll find a more legible copy of that song (with music) at the Levy Sheet Music Collection

THE ROSE OF TRALEE
(words by John Brougham, music by J.G. Maeder)

All ye sportin' young Heroes with hearts light and free,
Take care how you come to the town of Tralee;
For the witch of all witches that ever wove spell,
In the town of Tralee at this moment does dwell,
Oh! don't venture near her, be warned by me,
There's murdher outright in the Rose of Tralee.
Oh! don't venture near her, be warned by me,
There's murdher outright in the Rose of Tralee.

She's as bright and as clear as a young summer day,
Her breath's like the breeze from the fresh blossom'd May;
Her cheek bears the sea-shell's pale delicate hue,
And her lips are like rose-leaves just bath'd in the dew:
Young men, stay at home then, be warned by me,
There's no hope once you've gazed on the Rose of Tralee.
Young men, stay at home then, be warned by me,
There's no hope once you've gazed on the Rose of Tralee.

Oh! Her eyes of dark blue, they so heavenly are,
Like the night-sky of summer, each holding a star;
Were her tongue mute as silence, man's life they'd control,
But eyes and tongue both are too much for one's soul.
Oh! Stay where you are, leave all danger to me,
For I'd die with delight for the Rose of Tralee!
Oh! Stay where you are, leave all danger to me,
For I'd die with delight for the Rose of Tralee!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 01:28 AM

The original verses I think are beautiful, especially with the story invovled. The additional verses I would never sing or even reread but to each his or her own...mg


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 02:26 AM

>>>'The words of the song are credited to C. (or E.) Mordaunt Spencer and the music to Charles William Glover, but a story circulated in connection with the ['Rose of Tralee'] festival claims that the song was written by William Pembroke Mulchinock, a wealthy Protestant, out of love for Mary O'Connor, a poor Catholic maid in service to his parents.' Wikipedia<<<
{This latter attribution also recorded in post above of 27 Apr 99, 05.14 AM}

A mnemonic irrelevance, perhaps; but can't resist mentioning here the coincidence that I learnt this song in v early childhood [about 4] from an Irish maid we had in London [sorry, but people did in those days! cf last phrase of the Wiki entry!], whose name happened to be Mary O'Connor; & she came from Co Kerry, near Tralee! I loved her like a big sister, I recall. I don't think, tho, that she knew anything of the association of a namesake of hers to one of the traditional 'origins' of the song; if she did, she never mentioned it SFAIR.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 08:54 AM

Somebody commented upthread that it is "a bland, soupy song."

It is, in a way. It's Beethoven's 9th, of course. But I play it on the piano in the key of A, and it has the interesting feature that it uses every chord you can legitimately use.

A Bm, C#,D, E, F#m,


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,JC
Date: 14 Aug 11 - 10:58 AM

Anyone know the present-day location of the Kings Head pub in Rock St??
My guess is it would have to be somewhere between the entrance to St. John's Park, and the corner of Pembroke St.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Aug 11 - 10:37 PM

Why did I type "It's Beethoven's 9th?" I meant to say, "So is Beethoven's 9th." A song is only soupy if you play it that way.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,LIghter
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 01:14 PM

Here's the original, as published in "The Heir of Abbotsville," by Edward Mordaunt Spencer (London, 1846), p. 83. In his Preface, dated "April, 1846," Spencer says nothing about the inspiration behind the poem. In fact, he doesn't even mention it:

                         THE ROSE OF TRALEE.
(Set to music by Stephen Glover, and published by C. Jeffrey, Soho-square.)

The pale moon was rising above the green mountain,
The sun was declining beneath the blue sea,
When I stray'd with my love to the pure crystal fountain
That stands in the green sylvan vale of Tralee.
She was lovely and fair as the fresh rose of morning,
Yet 'twas not her beauty alone that won me;
Oh no, 'twas the truth in her eye ever dawning
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

The cool shades of ev'ning their mantle were spreading,
And Mary, all smiling, was listening to me;
The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding,
When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee.
Though lovely and fair as the fresh rose of morning,
Oh 'twas not her beauty alone that won me.
No, no, 'twas the truth in her eye ever dawning,
That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

To make it still more fascinating, John Brougham's completely different song of the same name appeared in the Columbian Ladies' and Gentlemen's Magazine (March, 1845), an American publication, as part of a short story called "The Blarney Stone."

I can't find any 19th century printings of the stanzas about India. FWIW, the line "I'm lonesome tonight" sounds pretty modern. I think the Victorians would have said "lonely" and something other than "tonight." After all, the point is that he's always lonely, not just tonight.

Just my impression after decades of reading that kind of thing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: GUEST,SM
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 09:38 AM

As far I can see, nobody has mentioned that one of the earliest copies of this song is in the British Library, published circa 1850 and their CPM shows that it's a republication from 'The Book of Beauty for the Queen's Boudoir' (issued between 1843 and 1847) with music by Charles William Glover and words by Edward Mordaunt Spencer.

There's also, as the preceding post notes, the publication of the poem in Spencer's 1846 anthology (it can be viewed online thanks to the Hathi Trust Digital Library) which has two other odes to his Irish Mary (though it's odd that here the music for 'The Rose' is credited to Charles's brother, Stephen).

As already has also been noted, this song was featured in John McCormack's movie 'Song 'o the Heart'. I've a vague recollection that years ago McCormack's recording was introduced on BBC Radio 3 with a story that someone connected with the film (one of the cast?) knew an obscure Irish song from their mother, sung it to McCormack, he liked it and sung it in the film. This may be untrue but it chimes in with I and others here have found: some publications in Britain and the US in the mid-19th century, then nothing until 1930, the year the movie was released. The song would indeed seem to owe its current popularity to Count McCormack.

There seems little doubt that, based on the evidence, the poem is by E. M. Spencer. Where then does the attribution to W. P. Mulchinock and the story attached to him come from? A reference on ancestry.com admits that the poem is not in his only collection published in 1851. I suspect that when the song was becoming (newly?) popular in 1930s Ireland, its true provenance as a ballad written by two Englishmen (Spencer may have been Anglo-Irish) in a book for Queen Victoria was unacceptable so another origin was invented for it (We Irish love stories). Perhaps Mulchinock did write an ode for his Mary which is now forgotten and the story was transferred.

As for the third stanza, the India verse, if Vin Garbutt was the first to sing it, it probably comes from a London priest as he claims. It's rather reminiscent of Thomas Moore (e.g. Savourneen Deelish) so it could be a pastiche. Whether the author was deliberately trying to add credence to the Mulchinock myth is an interesting question. I hope someone will have more info on this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 11:37 AM

Lonesome - the Oxford Dictionary gives it's earliest appearance in print as 1647, and in Victorian times there's a citing from Dickens. Of course that in itself doesn't mean the verse isn't likely enough more recent, but sometimes we are too quick on the trigger about supposed anachronisms.

I incline towards the view that what matters in a song isn't whether it sticks to the original words or not, but how it works as a song. And I think the India verse especially does work well.

"Print the legend"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 02:01 PM

McGrath - not saying "lonesome" is an anachronism, just that "lonely" would be more likely.

If you;ll double-check, you'll see that what Dickens wrote was "You'll feel it lonesome to-night," not "*You'll* feel lonesome tonight."

In support of this, a search of Google Books, HathiTrust, and NewspaperArchive (millions and millions of words) reveals only *two* printed examples of the phrase "lonesome tonight" in the entire 19th century, the earliest only from 1878.

The more specific phrase, "I'm lonesome tonight for" seems to be untraceable before 1937! And all the examples are in popular songs!

I don't know what connection, if any, W. P. Mulchinock may have had with the "India" stanza of "The Rose of Tralee." All one can say is that, based on a vast amount of printed evidence (as well as the absence of evidence that, if it exists, should be there), the phrase "I'm lonesome tonight for the Rose of Tralee" looks like it belongs in a 20th or 21st century pop song far more than in a formal Anglo-Irish composition written before 1864.

Interestingly, there's one more text containing the "India" stanza in a somewhat different form. Unlike Vin Garbutt's version, it ends the song:

"In the far fields of India mid war's dreadful thunder,
Her voice was a solace and comfort to me.
But the chill hand of death has now rent us asunder;
I'm lonesome tonight for the Rose of Tralee."

This sounds quite Victorian. Except for "lonesome tonight." (I'm also made a little uncomfortable by the clumsiness of her "voice" being a solace, since she's 10,000 miles away; a Victorian versifier might be inept, but once again the oddity sounds more 20th century than 19th.)

The stanza appears in Kenneth W. Milano's _Hidden History of Kensington and Fishtown_ (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010), p. 125. The only source he gives for his information about Mulchinock is the Rose of Tralee Festival. I'm not reassured by his statement that "the Irish have told [their own] story" about the song's authorship "for more than a century."

If they have, there should be some published record of it long before 1953. But I can't find any.

"The Irish Monthly" in 1889 mentioned Mulchinock as a writer of verse, but the song it mentioned was "Fill High To-night!" not "The Rose of Tralee."

The references I find to WMP's romance with "Mary O'Connor" seem to be entirely from popular tourism books - not the most reliable of historical sources. And for the mesmerizing power of local boosterism, consider the baseless, discredited, but nevertheless official claim, endorsed by a statue in Dublin, that "Cockles and Mussels" celebrates a genuine (and of course beautiful) 17th century fishmonger who died in 1699. Similarly, Mulchinock wrote verses and was born in Tralee. Voila!

(I will retract the "voila!" if persuasive evidence of Mulchinock's authorship ever appears.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 02:25 PM

A look through my bookshelves reveals more information - though not to the advantage of the Mulchinock theory.


From James N. Healey's _The Second Book of Irish Ballads_ (Cork, Mercier, 1962), p. 76:

"The story of young William Pembroke Mulchinock and his unhappy romance with Mary O'Connor, the Rose of Tralee, has passed into the legendary of Kerry Town, where his song is so loved that a monument to him, and it, has been erected in the Town Park." Healey goes on to say that Mary "is said to have been a servant" in WPM's parents' house. They exiled him for loving her. He "wrote the song late in life when he was blind and lonely." (Of course, in 1845 or so he still had twenty more years to live, but never mind.)

Healey supposes that the "pure crystal fountain that stands in the beautiful vale of Tralee" is the River Lee, though a river is hardly a "fountain" and hardly describable as "standing," particularly when a local who knew what he was talking about could easily have written "flows" rather than "stands." It is even more euphonious.

Healey also credits WPM with the melody. He says that the familiar tune is "not the original," but he gives no presumed original.

Perhaps most fascinating is that after all that, the lyrics Healey gives are *precisely* those of E. Mordaunt Spencer, ending with the stanza about the truth in her eyes ever dawning.

Nothing about India, nobody lonesome tonight, no "chill hand of death."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 06:29 PM

The last few lines of the first verse always remind me of another song, the Tipperary Anthem,Slievenamon, with its verses

It was not the grace of her queenly aire
Nor her cheek of the rose's glow
Nor her soft black eyes, not her flowing hair
Nor was it her lily white brow,

Twas the soul of truth, and of melting ruth
And the smile like a summer dawn
That sold my heart away on a soft summer day
In the valley near Slievenamon.

I've never been sure which song came first, but I'm inclined to think that there's an echo of the first in the second.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 08:50 PM

Thanks for the link, McGrath.

Kickham was born in 1828. That would make him only 17 or 18 when Spencer's song appeared. If there's any influence, it presumably began with "The Rose of Tralee."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Feb 13 - 12:43 PM

That makes sense.

The mountain/ fountain rhyme occurs earlier than The Rose, in Tannahill's Braes of Balquihither, published 1812, where it's a 'siller fountan'. But then how many rhymes are there for mountain? No particular reason to think there's any borrowing here.

But there probably is in Francis McPeake's reworking, Wild Mountain Thyme, where is a 'crystal fountain'. Inevitably he'd have been familiar with the Rose of Tralee from childhood, like everyone else in Ireland.

I hasten to say I'm not in any way criticising the honourable tradition of borrowing and echoing earlier songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Feb 13 - 02:26 PM

I've found an "early" attribution of the song to WPM, though it is still 25 years after his death and 40 years after Spencer's copyright.

The two familiar stanzas of "The Rose of Tralee" are attributed to Mulchinock in John Boyle O'Reilly's "The Poetry and Song of Ireland" (N.Y.: Gay Bros., 1889), p. 860. This may have been the source of the influential 1953 attribution in another big anthology of Irish poetry.

The words are minutely different from what we're used to. It is a "cool" crystal fountain that "lies" in the vale. And "Mary all blushing" sat listening to me. No "India" stanza, however.

O'Reilly prints one other poem attributed to WPM called "Music Everywhere." It rhymes "fountain" and "mountain" in one place, but overall it clearly lacks the gracefulness of "The Rose of Tralee." What led O'Reilly to think WPM was the author is a good question.

Several more poems by WPM appear in "Holden's Dollar Magazine" for 1850. None is the "Rose" and, again, IMO, none is as smoothly written. The same goes for the two WPM poems in "Songs and Ballads by the Most Gifted Poets of the Emerald Isle"(N.Y.: F. Tomsey, 1880).

"The Ballads and Songs of William Pembroke Mulchinock" (N.Y.: T. W. Strong) appeared in 1851. I find no online image. A lengthy and negative review appeared in "The American Whig Review" of 1851; it quotes WMP's verses extensively, but there's not a mention of "The Rose." Nor is there one in a favorable review in the "Southern Literary Messenger" the same year.


FWIW, any "battle thunder" in India worth mentioning in a Victorian poem would presumably have occurred during the Indian Rebellion/ Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. That would have been a decade after Spencer's song appeared.

I can hardly believe that the Tralee tourism version of events, including WPM's burial next to the grave of "Mary O'Connor" is entirely bogus. My cynical guess is that someone noticed the graves in Tralee, knew WPM wrote verses, and BOIINNNG!!!! the whole sad story popped into his (or her) head. Folklore is born. Or so it would seem at the moment.

I would still like to know where the "India" stanza came from. What WPM would have been doing in India as a "war correspondent" when, as far as I can tell, there was no war, is another good question. The first "war correspondent" is usually said to be William Howard Russell, who covered the Crimean War in the 1850s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Feb 13 - 05:09 PM

The first Anglo Afghan war was 1839 to 1842, and there were other military campaigns, including a war with the Sikhs in the '40s.

That proves nothing, but it does mean a verse about war in India is quite plausible at that time. And of course a term like 'war correspondent' could just mean someone in the area who wrote some kind of account in a letter to a paper.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Feb 13 - 06:29 PM

The Festival people seem to know about WPM and MO'C in great detail. They know, for example, that "Mary was very beautiful; she had long dark hair and soft, shining eyes." What's more, "It wasn't long before William met his sister's new nursemaid. As soon as he saw Mary he was transfixed by her eyes, her grace, her long dark hair and delicate skin."

But they don't seem to know (or perhaps care) that E. Mordaunt Spencer published the lyrics to the standard version of "The Rose of Tralee" in April, 1846, and there seems to be not the slightest available evidence that Mulchinock could have written exactly the same words, plus a few more, before that date.

Nor is there anythig in the standard text of the song to suggest that the love affair described did *not* end with "Mary" accepting the speaker's proposal of marriage. He says right out, "*I won the heart of* the Rose of Tralee!" Allegedly, that's not quite what happened to WPM.

Until somebody can show a version of "The Rose of Tralee" printed before April, 1846, with WPM's name on it as the lyricist, or some comparable evidence in manuscript, there is absolutely no credible basis for suggesting that he wrote it, with or without reference to India and the chill hand of death. If a local historian in Tralee knows of such evidence, there's no reason to keep it secret. Why not knock C. Mordaunt Spencer out of contention once and for all?

Conceivably Mulchinock wrote a different song with the same title, much like Brougham & Maeder, but so far there's no evidence even of that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rose of Tralee - anything to add ...?
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Feb 13 - 09:43 AM

The songs of Spencer and/or Brougham appear to have been very popular, with new musical arrangements published in the U.S. around 1850. The Library of Congress holds a NY broadside of Brougham's lyrics.

Newspapers show the name "Rose of Tralee" being given to dogs and racehorses right through the 1880s in both Britain and America.

Mention of concert singers performing it can be found from the 1890s on, but they pick up noticeably after 1908, possibly owing to better coverage of social events.


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