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Origins: As I Roved Out - last verse

GUEST,Owen 21 May 17 - 02:05 AM
BobKnight 21 May 17 - 03:06 AM
Jim Carroll 21 May 17 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,henryp 21 May 17 - 05:15 AM
Reinhard 21 May 17 - 07:38 AM
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Subject: Origins: As I Roved Out - last verse
From: GUEST,Owen
Date: 21 May 17 - 02:05 AM

Hello!

Does anybody know what's up with the last verse of Andy Irvine's version of this song? It just doesn't add up. It would just be a complete non-sequitur if not for the last line:

"In hopes that you and I might meet again."

Who is he going to meet? Didn't he just see his true love? And isn't he lying in bed with the lassie with the land?

Adding to the confusion is that I see the lyrics listed on some sites as "If I'd (rather than I) married the lassie that had the land" in the earlier verse.

The only thing that almost makes sense is that he didn't really marry the lassie with the land, but signed up for the army instead. Then he lets his lover believe he's marrying into security rather than going into some danger.

I saw on some site I had open a minute ago that perhaps this song originated around the time of the famine, which only gives the singer a reason to abandon his love and doesn't seem to help with understanding the last verse.

Thanks for any ideas!


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Subject: RE: Origins: As I Roved Out - last verse
From: BobKnight
Date: 21 May 17 - 03:06 AM

I read somewhere that this verse, was an "orphan verse" which appears in a few songs, and has somehow become attached to this song as well. I sing this song too, and I don't try to make sense of it, just sing it. Apart from that, it's a great song. :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: As I Roved Out - last verse
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 17 - 03:22 AM

Not sure of Irvine's version, but it's always worth going back to the source of the song in order to make sense of it - the older singers tended to do a more reliable job than those who picked the songs up later
In this case, it came from Brigid Tunney of Beleek, in Fermanagh and was first recorded from her by the BBC in the early 1950s
This is her version in full (from the singing of her Grand-daughter, also Brigid)

1   As I roved out on a bright May morning
To view the meadows and flowers gay
Whom should I spy but my own true lover
As she sat under yon willow tree.

2   I took off my hat and I did salute her
I did salute her courageously
When she turned around sure the tears fell from her, saying:
'False young man you have deluded me.'

3   'For to delude you, how can that be my love
It's from your body I am quite free.
I'm as free from you as the child unborn is
And so are you too, dear Jane, from me.'

4   'Three diamond ring sure I own I gave you
Three diamond ring to wear on your right hand.'
'But the vows you made love, you went and broke them
And married the lassie that had the land.'

5   'If I married the lassie that had the land, my love,
It's that I'll rue to the day I die
When misfortune falls sure no one can shun it.
I was blindfolded I'll ne'er deny.'

6   Now at night when I go to my bed of slumber
The thoughts of my true love run in my mind.
When I turn around to embrace my darling,
Instead of gold sure it's brass I find.

7   And I wish the queen would call home her armies
From the West Indies, America and Spain.
And every man to his wedded woman
In hopes that you and I might meet again.

Fairly straightforward - it's a dialogue between a couple - a man who had promised to marry the woman and the woman he had abandoned for a wealthier girl

Verse 1
The meeting, described my the man - the "I" who has "roved out"
It is immediately revealed that, despite having married someone else, he secretly still loves the girl he abandoned (he refers to her as "my own true lover".

Verse two
She accuses him of abandoning her and makes it clear that she still loves him

Verse three
He tries to make light of the affair, saying no harm has been done (he is lying by pretending he doesn't care for her any more and she should forget him - no harm done)

Verse four
Spoken by both characters in turn
He says that the rings he gave her should be compensation anough for his behaviour
She asks, "But what about the promises you made - don't they count for anything"   
(quite often in this type of song the girl is pregnant and has been left to sort out the mess - not here)

Verse five
He tells her he regrets his actions and blames himself for doing what he did, and is stuck with the consequences

Verse six
He tells her that he still thinks about her, especially when he is lying next to his wife, who, he says, he doesn't love (gold/brass symbolism) and regrets his actions, despite of having benefited financially

Verse seven
He uses the imagined analogy of soldiers being parted by war to sum up their own position and says he wishes that all couples who love each other could be together.

In my opinion, this is one of the finest and most beautiful English language songs in the Irish repertoire - it sums up perfectly the period in which it was probably made, just following the famine, when relationships took second place to staying alive by marring for money rather than for love.
Singers and listeners needs to put themselves in the place of the characters in the dialogue and decide whether the man is genuine or is just trying to bluff his way out of an embarrassing situation - the structure of the song suggests the former rather than the latter, in my opinion
With due respect to Andy Irvine, you need to listen to Brigid (senior or junior - both make a superb job of it) singing it to get the full impact of its sheer beauty.
For me Brigid senior is one of Ireland's finest singers and all her children and grandchildren are or were great singers in their own right.
You can find BRIGID JUNIOR and others singing it on Utube
Personally, I think the song needs instrumental accompaniment like a fish needs a bicycle, but that's me!!
Enjoy!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: As I Roved Out - last verse
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 21 May 17 - 05:15 AM

From Mainly Norfolk - thank you again, Reinhard;

As I Roved Out / The Deluded Lover [Roud 3479; G/D 6:1165; Ballad Index K150; trad.]

Michael Gallagher sang The Deluded Lover in 1952 to Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle. This recording was included on the 1975 Folktrax cassette of songs sung by Brigid Tunney, Paddy Tunney and Michael Gallagher, The Mountain Streams. The album's liner notes commented:

Michael Gallagher, Brigid [Tunney]'s brother, Paddy [Tunney]'s Uncle Mick, was born in 1891 and, when recorded, was working as a boot repairer in Belleek. Previously he had been a farmer, and before that lived 33 years in Glasgow. Like his sister, he learned his songs from his parents and grandparents on both sides of the family, as well as from aunts, uncles and others. The Deluded Lover was from his aunt, Brigid, in Ballintra, Donegal. The title for this song was provided by the collectors; Michael called it As I Roved Out.

Michael Gallagher's nephew Paddy Tunney of Co. Fermanagh sang As I Roved Out on his 1962 Folk-Legacy album The Man of Songs. Diane Hamilton and Sean O'Boyle commented in the album's sleeve notes:

Some of the most charming of ordinary Irish love-songs are in the form of the pastourelle, which has been called the aristocratic progenitor of the "As I roved out one morning" type of ballad.

[Diane Hamilton was the pseudonym of Diane Guggenheim (1924–1991), an American mining heiress, folksong patron and founder of "Tradition Records".]

The air, which is one of the most elusive in all Irish folk-song, has never been published.

Planxty sang As I Roved Out in 1973 on their LP The Well Below the Valley and on the anthology Planète Celtique. Andy Irvine commented:

We learned this sad and beautiful song from the singing of Paddy Tunney who lives in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. He has described it as dating back to the days of the famine, when any bit of property at all was enough to tempt a man to jilt his true love in favour of the lassie with the land.

Acknowledgements; Thank you to Timothy Mellor for the information on the Michael Gallagher and Paddy Tunney recordings.

However, Mainly Norfolk does not give the words originally collected.


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Subject: RE: Origins: As I Roved Out - last verse
From: Reinhard
Date: 21 May 17 - 07:38 AM

Thank you, Henry.

I've now added Michael Gallagher's verses from Kennedy to Mainly Norfolk. But they are nearly identical to Brigid Tunney's that Jim gave us above so I don't need to copy them here. Andy Irvine's verses on the Planxty album are quite similar too except for leaving out verse three.


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