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Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe

DigiTrad:
MAID OF THE SWEET BROWN KNOWE


John un Brisbane 08 Jul 99 - 09:43 PM
Annraoi 10 Jul 99 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,c.j.darby 02 Sep 02 - 12:25 PM
Wolfgang 02 Sep 02 - 12:37 PM
masato sakurai 02 Sep 02 - 01:19 PM
Amos 02 Sep 02 - 01:24 PM
Wolfgang 02 Sep 02 - 01:37 PM
Joe Offer 02 Sep 02 - 01:48 PM
Joe Offer 02 Sep 02 - 01:59 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Sep 02 - 02:01 PM
Wolfgang 02 Sep 02 - 02:12 PM
Amos 02 Sep 02 - 02:50 PM
Joe Offer 02 Sep 02 - 03:50 PM
masato sakurai 03 Sep 02 - 01:25 AM
Mrrzy 03 Sep 02 - 09:52 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Oct 09 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Alta 18 Nov 09 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 18 Nov 09 - 09:47 AM
Mr Happy 18 Nov 09 - 09:58 AM
MartinRyan 18 Nov 09 - 11:00 AM
Mr Happy 19 Nov 09 - 05:50 AM
Mr Happy 19 Nov 09 - 05:51 AM
MartinRyan 19 Nov 09 - 06:44 AM
MartinRyan 19 Nov 09 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Jim Whiteside 29 Jan 10 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 29 Jan 10 - 11:58 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 17 Aug 10 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,aidan heffernan 12 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Carol Graham, Newtownards 07 Jul 12 - 11:01 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 13 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,Victor Sandilands Slochd Scotland 23 Apr 16 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Hilary 23 Apr 16 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Kevin ,the brownknowe is in claudy co Derry 01 Mar 18 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Kevin 01 Mar 18 - 12:52 PM
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Subject: TUNE ADD: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: John un Brisbane
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 09:43 PM

This is a song of philosophical approach to rejection. What is a 'KNOWE'? Is it another word for'knoll'?

In any event it's tune is not in the DT.

Regards
John

MIDI file: MAIDOKNO.mid

Timebase: 192

Name: THE MAID OF THE SWEET BROWN KNOWE
Text: 100 IRISH BALLADS VOL 2 - SOODLUM
Copyright: NOTEWORTHY COMPOSER SEQUENCED 1999 by John Leahy
Key: D
TimeSig: 6/8 24 8
Start
0000 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 66 110 0160 0 66 000 0032 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 59 110 0160 0 59 000 0032 1 61 110 0094 0 61 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0382 0 62 000 0002 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 71 110 0160 0 71 000 0032 1 73 110 0094 0 73 000 0002 1 74 110 0160 0 74 000 0032 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 71 110 0160 0 71 000 0032 1 71 110 0094 0 71 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 71 110 0094 0 71 000 0002 1 69 110 0448 0 69 000 0032 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 71 110 0160 0 71 000 0032 1 73 110 0094 0 73 000 0002 1 74 110 0256 0 74 000 0032 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 73 110 0160 0 73 000 0032 1 71 110 0094 0 71 000 0002 1 69 110 0382 0 69 000 0002 1 69 110 0094 0 69 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 66 110 0160 0 66 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 59 110 0094 0 59 000 0002 1 61 110 0160 0 61 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 66 110 0094 0 66 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 61 110 0094 0 61 000 0002 1 62 110 0382 0 62 000
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:THE MAID OF THE SWEET BROWN KNOWE
M:6/8
Q:1/4=120
K:D
AGF2FD|EFB,2CD|-DDEFED|-DED4|FGG2AB|-Bcd2FG|
FGB2Bc|-cBA4|-AFA2AB|-Bcd3F|FGA2Ac|-cBA4|
AGF2ED|EFG2B,C|-CDEFED|-DCD4||


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Subject: RE: TUNE ADD: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Annraoi
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 09:29 PM

Quite right, "Knowe" is a word meaning "hillock", "knoll", "small hill" etc. There's an infamous roundabout to the N. of Belfast known as "Sandy Knowes". Annraoi


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Subject: Maid of the sweet brown knowe
From: GUEST,c.j.darby
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 12:25 PM

Does anybody out there know anything about the origin of a song called "The maid of the sweet brown knowe" an old friend of mine from Co. Cavan used to sing it in the seventies and he said that he thought the song origionally came from the Kildare area but I have my doubts "knowe" sounds scottish to me.Anyway if anyone can throw light on the subject I would be grateful.

Lyrics in the Digital Tradition


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Maid of the sweet brown knowe
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 12:37 PM

half relevant entry from traditional ballad index

Wolfgang

Foot of the Mountain Brow,The (The Maid of the Mountain Brow) [Laws P7]

DESCRIPTION: Jimmy woos Polly with a promise to work hard. He offers her crops, horses, and servants. She says he spends too much time and money at the inn. He observes that the money is his and he will do with it as he will. He leaves her; she regrets her words
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (Sam Henry collection)
KEYWORDS: courting money rejection
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Laws P7, "The Foot of the Mountain Brow (The Maid of the Mountain Brow)"
FSCatskills 27, "The Maid on the Mountain Brow" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H84+H688, p. 364, "The Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 52, "The Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 494, BRNKNOWE

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Largy Line" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
The Largy Line (File: HHH781)
File: LP07

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Info Req: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 01:19 PM

This song is in Colm O Lochlainn's Irish Street Ballads (1939; 1967, no. 19); the same version as the one in the DT. Notes say "Learnt in Belfast from D. Maguire, 1913."

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Info Req: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Amos
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 01:24 PM

This is an interesting song -- it has a purely Gaelic antecedent with very similar refrains and tale, which must have been written a good while before the Anglo-Irish version. The Gaelic version is beautifully done by our own GG, Áine herself. The Anglo version was recorded by John McCormack, I believe.

A


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Subject: RE: Info Req: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 01:37 PM

A printed version earlier than that mentioned in the Traditional Ballad index is in Colum, Padraic, ed. Anthology of Irish Verse. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922.

Wolfgang


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Subject: ZDTStudy: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 01:48 PM

I guess we should make a DTStudy out of this.

Here's the DT version. Note that we still need a tune, I guess.

MAID OF THE SWEET BROWN KNOWE

Come all ye lads and lasses, and hear my mournful tale,
Ye tender hearts that weep for love to sigh you will not fail,
'Tis all about a young man, and my song will tell you how
He lately came a-courtin' of the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.

Said he, "My pretty young fair maid, could you and I agree,
To join our hands in wedlock bands, and married we will be;
We'll join our hands in wedlock bands, and you'll have my plighted vow,
That I'll do my whole endeavors for the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.

Now this young and pretty fickle thing, she knew not what to say,
Her eyes did shine like silver bright, and merrily did play;
Says she, "Young man, your love subdue, I am not ready now,
And I'll spend another season at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

"Oh," says he, "My pretty young fair maid, now why do you say so?
Look down in yonder valley where my verdant crops do grow.
Look down in yonder valley at my horses and my plough,
All at their daily labor for the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

"If they're at their daily labor, kind sir, it is not for me.
I've heard of your behavior, I have, kind sir, " said she;
"There is an inn where you drop in, I've heard the people say,
Where you rap and you call and you pay for all, and go home by the break of
day."

"If I rap and I call and I pay for all, my money is all my own.
I've never spent aught of your fortune, for I hear that you've got none.
You thought you had my poor heart broke in talkin' to you now,
But I'll leave you where I found you, at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

Recorded by Burl Ives and several Clancys
DT #494
Laws P7
@Irish @courting @love
filename[ BRNKNOWE
RG




PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.

Here's the song as it appears in Sam Henry's Songs of the People:

THE MAID OF THE SWEET BROWN KNOWE

Come all you lads and lasses and listen to me a while,
Till I sing to you a verse or two, 'twill cause you all to smile,
It's all about a young man I'm going to tell you now,
That lately went a-courting with the maid of the sweet brown knowe.

'Oh,' says he, 'my pretty fair maid, if you and I agree,
We will join our hands in wedlock banns and married we will be,
We will join our hands in wedlock banns by meeting with you now,
And I'll do all my endeavours for the maid of the sweet brown knowe.

This young and foolish fickle one, she knew not what to say,
Her eyes they shone like diamonds and merrily bright did play,
She says, 'Young man, you must excuse, I'm not just ready now,
I'll rest another season at the foot of the sweet brown knowe.'

Says he, 'My pretty fair maid, oh, why did you say no?
Look down in yonder valley where my crops do gently grow,
Look down in yonder valley at my horses and my plough,
Sure, they're at their daily labour for the maid of the sweet brown knowe.'

'If they're at their daily labour, kind sir, it's not for me;
I've heard of your behaviour, I have, kind sir, said she.
'There is an inn where you call in, I hear the people say,
Where you rap and call and pay for all and go home at the break of day.'

'If I rap and call and pay for all, the money it is my own,
I'll not spend much of your fortune, for I hear you have got none;
You thought you had my poor heart won by meeting with you now,
But I'll leave you where I found you at the foot of the sweet brown knowe.'

5.4: ... at break ... [Dt]
6.3: ... heart broke by ... EDt]


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Subject: ADD: The Largy Line
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 01:59 PM

Sam Henry's Songs of the People says that "The Largy Line" is the "original form" (quotes theirs) of "The Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe." Source: Jock Smylie (Leggyfat, Limavallaghan, Clough, County Antrim, 1938).
I can't quite see how the songs are connected.


THE LARGY LINE

My name is George M'Caughey, I'm a shoemaker to trade,
I ran through Ahoghill courting all the pretty maids,
But I'll leave them all, both great and small, for they do not please my mind,
And I'll go and wed Miss Baxter along the Largy line.

The first place that I saw my love, I mean to let you know,
It being to teach the Tully band that evening I did go,
When the practice it was over, I loudly then did say,
'Is there any male or female here that goes along my way?'

Young A. M'Neice, he then spoke out and thus to me did say,
'Here is Miss Maggie Baxter, I know she goes your way.'
'Yes,' says Miss Baxter, 'I will go, if you just take your time,'
So we both jogged on together along the Largy line.

Now when I came up to her house, I mean to let you know,
My love she would not part with me, for in I had to go;
The treatment that she gave me, I'll keep it in my mind,
I could court away both night and day along the Largy line.

Her father he is willing and her mother, she's the same,
Her brother he is on for me and so's Eliza Jane;
My love she does stick close to me, for it still runs in her mind,
If she's spared her life, she'll be my wife along the Largy line.

Now here's long life to Mr Fyffe, he well deserves the name,
He was the man first raised the band, caused me to get this dame,
And if he lives to my wedding day we'd have a regular shine,
For I'll make him fu' and happy too, along the Largy line.


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Subject: RE: Info Req: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 02:01 PM

The song has been found in tradition in Ireland more often than Scotland, but both Canada and the USA seem to have considerably more examples. Ewan MacColl (Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland, 1977; p. 52) stated that it is Irish in origin, but didn't say how he knew. Colm O Lochlainn (Irish Street Ballads, 1939) prints a set "learned in Belfast from D. Maguire, 1913". He points to close similarities between the melody of this and of some versions of The Manchester Angel; Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, 1859, vol.II p. 734), in his notes to the latter song, also mentions The Sandgate Lass's Lament and The Lancashire Poacher. Wherever the tune started out, it has seen some action in its time.

The text does seem to be Irish rather than Scottish. There is a broadside by Brereton of Dublin (printed with his customary finesse!) at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

A new song call'd The maid of the sweet Brown howe 2806 b.9(179): printed c.1867 by P Brereton Printer 56 Cooke St Dublin.


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Subject: RE: Info Req: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 02:12 PM

In case someone doesn't know the tune an audio is here.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Info Req: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Amos
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 02:50 PM

I know there is a Gaelic version, because I heard Aine sing it and I assumed it was sean nos leagcy before it got turned out in English. Is it possible it was pipelined back into Gaelic after being published in an English broadside?

A


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Subject: ADD: The Maid on the Mountain Brow
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 03:50 PM

Here's an American version, which is remarkably similar in places.

The Maid on the Mountain Brow

Come, all young men and maidens, come listen to my song,
I'll sing to you a verse or two, I won't detain you long,
It's all about a young man I'm going to tell you now,
Who had lateli (sic) fell a-member to the maid of the Mountain Brow.

He says, "My pretty fair maid, you can go along with me,
We'll join our hands in wedlock bands, and married we will be."
"Oh no, kind sir," the maid replied, "you must excuse me now,
I must tarry another season at the foot of the Mountain Brow."

"Well," he says, "my pretty fair maid, I'm sure you can't say no:
Look down in yonder valley where my crops so gen-tie-ly grow,
Look down in yonder valley at my horses and my plow:
They are laboring late and earli for the maid of the Mountain Brow."

"Your horses and your plow, they're not laboring for me:
After hearing of your character, 'tis none of the best, I see;
There is a place in this town, I've heard the people say,
Where you rap and call and pay for all, and go home at the break o'day."

"If I rap and call and pay for all, my money, it is my own;
I'll not spend any of your fortune, love, for they tell me you've got none;
You thought you had my poor heart won by happening on to me now,
But I'll leave you where I found you, at the foot of the Mountain Brow."

Oh, it's "Johnny, dearest Johnny, how can you be so unkind?
The girl that loves you dearly you're going to leave behind,
The girl that loves you dearly, you're going to leave her now?
Don't leave her broken-hearted at the foot of the Mountain Brow!"

He hung his head in silence, not knowing what to say
While gazing upon the pretty fair maid, she looked so neat and gay.
He took her by the lily-white hand, saying, "You've consented now,
We will tarry here no longer at the foot of the Mountain Brow."

as sung by George Edwards
Source: Folk Songs of the Catskills (1982, by Cazden, Haufrecht, Studer)

And the background notes:


26. The Maid on the Mountain Brow

This conversation piece originated as an Irish broadside, and it seems to have gone the rounds of the lumbercamps in this country and in Canada. Where the maid lives varies from the "Logan Bough" to the "Sweet Brown Knowe," this last being explained as an alternative term for "Knoll." Yet the foot of a mountain's brow may be as good a place to dwell between heaven and earth as any poet might wish.
Most curious is the way the "moral" or the outcome of the song, if there be one at all, seems to vary among the versions known, chiefly through the inclusion or the omission of stanzas. Thus Michael C. Dean's version places the man beyond criticism, and it borrows lines from other songs, to end on a clear note of superior male prerogatives. An Irish text (Colum) makes much of initial flirtation:
Now this young and pretty fickle thing, she knew not what to say,
Her eyes did shine like silver bright and merrily did play...
A version from Maine (NA Ives 1.85) seems rather to excuse the maid's uncertainty, "she being young and ficklesome," while in a subtly more critical text from Nova Scotia (Mackenzie) she is described as a "wigglesome young thing."
The course of true love does not always trickle down as gently as does the melting snow from the mountain's brow. The maid's coy retreat may well induce rebuff, and the tale usually ends with pouting, confronting defiance. Only in the George Edwards version is a solution found in reconciliation and marriage. Flirtatiousness is only implied, and if the maid's character and attitudes are thereby supported and touched up, and the man made to feel his shame properly, we are sure the moral promises a better future for their relationship.
The refreshing frankness of the lines containing reproach is common to all versions, and it takes the naïveté of a scholar to accept skimpy euphemism in its place. Sung distinctly as:
You rap and call, and pay for all, and go home at the break of day,
one collector explains what is involved as payment for something called "'hol," taken to be a local abbreviation for "alcohol," so that the line then ends with "and get drunk at the break of day."
The expression "lateli fell a member" is as unsatisfactory in #26 as in the cognate "lately become a member" of other versions. Coim 0 Lochlainn, who made some adaptations from a broadside text, gives this as "lately came a-courting," which is somewhat closer to sense. A more likely derivation for the expression would be "lately fell enamoured," just the sort of literary wording that would fall readily into sound mimicry when no longer understood.
Unusual in its jagged, strident formation, the tune strain here seems proper to this ballad, though it appears for a number of other traditional texts, notably in the Northeast. The succession of four descending thirds, embracing a span of a minor ninth within the second measure, would seem to constitute precisely the sort of involved and sophisticated musical treatment that we are often assured cannot occur in the simple tunes of "the folk." The Dublin Comic Songster of 1841 has the notation "air: Mountain's Brow" for a different text. That may tell us the ballad was familiar at that date, but it cannot be concluded that the reference would be to a tune like that of #26, for it is not found for versions from Ireland. Catskill singers Frank Edwards and his son James Edwards have sung the ballad to the same tune strain (ATL 604, 605). But save for a version sung by Tom Brandon in Ontario (Fowke, FSC io), the text with this tune seems otherwise limited in its provenance to the Northeast-Maritimes region, and almost the same may be said for the appearance of the tune with other texts. A number of versions use the Manchester Angel tune found for #41, My Love Is Like a Dewdrop.

And yes, I'll get around to transcribing the tunes, sooner or later.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MAID OF THE MOUNTAIN BROW
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 01:25 AM

A Canadian version in W. Roy Mackenzie, Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia (1928; Folklore Associates, 1963, pp. 124-125):

THE MAID OF THE MOUNTAIN BROW

M.C. Dean prints a version of this song from Minnesota in The Flying Cloud and 150 Other Old Time Poems and Ballads, pp. 83-84, under the title "The Maid of the Logan Bough."
"The Maid of the Mountain Brow." From the singing and recitation of John Brown, River John, Pictou County.

1 Come, all ye men and maidens and listen to my song,
And if you'll pay attention I'll not detain you long.
'Twas of a wealthy young man I'm going to tell you now,
And he's lately become a member of the Maid of the Mountain Brow.

2 He said, "My lovely fair maid, if you'll come along with me now
We'll go and we'll get married and it's happy we will be.
We'll join our hands in wedlock bands if you'll come along with me now.
I will labour late and early for the Maid of the Mountain Brow."

3 She being a wigglesome young thing she didn't know what to say.
Her eyes did sparkle like diamonds and as merrily she did play:
"Kind sir, I would rather be excused, I can't go with you now.
I will tarry another season at the foot of the Mountain Brow."

4 He said, "My lovely fair maid, how can you answer no?
Look down in yonder valley where my crops do gently grow.
Look down in yonder valley stands my horses and my plow.
They work both late and early for the Maid of the Mountain Brow."

5 "If they work both late and early, kind sir, it's not for me.
Your conduct it is none of the best, for I can plainly see.
There is an inn where you call in, for I've heard the people say,
Where you rap and call and pay for all, and go home at the break of day."

6 "If I rap and call and pay for all, my money it is my own,
I'll spend none of your fortune, for I've understand you have none.
You thought you had my poor heart gained by happening on me now,
But I'll leave you where I met you at the foot of the Mountain Brow."

7 "Oh, it's Jimmy dear, it's Jimmy, how can you be so unkind!
To a girl you loved so dearly how quicly you've changed your mind,
To a girl you loved so dearly, and you're going to leave me now.
O don't leave me broken-hearted at the foot of the Mountain Brow!"

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Info Req: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 09:52 AM

What is the old one about "no young man will venture where once he could not go?"


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MAID OF THE SWEET BROWN KNOWE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 09:15 AM

From Anthology of Irish Verse edited by Padraic Colum (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922), page 77:


THE MAID OF THE SWEET BROWN KNOWE

1. Come all ye lads and lassies and listen to me a while,
And I'll sing for you a verse or two will cause you all to smile.
It's all about a young man, and I'm going to tell you now,
How he lately came a-courting of the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.

2. Said he, "My pretty fair maid, will you come along with me?
We'll both go off together, and married we will be.
We'll join our hands in wedlock bands, I'm speaking to you now,
And I'll do my best endeavour for the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

3. This fair and fickle young thing, she knew not what to say.
Her eyes did shine like silver bright and merrily did play.
She said, "Young man, your love subdue, for I am not ready now,
And I'll spend another season at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe.

4. Said he, "My pretty fair maid, how can you say so?
Look down in yonder valley where my crops do gently grow.
Look down in yonder valley where my horses and my plough
Are at their daily labour for the Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe."

5. "If they're at their daily labour, kind sir, it's not for me,
For I've heard of your behaviour, I have, indeed," she said.
"There is an Inn where you call in, I have heard the people say,
Where you rap and call and pay for all, and go home at the break of day."

6. "If I rap and call and pay for all, the money is all my own,
And I'll never spend your fortune, for I hear you have got none.
You thought you had my poor heart broke in talking with me now,
But I'll leave you where I found you, at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,Alta
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 06:40 AM

The sweet Round Knowe was a location in Foremass townland outside Sixmilecross going in the direction of Altamuskin. A Knowe is of course a rounded hill.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 09:47 AM

The D Maguire, from whom Colm O'Lochlainn got his version in 1913 is almost certainly Dominic Maguire who also gave songs to Sam Henry. I have found only one version on a ballad sheet and I have seen and listed most of those in British and Irish libraries. This is one printed by Peter Brereton ("probably the worst printer in the world") from Cooke Street in Dublin. Brereton worked from about 1867 to around 1875. Most people miss this one because its called The maid of the sweet brown howe (Bodleian Library 2806 b.9(179)). Brereton, being a rotten printer is capable of misprinting but the spelling is consistent and there is at least one verse that is not usually sung so this may point to an early form. The inclusion of a version in James Healy (Mercier Book of Irish Street Ballads vol. 1 p 256 indicates that there is a ballad sheet in the library at University College Cork. Healy calls it 'The maid of the sweet brown knowe' but I suspect it is in fact another print of the Brereton version and that Healy (who did such things) changed the title. I don't think the song can be much earlier than the middle of the nineteenth-century.
In connection with a location - I know of several possibilities including one on the Letterkenny to Rathmullan Road (R247)in Co Donegal.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 09:58 AM

I don't know what 'knowe' is.

Is there someone out there who is in the know can show how I can know what a 'knowe' is?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 11:00 AM

Now, now, Mr. Happy!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 05:50 AM

Tee-hee


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 05:51 AM

!

But seriously folks, what is a 'knowe' ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: MartinRyan
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 06:44 AM

See earlier in the thread : A Knowe is of course a rounded hill.

My instinct is that it is related to the Gaelic word "cnoc", meaning hill or mountain - but I'll need to check.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: MartinRyan
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 06:49 AM

In fact, the online sources relate it to "knoll" with Middle English and Norse antecedents. Hmmmm...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,Jim Whiteside
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 11:45 AM

The maid of the sweet brown knowe was Ms Maggie Harrison who lived on the Mill Road Purdysburn Belfast just off the main Belfast/ Saintfield Road at purdysburn hospitial.

The sweet brown knowe is a hill just off Mill Road.

I hope this helps

Any other information I get I will pass on.

Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 11:58 AM

I have a recording of this song by the Clancy Brothers. I'm not certain, but it sounds like Paddy Clancy did this one as a solo on an older LP (Circa late 1950's). It's possible Tommy Makem may also have recorded a version. The one I have is from an album done rather sparely, not as slickly produced as some of the later ones. I seem to recall that The Bold Thady Quill is on the same recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 17 Aug 10 - 04:41 PM

Further to the posting from Jim Whiteside about Belfast, there is a Brown Knowe School located on the road between Ramelton and Rathmullan in the County Donegal, and of course everyone in the lands around will claim ths as the true location of the song and story. "Knowe" as a small hill is perhaps most familiar from Robert Burns's verses about "Ca the yowes to the knowes" &c (itself based on an earlier traditional song), and there are a great many words in Donegal dialect similar/identical to Lallans, or Lowland Scots. However, I'm sure ths point could be made about the Belfast connection too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,aidan heffernan
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM

the late WILLIE BRADY also recorded this song


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,Carol Graham, Newtownards
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 11:01 AM

As a proud native of Ramelton, Co Donegal I choose to believe that the song "The Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe" refers to the Brown Knowe on the Ramelton/Rathmullan Road.   The Foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe" is
the left turn or elbow on the road to Ramelton at the bottom of the hill, known locally as the Brown Knowe.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 09:15 PM

Leitrim/Cavan/Donegal area I'd say is the origin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,Victor Sandilands Slochd Scotland
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 04:11 PM

As a very proud past pupil of Brownknowe School i agree with Carol Graham as everyone at Brownknowe had to learn the words of The Maid of the Sweet Brownknowe.But if anyone can come up with another place or School like Hundreds of pupils who attended Brownknowe School and are now scattered all over THE World well so be it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 23 Apr 16 - 04:51 PM

It's interesting to consider the lyrics of this song in light of Barre Toelken's book, Morning Dew and Roses.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,Kevin ,the brownknowe is in claudy co Derry
Date: 01 Mar 18 - 11:27 AM

The brownknowe is in claudy co Derry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe
From: GUEST,Kevin
Date: 01 Mar 18 - 12:52 PM

I was looking up the history of the Devines and I came on a letter written in 1889 about the Devine family travelling home from America and going to visit the famous brownknowe in Claudy co Derry.i hope this might help.


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