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Lyr Req: The Shamrock Sod (from Bohola)


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GUEST,kilshannig 17 Mar 03 - 05:09 PM
MartinRyan 17 Mar 03 - 05:28 PM
MartinRyan 17 Mar 03 - 06:24 PM
MartinRyan 17 Mar 03 - 06:28 PM
Big Mick 18 Mar 03 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,kilshannig 18 Mar 03 - 02:12 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Mar 03 - 03:56 PM
GUEST 08 May 06 - 05:11 AM
Jim Dixon 09 May 06 - 11:01 PM
erinmaidin 10 May 06 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,hiltruda 21 Nov 06 - 09:12 AM
GUEST 17 May 18 - 04:30 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: the shamrock sod (bohola)
From: GUEST,kilshannig
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 05:09 PM

One of the great Bohola songs: The shamrock sod. Can't find it anywhere and the Bohola guys don't give a reply to my mail.
Anyone out there who can help out on the lyrics? And perhaps some background information? Curious, curious...

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the shamrock sod (bohola)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 05:28 PM

I have a set of this as collected by Len Graham from Mary Magill of Antrim. No idea if its the same as the Bohola version. Len refers to a version in Sam Henry's Songs of the People.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SHAMROCK SOD (trad. Antrim)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 06:24 PM

THE SHAMROCK SOD (Mary Magill of Antrim, to Len Graham, 1975)

I left my friends in sweet Belfast, my love on Carrick Shore
And my blessing in old Ireland, I left hem o'er and o'er
Right well I know when I set sail, what my hard fate would be
Still gazing on my country hills as they seemed to fly from me
I watched them as they wore away until my eyes got sore
Until at last I was doomed to walk the Shamrock Shore no more

Some say that I'm in freedom's land where all men masters be
Not were I in my winding sheet, no one to care for me
Where I must eat the strangers' bread and bear the stranger's scorn
It tempts me of my dear old home, sweet isle where I was born
O where, oh where is the tender heart that day I left my home?

And where oh where is the tender heart I once could call my own ?
Not all the gold or riches great across yon western main
Can bring to me the absence of my dear old home again.

On the face of it, this version looks rather garbled. I can't find the tape with Mary Magill's recording of it, at the moment, to check the air and its structure. Sam Henry has the song as "The Shamrock Sod No More" with alternative titles of "Farewell to Ireland" and "The Irish Emigrant's Lament". His version has most of the above (though in different order) and some standard sections along the "If I was a little bird.." lines.

There's also a version in Ord's "Bothy SOngs and ballads" and some details on its origin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the shamrock sod (bohola)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 06:28 PM

From the Ballad Index:

Irish Emigrant's Lament, The
DESCRIPTION: "I never will forget the sorrows of that day," when the singer sailed from home. He knows he will miss the land, the friends, "the trusty heart [of the girl] I once could call my own." He will eat strangers' bread, and feel their scorn, and wish for home
AUTHOR: William Kennedy
EARLIEST DATE: 1928 (Sam Henry collection)
KEYWORDS: emigration separation farewell
FOUND IN: Ireland Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
SHenry H235, p. 203, "The Shamrock Sod No More" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ord, pp. 352-353, "The Irish Emigrant's Lament" (1 text, 1 tune)
Notes: William Kennedy, a contemporary of William Motherwell, is reported by Ord to have been one of the Whistle-Binkie poets. For a composed song, even one composed a century before, it's amazing how much variation there is, in both text and tune, in the Henry and Ord versions (the former in G major, the latter listed as being in F major but apparently in D minor). - RBW
File: HHH235


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the shamrock sod (bohola)
From: Big Mick
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 01:10 PM

Good man you are, Martin. One of the best here.

If this is not what our GUEST needs, please let me know. I will call Pat Broaders of bohola and get what ever other information s/he needs.


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From: GUEST,kilshannig
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 02:12 PM

Great Martin! Indeed a good man you are, like Mick says. Fast delivery, man! The only trouble is that the Mary Margill of Antrim song does not fit in the pace and the structure of the (Bohola) song as I know it (for instance: 4 lines per verse). It's puzzling, because some of the lines are familiar to the Bohola-version. The link to "The Irish Emigrant's Lament" was a good one. I already had another version of the song (or poem, 'cause I don't know a tune to go along with it).

Looking at the structure of the THE IRISH EMIGRANT'S LAMENT by Mrs. Blackwood it compares quite well with the Bohola version. Only, this version (see below) is a very sad one, and the Bohola song is too lively and too cheerful to go along with such a text. (It makes me wonder if there is a tune at all to these lyrics...)

Now Mick, if you have access to Pat, you're gonna make one Dutch boy quite happy.


I'm sitting on the stile, Mary, where we sat side by side,
On a bright May morning, long ago, when first you were my bride;
The corn was springing fresh and green, and the lark sang loud and high,
And the red was on your lip, Mary, and the love-light in your eye.

The place is little changed, Mary. The day is bright as then-
The lark's loud song is in my ear, and the corn is green again;
But I miss the soft clasp of your hand, and your breath warm on my cheek,
And I still keep list'ning for the words you never more may speak.

'Tis but a step down yonder lane, and the little church stands near-
The church where we were wed, Mary, I see the spire from here;
But the graveyard lies between, Mary, and my step might break your rest,
For I've laid you, darling, down to sleep, with your baby on your breast.

I'm very lonely now, Mary, for the poor make no new friends,
But, O, they love the better still the few our Father sends!
And you were all I had, Mary, my blessing and my pride-
There's nothing left to care for now, since my poor Mary died!

Yours was the brave good heart, Mary, that still keeps hoping on,
When the trust in God had left my soul, and my arms' young stretch had gone;
There was a comfort ever on your lip, and the kind look on your brow-
I bless you, Mary, for that same, though you can't hear me now.

I thank you for the patient smile, when your heart was fit to break,
When the hunger-pain was gnawing there, and you hid it for my sake;
I bless you for the pleasant word, when you heart was sad and sore-
O! I'm thankful you are gone, Mary, where the grief can't reach you more.

I'm bidding you a long farewell, my Mary- kind and true!
But I'll not forget you, darling, in the land I'm going to.
They say there's bread and wear for all, and the sun shines always there,
But I'll not forget old Ireland, were it fifty times as fair.

And often in those grand old woods, I'll sit and shut my eyes,
And my heart will travel back again to the place where Mary lies;
And I'll think I see the little stile, where we sat side by side,
And the springing corn and bright May morn when first you were my bride.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the shamrock sod (bohola)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 03:56 PM

The Lament of the Irish Emigrant (quoted immediately above) was a popular Victorian parlour ballad published around 1840. The words were written by the Hon. Mrs. Price Blackwood (1807-1867; later Lady Dufferin), and the music composed by William Richardson Dempster. Mrs. Price Blackwood was Helen Selina Blackwood, a daughter of the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan; she was married to Commander Price Blackwood (later Baron Dufferin). Dempster was Scottish by birth, but later moved to America for a time. He became a popular and successful singer and composer of light music, setting a large number of Tennyson's poems (notably The May Queen.)

Several sets of sheet music can be seen at  The Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection.

Other discussions in the Forum:

Irish Emigrant's Lament
Lady Dufferin
Lyr Req: Lament of the Irish Emigrant
Lyr Req: sitting by the stile mary
Lyriscs/Tune? Exile's Lament

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the shamrock sod (bohola)
Date: 08 May 06 - 05:11 AM

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From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 May 06 - 11:01 PM

Here's another version of the text, perhaps the original one, copied from

William Kennedy

OCH! while I live, I'll ne'er forget
    The troubles of that day,
When bound unto this distant land,
    Our ship got under weigh.
My friends I left at Belfast town,
    My love at Carrick shore,
And I gave to poor old Ireland
    My blessing o'er and o'er.

Och! well I knew, as off we sail'd,
    What my hard fate would be;
For, gazing on my country's hills,
    They seem'd to fly from me.
I watch'd them, as they wore away,
    Until my eyes grew sore
And I felt that I was doom'd to walk
    The shamrock sod no more!

They say I'm now in Freedom's land;
    Where all men masters be;
But were I in my winding-sheet,
    There's none to care for me!
I must, to eat the stranger's bread,
    Abide the stranger's scorn,
Who taunts me with thy dear-loved name,
    Sweet isle, where I was born!

Och! where-och! where's the careless heart
    I once could call my own?
It bade a long farewell to me,
    The day I left Tyrone.
Not all the wealth, by hardship won
    Beyond the western main,
Thy pleasures, my own absent home!
    Can bring to me again!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Shamrock Sod (Bohola)
From: erinmaidin
Date: 10 May 06 - 05:05 AM

I'm sort of giggling over the "if you access to Pat" statement...did that strike anyone else as a bit funny?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the shamrock sod (bohola)
From: GUEST,hiltruda
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 09:12 AM

I first heard it from Amos and Rocks, about 1990, the word were very close to those of william Kennedy, the melody was The lakes of ponchatrain.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Shamrock Shore Bohola
Date: 17 May 18 - 04:30 PM

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