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Origins: Erin Go Bragh

DigiTrad:
ERIN THE GREEN
THE ERL-KING


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Erin Go Bragh alt version (17)
Chord Req: Erin go Bragh (Peadar Kearney) (1)


RobbieWilson 19 Mar 05 - 12:55 PM
Big Tim 19 Mar 05 - 02:13 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Mar 05 - 02:35 PM
Big Tim 19 Mar 05 - 04:27 PM
Jimmy C 19 Mar 05 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Auldtimer 19 Mar 05 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Auldtimer 19 Mar 05 - 05:24 PM
GUEST 19 Mar 05 - 05:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 19 Mar 05 - 06:44 PM
RobbieWilson 19 Mar 05 - 08:42 PM
Big Tim 20 Mar 05 - 02:44 AM
RobbieWilson 20 Mar 05 - 03:48 AM
GUEST, Malcolm Douglas 20 Mar 05 - 12:31 PM
Susanne (skw) 20 Mar 05 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Philippa 21 Mar 05 - 05:16 AM
MartinRyan 21 Mar 05 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh 22 Mar 05 - 03:43 AM
Jim Dixon 03 Apr 05 - 02:40 PM
Severn 03 Apr 05 - 10:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Apr 05 - 10:57 PM
belfast 04 Apr 05 - 05:45 PM
Severn 04 Apr 05 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Philippa 05 Apr 05 - 04:23 AM
harmonic miner 03 Mar 11 - 05:59 AM
Jim Dixon 12 Sep 11 - 07:17 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Sep 11 - 07:49 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Sep 11 - 08:06 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Sep 11 - 08:14 PM
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Subject: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 12:55 PM

I sing the Erin Go Bragh which Dick Gaughan sings, which he once told me he was taught by a busker whose name I forget. That version is set in Edinburgh. However on a trip to Dublin once I visited a museum of Irish music where there was a very old scratchy recording of a different version of the story set in London.

Does anyone know the history of this song?


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 02:13 PM

It was written by Peadar Kearney (1883-1942), lyricist of the Irish national anthem. Kearney fought in 1916 and knew what he was talking about, plus he was a great natural songwriter.                     

I haven't heard Dick's version, but no one will ever improve on Josh MacRae's 60s recording,in my opinion: sadly no longer available. I've got a good deal more, but must go now.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 02:35 PM

Wrong song, Tim!

The Erin go Bragh in question is a Scottish song which appears on broadsides of the mid 19th century, and was evidently quite popular; it likely dates from that time, though it is usually sung to older tunes. The most usual location (and presumably the original) is "Auld Reekie", but there are also copies with "Whitechapel Street" and with the hero's name changed from Duncan Campbell to Pat Murphy, which rather spoils the irony, not to mention making the song a little nonsensical in places.

See  Bodleian Library Broadsides:   Erin go bragh

and  Glasgow Broadside Ballads:   Duncan Campbell

Once you've lost the Scottish location, the song loses much of its point, really. Perhaps for that reason, it doesn't seem to have been taken up in English tradition, and has been found mostly in Scotland and Canada (occasionally in the US; Cecil Sharp found it in the Appalachians as "My name it is Clay Morgan from the town of Hogyle").

The Roud Folk Song Index lists a fair few examples at number 1627 (Laws classified it as his code Q20) with only a couple of Irish examples. One (Armagh) begins "In London one day as I walked down the street;" another (Clare) "My name is old Paddy from the town of Athy". I haven't seen those, nor the De Marsan (New York) broadside, Daniel Campbell's Trip to England referred to by W Roy MacKenzie (Ballads and Songs of Nova Scotia, 330-1), so I don't know how they treat the story.

This song should not be confused with other, unrelated songs that happen to include the well-known phrase Erin go Bragh.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 04:27 PM

Thanks Malcolm!


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: Jimmy C
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 05:09 PM

I have not heard Dick's version but there are a number of songs with this title , especially one that starts

" I'll sing you a song of a row in the town
When the green flag went up and the red rag came down
T'was the neatest and sweetest thing ever you saw
When they played a great game back in Erin Go Bragh.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 05:17 PM

I also sing this, but to a different tune. This song is well set in Edinburugh, many "incomers" including raw police officer material moved north or south/west to the city and would be unfamiliar with a "Tuechter", or even a far north east accent. Glasgow, absorbed peoples from a larger area including many gaelic speakers from Ireland and Scotland. A tipical weegi Polis would have the gaelic mimself. The song can also be found in John Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 05:24 PM

The version I have is, the Heilan' man, Duncan Campbell, mistaken as an Irish Rebel and is chased by an Edin'bra polis. Heilan' man makes good his escape by battering polis and sailing accross the Forth.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 05:35 PM

You can hear Dick gaughan singing the Duncan Campbell version at the Glasgow broadside ballad site posted by Malcolm Douglas. His singing must be the worst to date, complete with the McCollite horrible twang.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 06:44 PM

As I mentioned, the phrase was common and lots of songs included it; we don't need to list them. Jimmy mentions one such (the same song that Tim guessed at, as it happens) which Kearney seems to have written using the Scottish song as a rough model. It is not otherwise related to it, though, and is irrelevant to this discussion except as a footnote (which we now have, so there is no need to repeat). Both songs are already in the DT and have been discussed here before.

ERIN-GO-BRAGH  (reasonably accurate transcription, presumably from the Gaughan record)

ERIN GO BRAGH  (Peadar Kearney; source not named)

The story is always the same; "versions" don't differ very much and all derive from the broadside texts. The Highlander is not mistaken for an Irish "rebel", but for a petty criminal. Let's not romanticise unduly. The song does make a good point about cultural assumptions and prejudice (it won't have been uncommon for Highlanders to be mistaken -prejudicially- for Irish at that time in quite large parts of Scotland, and the "Highlander in the big city" joke was far from new) but it's a modest enough point, on the lines of "No, I'm not; but some of my best friends are".


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 19 Mar 05 - 08:42 PM

The broadsheet is much the same as the song gaughan sings. The rebel song is something else all together. The song in th Dublin museum is roughly the same story as the broadsheet but set in London, piccadilly circus if i remember correctly and I seem to remember ther was the narrator and a mate.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: Big Tim
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 02:44 AM

Is this one related?

There came to the beach a poor exile of Erin,
The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill,
For his country he sighed, when at twilight repairing,
To wander alone by the wind beaten hill.
But the day-star attracted his eyes' sad devotion,
For it rose o'er his own native isle of the ocean,
Where once in the fire of his youthful emotion,
He sang the bold anthem of Erin go bragh.

by Thomas Campbell (1774-1844) in "The Exile of Erin' (1842).

Erin go bragh ("go brách) = Ireland for ever.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 03:48 AM

No the song I'm looking for is about two irish boys in London who are set about by a local peeler but see him off with theit shilelaghs


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: GUEST, Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 12:31 PM

Campbell's piece is no relation.

Since the original scenario becomes largely meaningless outside Scotland, it wouldn't be too surprising if an Irish variant were to become reduced to a simple "we beat up a rozzer" story, though the feat is rather less impressive if the man is outnumbered. I've been assuming that Robbie's song is a form of the Scottish song (because that is what he said it was) and I still think it likely; but we won't be able to tell for sure without some useful information (what recording? what museum?) which as yet we don't have.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 20 Mar 05 - 07:25 PM

According to Dominic Behan's LP 'Easter Week and After' the Peadar Kearney song mentioned above is called 'Erin Go Brath' (Ireland so fine).


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 05:16 AM

I believe there is a version of this song, the one about the Scotsman who is mistreated because he has an Irish-sounding name, is included in Robin Morton's "Folk Songs Sung in Ulster". I'll have a look later.


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 05:58 AM

Kearney's song is usually known as "The Row in theTown".

Regards


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Subject: RE: Erin Go Bragh origins
From: GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 03:43 AM

Robert Huddleston, a weaver poet from Moneyrea,County Down composed a song (or ballad) called 'Erin go Bragh' and published it in a book in 1846. It is sung to the air of General Munroe.
          cheers eoin.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ERIN GO BRAGH!
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 02:40 PM

Here's another song with the same title, possibly unrelated to the ones already posted, from The Library of Congress American Memory Collection:

ERIN GO BRAGH!

Green was the fields where my forefathers dwelt,
    Oh! Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!
Tho' our farm it was small, yet comfort we felt,
    Oh! Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!
At length came the day when our lease did expire,
And fain would I live where before lived my sire!
But ah! well-a-day, I was forced to retire,
    Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!

Though all taxes I paid, yet no vote could I pass, oh!
    Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!
Aggrandized no great man, and I feel it, alas, oh!
    Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!
Forced from my home, yea, from where I was born,
To range the wide world, poor, helpless forlorn;
I look back with regret and my heart strings are torn,
    Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!

With principles pure, patriotic and firm,
    Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!
Attach'd to my country, a friend to reform,
    Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!
I supported old Ireland, was ready to die for it,
If her foes e'er prevailed, I was well known to sigh for it,
But my faith I preserved, and am now forced to fly for it,
    Erin ma vourneen, slan laght go bragh!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Erin Go Bragh
From: Severn
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 10:46 PM

"She dreamed she turned them green with envy
In her Erin-Go-Bra"
                   -from "A Maid Informed"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Erin Go Bragh
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 10:57 PM

As I said earlier, it was a common catch-phrase. You could probably make a very long thread out of unrelated songs and all manner of other things that quote the words. Whether that would be more of a hindrance than a help I leave to you to guess.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Erin Go Bragh
From: belfast
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 05:45 PM

To return to the original topic, I just have to put in my tuppenceworth of disagreement about a guest's opinion of Gaughan's version of this ballad. I have heard him doing it on a number of occasions and it's always been great. It suits him well as one part of his family is from Ireland, another from the Highlands. It's true that Dick is uncompromising in singing in his own accent. Leith, I believe. I suppose some might find this accent unpleasant. I, for one, find it a pleasure to listen to.

(The joke by 'severn' originated, I think, in a parody of an advertising slogan for the Maidenform Bra –"I dreamt I went walking in my Maidenform Bra". Maidenform Bra was transformed into Erin Go Bragh.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Erin Go Bragh
From: Severn
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 06:23 PM

I had just downloaded "Paddy On The Canal" from the canal song thread earlier on the day I found this thread and, I just relocated my copy...

I entered with them for a season,
My monthly pay for to draw.
And being of very good humor,
I often sang "Erin go bragh."


I wonder which one of the ones you cited this guy might have sung?

Severn


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Subject: RE: Origins: Erin Go Bragh
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 04:23 AM

by the way, the song that the thread originally referred to is the second of two DigitalTradition entries listed in purple-blue at the top of the page (two songs with the same title, the other being the Peadar Kearney patriotic song). http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=1844

I haven't got around to looking up R Morton's book yet, but I am duly reminded now.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Erin Go Bragh
From: harmonic miner
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 05:59 AM

Linguistically, the song name is a bit dodgy. The phrase 'Erin go Bragh' is commonly used but really 'Éire go bragh' would be better (allowing for some kind of 'Anglicised' spelling

In Irish, Ireland is called Éire (among other names), 'Erin' is derived from forms such as 'in Eirinn' (in Ireland) or 'muintir na hÉireann' (the people OF Ireland).


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Subject: Lyr Add: ERIN-GO-BRAGH (Trad Scottish)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 07:17 PM

There is a version of this in the DT, taken, I assume, from the singing of Dick Gaughan, but it has numerous small differences from this published version.

From Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland edited by Robert Ford (Paisley: Alexander Gardner, 1899), page 47:


ERIN-GO-BRAGH

My name's Duncan Campbell, from the shire of Argyle.
I have travelled this country for many a mile.
I have travelled through England and Ireland and a',
And the name I go under's bold Erin-go-Bragh.

One night in Auld Reekie, as I walked down the street,
A saucy policeman by chance I did meet.
He glowered in my face and he gave me some jaw,
Saying, "When came ye over, bold Erin-go-Bragh?"

"I am not a Paddy, though Ireland I've seen,
Nor am I a Paddy, though in Ireland I've been;
But though I were a Paddy, that's nothing ava.
There's many a bold hero from Erin-go-Bragh."

"I know you are a Pat by the cut of your hair,
But you all turn Scotchmen as soon's you come here.
You have left your own country for breaking the law.
We are seizing all stragglers from Erin-go-Bragh."

"Though I were a Paddy, and you knew it to be true,
Or were I the devil—pray, what's that to you?
Were it not for the baton you have in your paw,
I would show you a game played in Erin-go-Bragh."

Then a switch of blackthorn that I held in my fist
Across his big body I made it to twist;
And the blood from his napper I quickly did draw,
And paid him stock and interest for Erin-go-Bragh.

The people came round like a flock of wild geese,
Crying, "Stop, stop the rascal; he has killed the police;"
And for every friend I had, I'm sure he had twa.
It was very tight times with bold Erin-go-Bragh.

But I came to a wee boat that sails on the Forth.
I picked up my all, and I steered for the North.
Farewell to Auld Reekie, policeman and a'.
May the devil be with them, says Erin-go-Bragh.

Now, all you brave fellows that listen to my song,
I don't care a farthing to where you belong.
I come from Argyle, in the Highlands so braw,
But I ne'er take it ill when called Erin-go-Bragh.

Not an Irish song this, as the title would make the novice infer. But natives of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland have a good deal in common—in accent and otherwise—with the people of the North of Ireland, and the verses describe only how "Duncan Campbell, from the Shire of Argyle," suffered in Edinburgh in the "No Irish need apply" days by being mistaken for a son of Saint Patrick. Many will recognise the song as an old and common favourite in Scotland.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE EXILE'S RETURN
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 07:49 PM

Here's another song that uses "Erin go Bragh" as a refrain. All the examples I found were American.

From Magazine of Wit, and American Harmonist (Philadelphia: M'Carty & Davis, 1821), page 115:


THE EXILE'S RETURN

O'er the hills of Slief gallen as homeward he wandered,
The Exile of Erin oft paused with delight,
To dear recollection his soul he surrendered—
And each well known object return'd to his sight.
Here was the brook oft he leap'd so light hearted,
Here was the bower where with love first he smarted,
And here was the old oak where, when he departed,
He carv'd his last farewell; 'twas Erin go Bragh.

His heart wild was beating, when softly assailed him
The sound of a harp, O, he listened with joy;
What quick'ning emotions his visage reveal'd them.
And the fire of his country beamed strong in his eye.
A sweet female voice soon the love strains attended.
'Twas dear to his fond soul that o'er it suspended.
With each note the feeling of accent ascended,
Struck full to the magic of Erin go Bragh.

I once had a lover, thus ran the sweet numbers,
Now doom'd far from me and his country to mourn.
Perhaps in the cold bed of death e'en he slumbers.
My soul can'st thou think he will ever return?
Yes, he shall for he lives and his past woes redressing,
His country will hail him with smiles and caressing,
Then lock'd in thy arms, he'll pronounce her his blessing,
That country which wrong'd him, his Erin go Bragh.

As a lamb he was meek, as a dove he was tender,
And form'd was his bosom for friendship and love,
But call'd by his country, still swift to defend her,
Undaunted and swift as the Eagle he'd move.
That ardor of passion for me which he pleaded,
By what female breast would it have been unheeded?
The love of his country alone could exceed it,
For still his first wish was for Erin go Bragh.

This harp on whose strings oft he's roused each emotion,
Unrival'd the soft tones of feeling to draw,
He left me the pledge of his heart s true devotion,
And bade me oft strike it to Erin go Bragh.
O'er it oft I have dream'd that he sat in this bower,
And touch'd the sad tale of his exile with power,
Each soul glowing Patriot the strains did devour,
Struck full to the numbers of Erin go Bragh.

But cease ye vain dreams, for at morn still I lose him,
And cease my fond hopes for my grief must return.
"No, they must not," he cried, and rush'd to her bosom.
"Your exile's return'd to his Erin again.
Now fall'n are the oppressors who sought to destroy me.
Love, friendship, and Erin shall henceforth employ me."
"'Tis himself," she exclaim'd. "Oh! ye powers, ye o'erjoy me.
Then bless'd be my country, bless'd Erin Go Bragh."


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Subject: Lyr Add: ERIN-GO-BRAGH
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 08:06 PM

From Irish Come-All-Ye's: A Repository of Ancient Irish Songs and Ballads by Manus O'Conor (New York: L. Lipkind, 1901), page 73:


ERIN-GO-BRAGH.

Ye sons of Hibernia, howe'er low in station,
Or where'er you be, come attend to my call.
Resist all attempts, and unshackle your nation,
Old Ireland, I mean, or, alas! she must fall.
With burdens so great, and her liberty sinking,
Its beauty nigh gone—on destruction it s brinking.
Then on, my brave boys; don't let's stand idly thinking,
While Ireland's our country, dear Erin-go-bragh.

Oh! Erin, my country, once happy and free,
With pleasure I stood on thy once native shore,
But, alas! cruel fortune has turned foe to thee,
Oh! Erin Mavourneen, thy case I deplore.
Bound down by a shackle that's linked to a snare,
By foes base and keen, who have filled thee with care;
Then on, my brave boys; we'll show we play fair,
For Ireland's our country, dear Erin-go-bragh.

Oh! England, your taunts and your censures give o'er,
And spite not that country that's equal to you;
But join hand in hand, each day and each hour,
With Scotland, our friends—all to each other true.
United by friendship, we'll join in a band,
Determined to fight for our kings, laws and land;
Then on, my brave boys; don't let us here stand,
While Ireland's our country, dear Erin-go-bragh.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE HARP (Trotter)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 08:14 PM

From The Harp of Caledonia, Volume 2 By John Struthers (Glasgow: Archibald Fullarton & Co., 1821), page 234:

THE HARP.
Mr. Trotter.

Once the harp thro' the vallies of Erin resounded,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;
The shamrock and laurel luxuriantly crown'd it,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;
Sweet was its tone when pensively mourning;
As bold and as warm when with gratitude burning,
It thrill'd for the heroes from battle returning,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;

But the dark and the dampness of night slowly creeping,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;
O'erwhelm'd its lov'd strains, as Erin sat weeping,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;
Long was that night, the harp, no more sounded,
By silence and gathering horrors surrounded,
Lay prostrate, nor told how deeply 'twas wounded,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;

Dark was that cloud the harp's ruin concealing,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;
Strong was that spell its soft music congealing,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh;
Till a ray sent from heaven which cheer'd and delighted,
Purely and bright the fallen relic re-lighted,
And burst the cold bonds, of the harp long benighted,
Erin mavourneen, Erin go Bragh.


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