Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'

GUEST,Andy 24 Aug 06 - 09:36 AM
harpmolly 24 Aug 06 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Andy 24 Aug 06 - 12:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Aug 06 - 01:05 PM
Jim I 24 Aug 06 - 04:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Aug 06 - 11:41 PM
harpmolly 25 Aug 06 - 12:05 AM
harpmolly 25 Aug 06 - 12:06 AM
GUEST 25 Aug 06 - 03:54 AM
harpmolly 25 Aug 06 - 05:05 PM
GUEST 25 Aug 06 - 05:10 PM
MartinRyan 28 Mar 12 - 09:12 AM
Fergie 28 Mar 12 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Niall 25 Jul 14 - 08:01 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 14 - 08:56 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 09:36 AM

I have a query on the words of this lovely song, regarding the verse which begins 'the golden ring I owned I gave you'. It finishes with the line 'And married the lassie that had the land'. In the Mudcat lyrics section, there is a postscript to the words, by Andy Irvine, which says that the last line refers to young men jilting their true lovers if the chance of a plot of land became available by marrying another. (land being at a premium at the time). However I have a mate who is very interested in Irish music,history and culture, who reckons that 'marrying the lassie that had the land' is a reference to the young man going off to join the army, the 'lassie with the land' being the Queen.This sounds more feasible when a subsequent verse begins 'I wish the Queen would send home her armies'.Do any mudcat folklore/scholars have an opinion on this? Any views appreciated.

Regards

Andy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: harpmolly
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 12:05 PM

Here's the liner notes from Kate Rusby's lovely version on her first solo album, "Hourglass":

AS I ROVED OUT: A very well-known Irish ballad from around Napoleonic times. It tells the sad story of lovers separated by a governmental decree that single men, for monetary reward, should marry the wives of landed lords away at war so that the land would still be worked.

***

Sounds a little odd to me...how'd all this go over with the Mister when he got home from the war, is what I want to know? I guess that would segue into another Kate Rusby song ;):

The Goodman climbed the stairs one night,
When the Goodman home came he,
There he spied a handsome man
Where no man should there be!
"It's the maid, it's the maid!" cried the goodman's wife,
"The milking-maid, can't you see?"
"Far have I ridden, much I've seen,
But a beard on a maid has never been!"

Heh heh...

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 12:44 PM

Thanks for your time Harpmolly. I can't come to terms with the Kate Rusby sleevenote thing though! Would any government condone or recommend adulterous/bigamuos relationships, particularly in those far-off days of the Napoleonic Wars when, ostensibly, society was much more God-fearing and religion driven, especially a Catholic one, as in Ireland. Also, as you say, what happens when the old man arrives home? Let's see what others have to say.

Regards

Andy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 01:05 PM

That Kate Rusby suggestion sounds extremely unlikely. After all working land doesn't require being married to the person who owns it. The idea of someone with a farm and a wife going off to war at that time sounds fairly unlikely in any case. It's not as if there was any system of formal conscription at that period in Ireland or Britain.

The idea of "the lassie that had the land" being the queen is intriguing, but doesn't sound too likely. After all, if it's about the Napokeonic WArs there's no queen regnant in any case. And that kind of coded reference (Green Linnet and so forth) makes sense when talking about Stuarts in exile, but not really for Queen Victoria, if the song is actually from a later period - there's no reason for it.

The straight forward meaning, that he marries for money rather than for love, maybe to a widow, sounds more plausible. I think the last verse about wishing for an end to the war is a bit of a floater which crops up in other songs, and maybe too much shouldn't be read into it as narrative.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: Jim I
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 04:41 PM

I haven't got the words but the song "Gie me a lass wi' a lump o' land" may be relevant here. It's on "St Kilda Wedding" by Ossian IIRC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 11:41 PM

Kate doesn't usually know much about the songs she sings, though she does sing them beautifully. In this case somebody seems to have been pulling her leg, as has been mentioned in previous discussions on this song (see the links above which will, I'm sure, appear quite soon; though the fact that a great many completely unrelated songs begin with the same words will certainly lead to confusion, as always).

Andy Irvine got the song, directly or indirectly, from Paddy Tunney, who learned it from his mother Brigid. Irvine omitted the second verse, for some reason:

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.

The same final verse appears in other traditional versions; though there are not many.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: harpmolly
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 12:05 AM

I totally agree that it sounds far-fetched! ;) I googled every combination of "history of marriage napoleonic wars" that I could think of, and couldn't find anything supporting the idea. Well, it's an interesting theory, anyway.

The wording of the last verse does seem to support the idea:

And I wish the Queen would call home her army
From the West Indies, Amerikay and Spain
And every man to his wedded woman
In hopes that I might be with thee again...

Here's what the DT entry has to say about it:

***
"There are two songs of this name on that Planxty album, this
is the one sung by Andy Irvine.

"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'" - Andy Irvine

The last verse seems slightly displaced and doesn't really fit
with the rest.
***

Heck, it's a folksong...all bets are off anyway! ;)

Molly


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: harpmolly
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 12:06 AM

Ah, gotcha, Malcolm...I missed your post! I stand corrected. ;)

M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 03:54 AM

The government decree sounds a bit of a fantasy.
While it does turn up in the Sam Henry collection, the main source of the song seems to be the Tunney family; Michael Gallagher recorded it for the BBC as well as his sister Brigit Tunney.
None of the versions have substantial notes on the actual song though there is a fairly extensive one in Sean O'Boyle's book, 'The Irish Song Tradition' on the song genre.
It's well worth seeking out the other recordings: Brigit Tunney, Michael Gallagher, Maura Tunney - they all sing it infinitely better than Kate Rusby (and Andy Irvine).
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: harpmolly
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 05:05 PM

Sigh...

Repeating to myself: "I will not rise to the bait...I will not rise to the bait..."

Molly

(who should know better than to mention the "R" word in a Mudcat thread anyway)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 05:10 PM

I think the lines "when I turn around to embrace my darling, instead of gold tis brass I find" tend to militate against the idea of it being the queen. The implication is not just of base metal as opposed to precious, money as opposed to love but also of a "brassy" woman which seems quite specific to me. A brilliant line of disgust that doesn't work on the same levels if it is the army he has joined.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 09:12 AM

Just refreshing this thread to post a link to a video of The Voice Squad singing the song - beautifully, as ever.

Click here

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: Fergie
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 01:14 PM

Thanks for that Martin. I hadn't heard them sing this before. Ferg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: GUEST,Niall
Date: 25 Jul 14 - 08:01 AM

The last verse may be in reference to the fact that soldiers could take their wife to the front during the Napolionic Wars. See the section on "Daily Life" in the following link en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Army_during_the_Napoleonic_Wars.

Potentially the protagonists "true love" could have married an Irish soldier in the Royal Irish Regiment. The protagonist is waiting for the war to be over. Then the lassie without the land and her husband can come home and he will have a chance to see her again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyrics question 'As I roved Out'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 14 - 08:56 AM

My note for 'Banks of the Nile'
Jim Carroll

Banks of the Nile (Roud 950, Laws N9) Pat MacNamara
The theme of this song – a woman asking her soldier or sailor lover to be allowed to accompany him to battle or to sea, is not as unbelievable as it might first appear. Armies once trudged their way around the world accompanied by 'camp-followers', mobile settlements of women, children and tradesmen all running risks not too different from those taken by active soldiers. Following the defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill in 1798, British troops rounded up and massacred the camp-followers who assisted the rebels during the fighting. Camp following continued to be a common part of army life into the 19th century.
The same went for seamen; in 1822 an anonymous pamphlet suggested that members of the Royal Navy were taking as many as two women apiece aboard the ships. These women also proved useful in that they fought alongside their lovers at the Nile and Trafalgar during the Napoleonic wars. The well-known saying "show a leg" is said to have originated from the practice of officers in the Royal Navy clearing the crew from their hammocks and bunks by demanding that the occupant sticks their leg out to show whether they were male or female.
'Banks of the Nile' is probably the best known song of women accompanying their lovers into battle or on board ship. Though this version refers to the practice among the Irish military forces, the song is just as popular in England and probably originated there


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 22 June 10:19 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.