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Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)

14 Oct 99 - 05:51 AM (#123763)
From: Wolfgang

This is a song I know from the Moloney, O'Connell, Keane CD titled 'There were Roses'. I have now found the words in the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin. Here they are, not exactly as on the CD but very close.



Oh! Drimin Donn Dilis! The landlord has come,
Like a foul blast of death has he swept o'er our home;
He has withered our rooftree - beneath the cold sky,
Poor, houseless, and homeless, to-night we must lie.

My heart it is cold as the white winter's snow;
My brain is on fire, and my blood's in a glow.
Oh! Drimin Donn Dilis, 'tis hard to forgive
When a robber denies us the right we should live.

With my health and my strength, with hard labour and toil,
I dried the wet marsh and I tilled the harsh soil;
I moiled the long day through, from morn until even,
And I thought in my heart I'd a foretaste of heaven.

The summer sun shone around us above and below,
The beautiful summer that makes the flowers blow;
Oh! 'Tis hard to forget it, and I think I must bear
That strangers shall reap the reward of my care.

Your limbs they were plumb then - your coat it was silk,
And never was wanted the mether of milk;
For freely it came in the calm summer's noon,
While you munched to the time of the old milking croon.

How often you left the green side of the hill,
To stretch in the shade and to drink to the rill!
And often I freed you before the grey dawn
From your snug little pen at the edge of the bawn.

But they racked and they ground me with tax and with rent,
Till my heart it was sore and my life-blood was spent:
To-day they have finished, and on the wild world
With the mocking of fiends from my home I was hurled.

I knelt down three times for to utter a prayer,
But my heart it was seared, and the words were not there;
Oh! Wild were the thoughts through my dizzy head came,
Like the rushing of wind through a forest of flame.

I bid you, old comrade, a long last farewell;
For the gaunt hand of famine has clutched us too well;
It severed the master and you, my good cow,
With a blight on his life and a brand on your brow.

14 Oct 99 - 12:04 PM (#123843)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: Mían

It also has the name Droimeann Donn Dilis. Niamh Parsons performs it on her Blackbirds and Thrushes CD. It is done half in Irish and half in English.

Click here

I also found as "Drimindhu-deelish (o, hee hee) in Library of Congress search.

Drimindhu-deelish; an old Irish melody.

LC Control Number: unk84132596
Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Brief Description:

McDonnell, C. [from old catalog]
Drimindhu-deelish; an old Irish melody.
Baltimore, John Cole [183-?]
3 p. 33 cm.
Copy 1
-- Request in: Performing Arts Reading Room (Madison, LM113)
-- Status: Not Charged

14 Oct 99 - 12:30 PM (#123851)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: Bruce O.

Druimionn Dubh Delish, is often caled Driman down in traditional versions, and many commentators have then confused two, or more, songs on the basis of title alone. There is some exposition, mostly on the last "Druimionn Dubh Delish" in the Scarce Songs 1 file on my website. I have a copy of the Cole text, (which says, undoubtably incorrectly, that the song is by T.L.), but the text differs little from that in 'The Univeral Songster', that I give, and the tune is the old "Driman Duff". The confusion may have started by Bunting where it looks like his verses are some version (of several) of Druimionn Donn, but his chorus is from Druimionn Dubh. (They had different tunes.)

14 Oct 99 - 12:46 PM (#123858)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: MMario

Box 30, Item 010 in the Levy collection seems to be related to this as well....

14 Oct 99 - 01:04 PM (#123861)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: The Burren ~Ranger

One interesting aside...this is the song Pete Seegar adapted to write 'Kisses Sweeter Than Wine' a 50's pop hit for Jimmie Rodgers T.B.R.

14 Oct 99 - 01:12 PM (#123864)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: Bruce O.

As noted on my website, the father of the 'author' of the one in the Levy collection was scheduled to sing the song, in English and Irish, in a Dublin concert in the 1770's, unfortunately no 18th text seems to have survived. Sidney Owenson's (later Lady Morgan) isn't a very good text, although it appears to be the earliest extant. Incidently, her text and tune appeared originally in her book of 1805, 12 Original Hiberian Melodies, (close enough if not exact).

14 Oct 99 - 01:26 PM (#123868)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: Bruce O.

"Kisses sweeter than Wine" was derived form Leadybelly's tune. No traditional versions of "Druimionn Dubh" noted in the 20th century seem to have used the old Irish tune for the song. Even in Joyce's 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs' the tune given for what is little more than the chorus is not the old tune.

14 Oct 99 - 01:43 PM (#123874)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: Bruce O.

I also saw a story at one time that the tune for "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" was derived from "Druimionn Dubh" that Ed. McCurdy sang one night at a gathering in New York, but that story isn't true. McCurdy's song and tune came from a collectors tape, and as sung by the mayor of Vancouver, BC (a former sea captain), while he was on a visit to eastern Canada. The tune isn't the same as Leadbelly's. The collector later published the text in one book and much later, the tune and text in another. McCurdy's song is on a cheap LP phono-record entitled 'Americn Folk Songs' that didn't even note that the singer was McCurdy. There are some other rare gems on the phono-record also.


14 Oct 99 - 02:13 PM (#123886)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)

There is another "Druimionn Donn Dilis" in Donal O'Sullivan's 'Songs of the Irish', p. 143. James Dick's 'Songs of Robert Burns' quoted a verse or two of another version said to have been translated from Gaelic by Samuel Fergusson, (c 1850?) but I haven't been able to find Ferguson's full text, in spite of searching through every thing I could find by Ferguson and some collections with songs by Ferguson in the Library of Congress.

14 Oct 99 - 04:09 PM (#123947)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: Martin _Ryan


I see you found the Archive! Hope the trip went well.


28 Feb 04 - 10:31 PM (#1126072)
Subject: Lyr Add: DRIMINDOO
From: Jim Dixon

From The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music

A much admir'd Ancient Irish Air a Sung with great applause by
Mrs Melmoth
To which are adapted some verses written by
Miss Owenson
[no date]

A sorrowful ditty I'll tell you just now
Of a poor man and he had but one Cow.
It us'd for to drive her master's plow.
He lost his poor Drimendoo & he can't tell you how.

CHORUS: O my Drimindoo O my gra
O my Drimendoo deelish bra
O my Drimendoo O my gra
My Drimendoo deelish go dee thu slaun.

A Saturday morning being Friday last,
I milk'd my poor Drimendoo on the green grass.
So sweet was her milk and so sleeke was her tail,
Och! I thought my poor heart wou'd leap into the pail. CHORUS

Arrah, dev'l take you! Drimendoo, why did you die?
And lave me here alone for what and for why?
I'd have rather lost my paydeen, my bouchill beg,
Than my poor Drimendoo. Ochone, she is dead. CHORUS

* * *
[A second song to the same tune:]

Oh! Farewell, dear Erin! My country, adieu!
And farewell, my soul's dearer idol, to you!
Tho' forc'd from my love and my country to part,
Yet Eveline and Erin still hold my sad heart.
Fast flows the tear of despair from my eye.
Wild from my breast heaves the soul-rending sigh.
Wherever I wander my suff'rings pursue,
While my heart bleeds, dear Eveline, for Erin and for you.

Say, canst thou, oh maid of the dark falling eye,
From Erin's green shades with a fond lover fly?
Thy dear native land for thy lover resign,
And far from dear Erin, dearer Eveline, be mine!
An exile, an alien, they force me to stray,
No faint beam of hope to illuminate the way.
But wouldst thou, sweet Eveline, my destiny share,
Ev'ry sorrow were light, ev'ry suff'ring I'd bear.

02 May 04 - 07:59 PM (#1176574)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: GUEST,eilis

Only sad and utter ignorance of the Irish languague could have produced the ridiculous paddywhackery of jim dixons version of An Dhroimfhionn Dhonn Dilis. For the original /poem song as composed in18th cent Gaelic and better translated to English see Thomas Kinsellas book Poems of the Dispossed. This poem/song is widely used as an intertextual device in Eoghan O'Tuariscs novel about 1798 "L'Attaque." The cow is actually a hidden reference to Eire, as was Roisin Dubh in the aisling.

02 May 22 - 05:49 PM (#4141003)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: Felipa

Droimdfhionn is an older spelling of Druimín. The song is also known as An Druimeann Donn Dilis.
Here are the lyrics given in the Joe Heaney/ Seosamh Éiniú/Ó hÉanaí archives, where you will also find a sound recording


‘A dhruimín donn dílis, a shíoda na mbó
Cá ngabhann tú san oíche, nó cá mbíonn tú sa ló?’
‘Ó, bímse ar na coillte, mo bhuachaill ‘mo chóir
Agus d’fhág sé siúd mise ag sileadh na ndeor.’

‘Níl fearainn, níl tíos agam, níl síoda ná sról
Níl fear le mo thaobh-sa, níl fíonta ná ceol
Ach ag síor-ól an uisce go minic sa ló
Agus beathuisce is fíonta ag mo naimhde ar bórd.’

Dhá bhfaighinnse cead aighnis nó radharc ar an gcoróin
Sasanaigh do leidhbfinn mar a leidhbfinn seana-bhróg
Thrí chnoic is thrí ghleannta, is gleannta dubha ceo
Agus siúd mar an bhréagfainn mo dhruimin donn óg.


‘Oh faithful brown white-backed one, finest of cows,
where do you go at night? Where do you spend the day?’
‘Oh, I am in the forest, with my herd in attendance;
and this has left me shedding tears.’

I have neither lands nor household, neither silk nor satin;
there’s nobody with me, neither wine nor music,
but constantly drinking water many times daily –
while whiskey and fine wines abound on the table of my enemies.

If I had leave to complain, or a glimpse of the crown,
I would batter the English just as I’d kick an old shoe
through hills and dark, foggy glens –
and that’s how I’d win my young brown white-backed cow!

here is a modern rendition by Lorcan Mac Mathúna
Lorcan's recording is also on Bandcamp and on Youtube. - singer Niamh Parsons probably Peg Clancy Power

03 May 22 - 03:36 PM (#4141040)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan


Sin direach an leagan a d'fhohlaim me ar scoil, fado, fado.

That Irish version is exactly as I learned it in school, many years ago.


09 May 22 - 06:52 PM (#4141350)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Drimin Donn Dilis (Dear brown cow)
From: beachcomber

I learned it slightly differently, in the first verse I was given,

"Ó bímse ar na coillte 's mo bhuachaill i'm chóir......."

A Munster Irish version probably ?