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Lyr Add: My Darling Sleeps in England

15 Sep 01 - 06:40 PM (#551035)
From: McGrath of Harlow

Here's a song I found in a book, a lament for an Irishman killed by the bombs while working in England in the war. It seems timely. And I've been doing an awful lot of talking here the last few days. This one is worth singing.

The tune is the one used for The Boston Burglar and the book says it's from the singing of Mary Reynolds of Co Leitrim.

My darling sleeps in England across the Irish Sea
While I who loved him dearly shall mourn him bitterly
Shall mourn him night and morning and miss him from my sight,
For in the town of Birmingham my husband Danny died.

The times came hard upon us, my children three and I,
My husband rose one morning with a teardrop in his eyes.
He tied his poor belongings and kissed me tenderly,
Sating "Fare you well my darling for I'll cross the Irish Sea.

Each week from English cities a letter came to me
Saying Darling wife how do you far likewise your children three?
And when at night you're on your knees to say the rosary,
Remember then your loving Dan who's across the Irish Sea.

I wrote him back a letter and I said "My darling Dan,
Young Pat is now a sturdy child and Tom is near a man,
And Flora looks into my eyes and whispers tenderly,
God send my daddy safely back from across the Irish Sea.

One evening I was at my work and a knock came to the door;
My heart stood still for I knew that sound some evil to me bore,
And then the bitter tidings I heard most mournfully,
That the cruel bombs had murdered Dan far across the Irish Sea.

(From The Cruel Wars compiled by Karl Dallas, Wolfe Publishing 1972)^^

15 Sep 01 - 07:48 PM (#551073)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A song about bombs
From: Gareth

Kevin - you give the date of the collection publication, do you know the date of first poublication, or is it a question of chasing round the Mulberry Bush ???


15 Sep 01 - 08:18 PM (#551087)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A song about bombs
From: McGrath of Harlow

Mulberry Bush I'm afraid.

No indication in Karl Dallas's book of any previous publication. In his note in the book he says "A song from the singing of Mary Reynolds of Co Leitrim in Ireland...Some have called the melody trite and 'Irish pub tenor', but these words and simple tune are strangely moving, especially as Mary sings them in her high sweet voice." Which may sound a bit patronising, but seems to suggest that he might well have collected it himself. Or maybe it's on a Topic record or somethinhg like that.

The fella who might know about this, since he knows about everything to do with Irish songs, could be Frank Harte, who sometimes frequents these Mudcat parts. I've sent him a PM drawing his attention to this thread which he might see.

15 Sep 01 - 10:01 PM (#551164)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A song about bombs
From: Malcolm Douglas

Mary Reynolds of Mohill, Co. Leitrim, appeared on the 1960s Topic LP The Folk Songs of Britain, Vol. 7, Fair Game and Foul (12T195), singing The Lakes of Shillin.  That song, as recorded by Seamus Ennis in 1954, is transcribed in Peter Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain and Ireland (1975), but is not included on Kennedy's accompanying Songs of Newsworthy Sensation recording.  Dallas may have recorded Mary Reynolds himself, but my guess -without having seen the book- is that he got My Darling Sleeps (what exactly is the title?) from a BBC archive recording made by Ennis.

How about a tune for this one (trite or not)?

15 Sep 01 - 10:16 PM (#551171)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A song about bombs
From: Joe Offer

Kevin, does the collection give the song a title? Am I safe in assuming that in the third verse, it's "Darling wife, how do you fare"??
-Joe Offer-

16 Sep 01 - 07:09 AM (#551460)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A song about bombs
From: McGrath of Harlow

It should be "fare" - that's the trouble with spellccheckers when you are in a hurry. I also suspect that it should be "our children three", though the book has "your" - and if I was singing that's what I'd use in any case, since it's what I'd write if I was in that situation.

The title given is My Darling sleeps in England, which sems a good title (though I can imagine it might also be called Across the Irish Sea). I've never heard it sung, but reading it this week I think it's a very powerful soing. The tune given with it isn't quite The Boston Burglar, but close - and I thougt it a good idea when posting it to give a tune that people would recognise in case anyone wants to sing it at this time.

16 Sep 01 - 10:21 AM (#551530)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A song about bombs
From: Malcolm Douglas

John of Brisbane posted a tune in an earlier thread:  Tune Add:Boston City/Boston Burglar  Miditext and abc formats, from notation in a Soodlums book.