The Maid of Mourne Shore
Ye hills and dales and flowery vales that lie around Mourne shore
Ye winds that blow over Martin's Hills will I ever hear you more
Where the primrose grows and the violet blows and the sporting trout there
With line and hook delight I took to spend my youthful days.
Last night I went to see my love, to hear what she would say;
Thinking she would pity me lest I should go away.
She said: 'I love a sailor; he's the lad that I adore;
And seven years I'll wait on him; so trouble me no more.'
'Perhaps your sailor may be lost when crossing o'er the main,
Or otherwise has fixed his mind upon some comely dame.'
'Well, if the sea proves false to me, no other I'll enjoy;
For ever since I saw his face I loved my sailor boy.'
Farewell now to Lord Edmund's groves, likewise the Bleaching Green,
Where the linen webs lie clean and white, pure flows the crystal stream
Where many's the happy day I spent; but, now, alas! they're o'er,
Since the lass I loved has banished me, far, far from Mourne Shore.
Our ship she lies off Warren's Point, just ready to set sail,
May all Goodness now protect her with a sweet and pleasant gale,
Had I ten thousand pounds in gold, or had I ten times more,
I would freely share with the girl I love - the Maid of Mourne Shore.
0Text and note from John Moulden: Songs of the People: Songs from the Sam
Henry Collection (Belfast, 1979) This is now out of print.
Another book which gives this song is "Songs of the People" JM
This song, about a man who emigrates because his advances have been rejected
by a girl who is keeping faith with an absent sailor, has an exceedingly
handsome air; a relative of the one to which Yeats' poem 'Down by the
Sally Gardens' is generally set though lately it has been more often
heard to the air known as "The foggy dew" (Probably following from the
version, "The banks of the Moorlough Shore", sung by John McGettigan
(County Down) where, at Rostrevor, they 'sweep down to the sea' from
Slieve Martin, while near at hand is Warrenpoint. However, the situation is
confused: the Mourne shore could refer to the River Mourne (County Tyrone)
and there is a Warren's Point at Moville, Co. Donegal where, just as they
did at Warrenpoint on Carlingford Lough, ships lay at anchor awaiting the
emigrants by tender from Londonderry in the first case and Newry in the
second. Add the further complication that often in North Antrim (and
elsewhere) Mourne Shore becomes Murlough Shore (Murlough is a bay which
lies on the North Antrim coast about a mile to the east of Fair Head) and we
have another illustration of the welcome tendency to localize and therefore
change songs while retaining their essence. JM