Banks of Claudy, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Banks of Claudy, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853912.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 266.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): N40.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Lucy Simpson.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 22/04/1980.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): private.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

It’s something like that other song, you see, ‘There was a lady in her father’s garden.’ Like the fellow who came back disguised, the girl didn’t know him. I don’t know what he was trying to prove, but it all ended up satisfactory, anyway. The Banks of Claudy:

It being on a fine summer’s morning all in the month of May
down by yon flowery garden where Betsy she did stray
I overheard a fair maid in sorrow to complain
‘Twas all for her true lover who ploughed the raging main.

I went up to this fair maid, I took her by surprise
I own she did not know me, for I was in disguise
I said, ‘My pretty fair maid, my joy and heart’s delight,
How far have you to travel this dark and dreary night?’

‘Kind sir, the way to Claudy Banks, if you would please to show,
And pity a maid in distraction, for I’ve so far to go.
I am in search of a young man, and Johnny is his name,
And it’s on the Banks of Claudy I’m told he does remain.’

‘This is the Banks of Claudy, the very place you stand;
But don’t depend on Johnny, for he’s a false young man;
Oh, don’t depend on Johnny, for he’ll not meet you here –
But come with me to yon green hills, no danger need you fear.’

‘If Johnny dear was here tonight, he’d keep me from all harm.
He’s in the fields of battle, all in his uniform,
He’s in the fields of battle, his foes he does defy
Like the roaring king of honour who went through the wars of Troy.’

‘It’s six long months and better since Johnny left the shore,
He’s crossing the wide ocean where foaming billows roar;
He’s crossing the wide ocean for honour and for fame,
And I am told the ship was wrecked all off the coast of Spain.’

When she heard this dreadful news, she fell in deep despair
With the wringing of her hands and the tearing of her hair;
‘Since Johnny he has left me, no other will I take,
But the lonesome groves and valleys I’ll wander for his sake.’

When he heard her loyalty he could no longer stand
He fell into her arms, saying, ‘Betsy, I’m the man!
I am this faithless young man, the cause of all your pain,
But since we met on Claudy Banks we’ll never part again.’


This song appears, to a different air, in O Lochlainn Irish Street Ballads (1939), 116.