Banks of the Roses, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Banks of the Roses, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 844401.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 603.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • 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): Gage Averill.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): between 1982 and 1983.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, 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.

By the banks of the roses my love and I sat down
I took out a fiddle to play my love a tune
In the middle of the tune she sighed and she cried,
‘Oh, Johnny, lovely Johnny, do not leave me!’

When I was a young girl I heard my father say
That he’d rather see me dead and buried in the clay
Sooner than be married to any runaway
By the lovely sweet banks of the roses.


I am no runaway, and soon I’ll let you know
That I can take a bottle, or leave it well alone
The mother who don’t like me can keep her daughter home!
And I will go roving with another.


If ever I get married it will be in the month of May
When the trees they are green and the meadows they are gay
Then me and my true love can sit and sport and play
By the lovely sweet banks of the roses.



Published with the same air in Colm O Lochlainn, Irish Street Ballads (Dublin, 1939), 158; also in P. W. Joyce, Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (London and Dublin, 1909), 65.

Joe was fond of appending this song to the end of his performances of Connla in place of the final verse of the latter – which, possibly out of a sense of decorum, he declined to sing.