Green Linnet, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Green Linnet, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 903901.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 1619.
  • 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): Kenneth Goldstein.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): unavailable.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): unavailable.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): University of Philadelphia, United States of America.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

Curiosity led a young native of Erin
To roam the green banks of the Rhine
Where an empress he saw and the robes she was wearing
Around her like diamonds did shine
No goddess in splendor was ever yet seen
To equal this maiden so mild and serene
In a soft voice she murmured, ‘My green linnet is gone!
My sweet Boney, will I ne’er see you more?

‘The cold frosty Alps you freely tread over
That nature had placed in your way
At Marengo Bellona around you did hover
All Paris rejoiced next day
It grieves me the hardships that you did undergo
The mountains you traversed all covered with snow
And the balance of power you swiftly laid low
My sweet Boney, will I ne’er see you more?

‘The crowned heads of Europe, they were in great splendor
They swore they’d have you submit
But the goddess of freedom soon made them surrender
And lower their standards to your wit
Old King Frederic’s head to France he did bring
Your offspring sought shelter all under his wing1
That night in Vienna you sweetly did sing
My sweet Boney, will I ne’er see you more?

‘There was many a man who was eager to slay you
Their malice you bore with a smile
Their gold through all Europe was found to betray you
They joined the Marmelukes on the Nile
Like ravenous vultures their scorn did burn
The orphans they slew and caused widows to mourn
My green linnet is gone and he n’er will return
My sweet Boney, will I ne’er see you more?

‘I’ve roamed o’er the deserts of wild Abyssinia
And can yet find no cure for my pain
I’ll go and look in on the Isle of St. Helena
In soft murmur they tell me it’s in vain
Now tell me you critics, come tell me in time
What nation shall I go my green linnet to find
Was he slain at Waterloo, in Spain, or on the Rhine?
No, no, he’s dead on St Helena’s bleak shore.’


1. In another performance (UW86-12.2), Joe sings these two lines thus:

Old King Frederick’s head to France you did bring
His offspring sought shelter all under your wing.