Play recording: Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe, The
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- Teideal (Title): Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe, The.
- Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 853902.
- Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
- Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 562.
- Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): P7.
- 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): 07/06/1979.
- 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.
I’m going to sing about ‘The Maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.’ The ‘Sweet Brown Knowe’ was the name of a place. And this gentleman was going to take her away and marry her. And she… finally turned around, she said – he wanted her to come and look at all his cattle grazing – and, ‘Well,’ she said, ‘I only, I hear people saying that you only- all you do’ she said ‘is drink and booze all night, and go home at the break of day.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘if I drink and booze, it’s my own money I’m spending, so I’ll have nothing more to do with you.’ That was that!
Come all you lads and lassies, and listen to me awhile
I’ll sing for you a verse or two which’ll cause you all to smile
It’s all about a young man, I’m going to tell you now
Who lately came a-courting the maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.
Says he, ‘My pretty fair maid, will you come along with me?
We’ll both go off together and married we will be
We’ll join our hands in wedlock bands, I’m talking to you now,
And I’ll do my whole endeavour for the maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.’
This fair and fickle young thing, she knew not what to say
Her eyes did shine like silver bright and merrily did play
She said, ‘Young man, my life’s subdued, for I’m not ready now
And I’ll spend another season at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe.
Says he, ‘My pretty fair maid, how can you say so?
Look down on yonder valley where my crops do gently grow
Look down on yonder valley where my horses and my plow
Are at their daily labour for the maid of the Sweet Brown Knowe.’
‘If they’re at their daily labour, kind sir, it’s not for me
I’ve heard of your behaviour, I have indeed,’ said she
‘There is an inn where you call in, I hear the people say,
Where you rap and you call and you pay for all and go home at the break of the day.’
‘If I rap and I call and I pay for all, the money is all my own
I’ll never spend your fortune for I hear you have got none
You thought you had my poor heart broken, talking to me now
But I’ll leave you where I found you, at the foot of the Sweet Brown Knowe.’
Here Joe makes further remarks about place-names (at least those given in songs) that involve the word ‘sweet.’ It is worth contrasting his conclusions here – that the adjective ‘sweet’ simply indicated the pleasantness of the place or the generosity of the residents – with the argument he put forward, again to Lucy, regarding the meaning of ‘sweet’ in ‘The Flower of Sweet Strabane’.
This song appears, with the same air, in O Lochlainn, Irish Street Ballads (1939), 38.