Matt Hyland

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  • Teideal (Title): Matt Hyland.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 781510.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 2880.
  • 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): Cynthia Thiessen.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 28/02/1978.
  • 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): Fredric Lieberman.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

There was a lord lived in this town
He had a fair and comely daughter
She was courted by a fair young man
Who was a servant to her father;
But when her parents came to know
They vowed they’d send him from the island
This lady knew her heart would break
Were she to part with young Matt Hyland.

Straightaway to her love she went
And ordered him to waken
Saying, ‘Arise my love, and go away
For this very night you will be taken!
Last night I heard my father say
In spite of all he would transport1 you,
So arise my dear, and go your way
You know right well I do adore you.’

‘Oh, must I go away,’ he said
‘Must I go without my wages
Without a shilling in my purse
Just like a poor forlorn stranger?’
‘Here’s fifty guineas in bright gold,
And that’s far more than father owes you;
So take it now, before you go;
I wish to God I’d gone before you.’

‘Twas on a bank they both sat down
Just for the space of one half-hour
And not a word did either say
As down their cheeks their tears did shower.
She laid her head upon his breast
While around his neck her arms entwined
Saying, ‘Neither duke nor earl I’ll wed
But I’ll wait for you, my own Matt Hyland.’

The lord he went to his daughter fair
One night as she lay crying,
Saying, ‘I’ll give you leave to bring him back
Since no one else you’ll put before him’
She wrote a letter then in haste;
For him her heart was still repining.
She brought him back to the church to wed,
And made a lord of young Matt Hyland.


1. Joe often said that it was common practice for the well-off parents of eligible girls to have inappropriate suitors ‘transported’ i.e. sent to the penal colonies in Australia or elsewhere, so as to be out of reach.

Joe sang this song at the request of a student. From the sound of paper rustling in the middle of the fourth verse, and the very short intervals between verses, it seems likely that Joe recorded this while reading from a printed source. The song was a very popular one during the folk revival, but was not part of Joe’s public repertoire.

This song was recorded while Joe was Artist in Residence at University of Washington.