Will you Come With me Over the Mountain?

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  • Teideal (Title): Will you Come With me Over the Mountain?
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 850404.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 9632.
  • 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): Jill Linzee.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): between 1982 and 1984.
  • 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.

‘Will you come over the mountain?’ is a real courting song. People long ago used to court a bit more slowly than they do at the moment. I mean, this man… used to come once a week to see his girlfriend, he’d come from over the mountain. And this night he came, he was giving her an ultimatum: ‘I’ve courted twelve months now, and that’s enough. Either you come, or I don’t come any more.’ That was the ultimatum he gave the girl. Well, reading between the lines, she thinks she had no intentions of going. But of course, when somebody’s challenge is called, sometimes their bluff is answered in a- different ways. And… got this from an old man, next-door neighbour of mine.

The only English song he had – he never spoke English – but this is one thing he had good. And the first time ever I went to him to get the song, I heard him- I said to me mother, ‘I was over,’ I said – in Irish, of course, I said, ‘Bhí mé thíos sa teach aréir ag éisteacht leis dhá rá an amhráin, I was down in that old man’s house li-‘ And I’ll never forget what he said, ‘Will you come over the mountain?’ Well she said, ‘If you go down there again, I’ll make you go over the mountain!’ Without telling me where you’re going. But then it was alright when I told her, you know.

Now this is the song. …I’m going to try to sing it exactly the same way as this man sang it. It’s more of a dialogue than any song I know.

One night when the moon illumined the sky
I first took a notion to marry
So I put on me hat and away I did hie –
You’d swear I was in a great hurry
Till I came to a spot where often I’d been
My heart gave a leap when my darling I’d seen
I opened the door and bid her goodnight
Saying, ‘Will you come over the mountain?’

Now the next verse has a word there called fut. ‘What kind of a fut is come over you now?’ Well that’s a legitimate word. It’s not f-o-o-t, it’s f-u-t, it’s an Irish word for fuadar1 – that means ‘You’re in a mood tonight, I never saw you acting like this before.’ And that’s what it means.

‘What kind of a fut is come over you now?
But I’m glad to see you so merry,
It’s now twelve o’ clock, you should be in bed;
But come in or you’ll waken me mammy.’
‘If you think I’m jesting, my jesting is through!
I’ve courted twelve months, and I think that should do;
But before I go home, I’ll be married to you
If you’ll come with me over the mountain.’

‘If I was to make an elopement with you
It’s sure to be wrought with great danger
The neighbours would censor and tattle us all;
My friends they would gaze on in wonder’
‘Oh let them censor or tattle away
Consult with yourself, for it’s very near day
And I don’t give a rap what the lot of them say
If you’ll come with me over the mountain!’

‘But I must away now, it’s home I must go
I think it is fitting and better;
So farewell, my darling, farewell to you now
And that’ll put an end to the matter.’
‘Oh wait just a minute, till I put on me shoes!’
My heart gave a leap when I heard the glad news
She came to the door, saying ‘Maybe I’ll choose
To come with you over the mountain.’

By this time the moon had sunk in the west
‘Twas the dawn of a bright summer morning
Off we did go, the pair of us went
For the wedding our two hearts were pining
The sagart he came, without more delay
He married us both on the very same day;
And it’s often we talk when we’ve nothing to say
Of the trip we took over the mountain.

That verse is saying, ‘the sagart he came.’ Well, they reckoned there was more power in the word ‘priest’ if you said it in Irish! …That’s where the power was, saying it in Irish. You have more emphasis and power in that.


1. Rush, hurry, bustle.

A couplet from this song, along with a similar air, is given in P. W. Joyce, Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (London and Dublin, 1909), 128.