#01824
Bonny Carlow (MacEdward Leach)

I'm a poor distressed maiden in sad lamentation,
And love is the cause of my pain;
For the loss of a heart I can cry for vexation,
For Cupid my poor heart is slain.

Charles O'Neil was the lad I adored,
He's the fairest and dearest around Erin's shore;
He's gone to proud Spain
where the loud cannons roar,
He's the hero from Bonny Carlow.

My true love was five-foot-ten,
Well-shaped in every degree;
No poplar tree could ever grow straighter,
Than the lad who is gone far from me.

His hair was coal black, his cheeks rosy red,
His eyes like the diamonds that roll in his head;
Now I am afraid that my darling is dead,
He's the hero from Bonny Carlow.

My love was scarce nineteen
when him and I parted,
It being on the first of July;
He left lovely Mary here broken-hearted,
In sorrow and sadness to cry.

They took him away from old Erin so green,
To fight for the rights of a proud Spanish queen;
Now I am afraid that my darling is slain,
He's the hero from Bonny Carlow.

They took him on board and sailed down the river,
I watched him clean out of my sight;
My heart was near broken my eyes were on fire,
How dreary and dark was the night.

On the quarter-deck where my true love did stand,
He courteously bowed and moved his right hand;
He spoke a few words I could scarce understand,
He's the hero from Bonny Carlow.

They took him on board and sailed down the river,
I watched him clean out of my sight;
My heart was near broken my eyes were on fire,
How dreary and dark was the night.

That night as I lay on my pillow to sleep,
All through the night I continued to weep;
I dreamt that my darling was sunk in the deep,
He's the hero from Bonny Carlow.

And now I have heard that my true love is wounded,
And that by a large cannon ball;
I cries broken-hearted, farewell, dearest darling,
So loudly in sadness did call.

And now to conclude and finish all strife,
I'll cut the sweet threads of a bright single life;
I'd rather be dead since I can't be the wife,
Of the hero from Bonny Carlow.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a traditional Irish song ....####

Collected in 1951 from Francis (Frank) Knox [1918-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published as Bonny Carlo in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A fractured variant was collected in 1950 from William (Will) O'Brien [1874-1956] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published as Charles O'Neill in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Carlow (Ceatharlach in Irish, meaning "four-part lake") is an inland town in the south-east of Ireland in County Carlow, 84 km from Dublin. The River Barrow flows through the town.


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