#03277
The Blooming Bright Star Of Bell Isle
(Gerald S Doyle) MIDI
See also: The Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle
(MacEdward Leach)
And also: Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle
(Irish Descendants)
midi1   alt: midi2

As I roved out one morning
To view those sweet banks all alone,
Down by the side of Loch Erin,
Where beauty and comfort was known.
I spied a fair maid at her labor,
Which caused me to stay for a while;
I thought she was some goddess of fortune,
Or the blooming bright star of Belle Isle.

I humbled myself to her beauty:
"Fair maiden, where do you belong?
Are you from the heavens descended
Abiding in Cupid's fair throng?"
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Last half of verse not definitely recorded.)

"Young man, I will tell you a secret:
I'm a fair maid that is poor;
To part from my vows and my promises
My poor heart could never endure;
Therefore I'll remain at my service
And go through all hardship and toil,
And wait for the lad that has left me
Alone on the banks of Belle Isle."

"Young maiden, I wish not to banter;
'Tis true I came here in disguise;
I came to fulfill my last promise,
And hope to give you a surprise.
I own you're the maid I love dear;
You've been in my heart all the while,
For me there is no other damsel
Than my blooming bright star of Belle Isle."

Now then this young couple gets married;
In wedlock they both join in hand.
May the great God of heaven protect them
And give them long life in the land!
May the great God of heaven protect them,
And loyalty be theirs all the while!
And honey will sweeten their comfort
For the blooming bright star of Belle Isle.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a Newfoundland traditional, The Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle [Laws H29] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1950/1964) ....####
Published by Gerald S Doyle in Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers, first edition, pp.68-69, 1927, and second edition, p.73, 1940, in which Doyle noted that this variant was printed as #133 on p.268 of Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf [1895-1980] and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968). Mansfield noted that the words were printed by permission of Gerald S Doyle, St John's, and that the air was from Patrick Lewis of Fleur de Lys. Also, Mansfield noted the words that Pat Lewis sang were slightly different from Mr Doyle's text, since his memory of the words was faulty.

A very similar variant was sung as The Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle by Edwin John (Eddy) Primroy [1928-1999] of Pouch Cove, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant without the two final verses was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Michael Aylward [1925-1989] of Kings Cove, NL, and published as The Star Of Belle Isle in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 2, p.598, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this lovely lyric is generally considered to be of local origin, possibly because of its reference to Belle Isle. Although he had done no sleuthing, he strongly suspected an Old World original for this Newfoundland variant. The dialogue form and rather flowery language is pure eighteenth or perhaps seventeenth century (see Bright Phoebe as one of many lyrics of this type). It has appeared in the Greenleaf-Mansfield collection Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland with a different tune. The lovely Mixolydian tune of the present variant is very similar to the tune of another Irish-inspired native love song The Green Shores Of Fogo. As a matter of fact, Peacock concluded, Michael Aylward learned all his best songs in the strongly Irish Fogo/Joe Batt's Arm area and probably picked the tune up there. It was Aylward's sensitive style of singing which led Peacock to its source among the talented singers of Fogo, Joe Batt's Arm, and Tilting.

A similar variant was recorded as Blooming Bright Star Of Belle Isle by the Irish Descendants (Blooming Bright Star, trk#7, 2001 CD, Sextant Records, Markham, Ontario, distributed in Canada by Koch International, recorded in 2000 at Great Big Sea Studio, St John's, NL, and produced by Derek Harrington).


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