01 Mar

Down in Yonder Valley

Down in yonder valley there lives my heart’s delight,
It’s down in yonder valley I’ll meet my love tonight,
For meeting is a pleasure between my love and I,
It’s down in yonder valley I’ll meet her bye and bye.

I met my love as she was going to church and straightway she passed me by,
I knew her mind was changing by the rolling of her eye;
I knew her mind was changing to a lad of high degree,
And may he be hanged forever that parted my love and me.

I took a bottle from my pocket and I placed it in her hand,
Saying, “Mollie, drink of this, love, for our courtship is at an end,”
Saying, “Drink from off the top, love, let the bottom remain for me,
Five hundred pounds are wagered that married we’ll never be.”

“So farewell, Tipperary, and farewell to you, Trimore,
And farewell, lovely Mollie, your face I’ll see no more;
America lies far away, it’s a land I’m going to see,
And may he be hanged forever that parted Mollie and me.”


This well-travelled ballad about a maid whose “mind was changing” is sometimes called “Courting is a Pleasure” or “Going to Mass Last Sunday” and it is still loved and sung by singers on both sides of the Atlantic. The text above comes again from the Flying Cloud songster printed in Virginia, Minnesota in 1922 by singer Michael Dean. Unfortunately, Dean’s melody does not seem to have been collected by either of the two song collectors who visited him soon after the publication of his lyrics-only songbook. The melody above is a version of the most prevalent air used in Ireland for this text.

The video this month features St. Paul duo The Winterm’n. The duo consists of singer Buddy Ferrari (who also performed last month’s song) and Al Waisley. I am delighted that Buddy and Al have taken an interest in these “locally-sourced” songs and also that they have made them their own!

I’m still hoping that other Northwoods Songs readers will take the “Minnesota Folksong Challenge” and learn a song from the Minnesota Folksong Collection website. If you do learn a song, please consider posting a video online and sending me the link. The videos really bring the old songs to life and I love hearing the variety of approaches people take to the songs!