11 Sep

Hibernia’s Lovely Jane

(as usual, I forgot/changed a few words and notes here and there when I went to sing it)

Hibernia's Lovely Jane


When parting from the Scottish shore on the highland mossy banks,
To Germany we all sailed o’er to meet the hostile ranks,
Till at length in Ireland we arrived after a long campaign,
There a bonny maid my heart betrayed, she’s Hibernia’s lovely Jane.

Her cheeks were of the rosed hue; the bright glance of her een,
Just like the drops of dew bespangled o’er the meadows green,
Jane Cameron ne’er was half so fair; no, nor Jessie of Dunblane,
No princess fine could her outshine, she’s Hibernia’s lovely Jane.

My tartan plaid I will forsake, my commission I’ll resign.
I’ll make this bonnie lass my bride if the lassie will be mine.
And in Ireland where her graces are, forever I’ll remain,
In Hymen’s band join heart and hand with Hibernia’s lovely Jane.

This bonny lass of Irish braw being of a high degree,
Her parents said a soldier’s bride their daughter ne’er should be,
O’erwhelmed with care, grief and despair, no hopes do now remain,
Since this near divine cannot be mine, she’s Hibernia’s lovely Jane.

If war triumphant sounds again to call her sons to arms,
Or Neptune waft me o’er the deep far, far from Janie’s arms,
Or was I laid on honor’s bed, by a dart or a ball be slain,
Death’s pangs will cure the pains I bear for Hibernia’s lovely Jane.


The text of this version of “Hibernia’s Lovely Jane” was given by Andrew Ross of Charlevoix, Michigan to collector Franz Rickaby in the early 1920s. Ross (1853-1930) was born in Quebec to Highland Scottish parents. He came to Charlevoix around 1880 and worked his way up the local lumbering industry, eventually serving as mayor of Charlevoix. Ross’s obituary says he “had a natural ear for music, and abundance of wit and humor, and his stock of Scotch songs and dances were known to many.” It continues, “As an entertainer in the early days he was in constant demand, and even in later years was frequently called upon to display his talents.”  (http://obits.charlevoixlibrary.org/articles/article30207.jpg, accessed Aug. 20, 2015)

“Hibernia’s Lovely Jane” (sometimes “Jean”) is a broadside ballad dating from the early 1800s that depicts a Scottish soldier in love with an Irish girl. In 1932, collector Sam Henry found a version sung (to a different air) in Ballycastle, County Antrim which he printed in his Songs of the People. Other than Henry’s version, I have found no other published version from tradition. However, during my research trip to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress last summer, I discovered two versions recorded by Ivan Walton during his 1940 trip to Beaver Island, Michigan. The melody above is a composite of the airs sung by Beaver Island singers John W. Green and Mike J. O’Donnnell. That the song would surface in both Charlevoix and Beaver Island makes sense. For over a century, Charlevoix has been the chief “mainland” town connected to Beaver Island by ferry. O’Donnell said he learned his version from singer Maggie Boyle of Harbor Springs, Michigan who may have learned it in Scotland.

A few words in the Ross text were misspelled or otherwise garbled and I have replaced these with words found in broadside texts held by the Bodleian Library.


16 May

Drummond’s Land

Drummond's Land

At the foot of David’s mountains where the waters they run calm,
And purling streams do gently glide down by my father’s land,
All covered o’er with a linen cloth that was wrought near Tendersgay*
And was purchased by one Kinnedy*, a man of high degree.

As I roved out one morning all for to take the air,
I being a clever young man with a fusee in my hand,
I might have shot a score or more had I but known my fate,
For my name is McCallum from the falls, and you know my fortune’s great.

As I roved out one evening down by the watchman’s dam,
The Belleville coach came rolling in all loaded to the ground,
[I put my spyglass to my eye, I viewed it all around]
And in one of the front seats sat a lady of renown.

I boldly stepped up to her for to help her from the coach,
I took her by the lily-white hand as we stood on the beach.
I showed her all my father’s ships that were bound for Cheshire fair,
Saying, “Only for you, lady, I am sure I would be there.”

I says, “My pretty fair maid, will you come to yonder inn,
And there we’ll have a bottle of wine our joys for to begin.
For I have lost a diamond more precious far than gold.
And you are the one that found it, fair lady, I am told.”

“For the keeping of young men’s company, kind sir, I’m not exposed,
Nor yet am I a lady, although I wear fine clothes,
I am but a farmer’s daughter that dwells near Hamilton’s band*;
And for further information, I dwell on Drummond’s land.”

Oh, it’s “Kind and honored lady, won’t you take the coach with me,
And we’ll go down to Drummond’s land your father for to see.
Five thousand pound in ready gold to your father I’ll bestow,
And I’ll crown you queen of Drummond’s land this night before we go.”

“I am sorry for you, young man. Your suit must be denied,
For I’m already promised to be a young man’s bride,
For I’m already promised these seven long years and more.
He is but a linen weaver, the lad whom I adore.”

*These are all as printed in the Rickaby manuscript. Based on versions from Eddie Butcher and one printed in Sam Henry’s “Songs of the People” I sing “Tandragee” (Co. Armagh) in place of Tendersgay, “Kennedy” in place of Kinnedy, and “Hamiltonsbawn” (Co. Armagh) in place of Hamilton’s band.

**line missing in the Ross text. I used text from Eddie Butcher recording and Sam Henry published version.

[the following has been edited due to mistakes and omissions in the print version that appeared in the May IMDA newsletter]

The text of this version of “Drummond’s Land” (aka “David’s Flowery Vale”) was sent by Andy Ross of Charlevoix, Michigan to collector Franz Rickaby in August 1922. Rickaby had met with Ross and transcribed his singing in 1921 and hoped to make it back to Charlevoix to get Ross’s melody for Drummond’s Land at a later date. Unfortunately, Rickaby’s failing health caused him to leave the Upper Midwest for good in 1923 and Ross’s melody was never obtained.

I have paired Ross’s text with a melody used for another version of “Drummond’s Land” that appears in Sam Henry’s wonderful Songs of the People.  There is a nice recording of Derry singer Eddie Butcher singing another version which you can hear at the Irish Traditional Music Archive website here. Yet another version was sung by Co. Antrim singer Robert Cinnamond which you can hear on the album Not a Word of No Surrender.

Cinnamond’s version holds the key to the song’s origin as the wealthy suitor’s name is there McCance (instead of McCallum as in Ross’ version). John McCance (1772-1835) was a wealthy landowner, politician and owner of linen operations whose large estate was, indeed, at the foot of Divis (not David’s) Mountain just west of Belfast in County Antrim.

Another version of this song’s text from the Lisburn Historical Society along with biographical info on John McCance.

More background on this song from the Traditional Ballad Index