> Folk Music > Songs > Sweet Lisbweemore

Sweet Lisbweemore

[ Roud 5303 ; Ballad Index OCC142 ; Mudcat 35207 ; trad.]

Patrick Street sang Sweet Lisbweemore in 1978 on their Green Linnet album Cornerboys. Andy Irvine noted:

Mrs. Elizabeth Cronin of Ballyvourney, County Cork, was visited and recorded in the early ’50s by Alan Lomax, Sean O’Boyle and Peter Kennedy (for the BBC) and Seamus Ennis (for both RTE and BBC). She had an extensive repertoire of songs in both English and Irish, many of which, like this one, had been composed by local bards.

This extremely witty song becomes more so when one realises it was written by “that man they call D.D.” who the girl is frightened will write a compromising song about her and the young man who is showing her the way. The characters discussing their author is a device used in novels and plays, but I’ve never come across it in a folk song before. A turbary is—or was—the right of digging turf on common or private property.

Grateful thanks to Tom Munnelly and Frank Harte—singers, folk song collectors and old friends—for helping me with the words of this song.


Patrick Street sing Sweet Lisbweemore

One morning in the month of June when Sol’s bright beams the air illumed,
My cattle from the yard I drove and then stretched at my ease.
The skylark sang melodiously and a lovely lass appeared to me
Down by the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.

When I beheld this fair young maid, my heart began to palpitate,
My eyes began to dazzle and her figure I could not state.
She was loaded with some balls of thread, the same she had upon her head,
Passing through the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.

When I saw this maid approaching me, my heart rose to a height of glee;
I stood with great alacrity to accost this charming maid.
“Kind sir”, she say, “I’m going astray; won’t you please now show me the way
That leads to the weaver’s house in sweet Lisbweemore?”

“There is no other human being in showing the way can surpass me,
I know it from my infancy so come along a stór.
But if you’ll agree to stay with me I’ll always be your grá mo chroí
Down by the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.”

She soon replied, “Indeed I won’t: you are a dirty scheming rogue!
Please desist from flattery with a simple honest maid.
But if you’re inclined to show the way, come along, don’t me delay
Here by the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.”

O, what she said I did excuse, her request I could not refuse,
We walked along together and she this to me did say.
“Where lives that man they call “D.D.”, his residence I’d like to see
Down by the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.”

“O, come along my pretty maid, don’t be of me the least afraid,
I’ll lead you through this rugged place where you never went before.
And your guardian I will surely be until that young man’s face we see
Here by the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.”

“The truth to you I will relate I do not wish to see his face.
The reason too I’ll tell to you, ’tis early in the day
And if he’d see us both alone, a song for us he might compose
Here by the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.”

“To do his best what can I say, are we not honest going the way?
Besides he has the habit miss never to dispraise.
And another man were in my shoes, he’d spoil your thread both warp and woof
Here by the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.”

When this I said, without delay, upon my word! she ran away!
In vain I followed after her through thick and steep terrain.
No roe buck in the park so quick could lep each handicap and ditch
As she did through the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore!

Alas, she was too a quick for me, though I ran with great rapidity,
I was tumbled by the dint of speed and topsy-turvy thrown.
E’er again on ground my foot I lay, she was half a mile away
At least from the turbary in sweet Lisbweemore.