> Folk Music > Songs > You Rambling Boys of Pleasure

You Rambling Boys of Pleasure

[ Roud 386 ; Ballad Index FowM059 ; VWML FK/18/252/1 ; Bodleian Roud 386 ; trad.]

Robert Cinnamond sang You Rambling Boys of Pleasure to Diane Hamilton, probably in Co. Antrim in 1961. This recording was released in 1975 on his posthumous Topic album of traditional ballads and songs from Ulster, You Rambling Boys of Pleasure. Proinsias Ó Conluain noted:

This is the ballad on which W.B. Yeats based his poem Down by the Salley Gardens, and as with many similar adaptations, it’s open to question to what extent the poet improved on the original. Robert got the song from his father.

Paddy Tunney sang The Rambling Boys of Pleasure on his 1966 Topic album The Irish Edge. This track was also included in 1995 on the Topic sampler Bards & Ballads. Sean O'Boyle commented in the original album's liner notes:

I first heard this song in 1954 from Robert Cinnamond of Aghadalgan on the shores of Lough Neagh in County Antrim. Paddy tells me that he has heard another version in North Mayo, but in this recording he sings Robert’s song, both words and music. Students of literature will recognise in the song the source of Yeats’ Old Song Resung now better known as Down by the Sally Gardens (Herbert Hughes, Irish Country Songs). Verse two of The Rambling Boys should be compared with Yeats’:

Down in the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

And with this version from New Hampshire, U.S.A.:

lt’s down in Sally’s Garden O there hangs Rosies three
O there, I met a fair Maid who told to me her mind so free
She bids me take love easy as leaves they do fall from the tree
But I being young and Crazy could not with her agree

(Flanders and Olney, Ballads Migrant in New England)

The melody is in the Doh mode. As far as I know there is no other song sung to this air, either in Irish or in English.

Oliver Mulligan sang You Rambling Boys of Pleasure at the King's Head Folkclub on February 2, 1970. This recording was included in 2012 on the Musical Traditions anthology King's Head Folkclub. Rod Stradling commented:

Roud shows 85 instances of this lovely song, of which 11 are sound recordings, and almost all the others are broadsides. Only 9 instances are from Ireland—and, surprisingly, two are from England.

Despite having been famously recorded by Robert Cinnamond, Paddy Tunney and Joe Holmes, no CD versions appear to be available.

Tim Lyons sang You Rambling Boys of Pleasure in 1972 on his Trailer album The Green Linnet.

Planxty sang You Rambling Boys of Pleasure on their 1979 album After the Break. They noted:

You Rambling Boys of Pleasure was learned from the singing of Len Graham and the late Joe Holmes from Co. Antrim, and also from Ian Stevenson of Derry, to whom many thanks. This is the song that was half remembered by W.B. Yeats and rewritten by him as Down by the Sally Gardens.

Several Planxty live recordings from between 1979 and 1982 were released in 2016 on their DVD Between the Jigs and the Reels and in 2018 on their CD One Night in Bremen. This video shows Andy Irvive in 1979:

The English Country Blues Band sang Rambling Boys of Pleasure in 1982 on their Dingle's album No Rules. This track was also included in 2002 on their retrospective CD Unruly.

Patti Reid sang Rambling Boys of Pleasure in 1987 on her Fellside album Patti Reid.

Peta Webb recorded You Rambling Boys of Pleasure in Spring 1989. This recording was included in 2003 on her Musical Traditions CD The Magpie's Nest.

Bert Jansch sang The Rambling Boys of Pleasure on his 1990 Run River album The Ornament Tree.

Mick Ryan and Paul Downes sang You Rambling Boys of Pleasure in 2013 on their WildGoose CD When Every Song Was New. He also sang it on a Crows live radio recording in the early 1980s that was included in 2016 on the Crows anthology CD Time to Rise.

Olivia Chaney sang Ramblin' Boy on Kronos Quartet's 2017 CD Folk Songs.

Luc McNally sang Rambling Boys of Pleasure on his and Charlie Stewart's 2019 CD She's a Keeper.

Lyrics

Oliver Mulligan sings You Rambling Boys of Pleasure Olivia Chaney sings Ramblin' Boys

You rambling boys of pleasure,
Pray lend an ear to what I write.
I own I am a rover,
And in the rambling I take great delight.
But I fell in love with a handsome girl,
Although sometimes she does me slight,
But my heart is never easy
Only when my darling is in my sight.

You rambling boys of pleasure,
Give ear unto these lines I write.
I own I am a rover,
In rambling I take great delight.
I cast my mind on a handsome girl,
Though oftentimes she does me slight,
My mind is never easy
Except when my true love is in my sight.

Down in yon flow'ry garden
Where my true love and I did meet,
I rolled her in my arms
And to her I gave kisses sweet.
She bade me take life easy,
As the birds upon yonder tree.
But I being young and foolish,
With my true love I could not agree.

Down by yon flow'ry gardens,
Where me and my true love do meet,
I took her in my arms
And unto her gave kisses sweet.
She bade take love easy,
Just as the leaves fall from the tree.
But I being young and foolish,
With my own true love I did not agree.

The next time that I met my love,
I thought her heart would be surely mine.
But as the weather changes,
So my darling girl she changed her mind.
For gold is the root of evil,
Although it wears a glittering hue;
And it's many's the lad and lass do part,
Though their hearts, like mine, be e'er so true.

And the second time I met my love,
I thought that her heart was surely mine.
But as the season changes,
My darling girl has changed her mind.
Gold is the root of evil,
Although it bears a glistening hue;
Cause many the lad and the lass do part,
Though their hearts, like mine, be e'er so true.

And I wish I was in America,
With my true love along with me;
With money in our pockets,
For to keep us in good company.
Strong liquor to be plentiful,
And a flowing bowl on every side.
And bad fortune ne'er would grieve us,
For we are young and the world is wide.

And I wish I was in Belfast town,
With my true love along with me;
With money in my pocket
To keep us in good company.
Liquor to be plenty,
A flowing glass on every side.
Hard fortune would ne'er daunt me,
For I am young and the world is wide.

Planxty sing You Rambling Boys of Pleasure

You rambling boys of pleasure give ear unto these lines I write:
I own I am a rover, in rambling I take great delight.
I cast my mind on a handsome girl and oftentimes she does me slight;
My mind is never easy except when my true love is in my sight.

Down by yon flowery gardens where me and my true love do meet
I took her in my arms and unto her gave kisses sweet.
She bade me take love easy just as the leaves fall from the tree,
But I being young and foolish with my own true love I did not agree.

And the second time I met my love, I thought that her heart was surely mine.
But as the season changes my darling girl has changed her mind.
Gold is the root of evil, although it bears a glistening hue,
Causes many's the lad and the lass to part though their hearts like mine be e'er so true.

And I wish I was in Belfast town and my true love along with me,
And money in my pocket to keep us in good company.
Liquor to be plenty, a flowing glass on every side,
Hard fortune would ne'er daunt me for I am young and the world is wide.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café threads Andy Irvine: You Rambling Boys of Pleasure (Yeats) and Origin: Sally Gardens.