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Wee Weaver

[ Roud 3378 ; Ballad Index RcWeeWea ; trad.]

Paddy Tunny sang The Wee Weaver in 1975 on his Topic album The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow and on the 1998 Topic anthology There Is a Man Upon the Farm (The Voice of the People Volume 20). Cathal O'Baóill commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

This is one of many tunes written in Ireland by home weavers. Previous to the home weavers, the main song writers of the people were the hedge-schoolmasters. The song is a simple tale of requited love, and it is this very quality of love story which links it to the pastourelle od the Provencal troubadours who usually ‘rode out’, where Willie and Mary could only ‘roam’. The scene is set close to Lough Erne but could as well have been set in any part of Ireland wherethe weaver might have worked. The tune is pentatonic and in the lah mode. It was recorded [in 1952] by [Paddy's mother] Brigid Tunney on BBC No. 18527.

Steeleye Span sang Wee Weeaver in 1971 on their third album Ten Man Mop or Mr Reservoir Butler Rides Again. A live version recorded during Maddy Prior's 1994 tournee was released on the Park Records sampler Park Taster. Their original album's sleeve notes commented somewhat cryptically:

A patchwork fragment … Paddy be easy, Brigid be calm … a roll-up, a drink and a conference … Maddy and a shawl—Silas Marner crouched at work.

Sandra and Nancy Kerr sang The Wee Weaver in 1996 on their Fellside CD Neat and Complete. They commented in their liner notes:

A rarity: a happy love song. It's very gratifying to find thar Nancy's generation is inspired by the singing style of people like Bridget Tunney (from whom this was collected). For Sandra's contemporaries, she was one of the greate role models.

Hannah James and Sam Sweeney learned Wee Weaver from the singing of Paddy Tunney and recorded it in 2009 for their first duo CD, Catches & Glees.

Lyrics

Paddy Tunny sing The Wee Weeaver

I am a wee weaver confined to my loom,
My lover she's as fair as the red rose in June.
She is loved by all lovers which does anger me
My heart's in the bosom of lovely Mary.

As Mary and Willie roamed by yon shady bower
Where Mary and Willie spent many a happy hour,
Where the thrush and the blackbird they do join in chor'
Sing the praises of Mary round Lough Erin shore.

As Mary and Willie roamed by yonder loughside
Said Willie to Mary: “Will you be my bride?”
So this couple got married and they'll roam no more,
They'll have treasures and pleasures round Lough Erin shore.

Steeleye Span sing Wee Weeaver

I am a wee weaver confined to my loom,
My love she is fair as the red rose in June.
She is loved by all young men and that does grieve me
My heart's in the bosom of lovely Mary.

As Willie and Mary roved by yon shady bower
Where Willie and Mary spent many a happy hour,
Where the thrush and the blackbird do constantly call
The praises of Mary round Lough Erin shore.

As Willie and Mary roved by yon river side
Said Willie to Mary: “Will you be my bride?”
This couple got married and they'll roam no more,
Their pleasures and treasures round Lough Erin shore.

Sandra and Nancy Kerr sing The Wee Weeaver

I am a wee weaver confined to my loom
My love she is fair as the red rose in June.
She is loved by all young men and that does grieve me
My heart's in the bosom of lovely Mary.

As Willie and Mary roved by yon shady bower
Where Willie and Mary spent many a happy hour,
The blackbirds and thrushes sang in chorus encore
The praises of Mary and love fair and sure.

As Willie and Mary roved by yon river side
Said Willie to Mary: “Will you be my bride?”
This couple got married and they roam no more,
They have pleasure on pleasure and love fair and sure.