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Lesley N. Origins: Flora Lily of the West (41) RE: Flora Lily of the West 01 Dec 99

Here's what I found on it (which is at Lily of the West ( On my pages the tunes to Lakes and Lily are noticably similar, but when someone wrote me they were the exact same tune I confess I can't hear that much similarity!

Rev. S. Baring-Gould collected versions of Lily of the West in Devonshire, Yorkshire and elsewhere. Baring-Gould felt the ballad was of definite Irish origin (though it may not have been sung to a similar air) and traced it back to at least 1839. The lyrics in Sam Henry's Songs of the People are an Irish version which begins; "When first I came to Ireland..."

Another theory of it's origin traces it back to the West of Ireland during the time of Cromwell.

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