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Reinhard Origins: Madam, I Have Come To Court You (108* d) RE: Origins: Madam, I Have Come To Court You 19 Aug 17


There is a reference to Burl Ives in the notes to the two-verse fragment of Dublin City on the 1961 Caedmon album Songs of Seduction which was sung by Seamus Ennis to Alan Lomax in Dublin in 1951:

"Burl Ives used to sing another version of this song, which begins:

    A I walked out in Dublin city
    About the hour of twelve at night,
    I spied a fair young maiden
    Washing her feet by candlelight,

In the refrain, she appears to be counting, but in reverse series, running from twenty to nothing and from nineteen to one. If one combines this refrain with the second stanza of the present version, perhaps the song may make sense as a picture of a market girl or a prostitute summing up her day's receipt of coins. On the other hand, perhaps, the first stanza here is another of the many instances in Irish folk song of an encounter with a feminine symbol of the spirit of depressed Ireland—in this case a revolutionary one. Now it appears that Seamus Ennis has collected a version with an number of stanzas linking the song with No, John, No or Keys of Heaven (see text). My guess is that these stanzas are an addict and an afterthought, but what the song really concerns, no one can be sure. Perhaps Robert Graves could offer on of his reasonable, supernatural explanations."

Seamus Ennis sings:

As I walked through Dublin City at the hour of twelve at night,
Who should I see but a maiden beauty, combing her hair with a four-pronged pike?

Chorus (after each verse):
Turry-idle-ido-dido-dido,
Turry-idle-ido-dido-day.

As I walked again through Dublin, on the same or another night,
Who should I see but the same fair maiden, counting her cash by the candlelight?

This is extended by verses sung by Matt Linehan, Kerry that were collected by Seamus Ennis:

I says, "Fair maid I come you a-courting, your fine features for to win,
If you'll kindly entertain me some dark night I'll call again."

She says, "Kind sir, you've come me a-courting, my fine features for to win,
And if I kindly entertain you, you may never call again."

She sent me very tight all over, including the crown of my old hat,
I pulled out my "pouse" revolver and let fly a terror shot.

When I heard the answer that she made me, I called her a bloody bean,
"Don't you know to whom you're talking? I am Linnehan from Lisheen.

"I have gold and I have money, I have cattle and I have land,
I have ships upon the ocean ready to sail at my command."

"I don't want your gold or money, I don't want your cattle and land,
I don't want your ships from the ocean; all I want is a fine young man."

Courtin' women is foolish folly and marryin' women is just the same.
Courtin' women when they're not willin' is like throwin' water against the stream.


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