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Jim Dixon Lyr Req: McNulty Family songs (54* d) Lyr Add: THE MOON BEHIND THE HILL 09 Feb 20


THE MOON BEHIND THE HILL
THE KILKENNY EXILE'S CHRISTMAS SONG.
Words by William Kenealy

1. I watched last night the rising moon
Upon a foreign strand,
Till memories came, like flowers of June,
Of home and fatherland;
I dreamt I was a child once more,
Beside the rippling rill,
When first I saw, in days of yore,
The moon behind the hill.

2. It brought me back the visions grand
That purpled boyhood's dreams;
Its youthful loves, its happy land,
As bright as morning's beams.
It brought me back my own sweet Nore,
The Castle and the Mill,
Until my eyes could see no more
The moon behind the hill.

3. It brought me back a mother's love,
Until, in accents wild,
I pray'd her, from her home above,
To guard her lonely child;
It brought me one across the wave,
To live in memory still—
It brought me back my Kathleen's grave—
The moon behind the hill.

- - -
The lyrics above are copied from Street Ballads, Popular Poetry and Household Songs of Ireland, collected and arranged by Duncathail (pseud.) (Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, 1865), page 41—although the poem is apparently older than that.

You can hear a recording by The McNulty Family (Decca 12108 A, from 1937) at the Internet Archive. The singer sticks pretty close to those above but missed one important (in my opinion) word, singing "back" instead of "one" in verse 3, changing the meaning.

I have found two sheet-music versions: One composed by T. Brigham Bishop, from 1858, which can be seen at the University of Wisconsin, and one called I WATCHED LAST NIGHT THE RISING MOON, composed by Rose Hawthorn, from 1860, at Google Books. In both cases the words are somewhat different from those above.


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