Bidí Ní Mhaoldúin

Background

(see A Hidden Ulster pp. 179-82 for detailed references and information)

This is a light-hearted, well constructed love song only found in the Oriel tradition. Most of this version was written down by collector Seán Ó hAnnáin (AHU pp.360-1) in February 1807, probably from Brigid McKeown/ Mrs Hearty of Lough Ross (AHU pp.392-3). It is a very fine example of a macaronic song (a song in two languages), of which there were a number in the local repertoire.

Mary Nugent

Mrs Mary Nugent – last fluent native Irish speaker in Dromintee, d. 1948 aged 90 years copyright A Hidden Ulster 2017

Not surprisingly, songs with English lines and verses would have been popular here during the period at the turn of the twentieth century when Irish as a spoken language was receding rapidly and English was becoming the spoken language of the younger generation. Mrs Mary Nugent from Dromintee (AHU p. 401) remembered hearing songs in which ‘one verse was in English, the succeeding and following one in Irish’.

Other macaronic songs found in the area are Bean an Fhir Ruaidh, An Páistín Fionn, Siúil, a Rún, An Cúileann Donn and An Droighneán Donn. A variant of the lyrics was also found ‘in a manuscript in County Meath’ and published in D. Ó Muirithe An tAmhrán Macarónach. 1980.,

Various titles for this song include, A Bhríghde Bheag Mhúinte (Wee Modest Biddy) and Bidí Ní Mhaoldúin (Biddy Muldoon) and Leave your Mammy and come with me:

The pronounciation of the word in the final verse, ‘Aingeal’ in southeast Ulster sounds like ‘íol’, thus rhyming here with ‘Dia’ in the last line.

© Oriel Arts 2017

Transmission

A song from Susan Murphy, Dromintee.

 

Singer Susan Murphy, grandmother of collector Michael J. Murphy, at her son Johnny Oiney’s house. He is sitting beside Fr Loughran and the McGuills. National Folklore Collection by kind permission

Mrs Susan Murphy Dromintee singing Leave your Mammy and Come With Me (Bidí Ní Mhaoldúin). © National Folklore Collection with kind permission (see AHU p. 181)

The recording above was made at the turn of the 20th century in Crossmaglen by collector Luke Donnellan (AHU pp.361-3). On it Susan Murphy sings a version of Bidí Ní Mhaodúin. She continues with the Oriel version of the macaronic song, Siúil a Rún (see A Hidden Ulster pp.301-6 for words and information, followed by a fragment of The Beggerman).

It is one of the very few rare recordings of Oriel singers that still available to date in the National Folklore Collection UCD. Written on the sheet is ‘Mrs Murphy’.

Luke Donnellan collected songs from Mrs Susan Murphy, Dromintee who was most likely the source of the song. She was the grandmother of collector, Michael J. Murphy (AHU pp.383-4).

Singer Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin assembled music and words from various sources and recorded it on An Dealg Óir, Gael Linn CD 2003. It gained further popularity with the BBC filming of her singing it, arranged by producer Steve Cooney, and broadcast on Youtube.

It is recorded on Ceoltaí Oirialla -Songs of Oriel CD 2017

The song is now widely sung again and is a favourite in the repertoire of local Mullaghban singer, Bláithín Nic Cana which she learned from An Dealg Óir CD.

Singers Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin and Bláithín Mhic Cana

Mullaghban Singers Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin and Bláithín Mhic Cana. Photo M. Ó Graham

Words

Sources:

  • Fág do Mhamaí is Éalaigh Liom: Lorcán Ó Muirí MSS in Ó hUallacháin papers.
  • Bidí Ní ’l Dúin: Seán Ó hAnnáin uncatalogued MSS in Ó Fiaich Library, Armagh.
  • Leave Your Mammy and come wit me: Luke Donnellan, Box 3, 44/1.
  • Go dtillidh tú arís: Dundalk Democrat, 19 Apr. 1913, from Mrs McCabe, Dundalk.
  • A Bhrighde Bheag Mhúinte: John Hannon MS 1098 John Ryland Library, Manchester.

Bidí Ní Mhaoldúin

A Bhidí bheag mhúinte, is tú d’fhág mo chroí dúnta,
Scéimh na gcúig gcúige in do chuirlín deas donn,
Tá rós i gclár d’éadain ’chuirfeadh maise ar mhná(ibh) Éireann,
Is in ainneoin chlann na nGael, ’sí Bidí mo rún.

I cast my eye on this charming fair maiden,
Is bhí mé dhá teannadh anonn le mo chroí,
Orú éist is a stór if you go wit’ anyone,
Leave your mammy and come wit’ me.

Little Biddy, my darling, I’ll dress you in scarlet,
In the neatest of broadcloth that e’er crossed the main,
I’d rather, my darling, than ten thousand sterling,
If I had you in my arms from morning till noon.

Tá buachaillí óga do m’iarraidh le pósadh,
Cha phósaim go deo(idh) aon fhear in mur dtír,
Ar neamhchead na slóite tá mo ghean go rómhór ort,
Cha déanaim lá róúil go dtillidh tú aríst.

There are young men and many coming to me and from me,
They all swear they’ll have me but it’s all in vain,
Sure it’s well known to many I’m in deep love with Jemmy,
And I never will marry till I see him again.

Once in my youth ’twas I took a ramble,
Le mo chúl álainn, feamainneach, triopallach donn,
I asked her kindly if she would marry me,
Fág do mhamaí is éalaigh liom.

Dá mbeinnse do mo thórramh, mo chomhrá dá treorú,
Is mé ar mo bhéirdrín ag dul ’un na cill’,
Dá gcluinfeadh mo stór é nach mbeadh sí róbhrónach?
Póg amháin óna béal, gach leigheas bheadh ann.

If I were a-waking, my coffin a-making,
And I on my bearer going straight to the grave,
If my true love should hear it, I’m sure it would grieve her,
One kiss from her sweet lips would raise me again.

A Bhríde, a théagair, ná bíodh ortsa buaireamh,
Do chúl a bhí feamainneach, triopallach donn,
Tá réaltaí i d’éadan ’chuirfeadh maise ar mhná(ibh) Éireann,
’Sí aingeal ’thug Dia dúinn, ’sí Bídí Ní (Mhao)’ldúin.

Biddy Muldoon

O wee modest Biddy, it’s you left my heart aching,
The beauty of Ireland in your brown curly hair,
There’s a rose on your forehead would enhance Irish women,
In spite of the Irish people, she’s Biddy my dear.

(I cast my eye on this charming fair maiden,)
To my heart I was coaxing her close as could be,
O listen, my love, if you go with anyone,
(Leave your mammy and come with me.)

(Little Biddy, my darling, I’ll dress you in scarlet,
In the neatest of broadcloth that e’er crossed the main,
I’d rather my darling than ten thousand sterling,
I had you in my arms from morning till noon.)

There are young men here wanting to marry me,
But I’ll not ever marry any man in your land,
In spite of them all I love you too much,
I’ll not have a day’s pleasure, till you come again.

(There are young men and many coming to me and from me,
They all swear they’ll have me but it is all in vain,
Sure it’s known to great many I’m in deep love with Jemmy,
And I never will marry till I see him again.)

(Once in my youth, ’twas I took a ramble,)
With my beautiful, brown, curly-haired dear,
(I asked her kindly if she would marry me,)
Leave your mammy and come with me.

If I were being mourned and my coffin being borne,
And I on my bearer going along to the grave,
If my love she’d hear of it, wouldn’t she be too grieved?
One kiss from her mouth would heal me again.

Little Biddy my darling don’t you be downhearted
With my beautiful, brown, curly-haired dear,
There’s a rose on your forehead would enhance Irish women,
She’s an angel from God, is Biddy Muldoon.

Translation: P. Ní Uallacháin

© Oriel Arts 2017

Music

Bidí Ní Mhaoildúin

Leave Your Mammy and Come wit’ Me: Luke Donnellan, Box 3, 44/1 – and sound recording CTO358: Mrs Murphy Dromintee. National Folklore Collection by kind permission.

© Oriel Arts 2017