Dobbin's Flowery Vale

Len Graham from Newry, Northern ireland: On Autumn Harvest ah011: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads 8: The Little Ball of Yarn Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2011.

Dobbin's Flowery Vale belongs to a extensive family of folk songs where the narrator while out walking observes two lovers talking. The flowery vale of the song is an area of parkland beside the Ballinahone River in Armagh given to the city by Leonard Dobbin, High Sherriff and MP for the city in the 1830s. Len learned the song from Geordie Hanna and his sister Sarah Anne O'Neill from Derrytresk, Co Tyrone, who in turn learned it from their father. Len sings their air but has altered the words in places from other sources.

Roud has 14 instances of this song, most from the north of Ireland, with three from Canada - and there was a Dublin broadside printing.  Sam Henry notes that it was written by McGowan, shoemaker, of Chapel Lane, Armagh - though he doesn't say when. Seán O'Boyle recorded it from Robert Cinnamond (Ballinderry, Co Antrim) and Sarak Makem (Keady, Co Armagh) and Seamus Ennis recorded it from Bob McCreesh also in Co Armagh, and  Paddy Tunney sang it on The Flowery Vale (Topic 12TS289). Len has also recorded the song on Cranagh CMCD4453. Roud 999, Laws O29, Henry SH25.

1: As I roved out one evening fair in the pleasant month of June,
The trees they were all in fragrant shade, the flowers all in their bloom;
Down by yon grove as I did roam, no curse did me assail,
When a pair I espied by a riverside in Dobbin's flowery vale.

2: I sat me down for to rest a while beneath yon spreading tree,
And the gentle breeze blew softly by conveyed these words to me;
"Adieu sweet maid," the youth he said, "For soon I must set sail,
Aye, and bid adieu to Armagh and you, aye and Dobbin's flowery vale."

3: "O cease to grieve that you're alone or think my love untrue,
For wheresoever I chance to go my thoughts are all of you;
There's not a flower in yonder bower in meadow hill or dale,
That will me remind of the maid behind in Dobbin's flowery vale.

4: 'Twas mutual love together true, aye, and fondly they did embrace,
And the tears like drops of morning dew rolled down each other's face;
She tried in vain him to detain but while she did bewail,
He bid adieu, aye, and I withdrew from Dobbin's flowery vale.

c p 2011 Autumn Harvest :