False Lover John

A great archival recording of Corney McDaid singing this song of women who runs off with a man who is only trying to murder her. Like in many other similar songs, she outsmarts him. I found this song during one of many hours visiting the Digital Library of the Irish Traditional Music Archives.

Oh false lover John he courted me, for every hour in the day,
He courted me until such a degree as I hadn’t one word to say.

‘It’s take in all your father’s gold and all your mother’s money,
And steal the keys of your father’s stable with thirty steeds and three.’

She took in all of her father’s gold and all her mother’s money,
She stole the keys of her father’s stable with thirty steeds and three.

She mounted on a white milk steed, rode on by the clear silver light of the moon,
And they rode on to the river bank where there they did get down.

‘It’s lie you here Miss Magdelene this night along with me,
For here I drowned seven king’s daughters, the eighth one shall be you.

It’s take you off those lovely clothes and leave them on dry land,
For they were too fine and costly for to rot on the salt sea sand.’

‘It’s turn you round false John’ she says ‘and view the green leaves on the tree,
For it ill becomes a naked maid a naked man to see.’

False lover John he turned around to view the green leaves on the tree,
When she clasped her arms around his body and flung him into the sea.

‘It’s lie you there false John’, she said, ‘a long death you may die,
For you thought you’d drown me as I was born and take my clothes away.’

‘Then reach me in your noble hand and bring me to dry land,
And there’s not a vow that I ever made but I’ll double them all in one.’

She mounted on her white milk steed, rode on by the clear silver light of the moon,
And she rode on to the castle gate where there she did get down.

She put the steed in til the stable, the money in where it lay,
And there weren’t a lord all in the castle knew Miss Magdelene away.

Out speaks the noble parrot from its cage in where he lay,
Saying ‘What did I tell you Magdelene before you went away.’

‘It’s hold your tongue my little parrot and tell no tales on me,
And your cage will be made of beech and gold instead of a hazel tree.’

Out speaks the noble king from his chamber in where he lay,
Saying ‘What did disturb my little parrot that rattles so long before day.’

‘The cats they are at my back door all for to worry me,
And I was calling on Magdelene to scare these cats away.

When maids are young they do sleep sound and can’t be wakened by thee,
So sleep you on my noble king for the cats are scared away.’

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