King Billy Sessions
  Once there lived a captain  

Once there lived a captain
Who was borned out on sea;
And before that he got married
He was sent far away.

Oh but when that he returned
To her father he did go
"Is your daughter inside sir,
Can I see her once more?"

"For my daughter is not here sir
She left this house last night.
She is gone to some annunery."
Was the old man’s reply.

He went on to this nunnery
And he knocked all at the door,
Out comes the reverend mother
And she's tearing full sore

Saying, "Your true love, is not here sir,
She left us here last night,
She is gone to some asylum
Where she's fractured in mind."

He went on into the asylum
Where he got a hard surprise
And the answer he is getting
Was she died here last night,

"Let me in", then says the captain,
"Let me in", the captain cried.
"Let me in until I see her
"And I'll die by her side."

For he stood at her left side
And his sharpest sword he drew
He's stood to good attention
And he pierced his heart through.

Oh sad it was the parting
And hard it was the doom
To see the two loyal lovers
Lying dead on the floor

Oh green grow the laurels
And soft it falls the dew
Since one of my true lovers
Forever parting from you

This version from "Voice of the People" by Topic. (Roud 3376) Jean ‘Sauce’ Driscoll (daughter of Mikeen McCarthy. To our knowledge, the only other two versions to have been found in the tradition are from Seán Ó Conaire of Rosmuc, Co Galway and from Traveller John ‘Jacko’ Reilly of Roscommon.

We first recorded this from the singer’s father, Mikeen McCarthy, who had sold it around the fairs and markets in Kerry on a ballad sheet some time in the nineteen-forties. Unfortunately, he was only able to remember four verses and we tried on a number of occasions, without success, to see if he could recall more. One evening, he proudly announced that his daughter, a young woman then in her early twenties, had learned all of it from another Traveller, Nora Coffey. To our knowledge, this is the only traditional song she sings.

Other CDs: John Reilly - Topic TSCD 667.


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