MOLLY BAWN

This is a traditional Irish song which I first learned as a child, listening to my grandmother’s recordings of the great Irish tenor, John McCormack. In the Donovan Family Saga, John Patrick Donovan sings it to his wife, Molly.

Oh, Molly bawn, why leave me pining
All lonesome waiting here for you?
While the stars above are brightly shining
Because they’ve nothing else to do.

The flowers late were open keeping
To try and rival blush with you,
But their mother Nature sent them sleeping
With their rosy faces washed with dew.

Now the pretty flow’rs were made to bloom, dear,
And pretty stars were made to shine,
And the pretty girls were made for the boys, dear,
And maybe you were made for mine.

The wicked watchdog he is snarling
He takes me for a thief, you see,
For he knows I’d steal you, Molly darling,
And thereat thwarted I should be.*

Oh, Molly bawn, why leave me pining
All lonesome waiting here for you?
While the stars above are brightly shining
Because they’ve nothing else to do.

NOTES: “Bawn” is an Irish word that means fair or pretty.

*John McCormack, among others, sings this line as “And then transported I should be.” But “transported” in this sense means sent to a penal colony or sold into slavery, and I believe the dog would enjoy seeing that happen. So I prefer this alternate version.

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