Colleen Rue

by Jerry O’Reilly

As I roved out on a summer’s morning
A speculating most furiously
To my surprise, I there espied
A charming fair one approaching me
I stood awhile in deep meditation
Contemplating what I should do
Till at length recruiting all my sensations
I thus accosted The Colleen Rue.
Are you Aurora or the goddess Flora
Or Eutarnatia or Venus bright
Or Helen fair, beyond compare
That Paris stole from the Grecian sight
Oh fairest maiden you have ensnared me
I’m captivated in Cupid’s clue
You’re golden sayings are infatuations
That have enslaved me A Colleen Rue
Oh kind sir be easy and do not tease me
With your false praises so jestingly
Your dissimulation and invocation
Are vaunting praises alluring me
I’m not Aurora or the goddess Flora
But a rural maiden to all men’s view
Who is here condoling my situation
My appellation The Colleen Rue
Oh were I Hector that noble victor
Who fell a victim to Grecian skill
Or were I Paris whose deeds are various
As arbitrator on Ida’s hill
I would range through Asia and Abyssinia
Pennsylvania seeking you
The burning regions like sage Orpheus
All for to find my sweet Colleen Rue

image of Jerry O’Reilly

sung by
Jerry O’Reilly
(Cullerlie 2007)

CDs available

image of CD cover of Jerry O’Reilly

Published in Petrie’s Ancient Music of Ireland in 1855, I first heard this on Paddy Tunney’s seminal vinyl LP ‘A Wild Bees Nest’ in the mid 60s.

I sang it for a while, but then ‘forgot’ it until Sean Corcoran asked me to sing it on a TV series called Na BailitheÛirÌ CeÛil in 2007.

It has all of the hallmarks of the work of a hedge schoolmaster with the rhyming structure and the references to Greek classical heroes and heroines.

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Folk Leads Publications 2008