MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Matt Ireland

John James NFLD 2 Tape 10 Track 10
Trepassey Audio:

LEACH: All right
JAMES: (sings)

It’s of a Lord lives in our parts
He reared one fair and handsome daughter
She fell in love with a young man
Who was a servant to her father

And when the lord came this to hear
He said he'd make him quit the Island
The lady said her heart would break
If she should part wit' young Matt Ireland

Straightway unto her love she went
And ordered him for to awaken
Arise now dear and go your way
For this very night you shall be taken

Last night l heard my father say
In spite of it he would transport you
Arise now dear and go your way
For l wish to the Lord l went before you

How can I go my dear he says
Just like a poor forlor-a-n stranger
To leave your father twould be disgrace
And likewise go and leave my wages

Here is fifty pounds in gold she said
That is more than my father owes you
Arise now dear and go away
For l wish to the Lord l went before you

Oh those young couple sat on the bed
For the space of a half an hour or more
And every word those couple spoke
Twas down their cheeks those tears did ________

She leaned her head against his breast
And around his neck her arms they twined
She says no lord or duke I’ll wed
For I’ll die a maid for you Matt Ireland

Oh many's the lord and wealthy man
Came to court this fair and handsome lady
But by their courtship it was in vain
Twas unto death she took no fancy

Her father asked her the reason why
Twas unto him she told the token
She says no Lord or Duke I’ll wed
For I’ll die a maid for young Matt Ireland

I did not know my dear he says
I did not know how dear you loved him
Send for Matt Ireland back again
Oh since you love no one above him

She wrote a letter in post-haste
And for Matt Ireland they were well inclined
To the church that day for to crown all j'ys
So they made a lord out of young Matt Ireland


Text: The daughter of a lord and a servant boy, Matt Ireland, fall in love. The lord does not approve so the daughter asks Matt to leave before her father chases him away. The girl refuses all other offers of marriage. Eventually, she explains her love of Matt to her father. He then concedes to the match, sends for Ireland and the couple is wedded.

Tune: The text is through composed with a repeated melody. The final word is spoken indicating Irish influence. The singer uses ornamentation to embellish phrase endings. The overall meter is 4/4, however it is often stretched to 5/4 particularly with added beats of silence between lines. This becomes more consistent by the end of the song resulting in an alternation between 4 and 5 beats per line. The key is B major with an octave range.

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