MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Flower of Sweet Stravan
Mrs. Stamp NFLD 2 Tape 11A Track 5
St. Vincent's Audio:

LEACH: Now the name of this is what?
MRS. STAMP: The Maid of Sweet Stravan
LEACH: All right go ahead and sing it.
MRS. STAMP: (sings)

If l was king of Ireland and all things at my will
I roam for a creation my comforts to find still
The comfort l would like the best as you may understand
To gain the heart of Martha the flower of sweet Stravan

Her cheeks they are a rose of red her hair a lovely brown
And over round her quiet shoulders they scarcely hang down
She is one of the finest creatures in the whole ________ plan
My heart is really captured by the flower of sweet Stravan

My l wish l had my darling far down in ___________
And in some lonesome valley on the wildwood of Tyrone
I’d do my best endeavours I’d work the newest plan
To gain the heart of Martha the flower of sweet Stravan

I’ve often been in Phoenix Park and in Killarney fair
In bright and bonny Scotland on the winding banks of Ayr
But yet in all my travels l never have met with one
That can compare with Martha the flower of sweet Stravan

Now since l cannot gain your love there is no joy for me
So l will seek forgetfulness in a land across the sea
And if you chance to follow me I’ll swear by my right hand
McDowell's face you'll never see fair girl of Sweet Stravan

I’ll bid adieu to _______ banks and Mourne's waterside
I’m sailing for America whatever may betide
My ship is bound for Liverpool straight to the Isle of Man
Farewell now dearest Martha the flower of sweet Stravan


Sources: Roud 2745 (The Flower of Sweet Strabane)

History: A well known Irish ballad known as “The Flower of Sweet Strabane.” According to The Traditional Ballad Index ( this can be traced to the 1840s.

Text: A well travelled man seeks only the love of Martha of Sweet Stravan. Since he can not have her he departs Ireland seeking exile in North America.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody is repeated. The meter is 4/4. The tonal center is A with a flattened seventh and a missing third. The range is a major 9th.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.