Star of the County Down
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Barry Taylor

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The oldest copy of this tune is Gilderoy, which appears in Musick for Allan Ramsay's Collection of Scots Songs [Tea Table Miscellany] by Alexander Stuart (c 1726). Gilderoy also appeared in Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge the Melancholy III (1707), although that version is less recognizable as this tune.* The tune has been used for numerous songs, including Divers and Lazarus, The Murder of Maria Martin, and Claudy Banks. In addition, the tune is used for several English and American Hymns and Carols. Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I'd to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.


As she onward sped I shook my head
And I gazed with a feeling rare
And I said, says I, to a passerby
"who's the maid with the nut-brown hair?"
He smiled at me, and with pride says he,
"That's the gem of Ireland's crown.
She's young Rosie McCann
     from the banks of the Bann
She's the star of the County Down."
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.


I've travelled a bit, but never was hit
Since my roving career began
But fair and square I surrendered there
To the charms of young Rose McCann.
I'd a heart to let and no tenant yet
Did I meet with in shawl or gown
But in she went and I asked no rent
From the star of the County Down.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.


At the crossroads fair I'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes
And I'll try sheep's eyes, and deludhering lies
On the heart of the nut-brown rose.
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
Though with rust my plow turns brown
Till a smiling bride by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I've seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.


Related Links
Lyrics From Digital Tradition Mudcat Discussion Cafe Discussion Group
*Information from a Digital Tradition Forum thread.