The Banks Of Red Roses lyrics

by De Danann

On the banks of red roses me love and I sat down
And I took out me fiddle for to play me love a tune.
In the middle of the tune though she sighed and she said,
'Oh me Johnny, lovely Johnny, would you leave me'

Oh, when I was a young girl I heard me mother say
That I was a foolish lass and easy led astray.
And before that I would work, I would sooner sport and play
With me Johnny on the Banks of Red Roses.

Well he took her to his lodge and he treated her to tea,
Saying, 'Drink me dearest Mary and come along with me,'
Saying, 'Drink me dearest Mary and come along with me
To the sweet and lovely Banks of Red Roses.'

[Instrumental]

And then they walked and they talked till they came unto a cave
Where Johnny all the day had been digging up a grave,
Where Johnny all the day had been digging up a grave
For to leave his lassie low among the roses.

Then he took out a pen knife, it was both long and sharp,
And he plunged it right into his own dear Mary’s heart.
And he plunged it right into his own dear Mary’s heart
And he left her lying low among the roses.

Song Details

The Banks Of Red Roses

Author: Unknown. The earliest date of circulation in print or manuscript - 1790 (Madden Collection)

Brief: A dark story of seduction and premeditated murder where Mary meets Johnny on the banks of the Roses and bids him to never leave her. Johnny takes here to his home for a lovely cup of tea and invites her to take a stroll to the sweet and lovely Banks of Red Roses. They walked and talked and he lures her to a cave where he had pre- prepared her grave. It was there that he lunged a knife into her heart and buried her low among the roses.

Other Titles: The Banks of the Roses, Banks O' Red Roses - there are many versions of the song with some leaving out portions of the plot.

Category: Traditional Irish Folk Song

De Danann: Irish Folk band originating in Galway, Ireland. They began performing in 1975 and disbanded in 2003. They re-grouped in 2009 with a new line-up except for Frankie Gavin (fiddle) - original foundation member... more.

Covers: Lizzie Higgins, Sarah Makem, June Tabor, Ruby Kelbie, Jean Redpath, The Dubliners, Battlefield Band, Pete Coe, Jon Boden, Kathleen Boyle, Jeanie Roy Collins, Jennifer Clark...

Logo The Banks Of Red Roses is featured on the album The Best Of DeDannan

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