Come all you rakish fine young men, song

John Butcher senior, singing in English
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Lyrics

Come all you rakish fine young men that courts a blooming maid,
Never trust your secrets to friends nor comrades,
For like Judas they’ll deceive you and that before you know,
I have tried it by experience and I now have found it so.

2
Once I courted a blooming maid, the darling of my heart,
Sure we thought the first time that we met that we would never part;
But it was some simple tales of love I told to a young man,
For I thought I could depend on him for he ofttimes stood my friend.

3
Now he went to this blooming maid, he unto her did say
– I would have you stop this false young man and come along with me,
For he says he will deceive you and that will happen soon,
If you do not stop his company he will spoil your youthful bloom.

4
When she heard the story it grieved her heart full sore
And when she thought on her true love it grieved her more and more,
– For many many was the hour and pleasant was the night
That I spent in my love’s company and in him took great delight.

5
When she saw her own true love she thus to him made known
– You said you would deceive me and leave me here my lone,
You said you would deceive me and that would happen soon,
If I would not stop your company you would spoil my youthful bloom.

6
– Oh, who told you that story, he unto her did say,
Or whaten a young man was it that proved so false to me?
When she made mention of the name the same he soon did know,
– And in spite of all his falsity this night with you I’ll go.

7
So it’s now we are got married, I mean to drop my pen,
Here’s a health to every true young man, likewise a trusty friend,
And may they gain the victory when courting a blooming maid;
If you learn to keep your own secrets you will never be betrayed.

Notes

It is strange that these rakish fine young men are so little known. From its poetic style the song must date from the heyday of Irish broadside balladry, probably the early nineteenth century, though perhaps never appearing in print. Its ‘Judas’ type is one of those legacies of courtly medieval love song, a basic trait of which was the need to avoid sharing confidences. The song merits a wider public, and must surely have had one, in Ulster at least, in the oral culture of its early days.