The maid of seventeen, song

Robert Butcher senior, singing in English
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Down by a shady arbour there resides a pleasant maid
And her I saw not long ago and this to her I said,
– I am wounded by your rolling eye, your countenance serene,
And the answer that she maid to me – I’m only seventeen.

– It’s youth, my dear, I’m looking for since I have met with you
And I’ll court you for half an hour if you’ll sit down with me;
This is a pleasant evening here upon the grass so green
And I long to be in company with the maid of seventeen.

– You need not talk of courting, sir, for I don’t know the way,
Upon that very subject, oh, not one word could I say.
I taught my love a lesson and for learning she was keen
And I knew that maid admired it although but seventeen.

I says – My dear, I’ll visit you. – Oh no, that would not do
For mama would be angry, but stop, kind sir, says she,
Next Tuesday I’ll be up this way and we might meet again,
You can spend some pleasant hours with the maid of seventeen.

My love she’s tall and handsome, she is rare for to be seen,
Her whole demeanour pleases me because she’s neat and clean;
SIf she consents to marry me it’s wedded we’ll be seen
For I long for to live happy with the maid of seventeen.


Not a word is out of place, not a sentiment jarring in this pastoral love song unknown outside Ulster and little known even within the province. Nothing in particular serves to localize it – unless the possibility that do and she (4.1–2) were originally meant to rhyme – but it is fairly certainly an Ulster song of the mid-nineteenth century which never came to the notice of printers. Negative conjectures these, but the fresh sparkle of the little piece is positive enough.