When a man’s in love, song

Eddie Butcher, singing in English
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When a man’s in love he feels no cold like I not long ago,
Like a hero bright the other night I set out through frost and snow;
The moon she cheered me with her light that long and dreary way
Until I arrived at the very spot where all my treasure lay.

I gently tapped at my love’s window, – Would you rise and let me in?
Slowly she the door unlocked and slowly I drew in;
Her hands were soft, her bosom warm and her tongue it did gently glide,
I stole a kiss, thought it no miss, and wished her for my bride.

– Would you take me to your chamber, love, would you take me to your bed?
Would you take me to your chamber, love, for to rest my wearied head?
– For to take you to my chamber, love, it is more than I can do
But sit you down by the fireside and I’ll sit close by you.

– Oh, many’s the night I courted you against your parents’ will
When I was tossed by the winter stork and wet with the summer dew,
But this night does the courtship end between my love and me,
So fare you well, you unkind girl, and a long farewell to you.

– Oh, are you going to marry me? – What else then would I do?
– Well then, I’ll break through every tie, my love, I will go along with you;
Maybe my parents they would me forget or maybe they might me forgive,
Since this night forth we’re joined in one, along with you to live.


The last of many night visits ends with a promise of a runaway marriage which the boy obtains by threatening to break off relations: 5.1 begins, in Eddie’s 1954 text, in his brother John’s (L) and in most other versions, ‘Are you going to leave me?’. Since 1964 Eddie has been singing ‘Are you going to marry me?’: the girl seeks reassurance that elopement will have a proper outcome. Perhaps this is a modernizing trait. The song is hardly older anyway than mid-nineteenth century, and may be less old. I have seen no popular edition of it, though it must have been circulating among the Irish in America by the early 1900s (notice A), Undoubtedly Irish, it has been found chiefly in the northern half of Ireland and in parts of Canada colonized from there.