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Matthew Edwards Origins: My Singing Bird (41) RE: Origins: My Singing Bird 25 Jun 19


The text of the song as originally published in Four Irish Songs differs slightly from the versions popularised by the McPeake Family, Jean Redpath, the Clancy Brothers, the Corries and their successors so it is worth giving it here.

My Singing Bird, by Edith Wheeler

I've seen the lark soar high at morn,
To sing up in the blue;
I've heard the blackbird pipe his song,
The thrush and linnet too,
But none of them can sing so sweet,
My singing bird as you.
Ah! Ah! my singing bird as you.

If I could lure my singing bird,
From its own cosy nest,
If I could catch my singing bird,
I'd warm it on my breast;
And on my heart my singing bird
Would sing itself to rest.
Ah! Ah! Ah! would sing itself to rest.
Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

It would be interesting to know who added the extra verse about climbing the high, high tree etc.

The McPeake Family recorded an initial verse in Irish on their 1963 Topic Album 'Wild Mountain Thyme'; I can't be sure but I think it is a translation into Irish of the original first verse.

Peter Kennedy recorded Francis McPeake for the BBC singing this in 1952, accompanying himself on his uillean pipes. You can hear the recording in the Peter Kennedy Collection at the British Library, Peter Kennedy Collection, Belfast, 1952 starting at 39' 01", followed by a brief discussion which is barely audible.

Matthew Edwards


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