“Donall Og (Young Donald)”

Alternate titles: “Donald Og”; “Donal Og”; “Donal Ogue”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1947 (Hoagland)
Keywords: hardheartedness love request rejection farewell parting travel abandonment lover foreignlanguage
Found in: Ireland Britain(Scotland)

Description

Gaelic or English: Singer tells her lover Donal to take her with him, that he'll be well taken care of. She reproaches him for breaking his promise; he says she has ignored him. She says that he is always in her mind, and has taken her past and her future

Long description

Gaelic or English: Singer tells her lover, Donall Og (young Donald) to take her with him on his travels, that he'll be well taken care of (and sleep with the Greek king's daughter). She reproaches him for breaking his promise; he replies that she has rejected and ignored him. She says that he is always in her mind, even in the church where she should be thinking of Christ's passion. She says he has taken her past and her future, and perhaps will even take away God himself

Notes

A personal note: Kennedy calls this "one of the most intense love songs in the Irish language." Or in English; I can testify that if you are carrying a serious torch for someone, this song can bring you to tears every time. - PJS

It's pretty strong even if you *aren't* carrying a torch. The English version is reported by Norman Buchan (notes to the recording "The Fisher Family") to have been translated by Frank O'Connor. (The translation by Lady Gregory quoted by Hoagland and MacDonogh/Robinson is very different, and hardly even poetry; I doubt anyone will ever sing it.)

The text sung by Joyce Fisher omits the references to promise-breaking, making the song a lost love song rather than a betrayal song. The Fishers reportedly had it from Bob Clancey.

Seosamh O Duibhginn devoted a monograph to the variant texts of this song; according to Kennedy, it contains nearly every version ever collected. - RBW

References

  1. Kennedy 31, "Donall Og [Young Donald]" (1 text in Irish Gaelic + translation, 1 tune)
  2. ADDITIONAL: Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), pp. 238-240, "Donall Oge: Grief of a Girl's Heart" (1 text, translated by Lady Gregory)
  3. Donagh MacDonagh and Lennox Robinson, _The Oxford Book of Irish Verse_ (Oxford, 1958, 1979), pp. 106-108, "Donal Oge: Grief of a Girl's Heart" (1 text, translated by Lady Gregory)
  4. Roud #3379
  5. BI, K031