Monday, September 12, 2011

'The Big Stane' - an old song of the Ards


I was born in oul Newton', not far from the Bowtown,
The first sound I heard was Walker's oul horn
Me ma rocked the cradle, me da played the fiddle
And I sucked a bottle of John Barleycorn

I can still hear the laughter of the girl I ran after
I still feel delight at the sound of her name
At the first kiss she gave me, nothin could save me
She kissed me at the bottom of the oul Dummy's Lane*

When walkin for pleasure one fine summer's evenin'
I met with my true love down by the big stane
We fell into courtin' while gatherin' cockles
Now cockles and courtin' can be a rough game

As the shadows of sunlight began to get dimmer
I felt a bit rough round by the big stane
Now sand's good for buildin; but it's no good for courtin
So stay on the grass when you're at the big stane

The days they got shorter and my love got bigger
Her da got crosser and I got the blame
A shotgun was loaded and nearly exploded
"You'll pay for your coortin' doon by the big stane!"

One early spring morning our weddin' was dawnin'
We met at the church on the oul Dummy's Lane
Her ma she was cryin' - her da he was cursin'
And my son was born before we got hame

He was born in oul Newton', not far from the Bowtown,
The first sound he heard was Walker's oul horn
Now she rocks the cradle and I play the fiddle
And he sucks a bottle of John Barleycorn

*'Dummy's Lane' is said to have been near today's Greenwell Street, opposite the former Dominican Priory (which of course Hugh Montgomery restored in 1606-7).
- with thanks to the late George Holmes for giving me this oul song from Newtownards.
- photo of the 'Big Stane' near Cunningburn on the shore of Strangford Lough from this website