Boyle Traditional Singers' Circle - Ciorcal Ámhránaíochta Traidisiúnta Mhainistir na Búille

3rd Saturday of every month. Next session: 15th August 2019.

Search This Blog

Fáilte - Welcome
to the Boyle Singers' circle - Ciorcal Amhránaíochta Mhainistir na Búille

Traditional unaccompanied singing, in English and Irish.

Dodd’s Crescent Bar (back room), The Crescent, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Ireland.
The third Saturday of every month, all year around, 9.30pm onwards.

All singers and listeners welcome.

November 2013 session

One song which has popped up a few times recently, with different interpretations, is the Death of Queen Jane, a Child ballad (#170).

The song is believed to be about Jane Seymour (c. 1509–37), Henry VIII's third wife - one of only two of his six wives he neither divorced nor beheaded. She gave birth to a son, Edward, who briefly become King, Edward VI of England and Ireland, before his early death in his late teens, when his older sisters, Mary and then Elizabeth, took over. There is no historical evidence for any Caesarian section being carried out on Jane during her labour and Jane was well enough to receive visitors after Edward's birth. However, she fell ill within a week and died 12 days later.

Helen Grehan sang a beautiful version the other night, to a different tune than that usually heard. Daithí Sproule composed a tune for it in the early 70s and this is the version the Bothy Band and Mícheál Ó Domhnaill recorded on their Afterhours album.This is also the version in the new Coen brothers' film: Inside Llewyn Davis, although that film is about a folk singer in Greenwich Village in 1961, before the tune was composed.

The words to the ballad are (Bothy Band version):

Queen Jane lay in labor full nine days or more
'Til her women grew so tired, they could no longer there
They could no longer there

"Good women, good women, good women as ye be
Will you open my right side and find my baby?
And find my baby"

"Oh no," cried the women, "That's a thing never can be
We will send for King Henry and hear what he may say
And hear what he may say"

King Henry was sent for, King Henry did come
Saying, "What do ail you, my lady? Your eyes, they look so dim
Your eyes, they look so dim"

"King Henry, King Henry, will you do one thing for me?
That's to open my right side and find my baby
And find my baby"

"Oh no," cried King Henry, "That's a thing I'll never do
If I lose the flower of England, I shall lose the branch too
I shall lose the branch too"

There was fiddling, aye, and dancing on the day the babe was born
But poor Queen Jane beloved lay cold as the stone
Lay cold as the stone

Boyle Singers Circle poster