The Banks of the Dee (Anonymous)

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  • (Posted 2022-03-06)  CPDL #68262:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2022-03-06).   Score information: A4, 2 pages   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: The Banks of the Dee
Composer: Anonymous
Lyricist: John Tait
Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: solo high
Genre: SecularFolksong

Language: English
Instruments: Keyboard

First published: 1775
Description: A tune of Irish origin (under the name Lango Lee, or the new Lango Lee) married to words by John Tait of Edinburgh in 1775. The song achieved great popularity and attracted several scabrous parodies, to the extent that "Langolee" was rumoured to be the Gaelic for "monstrous erection" (not of the Leinster House variety).

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

It was summer, so softly the breezes were blowing,
And sweetly the nightingale sang from a tree.
At the foot of a rock where the river was flowing,
I sat myself down by the banks of the Dee.
Flow on lovely Dee, flow on thou sweet river,
Thy banks' purest streams shall be dear to me ever,
Where I first gained th'affection and favour of Jemmy,
The glory and pride of the banks of the Dee.

But now he's gone from me and left me thus mourning,
To quell the proud rebels, for valiant is he.
And yet there's no hopes of his speedy returning,
To wander again on the banks of the Dee.
He's gone, hapless youth, o'er the loud roaring billows,
The sweetest and kindest of all his brave fellows,
And has left me to mourn amongst those once loved willows,
The loveliest maid on the banks of the Dee.

But time and my prayers may perhaps yet restore him,
Blest peace may return my dear shepherd to me,
And when he comes home, with such care
I'll watch o'er him He never shall quit the sweet banks of the Dee.
The Dee then shall flow, all it's beauties displaying,
The lambs on the banks shall again be seen playing,
Whilst I with my Jemmy am carelessly straying,
And tasting again all the sweets of the Dee.