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The Lass on the Strand

from Sweet Apples from a Lemon Tree by Andy McLaughlin

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In which our hero doesn't get the girl, again. As often is the case, the tune came first - I was asked to write an air for a flute player in Oxford some thirty years ago, and the words followed soon after, suggested by an early morning walk on an Irish beach.


As I went a-walking one dark stormy morning, down by the cold waterside
I met with a lassie, she was standing and staring, and weeping alone by the tide
Are you grieving for someone, says I, like a fool, and she tosses her curly black hair
It was all of her answer, she was gone in a moment
'Twas if she had never been there

I dreamt of her nightly, and I pictured her daily, walking the strand in the rain
And I wondered what manner of mine might beguile her, should ever I meet her again
For courage in plenty, and many fine words have I, with a glass in my hand
But all my brave talking couldn't ease my heart's longing
As I thought of the lass on the strand

Many's the morning I stood at the seashore, and always the waiting in vain
And the season was changing, and the sun sweetly shining, the morning I saw her again
She was gay as the springtime, and dressed all in green, and her eyes were the sparkling dew

Where are you going, in the morning so early, in the loveliest part of the year?
For the weather being pleasant, and the sun on the meadow, I thought we might take the air
I cannot go with you, kind sir, she said, and I beg you do not make so free
For I'm bound for the docks, and the arms of my sweetheart
For today he returns from sea


from Sweet Apples from a Lemon Tree, released January 29, 2021
Dan Hands, fiddle


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Andy McLaughlin Durham, UK

Celtic accompanist and singer/songwriter

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