She Moved Through the Fair

I first discovered this haunting song on an album by a band calls All About Eve. Loved it ever since, so on my return to folk music a few years ago I started singing it again, with a newly developed guitar part.

The song, in this form anyway, was collected in Donegal around 1903 by a team that included the musicologist Herbert Hughes when he was 22, along with his brother Fred J. Bigger, and John Campbell, all from Belfast. The version of “She Moved…” collected by Hughes, Campbell and Bigger was adapted by the Irish poet Padraig Colum, and was published by Hughes in 1909.

The version Hughes published is;

My young love said to me, “My mother won’t mind

And my father won’t slight you for your lack of kind”,

And she stepp’d away from me and this she did say,

“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.”

She stepp’d away from me and she went thro’ the fair,

And fondly I watch’d her move here and move there,

And then she went homeward with one star awake,

As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

Last night she came to me, she came softly in,

So softly she came that her feet made no din,

And she laid her hand on me and this she did say

“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.”

There are other versions, including ‘Out of the Window’, and versions of such similar songs and themes that they might well have origins in the same song, from the isle of Uist (in Gaelic) and the north of England. There is little doubt that it has traditional origins.

You can find my take on it here;

About Nigel Parry Music

Described by a radio presenter as; 'one of the finest traditional folk artists in NZ', Nigel Parry's unique mix of singer / songwriter, traditional and early folk music relies heavily on his vocal arrangements. Hailing from the UK, he was originally a rock singer and turned to folk music through friends, historical events and real ale. Nigel now lives near Wellington and in the last 4 years has performed at folk events and music venues around New Zealand, festivals and live on radio and in the UK, France and Canada.
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