Oh! Would I Were That Sweet Linnet, earlier version of WoO 154 nr. 9, Hess 198 (mp3)
Performer: Mark S. Zimmer
Author: Mark S. Zimmer
This Irish song in G minor has a very different accompaniment than the final version. The introduction and ritornello are completely different, and while the piano and violin parts are similar, the cello plays with the bow throughout, instead of the moving 16th note pizzicato found in the final version. While the vocal lines are largely the same, the brief cadenzas are quite different, and the instrumental coda on the published version is several measures longer. The Hess 198 version has a much more mournful air to it. The song is to the air "The pretty girl milking the cows," with words by William Smyth.
1. Oh! Would I were but that sweet Linnet! That I had my apple tree too! That I had my apple tree too! Could sit all the sunny day on it, With nothing but singing to do, Nothing but singing to do! I'm weary with toiling and spinning, And Dermot I never can see, Nor sure am I Dermot of winning, There's never good luck for poor me! 2. Quite set was my heart all the Sunday On going to Killaloe fair, So my father fell ill on the Monday, And, look ye, I could not be there. And it was not the fair that I minded, For there was I Dermot to see; But I'm always before or behind it, And there's never good luck for poor me! 3. I tried with my sweetest behaviour To tell our good priest my distress; And ask'd him to speak in my favour, When Dermot came next to confess. But he said I was but a beginner, And from love and temptation must flee! So if love will but make me a sinner, There's never good luck for poor me! 4. Ye Saints, with the Virgin! believe me, I join with the priest in your praise! Contrive but my Dermot to give me, And I'll love you the length of my days. In vain would they bid me be wiser, And never my Dermot to see, Bad luck to advice and adviser! Good luck! to dear Dermot and me! ---William Smyth