Irish songs & lyrics with sheet music, mp3s, and scottish songs from the childe ballads

Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye

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From: Going for Brogue: Irish Pub Songs and Sea Shanties with an Accent

words and music Traditional

While on the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While on the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While on the road to sweet Athy
A stick in me hand and a drop in me eye
A doleful damsel I heard cry,
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

   With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
   With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
   With your drums and guns and drums and guns
   The enemy nearly slew ye
   Oh my darling dear, Ye look so queer
   Johnny I hardly knew ye.


Where are your eyes that look so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that look so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that look so mild
When my poor heart you first beguiled
Why did ye run from me and the child
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

Where are your legs with which ye run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs with which ye run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs with which ye run
When first you learned to carry a gun
Indeed your dancing days are done
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home
All from the island of Sulloon
So low in flesh, so high in bone
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg
Ye're an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
Ye'll be having to put a bowl to beg
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home
All from the island of Ceylon;
So low in the flesh, so high in the boon.
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Extra lyrics I found:

They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again
But they never will take our sons again
No they never will take our sons again
Johnny I'm swearing to ye.

Chords: KEY D

Background: Which came first the chicken or the egg. I first learned about "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" from a popular American version written during the Civil War. That song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" was first published in 1863 as "Words and Music by Louis Lambert," which was a pseudonym for Patrick Sarsfield, 1829-1892. Patrick was a native of Ireland who emigrated to Boston. "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is a rousing song about a hero returning from war.

The first published version of "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye" came out several years after Sarsfield's song. Nevertheless, it is strongly believed to have originated in Ireland.

It's a much more somber song that tells about the woes and horrors of war in the popular folk tradition of describing the body parts blown off a soldier who does not come home to his love.

 

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