Thank You for Hearing Me: The Definitive Sinéad O'Connor Discography

“Her Mantle So Green”

Traditional, arranged by Sinéad O'Connor/Dónal Lunny/Sharon Shannon/Alan Branch/Kieran Kiely/Rob Ó Géibheannaigh

2 versions

2:04

a capella; several verses shorter than the other version

No Man's Woman” single

5:38

Sean-Nós Nua album
Nettwerk Presents the Songs of Sinéad O'Connor promo compilation

Lyrics

(Source: Sean-Nós Nua)

As I went out walking one morning in June,
To view the fair fields and the valleys in bloom,
I spied a pretty fair maid, she appeared like a queen,
With her costly, fine robes and her mantle so green.
Says I, "My pretty fair maid, won't you come with me?
We'll both join in wedlock, and married we'll be.
I will dress you in fine linen; you'll appear like a queen
With your costly fine robes and your mantle so green."
Says she, "Now, my young man, you must be excused,
For I'll wed with no man, so you must be refused.
To the green woods I will wander and shun all men's view,
For the boy I love dearly lies in famed Waterloo."
"Well, if you're not married, say your lover's name.
I fought in that battle, so I might know the same."
"Draw near to my garment, and there you will see,
His name is embroidered on my mantle so green."
In the ribbon of her mantle, there I did behold
His name and his surname, in letters of gold--
Young William O'Reilly appeared in my view.
"He was my chief comrade back in famed Waterloo."
"And as he lay dying, I heard his last cry:
'If you were here, lovely Nancy, I'd be willing to die';"
And as I told her this story, in anguish she flew,
And the more that I told her, the paler she grew.
So I smiled on my Nancy, "'Twas I broke your heart
In your father's garden, that day we did part.
And this is a truth, and the truth I declare,
Oh, here's your love token--the gold ring I wear."

Notes

Thematically, this song follows in the long tradition of stories about people (usually soldiers) returning home after a long absence, and testing the faithfulness of the lovers they left behind before revealing themselves. C.f. The Odyssey, Martin Guerre (who, in fact, turned out to be an imposter), Cold Mountain, etc.

Waterloo:

The decisive battle where the British and Prussian forces, under the Duke of Wellington, defeated Napoleon of France on June 18th, 1815. That would put the events of this song somewhere between then and no more than a couple years afterwards--however long it would take a British soldier to return to Ireland. This is also the final stanza of the version of the song that's on the “No Man's Woman” single.

Musicians

(Source: Sean-Nós Nua)

Sinéad O'Connor vocals
Abdullah Chhadeh quanun
Nick Coplowe Hammond
Pete Lockett percussion
Dónal Lunny acoustic guitar, bouzouki, keyboard, bodhrán, bodhrán bass
Kieran Kiely whistle
Skip McDonald electric guitar
Rob Ó Géibheannaigh flute, strings
Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie drums, bass, piano
Bernard O'Neill acoustic bass
Professor Stretch drum programming, bass programming
Sharon Shannon accordion
Steve Wickham fiddle, mandolin, banjo

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Questions, comments, or corrections? Email me at jason@thankyouforhearingme.com.