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|Thomas Moore (1779-1882) wrote these lyrics to the tune Garry Owen. It is also known as We May Roam Through This World.
The tune is first documented as Auld Bessy in 1788. It was later (1800) in the opera Harlequin Amulet (the Majic of Mona). About that time it was attributed to "Jackson of Cork" by a book of Country Dances by William Campbell. It also appeared in part two (1802) of Nathaniel Gow's four volume Complete Repository of the Original Scotch Slow Tunes.
For a complete list of tunes by Thomas Moore at this site see the Contemplator's Short Biography of Thomas Moore.
We may roam thro' this world, like a child at a feast,
Who but sips of a sweet, and then flies to the rest,
And when pleasure begins to grow dull in the east,
We may order our wings and be off to the west;
But if hearts that feel and eyes that smile,
Are the dearest gifts that heav'n supplies,
We never need leave our own green Isle,
For sensitive hearts and for sun bright eyes.
Then remember where ever your goblet is crown'd,
Tho' this world whether eastward or westward you roam,
When a cup to the smile of dear woman goes round,
Oh! remember the smile which adorns her at home.
In England the garden of beauty is kept
By a dragon of prudery plac'd within call;
But so oft this unamiable dragon has slept,
That the garden's but carelessly watched after all.
Oh! they want the wild sweet briary fence,
Which round the flow'rs of Erin dwells,
Which warms the touch, while winning the sense,
Nor charms us least when it most repels.
In France, when the heart of a woman sets sail,
On the ocean of wedlock its fortune to try;
Love seldom goes far in a vessel so frail,
But pilots her off, and then bids her goodbye.
While the daughters of Erin keep the boy
Ever smiling beside his faithlful oar,
Thro' billows of woe and beams of joy
The same as he look'd when he left the shore.
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See Bibliography for full information.
Information from Bruce Olsen's Roots of Folk Website
Information on Garry Owen is in the Early Irish Tunes Index.