Thursday, 4 October 2012

Mick McGilligan’s Daughter, Mary Anne

Lowry refers to the song Mick McGilligan’s Daughter, Mary Anne in his novel Ultramarine; "Paddy - give us Paddy McGulligan's daughter, Mary Ann." (Pg. 64).

Mick McGilligan’s Daughter, Mary Anne is an anonymous Irish bawdy song, which only exists in print in Louis Tierney’s cleaned-up version:

I’m a gallant Irishman
I’ve a daughter Mary Anne
She’s the sweetest, neatest, colleen in the Isle
Though she can’t now purchase satin
She’s a wonder at bog latin
In a fluent, fascinatin’ sort of style
When she’s sellin’ fruit or fish
Sure, it is her fondest wish
For to capture with her charm some handsome man
Ah! no matter where she goes
Sure, everybody knows
That she’s Mick McGilligan’s daughter Mary Anne

She’s a darlin’, she’s a daisy
And she’s set the city crazy
Though in build, and talk, and manner, like a man
When me precious love draws near
You can hear the people cheer
For Mick McGilligan’s daughter Mary Anne

Alternative chorus:
She’s me darlin’, she’s me daisy
She damn near drives me crazy
She’s got hairs upon her chest like any man
And you know she’s on the rocks
When she’s wearin’ cotton socks
Mick McGilligan’s daughter, Mary Anne

There are eight more verses, which elaborate on the masculine qualities of Mary Anne. This has resonance in Ultramarine, for the underlying theme is that Dana is a ‘nancy’, i.e. effeminate and not a ‘real man’. James Joyce also alludes to this song in Ulysses; this may be a coincidence, but Lowry includes further allusions to Ulysses in Ultramarine, so it seems that he certainly was aware of Joyce’s reference to the song. Another possible influence is Conrad Aiken’s Blue Voyage, Chapter 3, when the gambler sings about a girl who ‘can’t keep her petticoat down’.

This song is not to be confused with another song The Great Big Wheel with another Mary Annwhich Lowry refers to in an untitled poem (Collected Poetry 265.1) and in his film script for Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night (Pg. 223). Lowry stated that he heard The Great Big Wheel from a neighbour; "The song about Mary Ann and the Ferris Wheel was sung for us, out of the blue, on New year's Eve, by one of our neighbours, a Guernsey fisherman of 75, who had come to visit us while we were revising the scene. He did not know what we were writing about. The song was probably written about 1890, is English, forgotten, if ever remembered, and even if ever published, which is doubtful, can be no longer copyright." (Notes on a Screenplay for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night Pg. 72). This song is a different one to the one written by E. W. Rogers in June 1895, and sung by Arthur Lennard (1867-1954).

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