“Gay Girl Marie”


The singer sends a love letter to his "gay girl Marie." The courier, however, delivers it to her father, who is outraged, and sends her into exile. The singer searches at great length, and is almost in despair when he hears a girl weeping and it is Marie


Samuel P. Bayard conjectures that "Gay Girl Marie" is a corruption of Gaelic "mo gradh geal mo chroidhe," "bright heart's love." Meredith and Anderson make the same conjecture about their title, "Gargal Machree."

Sam Henry's has a title "Gragalmachree" which makes this certain, but it's not certain that it's the same song. Both obviously are built around the same Gaelic phrase, but they may be independent. That other song is indexed as "Gra Geal Mo Chroi (II -- Down by the Fair River)"; see the notes there. But note also that that song has many floating verses, one could easily confuse short versions. The editors of the Sam Henry collection, e.g., lumped a version of that song with this, and I followed that in early versions of the Index. Credit goes to Ben Schwartz for spotting the distinction. - RBW


  • Bodleian, Harding B 25(768)[illegible lines], "Gragerel Macgre" ("I am a fond lover that sorely opprest"), J. Jennings (London), 1790-1840; also Harding B 17(117a), "Grageral Macgree"


  1. Laws M23, "Gay Girl Marie"
  2. Randolph 124, "Gay Girl Marie" (1 text)
  3. Meredith/Anderson, p. 194, "Gargal Machree" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Leach-Labrador 135, "Grogal McCree" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Lehr/Best 45, "Gra Geal Mo Chroi" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. DT 583, GAYGIRLM
  7. Roud #1020
  8. BI, LM23


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1841 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 25(768))
Found in: US(NE,So) Australia Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)