“Na Leannain Bhriotacha (The Stuttering Lovers)”


Birds fly into a poor man's corn. His daughter follows. A fisherman's son follows her. They kiss. The poor old man finds them: "If that's the way ye're minding the corn I'll mind it myself in the morn"


OLochlainn-More: Translated as "Na Leannain Bhriotacha" to Gaelic by Father Tomas O Ceallaigh.

The fourth line of each verse mimics stuttering (for example, "I'll mind it myself in the m-m-m-m-m-morn"). The effect is preserved in the Gaelic (for example, "Rachad na bhfiel me f-f-f-f-fein")

IRClancyMakem02 cover notes: "'The Stuttering Lovers' ... was collected and arranged by Herbert Hughes."

John Moulden pointed me to the late Bruce Olsen's Roots of Folk website which has been moving and I can no longer find. Fortunately John quoted a good part of the reference. He pins down the IRClancyMakem02 reference for Hughes to 1906 sheet music. Olsen then refers, for a source, to "English MS Harleian 6057, c 1632." No stuttering in this version, but the same repetition pattern. The birds fly into the corn. "The little boy ...spiede his dame In the middle of all the green and kisses her. "'It's enough to tempt a woman,' quote she, 'That never knew man before." The old man finds them making love, chases the boy away, and he'll keep the birds to himself tomorrow. - BS


  • The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, "The Stuttering Lovers" (on IRClancyMakem02)


  1. OLochlainn-More 12, "The Stuttering Lovers" (1 text, 1 tune); 12A, "Na Leannain Bhriotacha" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #9669
  3. BI, OLcM012


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1906 (sheet music "arranged by Herbert Hughes," according to Bruce Olsen)
Found in: Ireland