“The Banks of the Roses”


In full form, (Jeannie) meets (Johnny) on the banks of the Roses and bids him never leave her. (Her father opposes the relationship.) Johnny takes her to a (cave) containing her grave; he kills and buries her. Many versions leave out portions of this plot


Evidently singers loved the tune of this song, and the first few verses, but didn't like the murder ballad aspect. As a result, the first half of the song circulates independently, with Jeannie and Johnny courting and either getting married or peacefully going their separate ways. The result is lyric, and I suspect survives only because of its strong melody. - RBW

Folktrax site includes the following note for "The Banks of the Roses" which might explain the Greenleaf/Mansfield title: "PETRIE 1902 #253 has Irish song to same air. 'Ta mo chleamhnas deanta' is alternative title to tune 'The Banks of the Daisies.'" - BS


  • Seamus Ennis, "The Banks of the Roses" (on Lomax42, LomaxCD1742)
  • Lizzie Higgins, "The Banks of Red Roses" (on Voice10)


  1. Doerflinger, pp. 315-316, "The Banks of the Roses" (1 text, 1 tune -- a lyric version)
  2. MacSeegTrav 72, "The Banks of Red Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Greenleaf/Mansfield 105, "The Banks of the Dizzy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Peacock, pp. 497-498, "The Banks of the Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. OLochlainn 80, "The Banks of the Roses" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Silber-FSWB, p. 144, "Banks Of The Roses" (1 text -- a lyric version)
  8. Roud #603
  9. BI, Doe315


Author: unknown
Earliest date: c. 1790 (Madden Collection); also a fragment as #7 in the _Scots Musical Museum_
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber)) US(MA) Ireland Canada(Newf)