“The Drowning of Young Robinson”


Robinson and (Wesley) go hunting by the Bann in winter. The ice is thin, and they fall through. Wesley can swim, and escapes; Robinson vanishes. Wesley summons help, but Robinson is drowned. Family and friends mourn


Morton regards this as an adaption of Laws Q33, "The Lake of Cool Finn (Willie Leonard)." There are similarities, especially in the scenes of mourning at the end, but calling the one an adaption of the other seems more than is called for. - RBW

In trying to date this ballad later than c.1830 -- suggested by one of his references -- Morton-Ulster notes that, in his text, the drowning follows "the steamboat passed down a few days ago, The ice it was broken these boys did not know." Morton points out that steam tugs were not used regularly on the river Bann in Seagor, County Armagh, until after 1880. That part of his argument for late dating does not apply to the broadside version in which "a small boat passed over a few days ago." (In one of the Creighton-Maritime texts no boats are mentioned; the other has "two boats had passed over.")

The Bodleian broadside and Morton-Ulster texts end with an Orange funeral ceremony ("Eight hundred Orangemen all stood in a ring, Where the Orange and Purple from their left breasts did hang...."). The Creighton texts have lost the Orange references altogether though the funerals are described with the colors worn ("green and purple" in one case and "red, white and green" in the other) and the music played ("God Save the King/Queen"). - BS


  • Bodleian, Harding B 26(705), "Young Robinson" ("In the parish of Seagoe, in the county Armagh"), J. Moore (Belfast) , 1852-1868; also 2806 b.10(103), "Young Robinson"


  • Robert Cinnamond, "Sloan Wellesley" (on IRRCinnamond01)


  1. SHenry H585, p. 147, "Sloan Wellesley" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Morton-Ulster 9, "The Drowning of Young Robinson" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. OrangeLark 15, "The Drowning of Young Robinson" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Creighton-Maritime, p. 104, "In the County of Innocent"; p. 105, "The Dog and the Gun" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  5. Roud #3600
  6. BI, HHH585


Alternate titles: “The Dog and the Gun”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1869 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 26(705))
Found in: Ireland Canada(Mar)