“The Flower of Benbrada”


"One evening fair, to take the air, By Curraghlane I chanced to stray." He sees a beautiful woman, comparing her to goddesses. "This lovely fair beyond compare, She now intends to go away." He will not tell her name, but hopes he has praised her truly


Although the author refuses to give the name of the emigrating beauty, Sam Henry says she was one Lizzie Donarghy, who went to America at an uncertain date.

The references to the classic goddesses in this song are unusual. The reference to Flora, who makes things blossom, is not rare, but I don't recall ever seeing a song referring to Hebe, the daughter of Zeus and Hera who symbolized youth and was a cup-bearer to the Olympians. I can't remember mention of Proserpine, either.

The mix of names is itself interesting -- Flora was a Roman goddess with no Greek counterpart; Hebe is a Greek name (Latin Juventas); Proserpina is the Latin name of Greek Persephone. - RBW


  1. SHenry H537, p. 239-240, "The Flower of Benbrada" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #9476
  3. BI, HHH537


Author: Francey Heaney
Earliest date: 1934 (Sam Henry collection)
Keywords: beauty emigration
Found in: Ireland