“The Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow”


"O 'twas on a bright mornin' in summer When I first heard her voice singin' low As he said to a colleen beside him, 'Who's the pretty girl milkin' the cow?'"


O'Conor seems more complete than Sandburg. He hears her singing and professes to be "your captive slave for the future." She is not taken in by his profession, nor by his claim that "The Indies afford no such jewel" or that he would trade "the wealth of great Omar... Devonshire's treasure ... the lamp of Aladdin" to "live poor on a mountain With colleen dhas cruthin amoe." He warns "a young maid is like a ship sailing, She don't know how long she may steer" and he asks her to marry.

Samuel Lover in _Rory O'More_ (1836) quotes this fragment: "I saw a young damsel--'twas Noreen; Her ringlets did carelessly flow Oh: how I adore you, ma voureen Ma Colleen dhas crutheen na mbho." - BS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Firth b.26(457), "The Pretty Maid Milking her Cow," G. Walker (Durham), 1797-1834; also Harding B 25(1563), Firth c.18(163), Harding B 11(2386), Harding B 11(2846), "[The] Pretty Maid Milking her Cow"; 2806 b.11(99), "Colleen Dhas Crutha Na Mho" ("It was on a fine summer's morning"), W. Birmingham (Dublin), c.1867; also 2806 c.15(127), Harding B 19(79), "Colleen Dhas Crutha Na Mho"
  • Murray, Mu23-y1:029, "Colleen Dhas Crutha na Mho," James Lindsay Jr (Glasgow), 19C


  • Tom Lenihan, "Cailin Deas Cruite Na mBo" (on IRClare01)
  • J. W. Myers, "Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow" (Berliner 1772, late 1890s)


  1. O'Conor, pp. 58-59, "The Pretty Maid Milking Her Cow" (1 text)
  2. OLochlainn 57, "Cailin Deas Cruite Na MBo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. McBride 14, "Cailin Deas Cruite na mBo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Munnelly/Deasy-Lenihan 13, "Cailin Deas Cruite na mBo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Sandburg, p. 40, "Who's the Pretty Girl Milkin' the Cow?" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  6. Roud #3139
  7. BI, San040


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1835 (broadside, Bodleian Firth b.26(457))
Keywords: love work
Found in: US(MW) Ireland