BONNY PORTMORE. AKA and see "Peggy Levin," "Peggi Ni Leavan," "Peggy na Leavien." Irish, Slow Air (3/4 or 3/8 time). D Mixolydian (O Boyle): D Dorian (Darley & McCall): E Mixolydian (O'Sullivan/Bunting). Standard. One part (O'Boyle): AB (Darley & McCall): ABC (O'Sullivan/Bunting). The Irish collector Edward Bunting (1840) found the tune a favorite air in County Antrim around the area of Ballinderry. He states:
Portmore, an old residence of the O'Neill's, stood on the
banks of Lough Beg, a small and shallow, but picturesque,
sheet of water adjoining Lough Neagh. The ivy-clad ruins
of the old church still stand on a neighbouring eminence,
which in summer forms a promontory, and in winter is
surrounded by the waters of the lake. On the plantation of
this part of the country in 1611, Portmore became the property
of Lord Conway, who built a manison here, of which there are
still some traces. (O Boyle states Conway built the castle on the
ruins of a more ancient fortress in 1664, but that it was neglected
after his death and finally, in 1761, most of the buildings were removed.)
This was a favourite retreat of Doctor JeremyTaylor, when Bishop
of Dromore; and the tree under which he used to sit, to hear this
melody sung by the peasantry was pointed out until some years
ago. (O Boyle states this oak was referred to as the 'ornament tree',
some fourteen yards in circumference, which was blown down in
1760 and sold for lumber). The air is probably as old as the time of
the O'Neill's in Ballinderry, to whose declining fortunes there would
appear to be an allusion in the first stanza of the English words, which
are still sung with it:
Bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more my heart warms.
But if I had you now, as I had once before,
All the gold in all England would not buy you, Portmore!
O'Sullivan (1983) notes that nothing is known of the Peggy Leavan of the alternate title, whose name is misspelt in Irish, and whose name in English would by Peggy or Margaret Levinge. Sources for notated versions: MS of Mr. A Lowe (Fairview, Ireland) which contains many tunes by piper Hugh O'Beirne (Mohill, Co. Leitrim), 1846 [Darley & McCall]; either the harper Arthur O'Neill or Ulster harper Daniel Black at Glenoak, 1796 (the former is cited in Bunting's MS, the latter in his 1840 volume) [Bunting]. Darley & McCall (The Darley & McCall Collection of Traditional Irish Music), 1914; No. 53, pg. 23 (appears as "Peggy Levin"). Ó Boyle (The Irish Song Tradition), 1976; pg. 50. O'Sullivan/Bunting (Bunting's Ancient Music of Ireland), 1983; No. 109, pgs. 156-157.
PEGGY LEVIN (Ni Sleabin). AKA and see "Bonny Portmore."
PEGGY NA LEAVIEN. AKA and see "Bonny Portmore."
PEGGY NI LEAVAN. AKA and see "Bonny Portmore."