Yorkshire girl

In Brief

The strains of "My girl's a Yorkshire girl," an Edwardian music-hall song by C. W. Murphy and Dan Lipton, first sound in Blazes Boylan's mind near the end of Wandering Rocks. They recur in Circe, it would seem, not only because one of the prostitutes says that she is from Yorkshire, but because the song itself concerns a meretricious young woman. For Boylan, who will be knocking on Leopold Bloom's door in an hour or two, the song holds an even more obvious significance.

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The video at right shows The Shannon Colleens (Sinead Murphy and Darina Gallagher) performing this song at Bewley's Cafe Theatre as part of the 2010 Bloomsday Festival in Dublin. The lyrics are below:

Two fellows were talking about
Their girls, girls, girls,
Sweethearts they left behind,
Sweethearts for whom they pined.
One said, My little shy little lass
Has a waist so trim and small;
Grey are her eyes so bright
But best, best of all—

My girl's a Yorkshire girl,
Yorkshire through and through.
My girl's a Yorkshire girl,
Eh, by gum, she's a champion!
Though she's a fact'ry lass,
And wears no fancy clothes
Still I've a sort of a Yorkshire relish for my little Yorkshire Rose.

When the first finished singing
The praise of Rose, Rose Rose,
Poor number two looked vexed,
Saying in tones perplexed,
My lass works in a factory too,
And also has eyes of grey,
Her name is Rose as well,
And strange, strange to say—

My girl's a Yorkshire girl,
Yorkshire through and through.
My girl's a Yorkshire girl,
Eh, by gum, she's a champion!
Though she's a fact'ry lass,
And wears no fancy clothes
Still I've a sort of Yorkshire relish for my little Yorkshire Rose.

To a cottage in Yorkshire they hied
To Rose, Rose, Rose,
Meaning to make it clear
Which was the boy most dear.
Rose, their Rose didn't answer the bell,
But her husband did instead.
Loudly he sang to them
As off, off they fled—

My girl's a Yorkshire girl,
Yorkshire through and through.
My girl's a Yorkshire girl,
Eh, by gum, she's a champion!
Though she's a fact'ry lass,
And wears no fancy clothes
Still I've a sort of Yorkshire relish for my little Yorkshire Rose.

When Bloom asks Zoe Higgins, "Where are you from? London?," she replies, "I'm Yorkshire born." Much later in Circe, Private Carr and Private Compton start singing the song in the street. Zoe hears them and jumps up in delight: "That's me. (She claps her hands.) Dance! Dance! (She runs to the pianola.) Who has twopence?" She gets two pennies from Lynch, drops them in the slot of the mechanical piano, and it "plays in waltz time the prelude of My Girl's a Yorkshire Girl" while Stephen waltzes Zoe around the room. Soon the pianola itself is singing the words of the song, joined by Zoe.

Boylan's Yorkshire girl, of course, is Molly, and the novel raises but does not answer the question, To whom exactly does this "Rose" belong?

JH 2015
Sheet music cover for "She's a Lassie from Lancashire," another song by C. W. Murphy and Dan Lipton. Source: www.fredgodfreysongs.ca.