When You And I Were Young, Maggie - Song

When I was a kid, my dad who was from Binbrook, Ontario took me to the former site of an old mill near there, and sang me a few lines from an old song. It was "When You And I Were Young, Maggie". The words to this song was written Hamilton area school teacher, George Johnson, in 1864, for Margaret "Maggie" Clark - one of his pupils.

They fell in love and and while she was ill, George walked to the edge of Hamilton mountain, and wrote the lyrics. It was published in 1864, in a collection of poems entitled "Maple Leaves", and also appeared in the pages of a Hamilton newspaper at about that time. George and Maggie were married that year but she died only a few months later.

American James Austin Butterfield set the poem to music and it became popular all over the world. In 2005, the song was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. It has since morphed into a number of distinct versions and is often thought to be Irish or Scottish. [IB]

"Maggie" is easily available in a myriad of forms. The sound file linked below is by Waterford, Ontario musical saw player Allen Givens. He is accompanied on piano by Willard Challand.

The sheet music is from an early published edition of the song.

PS - A village in Tennessee also lays claim to this song - but it ain't so.


Title When You And I Were Young, Maggie - Song
Subject Social Life & Love Choral Music
Year 1864
Locale Southwestern
Keywords Binbrook Hamilton parlour song sentimental


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