I Won’t Be A Nun march

Also known as Captain’s Whiskers, Governor Taylor’s March, I Cannot Be A Slave, I’ll Marry And I Won’t Be A Nun, I’ll Marry And I’ll Never Be A Nun, Irish Freedom March, Máirseáil Uí Shúilleabháin, Máirseáil Uí Shúilleabháin Mhóir, O’Sullivan Mor, O’Sullivan The Great, O’Sullivan’s March, Officer On Guard, Or: The Better That He Longed For Never Came, Tyrone Ditches, Tyrone’s Ditches, Tyrones Ditches, Uí Shúilleabháin Mhóir.

There are 14 recordings of a tune by this name.

I Won’t Be A Nun has been added to 3 tune sets.

I Won't Be A Nun has been added to 39 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: I Won't Be A Nun
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: G>A |Bd g>a g2 fe | dB B>c B2 AG | Bd ce dB GB | Ag fe dc BA |
Bd g>a g>a b/a/g/f/ | ed B>c B2 AG | Bd ge dB AB | G2 G>A G2 :|
|: fg |a<f d>f d2 ga | bg e>f e2 ga | bg af ge dB | AD FA dc BA |
Bd g>a g>a b/a/g/f/ | ed B>c B2 AG | Bd ce dB AB | G2 G>A G2 :|
|: ab |c'b af ge dc | BG/B/ dB/d/ g2 ab | c'b af ge dB | BA AB A2 G>A |
Bd g>a g>a b/a/g/f/ | ed B>c B2 AG | Bd ge dB AB | G2 G>A G2 :|
X: 2
T: I Won't Be A Nun
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|: D>E |FA d>e d2 cB | AF F>G F2 ED | (3FGA dB AF DF | EF/E/ EF/E/ EF/E/ D>E |
(3FGA de d>e f/e/d/c/ | B/A/F FG FG/F/ ED | FA dB AF EC | D2 D>C D2 :|
|: A/B/c/d/ |ec A>B A2 A/B/d/e/ | fd B>c B2 de | fd ec dB AF | FE E>F E2 D>E |
FA d>e d2 f/e/d/c/ | BA F>E F2 FE/D/ | FA dc/B/ AF EC | D2 D>C D2 :|
|: de/f/ |g(3f/g/f/ e>c d(3B/c/B/ A>G | FD/F/ A/D/(3F/G/A/ d2 de/f/ | gf ec dB AF | (3FGA D>F EF/E/ D>E |
FG/A/ d>c d>e f/>e/d/c/ | BA FG F2 E>D | F/G/A dF AF EF | D2 D>C D2 :|
X: 3
T: I Won't Be A Nun
R: march
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G>A |: Bdg>f g2 fe | dBB>A B2 AG | Bdce dBGB | A2 A>B AB/A/ GA |
Bdg>f g2 fe | dBB>A B2 AG | Bdce dBAB | G2 G>F G2 :|
f>g |: afd>^c d2 ga | bge>d e2 ga | (3bag af ged>B | A2 A>B AB/A/ GA |
Bdg>f g2 fe | dBB>A B2 AG | Bdce dBAB | G2 G>F G2:|

Twelve comments

Did you hear the one about the two nuns? Well:

Here’s a couple of ways with them, and I actually do like playing them in both keys, moving from one to the other. Some folks, as has been said before, do not do the repeats, so, there’s another option, along with the several scattered through these two keys, getting a bit whoozy in the low down. The first is along the lines of the way Leo Rowsome had it on an old 78, with the repeats…

Almost forgot - It’s a March:

How else do you think they get around in those habits, you have to march…kickin’ all that fabric before you as you go, keeping a steady beat as you kick. Alright, yes, I am speaking from experience. So I once dressed up as Friar Tuck - in wool too. I’m getting itchy just thinking about it.

Two nuns were cycling along the cobbled road and heard to say "We’ve never come this way before".

Something to sing about, though not exactly the same air:

T: I Won’t Be a Nun
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
R: song
K: Cmaj
GG|c/c/B GG|AG FE|D2 GG|c2 AG|AG GG|FE DC|C2 EG|c2 GG|E2
A2|GG EE|E2 Ac|c2 cG|Ac Bc|cc Bc c2||

What a pi-ty that such a prêt-ty girl as I
Should be sent to a nun-ne-ry to pine a-way and die!

chorus: So I won’t be a nun, I can-not be a nun!
For I’m so fond of plea-sure that I can-not be a nun.

I’m sure I cannot tell what’s the mischief I have done,
But my mother oft tells me that I must be a nun.

chorus: But I won’t be a nun, I cannot be a nun!
I’m so fond of pleasure that I cannot be a nun.


I could not bear confinement, it would not do for me.
I like to go a-shopping and to see what I can see.

chorus: So I won’t be a nun, I cannot be a nun!
I’m so fond of pleasure that I cannot be a nun.


I love to hear men flattering, love fashionable clothes,
I love music and dancing and chatting with the beaux.

chorus: So I won’t be a nun, I cannot be a nun!
I’m so fond of pleasure that I cannot be a nun.


O mother, don’t be angry now, but let your daughter be,
For the nuns would not like to have a novice wild as me.

chorus: And I won’t be a nun, I cannot be a nun!
I’m so fond of pleasure that I cannot be a nun.


From Ballads and Songs, Belden
Collected from M. L. Greer; tune from G.C. Broadhead 1910

“Tyrone’s Ditches”:

For some their take on this one is just as a 2-parter, A & B. That’s OK, but it is a shame to miss the fun of part C…

i didn’t know there were words to this. Is it sung without the third part, so the verses line up with the parts? There aren’t enough verses for it to go through three parts twice.

i love this tune, but i thought it was a march. No?

Marching on - - -

Hey, I’m the dyslexic - check above, second from the top - "It’s a March!"

You can dance to marches, why not sing to them too, eh?

“Tyrone’s Ditches” ~ “The Tyrone March”

Key signature: A Mixolydian
Submitted on February 25th 2007 by ceolachan.
https://thesession.org/tunes/6860

This march has also picked up the title "Tyrone’s Ditches" or "Tyrone Ditches"… It would be good if someone out there can give some clarification on this point…

Didn’t Seamus Ennis record this tune? I can’t remember which album it appears on, or what title he gives it - clearly not one of the titles listed here, as no Seamus Ennis recordings come up in the discography. Looking through the recordings database, I notice that there is a tune on ‘The Best of Irish Piping’ called ‘O’ Sullivan the Great’. Could that be it?

“Captain’s Whiskers”, X:3

From the Connacht Ceili Band recording, before Shane O’ Neill’s.