Irish Lullabies

by Steven Ebel

Word count: 482

1. Heavens' cloths [sung text checked 1 time]

Had I the [heavens']1 embroidered cloths
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
Original title is "Aedh wishes for the cloths of heaven"; revised 1906; re-titled "He wishes for the cloths of heaven".

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 45.

1 Gurney: "Heaven's"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. An angel's lullaby [sung text checked 1 time]

The angels are [stooping]1, above your bed;
They weary of trooping with the whimpering dead.
God's laughing in heaven to see you so good;
The [Shining]2 Seven are gay with His mood.
[I kiss you and kiss you, my pigeon my own.
Ah how I shall miss you when you have grown.]3

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Una ninna nanna", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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First published in Scots Observer, April 1890; revised 1901
1 Grill: "singing"
2 Ebel, Grill: "Sailing"
3 Ebel: "I sigh that kiss you, for I must own/ That I shall miss you when you have grown."; Grill: "I sigh that kiss you, for I must own/ That I shall miss you when you have gone."

Research team for this text: Ted Perry , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

3. Come away! [sung text checked 1 time]

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

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First published in Irish Monthly, December 1886.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. An old song [sung text checked 1 time]

[Sweetheart, do]1 not love too long:
I loved long and long, 
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song. 

All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known 
Their own thought from the other's,
We were so much at one. 

But O, in a minute [she]2 changed --
O do not love too long, 
Or [you will]3 grow out of fashion
Like an old song.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Oh, n'aime pas trop longtemps", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 86.

1 Wilkinson: "O do"
2 Rorem: "he"
3 Wilkinson: "you'll"

Researcher for this text: John Versmoren