The wind among the reeds

Song Cycle by Thomas Frederick Dunhill (1877 - 1946)

Word count: 516

1. To Dectora [sung text not yet checked]

Half close your eyelids, loosen your hair,
And dream about the great and their pride;
They have spoken against you everywhere,
But weigh this song with the great and their pride;
I made it out of a mouthful of air,
Their children's children shall say they have lied.

Authorship

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First published in Dome, May 1898, as one of the "Aodh to Dectora. Three Songs", revised 1899, revised 1906

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The host of the air [sung text not yet checked]

O'Driscoll drove with a song,
The wild duck and the drake,
From the tall and the tufted reeds
Of the drear Hart Lake.
  
And he saw how the reeds grew dark
At the coming of night tide,
And dreamed of the long dim hair
Of Bridget his bride.
  
He heard while he sang and dreamed
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.
  
And he saw young men and young girls
Who danced on a level place
And Bridget his bride among them,
With a sad and a gay face.
  
The dancers crowded about him,
And many a sweet thing said,
And a young man brought him red wine
And a young girl white bread.
  
But Bridget drew him by the sleeve,
Away from the merry bands,
To old men playing at cards
With a twinkling of ancient hands.
  
The bread and the wine had a doom,
For these were the host of the air;
He sat and played in a dream
Of her long dim hair.
  
He played with the merry old men
And thought not of evil chance,
Until one bore Bridget his bride
Away from the merry dance.
  
He bore her away in his arms,
The handsomest young man there,
And his neck and his breast and his arms
Were drowned in her long dim hair.
  
O'Driscoll scattered the cards
And out of his dream awoke:
Old men and young men and young girls
Were gone like a drifting smoke;
  
But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.

Authorship

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First published in Bookman, October 1893, revised 1894, revised 1899, later titled "The Host of the Air"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The cloths of heaven [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]

4. The fiddler of Dooney [sung text not yet checked]

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Mocharabuiee.

I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.

When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance:

And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With "Here is the fiddler of Dooney!"
And dance like a wave of the sea.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]