Four Songs of Dreams and Love

Song Cycle by Robert Leon Rollin (b. 1947)

Word count: 395

?. Brown penny [sung text not yet checked]

I whispered, "I am too young,"
And then, "I am old enough;"
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.

"Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair."
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.

O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love.

Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

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Note: revised after 1910

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The old men [sung text not yet checked]

I heard the old, old men say,
"Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away."
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say,
"All that's beautiful drifts away,
Like the waters."

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First published in Pall Mall Magazine, January 1903

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 82.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The cat and the moon [sung text not yet checked]

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon
The creeping cat looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For wander and wail as he would
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass,
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Le chat et la lune", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 310.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Down by the Salley Gardens [sung text not yet checked]

Down by the Salley Gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the Salley Gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take [love]1 easy, as the leaves grow on the [tree]2;
But I, being young and foolish, with her [did]3 not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRI Frisian (Geart van der Meer) , "Bij de marswâl", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)

Retitled "Down by the Salley Gardens" with the subtitle "An old song re-sung" when republished in Poems in 1895.

Note: "salley" is an anglicized form of the Irish word "saileach", which means willow.

1 Gurney: "life"
2 Edmunds: "trees"
3 Edmunds, Gurney: "would"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry