Four Irish Lyrics

Song Cycle by Walter Butler

Word count: 378

?. Four ducks on a pond [sung text not yet checked]

Four ducks on a pond,
A grass-bank beyond,
A blue sky of spring,
White clouds on the wing;
What a little thing
To remember for years--
To remember with tears!

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The cloak, the boat, and the shoes [sung text not yet checked]

'What do you make so fair and bright?'

'I make the cloak of Sorrow:
O lovely to see in all men's sight
Shall be the cloak of Sorrow,
In all men's sight.'

'What do you build with sails for flight?'

'I build a boat for Sorrow:
O swift on the seas all day and night
Saileth the rover Sorrow,
All day and night.'

What do you weave with wool so white?'

'I weave the shoes of Sorrow:
Soundless shall be the footfall light
In all men's ears of Sorrow,
Sudden and light.'

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First published in Dublin University Review, March 1885, revised 1895

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. 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.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The Lake Isle of Innisfree [sung text not yet checked]

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
      And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
  
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,	
      And evening full of the linnet's wings.
  
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;	
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,	
      I hear it in the deep heart's core.

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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
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Innisfree, l'isola sul lago", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First published in National Observer, December 1890

Confirmed with The Poetical Works of William B. Yeats in two volumes, volume 1 : Lyrical Poems, The Macmillan Company, New York and London, 1906, page 179.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]