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.
About the headline (FAQ)First published in Bookman, October 1893, revised 1894, revised 1899, later titled "The Host of the Air"
- by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939), "The stolen bride" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Thomas Frederick Dunhill (1877 - 1946), "The host of the air", published 1905 [voice and piano], from The wind among the reeds, no. 2. [text not verified]
- by Charles Martin Tornov Loeffler (1861 - 1935), "The host of the air", published 1935 [voice and orchestra], from Five Irish Fantasies, no. 1. [text not verified]
- by Nicholas Marshall (b. 1942), "The host of the air" [high voice, treble recorder, violoncello, harpsichord], from The falling of the leaves [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-09-07
Line count: 44
Word count: 275