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Lyr Add: O'Donovan's Daughter

GUEST,Jerry A. O'Neill 19 Jul 21 - 02:42 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: O'Donovan's Daughter
From: GUEST,Jerry A. O'Neill
Date: 19 Jul 21 - 02:42 PM

O'DONOVAN'S DAUGHTER
by Edward Walsh.
Sung to the same air as “The Jail of Cluain Meala”

One midsummer's eve, when the Bel-fires were lighted,
And the bagpiper's tone called the maidens delighted,
I joined a gay group by the Araglin's water,
And danced till the dawn with O'Donovan's Daughter.

Have you seen the ripe mónadán glisten in Kerry,
Have you marked on the Galtees the black whortleberry,
Or ceannabhán wave by the wells of Blackwater?
They're the cheek, eye, and neck of O'Donovan's Daughter.

Have you seen a gay kidling on Claragh's round mountain,
The swan's arching glory on Sheeling's blue fountain,
Heard a weird woman chant what the fairy choir taught her?
They've the step, grace, and tone of O'Donovan's Daughter!

Have you marked in its flight the black wing of the raven,
The rosebuds that breathe in the summer breeze waven,
The pearls that lie hid under Leane's magic water?
They're the teeth, lip, and hair of O'Donovan's Daughter!

Ere the Bel-fire was dimmed or the dancers departed,
I taught her a song of some maid broken-hearted:
And that group, and that dance, and that love-song I taught her
Haunt my slumbers at night with O'Donovan's Daughter.

God grant, 'tis no fay from Cnoc-Firinn that woos me,
God grant, 'tis not Clíodhna the queen that pursues me,
That my soul lost and lone has no witchery wrought her,
While I dream of dark groves and O'Donovan's Daughter.


If, spell bound, I pine with an airy disorder,
Saint Gobnait has sway over Muskerry’s wide border;
She'll scare from my couch, when with prayer I've besought her.
That bright airy sprite like O'Donovan's Daughter.

This poem is set in north Cork, “by Araglin’s water” near Fermoy during Midsummer’s celebrations.
Bel-fires. I understood this term as referring to bonfires burned on May 1st – Beal tine. Perhaps it has a wider meaning as suggested here.
Mónadán; cranberry
Marked: noticed
Ceannabhán; Bog cotton (a flower)
Kidling: a kid, baby goat.
Leane. Lough Leane, Killarney
Saint Gobnait has sway over Muskerry’s wide border.
St. Gobnait, a popular saint in Muskerry, an area in northwest Cork.
Fay: Fairy
Cnoc-Firinn: Cnoc Fírinne, Knockfeerina. A hill in Co. Limerick associated with many fairy tales.
Clíodhna, queen of the fairies.
Jerry A. O’Neill.


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Mudcat time: 24 July 11:16 PM EDT

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