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Spinning Songs

Padraic Colum 1881 (County Longford) – 1972 (Enfield)

(A Young Girl sings it)
THE Lannan Shee
Watched the young man Brian
Cross over the stile towards his father's door,
And she said, 'No help,
For now he'll see
His byre, his bawn, and his threshing-floor!
And, oh, the swallows
Forget all wonders
When walls with the nests rise up once more!'
My strand is knit.

'Out of the dream
Of me, into
The round of his labour he will grow;
To spread his fields
In the winds of spring,
And tramp the heavy glebe and sow;
And cut and clamp
And rear the turf
Until the season when they mow.'
My wheel runs smooth.

'And while he toils
In field and bog
He will be anxious in his mind
About the thatch
Of barn and rick
Against the reiving autumn wind,
And how to make
His gap and gate
Secure against the thieving kind.'
My wool is fine.

'He has gone back;
No more I'll see
Mine image in his deepening eyes;
Then I'll lean above
The Well of the Bride,
And with my beauty, peace will rise!
O autumn star
In a lake well hid,
Fill up my heart and make me wise!'
My quick brown wheel!

'The women bring
Their pitchers here
At the time when the stir of the house is o'er;
They'll see my face
In the well-water,
And they'll never lift their pitchers more.
For each will say
'How beautiful
Why should I labour any more!
Indeed I come
Of a race so fine
'Twere waste to labour any more!''
My thread is spun.

(An Older Girl sings if)
One came before her and said, beseeching,
'I have fortune and I have lands,
And if you'll share in the goods of my household
All my treasure's at your commands.'

But she said to him, 'The goods you proffer
Are far from my mind as the silk of the sea!
The arms of him, my young love, round me,
Is all the treasure that's true for me!'

'Proud you are, then, proud of your beauty,
But beauty's a flower will soon decay;
The fairest flowers they bloom in the summer,
They bloom one summer, and they fade away.'

'My heart is sad, then, for the little flower
That must so wither where fair it grew
He who has my heart in keeping,
I would he had my body too.'

(An Old Woman sings if)
There was an oul' trooper went riding by
On the road to Carricknabauna,
And sorrow is better to sing than cry
On the way to Carricknabauna!
And as this oul' trooper went riding on
He heard this sung by a crone, a crone
On the road to Carricknabauna!

'I'd spread my cloak for you, young lad,
Were it only the breadth of a farthen,
And if your mind was as good as your word.
In troth, it's you I'd rather!
In dread of ere forgetting this,
And before we go any farther,
Hoist me up to the top of the hill,
And show me Carricknabauna!'

'Carricknabauna, Carricknabauna,
Would you show me Carricknabauna?
I lost a horse at Cruckmaelinn,
At the Cross of Bunratty I dropped a limb,
But I left my youth on the crown of the hill
Over by Carricknabauna!'
Girls, young girls, the rush-light is done.
What will I do till my thread is spun?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:55 min read

Padraic Colum

Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer, playwright, children's author and collector of folklore. more…

All Padraic Colum poems | Padraic Colum Books

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    "Spinning Songs" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 12 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/28502/spinning-songs>.

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