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The Round Tower of Clondalkin

CLONDALKIN (pronounced Clondawkin), a village about five miles from Dublin; it possesses a fine specimen of those mysterious buildings called Round or Pillar Towers.
An attempt has been made to translate, or rather to imitate, some Irish verses, which the writer remembers to have heard repeated many years since. The prudent conduct of the fair Maid of Clondalkin, and of her no less prudent lover, probably became the subject of song, in consequence of the extreme rarity of such occurrences
in Ireland.

OH the girl of my heart, like the tower of Clondalkin,
Is tall and is straight, whether dancing or walking;
On her head is a cap, that is fit for an angel,*
And may Heaven from its wearer avert every strange ill.
Oh the girl that I love, I first saw at Clondalkin,
As she sat at the door neatly mending her stocking ;
And so clean and so tidy, were all things around her,
I thought she would make, the good wife, I've since found her.
I met her next day by the tower of Clondalkin,
As I was my ballads and other wares hawking;
I offered her one, with a voice sweet as honey,
But she said, “I can't buy, for I'm saving my money.
“When a husband I get, ’mong the boys of Clondalkin,
Not to help him a trifle, would surely be shocking ;—
And let but the lad that is smart and is clever,
Just pop me the question—his wife I’m for ever !”
“Success may attend you, fair maid of Clondalkin,
May I ask, are you serious—or are you but mocking ?”
She answered me not—but as swift lightning flashes,
Her soul from her dark eyes shot forth ’neath their lashes.—
That look was enough—by the tower of Clondalkin,
I felt my heart make ’gainst my ribs such a knocking,
That I soon guessed the cause ; for I'm not very stupid,
And I knew I was fairly a victim to Cupid. %
I shall never forget thee, thou tower of Clondalkin,
As I stood with her ’neath thee, entangled in talking ;
Her air, like thy head, had as lofty a bearing,
While her words were the magic of humbleness wearing.
The question was asked, by the tower of Clondalkin,
Where Mary now sits our child’s cradle a rocking ;
Tho' her beauty was great, ’twas her prudence did wheedle
The heart from my bosom—Cupid’s dart was her needle.


* An old Irish writer, speaking of the Barradh, or Conical Cap, of the Irish, which was similar in shape to the architectural finish of the Pillar Tower, says, “that it is a head-dress fit for an angel.” — I think this commendation is recorded in Walker’s Essay on the National Dress of Ireland.

% Cupid-ity? Printer's Devil.

(notes by Letitia Landon)
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on August 16, 2016

2:22 min read


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