A vision


Once I strayed from Charleville
As careless as could be
I wandered over plain and hill
Until I reached the Lee,
And there I found a flowery dell
Of beauty rare to tell
With woods around as rich in swell
As eye shall ever see

Wild-birds warbled in their bower
Songs passing soft and sweet
And brilliant hues adorned each flower
That bloomed beneath my feet
All sickness, feebleness, and pain
The wounded heart and tortured brain
Would vanish, ne’er to come again
In that serene retreat

Lying in my lonely lair
In sleep medreamt I saw
A damsel wonderfully fair
Whose beauty waked my awe
Her eyes were lustrous to behold
Her tresses shone like flowing gold,
And nigh her stood that urchin bold
Young Love, who gives earth law

The boy drew near me, smiled, and laughed
And from his quiver drew
A delicately pointed shaft
Whose mission I well knew
But that bright maiden raised her hand
And in a tone of high command
Exclaimed, “Forbear ! put up your brand
He hath not come to woo”

“Damsel of the queenly brow”
I spake, “my life, my love,
What name, I pray thee, bearest thou
Here or in heaven above?”
“Banba and Eire am I called
And Heber’s kingdom, now enthralled
I mourn my heroes, fetter-galled
While all alone I rove”

Together then in that sweet place
In saddest mood we spoke
Lamenting much the valiant race
Who wear the exile’s yoke
And never hear aught glad or blithe
Naught but the sound of spade or scythe
And see naught but the willow withe
Or gloomy grove of oak


Translated by James Clarence Mangan (1803-1849) from the writings of Conor O’Riordan. O’Riordan was a schoolmaster in his native West Muskerry, County Cork about 1760.


Song Clip



Song Themes