The Bridal Of Lady Aideen
O Lady Aideen, will you wed with me, wed with me in the early morning?
A silken gown for your body's wear, a golden crown for your hair's adorning.
(One flirting magpie on the quicken tree flies from his perching 'twixt you and me.)
The proudest colt that my land has fed
For you shall chafe first harnessèd,
And for your bidding six maidens be.
(O bird of sorrow, 'tween hope and me!)
O Earl Desmond, I am loath to speak, loath to speak for your true heart's sorrow,
I'll be a bride at no man's altar, though I be a wedded bride to-morrow.
(Death's hand closes on the digging spade; rest for ever 'neath the yew-tree's shade.)
Six slow steeds will my body bear,
To fret or prance they will not care,
And no handmaiden with me would dwell.
(Hark! the tolling of the passing bell.)
O Lady Aideen, will you name for me, name for me who won my refusing?
Who hath the singing and all the sun on earth for ever and I the losing?
(Oh, the plough horses going off from me, sorrow and tears will my harvest be!)
My arms were strong for your woman's fear;
My heart were weak for your loving, dear.
What can he give whom you will not name?
(Clings a winding-sheet by the candle's flame.)
Earl Desmond, be you brave for sorrow, brave for sorrow which is no man's shielding;
Love has wept till his eyes grew blind, and victory's not in a weapon's yielding.
(Six black horses awaiting me, the ring of the spade has ceased to be.)
My lord is named with a bated breath,
Whom hope calls 'Life' and despair names 'Death.'
And, oh, his love no world can kill!
(The banshee waits on the window-sill.)