The Old Man's Saddest Story

We sat about the fireplace listening to the old man's tales
Of the youthful years of life he spent in lovely Alder Vale
He told some happy stories but he told some sad one's too
And the saddest story that he told I will relate to you.

'Twas the story of young Joaney Ryan who died whilst in her prime
When the fruits were ripe for picking in September's harvest time
She died at twenty three years old the valley beauty queen
And a fairer maid since her time the old man has not seen.

She was the most beautiful maid the old man ever knew
With sheeny hair of raven black and sparkling eyes of blue
Yet for all of her splendid beauty she did not show conceit
A better mannered girl than her no man could wish to meet.

Beauty it can take a woman quite a long, long way
But beauty quickly withers like the flowers that bloom in May,
You cannot judge a woman by her beauty or her dress
You can only judge a woman by the manner she possess.

He must have loved this lovely maid he must have loved her so
Who died in September forty six years ago
For as he told her story a tear showed in each eye
And it seemed quite clear to all of us that he was near to cry.

She died in a hospital this lady like woman
From Leuchaemia a disease that greatly curtail life's span
On the tenth day of September her remains were put to earth
Twenty three years and thirty six days from the day of her birth.

In each human's life story there is some share of woe
And the old man's saddest thoughts are of a maid he used to know
Who died of Leuchaemia whilst only in her prime
When the fruits were ripe for picking in September's harvest time.

by Francis Duggan

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