A Little Poetry—The original poem, “My Orcha’d in Linden Lea,” by William Barnes was written in the Dorset dialect. It begins “‘Ithin the woodlands, flow’ry gleaded;/ By the woak tree’s mossy moot,/ The sheenan grass bleads, timber sheaded,/ Now do quiver under voot.”
A Little Music—The composer Ralph Vaughan Williams set to music this poem in common English and another by Barnes—”In the Spring.” You can listen to a beautiful choral recording of the song “Linden Lea” at You Tube. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvoYHwYDYLA>
Down by the salley gardens, my love and I did meet.
She passed the salley gardens with little, snow-white feet.
She bid me take life easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her did not agree.
In a field by a river, my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish and now am full of tears.
A Little Poetry—Yeats presented “Down by the Salley Gardens” (originally titled “An Old Song Resung”) as “an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman.”
The word ‘salley’ suggests a garden of weeping willow trees. A ‘weir’ is a dam built across a river to control water levels.
A Little Music—In 1909, Hubert Hughs set Yeat’s poem to the wistful air “The Maids of the Mourne Shore.” You can listen to Roisin Reilly sing it on YouTube. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=g5e8OJibhmI>
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear.
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close:
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose.
“Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms” was a popular song in early nineteenth-century Ireland and America, written by Thomas Moore to a traditional Irish air in 1808. According to story, Moore wrote the song for his wife Bessy after she was disfigured by smallpox. Believing that he could no longer love her, Bessy kept herself locked in her room and would not let her husband see her. Moore wrote the lyrics of this song to assure his wife of the constancy of his love. Hearing him singing the song outside the bedroom door, Bessy finally let her husband in and fell into his arms, her confidence restored.
You can listen to Joni James sing the song at YouTube. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87WWMvlPXA8>
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.
Goethe said that everyone should read a little poetry and see a fine picture every day, to prevent worldly cares from overcoming our sense of the beautiful. Get your daily dose of beauty at Wrestle with the Angel.