Today’s offering from raw elements is a lovely old Irish air, with lyrics specially written by your man Yeats. I’ve included a note on the poem and the lyrics below…
W.B. Yeats wrote of his poem that it was “an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballisodare, Sligo, who often sings them to herself”. The tune itself is older and belonged originally to the song The Maids of the Mourne Shore. A “salley” is a willow tree. Here’s the poem:
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 love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her did not agree.
In a field by the 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.