If I rightly remember the month was September,
And I was a-strolling up Mulligan’s lane;
Half-way up the boreen I chanced to meet Noreen –
And Noreen’s the comeliest colleen in Shane.
I thought as I met her I could not do better
Than linger awhile with the lass in the lane;
She said she was hurried, however, she tarried;
Och! She is a sly one, is Noreen of Shane.
Says I, ‘I am sorry to hear of your hurry;
I know that you hate to give anyone pain –
And if you go past now, so terribly fast now,
You’ll make me the mournfulest mortal in Shane.”
Says she, “You are joking, that clay pipe you’re smoking,
If it were now broken, ‘twould give you more pain;
I know you, brave Barney, you’re good at the blarney –
As many a maid know for miles around Shane.”
Says I, “Truth I’m telling, my bosom is swelling
With love that once wakened ne’er slumbers again;
From wild Tulnaverin to far Mullaghcairn
There is not the equal of Noreen of Shane.
And as the stars nightly above us shine brightly
Yet fade out of sight when the sun shines again,
So all I could muster of maids in a cluster,
Would dim ‘neath your lustre, oh, sun beam of Shane.”
Says she, “You’re a poet, without learning to show it” –
And then her sweet laugh lingered long in the lane.
Says I, “you’re a seraph, if you had a pair of
Light wings, you would fare off to Eden from Shane.”
Says she, “You’re as clever a fellow as ever
I met – all, dear Barney, you want is the brain.”
Says I, “You’re mistaken; my heart you have taken –
So all that I want is you, Noreen of Shane”.
Loud roars the breeze among the trees
That shield our house to-night
While here I crouch in the chimney nook,
So cosy, warm and bright.
‘Tis a pleasant place on a night like this –
But if the night were fair,
I’d restless be as waves of the sea,
In this cosy nook and chair.
I’d long to stay with my comrades gay
(There ne’er were comrades kinder)
Away I’d march for a wife to search –
But fearing yet to find her.
Now since from home I cannot roam
‘Neath these tempestuous skies:
To pass the time I’d make a rhyme,
And it may take a prize.
The wild winds yell, they seem to tell
That winter’s reign begins;
“Tis well, indeed, I’ve a fire of peat
At which to warm my shins.
Comes another blast, worse than the last,
Rain ‘gainst the window dashes;
Close to the peat advances my feet –
My toes are in the ashes.
“Sit from the fire” – ‘tis the voice of my sire –
“There’s a coal against your shoe.
While you sit poeming – God help the woman
That gets the like of you.”
“I hope He will,” says I with zeal,
“Bards are a privileged set;
An’ I prophecy that proud you’ll be
To be called my daddy yet.”
“Well, well,” he says, “the rugged braes
Of Fame’s step, lofty hills
You yet may climb by th’ dint of rhyme –
I believe in miracles.
November’s dead leaves now drift past,
November’s blast the forest bends.
But sadder than the wailing blast
Is that soul cry: “Have pity, friend!”
“Help! help!” that cry rings down the years.
“We seek not tears, nor vain regret;
We plead for prayers, but not for tears.
O help us, friends! to pay our debt!