1 Down by the Salley Gardens is a poem published in 1889 by Irish poet, William Butler Yeats (Yates) (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939). Yeats indicated in a note 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 composer John Ireland earlier set the words to an original melody .
Salley in Irish means Willow.
Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white
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.