Tuesday, February 7, 2017

She Moved Through the Fair

(Click on link lower right "Harp Demo" to watch youtube video with Sinead O'Connor.)
In so many cases ancient songs were saved because lyrics were finally written for them, or old lyrics were discarded and replaced with new, better, and often, unforgettable ones.  That was the case with Padraic  (pn. Podrig) Colum as it was with Robert Burns.  Podrig is here to tell a little about his life and the discovery of She Moved Through the Fair.
I was born Dec. 8, 1881 in Longford County, Ireland.    I was a poet. dramatist, folklorist and children's writer.  I couldn’t get enough of writing.  At the age of twenty three I was lucky to be considered a gifted, prolific, and versatile writer. I was a major contributor to the Irish National Theatre Society, founded by by W. B. Yeats, and others, and I was one of the founders of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin..
I was a representative for all those who wish to preserve Irish Culture and Customs.  I collected Irish folk songs, including the mixolydian melody, She Moved Through the Fair.   That tune can be traced back to the Middle Ages. It has been found both in Ireland and in Scotland, but my musicologist friend Herbert Hughes and I first collected scraps of the song in County Donegal.  I wrote  most of the verses and adapted some lines, and Herbert, in his wonderful style of Debussy, arranged the melody you know today.  I died in Enfield, Connecticut, on January 11, 1972, and was buried in Ireland.  I will read the verses for you. 
She Moved Through the Fair

1.      My young love said to me, “My brothers won't mind,
And my parents won't slight you for your lack of kind.”
Then she stepped away from me and this she did say:
“It will not be long, love, til our wedding day.”

2.      She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her go here and go there,
Then she went her way homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

3.      The people were saying no two were e'er wed
But one had a sorrow that never was said,
And I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear,
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.

   I dreamt it last night that my dead love came in,
So softly she entered, her feet made no din;
She came close beside me, and this she did say,
“It will not be long, love, 'til our wedding day!"