Auld Lang Syne: Mairi Campbell & Ronnie Browne

Shid ald akwentans bee firgot, an nivir brocht ti mynd? Shid ald akwentans bee firgot, an ald lang syn*?

Fir ald lang syn, ma jo, fir ald lang syn, wil tak a cup o kyndnes yet, fir ald lang syn.

An sheerly yil bee yur pynt-staup! an sheerly al bee myn! An will tak a cup o kyndnes yet, fir ald lang syn.

We twa hay rin aboot the braes, an pood the gowans fyn; Bit weev wandert monae a weery fet, sin ald lang syn.

We twa hay pedilt in the burn, fray mornin sun til dyn; But seas between us bred hay roard sin ald lang syn.

An thers a han, my trustee feer! an gees a han o thyn! And we’ll tak a richt gude-willie-waucht, fir ald lang syn. [Scottish dialect.]

H/t glasgow1234  =  Mairi Campbell /  H/t negba = Ronnie Browne.

Scottish thistle! The national
Scottish thistle! The national “flower” of Scotland.
I would like to dedicate this Hogmanay lyric to all survivors of Goldenbridge industrial *school* who emigrated to Scotland after their incarceration period was up. I know from hearing stories that there were many who fled Erin’s shores and made new lives there. I nearly had the good fortune of being adopted by Esther Brady – née Boyne, but for some reason unknown to me it never came to fruition.
Now, in hindsight, I can see clearly how difficulties would have arisen – now that I’m in receipt of past family history. Esther’s only son became a redemptorist priest. He went to boarding school in Aberdeen colloquially referred to as the granite city. He’s highly trained in oratorical and counselling skills and travels world-wide doing missionary work. I would like to extend the Hogmanay greetings to those who also found themselves locked away as children in industrial *schools* in Ireland, who went to Scotland.

I really enjoyed Mairi Campbell’s singing and Dave Francis’ accompaniment. A perfect duo. I’d planned on listening to Eddi Reader during Hogmanay. So it was a real treat to discover the YT video with stunning Scottish landscape visuals to boot. I read at Mairi’s blog that she does fiddle retreats. I must look further into it. I have plans in the pipeline to visit Glasgow. It would be extra delightful indeed to take in one of her retreats whilst in Scotland. I would be on home-turf, as the music and fiddle-playing in Ireland is very similar. I have a violin, and what an opportunity to learn to play it better in a beautiful peaceful Island setting. Especially music that I’ve related to for my entire life.

An aside: I couldn’t help but notice that Mairi’s features are kind of like Kyle Sturgess of FtB. I did mention it in a tweet a long time ago that the Australian pod-castor/blogger /DJ looked very Scottish in appearance. Seems to me to be reconfirmed by this [very elegant] photo of Mairi Campbell?

Mairi Campbell Mairi Campbell trained as a viola player at the Guildhall in London, and worked in London until she withdrew to focus fully on traditional song and fiddle music, essentially finding her musical roots. Her musical interests are wide, and range from playing Scottish dance music to free improvisation (the former with Bella McNab’s Dance Band, the latter with the Working Party). She is in great demand as a fiddle teacher, and was one of the pioneers in the re-introduction of solo step-dancing to Scotland in the early nineties. Mairi is currently musical director of the Edinburgh based folk-choir Sangstream. She has also worked extensively as a session musician. Mairi performs regularly with Dave Francis as “The Cast” and their version of “Auld Lang Syne” was recently featured in the “Sex and the City” movie.Click here to listen to a sample of Mairi’s MusicThe second rendition of the song is mind-blowingly fantastic. Sung by Ronnie Browne. What a powerful strong baritone voice. So lyrical. It puts me in mind of Tommy Makem & the Clancy Brothers. I was reading a few YT comments wherein it was stated that Robbie Burns never actually created the words, but just wrote them down from somebody else. I’ll look further into it. Enjoy both versions of the song this Hogmanay.

Ronnie Browne (“The Voice”) (born Ronald Grant Browne in Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland), is a Scottish folk musician and founding member of The Corries. Browne’s musical career began when he met Roy Williamson and multi-instrumentalist Bill Smith at Edinburgh College of Art in 1955 and formed the Corrie Folk Trio in 1962. The group was expanded the following year with the addition of female singer Paddie Bell. Shortly after releasing three albums in 1965, Bell left to begin a solo career. With the departure of Smith, the following year, Browne and Williamson continued to perform as a duo now known as The Corries.   ———-> Read the rest here.

The Corries were the godfathers of the modern folk music scene in Scotland, introducing huge audiences to traditional songs, composing songs in a traditional style, using innovative instrumental arrangements and pioneering practices which later became commonplace throughout the music industry.” –> Read more here.

I didn’t know until I googled RB’s name, today, that he was one of the founders of The Corries – whose folk-music I thoroughly enjoyed when I lived in London during the 70s/80s. Ronnie is/was the viking-looking hunk on the left. How the years fly.

tartan                       Assorted Scottish Tartans, digital illustration (©2008 Liz Hager

Here is the most common rendition of the song. The video footage of Scotland is excellent. My preferred choice though, of melody is most definitely the one sung by the very talented folk-singers above.


Happy Hogmanay 2013

Marie T O’Loughlin (@MarieTherese39)

Posted Saturday 29th December 2012 from Twitlonger

Marie T O’Loughlin @MarieTherese39 29 Dec
@LOcculta The Irish equivalent is Red Lemonade, which is not freely available in England. Not so, when I resided there, anyway, in the 80’s.”
“Shane@LOcculta @MarieTherese39 yes I remember my cousin from England being surprised by Red Lemonade here. Didn’t know it wasn’t available there.”
Irn Bru Trade Tartan

Shane mentioned Irn Bru in a twitter conversation, and it got me thinking about Red Lemonade – which I think is the nearest equivalent to Irn Bru. The latter is a red-orange coloured drink that is made and sold in Scotland. I had it on innumerable occasions when I stayed in Glasgow with Esther Brady – who took me out on holidays from Goldenbridge as a wee child. Esther – soon after her marriage – of which I had the pleasure of being a flower page-girl – emigrated to Glasgow. [Irn Bru Tartan.]

I remember when I went back to Ireland (having emigrated to London) in search of my family, I stayed with Alfie Young – who was a brother-in-law of Esther. He handed me a tumbler of Red Lemonade. I asked him if it was Irn Bru, that one drinks in Scotland? He was amazed that I did not recognise the popular Irish beverage. I never saw it in the shops in England.

Alfie R.I.P. went on to tell me that when I was a child – out on visitation from Goldenbridge – that I was mad about Red Lemonade.


The Store-yard. H/t Ciara Drennan

I was gobsmacked. I had no recollection at all. However, upon further venturing into my mind’s distant past, at a later stage, I did recall, at various times, my face bent down into some beautifully nature patterned drinking tumblers, and being mesmerised by the burnt-red sizzling noisy contents which plopped and bounced inside.

The sparkling splashes gave me a lovely facial tingling sensation. To this day, I’ve a penchant for patterned tumblers. I know it obviously stems from those times spent at the Boyne’s humble abode at Boyne St., where they had a beautiful cabinet display of tumblers and delph that I so admired.

What've the Scots Got Up their Kilts?

I’ll be especially thinking about Irn Bru this Hogmanay. I shall go out and purchase its equivalent – Red Lemonade. I’ll raise the tumbler high whilst singing ‘Auld Lang Syne‘ along with Eddi Reader.

Slainte, Shane and to all my twitter followers, and one and all throughout the Twitter-sphere. Here’s to a happy, healthy and more prosperous 2013!


The Store-yard H/t Ciara Drennan

Il Divo: Adagio

Wow! Such passion! Such amazing voices! Such vocal energy!

Il Divo is a multinational operatic pop vocal group created by music manager, executive, and reality TV star Simon Cowell. Formed in the United Kingdom, they are also signed to Cowell’s record label, Syco Music. Il Divo is a group of four male singers: French pop singer Sébastien Izambard, Spanish baritone Carlos Marín, American tenor David Miller, and Swiss tenor Urs Bühler. To date, they have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide.

See Wiki: Il Divo

[H/t SrtaRenattha = YT video.]

Anúna: The Wild Song / Earth Mother

The Wild Song – written by Michael McGlynn. Am so proud of Anúna, and especially the fact that an ex-choir mistress Róisín Dempsey from Enniscorthy was also part of this very talented group – which saw them travel all over the world. I never tire of this exquisite music.

H/t brezairola Michael McGlynn Website

This a dedication to all mothers out there, and especially those who are new and soon-to-be mothers. You all know who you are indeed. I went to bed very late one night over Xmas, and as I was gazing out the window – which was in my vision, I was drawn for ages and ages to all the magic that was going on in the skies above. A big bright moon, then suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and a dance took place with the black and white clouds, that simultaneously veiled the moon causing various shadows to occurs. I was in another world, just as I was transfixed when viewing this video. Mother Earth can be so mesmerisingly breathtaking everywhere you go. I never cease to be amazed. Suffice it, I fell asleep in such a peaceful fashion. The visuals are absolutely calmingly stunning.

Eddi Reader: Ae Fond Kiss

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu’ twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.
I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy,
Naething could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love forever.
Had we never lov’d sae kindly,
Had we never lov’d sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted—
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.
Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace. enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee!

Ae Fond Kiss – by ROBERT BURNS

Charlotte Church: When a child is born

Comhghairdeas Go maire bhur mbabaí a shaol úr [X2]

All the best to A & Co. & ER & Co., etc. May health & happiness abound. Indeed, what a fine start to the new year.

The combination of colours of the beautiful oriental-style dress are perfectly matching.

H/t OperaOdyssey

I can’t help but notice that Charlotte Church looks like the double in both features/stature/hair of E. Donnelly from Goldenbridge. The latter of whom now resides in Australia. Rita, if your’e looking on, please tell me what YOU think? Thanks for Xmas message. Say hello to Paul in Vancouver, Canada.

A ray of hope when a child (or two) is born

A ray of hope
Flickers in the sky
A tiny star lights up
Way up high
All across the land
Dawns a brand new morn
This comes to pass
When a child (or two) is born

A silent wish
Sails the seven seas
The winds of change
Whisper in the trees
And the walls of doubt
Tumble tossed and torn
This comes to pass
When a child (or two) is born

A rosy hue
Settles all around
You start to feel
You’re on solid ground
For a spell or two
No one seems forlorn
This comes to pass
When a child (or two) is born

It’s all a dream
An illusion now
It must come true
Sometime soon somehow
All across the land
Dawns a brand new morn
This comes to pass
When a child (or two) is born

A ray of hope
Flickers in the sky
A tiny star lights up
Way up high
All across the land
Dawns a brand new morn
This comes to pass
When a child (or two) is born.

Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin


photo (3)-1One month-old twin-boys.

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The Eve of St. Agnes – By John Keats

John KeatsJohn Keats, who died at the age of twenty-five, had perhaps the most remarkable career of any English poet. He published only fifty-four poems, in three slim volumes and a few magazines. But at each point in his development he took on the challenges of a wide range of poetic forms from the sonnet, to the Spenserian romance, to the Miltonic. Read the rest here

John Keats (1795–1821).  The Poetical Works of John Keats.  1884.
39. The Eve of St. Agnes

ST. AGNES’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!

  The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
  The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
  And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
  Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told         5
  His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
  Like pious incense from a censer old,
  Seem’d taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin’s picture, while his prayer he saith.

His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;

  Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
  And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
  Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
  The sculptur’d dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
  Emprison’d in black, purgatorial rails:         15
  Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat’ries,
  He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.

Northward he turneth through a little door,

  And scarce three steps, ere Music’s golden tongue         20
  Flatter’d to tears this aged man and poor;
  But no—already had his deathbell rung;
  The joys of all his life were said and sung:
  His was harsh penance on St. Agnes’ Eve:
  Another way he went, and soon among         25
  Rough ashes sat he for his soul’s reprieve,
And all night kept awake, for sinners’ sake to grieve.

That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;

  And so it chanc’d, for many a door was wide,
  From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,         30
  The silver, snarling trumpets ’gan to chide:
  The level chambers, ready with their pride,
  Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:
  The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,
  Star’d, where upon their heads the cornice rests,         35
With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts.

At length burst in the argent revelry,

  With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
  Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
  The brain, new stuff d, in youth, with triumphs gay         40
  Of old romance. These let us wish away,
  And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there,
  Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,
  On love, and wing’d St. Agnes’ saintly care,
As she had heard old dames full many times declare.         45

They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,

  Young virgins might have visions of delight,
  And soft adorings from their loves receive
  Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
  If ceremonies due they did aright;         50
  As, supperless to bed they must retire,
  And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
  Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:

  The music, yearning like a God in pain,
  She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine,
  Fix’d on the floor, saw many a sweeping train
  Pass by—she heeded not at all: in vain
  Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier,         60
  And back retir’d; not cool’d by high disdain,
  But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere:
She sigh’d for Agnes’ dreams, the sweetest of the year.

She danc’d along with vague, regardless eyes,

  Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short:         65
  The hallow’d hour was near at hand: she sighs
  Amid the timbrels, and the throng’d resort
  Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;
  ’Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,
  Hoodwink’d with faery fancy; all amort,         70
  Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn,
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.

So, purposing each moment to retire,

  She linger’d still. Meantime, across the moors,
  Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire         75
  For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
  Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores
  All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
  But for one moment in the tedious hours,
  That he might gaze and worship all unseen;         80
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss—in sooth such things have been.

He ventures in: let no buzz’d whisper tell:

  All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords
  Will storm his heart, Love’s fev’rous citadel:
  For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes,         85
  Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords,
  Whose very dogs would execrations howl
  Against his lineage: not one breast affords
  Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.         90

Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,

  Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,
  To where he stood, hid from the torch’s flame,
  Behind a broad hail-pillar, far beyond
  The sound of merriment and chorus bland:         95
  He startled her; but soon she knew his face,
  And grasp’d his fingers in her palsied hand,
  Saying, “Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;
“They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race!

“Get hence! get hence! there’s dwarfish Hildebrand;

  “He had a fever late, and in the fit
  “He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:
  “Then there ’s that old Lord Maurice, not a whit
  “More tame for his gray hairs—Alas me! flit!
  “Flit like a ghost away.”—“Ah, Gossip dear,         105
  “We’re safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit,
  “And tell me how”—“Good Saints! not here, not here;
“Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier.”

He follow’d through a lowly arched way,

  Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume;         110
  And as she mutter’d “Well-a—well-a-day!”
  He found him in a little moonlight room,
  Pale, lattic’d, chill, and silent as a tomb.
  “Now tell me where is Madeline,” said he,
  “O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom         115
  “Which none but secret sisterhood may see,
“When they St. Agnes’ wool are weaving piously.”

“St. Agnes! Ah! it is St. Agnes’ Eve—

  “Yet men will murder upon holy days:
  “Thou must hold water in a witch’s sieve,         120
  “And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,
  “To venture so: it fills me with amaze
  “To see thee, Porphyro!—St. Agnes’ Eve!
  “God’s help! my lady fair the conjuror plays
  “This very night: good angels her deceive!         125
“But let me laugh awhile, I’ve mickle time to grieve.”

Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,

  While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
  Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
  Who keepeth clos’d a wond’rous riddle-book,         130
  As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
  But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
  His lady’s purpose; and he scarce could brook
  Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold,
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.         135

Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,

  Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
  Made purple riot: then doth he propose
  A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:
  “A cruel man and impious thou art:         140
  “Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream
  “Alone with her good angels, far apart
  “From wicked men like thee. Go, go!—I deem
“Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem.

“I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,”

  Quoth Porphyro: “O may I ne’er find grace
  “When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,
  “If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
  “Or look with ruffian passion in her face:
  “Good Angela, believe me by these tears;         150
  “Or I will, even in a moment’s space,
  “Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen’s ears,
“And beard them, though they be more fang’d than wolves and bears.”

“Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?

  “A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing,         155
  “Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
  “Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
  “Were never miss’d.”—Thus plaining, doth she bring
  A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;
  So woful, and of such deep sorrowing,         160
  That Angela gives promise she will do
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.

Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,

  Even to Madeline’s chamber, and there hide
  Him in a closet, of such privacy         165
  That he might see her beauty unespied,
  And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,
  While legion’d fairies pac’d the coverlet,
  And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.
  Never on such a night have lovers met,         170
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.

“It shall be as thou wishest,” said the Dame:

  “All cates and dainties shall be stored there
  “Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame
  “Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,         175
  “For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
  “On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
  “Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer
  “The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,
“Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.”         180

So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.

  The lover’s endless minutes slowly pass’d;
  The dame return’d, and whisper’d in his ear
  To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
  From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,         185
  Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
  The maiden’s chamber, silken, hush’d, and chaste;
  Where Porphyro took covert, pleas’d amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.

Her falt’ring hand upon the balustrade,

  Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
  When Madeline, St. Agnes’ charmed maid,
  Rose, like a mission’d spirit, unaware:
  With silver taper’s light, and pious care,
  She turn’d, and down the aged gossip led         195
  To a safe level matting. Now prepare,
  Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray’d and fled.

Out went the taper as she hurried in;

  Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:         200
  She clos’d the door, she panted, all akin
  To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
  No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
  But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
  Paining with eloquence her balmy side;         205
  As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.

A casement high and triple-arch’d there was,

  All garlanded with carven imag’ries
  Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,         210
  And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
  Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
  As are the tiger-moth’s deep-damask’d wings;
  And in the midst, ’mong thousand heraldries,
  And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,         215
A shielded scutcheon blush’d with blood of queens and kings.

Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,

  And threw warm gules on Madeline’s fair breast,
  As down she knelt for heaven’s grace and boon;
  Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,         220
  And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
  And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
  She seem’d a splendid angel, newly drest,
  Save wings, for heaven:—Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.         225

Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,

  Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
  Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
  Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
  Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:         230
  Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
  Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
  In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.

Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,

  In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex’d she lay,
  Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress’d
  Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
  Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;
  Blissfully haven’d both from joy and pain;         240
  Clasp’d like a missal where swart Paynims pray;
  Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.

Stol’n to this paradise, and so entranced,

  Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,         245
  And listen’d to her breathing, if it chanced
  To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
  Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
  And breath’d himself: then from the closet crept,
  Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,         250
  And over the hush’d carpet, silent, stept,
And ’tween the curtains peep’d, where, lo!—how fast she slept.

Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon

  Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
  A table, and, half anguish’d, threw thereon         255
  A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:—
  O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
  The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
  The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,
  Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:—         260
The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.

And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,

  In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender’d,
  While he from forth the closet brought a heap
  Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;         265
  With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
  And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
  Manna and dates, in argosy transferr’d
  From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
From silken Samarcand to cedar’d Lebanon.         270

These delicates he heap’d with glowing hand

  On golden dishes and in baskets bright
  Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
  In the retired quiet of the night,
  Filling the chilly room with perfume light.—         275
  “And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
  “Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
  “Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes’ sake,
“Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache.”

Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm

  Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream
  By the dusk curtains:—’twas a midnight charm
  Impossible to melt as iced stream:
  The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam;
  Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies:         285
  It seem’d he never, never could redeem
  From such a stedfast spell his lady’s eyes;
So mus’d awhile, entoil’d in woofed phantasies.

Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,—

  Tumultuous,—and, in chords that tenderest be,         290
  He play’d an ancient ditty, long since mute,
  In Provence call’d, “La belle dame sans mercy:”
  Close to her ear touching the melody;—
  Wherewith disturb’d, she utter’d a soft moan:
  He ceased—she panted quick—and suddenly         295
  Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.

Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,

  Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:
  There was a painful change, that nigh expell’d         300
  The blisses of her dream so pure and deep
  At which fair Madeline began to weep,
  And moan forth witless words with many a sigh;
  While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;
  Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,         305
Fearing to move or speak, she look’d so dreamingly.

“Ah, Porphyro!” said she, “but even now

  “Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
  “Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
  “And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:         310
  “How chang’d thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!
  “Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
  “Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!
  “Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,
“For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go.”         315

Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far

  At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
  Ethereal, flush’d, and like a throbbing star
  Seen mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose;
  Into her dream he melted, as the rose         320
  Blendeth its odour with the violet,—
  Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
  Like Love’s alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes’ moon hath set.

’Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:

  “This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!”
  ’Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:
  “No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!
  “Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.—
  “Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?         330
  “I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,
  “Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;—
“A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing.”

“My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!

  “Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?         335
  “Thy beauty’s shield, heart-shap’d and vermeil dyed?
  “Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest
  “After so many hours of toil and quest,
  “A famish’d pilgrim,—saved by miracle.
  “Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest         340
  “Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think’st well
“To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel.”

’Hark! ’tis an elfin-storm from faery land,

  “Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
  “Arise—arise! the morning is at hand;—         345
  “The bloated wassaillers will never heed:—
  “Let us away, my love, with happy speed;
  “There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,—
  “Drown’d all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:
  “Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,         350
“For o’er the southern moors I have a home for thee.”

She hurried at his words, beset with fears,

  For there were sleeping dragons all around,
  At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears—
  Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.—         355
  In all the house was heard no human sound.
  A chain-droop’d lamp was flickering by each door;
  The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
  Flutter’d in the besieging wind’s uproar;
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.         360

They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;

  Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;
  Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
  With a huge empty flaggon by his side;
  The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,         365
  But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
  By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:—
  The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;—
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groan.

And they are gone: ay, ages long ago

  These lovers fled away into the storm.
  That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
  And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
  Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
  Were long be-nightmar’d. Angela the old         375
  Died palsy-twitch’d, with meagre face deform;
  The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.
See Notes.


A Christmas Childhood / Wexford Carol

A Christmas Childhood – Patrick Kavanagh [1904-1967]


One side of the potato-pits was white with frost—
How wonderful that was, how wonderful!
And when we put our ears to the paling-post
The music that came out was magical.

The light between the ricks of hay and straw
Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree
With its December-glinting fruit we saw—
O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me

To eat the knowledge that grew in clay
And death the germ within it! Now and then
I can remember something of the gay
Garden that was childhood’s. Again

The tracks of cattle to a drinking-place,
A green stone lying sideways in a ditch
Or any common sight the transfigured face
Of a beauty that the world did not touch.

II 🎄🎅

My father played the melodeon
Outside at our gate;
There were stars in the morning east
And they danced to his music.

Across the wild bogs his melodeon called
To Lennons and Callans.
As I pulled on my trousers in a hurry
I knew some strange thing had happened.

Outside the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.

A water-hen screeched in the bog,
Mass-going feet
Crunched the wafer-ice on the pot-holes,
Somebody wistfully twisted the bellows wheel.

My child poet picked out the letters
On the grey stone,
In silver the wonder of a Christmas townland,
The winking glitter of a frosty dawn.

Cassiopeia was over
Cassidy’s hanging hill,
I looked and three whin bushes rode across
The horizon — The Three Wise Kings.

An old man passing said:
‘Can’t he make it talk’—
The melodeon. I hid in the doorway
And tightened the belt of my box-pleated coat.

I nicked six nicks on the door-post
With my penknife’s big blade—
There was a little one for cutting tobacco,
And I was six Christmases of age.

My father played the melodeon,
My mother milked the cows,
And I had a prayer like a white rose pinned
On the Virgin Mary’s blouse.

Relevant Background 🎄🎅

Patrick Kavanagh was born on a farm in Co. Monaghan. His family farmhouse was located in hilly countryside, near a bog.

  • He lived in a country area known as the townland of Mucker. He grew up as part of a community and knew his neighbours well. They included the Cassidys, Lennons and Callans referred to in this poem.
  • The Kavanaghs were small farmers who milked cows, grew their own potatoes, saved their own hay and straw, had a little orchard and a yard with some outhouses for farm activities—as indicated in this poem.
  • His family were Catholic. Sunday mass and Christmas were important events in his family life, as shown in this poem. In this poem, Kavanagh’s imagination pictured parts of his home area in terms of the Christmas story told in the bible.
  • Kavanagh only had primary school education. After his childhood, he became an apprentice shoemaker to his father and worked on the family farm.
  • Kavanagh started writing poetry in his teens while continuing his farm duties.
  • As a teenager and adult, Kavanagh didn’t fit in with farm life. In his poetry, he sometimes looked back on childhood as a marvellous and happy period of his life. He had an active childhood imagination and that enriched his early years.
  • In his adult life, Kavanagh left the farm and pursued a writing career as a journalist, novelist, lecturer and poet.

Summary 🎄🎅

In the first section, Kavanagh recalls a series of random childhood experiences. He remembers, the white coat of frost on the potato pits in the yard, the humming sound of fence wire in the wind, the corridor between the ricks [mounds] of hay and straw, the red apples of the orchard that reminded him of Christmas ornaments, clay, hoof prints of cattle and scenes from the ditches. He compares the world to Eve, tempting him with knowledge to leave his childhood which was like the Garden of Eden.

In the second section, Kavanagh recalls his father playing the small accordion at his gate, probably on Christmas morning. Kavanagh recalls how he linked symbols of Christmas to the scene around the farmyard and farmhouse: the star in the east, the nativity stable, the three wise men and the Virgin Mary.
The poet remembers hastily putting on his trousers upon hearing his father playing music at the gate. It is a magical moment. He notices neighbours on the way to Mass, passing his farm gate and complimenting his father’s playing. He remembers someone using the bellows to light the open fire in the kitchen, creating a sad, longing sound. His mother milks the cows. Meanwhile the shy young Kavanagh, wearing his new coat, observes the scene from the doorway. He makes six notches on the doorpost with his Christmas present, the new penknife. This fact informs us that he had turned six when this childhood scene happened.

A Christmas Childhood – :: exam centre

A Christmas Childhood Analysis « Elessar Study Central


The author of this most quoted of Christmas poems from Ireland was born in County Monaghan (one of the three counties of Ulster now in the Irish Republic) in 1904 and lived there as a farmer, a cobbler and a poet until he moved to Dublin in 1939. He died in 1967.

His best-known books are The Ploughman (1936), The Green Fool (1938), The Great Hunger (1942) and a novel, Tarry Flynn (1948).


There is a splendidly lifelike statue of him seated on a bench on the bank of the Grand Canal in Dublin of which at least one visitor has unwittingly begged its pardon!

It is said that one day he and his fellow‑writer, Brendan Behan, went out for a drink in Dublin. Eventually they were forced to buy from an ‘off‑licence’ and go off to drink in a room somewhere because one or the other of the rollicking pair had been banned from every pub they tried!


The 12th century “Wexford Carol” is specifically known as “The Enniscorthy Carol.” Enniscorthites are fierce proud of this heritage and will frown at it being called the former.

Wexford Carol – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Christmas Day

It’s Christmas day 2012. I’ve surprised myself by coming on here, even to announce it, as it is such an overwhelmingly emotional day, and is generally blocked out, as it’s very hard to communicate with myself, let alone other people.

Christmas day is the hardest day of the year contend with, and I know it is the same for other people in the same predicament, hence making the special effort to write what comes into the head this very moment in order to share it with other people who are on their own. Most especially, other survivors of Goldenbridge and other industrial schools.

Christmas-time is family oriented, and those who do not have any family, doubtless, will, just jolly well have to get on with it, irrespective, and make the most of it for themselves. A lot of people living on their own in Dublin go to the The Royal Dublin Society (R.D.S.) where they get a Christmas dinner and presents from celebrities and volunteers, who give up their time to help those of whom are on their own and lonely. I’ve availed of these kind of services from various outlets in the past. It helps one to realise that there are so many people like oneself alone at this vulnerable time of the year. There is also a sense of validation felt when one gets a Christmas gift, even if it’s not on a personal level, it’s better than not receiving a gift from anyone at all. It makes one feel they are like the next person who gets presents from friends and family.

People who have families can sometimes be the very first people to throw the “lonely” label at those who don’t conform to ‘their’ way of thinking and behaviour. “You must be very ‘lonely’, hence, why you resort to such and such kind of nasty behaviour?” The word, “loneliness”, “lonely” is used derogatorily by some with “families” to probably get at people for their bad behaviour. It appears that way to me, anyway. It’s almost as if being “lonely”  is such a totally evil disposition to find oneself. Or, that loneliness was a crime…or that loneliness was a dirty word to be used to ‘get at’ people who are perceived to be not nice. People with families should weigh their words properly before spouting them out irresponsibly by invoking… “you must be so “lonely” that you have to cause trouble in order to seek attention…? Or whichever way they may choose to express the LONELY word in order to (perhaps) satisfy their own – family = full of life – egos, especially those whose work is based around the science of language and its betterment for the human race – who darn well should know better.

It quite reminds me too of the Pharisee in the front pew of the temple, thumping his cra, whilst worshipping and telling God, how far better a person he was, and not like the dirty slobberer at the back of the church, who was different, and “lonely” and didn’t give a damn at all. People will families do invariably at some stages have their lives changed by circumstances, so, who is to say, that they will always have families on their doorstep to boost their egos and give them the confidence needed to belittle others by using the “lonely” terminology to degrade others. Complacency is a convenient mantle to adorn, when loneliness doesn’t enter ones world. Notwithstanding the fact that the wrong-doers may need to be severely reprimanded, but, please not at the expense of using mockery, and a word that legitimately signifies pain to countless vulnerable people. However, it can be the ones who have been sheltered the most, who can be the ones who will find it hardest to come to terms with loneliness  if and whenever they do happen to find themselves without their spouses or children to hide behind. Loneliness can come knocking on the door at the dead of night. and I’m telling you, it’ll then surely awaken them, so much so that using the “lonely” word to snipe at people will alas be projected back to themselves, that’ll they’ll be sorry that they used the word as a tool to get at others. Irrespective of the justification they may have felt primarily in using the word, it does not enhance social justice thinking, and is totally disparaging to those who are on their own and who are vulnerable and have the propensity to suffer with aching loneliness.

Look at me I have a father. Look at me I have a brother or two or three or four…. Look at me I have a sister or two or three or four or even five… Look at me I have a mother. Look at me I have a spouse. Look at me I have an uncle or two or three or four or five… Look at me I have an aunt or two or three or four or five… See: I can use the lonely word, because I’ve got so much back-up of family and the lonely word is just a word to be bandied about to anyone who happens to cross my path or those of any of my friends. See: I’ve got one up on you, because I can use language that’ll intimidate and enrage and bring you down, because I have the power of language at my feet and know the buttons to press to bring down detractors. I do not do “lonely, ” because I have a family to hide behind. So there – all you trouble-makers out there who have problems with life, get some help for your loneliness, as you you are all just a blot on the landscape of family-oriented families.

There is nothing more in the world that boosts survivors of industrial *schools,* than to be given Christmas and birthday cards and small gifts. It makes them realise that they are real people. They belong to the world. They feel good about the fact that someone has gone to the trouble of ear-marking and writing their names on cards. Survivors of industrial *schools* have gargantuan issues surrounding stuff like this, which can be very misunderstood by those who’ve never known what it is like to be deprived of one’s name and age and who were called by their numbers for most of their childhood.

It has rained cats and dogs. I was talking to a person on the other side of the world, and it was also raining were they were. Better than the snowy weather of 2010.

I would like to wish all survivors of Goldenbridge a good day. I know that most of them will be feeling down in the dumps and be taken back in time to the days in Goldenbridge, when they were at the mercy of good people, who would have taken them out of the industrial school over Christmas period.