An Caisideach Bán

The Fair-haired Cassidy
Also known as "An Casaideach Bán". From the singing of Antaine Ó Faracháin on "Seachrán" (Cló Iar-Chonnachta) com more...

Also known as “An Casaideach Bán”. From the singing of Antaine Ó Faracháin on “Seachrán” (Cló Iar-Chonnachta) composed by Tomás Ó Casaide around 1773. The mountains referred to in the first line are most likely Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo and Sliabh Bághna in Co Roscommon

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I wandered down from the top of the Reek,
Down to you, over at Sliabh Bán,
In search of the girl who left my mind troubled,
And who turned my heart as black as coal;
My shoulders swelled up to my ears
And I received a clear sharp warning from death;
And there wasn't one who heard my story,
Who didn't say that he'd pity the Caisideach Bán.

At the top of the stairs is the flower of all maidens;
She's the light-hearted, fair-breasted, plesant young girl.
It's a pity that she, without cattle or money,
Accountable to no-one, can't give me her hand.
I'd build her a big house there by the roadside
And provide carriages for her family.
O amber locks, if you would milk my cows for me,
How you'd tie the sheaves in autumn would worry me not.

And isn't it strange how you tried to convince
The grass couldn't grow up through the ground,
That the moon wouldn't throw her light on Ireland,
That the stars wouldn't shine at the start of the night?
There's neither strength nor vigour in the heat of the sun,
And until fish swim in a dried up ocean,
Till floods rise up as high as the mountains,
I'll never desert you, love of my heart.

And I spent a while learning English,
And the clergy said that I spoke it well,
And as long again without an ounce of sense,
No more than the birds on the tops of the trees;
Out at night without shelter or refuge,
And the snow driving down to the bottom of the glen'
And O, pretty brown locks for whom I left holy orders,
May you not get God's grace if you don't come with me.

And I was at college till the time I was shaven
And in the high school for five years.
Education and counsel I received from the Church
But alas, I paid no heed!
I greatly fear the king of Graces
That I am not to be set free,
Because my sins are as great as half of Croagh Patrick,
Because of the love I gave to a bailiff's daughter.

There she goes past us, the beautiful white swan,
And she as well adorned as any woman;
It is a pity she was conceived in her mother's womb,
It was for my death that she was born.
There is neither hill nor rushy hollow
No beautiful glen where my love is,
That music is not played by day and by night,
And may Christ have mercy on the Caisideach Bán.

A false vision I saw last night
And I was alone on a bed of down,
The beautiful lady lay down alongside me.
She was so pretty with the most beautiful eyes.
She had a smooth chalk-white waist like flickering candles,
And her hair flowed down so thickly to the grass.
Her complexion was brighter than the mountain-side's snow;
It was she who killed me and with me hundreds more.

A false vision I saw last night,
And it startled me from the depths of my sleep,
That the nice kind maiden of the bright firm breasts
Lay herself down by my side
As I turned around, quickly and swiftly
To catch her tresses, who was so thin and so firm,
All I found was the edge of the blanket
And that has left me bereft, for life.

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