SHE LIVED BESIDE THE ANNER
She lived beside the Anner at the foot of Slievenaman,
A gentle peasant girl with mild eyes like the dawn.
Her lips were dewy rosebuds, her teeth of pearls rare,
And a snowdrift ‘neath a beechen bough Her neck and nut-brown hair.
How pleasant was to meet her on Sunday when the bell
Was filling with its mellow tones lone wood and grassy dell.
And when at eve young maidens strayed the river bank along
The widow’s brown-haired daughter was loveliest of the throng.
Oh brave, brave Irish colleens We well may call ye brave
For the least of all your perils Are the stormy ocean waves
When you leave your quiet valleys and cross the Atlantic foam
To hoard your hard-won earnings for the helpless ones at home
Send word to my dear mother That we’ll meet in heav’n above
And tell my little brother I send him all my love
May the angels ever guard him Was the dying sister’s prayer
And folded in the letter was A braid of nut-brown hair
Ah, cold and well nigh callous this weary heart has grown
For thy helpless fate, dear Ireland, and for sorrows of my own
Yet a tear my eye will moisten when by Anner side I stray
For the lily of the mountain foot that withered far away.
Irish, from the verses by Charles Joseph Kickham
collected by Herbert Hughes, Irish Country Songs, Vol.4