She moved through the fair
Music: Trad. arr. Geoffrey Dale, Words: Padraic Colum
Performance time approx: 3m 00s
Price code: C
Padraic Colum (1881 – 1972), based the English words of verses 1 – 3 above on a traditional Irish song that he heard as a young man in Donegal, Ireland. The song, even as attributed to Padraic Colum, has been published in several slightly different versions, and is used by many singers virtually like a folk song in the public domain. This version differs very slightly from the published sources that we know of, but we acknowledge Padraic Colum as its chief author, and we reproduce the words with the permission of Padriac Colum’s estate.
Verse 4 is not Colum’s, but a traditional fragment, also known in slightly differing versions.
Colum worked in collaboration with the composer and folk song collector Herbert Hughes (1882 – 1937), who was the first that we know of to transcribe this traditional tune.
My young love said to me 'My mother won't mind.
And my father won't slight you for your lack of kind.'
And she stepp'd away from me and this she did say:
'It will not be long, love, 'til our wedding day.'
She stepp'd away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her move here and move there.
And then she turned homeward with one star a-wake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.
The people were saying no two e'er were 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.
Last night she came to me, my dead love came in.
So softly she came that her feet made no din.
And she laid her hand on me and this she did say:
'It will not be long now 'til our wedding day.'
Padraic Colum (vv. 1 – 3); traditional (verse 4)