Down by the Salley gardens

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General information

The poem by William Butler Yeats was published in 1889 and apparently first set to the tune THE MOORELOUGH SHORE, with which it has remained associated, by Herbert Hughes in his 1909 arrangement (Irish Country Songs vol. 2). Rebecca Clarke (1924, re-arr. w/ violin c. 1950) and John Ireland (1931, or 1943?) each wrote new tunes for the text.

View the Wikipedia article on Down by the Salley gardens.

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Texts and Translations

English.png English text

1  Down by the Salley gardens
My love and I did meet;
She passed the Salley gardens
With little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
As the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish,
With her would not agree.

2  In a field by the river
My love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder
She laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
As the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish,
And now am full of tears.

German.png German translation

Dort unten bei den Sally Gardens
traf ich meine Geliebte.
Sie durchschritt die Sally Gardens
mit ihren schneeweißen Füßen.
Sie bat mich, die Liebe leicht zu nehmen,
wie die Blätter am Baum wachsen.
Aber ich, jung und töricht wie ich war,
wollte ihr nicht zustimmen.

Auf dem Feld nahe beim Fluss
standen meine Geliebte und ich,
und auf meine angelehnte Schulter
legte sie ihre schneeweiße Hand.
Sie bat mich, das Leben leicht zu nehmen,
so wie das Gras auf den Wehren wächst.
Aber ich war jung und töricht
und nun bin ich voller Tränen.

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