stolen child–Yeats and McKennitt

This is a Loreena McKennitt song I only recently became aware of, although she set the William Butler Yeats poem to music for her debut album in 1985: Elemental

The poem was written by Yeats in 1886. Yeats was fascinated by Irish mythology including fairies, writing prose and poetry on the subject. In this case, the fairies taking away a human child to live with them.

I don’t know how I missed this one, but . . .

The quality of the YouTube recording isn’t quite as haunting as the version I have – still working on how to turn a saved piece of music into media on WordPress.

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image created by Wendy Holcombe  (@ wendy holcombe 2016 – use only with artist’s permission)

 

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand. (he)
Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand. (he)
Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand. (he)
Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest
For he comes, the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand (you)

Changes in the refrain have been noted, with McKennitt’s words in parenthesis.

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