A very popular Irish song by William Connellan (1645-1710), the somewhat less prolific of the two harping Connellan brothers – Thomas is his brother. The famed Turlough O’Carolan said he “wished he had composed” this song! Its evocative and sensuous melody perfectly mirrors the beauty of this Irish woman, though the poetry is maybe a bit on the conventional side. This tune was collected in 1792 by Edward Bunting at the Belfast Harpers’ Meeting.
‘Sí Molly an chúil chraobhaigh
Do mhearaigh is do bhuaidhrigh mé,
‘S a samhail ní léir dhom sa’ tír seo;
‘Sgur í seómra na séad
A chomhnuigheas an spéirbhean,
Ler cailleadh na céadta mile.
Lámh an oinigh is a’ réidhtigh,
Croidhe geal na féile,
A sgcapfadh dá mba léithe an saoghal so;
‘S go bhfuil deallra ón ngréin
Ins a’ maighre gan chlaon,
Is ceó meala ar gach taobh dá n-imthigheann sí.
Is deise ‘gus is breaghtha
Gach siolla dho mo ghrádh-sa
Ná rós i ngáirdín pléisiúir;
A com atá
Mar a’ tsíoda bhán,
An maighre mná sí bhuaidhrigh mé.
Ba bhinne liom a’ lá
Bheinn ag cómhrádh le mo ghrádh
Ná ag ceartughadh dánta as Gaedhilge;
Seach a bhfuil mé a’ rádh
‘Sé mo chreach agus mo chrádh
Mar a chonairc mé le dhá bhliadhain déag thú.
It is Molly of the curling hair
That has tormented me and driven me crazy,
And I know not her peer in the land;
In a jeweled room
This lady abides,
Who has slain hundreds of thousands.
Bounteous, hospitable hand,
Bright, generous heart,
Who would give away the earth if it were hers;
The splendor of the sun
Is in this faultless maiden,
And a honeyed mist is wherever she walks.
Sweeter and more delightful
Is my love’s breath
Than a rose in a pleasure-garden;
Her breast is
As white as silk,
It is she who has tormented me.
I would rather spend a day
Talking with my love
Than composing Irish songs;
And apart from all I have said,
I am most sad and sorry
For having known you these twelve years.