LORD NANN AND
and his bride, both plighted
In youthful days, soon blighted,
Were early disunited.
twins a pair,
Yestreen the lady bare;
A son and daughter fair.
shall I get for thee,
Who givest a son to me?
Say, sweet, what shall it be?
forest green a roe,
Or a woodcock from where, I trow,
The pond in the vale lies low?"
venison am I fain,
But would not give thee pain
For me the wood to gain."
But while the
Lord Nann took his lance of oak,
And mounting his jet-black steed,
Rode forth to the wood with speed.
When he gained
the greenwood shade,
A white hind from the glade
Fled, of his lance afraid.
Swift after the
hind he flew;
The ground shook 'neath the two,
So swiftly on they flew,
And late the evening grew.
streamed from his face,
From the horse's flanks apace,
Till twilight closed the race.
A little stream
'Mid softest moss up-swelling,
Hard by a haunted dwelling,
The grot of a Korrigan.
By the streamlet's brink
He stooped to drink,
For sore athirst was Nann.
The Korrigan sat
By the edge of her fountain fair,
Combing her golden hair.
Combing her hair with a golden comb,
For all is of price in the Korrigan's home.
so rash, art thou,
Troubling my water's flow?
Thou shalt marry me now," the Korrigan said,
"Or for seven long years shalt wither and fade,
Or in three days hence in the grave be laid!"
married a year," quoth he;
"So think not I marry thee.
Nor through seven long years shall I wither and fade,
Nor in three days hence in the grave be laid.
Dead in three days I shall not be;
I will die when it pleases God, not thee.
Yet die this moment would Seigneur Nann,
Far rather than marry a Korrigan."
mother mine, I am sorely sick:
Let my bed be made, if you love me, quick.
Let not a word to my wife be told:
I am under the ban
Of a Korrigan:
Three days, and you'll lay me in the mould."
In three days'
time the young wife said,
"My mother, tell me why the bells are ringing,
And why, so low, the black-stoled priests are singing?"
"A poor man, whom we lodged last night, is dead."
say to me,
My Lord Nann, where is he?"
daughter, to the town he's gone;
To see thee he'll come anon."
me, mother dear,
My red robe shall I wear,
Or shall I my robe of blue put on,
When I must to the church be gone?"
the mode is come to appear
At church in naught but sable gear."
As up the
church-yard steps she went,
On a new-made grave her eyes were bent.
"Who of our
kin is lately dead,
That I see in our ground a grave new-made?"
child, in that grave hard by,
That new-made grave which thou dost espy—
I cannot hide it—thy lord doth lie!"
Upon her knees
she sank down then,
Nor ever rose she up again.
Within the self-same tomb, at close of day,
The gentle lady and her husband lay.
marvel! When the morning shone
Two spreading oaks from out that grave had grown,
And 'mid their branches, closely intertwining,
Two happy doves of dazzling whiteness shining.
Sweetly they cooed at breaking of the day,
Then forth together swiftly sped their way.
With gladsome notes they circling upward flew,
Together vanishing in heaven's deep blue.
(New Catholic World, Villemarqué, 1870)