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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Douglas Hyde (1860–1949)

Nelly of the Top-Knots

DEAR God! were I fisher and

Back in Binédar,

And Nelly a fish who

Would swim in the bay there,

I would privately set there

My net there to catch her:

In Erin no maiden

Is able to match her.

And Nelly, dear God!

Why! you should not thus flee me:

I long to be near thee

And hear thee and see thee;

My hand on the Bible,

And I swearing and kneeling,

And giving thee part

Of the heart you are stealing.

I’ve a fair yellow casket

And it fastened with crystal,

And the lock opens not

To the shot of a pistol.

To Jesus I pray,

And to Columbkill’s Master,

That Mary may guide thee

Aside from disaster.

We may be, O maiden

Whom none may disparage,

Some morning a-hearing

The sweet mass of marriage;

But if fate be against us,

To rend us and push us,

I shall mourn as the blackbird

At eve in the bushes.

O God! were she with me

Where the gull flits and tern,

Or in Paris the smiling,

Or an isle in Loch Erne,

I would coax her so well,

I would tell her my story,

And talk till I won her,—

My sunshine of glory!