Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Robert Huddleston

The Blether region has been enjoying the poetry of Robert Huddleston (1814-1887), the Bard of Moneyreagh, two volumes of whose poems have been made available by the Ulster Poetry Project. The following lyric is of limited linguistic interest, being in more or less standard English, but it is one of the best to appear in his first volume, A Collection of Poems and Songs on Rural Subjects (1844), and surely ripe for recording by traditional musicians. Other highlights include Doddery Willowaim, his own lengthy satirical take on Burns's Tam o' Shanter.


Loveliest maid — of Tullyquilly,
Fairest flower of virgin Spring;
Bend thine ear my bloomin' lily,
Hark a youthful poet sing.


Bonnie lass o' Tullyquilly,
Fairest lassie e'er I've seen;
Condescend to smile on Willie —
Willie smiles on "beauty's queen."

Blossoms deck the blooming summer,
Nature laughs on every lea;
All around is mirth and humour —
Wanting thee there's none for me.
Bonnie lass o' Tullyquilly, &c.

Attracting gaze through fashion wheeling,
Luring wealth may frolic gay —
Such the hawk through blue air stealing,
Oft th' goldfinch makes its prey.
Bonnie lass o' Tullyquilly, &c.

View the swan with pride and pleasure,
Not a love but one he'll own;
Like the dove a faithful lover,
I but sigh for one alone,
Bonnie lass o' Tullyquilly, &c.

Was not mother Eve so pretty,
Blythe with Adam in a screen;
Could not you and I be happy,
In a cot tho' e'er so mean?
Bonnie lass o' Tullyquilly, &c.

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