Gort na Saileán - The Salley Gardens

man planting a tree

.............
The words are a poem by William Butler Yeats which was published in Crossways in 1889. Herbert Hughes set it to music.

A salley is a willow tree. It was once common to have gardens of willows for osiers (willow rods). These gardens were kept to have material for basket-making and for thatch roofing of cottages. The Gaelic for willow is saileach, which comes from the Latin, salix for willow tree.

MP3 Music and lyrics on Susan's Hamlin's CD.

by William Butler Yeats

It was down by the Salley Gardens,
     my love and I did meet.
She crossed the Salley Gardens
     with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
     as the leaves grow on the tree,
But I was young and foolish,
     and with her did not agree.

In a field down by the river,
    my love and I did stand
And on my leaning shoulder,
    she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
    as the grass grows on the weirs
But I was young and foolish,
    and now am full of tears.

It was down by the Salley Gardens,
     my love and I did meet... etc.

le Seán MacAindreasa, Béal Féirste

Is thíos i nGort na Saileán
    sea casadh dom mo rún
Ba luath a cos ar féar ann
    is ba luaineach a leagan siúil
Sé dúirt sí liom bheith suaimhneach
     mar a fhásann duilliúr is bláth
Ach bhí mise óg is uaibhreach
    is níor éist mé le guth mo ghrá.

Is thíos cois abhann go déaneamh
     sea sheas mé le mo ghrá
Gualainn ar ghualainn le chéile
     is leag sí orm lámh
Sé dúirt sí liom bheith suaimhneach
     mar a fhásann féar aníos
Ach bhí mise óg is uabhreach
     'stá na deoira anois mo chloí

Is thíos i nGort na Saileán
    sea casadh dom mo rún... srl.

A new recording of the song Salley Gardens in Irish and English, the second of its kind known, recently came out on a CD called "Younger than the Sun" by American born singer/guitarist Susan Hamlin. The CD is a collection of traditional and authored tunes and songs from Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton and America, featuring some of the finest seisiun players from the U.S. and Ireland. Here is a link to the website where you can learn more about the artist, listen to the MP3 song samples and purchase the CD online: www.susanhamlin.com

One more use for willow is the bark, which contains salicylic acid from which aspirin is made. Use of willow bark as an analgesic was known since ancient times. ...Luke Anthony Burke, Rutgers Univ Camden NJ.

Courtesy of Vivian and Jack
IrishPage.com 2003.
N.B. Whistle midi on this page is the tune of Salley Gardens but bears no resemblance
in quality or style to the excellent CD music.
Replay background whistle: Down by the Salley Gardens