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Samain Night

Loreena McKennitt : "Samain Night"



The Wind That Shakes the Barley

The Wind That Shakes the Barley ("Le vent qui secoue l'orge") est une ballade irlandaise écrite par Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836-1883), un poète et professeur de littérature anglaise, né à Limerick.  

La chanson parle d'un jeune rebelle de Wexford qui est sur le point de sacrifier sa relation avec son amour de toujours et plonger dans le courant de violence lié à la Rébellion de 1798 en Irlande. La référence à l'orge dans la chanson provient du fait que les rebelles irlandais emportaient souvent de l'orge dans leurs poches comme provisions lorsqu'ils marchaient. Cela a donné naissance au phénomène post-rébellion de la poussée d'orge, marquant ainsi les "Croppy-holes", multitude de tombes sans nom dans lesquelles étaient jetés les rebelles massacrés, et symbolisant la nature régénératrice de la résistance irlandaise au pouvoir britannique. (Wikipédia)



The Wind That Shakes the Barley 


I sat within the valley green, I sat me with my true love         

My sad heart strove the two between, the old love and the new love  

The old for her, the new that made me think on Ireland dearly 

While soft the wind blew down the glen and shook the golden barley 


'Twas hard the woeful words to frame to break the ties that bound us

But harder still to bear the shame of foreign chains around us       

And so I said, "The mountain glen I'll seek at morning early 

And join the bold united men," while soft winds shake the barley 


While sad I kissed away her tears, my fond arms round her flicking

The foeman's shot burst on our ears from out the wildwood ringing

A bullet pierced my true love's side in life's young spring so early           

And on my breast in blood she died while soft winds shook the barley 


I bore her to some mountain stream, and many's the summer blossom          

I placed with branches soft and green about her gore-stained bosom

I wept and kissed her clay-cold corpse then rushed o'er vale and valley           

My vengeance on the foe to wreak while soft wind shook the barley 


But blood for blood without remorse I've taken at Oulart Hollow

And laid my true love's clay cold corpse where I full soon may follow  

As round her grave I wander drear, noon, night and morning early   

With breaking heart when e'er I hear the wind that shakes the barley.


Robert Dwyer Joyce )





The Highwayman


The Highwayman

  by Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,

And the highwayman came riding—


The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.


He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,

A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;

They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh.

And he rode with a jeweled twinkle,

   His pistol butts a-twinkle,

His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.


Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,

He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;

He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there

But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,

   Bess, the landlord's daughter,

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked

Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;

His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like moldy hay,

But he loved the landlord's daughter,

   The landlord's red-lipped daughter,

Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—


"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize tonight,

But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;

Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,

Then look for me by moonlight,

   Watch for me by moonlight,

I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."


He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,

But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand

As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;

And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,

   (Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)

Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.


He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;

And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,

When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,

A red-coat troop came marching—


King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.


They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,

But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;

Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side.

There was death at every window;

   And hell at one dark window;

For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.


They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest.

They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast.

"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the doomed man say—

Look for me by moonlight;

   Watch for me by moonlight;

I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!


She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good.

She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood.

They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,

Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,

   Cold, on the stroke of midnight,

The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!


The tip of one finger touched it. She strove no more for the rest.

Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.

She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;

For the road lay bare in the moonlight;

   Blank and bare in the moonlight;

And the blood of her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love's refrain.

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;

Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?

Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,

The highwayman came riding,

   Riding, riding!

The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!


Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!

Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!

Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,

Then her finger moved in the moonlight,

   Her musket shattered the moonlight,

Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.


He turned; he spurred to the west; he did not know who stood

Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood.

Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew gray to hear

How Bess, the landlord's daughter,

   The landlord's black-eyed daughter,

Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.


Back, he spurred like a madman, shouting a curse to the sky,

With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!

Blood-red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,

When they shot him down on the highway,

   Down like a dog on the highway,

And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,

When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,

When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,

A highwayman comes riding—


A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;

He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;

He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there

But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,

   Bess, the landlord's daughter,

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.