Ich am of Irlonde

John Speed, map of Ireland. Image source Wikimedia
John Speed, map of Ireland. Image source Wikimedia

Ich am of Irlonde,
And of the holy londe
Of Irlonde.
Goode sire, praye ich thee,
For of sainte charitee,
Com and dance with me
In Irlonde.

Anon. (14th century)

It inspired Yeats, of course.

‘I am of Ireland’

I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,’ cried she.
‘Come out of charity,
Come dance with me in Ireland.’

One man, one man alone
In that outlandish gear,
One solitary man
Of all that rambled there
Had turned his stately head.
That is a long way off,
And time runs on,’ he said,
‘And the night grows rough.’

‘I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,’ cried she.
‘Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.’

‘The fiddlers are all thumbs,
Or the fiddle-string accursed,
The drums and the kettledrums
And the trumpets all are burst,
And the trombone,’ cried he,
‘The trumpet and trombone,’
And cocked a malicious eye,
‘But time runs on, runs on.’

I am of Ireland,
And the Holy Land of Ireland,
And time runs on,’ cried she.
“Come out of charity
And dance with me in Ireland.’

– W.B Yeats, The Winding Stair and Other Poems, 1933

 


Links:

Higher resolution image of John Speed’s map of Ireland

Middle English lyrics Miscellaneous Texts

Inaugural Speech Given by Her Excellency Mary Robinson,President of Ireland,
in Dublin Castle on Monday, December 3, 1990