"A Ballad of Galway" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902)
The market place is all astir,
The sombre streets are gay,
And lo! a stately galleon
Lies anchored in the Bay–
The colleens shy, and sturdy lads,
Are swiftly trooping down,
To greet the Spanish sailors
On the quay of Galway Town.
But Nora–golden Nora–
What matters it to you?
There's joy–long time a stranger–
In those gentle eyes of blue;
And wherefore deck your ringlets,
And don your silken gown,
For a crew of Spanish sailors
That stroll through Galway Town?
Said Nora–golden Nora–
And her laughter held a tear,
"I don my silk and laces
Because my love is near–
Among the Spanish crew is one
Should wear a kingly crown–
Although he walks a landless man,
To-day, through Galway town.
"Look forth! see yond his dusky head
Tower high above the throng.
Oh brave is he, and true is he,
And so my lips have song;
For he's no Spanish sailor,
Though he wears the jerkin brown–
But Murrough Og O'Flaherty,
Come back to Galway Town.
"He fought in Spain's red sieges,
And holds a Captain's place,
Ah! would his arm were raised to strike
In battles of his race!
But his boyhood saw with bitter grief
Iar-Connacht lose renown,
When the Saxon crushed his valiant clan
In the streets of Galway Town.
"To-night will be our wedding–
With a holy priest to bless–
Shall we remember Cromwell's law
Amid such happiness?
While my true love's arm is round me,
Should they come with fighting frown,
His sword shall cleave a pathway
For his bride through Galway Town."
Then up the street stepped Murrough,
And down stepped Nora Bán,
Had ever sailor fairer love–
Sweet, sweet as summer dawn?
Their glad lips clung together–
"Such bliss old grief must drown:
God guard the faithful lovers,"
Prayed we in Galway Town.
Oh, far across the water
The good ship's speeding now,
And Murrough Og O'Flaherty
Stands tall beside the prow;
And Nora–golden Nora–
A bride in silken gown–
Hath sailed away for ever
From her kin in Galway Town.