Tuesday, July 13, 2004

She Moved Through the Fair

She Moved Through the Fair
Padraic Collum

My young love said to me my mother won't mind,
And my father won't slight you for your lack of kind,
And she stepp'd away from me and this she did say,
'It will not be long love till our wedding day.'

She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her go here and go there,
Then she went her way homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

The people were saying no two were e'er wed
But one has a sorrow that never was said,
And I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear,
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.

I dreamt it last night that my young love came in,
So softly she entered, her feet made no din;
She came close beside me, and this she did say,
'It will not be long love, till our wedding day.'

She Moved Through the Fair is surely one of the most popular of all Celtic folk songs - having been covered myriad times by a vast array of artists. Everyone from Sinead O'Connor, Sarah Brightman, Mary Black, All About Eve, Loreena McKennitt and Charlotte Church through Van Morrison, Art Garfunkel, Alan Stivell, Richard Thompson and Shane MacGowan have covered it. Sandy Denny's version with Fairport Convention may be the best known version but nearly every Brit- and Celtic folksinger on the planet has likely had a go at one time or another. When performed well it is a moving, haunting work of wonder.

The Padraic Colum Collection at Bartleby.com

The score (in various formats) at Digital Tradition

All Music Guide has an incomplete but still impressive 107 versions listed - plus dozens more under such variations as She Moves Through the Fair.

New Zealand's Lothlorien (official site) do an exceptionally lovely version on their album Greenwood Side Sample MP3's

Here's a live version from (mostly) Richard Thompson and (lessly)David Byrne. (very limited availability) - Update - Link no longer active