I sing Donal Og to the three goats ever since we got the little one. She cries piteously whenever you walk away, which reminds me of "all I heard were the young lambs wailing". It's such a sad sound.
Tonight I saw the first fireflies. I love being outside so much, it stretches the days. It feels amazing to be physically tired--amazingly different from a cerebral day. It changes the mindset so much, in a way I'm not sure I can put my finger on.
I've been singing "As I Roved Out" a lot too.
I was musing on the Sam Amidon video, and wondering, "is it behind the song?" Not that it has to be. I mean, I liked it. But it didn't reach in and grab my spine, the way sometimes happens. maybe that only happens live.
I did want to put in The Trampwoman's Tragedy. I'm SO into the melodrama of this song, it has haunted me since I first heard it in Ireland. I think my favorite thing about it are the descriptions of the hiking. The shoulders sticking to the packs. I get the BEST idea of their group dynamic from that, I know the weird intimacy that happens when you travel with people (as do you). Hiking with people makes you very close, makes you a unit. And when you do come off the trail, it would seem like sacrilege to forgo the mention of all the places you saw, every bug that bit you, every hill you conquered. Like, you know it's boring to other people but it's so interesting to you. Anyhow, somehow the hiking and traveling together makes this ill-fated "teasing" that went too far seem somehow more believable. Still stupid, but believable.
From Wynyard's Gap the livelong day,
The livelong day,
We beat afoot the northward way
We had travelled times before.
The sun-blaze burning on our backs,
Our shoulders sticking to our packs,
By fosseway, fields, and turnpike tracks
We skirted sad Sedge-Moor.
Full twenty miles we jaunted on,
We jaunted on, —
My fancy-man, and jeering John,
And Mother Lee, and I.
And, as the sun drew down to west,
We climbed the toilsome Polden crest,
And saw, of landskip3 sights the best,
The inn that beamed thereby.
Ay, side by side
Through the Great Forest, Blackmoor4 wide,
And where the Parret ran.
We'd faced the gusts on Mendip ridge,
Had crossed the Yeo unhelped by bridge,
Been stung by every Marshwood midge5,
I and my fancy-man.
Lone inns we loved, my man and I,
My man and I;
'King's Stag', 'Windwhistle' high and dry,
'The Horse' on Hintock Green,
The cosy house at Wynyard's Gap,
'The Hut', renowned on Bredy Knap,
And many another wayside tap
Where folk might sit unseen.
O deadly day,
O deadly day! —
I teased my fancy man in play
And wanton idleness.
I walked alongside jeering John,
I laid his hand my waist upon;
I would not bend my glances on
My lover's dark distress.
Thus Poldon top at last we won,
At last we won,
And gained the inn at sink of sun
Far-famed as 'Marshal's Elm'.
Beneath us figured tor and lea,
From Mendip to the western sea —
I doubt if any finer sight there be
Within this royal realm.
Inside the settle all a-row —
All four a-row
We sat, I next to John, to show
That he had wooed and won.
And then he took me on his knee,
And swore it was his turn to be
My favoured mate, and Mother Lee
Passed to my former one.
Then in a voice I had never heard,
I had never heard,
My only love to me: 'One word,
My lady, if you please!
Whose is the child you are like to bear? —
His? After all my months o' care?'
Gods knows 'twas not! But, O despair!
I nodded — still to tease.
Then he sprung, and with his knife —
And with his knife,
He let out jeering Johnny's life,
Yes; there at set of sun.
The slant ray through the window nigh
Gilded John's blood and glazing eye,
Ere scarcely Mother Lee and I
Knew that the deed was done.
The taverns tell the gloomy tale,
The gloomy tale,
How that at Ivel-Chester jail
My love, my sweetheart swung;
Though stained till now by no misdeed
Save one horse ta'en in time of need;
(Blue Jimmy stole right many a steed
Ere his last fling he flung.)
Thereaft I walked the world alone
On his death-day I gave my groan
And dropt his dead-born child.
'Twas nigh the jail, beneath a tree,
None tending me; for Mother Lee
Had died at Glaston, leaving me
Unfriended on the wild.
And in the night as I lay weak,
As I lay weak,
The leaves a-falling on my cheek,
The red moon low declined —
The ghost of him I'd die to kiss
Rose up and said: 'Ah, tell me this!
Was the child mine, or was it his?
Speak, that I my rest may find!'
O doubt but I told him then,
I told him then,
That I had kept me from all men
Since we joined lips and swore.
Whereat he smiled, and thinned away
As the wind stirred to call up day . . .
— 'Tis past! And here alone I stray
Haunting the Western Moor.
Wikipedia says that Thomas Hardy counted it among his most successful poems. Not sure where the tune comes from, but I'm a bit curious about Thomas Hardy now. There was also a ballet based on the poem, called "the vagabonds".