O'Reilly of the County Cavan

(cf. Joyce pp 124 & 234, CO'L p186) Note by DMacD

When first I came to the County Cavan
To view the banks of the sweet Lough Ree,
I fell in love with a pretty fair maid,
She appeared to me like the queen of May;
I asked her kindly if she would marry
Or if she'd be a soldier's bride,
"Oh, no, kind sir, I'd sooner tarry
For I do choose a sweet single life."

Oh, fairest creature, the pride of nature,
Why do you differ from all female kind?
You are so neat, so genteel and handsome
To marry you,love, I am much inclined.
She says, young man, to tell you plainly,
I might have been married six months ago
But for one O'Reilly from the County Cavan,
I'm afraid he'll prove my sad overthrow.

My curse on Reilly, he will deceive you,
He rows his boat to too many shores,
But come with me, love, to Pennsylvania,
Bid adieu to Reilly for evermore.
I wish I had you in Phoenix Island,
One thousand miles from your native home
Or if I had you in yon low valley
You might incline, love, to be my own.

Thank God I'm not in Phoenix Island
One thousand miles from my native home
Or in a valley where no can find me,
So I'll not incline, love, to be your own,
Or in your arms you'll not enfold me,
For with you I am not inclined to go;
So sail you back from whence you came,
I'll wait on Reilly for evermore.

You are like the swan, love, that sails the ocean,
All making motions with both its wings,
Your snowy breast would be a potion
For some noble lord or an Irish king,
In the morning when I cannot see you
My heart lies bleeding for you all day,
And in the evening when I can't go with you,
So farewell darling, I must away.