Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Ireland
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V.  1876–79.
Sir Turlough, or the Churchyard Bride
William Carleton (1794–1865)
          In the churchyard of Erigle Truagh, in the barony of Truagh, county Monaghan, there is said to be a Spirit which appears to persons whose families are there interred. Its appearance, which is generally made in the following manner, is uniformly fatal, being an omen of death to those who are so unhappy as to meet with it. When a funeral takes place, it watches the person who remains last in the graveyard, over whom it possesses a fascinating influence. If the loiterer be a young man, it takes the shape of a beautiful female, inspires him with a charmed passion, and exacts a promise to meet in the churchyard on a month from that day; this promise is sealed by a kiss, which communicates a deadly taint to the individual who receives it.

THE BRIDE she bound her golden hair—
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And her step was light as the breezy air
When it bends the morning flowers so fair,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        5
And O, but her eyes they danced so bright,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
As she longed for the dawn of to-morrow’s light,
Her bridal vows of love to plight,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        10
The bridegroom is come with youthful brow,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
To receive from his Eva her virgin vow;
“Why tarries the bride of my bosom now?”
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        15
A cry! a cry!—’t was her maidens spoke,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
“Your bride is asleep—she has not awoke;
And the sleep she sleeps will be never broke,”
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        20
Sir Turlough sank down with a heavy moan,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And his cheek became like the marble stone—
“O, the pulse of my heart is forever gone!”
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        25
The keen 1 is loud, it comes again,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And rises sad from the funeral train,
As in sorrow it winds along the plain,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.
*        *        *        *        *
Now the grave is closed, and the mass is said,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And the bride she sleeps in her lonely bed,
The fairest corpse among the dead,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        35
The wreaths of virgin-white are laid,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
By virgin hands, o’er the spotless maid;
And the flowers are strewn, but they soon will fade
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        40
“O, go not yet—not yet away,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
Let us feel that life is near our clay,”
The long-departed seem to say,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        45
But the tramp and the voices of life are gone,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And beneath each cold forgotten stone,
The mouldering dead sleep all alone,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        50
But who is he who lingereth yet?
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
The fresh green sod with his tears is wet,
And his heart in the bridal grave is set,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        55
O, who but Sir Turlough, the young and brave,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
Should bend him o’er that bridal grave,
And to his death-bound Eva rave,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        60
“Weep not—weep not,” said a lady fair,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
“Should youth and valor thus despair,
And pour their vows to the empty air?”
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        65
There ’s charmed music upon her tongue,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
Such beauty—bright, and warm, and young—
Was never seen the maids among,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.
*        *        *        *        *
The charm is strong upon Turlough’s eye,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
His faithless tears are already dry,
And his yielding heart has ceased to sigh,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        75
“To thee,” the charmed chief replied,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
“I pledge that love o’er my buried bride;
O, come, and in Turlough’s hall abide,”
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        80
Again the funeral voice came o’er
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
The passing breeze, as it wailed before,
And streams of mournful music bore,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        85
“If I to thy youthful heart am dear,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
One month from hence thou wilt meet me here,
Where lay thy bridal Eva’s bier,”
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        90
He pressed her lips as the words were spoken,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And his banshee’s wail—now far and broken—
Murmured “Death,” as he gave the token,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy;        95
“Adieu! adieu!” said this lady bright,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And she slowly passed like a thing of light,
Or a morning cloud, from Sir Turlough’s sight,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        100
Now Sir Turlough has death in every vein,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And there ’s fear and grief o’er his wide domain,
And gold for those who will calm his brain,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.
*        *        *        *        *
The leech has failed, and the hoary priest,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
With pious shrift his soul released,
And the smoke is high of his funeral feast,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        110
The shanachies now are assembled all,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And the songs of praise, in Sir Turlough’s hall,
To the sorrowing harp’s dark music fall,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        115
And there is trophy, banner, and plume,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
And the pomp of death, with its darkest gloom,
O’ershadows the Irish chieftain’s tomb,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        120
The month is closed, and Green Truagha’s pride,
  Killeevy, O Killeevy!
Is married to death—and, side by side,
He slumbers now with his churchyard bride,
  By the bonnie green woods of Killeevy.        125
Note 1. The Irish cry, or wailing for the dead. [back]

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