Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
16. Pearl of the White Breast
By George Petrie (Translated)
THERE’S a colleen fair as May,
  For a year and for a day,
  I’ve sought by every way her heart to gain
There’s no art of tongue or eye
Fond youths with maidens try,        5
  But I’ve tried with ceaseless sigh, yet tried in vain.
If to France or far-off Spain
She’d cross the watery main,
  To see her face again the sea I’d brave.
And if ’tis Heaven’s decree        10
That mine she may not be,
  May the Son of Mary me in mercy save!
O thou blooming milk-white dove,
To whom I’ve given true love,
  Do not ever thus reprove my constancy.        15
There are maidens would be mine,
With wealth in hand and kine,
  If my heart would but incline to turn from thee.
But a kiss with welcome bland,
And a touch of thy dear hand        20
  Are all that I demand, wouldst thou not spurn;
For if not mine, dear girl,
O Snowy-Breasted Pearl!
  May I never from the fair with life return!


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