Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
50. In Praise of May (Ascribed to Fionn Mac Cumhaill.)
By T. W. Rolleston (Translated)
MAY-DAY! delightful day!
Bright colours play the value along.
Now wakes at morning’s slender ray
Wild and gay the blackbird’s song.
Now comes the bird of dusty hue,        5
The loud cuckoo, the summer-lover;
Branchy trees are thick with leaves;
The bitter, evil time is over.
Swift horses gather nigh
Where half dry the river goes;        10
Tufted heather clothes the height;
Weak and white the bogdown blows.
Corncrake sings from eve to morn,
Deep in corn, a strenuous bard!
Sings the virgin waterfall,        15
White and tall, her one sweet word.
Loaded bees with puny power
Goodly flower-harvest win;
Cattle roam with muddy flanks;
Busy ants go out and in.        20
Through the wild harp of the wood
Making music roars the gale—
Now it settles without motion,
On the ocean sleeps the sail.
Men grow mighty in the May,        25
Proud and gay the maidens grow;
Fair is every wooded height;
Fair and bright the plain below.
A bright shaft has smit the streams,
With gold gleams the water-flag;        30
Leaps the fish, and on the hills
Ardor thrills the leaping stag.
Loudly carols the lark on high,
Small and shy, his tireless lay,
Singing in wildest, merriest mood,        35
Delicate-hued, delightful May.


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