The Sallagh Maid

One summer's evening I strolled out through lovely Killyglen,
And met a sweet young damsel on the braes at Kimmer Kam.
I smiled at her, but she just tossed her pretty silken head.
'Twas there and then I lost my heart to this sweet Sallagh Maid.

0 she was wondrous beautiful, her like I'd never seen.
More lovlier than an angel, more graceful than a queen.
Her soft grey eyes like April skies, were vivid, deep and pure.
By nature blessed, this maid possessed the magic to allure.

Upon her glowing velvet cheek which was of beauty rare,
Artistic Nature's skilful hand designed a dimple there,
And when she smiled my heart leapt wild, and inwardly I prayed
That God might grant to me the hand of this young Sallagh Maid.

I ventured unto her and said, "Sweet maid my heart is thine,
Ah come this night, my heart's delight by saying you'll be mine,
I'll take you to some foreign land where flowers and sunny skies
Shall match your radiant beauty and the brightness of your eyes."

I'll build for you a castle in some lovely land serene,
You'll wear a crown of happiness and be my radiant queen.
In eagerness I pleaded, I planned, I pledged, I prayed.
With youthful zest I did my best to win this Sallagh Maid.

I had been walking by her side, my thoughts all in a daze,
And we were midst the loneliness of lovely Sallagh Braes,
Night's mantle now subdued the light from yonder Northern sky,
And to my whispered sentiments her answer was a sigh.

A sloping bank of velvet moss adorns the Sallagh Line,
Where blue forget-me-nots and ferns and hyacinths entwine.
A couch designed in Heaven, and by Nature's hand arrayed.
'Twas there I sipped the honeyed lip of this sweet Sallagh Maid.

Since then I've seen magnificence in cities of renown,
In statues of the illustrious great much beauty I have found.
There's brooks and rivers, hills and dales which earn the poet's praise,
But none could match the splendour of the lovely Sallagh Braes.

Sophisticated ladies of great beauty I have seen.
I've danced and dined with damsels robed and perfumed like a queen,
Yet often would my heart rebel, and I have secret prayed
To be once more on Erin's shore with my sweet Sallagh Maid.

John Clifford (1960)

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John Clifford