Loughrask

(from “Journeys of the Heart”)


I was just seventeen when to West Clare I came
To serve Lord O’Loughlainn and fight in his name
And he gave me a sword and he promised me fame
If I’d lay down my life for the Burren

But worries we’d none through the westering year
And I courted my maiden and hunted the deer
And my sword gathered dust as we’d nothing to fear
Till the snows brought a messenger riding

And he cried, A fierce army cross o’er the far hill
Our land to despoil and our cattle to kill
So we took up the banner and marched with a will
To beat them away from our border

So certain of glory we marched with the tide
Through snow-covered stones where the wild rabbits hide
And we stopped where Loughrask lay so peaceful and wide
And a cry echoed over the water

And the grey hag she rose where no foothold could be
From the heart of the lake, with her back to the sea
And she thrust out her hand as her eyes turned to me
Saying, Soldier of Loughlainn, take warning

Get you home, Lord O’Loughlainn, return while you may
For your fate is decreed if you march on your way
And no man may fight with you and live out the day
And a cold wind will blow on the Burren

O’Loughlainn just smiled as he raised up his hand
I hark not to vision nor bow to demand
And there’s no one on earth, be he devil or man
Can lure me to faithless surrender

And the cursed outlanders who march to the fore
Will rue the cruel fate that has tempted them o’er
For we go in God’s name as we march on to war
So take Heaven or Hell as it please you

And I wanted to run, but I didn’t dare try
And the Hag she just stood as our army marched by
And I wish now I’d spit in my Lord Loughlainn’s eye
For a cold wind did blow on the Burren

Oh, the foe fell upon us with scarcely a sound
And we froze in confusion, fair feast for the hounds
And quickly and cruelly they cut Loughlainn down
And they harvested us like ripe barley

And now wounded I lie, though my warning was clear
And scarce was the glory awaiting me here
And this heart that beat only to comfort my dear
Now stains the white snows of the evening

And were we true to our duty? Well, God only knows
And it won’t even matter to Him, I suppose
When we all melt awy with the last winter’s snows
And the wildflowers bloom on the Burren


© Copyright 1984 Danny Carnahan/Post-Trad Music

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