Lyrics

An Spailpín Fánach
(The Wandering Laborer)

Go deo deo arís ní rachad go Caiseal
Ag díol nó reic mo shláinte,
No ar mhargadh ne saoire I mo shuí cois balla
I mo scaoinse ar leataobh sráide.
Bodairí na tíre ag teacht ar a gcapaill
Ag fiafraigh an bhuilim híreálta.
Ó téanaim chun siúil, tá an cúrsa fada,
Seo are siúl an Spailpín Fánach.

I mo Spailpiín Fanach fágadh mise
Ag seasamh ar mo shláinte.
Ag siúl an drúchta go moch ar maidin
Is ag bailiú galair ráithe.
Ní fheicfear corrán I mo láimh chun bainte
Súiste nó feac beag ramhainne
Ach colours na bhFrancach os cionn mo leapan
Agus pike agam chun sáite

Mó chúig chéad slán chun duthaighe m'athar
Is dhun an Oileáin gradhmhair.
'S chun buachailli na Cúlach ós díobh nár mhisde
I n-aimsir chasta an ghárda
Ach anois ó taimse im chadhain bhocht dealbh
I measc na nduthaigh bhfán so
Sé mo chumha croidhe mar fuair mé an ghairm
Bheith riamh im Spailpín Fánach

Is ró-bhreá is cuimhin liom mo dhaoine bheith sealadh
Thiar ag droichead Cháile
Fé bhuaibh, fé chaoririgh, fé laoigh beaga gheala
Agus capaill ann le h-áireamh
Ach b'é toil Chroist é gur cuireadh sinn asta
'S no ndeaghmhar i leith ár sláinte
'S gurbh é bhris mo chroí I ngach tír da rachainn
"Call here, you spailpín fánach"

Translation from Irish Gaelic to English:

I will never go again to Caishel
Selling or bartering myself in hire
Or selling my freedom, sitting by the wall
Lounging by the side of the road.
Rude, boorish men from all over the country, coming on their horses
Asking if I am for hire
Oh, come let us go, the journey is long
The journey of the wandering laborer

I will quit this itinerant laboring
Hiring myself out
Walking over night to early morning
Weary of endless journeying
I would not see a sickle in my hand for reaping
A flail for threshing nor a small spade handle
But rather, the colors of the French flying over my head
And a pike in my hand to thrust forth

Five hundred farewells to the town of my father
And to my beloved island
And to the boys of Luach, sure there was no harm in them
During the times we tangled with the Garda
But now, since I am in my poor destitute cell
In the midst of my own native land, outcast
My heart is full of woe, that I ever go the calling
To be a wandering laborer

It's well I remember when my parents were hewing
Over at Gaile bridge
With oxen, with sheep with bright young calves
And horses to take care of
But it was the will of Christ that it was taken from us
And we were put out for hire
And it would break my heart, every where I would go, to hear
"Call here, you spailpín fánach"

"An Spailpín Fánach" is an early Irish version of a song that became one of America's most widely known folk tunes. Known originally as "The Bard of Armagh," the melody migrated westward, evolving eventually into a popular song, "The Girl I Left Behind Me."

From the CD, The Border of Heaven, by Connie Dover © Taylor Park Music/Connie Dover


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