SHULE AROON: An Irish Song

This is an ancient song; it’s been around since at least the 14th century, and is presented in the phonetic Irish, not the Gaelic, as was common in the 1880s, the time of the Donovan Family Saga. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it was revived in the 1960s by Peter, Paul & Mary. Though they turned the chorus to nonsense lyrics and retitled it “Gone the Rainbow”, their harmonies are inimitable. You can listen to it here.


I wish I were on yonder hill
‘Tis there I’d sit and cry my fill,
And ev’ry tear would turn a mill,
Is go de mavourneen slawn.


Shule, shule, shule aroon,
Shule go succir agus, shule go cuin;
Shule go teir andurrus oggus eli glume,
Is go de mavourneen slawn. *

I’ll sell my rod, I’ll sell my wheel
To buy my love a sword of steel
That it in battle he might wield.
Is go de mavourneen slawn.


But now my love has gone to France
To try his fortune to advance.
If he e’er come back, ’tis but a chance
Is go de mavourneen slawn.


I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
I wish I had my heart again,
And vainly think I’d not complain
Is go de mavourneen slawn.

*Translation of Chorus

Come, come, come O love,
Quickly come to me, softly move,
Come to the door and away we’ll flee,
And safe forever may my darling be.

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