Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
22. The Spinning Wheel
 
By John Francis Waller
 
 
MELLOW the moonlight to shine is beginning,
  Close by the window young Eileen is spinning;
Bent over the fire her blind grandmother, sitting,
Is crooning, and moaning, and drowsily knitting:—
“Eileen, achora, I hear someone tapping.”        5
“’Tis the ivy, dear mother, against the glass flapping.”
“Eily, I surely hear somebody sighing.”
“’Tis the sound, mother dear, of the summer wind dying.”
Merrily, cheerily, noiselessly whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the wheel, while the foot’s stirring;        10
Sprightly, and brightly, and airily ringing
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.
 
“What’s that noise that I hear at the window, I wonder?”
“’Tis the little birds chirping the holly-bush under.”
“What makes you be shoving and moving your stool on,        15
And singing, all wrong, that old song of ‘The Coolun’?”
There’s a form at the casement—the form of her true love—
And he whispers, with face bent, “I’m waiting for you, love;
Get up on the stool, through the lattice step lightly,
We’ll rove in the grove, while the moon’s shining brightly.”        20
Merrily, cheerily, noiselessly whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the wheel, while the foot’s stirring;
Sprightly, and brightly, and airily ringing
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.
 
The maid shakes her head, on her lips lays her fingers,        25
Steals up from her seat—longs to go, and yet lingers;
A frightened glance turns to her drowsy grandmother,
Puts one foot on the stool, spins the wheel with the other,
Lazily, easily, swings now the wheel round,
Slowly and lowly is heard not the reel’s sound;        30
Noiseless and light to the lattice above her
The maid steps—then leaps to the arms of her lover.
Slower—and slower—and slower the wheel swings;
Lower—and lower—and lower the reel rings;
Ere the reel and the wheel stopped their ringing and moving,        35
Through the grove the young lovers by moonlight are roving.
 

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