Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Rider From The North
by [?]


From the play of The Country of the Young.

There’s many a strong farmer
Whose heart would break in two
If he could see the townland
That we are riding to;
Boughs have their fruit and blossom,
At all times of the year,
Rivers are running over
With red beer and brown beer.
An old man plays the bagpipes
In a golden and silver wood,
Queens, their eyes blue like the ice,
Are dancing in a crowd.
The little fox he murmured,
‘O what is the world’s bane?’
The sun was laughing sweetly,
The moon plucked at my rein;
But the little red fox murmured,
‘O do not pluck at his rein,
He is riding to the townland
That is the world’s bane.’

When their hearts are so high,
That they would come to blows,
They unhook their heavy swords
From golden and silver boughs;
But all that are killed in battle
Awaken to life again;
It is lucky that their story
Is not known among men.
For O the strong farmers
That would let the spade lie,
For their hearts would be like a cup
That somebody had drunk dry.
The little fox he murmured,
‘O what is the world’s bane?’
The sun was laughing sweetly,
The moon plucked at my rein;
But the little red fox murmured,
‘O do not pluck at his rein,
He is riding to the townland
That is the world’s bane.’

Michael will unhook his trumpet
From a bough overhead,
And blow a little noise
When the supper has been spread.
Gabriel will come from the water
With a fish tail, and talk
Of wonders that have happened
On wet roads where men walk,
And lift up an old horn
Of hammered silver, and drink
Till he has fallen asleep
Upon the starry brink.
The little fox he murmured,
‘O what is the world’s bane?’
The sun was laughing sweetly,
The moon plucked at my rein;
But the little red fox murmured,
‘O do not pluck at his rein,
He is riding to the townland,
That is the world’s bane.’

I made some of these poems walking about
among the Seven Woods, before the big wind of
nineteen hundred and three blew down so many
trees, & troubled the wild creatures, & changed the
look of things; and I thought out there a good
part of the play which follows. The first shape of
it came to me in a dream, but it changed much in
the making, foreshadowing, it may be, a change
that may bring a less dream-burdened will into my
verses. I never re-wrote anything so many times;
for at first I could not make these wills that stream
into mere life poetical. But now I hope to do
easily much more of the kind, and that our new
Irish players will find the buskin and the sock.