The Old Man of Kilcockan

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By prayer and entreaty and threat they did worry me
To be wed to a gaffer my youth denied,
On leaden feet to the priest they did hurry me,
With a heart stone dead while the knot was tied.
I like not his gait nor the rheumy red eyes of him,
His furry grey brows, the groans and the sighs of him.
I long for a young man, to lie and to rise with him,
Who would kiss and caress me at morning-tide!

All maids yet unwed, whether wealthy or dowerless,
Be warned by my fortune against old drones;
For I lie by a dotard both shrivelled and powerless,
As good to possess a heap of bones.
Wide-eyed each night, with a heart that’s like lead in me,
I think of the withered old creature’s that wed to me,
Compared to the stalwart that might lie abed with me,
Clasping me to him with love’s sweet tones!

Six-guineas I’d give, and I’d pay it right readily,
If someone would put my old man away,
Come on him by stealth and take aim at him steadily,
Make sure of the target and earn his pay :
Or if in the sea he could set about drowning him,
Lay him flat in the ditch and knock the wall down on him,
Or perhaps even better still just to throttle the jowl of him
And leave him for dead just before the day!

Last night as I lay between waking and sleeping
I heard that my wretched old man was dead;
I leapt from the pillow, my gratitude heaping
On the man in the ditch who had done the deed.
They made up their story while there was still breath in him,
‘Twas the bay mare that kicked him – and that was the death of him,
Go, take to the young man this news that is best for him –
In the grave at Kilcockan my wretch is laid!

Irish : Seanduine Chill Chocáin (Original version)

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