This song is supposed to have been sung by a young bride, who was forcibly detained in one of those forts which are so common in Ireland, and to which the good people are very fond of resorting. Under pretense of hushing her child to rest, she retired to the outside margin of the fort, and addressed the burthen of her song to a young woman she saw at a short distance, and whom she requested to inform her husband of her condition, and to desire him to bring the steel knife to dissolve the enchantment.
Translated From The Irish by J.J. Callanan
Sleep, my child! for the rustling trees, Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze, And fairy songs of sweetest note, Around us gently float. Sleep! for the weeping flowers have shed Their fragrant tears upon thy head, The voice of love hath sooth'd thy rest, And thy pillow is a mother's breast. Sleep, my child! Weary hath pass'd the time forlorn, Since to your mansion I was borne, Tho' bright the feast of its airy halls, And the voice of mirth resounds from its walls Sleep, my child! Full many a maid and blooming bride Within that splendid dome abide,— And many a hoar and shrivell'd sage, And many a matron bow'd with age. Sleep, my child! Oh! thou who hearest this song of fear, To the mourner's home these tidings bear. Bid him bring the knife of the magic blade, At whose lightning-flash the charm will fade. Sleep, my child! Haste! for to-morrow's sun will see The hateful spell renewed for me; Nor can I from that home depart, Till life shall leave my withering heart. Sleep, my child! Sleep, my child! for the rustling trees, Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze, And fairy songs of sweetest note, Around us gently float.
While you’re here, dive deeper into the world of poetry with some of these posts!
An episode about how to write poetry.
Robert Browning’s tribute to his wife, poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, before her death in 1861.
“Ulalume” focuses on the narrator’s loss of his beloved due to her death. Poe originally wrote the poem as an elocution piece and, as such, the poem is known for its focus on sound.