Sententiae Antiquae Novaeque

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The Commentary Section hopes you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day two Sundays back in the appropriate manner: by praying the “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” prayer, eating corned beef and cabbage, drinking a Guinness or Harp, and watching John Wayne woo the incandescent Maureen O’Hara in John Ford’s 1952 masterpiece, The Quiet Man. In honor of St. Patrick, and in a nod to the Irish in us all, we give you the beautiful words of “Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms,” the great Irish ballad.

Its melody was an old Irish air when, in 1808, poet Thomas Moore wrote the beautiful lyrics that follow. (A tip: Look up papal count and immortal tenor John McCormack’s rendition of the tune.)

Dia is Muire duit!

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Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,

Which I gaze on so fondly today,

Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms,

Like fairy-gifts fading away,

Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou

art,

Let thy loveliness fade as it will,

And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart

Would entwine itself verdantly still.

 

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,

And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,

That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,

To which time will but make thee more dear.

No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,

But as truly loves on to the close,

As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets,

The same look which she turned when he rose.

 

 

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