Songs from “Wild Earth” (Voice + Flute)

Songs from Wild Earth 
for Voice and Flute
Music by Eric Pazdziora
Poems by Padraic Colum 

  1. Across the Door
  2. She Moved Through the Fair
  3. A Cradle Song
  4. An Old Woman of the Roads
  5. The Beggar’s Child
  6. Carricknabauna 

Duration: ~14 minutes

Program Notes

Wild Earth is a 1916 collection of poems by Irish author Padraic Colum (1881–1972), depicting scenes and people from rural Ireland. Colum, a prominent figure in the Irish Literary Revival of the early twentieth century, drew inspiration from early songs and folklore, including the traditional melody “She Moved Through The Fair,” for which he adapted perhaps his best known lyric. This song cycle selects several of Colum’s poems in settings for voice and solo instrument. The original set of four was composed in a flurry for a 24-hour composition event at the University of North Carolina—Greensboro, and lightly revised for a 2015 premiere at Connecticut College by Wendy Moy (Soprano) and Patricia Harper (Alto Flute). This version was further revised in 2022 for Soprano and Flute as requested by Raha Mirzadegan and Sarah Young with two additional songs.

Across The Door

The fiddles were playing and playing, 
The couples were out on the floor;
From converse and dancing he drew me, 
And across the door.

Ah! strange were the dim, wide meadows, 
And strange was the cloud-strewn sky,
And strange in the meadows the corncrakes,
 And they making cry!

The hawthorn bloom was by us,
Around us the breath of the south.
White hawthorn, strange in the night-time—
His kiss on my mouth!

She Moved Through The Fair

My young love said to me, “My brothers won’t mind, 
And my parents won’t slight you for your lack of kind.”
Then she stepped away from me, and this she did say, 
“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.”

She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her go here and go there,
Then she went her way homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

The people were saying no two were e’er wed
But one had a sorrow that never was said,
And I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear, 
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.

I dreamt it last night that my young love came in, 
So softly she entered, her feet made no din;
She came close beside me, and this she did say,
“It will not be long, love, till our wedding day.”

A Cradle Song

O, men from the fields!
Come gently within. 
Tread softly, softly, 
O! men coming in. 

Mavourneen is going 
From me and from you. 
Where Mary will fold him 
With mantle of blue!

From reek of the smoke 
And cold of the floor. 
And the peering of things 
Across the half-door. 

O, men from the fields!
Soft, softly come thro’. 
Mary puts round him 
Her mantle of blue. 

An Old Woman of the Roads

O, to have a little house! 
To own the hearth and stool and all! 
The heaped up sods upon the fire. 
The pile of turf against the wall! 

To have a clock with weights and chains 
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph, 
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day 
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor. 
And fixing on their shelf again 
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night 
Beside the fire and by myself, 
Sure of a bed and loth to leave 
The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark. 
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush. 
And tired I am of bog and road, 
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high. 
And I am praying Him night and day. 
For a little house — a house of my own — 
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way. 

The Beggar’s Child

Mavourneen, we’ll go far away
From the net of the crooked town,
Where they grudge us the light of the day.

Around my neck you will lay
Two tight little arms of brown. 
Mavourneen, we’ll go far away
From the net of the crooked town.

And what will we hear on the way?
The stir of wings up and down, says she,
In nests where the little birds stay! 
Mavourneen, we’ll go far away
From the net of the crooked town,
Where they grudge us the light of the day.


(An old woman sings:)

There was an oul’ trooper went riding by 
On the road to Carricknabauna,
And sorrow is better to sing than cry 
On the way to Carricknabauna!
And as the oul’ trooper went riding on
He heard this sung by a crone, a crone 
On the road to Carricknabauna!

“I’d spread my cloak for you, young lad,
Were it only the breadth of a farthen’, 
And if your mind was as good as your word
In troth, it’s you I’d rather!
In dread of any jealousy,
And before we go any farther,
Carry me up to the top of the hill
And show me Carricknabauna!”

“Carricknabauna, Carricknabauna,
Would you show me Carricknabauna?
I lost a horse at Cruckmoylinn—
At the Cross of Bunratty I dropped a limb—
But I left my youth on the crown of the hill
Over by Carricknabauna!”

Girls, young girls, the rush-light is done.
What will I do till my thread is spun?

AuthorEric Pazdziora

Composer, Author, Pianist