The Verdant Braes of Skreen (Hear it here) sung by John Renbourn‘s group, Ship of Fools, on this 1988 album is yet another radiant Irish folk ballad. It tells the tale of a young man who attempts to woo his “maiden fair” with a promise of love and affection. But his would-be lover knows a thing or two about him that he didn’t expect. He loves another “Connaught maid.” She’ll have none of it. She refuses to settle for a man who will not show loyalty to her alone. Instead, she says:
O I will climb a high high tree
And I’ll rob a wild bird’s nest
And back I’ll bring what I find there
To the arms that I love best, he said
To the arms that I love best.
—-lyrics from Ireland-Information.com
She’d rather wait patiently for the right man to come and then lavish all of her love on him with the certainty that it will be requited.
What is especially lovely about this song is its soaring, playful melody which mirrors the banter you’d expect to hear between two lovers trying to determine whether they should trust their partner with their love and life. The pipe solos between song verses are also radiant.
There are several variants of this song found on the web. Renbourn’s follows the above lyrics but adds a new third verse and changes the speaker in the final verse from “he” to “she,” which makes the colloquy between the two lovers easier to understand.
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