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NELLY OF THE TOP-KNOTS, by             Poem Explanation         Poet's Biography
First Line: Dear god! Were I fisher and

Dear God! were I fisher and
Back in Binédar,
And Nelly a fish who
Would swim in the bay there,
I would privately set there
My net there to catch her,
In Erin no maiden
Is able to match her.

And Nelly, dear God!
Why! you should not thus flee me,
I long to be near thee
And hear thee and see thee,
My hand on the Bible
And I swearing and kneeling
And giving thee part
Of the heart you are stealing.

I've a fair yellow casket
And it fastened with crystal,
And the lock opens not
To the shot of a pistol.
To Jesus I pray
And to Columbkill's Master,
That Mary may guide thee
Aside from disaster.

We may be, O maiden
Whom none may disparage,
Some morning a-hearing
The sweet mass of marriage,
But if fate be against us,
To rend us and push us,
I shall mourn as the blackbird
At eve in the bushes.

O God, were she with me
Where the gull flits and tern,
Or in Paris the smiling,
Or an Isle in Loch Erne,
I would coax her so well,
I would tell her my story,
And talk till I won her,
My sunshine of glory.

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