Sadly I Ponder (Sé Fáth mo Bhuartha)

In the documentary film Older than Ireland, which I saw last night, John Mitchell, one of the thirty 100 year olds interviewed, asked if he ever married, said: "I had no money, no house to bring her to." This triggered my approach to giving my English version of "Sé Fáth mo Bhuartha," a sad love song where the author regrets his inability, presumably due to this very reason expressed by John, to be with his love in the lovely valley where she dwells. In the original Irish version, the regret is expressed and the virtues of the valley multiply chronicled, but he neglects to make explicit his reason for being unable to be there.

Sadly I ponder that, way over yonder,
Lies the lush valley where lives my love.
Green grasses growing by bright river flowing
And skylarks singing in the sky above.
There we would ramble by blossom and bramble,
Pledging our love as we walked hand in hand.
But I'm a poor man, and for to support her,
Must first find my fortune in this foreign land.

The months they are passing, the wages short-lasting,
As I put pennies by for a home for my love.
The bosses are grasping and always demanding;
I pray for an answer from the good God above.
Mild is the climate in my darling's hamlet;
The bees there are busily building their store,
But the pavements are hard here, and lonely my labour;
All the time I am longing to be with her once more.

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