The title of this Irish song translates to “Go, my Love” or “Walk, my Love”. What is striking about this song is that it has a mix of English and Gaelic verses and an Irish language chorus. It is a style known as macaronic, characteristic for 19th century Ireland, a time when English was becoming a predominant language and Gaelic was being used less and less.
‘Walk, My Love’ is a song of love in a time of war, much like the situation now in Ukraine. It is meant to be sung by women as a heart-breaking ‘send off’ to their men as they go into military service or war. The heroine pronounces herself willing to do everything to support her beloved and his new mission, and the melody is appropriately tinged with sadness as she bids farewell to him. I am certain this song would resonate deeply with the brave women of Ukraine seeing their beloved march into war to defend family and nation. May the good Lord be on their side.
Here are the lyrics of “Walk, My Love”
I wish I was on yonder hill
Tis there I’d sit and cry my fill
Till every tear would turn a mill
Is go dte tu mo mhuirnin slan. (translation: And may you go safely, my darling)
Siúil, siúil, siúil a rúin
Siúil go socair agus siúil go ciúin
Siúil go doras agus éalaigh liom
Is go dté tú, mo mhuirnín, slán
siúil is an imperative, literally translating to “walk!”, and a rún is a term of endearment.
The second verse:
I’ll sell my rock, I’ll sell my reel
I’ll sell my only spinning wheel
To buy my love a sword of steel Is go
dté tú, mo mhuirnín, slán
The last verse:
I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
I wish I had my heart again
And vainly think I’d not complain Is go
dté tú, mo mhuirnín, slán.
Siúil a Rúin (“Walk, My Love”) – Ella Roberts