Rich and rare were the gems she wore

In Six Years After, the husband, known only as Father, quotes the first line of a lyric by the Irish poet, Thomas Moore, (maybe best known for burning Byron’s memoirs). I’m not sure why Father quotes the poem here, only that Mother thinks he’s childish. Whatever the case, here’s the whole of it:

Rich and rare were the gems she wore,
And a bright gold ring on her wand she bore;
But oh! her beauty was far beyond
Her sparkling gems, or snow-white wand.

“Lady! dost thou not fear to stray,
So lone and lovely through this bleak way?
Are Erin’s sons so good or so cold,
As not to be tempted by woman or gold?”

“Sir Knight! I feel not the least alarm,
No son of Erin will offer me harm: —
For though they love woman and golden store,
Sir Knight! they love honour and virtue more!”

On she went, and her maiden smile
In safety lighted her round the green isle;
And blest for ever is she who relied
Upon Erin’s honour and Erin’s pride.

Father and Mother were probably thinking of the song, music by Moore’s contemporary John Andrew Stevenson. Here are two versions from YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BpVVU3O7DI or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANEyKzq_4jE

 

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