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Oh there was a maid, lived by the shore, and to her child did sing:
"I know not who your father is, nor the land that he dwells in,
Nor the land that he dwells in."

Now it happened on a moonlit night when she lay fast asleep.
A tall grey man came to her cot and sat at her bed feet,
And sat at her bed feet.

Saying: "Awake, awake, oh pretty maid, awake and you will see,
I am the father of your child although I'm not comely,
Although I'm not comely."

"I am a man upon dry land and a silkie in the sea
And when I'm far from every strand I dwell in Sule Skerry,
I dwell in Sule Skerry."

"I'll give to you this gay gold ring, for I would marry thee."
"Oh marry whom you will," she says, " for you'll never marry me,
You'll never marry me."

Then he's brought out a purse of gold, saying: "Take thy nurse's fee.
I'll give the ring to our young son and he will come with me,
And he will come with me."

"And you shall wed the gunner good, a fine young man he'll be.
And on some bright May morning he'll kill my son and me,
He'll kill my son and me."

Now she has wed the gunner good all early in the spring.
And it's on a fine May morning he brought to her the ring,
He brought to her the ring.

And when she saw the Silkie's ring this lady wept full sore:
"Alas, alas, my first borne son, I'll never see you more,
I'll never see you more."

Music and adapted lyrics ©1994 by Tom Rhoads.

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