“Robin and Nell” (an Irish Rhyme)

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(I learned this from Irish traditional storyteller, master shanachie  Jim Nolan, at Tully’s Pub in Carlow Town. Enjoy!)


Far away in the West,

If my memory serves well-

There live a young couple

Named Robin and Nell.

They courted a long time and at last Robin said:

“We’re long enough courtin’ so let us be wed.”


Now the day was appointed, and the ring Robin got-

And he sought out the preacher to tie up the knot.

Together they started to their new little home-

To wait there until the preacher should come.

But they waited and waited, no preacher came near.

And of course the young couple thought it awfully queer.


Now, when it grew late, a knock came to the door.

That was the preacher, they felt quite sure.

But on opening the door, a note they obtained.

It said that the preacher that day was detained.

Now, it also dictated that if they would stay

That he would come early on the following day.


Now, when Robin read this he was sorely perplexed.

But with Nell by his side, how could he feel vexed?

“Oh, Nellie- Oh, Nellie,” said Robin, “What are we to do?”

“We’ve only got one bed, I wish we had two!”

But that’s quite easy”, Nellie replied.

“We’ll put a chair between us, the bed is quite wide.”

So Robin agreed, the plan was so good.

He couldn’t object, I wonder who could?

Now, Nellie at once began to undress

And the feelings of Robin I cannot express.

When she took off the first garment- he started to sweat.

And the more she took off the hotter he’d get!

Now, Robin,” Sail Nell, “YOU SLEEP OVER THERE…”

“And I will be here, but DON’T MOVE THE CHAIR!


Well, he sighed and he peeped, and he peeped and he sighed.

And he thought that no mortal was ever more tried.

Well the night, it seemed long and when the day broke,

Nellie on Robin played a serious joke.

Without saying a word, from the bed she arose

And at once she commenced to pack up her clothes.

“Oh where- WHERE ARE YOU GOING?” poor Robin cried!

He looked very vexed, and then she replied:

“I’M GOING HOME!”, said she, as she tied up her hair….

“I won’t marry a young man…



(My friend Tane pointed out that this is a very offensive rhyme to some, since it indicates that when a woman says NO, she doesn’t necessarily mean NO. Funnily, Irish culture appears patriarchial on the surface, but it is really women who run things. I see her point, but it is an authentic expression of Irish culture. It’s tongue-in-cheek, and no offense is intended. Yes, “no” means “NO”!)

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© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About KPKeelan

Fool, Philosopher, Lover & Dreamer, Benign TROUBLEMAKER, King and Jester of KPKworld, an online portal to visual and linguistic mystery, befuddlement and delight.
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