Oorspronkelijke tekst

Het onderstaande Britse volksliedje heb ik vertaald als Het essenhout. De eerste en derde strofe kende ik uit mijn hoofd, en toen ik ging zoeken op internet bleken er nog twee coupletten te zijn. Daarnaast bestaan er nog een aantal andere versies van het lied. Hieronder komt de derde strofe tweemaal voor, ik gebruikte die tussen de haakjes.
Het lied komt oorspronkelijk uit Wales.


The ash grove, how graceful, how plainly ‘tis speaking,
The wind [harp] through it playing has language for me.
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking
A host of kind faces is gazing on me.
The friends of my childhood again are before me,
Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam.
With soft whispers laden its leaves rustle o’er me,
The ash grove, the ash grove again [alone] is my home.

Down yonder green valley where streamlets meander
When twilight is fading I pensively rove*.
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander
Amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove.
Twas there while the blackbird was cheerfully singing
I first met that dear one, the joy of my heart.
Around us [as] for gladness the bluebells were ringing
Ah! then little thought I how soon we should part.
[The ash grove, the ash grove that sheltered my home.]

My laughter is over, my step loses lightness,
Old countryside measures steal soft on my ear;
I only remember the past and its brightness,
The dear ones I mourn [long] for again gather here.
From out of the shadows their loving looks greet me
And wistfully searching the leafy green dome,
I find other faces fond bending to greet me,
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.

[My lips smile no more, my heart loses its lightness
No dream of my future my spirit can cheer;
I only can brood on the past and its brightness,
The dead I have mourned are again living here.
From ev’ry dark nook they press forward to meet me;
I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome,
And others are there looking downward to greet me;
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.]

Still glows the bright sunshine o’er valley and mountain,
Still warbles the blackbird its note from the tree;
Still trembles the moonbeam on streamlet and fountain,
But what are the beauties of Nature to me?
With sorrow, deep sorrow, my bosom [heart] is laden,
All day I go mourning in search of my love!
Ye echoes! oh tell me, where is the sweet maiden
[loved one]?
“She [He] sleeps ‘neath the green turf down by the
Ash Grove.”