In my previous post I mentioned Fiona Macleod’s assertion that another name for the Dandelion (Bride’s flower) was Dealan De. Well, I quite accidentally found a version of an Irish song, Deirín dé, which is about the very same thing.

From O’Sullivan, “Songs of the Irish”:

DEIRÍN DÉ

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tá’n gabhairín oíche amuigh san bhfraoch,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tá’n bunán donn a’ labhairt san bhféith.

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Geóidh ba siar le héirí an lae,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Is raghaidh mo leanbh ‘á bhfeighilt ar féar.

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Eireóidh gealach is raghaidh grian fé,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Tiocfaidh ba aniar le deireadh an lae.

Deirín dé, deirín dé,
Leogfad mo leanbh a’ pioca sméar,
Deirín dé, deirín dé,
–Ach codail go sámh go fáinne an lae!

I. The nightjar [lit. little goat of the night!] is abroad in the heather, The brown bittern speaks in the reeds.
II. Cows will go west at dawn of day, And my child will go to mind them in the pasture.
III. The moon will rise and the sun will set, Cows will return at close of day.
IV. I shall let my child go picking blackberries – but sleep soundly till daybreak!

Singable translation by Donal O’Sullivan:

Derreen day, derreen day,
The nightjar calls upon the heath.
Derreen day, derreen day,
The bittern booms the reeds beneath.

…Cows will go west at dawn of day, …
My darling will watch them lest they stray.

…The new moon greets the setting sun’s ray, …
Homeward the cows will wend their way.

…I’ll let my darling go gathering may, …
If he sleeps soundly till dawn of day.

Link to further notes and translations

Inspired by this enchanting song, I went off to do a little more research and found the following passage in the Carmina Gadelica:

“Dealan-De, butterfly, golden butterfly; lit, fire of God–‘dealan,’ fire, flame, lightning; and ‘De,’ God.

The golden butterfly is held sacred. It is said to be the angel of God come to bear the souls of the dead to heaven. If it beseen in or near the house where a person is dead or dying, the omen is good, and the friends rejoice. If it be not seen, a substitute is made by rapidly twirling a fire-pointed stick, moving the while from the dead or dying person towards the door or window. This is called ‘dearban De,’ ‘dealan De.’

The ancient Egyptians represented the soul leaving the body as a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, sometimes from the mouth of the dead.”

Whether there is any link to Dandelions and Bride or not, this is quite fascinating in itself.

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