Down by the Salley Gardens

“Down by the Salley Gardens” is a poem by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), published in 1889. Yeats’s poem was set to music by the Irish composer, critic and folk-song collector Herbert Hughes (1882-1937) in 1909. Hughes based his composition on the traditional Irish ballad, “The Maids of Mourne Shore.”

A “salley” is a willow tree (“salley” being the English derivation of the Gaelic word for willow, “saileach”), and the salley gardens, or willow grove, was a place for lovers to steal away to. In Yeats’s poem, the speaker laments the foolishness of his youth and his failure to heed his young lover’s advice to take love and life easy.

This simple but beautiful melody is very popular among folk-song singers and has been arranged by composers including Benjamin Britten and John Rutter.

Piano score, bass clef and Bb treble clef solo parts — $5.99