The Zennor Mermaid (Song, Cornwall)

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zennor mermaid

’Twas once on a time, ah long ago,

A youth he loved a maiden so:

She was fair as the day, and with golden liair,

Long, ah long ago.


But nobody knew from whence she came,

Or where she lived, or what was her name:

They only perceived her divinely fair,

Long, ah long ago.


The gossips declared she had ill-shapen feet,

She wore such long dresses they could not be neat.

Like a vision she came, and would disappear.

Long, ah long ago.


Her rich sunny locks were ‘too golden,’ they cried,

E’en the bloom on her cheeks was carefully eyed:

There was something uncanny about her ’twas clear.

Long, ah long ago.


’Twas on Sundays alone she ever was seen.

At Zennor Clmrch duly, at morn and at e’en:

Whene’er the bell tolled she was sure to be there,

Long, ah long ago.


Like an angel she looked, like a nightingale sang,

Through the church the sweet notes of her melody rang.

In exquisite cadence, — ’twas music most rare,

Long, ah long ago.


Now the son of the squire was handsome and tall,

And he long watched the maiden so noticed by all;

But to him she seemed truly like one from above,

Long, ah long ago.


He oft tried to follow, and find where she went,

But never succeeded, — she foiled his intent;

So he, mutely admiring, fell madly in love.

Long, ah long ago.


One Sunday it happened she signed to the lad

Ere leaving tlie cliurch, and it made his heart glad.

He followed, and still she but just kept in sight.

Long, ah long ago.


Then down to the cove she so quickly repaired,

Whilst he hurried after as quick as he dared,

Till he reached her at last by foaming waves white.

Long, ah long ago.


’Twas then that she turned, and smiling, said she,

‘Come be my dear love, and dwell ’neath the sea,

I’ve pleasures and riches in deep coral caves.’

Long, ah long ago.


‘I’m yours,’ cried the lad ‘for ever and aye —

I’ll follow wherever you point out the way:’

Then embraced by the Mermaid he plunged in the waves,

Long, ah long ago.

George B. Millet ‘The Zennor Mermaid’,

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