The Shadowy Waters

A Dramatic Poem 1906
  • A. Norman Jeffares


Burning Dust Foam Mast Odour 


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  1. p. 147, ‘The Shadowy Waters’ Red Moll: an invented character A beautiful young man and girl: Aengus and Edain. See notes on ‘The Harp of Aengus’ above the Ever-living: the Irish gods and goddesses tower of glass: see notes on ‘The Harp of Aengus’ above man-headed birds: spirits of the dead Seaghan the fool: invented character Druids: see note on WO, p. 486 hurley: an Irish ball game of some antiquity, played with wooden hurley sticks (or hurleys) Chrysoprase, Or chrysoberyl, or beryl, or chrysolite: all gemstones, respectively an apple-green variety of chalcedony; a greenish-yellow mineral of beryllium aluminate in orthorhombic crystalline form (used in the form of cat’s eye and alexandrite); a green, blue, yellow or white mineral of beryllium aluminium silicate (emerald and aquamarine are transparent varieties of it); a brown or yellowish green olivine of magnesium iron silicate opoponax: a firm resin formerly used in medicine and in perfumery to wake: to hold a vigil over a dead body keen: see notes on ‘The Ballad of Father O’Hart’, p. 494 Iollan: either Iollan, son of Fergus Mac Roy (see notes on WO, p. 484), or, more likely, Finn’s uncle, Iollan Eachtach, a chief of the Fianna (see notes on WO, p. 487) who left Uchtdealb of the Sidhe for Finn’s aunt Tuirreann, whom Uchtdealb then turned into a hound (see notes on WO, p. 484). When Iollan promised to return to her she turned Tuirreann back into a human being Shape-changers: here identified with the Ever-laughing Ones, the Immortal Mockers. Frequent changes of shape occur in Gaelic mythology; see D. E. S. Maxwell, ‘The Shape-Changers’, Yeats, Sligo and Ireland (ed. Jeffares, 1976), 153–69. ancient worm: probably change and decay. In CK Yeats mentions ‘the old worm of the world’, but there may be a hint of the materialism of the devil since the ‘Dragon’ could refer to Satan, the Old SerpentGoogle Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • A. Norman Jeffares

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