Down by the Sally Gardens

By ~ Megan Schwoerer

History and Origin

Down by the Salley Gardens was originally a poem written by William Butler Yeats. Yeats stated that it was "an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballisodare, Sligo." Ballisodare, also known as Ballysadare, is located in Ireland.

The Poem

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;

She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.

She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;

But I; being young and foolish, with her would not agree.


In a field by the river my love and I did stand,

And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.

She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;

But I was young and foolish, and now full of tears.


My Thinking of the Poem

When I first read the poem I thought it was about a boy who met a girl, but the boy was to eager and not ready for love. When the poem says, 'she bid me take love easy, as the leaves grows on trees.'; I think that means she is telling the boy to take love slowly, and not to jump ahead, like how leaves slowly grow on the trees. When the poem says ' she bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs.'; I believe that means that you should really live life and take it slow. The last line states, 'but I was young and foolish, and now full of tears.' I think that means that the boy ignored the advice that the woman gave him, and now he lost the love of his life... Poor guy...