The Welsh folk song
Llwyn Onn (Gwen of
Llwyn) was set to this melody and was first published in 1802 but the
tune likely goes back much farther.. The English words (below) were written
by John Oxenford sometime in the 1800s. These are not a translation of
the Welsh song, which tells of a sailor's love for Gwen of Llwyn. Many
other songs have been written to this traditional tunes as well.
There is a page dedicated to this song and its lyric variations here: http://www.gurman.org/ashgrove/.
The ash grove, how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking,
the harp [wind] through it playing has language for me.
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking
a host of kind faces is gazing on me.
The friends of my childhood again are before me,
each step wakes a memory as freely I roam.
With soft whispers laden its leaves rustle o'er me,
the ash grove, the ash grove again [alone] is my home.
Down yonder green valley where streamlets meander
when twilight is fading I pensively rove.
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander
amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove.
'Twas there while the blackbird was cheerfully singing
I first met that dear one, the joy of my heart.
Around us for gladness the bluebells were springing
the ash grove, the ash grove that sheltered my home.
My laughter is over, my step loses lightness,
old countryside measures steal soft on my ears;
I only remember the past and its brightness,
the dear ones I mourn for again gather here.
From out of the shadows their loving looks greet me,
and wistfully searching the leafy green dome,
I find other faces fond bending to greet me,
the ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.