The Lost Village Of Semer

Legend Of Semerwater / The Story Of Lake Semerwater by J.C.C. Routh Hawes  / The Ballad of Semerwater-by Sir William Watson (1858-1935)  –  Semerwater Nature Reserve
Semerwater the Lake


by Glynne Ivor Hughes

Away from the wolves, away from the boar,
Far out in the lake they built,
Where the piles would knock on the limestone rock
deep under the glacial silt,
And they joined the piles with primeval trees,
Criss-crossed with the swathes of straws,
And their walls were turves and their roofs were ling,
And they had no fear what the night may bring,
When watch-fires guarded the doors.

They hunted the deer with a flint tipped spear,
The fish that fed in the stream,
And their bows were bent and their shafts were spent,
On shore where the wild fowl teem.
The village of Semer was rough and tough,
And never a Kings fair court,
But for many a year it served them where,
Through the Summers hope and the Winters care,
Men lived as survival taught.

Yet many a time the tale has been told
Of the Saint who begged in vain,
And who cursed the village and all it held,
And vowed it should not remain:
He was footsore, weary, hungered, athirst,
Till a herdsmans hut he spied,
Where they gave him food and they gave him ale
And he bade them flee to the higher dale
before the avenging tide.

For that night the clouds crept down on the crag
The lake rose up in the gloom,
The sinners asleep were drowned in the deep
And washed to a watery doom.
Then the piles soon rotted and fell apart
The floods rolled over the dead
Till the grey goose landed upon the waves
And the fishes swam through the archtraves
That sank in the lakeshore bed.

So, though there is nothing you can see,
From this legend you will know,
How the devil laughed when he claimed his own,
As he sat in glee on the Carlow stone,
Where his burning footprints show.
You will find no ruin of tower or bower
No church bell tolls in the swell,
But the curlews sob and the peewits cry,
The shadows that pass and the winds that sigh,
Speak Semers long farewell.

Glynne Ivor Hughes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Dales