There are several versions of this song, and three of them are included here.
- The Exile’s Return -
(John Fitzgerald 1825-1910)
I have travelled in exile 'midst cold-hearted strangers
Far, far from my home, and the beautiful Lee
I have struggled alone through all sorrows and dangers
I braved every storm by land and by sea.
Through Columbia's wild forests or Indiana's spicy bowers
And the great foreign rivers whose sands are of gold
I have sighed for thee still 'mid the birds and the flowers
I love you and will 'til this heart will grow cold.
I have roved with fair maidens with dark flowing tresses
And beautiful eyes that looked kindly on me
But I thought with regret of the smiles and caresses
Of a fair-haired young maiden who lives by the Lee.
I have come back again but she's not in her bower
And the river flows past with its calm tiny wave
I have called her in vain, for the ivy-crowned tower
Of Sweet Inniscarra o'er-shadows her grave.
And the home of my childhood to ruin is fallen
The dear ones that blessed it shall greet me no more
But I gaze on it still joyous visions recalling
Though the long grass has grown on the step of the door.
I'll be with you soon and the shamrock above me
From my own native birthplace never more shall I roam
Till I'm laid in the grave with the dear one that loved me
As in death she will welcome her wanderer home.
In sweet Inniscarra by the banks of the Lee,
Where it winds itself gracefully down to the sea,
I plucked a dear flower, as alone it grew there,
A neat little violet so pure and so fair.
But beside it a shamrock though modest itself,
Good luck brings to all who own this dear elf,
So between these two flowers I had to debate,
When they cried, My boy stop! for here lies your fate.
In sweet Inniscarra, in sweet Inniscarra,
Remain here my boy with the one that is true,
In sweet Inniscarra, in sweet Inniscarra
Where the girl of your heart is waiting for you.
If you’re looking for true love the violet then said,
Sure here is the spot where ‘tis born and bred,
Where the colleens are true as the bright stars above,
And the boys would give their lives for true love.
It is true said the shamrock, ‘tis true every word,
Although I’ve been silent the violet I heard,
And I vouch for that virtue for which they would die
In that dear little island whose emblem am I.