Dusk, a pearl-grey river, o’er
Hill and vale puts out the day—
What do you wonder at, asthore,
What’s away in yonder grey?
Dark the eyes that linger long—
Dream-fed heart, awake, come in,
Warm the hearth and gay the song:
Love with tender words would win.
Fades the eve in dreamy fire,
But the heart of night is lit:
Ancient beauty, old desire,
By the cabin doorway flit.
You might have wondered at the word asthore. It’s an Irish English term of endearment, an anglicised form of the Irish a stór /ə’st̪oːr/, meaning ‘my dear’ or ‘my darling’ – literally ‘treasure’, with the Irish vocative particle a.
I love the sound and appearance of a stór. Google Books has examples of it in literary use, but asthore appears to be the more common form. I’ve also come across m’asthore, a mixed-tongue contraction of mo stór, ‘my treasure’.
What do you wonder at, a stór?
And did you notice how the verses above look like a face in profile, with a strong nose, a weak chin, and the broad brim of a hat?