"They haunt us like our crime"

Part of the Annotated Lyrics Horslips Pages

Let me ask you this one question,
was it really such a sin,
To love too much, to be closer than touch
when there was no way we could win.
Ah and now I hear their voices they're closing in,
but before they make their final move.
Take me in your arms and let me feel it one more time,
the warm sweet breath of love.
Take me in your arms and let me feel it one more time,
the warm sweet breath of love.

They've pursued us now it seems forever,
they've caught up on us like time
They've followed us close down every misbegotten highway,
they haunt us like our crime,
and we're guilty, yes we'll always plead guilty
to all the spells they said we wove,
Ah just for me weave it one more time,
cast your spell of love.
Take me in your arms and let me feel it one more time,
the warm sweet breath of love.
Take me in your arms and let me feel it one more time,
the warm sweet breath of love.

Recorded On:

  1. The Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony
  2. Horslips, The Best of

Covered By:

  1. Horslypse - Tribute with a Capital T, Omagh

General Notes from Albums:

Grainne, a pretty young girl is forced to marry the elderly Fionn mac Cumhaill. At the wedding feast she drugs all the guests except Fionn's friend Diarmaid, a warrior and ladies man, whom she places under "geassa" (a sacred magic obligation) to elope with her. Though he is reluctant to betray his friend, Diarmaid is compelled to obey. Their wanderings are filled with fantastic adventures and eventually they become lovers. It takes the god Oenghus to make peace between the rivals and Diarmaid and Grainne live happily together for years until one day, while hunting a magic boar with Fionn, Diarmaid is mortally wounded. Only Fionn has the power to save him but he prefers to take revenge and so Diarmaid dies.

The trio seem to have supernatural origins and it would appear we are witnessing the rivalry between a younger and an older deity for the possession of a goddess. It is also possible that this tragic tale was the source of the famous romance of Tristan and Iseult.

Notes on The Book of Invasions, Edsel Records

The story of the pursuit of star crossed lovers Diarmuid and Grainne around megalithic Ireland became huge airplay hit in England. Didn't chart though.

Notes on Horslips, The Best of..., Edsel Records

General Notes from the Official Guestbook:

Just had to share this with ye all - I've been chucking old stuff out of my loft, and I've come across a cassette recording I made way back whenever of an interview with Eamon and Barry plugging the Book of invasions on Radio 210 in Reading. The DJ says he's going to play Warm Sweet Breath of Love, and asks what the track means - "Oh, it's about a girl with Halitosis" quips Barry. I miss that kind of stuff!

Joe Kelly, Official Horslips Guestbook Archived, Friday, March 21, 2001

Annotated Lyrics:

"They've pursued us now it seems forever"

The Pursuit of Dairmuid and Grainne as told on one site. (Main page no longer online)

Give to these children, new from the world,
Silence and love;
And the long dew-dropping hours of the night,
And the stars above:

Give to these children, new from the world,
Rest far from men.
Is anything better, anything better?

W. B. Yeats, "A Faery Song," The Rose, 1893

Give me the cards and I will deal out six hands, one of which I will pass into my pocket. Did I ever tell you the old story about Dermot and Granya?

Take the cards if you want them, snapped Shorty, and talk about face-value, that fellow has no face. By God it's a poor man that hasn’t that much.

We'll try anything once, said Casey.

No, said the Good Fairy, I never heard that particular story. If it is dirty, of course, etiquette precludes me from listening to it at all.

The Pooka shuffled clumsily with his long-nailed fingers.

Go on, man, deal, said Slug.

It is not dirty, said the Pooka, it is one of the old Irish sagas. I played a small part in it in the long ago. The card-playing here brings it all back—how many hands did I say I would deal?


Six fives are thirty, one of the even numerals. Where women were concerned, this Dermot was a ruffian of the worst kind. Your wife was never safe if you happened to live in the same town with Dermot.

Don't waste so much time, man, said Slug.

You don't mean to tell me, said the Good Fairy, that he ran away with your kangaroo? Hurry and pass my cards in to me here. Come on now.

There you are now, said the Pooka, six hands. No he did not, all this happened before the happy day of my marriage. But what he did do, he ran away with Granya, the woman of Finn MacCool. By Golly it took a good man to do that.

Flann O'Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds, Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998

"all the spells they said we wove"

Geis: (gayss), plural geassa (gassa) - A controlling spell or enchantment in which a certain action or behavior will cause another certain action or effect. Usually it takes the form of a taboo or a destiny, as when CuChullain overheard Cathbad say that any boy who accepts weapons on that day would be destined to be a great hero, and he asked his king for arms.

Definition of Geis, The Llewellyn Encyclopedia, llewellynencyclopedia.com

First Posted: 19 February, 2005
Last Revised: 9 September, 2010