Date and circumstances of composition. WBY and AG had been collaborating on a short play, at one point entitled The Country of the Young, from Oct. 1902–Mar. 1903: a significant part of this play was the description in verse to a child by a stranger of a supernatural ‘ride to paradise’. The verses supplied by WBY were those that later became the poem ‘The Happy Townland’ (see Dramatic context in notes to that poem in the present edition). Once WBY had reclaimed his poetry from The Country of the Young, AG's attempt to continue with the play, which was to result in her The Travelling Man, required verses for the visiting stranger to sing to the child. WBY provided these in the shape of the present poem. However, it is unclear when AG started serious work on bringing her play to completion: its first appearance in print was in spring 1906, but there is no evidence for how long before then WBY gave AG these lines. It is possible that the poet provided them even while The Country of the Young was still on the stocks, though this seems unlikely: in a letter to The Boston Herald of 5 Oct. 1911, WBY quoted a sentence of his own from the Preface to AG's CM, and wrote that ‘At the time I wrote these words Lady Gregory had finished or was just finishing a little play called The Travelling Man’ (InteLex, 1740). This would place the completion of the play in spring 1902: since there is strong evidence for the collaborative play being started that autumn, and not being abandoned before the following spring, it is very probable that WBY's recollection here is at fault. Assuming that AG was going back to work to turn The Country of the Young into The Travelling Man in later 1903, there is still a long time between this and the publication of her play in spring 1906. In the absence of any firm evidence for when WBY supplied AG with these verses, it may be worth remembering that the only MS source is a single sheet amongst WBY's own papers; the only textual evidence hailing from Coole is the corrected proof of AG's Seven Short Plays (1909), where WBY has been responsible for the corrections. The Shanachie containing AG's play was published on 30 May 1906, but WBY had been involved in plans for the new journal for some time, and he personally asked G.B. Shaw for a short story in Nov. 1905 (this was indeed published in the first number) and on 7 Sep. he approached (from Coole) George Russell for a contribution (CL 4, 171). It is likely that WBY was more widely active in bringing in material (another eventual contributor with artwork was Jack Yeats), so it is reasonable to speculate that AG's play was secured around this time. WBY left Ireland for Coole at the start of Nov., and it is possible that his own final addition to The Travelling Man was made between then and the spring of 1906. Another distinct possibility, of course, is that WBY filled up the gap his withdrawal of ‘The Happy Townland’ had left in AG's play much more quickly after Mar. 1903. Certainty is impossible, and the present edition – very tentatively – places these verses in the autumn of 1905 or the first months of 1906.