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William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, he helped the foundation of the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served as an Irish Senator for two terms and was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others.Collection of 28 Works of W. B. Yeats A Book of Irish VerseDiscoveriesFairy and Folk Tales of the Irish PeasantryFour YearsGods and Fighting MenIdeas of Good and EvilIn The Seven WoodsIrish Fairy TalesMosadaPer Amica Silentia LunaePoemsResponsibilities and Other PoemsReveries over Childhood and YouthRosa AlchemicaSeven Poems and a FragmentStories of Red HanrahanSynge and the Ireland of His TimeThe Celtic TwilightThe Countess CathleenThe Cutting of an AgateThe Green Helmet and Other PoemsThe Hour GlassThe King's Threshold; and On Baile's StrandThe Land Of Heart's DesireThe Unicorn from the Stars and Other PlaysThe Wind Among the ReedsTwo plays for dancersWhere There is Nothing
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The Collected Complete Works of W. B. Yeats
A Book of Irish Verse
Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry
Gods and Fighting Men
Ideas of Good and Evil
In The Seven Woods
Irish Fairy Tales
Per Amica Silentia Lunae
Responsibilities and Other Poems
Reveries over Childhood and Youth
Seven Poems and a Fragment
Stories of Red Hanrahan
Synge and the Ireland of His Time
The Celtic Twilight
The Countess Cathleen
The Cutting of an Agate
The Green Helmet and Other Poems
The Hour Glass
The King's Threshold; and On Baile's Strand
The Land Of Heart's Desire
The Unicorn from the Stars and Other Plays
The Wind Among the Reeds
Two plays for dancers
Where There is Nothing
A BOOK OF
SELECTED FROM MODERN WRITERS
WITH AN INTRODUCTION
BY W.B. YEATS
METHUEN AND CO.
36 ESSEX STREET, W.C.
W.H. WHITE AND CO. LTD. RIVERSIDE PRESS, EDINBURGH
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL LITERARY SOCIETY OF DUBLIN AND THE IRISH LITERARY SOCIETY OF LONDON
CONTENTSPAGEPrefacexiiiModern Irish PoetryxviiOld AgeOliver Goldsmith (1725-1774)1The Village PreacherOliver Goldsmith (1725-1774)2The Deserter's MeditationJohn Philpot Curran (1750—1817)3'Thou canst not boast'Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)4Kathleen O'MoreJames Nugent Reynolds ( -1802)5The Groves of BlarneyRichard Alfred Milliken (1767-1815)6The Light of other DaysThomas Moore(1779-1852)10'At the Mid Hour of Night'Thomas Moore(1779-1852)11The Burial of Sir John MooreRev. Charles Wolfe (1791-1823)12The Convict of ClonmelJeremiah Joseph Callanan (1795-1839)14The Outlaw of Loch LeneJeremiah Joseph Callanan (1795-1839)16Dirge of O'Sullivan BearJeremiah Joseph Callanan (1795-1839)17Love SongGeorge Darley (1795-1846)20The Whistlin' ThiefSamuel Lover(1797-1868)22Soggarth AroonJohn Banim(1798-1842)24Dark RosaleenJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)27Lament for the Princesof Tyrone and TyrconnellJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)31A Lamentation for theDeath of Sir MauriceFitzgeraldJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)41[viii]The Woman of Three CowsJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)43Prince Alfrid's Itinerarythrough IrelandJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)47O'Hussey's Ode to TheMaguireJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)50The Nameless OneJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)55SiberiaJames Clarence Mangan (1803-1849)57Hy-BrasailGerald Griffin (1803-1840)59Mo Craoibhin CnoEdward Walsh(1805-1850)61Mairgréad Ni ChealleadhEdward Walsh(1805-1850)63From the Cold Sodthat's o'er youEdward Walsh(1805-1850)65The Fairy NurseEdward Walsh(1805-1850)67A cuisle geal mo chroidheMichael Doheny (1805-1863)69Lament of the IrishEmigrantLady Dufferin (1807-1867)71The Welshmen ofTirawleySir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)74Aideen's GraveSir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)91Deirdre's Lament forthe Sons of UsnachSir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)99The Fair Hills of IrelandSir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)102Lament over the Ruinsof the Abbey of TimoleagueSir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)104The Fairy Well of LagnanaySir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)107On the Death of ThomasDavisSir Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)111The County of MayoGeorge Fox115The Wedding of theClansAubrey de Vere (1814)117[ix]The Little Black RoseAubrey de Vere (1814)119SongAubrey de Vere (1814)120The Bard EthellAubrey de Vere (1814)121Lament for the Deathof Eoghan RuadhO'NeillThomas Davis(1814-1845)135Maire Bhan AstórThomas Davis(1814-1845)138O! the MarriageThomas Davis(1814-1845)140A Plea for LoveThomas Davis(1814-1845)142RemembranceEmily Brontë(1818-1848)143A Fragment from 'ThePrisoner: a Fragment'Emily Brontë(1818-1848)145Last LinesEmily Brontë(1818-1848)147The Memory of the DeadJohn Kells Ingram (? 1820)148The Winding Banks ofErneWilliam Allingham (1824-1889)150The FairiesWilliam Allingham (1824-1889)157The Abbot of Inisfālen.William Allingham (1824-1889)160Twilight VoicesWilliam Allingham (1824-1889)164'Four Ducks on a Pond'William Allingham (1824-1889)166The Lover and BirdsWilliam Allingham (1824-1889)167The CeltsThomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868)169Salutation to the CeltsThomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868)172The Gobban SaorThomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868)174Patrick SheehanCharles J. Kickham (1825-1882)176The Irish Peasant GirlCharles J. Kickham (1825-1882)180To God and Ireland TrueEllen O'Leary (1831-1889)182The BansheeJohn Todhunter (1836)183AghadoeJohn Todhunter (1836)186A Mad SongHester Sigerson188Lady Margaret's SongEdward Dowden (1843)188SongArthur O'Shaughnessy (1844-1881)189Father O'FlynnAlfred Perceval Graves (1846)191[x]SongRosa Gilbert192RequiescatOscar Wilde (1855)193The Lament of QueenMaevThomas William Rolleston (1857)195The Dead at ClonmacnoisThomas William Rolleston (1857)197The Spell-struckThomas William Rolleston (1857)198'Were you on theMountain?'Douglas Hyde199'My Grief on the Sea'Douglas Hyde200My Love, O, she is myLoveDouglas Hyde201I shall not die for theeDouglas Hyde204RiddlesDouglas Hyde205Lough BrayRose Kavanagh (1861-1891)206The Children of LirKatharine Tynan Hinkson209St. Francis to the BirdsKatharine Tynan Hinkson212Sheep and LambsKatharine Tynan Hinkson215The Gardener SageKatharine Tynan Hinkson216The Dark ManNora Hopper218The Fairy FiddlerNora Hopper219Our Thrones DecayA.E.220ImmortalityA.E.221The Great BreathA.E.221Sung on a By-wayA.E.222Dream LoveA.E.223IllusionA.E.223JanusA.E.224Connla's WellA.E.225ANamesJohn Eglinton226AThatCharles Weekes227AThinkCharles Weekes227ATe Martyrum CandidatusLionel Johnson228AThe Church of a DreamLionel Johnson229AWays of WarLionel Johnson230A[xi]The Red WindLionel Johnson231ACeltic SpeechLionel Johnson232ATo MorfyddLionel Johnson225Can Doov DeelishDora Sigerson226ANONYMOUSShule Aroon231The Shan Van Vocht232The Wearing of the Green235The Rakes of Mallow237Johnny, I hardly knew ye238Kitty of Coleraine241Lament of Morian Shehone for Miss Mary Bourke242The Geraldine's Daughter246By Memory Inspired247A Folk Verse249Notes250
I HAVE not found it possible to revise this book as completely as I should have wished. I have corrected a bad mistake of a copyist, and added a few pages of new verses towards the end, and softened some phrases in the introduction which seemed a little petulant in form, and written in a few more to describe writers who have appeared during the last four years, and that is about all. I compiled it towards the end of a long indignant argument, carried on in the committee rooms of our literary societies, and in certain newspapers between a few writers of our new movement, who judged Irish literature by literary standards, and a number of people, a few of whom were writers, who judged it by its patriotism and by its political effect; and I hope my opinions may have value as part of an argument which may awaken again. The Young Ireland writers wrote to give the peasantry a literature in English in place of the literature[xiv] they were losing with Gaelic, and these methods, which have shaped the literary thought of Ireland to our time, could not be the same as the methods of a movement which, so far as it is more than an instinctive expression of certain moods of the soul, endeavours to create a reading class among the more leisured classes, which will preoccupy itself with Ireland and the needs of Ireland. The peasants in eastern counties have their Young Ireland poetry, which is always good teaching and sometimes good poetry, and the peasants of the western counties have beautiful poems and stories in Gaelic, while our more leisured classes read little about any country, and nothing about Ireland. We cannot move these classes from an apathy, come from their separation from the land they live in, by writing about politics or about Gaelic, but we may move them by becoming men of letters and expressing primary emotions and truths in ways appropriate to this country. One carries on the traditions of Thomas Davis, towards whom our eyes must always turn, not less than the traditions of good literature, which are the morality of the man of letters, when one is content, like A.E. with fewer readers that one may follow a more hidden beauty; or when one[xv] endeavours, as I have endeavoured in this book, to separate what has literary value from what has only a patriotic and political value, no matter how sacred it has become to us.
The reader who would begin a serious study of modern Irish literature should do so with Mr Stopford Brooke's and Mr Rolleston's exhaustive anthology.
August 15, 1899
MODERN IRISH POETRY
THE Irish Celt is sociable, as may be known from his proverb, 'Strife is better than loneliness,' and the Irish poets of the nineteenth century have made songs abundantly when friends and rebels have been at hand to applaud. The Irish poets of the eighteenth century found both at a Limerick hostelry, above whose door was written a rhyming welcome in Gaelic to all passing poets, whether their pockets were full or empty. Its owner, himself a famous poet, entertained his fellows as long as his money lasted, and then took to minding the hens and chickens of an old peasant woman for a living, and ended his days in rags, but not, one imagines, without content. Among his friends and guests had been O'Sullivan the Red, O'Sullivan the Gaelic, O'Heffernan the blind, and many another, and their songs had made the people, crushed by the disasters of the Boyne and Aughrim, remember their ancient greatness. The bardic order, with its perfect artifice and imperfect art, had gone down[xviii] in the wars of the seventeenth century, and poetry had found shelter amid the turf-smoke of the cabins. The powers that history commemorates are but the coarse effects of influences delicate and vague as the beginning of twilight, and these influences were to be woven like a web about the hearts of men by farm-labourers, pedlars, potato-diggers, hedge-schoolmasters, and grinders at the quern, poor wastrels who put the troubles of their native land, or their own happy or unhappy loves, into songs of an extreme beauty. But in the midst of this beauty was a flitting incoherence, a fitful dying out of the sense, as though the passion had become too great for words, as must needs be when life is the master and not the slave of the singer.
English-speaking Ireland had meanwhile no poetic voice, for Goldsmith had chosen to celebrate English scenery and manners; and Swift was but an Irishman by what Mr Balfour has called the visitation of God, and much against his will; and Congreve by education and early association; while Parnell, Denham, and Roscommon were poets but to their own time. Nor did the coming with the new century of the fame of Moore set the balance even, for all but all of his Irish melodies are artificial and mechanical when[xix] separated from the music that gave them wings. Whatever he had of high poetry is in 'The Light of other Days,' and in 'At the Mid Hour of Night,' which express what Matthew Arnold has taught us to call 'the Celtic melancholy,' with so much of delicate beauty in the meaning and in the wavering or steady rhythm that one knows not where to find their like in literature. His more artificial and mechanical verse, because of the ancient music that makes it seem natural and vivid, and because it has remembered so many beloved names and events and places, has had the influence which might have belonged to these exquisite verses had he written none but these. An honest style did not come into English-speaking Ireland, until Callanan wrote three or four naïve translations from the Gaelic. 'Shule Aroon' and 'Kathleen O'More' had indeed been written for a good while, but had no more influence than Moore's best verses. Now, however, the lead of Callanan was followed by a number of translators, and they in turn by the poets of 'Young Ireland,' who mingled a little learned from the Gaelic ballad-writers with a great deal learned from Scott, Macaulay, and Campbell, and turned poetry once again into a principal means for spreading[xx] ideas of nationality and patriotism. They were full of earnestness, but never understood that though a poet may govern his life by his enthusiasms, he must, when he sits down at his desk, but use them as the potter the clay. Their thoughts were a little insincere, because they lived in the half illusions of their admirable ideals; and their rhythms not seldom mechanical, because their purpose was served when they had satisfied the dull ears of the common man. They had no time to listen to the voice of the insatiable artist, who stands erect, or lies asleep waiting until a breath arouses him, in the heart of every craftsman. Life was their master, as it had been the master of the poets who gathered in the Limerick hostelry, though it conquered them not by unreasoned love for a woman, or for native land, but by reasoned enthusiasm, and practical energy. No man was more sincere, no man had a less mechanical mind than Thomas Davis, and yet he is often a little insincere and mechanical in his verse. When he sat down to write he had so great a desire to make the peasantry courageous and powerful that he half believed them already 'the finest peasantry upon the earth,' and wrote not a few such verses as[xxi]
'Lead him to fight for native land, His is no courage cold and wary; The troops live not that could withstand The headlong charge of Tipperary,'
and to-day we are paying the reckoning with much bombast. His little book has many things of this kind, and yet we honour it for its public spirit, and recognise its powerful influence with gratitude. He was in the main an orator influencing men's acts, and not a poet shaping their emotions, and the bulk of his influence has been good. He was, indeed, a poet of much tenderness in the simple love-songs 'The Marriage,' 'A Plea for Love,' and 'Mary Bhan Astór,' and, but for his ideal of a Fisherman, defying a foreign soldiery, would have been as good in 'The Boatman of Kinsale'; and once or twice when he touched upon some historic sorrow he forgot his hopes for the future and his lessons for the present, and made moving verse. His contemporary, Clarence Mangan, kept out of public life and its half illusions by a passion for books, and for drink and opium, made an imaginative and powerful style. He translated from the German, and imitated Oriental poetry, but little that he did on any but Irish subjects is permanently interesting. He is usually classed[xxii] with the Young Ireland poets, because he contributed to their periodicals and shared their political views; but his style was formed before their movement began, and he found it the more easy for this reason perhaps to give sincere expression to the mood which he had chosen, the only sincerity literature knows of; and with happiness and cultivation might have displaced Moore. But as it was, whenever he had no fine ancient song to inspire him, he fell into rhetoric which was only lifted out of commonplace by an arid intensity. In his 'Irish National Hymn,' 'Soul and Country,' and the like, we look into a mind full of parched sands where the sweet dews have never fallen. A miserable man may think well and express himself with great vehemence, but he cannot make beautiful things, for Aphrodite never rises from any but a tide of joy. Mangan knew nothing of the happiness of the outer man, and it was only when prolonging the tragic exultation of some dead bard, that he knew the unearthly happiness which clouds the outer man with sorrow, and is the fountain of impassioned art. Like those who had gone before him, he was the slave of life, for he had nothing of the self-knowledge, the power of selection, the harmony of mind, which enables the poet to[xxiii] be its master, and to mould the world to a trumpet for his lips. But O'Hussey's Ode over his outcast chief must live for generations because of the passion that moves through its powerful images and its mournful, wayward, and fierce rhythms.
'Though he were even a wolf ranging the round green woods, Though he were even a pleasant salmon in the unchainable sea, Though he were a wild mountain eagle, he could scarce bear, he, This sharp, sore sleet, these howling floods.'
Edward Walsh, a village schoolmaster, who hovered, like Mangan, on the edge of the Young Ireland movement, did many beautiful translations from the Gaelic; and Michael Doheny, while out 'on his keeping' in the mountains after the collapse at Ballingarry, made one of the most moving of ballads; but in the main the poets who gathered about Thomas Davis, and whose work has come down to us in 'The Spirit of the Nation,' were of practical and political, not of literary importance.
Meanwhile Samuel Ferguson, William Allingham, and Mr Aubrey de Vere were working apart from politics, Ferguson selecting his subjects[xxiv] from the traditions of the Bardic age, and Allingham from those of his native Ballyshannon, and Mr Aubrey de Vere wavering between English, Irish, and Catholic tradition. They were wiser than Young Ireland in the choice of their models, for, while drawing not less from purely Irish sources, they turned to the great poets of the world, Mr de Vere owing something of his gravity to Wordsworth, Ferguson much of his simplicity to Homer, while Allingham had trained an ear, too delicate to catch the tune of but a single master, upon the lyric poetry of many lands. Allingham was the best artist, but Ferguson had the more ample imagination, the more epic aim. He had not the subtlety of feeling, the variety of cadence of a great lyric poet, but he has touched, here and there, an epic vastness and naïveté, as in the description in 'Congal' of the mire-stiffened mantle of the giant spectre Mananan macLir, striking against his calves with as loud a noise as the mainsail of a ship makes, 'when with the coil of all its ropes it beats the sounding mast.' He is frequently dull, for he often lacked the 'minutely appropriate words' necessary to embody those fine changes of feeling which enthral the attention; but his sense of weight and size, of action and tumult, has set[xxv] him apart and solitary, an epic figure in a lyric age. Allingham, whose pleasant destiny has made him the poet of his native town, and put 'The Winding Banks of Erne' into the mouths of the ballad-singers of Ballyshannon, is, on the other hand, a master of 'minutely appropriate words,' and can wring from the luxurious sadness of the lover, from the austere sadness of old age, the last golden drop of beauty; but amid action and tumult he can but fold his hands. He is the poet of the melancholy peasantry of the West, and, as years go on, and voluminous histories and copious romances drop under the horizon, will take his place among those minor immortals who have put their souls into little songs to humble the proud. The poetry of Mr Aubrey de Vere has less architecture than the poetry of Ferguson and Allingham, and more meditation. Indeed, his few but ever memorable successes are enchanted islands in grey seas of stately impersonal reverie and description, which drift by and leave no definite recollection. One needs, perhaps, to perfectly enjoy him, a Dominican habit, a cloister, and a breviary.
These three poets published much of their best work before and during the Fenian movement, which, like 'Young Ireland,' had its poets, though[xxvi] but a small number. Charles Kickham, one of the 'triumvirate' that controlled it in Ireland; John Casey, a clerk in a flour-mill; and Ellen O'Leary, the sister of Mr John O'Leary, were at times very excellent. Their verse lacks, curiously enough, the oratorical vehemence of Young Ireland, and is plaintive and idyllic. The agrarian movement that followed produced but little poetry, and of that little all is forgotten but a vehement poem by Fanny Parnell, and a couple of songs by Mr T.D. Sullivan, who is a good song-writer, though not, as the writer has read on an election placard, 'one of the greatest poets who ever moved the heart of man.' But while Nationalist verse has ceased to be a portion of the propaganda of a party, it has been written, and is being written, under the influence of the Nationalist newspapers and of Young Ireland societies and the like. With an exacting conscience, and better models than Thomas Moore and the Young Irelanders, such beautiful enthusiasm could not fail to make some beautiful verses. But, as things are, the rhythms are mechanical, and the metaphors conventional; and inspiration is too often worshipped as a Familiar who labours while you sleep, or forget, or do many worthy things which are not spiritual things.[xxvii] For the most part, the Irishman of our times loves so deeply those arts which build up a gallant personality, rapid writing, ready talking, effective speaking to crowds, that he has no thought for the arts which consume the personality in solitude. He loves the mortal arts which have given him a lure to take the hearts of men, and shrinks from the immortal, which could but divide him from his fellows. And in this century, he who does not strive to be a perfect craftsman achieves nothing. The poor peasant of the eighteenth century could make fine ballads by abandoning himself to the joy or sorrow of the moment, as the reeds abandon themselves to the wind which sighs through them, because he had about him a world where all was old enough to be steeped in emotion. But we cannot take to ourselves, by merely thrusting out our hands, all we need of pomp and symbol, and if we have not the desire of artistic perfection for an ark, the deluge of incoherence, vulgarity, and triviality will pass over our heads. If we had no other symbols but the tumult of the sea, the rusted gold of the thatch, the redness of the quicken-berry, and had never known the rhetoric of the platform and of the newspaper, we could do without laborious selection and[xxviii] rejection; but, even then, though we might do much that would be delightful, that would inspire coming times, it would not have the manner of the greatest poetry.
Here and there, the Nationalist newspapers and the Young Ireland societies have trained a writer who, though busy with the old models, has some imaginative energy; while Mr Lionel Johnson, Mrs Hinkson, Miss Nora Hopper, and A.E., the successors of Allingham and Ferguson and Mr de Vere, are more anxious to influence and understand Irish thought than any of their predecessors who did not take the substance of their poetry from politics. They are distinguished too by their deliberate art, and with their preoccupation with spiritual passions and memories. Mr Lionel Johnson and Mrs Hinkson are both Catholic and devout, but Mr Lionel Johnson's poetry is lofty and austere, and, like Mr de Vere's, never long forgets the greatness of his Church and the interior life whose expression it is, while Mrs Hinkson is happiest when she embodies emotions, that have the innocence of childhood, in symbols and metaphors from the green world about her. She has no reverie nor speculation, but a devout tenderness like that of S. Francis for weak instinctive things, old gardeners, old[xxix] fishermen, birds among the leaves, birds tossed upon the waters. Miss Hopper belongs to that school of writers which embodies passions, that are not the less spiritual because no Church has put them into prayers, in stories and symbols from old Celtic poetry and mythology. The poetry of A.E., at its best, finds its symbols and its stories in the soul itself, and has a more disembodied ecstasy than any poetry of our time. He is the chief poet of the school of Irish mystics, which has shaped Mr Charles Weekes, who published recently, but withdrew immediately, a curious and subtle book, and Mr John Eglinton, who is best known for the orchestral harmonies of his 'Two Essays on the Remnant,' and certain younger writers who have heard the words, 'If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them,' and thought the labours that bring the mystic vision more important than the labours of any craft.
Except some few Catholic and mystical poets and Prof. Dowden in one or two poems, no Irishman living in Ireland has sung excellently of any but a theme from Irish experience, Irish history, or Irish tradition. Trinity College, which desires to be English, has been the mother of many verse-writers and of few poets; and this can[xxx] only be because she has set herself against the national genius, and taught her children to imitate alien styles and choose out alien themes, for it is not possible to believe that the educated Irishman alone is prosaic and uninventive. Her few poets have been awakened by the influence of the farm-labourers, potato-diggers, pedlars, and hedge-schoolmasters of the eighteenth century, and their imitators in this, and not by a scholastic life, which, for reasons easy for all to understand and for many to forgive, has refused the ideals of Ireland, while those of England are but far-off murmurs. An enemy to all enthusiasms, because all enthusiasms seemed her enemies, she has taught her children to look neither to the world about them, nor into their own souls where some dangerous fire might slumber.
To remember that in Ireland the professional and landed classes have been through the mould of Trinity College or of English Universities, and are ignorant of the very names of the best writers in this book, is to know how strong a wind blows from the ancient legends of Ireland, how vigorous an impulse to create is in her heart to-day. Deserted by the classes from among whom have come the bulk of the world's intellect, she struggles on, gradually ridding[xxxi] herself of incoherence and triviality, and slowly building up a literature in English which, whether important or unimportant, grows always more unlike others; nor does it seem as if she would long lack a living literature in Gaelic, for the movement for the preservation of Gaelic, which has been so much more successful than anybody foresaw, has already its poets. Dr Hyde, who can only be represented here by some of his beautiful translations, has written Gaelic poems which pass from mouth to mouth in the west of Ireland. The country people have themselves fitted them to ancient airs, and many that can neither read nor write, sing them in Donegal and Connemara and Galway. I have, indeed, but little doubt that Ireland, communing with herself in Gaelic more and more, but speaking to foreign countries in English, will lead many that are sick with theories and with trivial emotion, to some sweet well-waters of primeval poetry.
THE editor thanks Mr Aubrey de Vere, Mr T.W. Rolleston, Dr J. Todhunter, Mr Alfred Perceval Graves, Dr Douglas Hyde, Mr Lionel Johnson, A.E., Mr Charles Weekes, Mr John Eglinton, Mrs Hinkson, Miss Dora Sigerson (Mrs Clement Shortes), and Miss Nora Hopper for permission to quote from their poems, Lady Ferguson and Mrs Allingham for leave to give poems by Sir Samuel Ferguson and William Allingham, and Messrs Chatto & Windus for permission to include a song of Arthur O'Shaughnessy's. Two writers are excluded whom he would gladly have included—Casey, because the copyright holders have refused permission, and Mr George Armstrong, because his 'Songs of Wicklow,' when interesting, are too long for this book.
From the 'Deserted Village'
In all my wanderings round this world of care, In all my griefs—and God has given my share— I still had hopes my later hours to crown, Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down; To husband out life's taper at the close And keep the flame from wasting by repose; I still had hopes, for pride attends us still, Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill, Around my fire an evening group to draw, And tell of all I felt, and all I saw; And, as a hare whom hounds and horns pursue, Pants to the place from whence at first he flew, I still had hopes, my long vexations past, Here to return—and die at home at last.
THE VILLAGE PREACHER
From the 'Deserted Village'
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd, And still where many a garden flower grows wild; There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village Preacher's modest mansion rose. A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year; Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e'er had changed, nor wish'd to change, his place; Unpractis'd he to fawn, or seek for power, By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour; Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize, More skill'd to raise the wretched than to rise. His house was known to all the vagrant train, He chid their wanderings, but reliev'd their pain; The long-remember'd beggar was his guest, Whose beard descending swept his aged breast; The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud, Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allow'd; The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, Sat by his fire, and talked the night away;Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done, Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won. Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow, And quite forgot their vices in their woe; Careless their merits or their faults to scan, He pity gave ere charity began.
THE DESERTER'S MEDITATION
If sadly thinking, with spirits sinking, Could, more than drinking, my cares compose, A cure for sorrow from sighs I'd borrow, And hope to-morrow would end my woes.
But as in wailing there's nought availing, And Death unfailing will strike the blow, Then for that reason, and for a season, Let us be merry before we go!
To joy a stranger, a wayworn ranger, In every danger my course I've run; Now hope all ending, and death befriending, His last aid lending, my cares are done;
No more a rover, or hapless lover— My griefs are over—my glass runs low; Then for that reason, and for a season, Let us be merry before we go!
John Philpot Curran
THOU CANST NOT BOAST
Thou canst not boast of Fortune's store, My love, while me they wealthy call: But I was glad to find thee poor, For with my heart I'd give thee all, And then the grateful youth shall own, I loved him for himself alone.
But when his worth my hand shall gain, No word or look of mine shall show That I the smallest thought retain Of what my bounty did bestow: Yet still his grateful heart shall own, I loved him for himself alone.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
My love, still I think that I see her once more, But, alas! she has left me her loss to deplore— My own little Kathleen, my poor little Kathleen, My Kathleen O'More!
Her hair glossy black, her eyes were dark blue, Her colour still changing, her smiles ever new— So pretty was Kathleen, my sweet little Kathleen, My Kathleen O'More!
She milked the dun cow, that ne'er offered to stir; Though wicked to all, it was gentle to her— So kind was my Kathleen, my poor little Kathleen, My Kathleen O'More!
She sat at the door one cold afternoon, To hear the wind blow, and to gaze on the moon, So pensive was Kathleen, my poor little Kathleen, My Kathleen O'More!
Cold was the night-breeze that sighed round her bower, It chilled my poor Kathleen, she drooped from that hour: And I lost my poor Kathleen, my own little Kathleen, My Kathleen O'More.
Bird of all birds that I love the best, Is the Robin that in the churchyard builds his nest; For he seems to watch Kathleen, hops lightly o'er Kathleen, My Kathleen O'More.
James Nugent Reynolds
THE GROVES OF BLARNEY
The groves of Blarney They look so charming Down by the purling Of sweet, silent brooks, Being banked with posies That spontaneous grow there, Planted in order By the sweet rock close.'Tis there's the daisy And the sweet carnation, The blooming pink, And the rose so fair, The daffydowndilly, Likewise the lily, All flowers that scent The sweet, fragrant air.
'Tis Lady Jeffers That owns this station; Like Alexander, Or Queen Helen fair. There's no commander In all the nation, For emulation, Can with her compare. Such walls surround her That no nine-pounder Could dare to plunder Her place of strength; But Oliver Cromwell Her he did pommell,And made a breach In her battlement.
There's gravel walks there For speculation And conversation In sweet solitude. 'Tis there the lover May hear the dove, or The gentle plover In the afternoon; And if a lady Would be so engaging As to walk alone in Those shady bowers, 'Tis there the courtier He may transport her Into some fort, or All under ground.
For 'tis there's a cave where No daylight enters, But cats and badgers Are for ever bred;Being mossed by nature, That makes it sweeter Than a coach-and-six or A feather bed. 'Tis there the lake is, Well stored with perches, And comely eels in The verdant mud; Beside the leeches, And groves of beeches, Standing in order For to guard the flood.
There's statues gracing This noble place in— All heathen gods And nymphs so fair; Bold Neptune, Plutarch, And Nicodemus, All standing naked In the open air. So now to finish This brave narration,Which my poor genii Could not entwine; But were I Homer Or Nebuchadnezzar, 'Tis in every feature I would make it shine.
Richard Alfred Milliken
THE LIGHT OF OTHER DAYS
Oft in the stilly night, Ere slumber's chain has bound me, Fond Memory brings the light Of other days around me: The smiles, the tears Of boyhood's years, The words of love then spoken; The eyes that shone Now dimm'd and gone, The cheerful homes now broken! Then in the stilly night, Ere slumber's chain hath bound me, Sad memory brings the light Of other days around me.
When I remember all The friends so linked together I've seen around me fall Like leaves in wintry weather, I feel like one Who treads alone Some banquet-hall deserted, Whose lights are fled, Whose garlands dead, And all but he departed. Then in the stilly night, Ere slumber's chain hath bound me, Sad Memory brings the light Of other days around me.
AT THE MID HOUR OF NIGHT
At the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping, I fly To the lone vale we loved, when life shone warm in thine eye; And I think oft, if spirits can steal from the regions of airTo revisit past scenes of delight, thou wilt come to me there, And tell me our love is remembered even in the sky!
Then I sing the wild song it once was rapture to hear When our voices, commingling, breathed like one on the ear; And as Echo far off through the vale my sad orison rolls, I think, O my love! 'tis thy voice from the kingdom of souls Faintly answering still the notes that once were so dear.
THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral-note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night, The sods with our bayonets turning, By the struggling moonbeam's misty light, And the lantern dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast, Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him; But he lay like a warrior taking his rest, With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said, And we spoke not a word of sorrow; But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead, And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought as we hollow'd his narrow bed, And smooth'd down his lonely pillow, That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head, And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone, And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him,— But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done, When the clock struck the hour for retiring; And we heard the distant and random gun That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down, From the field of his fame fresh and gory; We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone— But we left him alone in his glory.
Rev. Charles Wolfe
THE CONVICT OF CLONMELL
From the Irish
How hard is my fortune, And vain my repining! The strong rope of fate For this young neck is twining. My strength is departed; My cheek sunk and sallow; While I languish in chains, In the gaol of Cluanmeala.
No boy in the village Was ever yet milder, I'd play with a child, And my sport would be wilder. I'd dance without tiring From morning till even, And the goal-ball I'd strike To the lightning of Heaven.
At my bed-foot decaying, My hurlbat is lying, Through the boys of the village My goal-ball is flying; My horse 'mong the neighbours Neglected may fallow,— While I pine in my chains, In the gaol of Cluanmeala.
Next Sunday the patron At home will be keeping, And the young active hurlers The field will be sweeping.With the dance of fair maidens The evening they'll hallow, While this heart, once so gay, Shall be cold in Cluanmeala.
Jeremiah Joseph Callanan
THE OUTLAW OF LOCH LENE
From the Irish
O, many a day have I made good ale in the glen, That came not of stream or malt;—like the brewing of men. My bed was the ground; my roof, the greenwood above, And the wealth that I sought one far kind glance from my love.
Alas! on that night when the horses I drove from the field, That I was not near from terror my angel to shield. She stretched forth her arms,—her mantle she flung to the wind, And swam o'er Loch Lene, her outlawed lover to find.
O would that a freezing sleet-wing'd tempest did sweep, And I and my love were alone, far off on the deep; I'd ask not a ship, or a bark, or pinnace, to save,— With her hand round my waist, I'd fear not the wind or the wave.
'Tis down by the lake where the wild tree fringes its sides, The maid of my heart, my fair one of Heaven resides;— I think as at eve she wanders its mazes along, The birds go to sleep by the sweet wild twist of her song.
Jeremiah Joseph Callanan
DIRGE OF O'SULLIVAN BEAR
From the Irish
The sun on Ivera No longer shines brightly, The voice of her music No longer is sprightly;No more to her maidens The light dance is dear, Since the death of our darling O'Sullivan Bear.
Scully! thou false one, You basely betrayed him, In his strong hour of need, When thy right hand should aid him; He fed thee—he clad thee— You had all could delight thee: You left him—you sold him— May Heaven requite thee!
Scully! may all kinds Of evil attend thee! On thy dark road of life May no kind one befriend thee! May fevers long burn thee, And agues long freeze thee! May the strong hand of God In His red anger seize thee!
Had he died calmly, I would not deplore him;Or if the wild strife Of the sea-war closed o'er him: But with ropes round his white limbs Through ocean to trail him, Like a fish after slaughter— 'Tis therefore I wail him.
Long may the curse Of his people pursue them; Scully, that sold him, And soldier that slew him! One glimpse of heaven's light May they see never! May the hearthstone of hell Be their best bed for ever!
In the hole which the vile hands Of soldiers had made thee, Unhonour'd, unshrouded, And headless they laid thee; No sigh to regret thee, No eye to rain o'er thee, No dirge to lament thee, No friend to deplore thee!
Dear head of my darling, How gory and pale, These aged eyes see thee, High spiked on their gaol! That cheek in the summer sun Ne'er shall grow warm; Nor that eye e'er catch light, But the flash of the storm.
A curse, blessed ocean, Is on thy green water, From the haven of Cork To Ivera of slaughter: Since thy billows were dyed With the red wounds of fear Of Muiertach Oge, Our O'Sullivan Bear!
Jeremiah Joseph Callanan
Sweet in her green dell the flower of beauty slumbers, Lulled by the faint breezes sighing through her hair; Sleeps she and hears not the melancholy numbersBreathed to my sad lute 'mid the lonely air.
Down from the high cliffs the rivulet is teeming To wind round the willow banks that lure him from above; O that in tears, from my rocky prison streaming, I too could glide to the bower of my love!
Ah, where the woodbines with sleepy arms have wound her, Opes she her eyelids at the dream of my lay, Listening, like the dove, while the fountains echo round her, To her lost mate's call in the forests far away.
Come then, my bird! For the peace thou ever bearest, Still heaven's messenger of comfort to me, Come, this fond bosom, O faithfulest and fairest Bleeds with its death-wound its wound of love for thee!
George Darley 
THE WHISTLIN' THIEF
When Pat came over the hill, His colleen fair to see, His whistle low, but shrill, The signal was to be;
'Mary,' the mother said, 'Some one is whistling sure;' Says Mary, '‘Tis only the wind Is whistling through the door.'
(Pat whistles a bit of a popular air.)
'I've lived a long time, Mary, In this wide world, my dear, But a door to whistle like that I never yet did hear.'
'But, mother, you know the fiddle Hangs close beside the chink, And the wind upon the strings Is playing the tune I think.'
(The pig grunts.)
'Mary, I hear the pig, Unaisy in his mind.' 'But, mother, you know, they say The pigs can see the wind.'
'That's true enough in the day, But I think you may remark, That pigs no more nor we Can see anything in the dark.'
(The dog barks.)
'The dog is barking now, The fiddle can't play the tune.' 'But, mother, the dogs will bark Whenever they see the moon.'
'But how could he see the moon, When, you know, the dog is blind? Blind dogs won't bark at the moon, Nor fiddles be played by the wind.
'I'm not such a fool as you think, I know very well it is Pat:— Shut your mouth, you whistlin' thief, And go along home out o' that!
'And you be off to your bed, Don't play upon me your jeers; For though I have lost my eyes, I haven't lost my ears!'
Am I the slave they say, Soggarth aroon? Since you did show the way, Soggarth aroon,Their slave no more to be, While they would work with me Old Ireland's slavery, Soggarth aroon.
Why not her poorest man, Soggarth aroon, Try and do all he can, Soggarth aroon,Her commands to fulfil Of his own heart and will, Side by side with you still Soggarth aroon?
Loyal and brave to you, Soggarth aroon, Yet be not slave to you, Soggarth aroon, Nor, out of fear to you— Stand up so near to you— Och! out of fear to you, Soggarth aroon!
Who, in the winter's night, Soggarth aroon, When the cold blast did bite, Soggarth aroon, Came to my cabin-door, And, on my earthen-floor, Knelt by me, sick and poor, Soggarth aroon?
Who, on the marriage day, Soggarth aroon,Made the poor cabin gay, Soggarth aroon?— And did both laugh and sing, Making our hearts to ring, At the poor christening, Soggarth aroon?
Who, as friend only met, Soggarth aroon, Never did flout me yet, Soggarth aroon? And when my heart was dim, Gave, while his eye did brim, What I should give to him, Soggarth aroon?
Och! you, and only you, Soggarth aroon! And for this I was true to you, Soggarth aroon, In love they'll never shake, When for old Ireland's sake, We a true part did take, Soggarth aroon!
From the Irish
O my Dark Rosaleen, Do not sigh, do not weep! The priests are on the ocean green. They march along the deep. There's wine from the royal Pope, Upon the ocean green; And Spanish ale shall give you hope, My Dark Rosaleen! My own Rosaleen! Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope, Shall give you health, and help, and hope, My Dark Rosaleen!
Over hills, and through dales, Have I roamed for your sake; All yesterday I sailed with sails On river and on lake, The Erne, at its highest flood, I dashed across unseen, For there was lightning in my blood,My Dark Rosaleen! My own Rosaleen! O there was lightning in my blood, Red lightning lightened through my blood, My Dark Rosaleen!
All day long in unrest To and fro do I move, The very heart within my breast Is wasted for you, Love! The heart in my bosom faints To think of you, my queen! My life of life, my saint of saints, My Dark Rosaleen! My own Rosaleen! To hear your sweet and sad complaints, My life, my love, my saint of saints, My Dark Rosaleen!
Woe and pain, pain and woe, Are my lot night and noon; To see your bright face clouded so, Like to the mournful moon.But yet will I rear your throne Again in golden sheen: 'Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone, My Dark Rosaleen! My own Rosaleen! 'Tis you shall have the golden throne, 'Tis you shall reign, and reign alone, My Dark Rosaleen!
Over dews, over sands, Will I fly for your weal: Your holy, delicate white hands Shall girdle me with steel. At home, in your emerald bowers, From morning's dawn till e'en, You'll pray for me, my flower of flowers, My Dark Rosaleen! My fond Rosaleen! You'll think of me through daylight's hours, My virgin flower, my flower of flowers, My Dark Rosaleen!
I could scale the blue air, I could plough the high hills,O, I could kneel all night in prayer, To heal your many ills. And one beamy smile from you Would float like light between My toils and me, my own, my true, My Dark Rosaleen! My fond Rosaleen! Would give me life and soul anew, A second life, a soul anew, My Dark Rosaleen!
O! the Erne shall run red With redundance of blood, The earth shall rock beneath our tread, And flames wrap hill and wood, And gun-peal, and slogan cry, Wake many a glen serene, Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die, My Dark Rosaleen! My own Rosaleen! The Judgment Hour must first be nigh Ere you can fade, ere you can die, My Dark Rosaleen!
James Clarence Mangan
LAMENT FOR THE PRINCES OF TYRONE AND
From the Irish
O woman of the Piercing Wail, Who mournest o'er yon mound of clay With sigh and groan, Would God thou wert among the Gael! Thou wouldst not then from day to day Weep thus alone. 'Twere long before, around a grave In green Tyrconnell, one could find This loneliness; Near where Beann-Boirche's banners wave Such grief as thine could ne'er have pined Companionless.
Beside the wave in Donegal, In Antrim's glens, or fair Dromore, Or Killillee. Or where the sunny waters fall At Assaroe, near Erna's shore, This could not be.On Derry's plains—in rich Drumclieff— Throughout Armagh the Great, renowned In olden years, No day could pass but woman's grief Would rain upon the burial-ground Fresh floods of tears!
O, no!—from Shannon, Boyne, and Suir, From high Dunluce's castle-walls, From Lissadill, Would flock alike both rich and poor, One wail would rise from Cruachan's halls To Tara's hill; And some would come from Barrow-side, And many a maid would leave her home, On Leitrim's plains, And by melodious Banna's tide, And by the Mourne and Erne, to come And swell thy strains!
O, horses' hoofs would trample down The Mount whereon the martyr-saint Was crucified. From glen and hill, from plain and town, One loud lament, one thrilling plaint,Would echo wide. There would not soon be found, I ween, One foot of ground among those bands For museful thought, So many shriekers of the keen Would cry aloud and clap their hands, All woe distraught!
Two princes of the line of Conn Sleep in their cells of clay beside O'Donnell Roe; Three royal youths, alas! are gone, Who lived for Erin's weal, but died For Erin's woe; Ah! could the men of Ireland read The names these noteless burial-stones Display to view, Their wounded hearts afresh would bleed, Their tears gush forth again, their groans Resound anew!
The youths whose relics moulder here Were sprung from Hugh, high Prince and Lord Of Aileach's lands;Thy noble brothers, justly dear, Thy nephew, long to be deplored By Ulster's bands. Theirs were not souls wherein dull Time Could domicile Decay or house Decrepitude! They passed from Earth ere Manhood's prime, Ere years had power to dim their brows Or chill their blood.
And who can marvel o'er thy grief, Or who can blame thy flowing tears, That knows their source? O'Donnell, Dunnasava's chief, Cut off amid his vernal years, Lies here a corse Beside his brother Cathbar, whom Tirconnell of the Helmets mourns In deep despair— For valour, truth, and comely bloom, For all that greatens and adorns A peerless pair.
O, had these twain, and he, the third, The Lord of Mourne, O'Niall's son,Their mate in death— A prince in look, in deed and word— Had these three heroes yielded on The field their breath, O, had they fallen on Criffan's plain, There would not be a town or clan From shore to sea, But would with shrieks bewail the slain, Or chant aloud the exulting rann Of Jubilee!
When high the shout of battle rose, On fields where Freedom's torch still burned Through Erin's gloom, If one, if barely one of those Were slain, all Ulster would have mourned The hero's doom! If at Athboy, where hosts of brave Ulidian horsemen sank beneath The shock of spears, Young Hugh O'Neill had found a grave, Long must the North have wept his death With heart-wrung tears!
If on the day of Ballach-myre The Lord of Mourne had met thus young, A warrior's fate, In vain would such as thou desire To mourn, alone, the champion sprung From Niall the Great! No marvel this—for all the dead, Heaped on the field, pile over pile, At Mullach-brack, Were scarce an eric for his head, If death had stayed his footsteps while On victory's track!
If on the Day of Hostages The fruit had from the parent bough Been rudely torn In sight of Munster's bands—Mac-Nee's— Such blow the blood of Conn, I trow, Could ill have borne. If on the day of Ballach-boy Some arm had laid, by foul surprise, The chieftain low, Even our victorious shout of joyWould soon give place to rueful cries And groans of woe!
If on the day the Saxon host Were forced to fly—a day so great For Ashanee— The Chief had been untimely lost, Our conquering troops should moderate Their mirthful glee. There would not lack on Lifford's day, From Galway, from the glens of Boyle, From Limerick's towers, A marshalled file, a long array Of mourners to bedew the soil With tears in showers!
If on the day a sterner fate Compelled his flight from Athenree, His blood had flowed, What numbers all disconsolate, Would come unasked, and share with thee Affliction's load! If Derry's crimson field had seen His life-blood offered up, though 'twereOn Victory's shrine, A thousand cries would swell the keen, A thousand voices of despair Would echo thine.
O, had the fierce Dalcassian swarm That bloody night on Fergus' banks But slain our chief, When rose his camp in wild alarm— How would the triumph of his ranks Be dashed with grief! How would the troops of Murbach mourn If on the Curlew Mountains' day, Which England rued, Some Saxon hand had left them lorn, By shedding there, amid the fray, Their prince's blood!
Red would have been our warriors' eyes Had Roderick found on Sligo field A gory grave, No Northern Chief would soon arise, So sage to guide, so strong to shield, So swift to save.Long would Leith-Cuinn have wept if Hugh Had met the death he oft had dealt Among the foe; But, had our Roderick fallen too, All Erin must, alas! have felt The deadly blow!
What do I say? Ah, woe is me! Already we bewail in vain Their fatal fall! And Erin, once the Great and Free, Now vainly mourns her breakless chain, And iron thrall! Then, daughter of O'Donnell! dry Thine overflowing eyes, and turn Thy heart aside; For Adam's race is born to die, And sternly the sepulchral urn Mocks human pride!
Look not, nor sigh, for earthly throne, Nor place thy trust in arm of clay— But on thy knees Uplift thy soul to God alone,For all things go their destined way As He decrees. Embrace the faithful Crucifix, And seek the path of pain and prayer Thy Saviour trod! Nor let thy spirit intermix With earthly hope and worldly care Its groans to God!
And Thou, O mighty Lord! whose ways Are far above our feeble minds To understand, Sustain us in these doleful days, And render light the chain that binds Our fallen land! Look down upon our dreary state, And through the ages that may still Roll sadly on, Watch Thou o'er hapless Erin's fate, And shield at least from darker ill The blood of Conn!
James Clarence Mangan 
A LAMENTATION FOR THE DEATH OF SIR
MAURICE FITZGERALD, KNIGHT OF KERRY
From the Irish
There was lifted up one voice of woe, One lament of more than mortal grief, Through the wide South to and fro, For a fallen Chief. In the dead of night that cry thrilled through me, I looked out upon the midnight air; Mine own soul was all as gloomy, And I knelt in prayer.
O'er Loch Gur, that night, once—twice—yea, thrice— Passed a wail of anguish for the Brave, That half curled into ice The moon-mirroring wave. Then uprose a many-toned wild hymn in Choral swell from Ogra's dark ravine, And Moguly's Phantom Women Mourned the Geraldine!
Far on Carah Mona's emerald plains, Shrieks and sighs were blended many hours,And Fermoy, in fitful strains, Answered from her towers. Youghal, Keenalmeaky, Eemokilly, Mourned in concert, and their piercing keen Woke to wondering life the stilly Glens of Inchiqueen.
From Loughmoe to yellow Dunanore There was fear; the traders of Tralee Gathered up their golden store, And prepared to flee; For, in ship and hall, from night till morning Showed the first faint beamings of the sun, All the foreigners heard the warning Of the Dreaded One!
'This,' they spake, 'portendeth death to us, If we fly not swiftly from our fate!' Self-conceited idiots! thus Ravingly to prate! Not for base-born higgling Saxon trucksters Ring laments like those by shore and sea! Not for churls with souls of hucksters Waileth our Banshee!For the high Milesian race alone Ever flows the music of her woe! For slain heir to bygone throne, And for Chief laid low! Hark!... Again, methinks, I hear her weeping Yonder! Is she near me now, as then? Or was but the night-wind sweeping Down the hollow glen?
James Clarence Mangan
THE WOMAN OF THREE COWS
From the Irish
O, Woman of Three Cows, agragh! don't let your tongue thus rattle! O, don't be saucy, don't be stiff, because you may have cattle. I have seen—and, here's my hand to you, I only say what's true— A many a one with twice your stock not half so proud as you.
Good luck to you, don't scorn the poor, and don't be their despiser;For worldly wealth soon melts away, and cheats the very miser; And death soon strips the proudest wreath from haughty human brows, Then don't be stiff, and don't be proud, good Woman of Three Cows!
See where Momonia's heroes lie, proud Owen More's descendants, 'Tis they that won the glorious name, and had the grand attendants! If they were forced to bow to Fate, as every mortal bows, Can you be proud, can you be stiff, my Woman of Three Cows?
The brave sons of the Lord of Clare, they left the land to mourning;Mavrone! for they were banished, with no hope of their returning— Who knows in what abodes of want those youths were driven to house? Yet you can give yourself these airs, O Woman of Three Cows!
O, think of Donnel of the Ships, the Chief whom nothing daunted— See how he fell in distant Spain, unchronicled, unchanted! He sleeps, the great O'Sullivan, where thunder cannot rouse— Then ask yourself, should you be proud, good Woman of Three Cows?
O'Ruark, Maguire, those souls of fire, whose names are shrined in story— Think how their high achievements once made Erin's greatest glory— Yet now their bones lie mouldering under weeds and Cyprus boughs, And so, for all your pride, will yours, O Woman of Three Cows!
Th' O'Carrols, also, famed when fame was only for the boldest, Rest in forgotten sepulchres with Erin's best and oldest; Yet who so great as they of yore in battle or carouse?Just think of that, and hide your head, good Woman of Three Cows!
Your neighbour's poor, and you, it seems, are big with vain ideas, Because, inagh! you've got three cows, one more, I see, than she has; That tongue of yours wags more at times than charity allows— But, if you're strong, be merciful, great Woman of Three Cows!
Now, there you go! You still, of course, keep up your scornful bearing, And I'm too poor to hinder you; but, by the cloak I'm wearing, If I had but four cows myself, even though you were my spouse, I'd thwack you well to cure your pride, my Woman of Three Cows!
James Clarence Mangan
PRINCE ALFRID'S ITINERARY THROUGH
From the Irish
I found in Innisfail the fair, In Ireland, while in exile there, Women of worth, both grave and gay men, Many clerics and many laymen.
I travelled its fruitful provinces round And in every one of the five I found, Alike in church and in palace hall, Abundant apparel, and food for all.
Gold and silver I found, and money, Plenty of wheat and plenty of honey; I found God's people rich in pity, Found many a feast and many a city.
I also found in Armagh, the splendid, Meekness, wisdom, and prudence blended, Fasting, as Christ hath recommended, And noble councillors untranscended.
I found in each great church moreo'er, Whether on island or on shorePiety, learning, fond affection, Holy welcome and kind protection.
I found thy good lay monks and brothers Ever beseeching help for others, And in their keeping the holy word Pure as it came from Jesus the Lord.
I found in Munster unfettered of any, Kings and queens and poets a many— Poets were skilled in music and measure, Prosperous doings, mirth and pleasure.
I found in Connaught the just, redundance Of riches, milk in lavish abundance, Hospitality, vigour, fame, In Cruachan's land of heroic name.
I found in the county of Connall the glorious Bravest heroes, ever victorious; Fair-complexioned men and warlike, Ireland's lights, the high, the starlike.
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