Again, with joy I view the waking shore,
Where mem’ries live for ever in their green,
And from the solemn graveyard’s checkered floor
Gaze fondly o’er the all-enchanting scene.
The same sad rooks awake their mocking cries,
And drooping willows weep the early grave,
As o’er the dead the restless spirit flies,
Tries vainly yet yon broken heart to save.
But, hush! sad soul, nor leave this hallowed spot,
Where peaceful slumber seals the closèd eye.
The lonely sleeper now awaken not
By the rude raving, or the deep-drawn sigh.
Oh, let me mourn (the fainting heart replies),
These new-made graves, which take my wond’ring sight;
Say, who beneath this little tombstone lies,
Or who this Angel guards through the long night.
When last I saw, no mounds lay heaving there,
No sexton rude had turned the resting sod.
Alas, how changed! The holy and the fair
Have sunk in death and triumphed in their God.
Then let me pause, if here my Maker stays,
And guards his saints from the inhuman foe.
His word is true; my trembling heart obeys;
Bless’d are the dead who to the Saviour go.
Now new refulgence breathes o’er all the scene;
Yon lark’s sweet warble now is sweeter still;
Yon blady grass stands out in purer green;
And softer music tinkles from the rill.
For why? O mark! The cause is written here;
The pale-faced marble tells the softened tale,
That sweeteneth the sigh, arrests the starting tear,
And lulls to silence the untimely wail.
Unknown late 19th Century Irish Poet
There are occasions when you come across some lovely pieces of poetry when you study folklore and customs. The following is a poem I picked up a few weeks ago and thought it was so nice that I should share it with you. As for the author, all I know is that it is by a 19th Century Poet/Poetess. Please enjoy…
The day had gone as fades a dream;
The night had come, and rain fell fast;
While o’er the black and sluggish stream
Cold blew the wailing blast.
In pensive mood I idly raised
The curtain from the rain-splashed glass,
And as into the street I gazed,
I saw two women pass.
One shivering with the bitter cold,
Her garments heavy with the rain,
Limped by with features wan and old,
Deep farrowed by sharp pain.
A child in form, a child in years;
But from her piteous pallid face,
The weariness of life with tears
Had washed all childlike grace.
And as she passed me faint and weak,
I heard her slowly say, as though
With throbbing heart about to break:
‘”Move on!” Where shall I go?’
The other, who on furs reclined,
In brougham was driven to the play;
No thought within her vacant mind
Of those in rags that day:
With unmoved heart and idle stare,
Passed by the beggar in the street,
Who lifted up her hands in prayer,
Some charity to meet.
Both vanished in the murky night:
The outcast on a step to die;
The lady to a scene of light,
Where Joy alone did sigh.
But angels saw amid her hair
What was by human eyes unseen;
The grass that grows on graves was there,
With leaves of ghastly green.
And though her diamonds flashed the light
Upon the flatterers gathered near,
The outcast’s brow had gem more bright –
An angel’s pitying tear.
An Unknown 19th Century Irish Poet
Where are the wonderful elves, and the fairy creatures bright?
Where are the tiny things that danced in the pale moonlight?
Danced in a magic ring, and fluttered in robes of white,
Like motes in the sunbeam whirled, like leaves in the forest hoar.
Hark to the sound of the sea, and the cry of the waves on the shore.
Where are the dusky gnomes who toiled in the golden ground?
So that the miners trembled hearing their hammers’ sound,
Hearing them tapping, tapping, delving in darkness bound,
A thousand tapping hammers, beneath them hammering.
Hark to the muttered thunder, the voice of the hidden spring.
Where are the forest fairies, the elves in Lincoln green,
Deep in the forest hidden, and never in cities seen,
Sought for by timid maidens, on sainted Hallowe’en,
The joy of all true lovers, a merry band were they!
Hark to the hum of the bee, in the scented blooms of May.
Where are the household fairies, who loved the embers’ glow,
Who played at games with the shadows flickering to and fro,
But left no track on the sanded floor, no trace on the fallen snow,
And filled up the little slippers the children left behind,
Hark to the howl of the tempest, the moan of the stormy wind.
The elves are waiting, waiting, for the golden days to come,
When grief shall be known no longer, nor faithful love be dumb;
Till the figures all are added up, and finished the mighty sum.
Ah yes, they are waiting, waiting, till grief shall be no more.
Hark to the rustle of raindrops, that kiss the deserted shore.
By Patrick Carpenter
Air: ‘The Wearing of the Green’
A Young American and his Irish Father
“O! father, dear, I’ve often heard you speak of Erin’s Isle –
Its scenes how bright and beautiful, how “rich and rare” they smile;
You say it is a lovely land in which a Prince might dwell,
Then why did you abandon it, the reason to me tell?”
“My Son, I’ve loved my native land with fervour and with pride –
Her peaceful groves, her mountains rude, her valleys green and wide,
And there I’ve roamed in manhood’s prime, and sported when a boy,
My Shamrock and shillelagh sure my constant boast and Joy.
“But lo! A blight came o’er my crops, my sheep and cattle died,
The rack-rent too, alas! was due I could not have supplied;
The landlord drove me from my cot where born I had been,
And that, my boy’s the reason why I left old Skibbereen –
“O! what a dreadful sight it was that dark November day;
The Sheriff and the Peelers came to send us all away;
They set the roof a-blazing with a demon smile of spleen,
And when it fell, the crash was heard all over Skibbereen.
“Your Mother dear, God rest her, fell upon the snowy ground,
She fainted in her anguish at the desolation round; –
She never rose, but passed away from life’s tumultuous scene,
And found a quiet grave to rest in poor old Skibbereen.
“Ah! I sadly recall that year of gloomy ’48;
I rose in vengeance with “the boys” to battle against fate;
We were hunted thro’ the mountains wild, as traitors to the Queen, –
And that, my boy’s the reason why I left old Skibbereen.
“You then were only two years old, and feeble was your frame,
I would not leave you with my friends – you bore my father’s name! –
I wrapped you in my ‘Catamore’ at dead of night unseen,
Then heav’d a sigh, and bade good-by to poor old Skibbereen.
“O! Father, Father, when the day for vengeance we will call, –
When Irishmen o’er field and fen shall rally one and all, –
I’ll be the man to lead the van beneath the flag of green,
While loud on high we’ll raise the cry – Revenge for Skibbereen!”