Poems by Denis Florence MacCarthy

Produced by Dennis McCarthy POEMS BY DENIS FLORENCE MAC CARTHY DUBLIN M. H. GILL AND SON, 50 UPPER SACKVILLE STREET 1882 M. H. GILL AND SON, PRINTERS, DUBLIN Memorial to Denis Florence MacCarthy. A Committee of friends and admirers of the late Denis Florence MacCarthy has been formed for the purpose of perpetuating in a
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Produced by Dennis McCarthy








Memorial to Denis Florence MacCarthy.

A Committee of friends and admirers of the late Denis Florence MacCarthy has been formed for the purpose of perpetuating in a fitting manner the memory of this distinguished Irish poet. Among the contributors to the Memorial Fund are Cardinal Newman, Cardinal MacCabe, Cardinal MacClosky; Most Rev. Dr. M’Gettigan, Most Rev. Dr. Croke, Most Rev. Dr. Butler, and many of the Irish Clergy; Lord O’Hagan, the Marquis of Ripon, Archbishop Trench, Judge O’Hagan, Sir. C. G. Duffy, Aubrey de Vere, Sir Samuel Ferguson, and Dr. J. K. Ingram.

Subscriptions will be received by the Lord Mayor, Mansion House, Dublin; by Dr. James Brady, 38 Harcourt-st; Mr. W. L. Joynt, D. L., 43 Merrion-square; Rev. C. P. Meehan, SS. Michael and John’s; or by any Member of the Committee.


This volume contains, besides the poems published in 1850 and 1857,[1] the odes written for the centenary celebrations in honour of O’Connell in 1875, and of Moore in 1879. To these are added several sonnets and miscellaneous poems now first collected, and the episode of “Ferdiah” translated from the ‘Tain Bo Chuailgne.’

Born in Dublin,[2] May 26th, 1817, my father, while still very young, showed a decided taste for literature. The course of his boyish reading is indicated in his “Lament.” Some verses from his pen, headed “My Wishes,” appeared in the “Dublin Satirist,” April 12th, 1834. This was, as far as I can discover, the earliest of his writings published. To the journal just mentioned he frequently contributed, both in prose and verse, during the next two years. The following are some of the titles:–“The Greenwood Hill;” “Songs of other Days” (Belshazzar’s Feast–Thoughts in the Holy Land–Thoughts of the Past); “Life,” “Death,” “Fables” (The Zephyr and the Sensitive Plant–The Tulip and the Rose–The Bee and the Rose); “Songs of Birds” (Nightingale–Eagle–Phoenix–Fire-fly); “Songs of the Winds,” &c.

On October 14th, 1843, his first contribution (“Proclamation Songs,” No. 1) appeared in the Dublin “Nation.” “Here is a song by a new recruit,” wrote Mr., now Sir, Charles Gavan Duffy, “which we should give in our leading columns if they were not preoccupied.” In the next number I find “The Battle of Clontarf,” with this editorial note: “‘Desmond’ is entitled to be enrolled in our national brigade.” “A Dream” soon follows; and at intervals, between this date and 1849–besides many other poems–all the National songs and most of the Ballads included in this volume. In April, 1847, “The Bell-Founder” and “The Foray of Con O’Donnell” appeared in the “University Magazine,” in which “Waiting for the May,” “The Bridal of the Year,” and “The Voyage of Saint Brendan,” were subsequently published (in January and May, 1848). Meanwhile, in 1846, the year in which he was called to the bar, he edited the “Poets and Dramatists of Ireland,” with an introduction, which evinced considerable reading, on the early religion and literature of the Irish people. In the same year he also edited the “Book of Irish Ballads,” to which he prefixed an introduction on ballad poetry. This volume was republished with additions and a preface in 1869. In 1853, the poems afterwards published under the title of “Underglimpses” were chiefly written.[3]

The plays of Calderon–thoroughly national in form and matter–have met with but scant appreciation from foreigners. Yet we find his genius recognized in unexpected quarters, Goethe and Shelley uniting with Augustus Schlegel and Archbishop Trench to pay him homage. My father was, I think, first led to the study of Calderon by Shelley’s glowing eulogy of the poet (“Essays,” vol. ii., p. 274, and elsewhere). The first of his translations was published in 1853, the last twenty years later. They consist[4] of fifteen complete plays, which I believe to be the largest amount of translated verse by any one author, that has ever appeared in English. Most of it is in the difficult assonant or vowel rhyme, hardly ever previously attempted in our language. This may be a fitting place to cite a few testimonies as to the execution of the work. Longfellow, whom I have myself heard speak of the “Autos” in a way that showed how deeply he had studied them in the original, wrote, in 1857: “You are doing this work admirably, and seem to gain new strength and sweetness as you go on. It seems as if Calderon himself were behind you whispering and suggesting. And what better work could you do in your bright hours or in your dark hours that just this, which seems to have been put providentially into your hands.” Again, in 1862: “Your new work in the vast and flowery fields of Calderon is, I think, admirable, and presents the old Spanish dramatist before the English reader in a very attractive light. Particularly in the most poetical passages you are excellent; as, for instance, in the fine description of the gerfalcon and the heron in ‘El Mayor Encanto.’ I hope you mean to add more and more, so as to make the translation as nearly complete as a single life will permit. It seems rather appalling to undertake the whole of so voluminous a writer; nevertheless, I hope you will do it. Having proved that you can, perhaps you ought to do it. This may be your appointed work. It is a noble one.”[5] Ticknor (“History of Spanish Literature,” new edition, vol. iii. p. 461) writes thus: “Calderon is a poet who, whenever he is translated, should have his very excesses and extravagances, both in thought and manner, fully reproduced, in order to give a faithful idea of what is grandest and most distinctive in his genius. Mr. MacCarthy has done this, I conceive, to a degree which I had previously supposed impossible. Nothing, I think, in the English language will give us so true an impression of what is most characteristic of the Spanish drama; perhaps I ought to say, of what is most characteristic of Spanish poetry generally.”

Another eminent Hispaniologist (Mr. C. F. Bradford, of Boston) has spoken of the work in similar terms. His labours did not pass without recognition from the great dramatist’s countrymen. He was elected a member of the Real Academia some years ago, and in 1881 this learned body presented him with the medal struck in commemoration of Calderon’s bicentenary, “in token of their gratitude and their appreciation of his translations of the great poet’s works.”

In 1855, at the request of the Marchioness of Donegal, my father wrote the ode which was recited at the inauguration of the statue of her son, the Earl of Belfast. About the same time, his Lectures on Poetry were delivered at the Catholic University at the desire of Cardinal Newman. The Lectures on the Poets of Spain, and on the Dramatists of the Sixteenth Century, were delivered a few years later. In 1862 he published a curious bibliographical treatise on the “Memoires of the Marquis de Villars.” In 1864 the ill-health of some of his family his leaving his home near Killiney Hill[6] to reside on the Continent. In 1872, “Shelley’s Early Life” was published in London, where he had settled, attracted by the facilities for research which its great libraries offered. This biography gives an amusing account of the young poet’s visit to Dublin in 1812, and some new details of his adventures and writings at this period. My father’s admiration for Shelley was of long standing. At the age of seventeen he wrote some lines to the poet’s memory, which appeared in the “Dublin Satirist” already mentioned, and an elaborate review of his poetry in an early number of the Nation. I have before alluded to Shelley’s influence in directing his attention to Calderon. The centenary odes in honour of O’Connell and Moore were written, in 1875 and 1879, at the request of the committees which had charge of these celebrations. He returned to Ireland a few months before his death, which took place at Blackrock, near Dublin, on April 7th,[7] in the present year. His nature was most sensitive, but though it was his lot to suffer many sorrows, I never heard a complaint or and unkind word from his lips.

From what has been said it will be evident that this volume contains only a part of his poetical works, it having been found impossible to include the humorous pieces, parodies, and epigrams, without some acquaintance with which an imperfect idea would be formed of his genius. The same may be said of his numerous translations from various languages (exclusive of Calderon’s plays). Of those published in 1850, “The Romance of Maleca,” “Saint George’s Knight,” “The Christmas of the Foreign Child,” and others have been frequently reprinted. He has since rendered from the Spanish poems by Juan de Pedraza, Antonio de Trueba, Garcilaso de la Vega, Gongora and “Fernan Caballero,” whom he visited when in Spain shortly before her death, and whose prose story, “The Two Muleteers,” he has also translated. To these must be added, besides several shorter ballads from Duran’s Romancero General, “The Poem of the Cid,” “The Romance of Gayferos,” and “The Infanta of France.” The last is a metrical tale of the fourteenth or fifteenth century, presenting analogies with the “Thousand and One Nights,” and probably drawn from an Oriental source. His translations from the Latin, chiefly of mediaeval hymns, are also numerous.

In inserting the poem of “Ferdiah” I was influenced by its subject as well as by the wish of friends. A few extracts appeared in a magazine several years ago, and it was afterwards completed without any view to publication. It follows the present Irish text[8] as closely as the laws of metre will allow. Since these pages were in the printer’s hands Mr. Aubrey de Vere has given to the world his treatment of the same theme,[9] adorning as usual all that he touches. As he well says: “It is not in the form of translation that an ancient Irish tale of any considerable length admits of being rendered in poetry. What is needed is to select from the original such portions as are at once the most essential to the story, and the most characteristic, reproducing them in a condensed form, and taking care that the necessary additions bring out the idea, and contain nothing that is not in the spirit of the original.” (Preface, p. vii.) The “Tale of Troy Divine” owes its form, and we may never know how much of its tenderness and grace, to its Alexandrian editor. However, the present version may, from its very literalness, have and interest for some readers.

Many of the earlier poems here collected have been admirably rendered into French by the late M. Ernest de Chatelain.[10] The Moore Centenary Ode has been translated into Latin by the Rev. M. J. Blacker, M. A.

My thanks are due to the Rev. Matthew Russell, S. J., for his kind assistance in preparing this book for the press, and to the Publishers for the accuracy and speed with which it has been produced.

I cannot let pass this opportunity of expressing my gratitude for the self-sacrificing labours of the committee formed at the suggestion of Mr. William Lane Joynt, D. L., to honour my father’s memory, and for the generous response his friends have made to their appeal.[11]


Blackrock, Dublin, August, 1882.

1. “Ballads, Poems, and Lyrics, Original and Translated:” Dublin, 1850. “The Bell-Founder, and other Poems,” “Underglimpses, and other Poems:” London, 1857. A few pieces which seemed not to be of abiding interest have been omitted.

2. At 24 Lower Sackville-street. The house, with others adjoining, was pulled down several years ago. Their site is now occupied by the Imperial Hotel.

3. The subjective view of nature developed in these Poems has been censured as remote from human interest. Yet a critic of deep insight, George Gilfillan, declares his special admiration for “the joyous, sunny, lark-like carols on May, almost worthy of Shelley, and such delicate, tender, Moore-like ‘trifles’ (shall I call them?) as ‘All Fool’s Day.’ The whole” he adds, “is full of a beautiful poetic spirit, and rich resources both of fancy and language.” I may be permitted to transcribe here an extract from some unpublished comments by Sir William Rowan Hamilton on another poem of the same class. His remarks are interesting in themselves, as coming from one illustrious as a man of science, and, at the same time, a true poet–a combination which may hereafter become more frequent, since already in the vast regions of space and time brought within human ken, imagination strives hard to keep pace with established fact. In a manuscript volume now in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, he writes, under date, May, 1848:–

“The University Magazine for the present month contains a poem which delights one, entitled ‘The Bridal of the Year.’ It is signed ‘D. F. M. C.,’ as is also a shorter, but almost a sweeter piece immediately following it, and headed, ‘Summer Longings.'”

Sir William goes through the whole poem, copying and criticising every stanza, and concludes as follows:–

“After a very pretty ninth stanza respecting the ‘fairy phantoms’ in the poet’s ‘glorious visions seen,’ which the author conceives to ‘follow the poet’s steps beneath the morning’s beam,’ he burst into rapture at the approach of the Bride herself–

“‘Bright as are the planets seven– with her glances
She advances,
For her azure eyes are Heaven!
And her robes are sunbeams woven, And her beauteous bridesmaids are
Hopes and wishes–
Dreams delicious–
Joys from some serener star,
And Heavenly-hued Illusions gleaming from afar!’

“Her eyes ‘are’ heaven, her robes ‘are’ sunbeams, and with these physical aspects of the May, how well does the author of this ode (for such, surely, we may term the poem, so rich in lyrical enthusiasm and varied melody) conceive the combination as bridesmaids, as companions to the bride; of those mental feelings, those new buddings of hope in the heart which the season is fitted to awaken. The azure eyes glitter back to ours, for the planets shine upon us from the lovely summer night; but lovelier still are those ‘dreams delicious, joys from some serener star,’ which at the same sweet season float down invisibly, and win their entrance to our souls. The image of a bridal is happily and naturally kept before us in the remaining stanzas of this poem, which well deserve to be copied here, in continuation of these notes–the former for its cheerfulness, the latter for its sweetness. I wish that I knew the author, or even that I were acquainted with his name.–Since ascertained to be D. F. MacCarthy.”

4. The following are the titles and dates of publication: In 1853, “The Constant Prince,” “The Secret in Words,” “The Physician of his own Honour,” “Love after Death,” “The Purgatory of St. Patrick,” “The Scarf and the Flower.” In 1861, “The Greatest Enchantment,” “The Sorceries of Sin,” “Devotion of the Cross.” In 1867, “Belshazzar’s Feast,” “The Divine Philothea” (with Essays from the German of Lorinser, and the Spanish of Gonzales Pedroso). In 1870, “Chrysanthus and Daria, the Two Lovers of Heaven.” In 1873, “The Wonder-working Magician,” “Life is a Dream,” “The Purgatory of St. Patrick” (a new translation entirely in the assonant metre). Introductions and notes are added to all these plays. Another, “Daybreak in Copacabana,” was finished a few months before his death, and has not been published.

5. When the author of “Evangeline” visited Europe for the last time in 1869, they met in Italy. The sonnets at p. 174 [To Henry Wadsworth Longfellow] refer to this occasion.

6. The “Campo de Estio,” described in the lines “Not Known.”

7. A fortnight after that of Longfellow. His attached friend and early associate, Thomas D’Arcy M’Gee, perished by assassination at Ottawa on the same day and month fourteen years ago.

8. Edited by his friend Br. W. K. Sullivan, President of Queen’s College, Cork, who, I may add, has in preparation a paper on the “Voyage of St. Brendan,” and on other ancient Irish accounts of voyages, of which he finds an explanation in Keltic mythology. The paper will appear in the Transactions of the American Geographical Society.

9. “The Combat at the Ford” being Fragment III. of his “Legends of Ireland’s Heroic Age.” London, 1882.

10. In his “Beautes de la Poesie Anglaise, Rayons et Reflets,” &c.

11. The first meeting was held on April 15th, at the Mansion House, Dublin, under the presidency of the Lord Mayor, the Right Hon. Charles Dawson, M. P.




Waiting for the May [Summer Longings] Devotion
The Seasons of the Heart
Kate of Kenmare
A Lament
The Bridal of the Year
The Vale of Shanganah
The Pillar Towers of Ireland
Over the Sea
Oh! had I the Wings of a Bird [Home Preference] Love’s Language
The Fireside
The Banished Spirit’s Song
The Clan of MacCaura
The Window
Autumn Fears
Fatal Gifts
Sweet May
FERDIAH: an Episode from the Tain Bo Cuailgne THE VOYAGE OF ST. BRENDAN


Ireland’s Vow
A Dream
The Price of Freedom
The Voice and Pen
“Cease to do Evil–Learn to do Well” The Living Land
The Dead Tribune
A Mystery


“The History of Dublin”
To Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
To Kenelm Henry Digby
To Ethna [Dedicatory Sonnet]


The Arraying
The Search
The Tidings
Welcome, May
The Meeting of the Flowers
The Progress of the Rose
The Bath of the Streams
The Flowers of the Tropics
The Year-King
The Awaking
The Resurrection
The First of the Angels
Spirit Voices


O’Connell (August 6th, 1875)
Moore (May 28th, 1879)


The Spirit of the Snow
To the Bay of Dublin
To Ethna
“Not Known”
The Lay Missioner
The Spirit of the Ideal
Lost and Found
Spring Flowers from Ireland
To the Memory of Father Prout
Those Shandon Bells
Youth and Age
To June
Sunny Days in Winter
The Birth of the Spring
All Fool’s Day
A Shamrock from the Irish Shore
Italian Myrtles
The Irish Emigrant’s Mother [The Emigrants] The Rain: a Song of Peace




Ah! my heart is weary waiting,
Waiting for the May–
Waiting for the pleasant rambles,
Where the fragrant hawthorn brambles, With the woodbine alternating,
Scent the dewy way.
Ah! my heart is weary waiting,
Waiting for the May.

Ah! my heart is sick with longing,
Longing for the May–
Longing to escape from study,
To the young face fair and ruddy,
And the thousand charms belonging
To the summer’s day.
Ah! my heart is sick with longing, Longing for the May.

Ah! my heart is sore with sighing,
Sighing for the May–
Sighing for their sure returning,
When the summer beams are burning,
Hopes and flowers that, dead or dying, All the winter lay.
Ah! my heart is sore with sighing, Sighing for the May.

Ah! my heart is pained and throbbing, Throbbing for the May–
Throbbing for the sea-side billows, Or the water-wooing willows,
Where in laughing and in sobbing
Glide the streams away.
Ah! my heart is pained and throbbing, Throbbing for the May.

Waiting sad, dejected, weary,
Waiting for the May.
Spring goes by with wasted warnings, Moon-lit evenings, sun-bright mornings;
Summer comes, yet dark and dreary
Life still ebbs away:
Man is ever weary, weary,
Waiting for the May!


When I wander by the ocean,
When I view its wild commotion,
Then the spirit of devotion
Cometh near;
And it fills my brain and bosom,
Like a fear!

I fear its booming thunder,
Its terror and its wonder,
Its icy waves, that sunder
Heart from heart;
And the white host that lies under
Makes me start.

Its clashing and its clangour
Proclaim the Godhead’s anger–
I shudder, and with langour
Turn away;
No joyance fills my bosom
For that day.

When I wander through the valleys,
When the evening zephyr dallies,
And the light expiring rallies
In the stream,
That spirit comes and glads me,
Like a dream.

The blue smoke upward curling,
The silver streamlet purling,
The meadow wildflowers furling
Their leaflets to repose:
All woo me from the world
And its woes.

The evening bell that bringeth
A truce to toil outringeth,
No sweetest bird that singeth
Half so sweet,
Not even the lark that springeth
From my feet.

Then see I God beside me,
The sheltering trees that hide me,
The mountains that divide me
From the sea:
All prove how kind a Father
He can be.

Beneath the sweet moon shining
The cattle are reclining,
No murmur of repining
Soundeth sad:
All feel the present Godhead,
And are glad.

With mute, unvoiced confessings,
To the Giver of all blessings
I kneel, and with caressings
Press the sod,
And thank my Lord and Father,
And my God.


The different hues that deck the earth All in our bosoms have their birth;
‘Tis not in the blue or sunny skies, ‘Tis in the heart the summer lies!
The earth is bright if that be glad, Dark is the earth if that be sad:
And thus I feel each weary day–
‘Tis winter all when thou’rt away!

In vain, upon her emerald car,
Comes Spring, “the maiden from afar,” And scatters o’er the woods and fields
The liberal gifts that nature yields; In vain the buds begin to grow,
In vain the crocus gilds the snow;
I feel no joy though earth be gay– ‘Tis winter all when thou’rt away!

And when the Autumn crowns the year,
And ripened hangs the golden ear,
And luscious fruits of ruddy hue
The bending boughs are glancing through, When yellow leaves from sheltered nooks
Come forth and try the mountain brooks, Even then I feel, as there I stray–
‘Tis winter all when thou’rt away!

And when the winter comes at length,
With swaggering gait and giant strength, And with his strong arms in a trice
Binds up the streams in chains of ice, What need I sigh for pleasures gone,
The twilight eve, the rosy dawn?
My heart is changed as much as they– ‘Tis winter all when thou’rt away!

Even now, when Summer lends the scene Its brightest gold, its purest green,
Whene’er I climb the mountain’s breast, With softest moss and heath-flowers dress’d, When now I hear the breeze that stirs
The golden bells that deck the furze, Alas! unprized they pass away–
‘Tis winter all when thou’rt away!

But when thou comest back once more,
Though dark clouds hang and loud winds roar, And mists obscure the nearest hills,
And dark and turbid roll the rills, Such pleasures then my breast shall know, That summer’s sun shall round me glow;
Then through the gloom shall gleam the May– ‘Tis winter all when thou’rt away!


Oh! many bright eyes full of goodness and gladness, Where the pure soul looks out, and the heart loves to shine, And many cheeks pale with the soft hue of sadness, Have I worshipped in silence and felt them divine! But Hope in its gleamings, or Love in its dreamings, Ne’er fashioned a being so faultless and fair As the lily-cheeked beauty, the rose of the Roughty,[12] The fawn of the valley, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

It was all but a moment, her radiant existence, Her presence, her absence, all crowded on me; But time has not ages and earth has not distance To sever, sweet vision, my spirit from thee! Again am I straying where children are playing, Bright is the sunshine and balmy the air, Mountains are heathy, and there do I see thee, Sweet fawn of the valley, young Kate of Kenmare!

Thine arbutus beareth full many a cluster Of white waxen blossoms like lilies in air; But, oh! thy pale cheek hath a delicate lustre No blossoms can rival, no lily doth wear; To that cheek softly flushing, thy lip brightly blushing, Oh! what are the berries that bright tree doth bear? Peerless in beauty, that rose of the Roughty, That fawn of the valley, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

O Beauty! some spell from kind Nature thou bearest, Some magic of tone or enchantment of eye, That hearts that are hardest, from forms that are fairest, Receive such impressions as never can die! The foot of the fairy, though lightsome and airy,[13] Can stamp on the hard rock the shapes it doth wear; Art cannot trace it, nor ages efface it: And such are thy glances, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

To him who far travels how sad is the feeling, How the light of his mind is o’ershadowed and dim, When the scenes he most loves, like a river’s soft stealing, All fade as a vision and vanish from him! Yet he bears from each far land a flower for that garland That memory weaves of the bright and the fair; While this sigh I am breathing my garland is wreathing, And the rose of that garland is Kate of Kenmare!

In lonely Lough Quinlan in summer’s soft hours, Fair islands are floating that move with the tide, Which, sterile at first, are soon covered with flowers, And thus o’er the bright waters fairy-like glide. Thus the mind the most vacant is quickly awakened, And the heart bears a harvest that late was so bare, Of him who in roving finds objects of loving, Like the fawn of the valley, sweet Kate of Kenmare!

Sweet Kate of Kenmare! though I ne’er may behold thee, Though the pride and the joy of another thou be, Though strange lips may praise thee, and strange arms enfold thee, A blessing, dear Kate, be on them and on thee! One feeling I cherish that never can perish– One talisman proof to the dark wizard care– The fervent and dutiful love of the Beautiful, Of which thou art a type, gentle Kate of Kenmare!

12. The river of Kenmare.

13. Near the town is the “Fairy Rock,” on which the marks of several feet are deeply impressed. It derives its name from the popular belief that these are the work of fairies.


The dream is over,
The vision has flown;
Dead leaves are lying
Where roses have blown;
Wither’d and strown
Are the hopes I cherished,–
All hath perished
But grief alone.

My heart was a garden
Where fresh leaves grew
Flowers there were many,
And weeds a few;
Cold winds blew,
And the frosts came thither,
For flowers will wither,
And weeds renew!

Youth’s bright palace
Is overthrown,
With its diamond sceptre
And golden throne;
As a time-worn stone
Its turrets are humbled,–
All hath crumbled
But grief alone!

Wither, oh, whither,
Have fled away
The dreams and hopes
Of my early day?
Ruined and gray
Are the towers I builded;
And the beams that gilded–
Ah! where are they?

Once this world
Was fresh and bright,
With its golden noon
And its starry night;
Glad and light,
By mountain and river,
Have I bless’d the Giver
With hushed delight.

These were the days
Of story and song,
When Hope had a meaning
And Faith was strong.
“Life will be long,
And lit with Love’s gleamings;”
Such were my dreamings,
But, ah, how wrong!

Youth’s illusions,
One by one,
Have passed like clouds
That the sun looked on.
While morning shone,
How purple their fringes!
How ashy their tinges
When that was gone!

Darkness that cometh
Ere morn has fled–
Boughs that wither
Ere fruits are shed–
Death bells instead
Of a bridal’s pealings–
Such are my feelings,
Since Hope is dead!

Sad is the knowledge
That cometh with years–
Bitter the tree
That is watered with tears;
Truth appears,
With his wise predictions,
Then vanish the fictions
Of boyhood’s years.

As fire-flies fade
When the nights are damp–
As meteors are quenched
In a stagnant swamp–
Thus Charlemagne’s camp,
Where the Paladins rally,
And the Diamond Valley,
And Wonderful Lamp,

And all the wonders
Of Ganges and Nile,
And Haroun’s rambles,
And Crusoe’s isle,
And Princes who smile
On the Genii’s daughters
‘Neath the Orient waters
Full many a mile,

And all that the pen
Of Fancy can write
Must vanish
In manhood’s misty light–
Squire and knight,
And damosels’ glances,
Sunny romances
So pure and bright!

These have vanished,
And what remains?–
Life’s budding garlands
Have turned to chains;
Its beams and rains
Feed but docks and thistles,
And sorrow whistles
O’er desert plains!

The dove will fly
From a ruined nest,
Love will not dwell
In a troubled breast;
The heart has no zest
To sweeten life’s dolour–
If Love, the Consoler,
Be not its guest!

The dream is over,
The vision has flown;
Dead leaves are lying
Where roses have blown;
Wither’d and strown
Are the hopes I cherished,–
All hath perished
But grief alone!


Yes! the Summer is returning,
Warmer, brighter beams are burning Golden mornings, purple evenings,
Come to glad the world once more. Nature from her long sojourning
In the Winter-House of Mourning, With the light of hope outpeeping,
From those eyes that late were weeping, Cometh dancing o’er the waters
To our distant shore.
On the boughs the birds are singing, Never idle,
For the bridal
Goes the frolic breeze a-ringing All the green bells on the branches,
Which the soul of man doth hear; Music-shaken,
It doth waken,
Half in hope, and half in fear,
And dons its festal garments for the Bridal of the Year!

For the Year is sempiternal,
Never wintry, never vernal,
Still the same through all the changes That our wondering eyes behold.
Spring is but his time of wooing– Summer but the sweet renewing
Of the vows he utters yearly,
Ever fondly and sincerely,
To the young bride that he weddeth, When to heaven departs the old,
For it is her fate to perish,
Having brought him,
In the Autumn,
Children for his heart to cherish. Summer, like a human mother,
Dies in bringing forth her young; Sorrow blinds him,
Winter finds him
Childless, too, their graves among, Till May returns once more, and the bridal hymns are sung.

Thrice the great Betroth’ed naming, Thrice the mystic banns proclaiming,
February, March, and April,
Spread the tidings far and wide; Thrice they questioned each new-comer, “Know ye, why the sweet-faced Summer, With her rich imperial dower,
Golden fruit and diamond flower, And her pearly raindrop trinkets,
Should not be the green Earth’s Bride?” All things vocal spoke elated
(Nor the voiceless
Did rejoice less)–
“Be the heavenly lovers mated!”
All the many murmuring voices
Of the music-breathing Spring,
Young birds twittering,
Streamlets glittering,
Insects on transparent wing–
All hailed the Summer nuptials of their King!

Now the rosy East gives warning,
‘Tis the wished-for nuptial morning. Sweetest truant from Elysium,
Golden morning of the May!
All the guests are in their places– Lilies with pale, high-bred faces–
Hawthorns in white wedding favours, Scented with celestial savours–
Daisies, like sweet country maidens, Wear white scolloped frills to-day;
‘Neath her hat of straw the Peasant Primrose sitteth,
Nor permitteth
Any of her kindred present,
Specially the milk-sweet cowslip, E’er to leave the tranquil shade;
By the hedges,
Or the edges
Of some stream or grassy glade,
They look upon the scene half wistful, half afraid.

Other guests, too, are invited,
From the alleys dimly lighted,
From the pestilential vapours
Of the over-peopled town–
From the fever and the panic,
Comes the hard-worked, swarth mechanic– Comes the young wife pallor-stricken
At the cares that round her thicken– Comes the boy whose brow is wrinkled, Ere his chin is clothed in down–
And the foolish pleasure-seekers, Nightly thinking
They are drinking
Life and joy from poisoned beakers, Shudder at their midnight madness,
And the raving revel scorn:
All are treading
To the wedding
In the freshness of the morn,
And feel, perchance too late, the bliss of being born.

And the Student leaves his poring, And his venturous exploring
In the gold and gem-enfolding
Waters of the ancient lore–
Seeking in its buried treasures, Means for life’s most common pleasures; Neither vicious nor ambitious–
Simple wants and simple wishes.
Ah! he finds the ancient learning But the Spartan’s iron ore;
Without value in an era
Far more golden
Than the olden–
When the beautiful chimera,
Love, hath almost wholly faded
Even from the dreams of men.
From his prison
Newly risen–
From his book-enchanted den–
The stronger magic of the morning drives him forth again.

And the Artist, too–the Gifted–
He whose soul is heaven-ward lifted. Till it drinketh inspiration
At the fountain of the skies;
He, within whose fond embraces
Start to life the marble graces; Or, with God-like power presiding,
With the potent pencil gliding,
O’er the void chaotic canvas
Bids the fair creations rise!
And the quickened mass obeying
Heaves its mountains;
From its fountains
Sends the gentle streams a-straying Through the vales, like Love’s first feelings Stealing o’er a maiden’s heart;
The Creator–
From his easel forth doth start, And from God’s glorious Nature learns anew his Art!

But who is this with tresses flowing, Flashing eyes and forehead glowing,
From whose lips the thunder-music Pealeth o’er the listening lands?
‘Tis the first and last of preachers– First and last of priestly teachers;
First and last of those appointed In the ranks of the anointed;
With their songs like swords to sever Tyranny and Falsehood’s bands!
‘Tis the Poet–sum and total
Of the others,
With his brothers,
In his rich robes sacerdotal,
Singing with his golden psalter. Comes he now to wed the twain–
Truth and Beauty–
Rest and Duty–
Hope, and Fear, and Joy, and Pain, Unite for weal or woe beneath the Poet’s chain!

And the shapes that follow after,
Some in tears and some in laughter, Are they not the fairy phantoms
In his glorious vision seen?
Nymphs from shady forests wending, Goddesses from heaven descending;
Three of Jove’s divinest daughters, Nine from Aganippe’s waters;
And the passion-immolated,
Too fond-hearted Tyrian Queen,
Various shapes of one idea,
Cythna, Genevieve, and Nea,[14]
Rosalind and all her sisters,
Born by Avon’s sacred stream,
All the blooming
Shapes, illuming
The Eternal Pilgrim’s dream,[15] Follow the Poet’s steps beneath the morning’s beam.

But the Bride–the Bride is coming! Birds are singing, bees are humming;
Silent lakes amid the mountains
Look but cannot speak their mirth; Streams go bounding in their gladness, With a bacchanalian madness;
Trees bow down their heads in wonder, Clouds of purple part asunder,
As the Maiden of the Morning
Leads the blushing Bride to Earth! Bright as are the planets seven–
With her glances
She advances,
For her azure eyes are Heaven!
And her robes are sunbeams woven, And her beauteous bridesmaids are
Hopes and wishes–
Dreams delicious–
Joys from some serener star,
And Heavenly-hued Illusions gleaming from afar.

Now the mystic right is over–
Blessings on the loved and lover! Strike the tabours, clash the cymbals, Let the notes of joy resound!
With the rosy apple-blossom,
Blushing like a maiden’s bosom;
With all treasures from the meadows Strew the consecrated ground;
Let the guests with vows fraternal Pledge each other,
Sister, brother,
With the wine of Hope–the vernal Vine-juice of Man’s trustful heart:
And Forbearance,
Love and Labour, Song and Art,
Be this the cheerful creed wherewith the world may start.

But whither the twain departed?
The United–the One-hearted–
Whither from the bridal banquet
Have the Bride and Bridegroom flown? Ah! their steps have led them quickly Where the young leaves cluster thickly; Blossomed boughs rain fragrance o’er them, Greener grows the grass before them,
As they wander through the island, Fond, delighted, and alone!
At their coming streams grow brighter, Skies grow clearer,
Mountains nearer,
And the blue waves dancing lighter From the far-off mighty ocean
Frolic on the glistening sand;
Breathe around, as hand-in-hand
They roam the Sutton’s sea-washed shore, or soft Shanganah’s strand.

14. Characters in Shelley, Coleridge, and Moore.

15. “The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame Over his living head, like Heaven, is bent, An early but enduring monument.”
Byron. (Shelley’s “Adonais.”)


When I have knelt in the temple of Duty, Worshipping honour and valour and beauty– When, like a brave man, in fearless resistance, I have fought the good fight on the field of existence; When a home I have won in the conflict of labour, With truth for my armour and thought for my sabre, Be that home a calm home where my old age may rally, A home full of peace in this sweet pleasant valley! Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! May the accents of love, like the droppings of manna, Fall sweet on my heart in the Vale of Shanganah!

Fair is this isle–this dear child of the ocean– Nurtured with more than a mother’s devotion; For see! in what rich robes has nature arrayed her, From the waves of the west to the cliffs of Ben Hader,[17] By Glengariff’s lone islets–Lough Lene’s fairy water,[18] So lovely was each, that then matchless I thought her; But I feel, as I stray through each sweet-scented alley, Less wild but more fair is this soft verdant valley! Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! No wide-spreading prairie, no Indian savannah, So dear to the eye as the Vale of Shanganah!

How pleased, how delighted, the rapt eye reposes On the picture of beauty this valley discloses, From the margin of silver, whereon the blue water Doth glance like the eyes of the ocean foam’s daughter! To where, with the red clouds of morning combining, The tall “Golden Spears”[19] o’er the mountains are shining, With the hue of their heather, as sunlight advances, Like purple flags furled round the staffs of the lances! Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! No lands far away by the swift Susquehannah, So tranquil and fair as the Vale of Shanganah!

But here, even here, the lone heart were benighted, No beauty could reach it, if love did not light it; ‘Tis this makes the earth, oh! what mortal could doubt it? A garden with it, but a desert without it! With the lov’d one, whose feelings instinctively teach her That goodness of heart makes the beauty of feature. How glad, through this vale, would I float down life’s river, Enjoying God’s bounty, and blessing the Giver! Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah! May the accents of love, like the droppings of manna, Fall sweet on my heart in the Vale of Shanganah!

16. Lying to the south of Killiney-hill, near Dublin.

17. Hill of Howth.

18. Killarney.

19. The Sugarloaf Mountains, county Wicklow, were called in Irish, “The Spears of Gold.”


The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land; In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime, These gray old pillar temples, these conquerors of time!

Beside these gray old pillars, how perishing and weak The Roman’s arch of triumph, and the temple of the Greek, And the gold domes of Byzantium, and the pointed Gothic spires, All are gone, one by one, but the temples of our sires!

The column, with its capital, is level with the dust, And the proud halls of the mighty and the calm homes of the just; For the proudest works of man, as certainly, but slower, Pass like the grass at the sharp scythe of the mower!

But the grass grows again when in majesty and mirth, On the wing of the spring, comes the Goddess of the Earth; But for man in this world no springtide e’er returns To the labours of his hands or the ashes of his urns!

Two favourites hath Time–the pyramids of Nile, And the old mystic temples of our own dear isle; As the breeze o’er the seas, where the halcyon has its nest, Thus Time o’er Egypt’s tombs and the temples of the West!

The names of their founders have vanished in the gloom, Like the dry branch in the fire or the body in the tomb; But to-day, in the ray, their shadows still they cast– These temples of forgotten gods–these relics of the past!

Around these walls have wandered the Briton and the Dane– The captives of Armorica, the cavaliers of Spain– Phoenician and Milesian, and the plundering Norman Peers– And the swordsmen of brave Brian, and the chiefs of later years!

How many different rites have these gray old temples known! To the mind what dreams are written in these chronicles of stone! What terror and what error, what gleams of love and truth, Have flashed from these walls since the world was in its youth?

Here blazed the sacred fire, and, when the sun was gone, As a star from afar to the traveller it shone; And the warm blood of the victim have these gray old temples drunk, And the death-song of the druid and the matin of the monk.

Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine, And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine, And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the East, And the crosier of the pontiff and the vestments of the priest.

Where blazed the sacred fire, rung out the vesper bell, Where the fugitive found shelter, became the hermit’s cell; And hope hung out its symbol to the innocent and good, For the cross o’er the moss of the pointed summit stood.

There may it stand for ever, while that symbol doth impart To the mind one glorious vision, or one proud throb to the heart; While the breast needeth rest may these gray old temples last, Bright prophets of the future, as preachers of the past!


Sad eyes! why are ye steadfastly gazing Over the sea?
Is it the flock of the ocean-shepherd grazing Like lambs on the lea?–
Is it the dawn on the orient billows blazing Allureth ye?

Sad heart! why art thou tremblingly beating– What troubleth thee?
There where the waves from the fathomless water come greeting, Wild with their glee!
Or rush from the rocks, like a routed battalion retreating, Over the sea!

Sad feet! why are ye constantly straying Down by the sea?
There, where the winds in the sandy harbour are playing Child-like and free,
What is the charm, whose potent enchantment obeying, There chaineth ye?

O! sweet is the dawn, and bright are the colours it glows in, Yet not to me!
To the beauty of God’s bright creation my bosom is frozen! Nought can I see,
Since she has departed–the dear one, the loved one, the chosen, Over the sea!

Pleasant it was when the billows did struggle and wrestle, Pleasant to see!
Pleasant to climb the tall cliffs where the sea birds nestle, When near to thee!
Nought can I now behold but the track of thy vessel Over the sea!

Long as a Lapland winter, which no pleasant sunlight cheereth, The summer shall be
Vainly shall autumn be gay, in the rich robes it weareth, Vainly for me!
No joy can I feel till the prow of thy vessel appeareth Over the sea!

Sweeter than summer, which tenderly, motherly bringeth Flowers to the bee;
Sweeter than autumn, which bounteously, lovingly flingeth Fruits on the tree,
Shall be winter, when homeward returning, thy swift vessel wingeth Over the sea!


Oh! had I the wings of a bird,
To soar through the blue, sunny sky, By what breeze would my pinions be stirred? To what beautiful land should I fly?
Would the gorgeous East allure,
With the light of its golden eyes, Where the tall green palm, over isles of balm, Waves with its feathery leaves?
Ah! no! no! no!
I heed not its tempting glare;
In vain should I roam from my island home, For skies more fair!

Should I seek a southern sea,
Italia’s shore beside,
Where the clustering grape from tree to tree Hangs in its rosy pride?
My truant heart, be still,
For I long have sighed to stray
Through the myrtle flowers of fair Italy’s bowers. By the shores of its southern bay.
But no! no! no!
Though bright be its sparkling seas, I never would roam from my island home, For charms like these!

Should I seek that land so bright,
Where the Spanish maiden roves,
With a heart of love and an eye of light, Through her native citron groves?
Oh! sweet would it be to rest
In the midst of the olive vales,
Where the orange blooms and the rose perfumes The breath of the balmy gales!
But no! no! no!–
Though sweet be its wooing air, I never would roam from my island home, To scenes though fair!

Should I pass from pole to pole?
Should I seek the western skies,
Where the giant rivers roll,
And the mighty mountains rise?
Or those treacherous isles that lie In the midst of the sunny deeps,
Where the cocoa stands on the glistening sands, And the dread tornado sweeps!
Ah! no! no! no!
They have no charms for me;
I never would roam from my island home, Though poor it be!

Poor!–oh! ’tis rich in all
That flows from Nature’s hand;
Rich in the emerald wall
That guards its emerald land!
Are Italy’s fields more green?
Do they teem with a richer store
Than the bright green breast of the Isle of the West, And its wild, luxuriant shore?
Ah! no! no! no!
Upon it heaven doth smile;
Oh, I never would roam from my native home, My own dear isle!


Need I say how much I love thee?–
Need my weak words tell,
That I prize but heaven above thee, Earth not half so well?
If this truth has failed to move thee, Hope away must flee;
If thou dost not feel I love thee,
Vain my words would be!

Need I say how long I’ve sought thee– Need my words declare,
Dearest, that I long have thought thee Good and wise and fair?
If no sigh this truth has brought thee, Woe, alas! to me;
Where thy own heart has not taught thee, Vain my words would be!

Need I say when others wooed thee,
How my breast did pine,
Lest some fond heart that pursued thee Dearer were than mine?
If no pity then came to thee,
Mixed with love for me,
Vainly would my words imbue thee,
Vain my words would be!

Love’s best language is unspoken,
Yet how simply known;
Eloquent is every token,
Look, and touch, and tone.
If thy heart hath not awoken,
If not yet on thee
Love’s sweet silent light hath broken, Vain my words would be!

Yet, in words of truest meaning,
Simple, fond, and few;
By the wild waves intervening,
Dearest, I love you!
Vain the hopes my heart is gleaning, If, long since to thee,
My fond heart required unscreening, Vain my words will be!


I have tasted all life’s pleasures, I have snatched at all its joys, The dance’s merry measures and the revel’s festive noise; Though wit flashed bright the live-long night, and flowed the ruby tide, I sighed for thee, I sighed for thee, my own fireside!

In boyhood’s dreams I wandered far across the ocean’s breast, In search of some bright earthly star, some happy isle of rest; I little thought the bliss I sought in roaming far and wide Was sweetly centred all in thee, my own fireside!

How sweet to turn at evening’s close from all our cares away, And end in calm, serene repose, the swiftly passing day! The pleasant books, the smiling looks of sister or of bride, All fairy ground doth make around one’s own fireside!

“My Lord” would never condescend to honour my poor hearth; “His Grace” would scorn a host or friend of mere plebeian birth; And yet the lords of human kind, whom man has deified, For ever meet in converse sweet around my fireside!

The poet sings his deathless songs, the sage his lore repeats, The patriot tells his country’s wrongs, the chief his warlike feats; Though far away may be their clay, and gone their earthly pride, Each god-like mind in books enshrined still haunts my fireside!

Oh, let me glance a moment through the coming crowd of years, Their triumphs or their failures, their sunshine or their tears; How poor or great may be my fate, I care not what betide, So peace and love but hallow thee, my own fireside!

Still let me hold the vision close, and closer to my sight; Still, still, in hopes elysian, let my spirit wing its flight; Still let me dream, life’s shadowy stream may yield from out its tide, A mind at rest, a tranquil breast, a quiet fireside!


Beautiful clime, where I’ve dwelt so long, In mirth and music, in gladness and song! Fairer than aught upon earth art thou–
Beautiful clime, must I leave thee now?

No more shall I join the circle bright Of my sister nymphs, when they dance at night In their grottos cool and their pearly halls, When the glowworm hangs on the ivy walls!

No more shall I glide o’er the waters blue, With a crimson shell for my light canoe, Or a rose-leaf plucked from the neighbouring trees, Piloted o’er by the flower-fed breeze!

Oh! must I leave those spicy gales,
Those purple hills and those flowery vales? Where the earth is strewed with pansy and rose, And the golden fruit of the orange grows!

Oh! must I leave this region fair,
For a world of toil and a life of care? In its dreary paths how long must I roam, Far away from my fairy home?

The song of birds and the hum of bees, And the breath of flowers, are on the breeze; The purple plum and the cone-like pear,
Drooping, hang in the rosy air!

The fountains scatter their pearly rain On the thirsty flowers and the ripening grain; The insects sport in the sunny beam,
And the golden fish in the laughing stream.

The Naiads dance by the river’s edge, On the low, soft moss and the bending sedge; Wood-nymphs and satyrs and graceful fawns Sport in the woods, on the grassy lawns!

The slanting sunbeams tip with gold
The emerald leaves in the forests old– But I must away from this fairy scene,
Those leafy woods and those valleys green!

20. Written in early youth.


With that pleasant smile thou wearest, Thou art gazing on the fairest
Wonders of the earth and sea:
Do thou not, in all thy seeing,
Lose the mem’ry of one being
Who at home doth think of thee.

In the capital of nations,
Sun of all earth’s constellations,
Thou art roaming glad and free:
Do thou not, in all thy roving,
Lose the mem’ry of one loving
Heart at home that beats for thee.

Strange eyes around thee glisten,
To a strange tongue thou dost listen, Strangers bend the suppliant knee:
Do thou not, for all their seeming
Truth, forget the constant beaming
Eyes at home that watch for thee.

Stately palaces surround thee,
Royal parks and gardens bound thee– Gardens of the ‘Fleur de Lis’:
Do thou not, for all their splendour, Quite forget the humble, tender
Thoughts at home, that turn to thee.

When, at length of absence weary,
When the year grows sad and dreary, And an east wind sweeps the sea;
Ere the days of dark November,
Homeward turn, and then remember
Hearts at home that pine for thee!


Oh! bright are the names of the chieftains and sages, That shine like the stars through the darkness of ages, Whose deeds are inscribed on the pages of story, There for ever to live in the sunshine of glory, Heroes of history, phantoms of fable,
Charlemagne’s champions, and Arthur’s Round Table; Oh! but they all a new lustre could borrow From the glory that hangs round the name of MacCaura!

Thy waves, Manzanares, wash many a shrine, And proud are the castles that frown o’er the Rhine, And stately the mansions whose pinnacles glance Through the elms of Old England and vineyards of France; Many have fallen, and many will fall,
Good men and brave men have dwelt in them all, But as good and as brave men, in gladness and sorrow, Have dwelt in the halls of the princely MacCaura!

Montmorency, Medina, unheard was thy rank By the dark-eyed Iberian and light-hearted Frank, And your ancestors wandered, obscure and unknown, By the smooth Guadalquiver and sunny Garonne. Ere Venice had wedded the sea, or enrolled The name of a Doge in her proud “Book of Gold;” When her glory was all to come on like the morrow, There were the chieftains and kings of the clan of MacCaura!

Proud should thy heart beat, descendant of Heber,[22] Lofty thy head as the shrines of the Guebre,[23] Like them are the halls of thy forefathers shattered, Like theirs is the wealth of thy palaces scattered. Their fire is extinguished–thy banner long furled– But how proud were ye both in the dawn of the world! And should both fade away, oh! what heart would not sorrow O’er the towers of the Guebre–the name of MacCaura!

What a moment of glory to cherish and dream on, When far o’er the sea came the ships of Heremon, With Heber, and Ir, and the Spanish patricians, To free Inisfail from the spells of magicians.[24] Oh! reason had these for their quaking and pallor, For what magic can equal the strong sword of valour? Better than spells are the axe and the arrow, When wielded or flung by the hand of MacCaura!

From that hour a MacCaura had reigned in his pride O’er Desmond’s green valleys and rivers so wide, From thy waters, Lismore, to the torrents and rills That are leaping for ever down Brandon’s brown hills; The billows of Bantry, the meadows of Bear, The wilds of Evaugh, and the groves of Glancare, From the Shannon’s soft shores to the banks of the Barrow, All owned the proud sway of the princely MacCaura!

In the house of Miodchuart,[25] by princes surrounded, How noble his step when the trumpet was sounded, And his clansmen bore proudly his broad shield before him, And hung it on high in that bright palace o’er him; On the left of the monarch the chieftain was seated, And happy was he whom his proud glances greeted: ‘Mid monarchs and chiefs at the great Fes of Tara, Oh! none was to rival the princely MacCaura!

To the halls of the Red Branch,[26] when the conquest was o’er, The champions their rich spoils of victory bore, And the sword of the Briton, the shield of the Dane, Flashed bright as the sun on the walls of Eamhain; There Dathy and Niall bore trophies of war, From the peaks of the Alps and the waves of Loire; But no knight ever bore from the hills of Ivaragh The breast-plate or axe of a conquered MacCaura!

In chasing the red deer what step was the fleetest?– In singing the love song what voice was the sweetest?– What breast was the foremost in courting the danger?– What door was the widest to shelter the stranger?– In friendship the truest, in battle the bravest, In revel the gayest, in council the gravest?– A hunter to-day and a victor to-morrow?– Oh! who but a chief of the princely MacCaura!

But, oh! proud MacCaura, what anguish to touch on The fatal stain of thy princely escutcheon; In thy story’s bright garden the one spot of bleakness, Through ages of valour the one hour of weakness! Thou, the heir of a thousand chiefs, sceptred and royal– Thou to kneel to the Norman and swear to be loyal! Oh! a long night of horror, and outrage, and sorrow, Have we wept for thy treason, base Diarmid MacCaura![27]

Oh! why ere you thus to the foreigner pandered, Did you not bravely call round your emerald standard, The chiefs of your house of Lough Lene and Clan Awley O’Donogh, MacPatrick, O’Driscoll, MacAwley, O’Sullivan More, from the towers of Dunkerron, And O’Mahon, the chieftain of green Ardinterran? As the sling sends the stone or the bent bow the arrow, Every chief would have come at the call of MacCaura.

Soon, soon didst thou pay for that error in woe, Thy life to the Butler, thy crown to the foe, Thy castles dismantled, and strewn on the sod, And the homes of the weak, and the abbeys of God! No more in thy halls is the wayfarer fed, Nor the rich mead sent round, nor the soft heather spread, Nor the “clairsech’s” sweet notes, now in mirth, now in sorrow, All, all have gone by, but the name of MacCaura!

MacCaura, the pride of thy house is gone by, But its name cannot fade, and its fame cannot die, Though the Arigideen, with its silver waves, shine Around no green forests or castles of thine– Though the shrines that you founded no incense doth hallow, Nor hymns float in peace down the echoing Allo, One treasure thou keepest, one hope for the morrow– True hearts yet beat of the clan of MacCaura!

21. MacCarthaig, or MacCarthy.

22. The eldest son of Milesius, King of Spain, in the legendary history of Ireland.

23. The Round Towers.

24. The Tuatha Dedannans, so called, says Keating, from their skill in necromancy, for which some were so famous as to be called gods.

25. See Keating’s “History of Ireland” and Petrie’s “Tara.”

26. In the palace of Emania, in Ulster.

27. Diarmid MacCaura, King of Desmond, and Daniel O’Brien, King of Thomond, were the first of the Irish princes to swear fealty to Henry II.


At my window, late and early,
In the sunshine and the rain,
When the jocund beams of morning
Come to wake me from my napping,
With their golden fingers tapping
At my window pane:
From my troubled slumbers flitting, From the dreamings fond and vain,
From the fever intermitting,
Up I start, and take my sitting
At my window pane:–

Through the morning, through the noontide, Fettered by a diamond chain,
Through the early hours of evening, When the stars begin to tremble,
As their shining ranks assemble
O’er the azure plain:
When the thousand lamps are blazing Through the street and lane–
Mimic stars of man’s upraising–
Still I linger, fondly gazing
From my window pane!

For, amid the crowds slow passing,
Surging like the main,
Like a sunbeam among shadows,
Through the storm-swept cloudy masses, Sometimes one bright being passes
‘Neath my window pane:
Thus a moment’s joy I borrow
From a day of pain.
See, she comes! but–bitter sorrow! Not until the slow to-morrow,
Will she come again.


The weary, dreary, dripping rain,
From morn till night, from night till morn, Along the hills and o’er the plain,
Strikes down the green and yellow corn; The flood lies deep upon the ground,
No ripening heat the cold sun yields, And rank and rotting lies around
The glory of the summer fields!

How full of fears, how racked with pain, How torn with care the heart must be,
Of him who sees his golden grain
Laid prostrate thus o’er lawn and lea; For all that nature doth desire,
All that the shivering mortal shields, The Christmas fare, the winter’s fire,
All comes from out the summer fields.

I too have strayed in pleasing toil
Along youth’s and fertile meads;
I too within Hope’s genial soil
Have, trusting, placed Love’s golden seeds; I too have feared the chilling dew,
The heavy rain when thunder pealed, Lest Fate might blight the flower that grew For me in Hope’s green summer field.

Ah! who can paint that beauteous flower, Thus nourished by celestial dew,
Thus growing fairer, hour by hour,
Delighting more, the more it grew; Bright’ning, not burdening the ground,
Nor proud with inward worth concealed, But scattering all its fragrance round
Its own sweet sphere, its summer field!

At morn the gentle flower awoke,
And raised its happy face to God;
At evening, when the starlight broke, It bending sought the dewy sod;
And thus at morn, and thus at even, In fragrant sighs its heart revealed,
Thus seeking heaven, and making heaven Within its own sweet summer field!

Oh! joy beyond all human joy!
Oh! bliss beyond all earthly bliss! If pitying Fate will not destroy
My hopes of such a flower as this! How happy, fond, and heaven-possest,
My heart will be to tend and shield, And guard upon my grateful breast
The pride of that sweet summer field!


The poet’s heart is a fatal boon,
And fatal his wondrous eye,
And the delicate ear,
So quick to hear,
Over the earth and sky,
Creation’s mystic tune!
Soon, soon, but not too soon,
Does that ear grow deaf and that eye grow dim, And nature becometh a waste for him,
Whom, born for another sphere,
Misery hath shipwrecked here!

For what availeth his sensitive heart For the struggle and stormy strife
That the mariner-man,
Since the world began
Has braved on the sea of life?
With fearful wonder his eye doth start, When it should be fixed on the outspread chart That pointeth the way to golden shores– Rent are his sails and broken his oars,
And he sinks without hope or plan, With his floating caravan.

And love, that should be his strength and stay, Becometh his bane full soon,
Like flowers that are born
Of the beams at morn,
But die of their heat ere noon.
Far better the heart were the sterile clay Where the shining sands of the desert play, And where never the perishing flow’ret gleams Than the heart that is fed with its wither’d dreams, And whose love is repelled with scorn, Like the bee by the rose’s thorn.


The summer is come!–the summer is come! With its flowers and its branches green, Where the young birds chirp on the blossoming boughs, And the sunlight struggles between:
And, like children, over the earth and sky The flowers and the light clouds play;
But never before to my heart or eye Came there ever so sweet a May
As this–
Sweet May! sweet May!

Oh! many a time have I wandered out
In the youth of the opening year,
When Nature’s face was fair to my eye, And her voice was sweet to my ear!
When I numbered the daisies, so few and shy, That I met in my lonely way;
But never before to my heart or eye, Came there ever so sweet a May
As this–
Sweet May! sweet May!

If the flowers delayed, or the beams were cold, Or the blossoming trees were bare,
I had but to look in the poet’s book, For the summer is always there!
But the sunny page I now put by,
And joy in the darkest day!
For never before to my heart or eye, Came there ever so sweet a May
As this–
Sweet May! sweet May!

For, ah! the belov’ed at length has come, Like the breath of May from afar;
And my heart is lit with gentle eyes, As the heavens by the evening star.
‘Tis this that brightens the darkest sky, And lengthens the faintest ray,
And makes me feel that to the heart or eye There was never so sweet a May
As this–
Sweet May! sweet May!


An Episode from the Ancient Irish Epic Romance, “The Tain Bo Cuailgne; or, the Cattle Prey of Cuailgne.”

[“The ‘Tain Bo Cuailgne'” says the late Professor O’Curry, “is to Irish what the Argonautic Expedition, or the Seven against Thebes, is to Grecian history.” For an account of this, perhaps the earliest epic romance of Western Europe, see the Professor’s “Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Irish History.”

The Fight of Cuchullin with Ferdiah took place in the modern county of Louth, at the ford of Ardee, which still preserves the name of the departed champion, Ardee being the softened form of ‘Ath Ferdiah,’ or Ferdiah’s Ford.

The circumstances under which this famous combat took place are thus succinctly mentioned by O’Curry, in his description of the Tain Bo Cuailgne:–

“Cuchulainn confronts the invaders of his province, demands single combat, and conjures his opponents by the laws of Irish chivalry (the ‘Fir comhlainn’) not to advance farther until they had conquered him. This demand, in accordance with the Irish laws of warfare, is granted; and then the whole contest is resolved into a succession of single combats, in each of which Cuchulainn was victorious.”–“Lectures,” p. 37.

The original Irish text of this episode, with a literal translation, on which the present metrical version is founded, may be consulted in the appendix to the second series of the Lectures by O’Curry, vol. ii., p. 413.

The date assigned to the famous expedition of the Tain Bo Cuailgne, and consequently to the episode which forms the subject of the present poem, is the close of the century immediately preceding the commencement of the Christian era. This will account for the complete absence of all Christian allusions, so remarkable throughout the poem: an additional proof, if that were required, of its extreme antiquity.]

Cuchullin the great chief had pitched his tent, From Samhain[29] time, till now ’twas budding spring, Fast by the Ford, and held the land at bay. All Erin, save the fragment that he led, His sword held back, nor dared a man to cross The rippling Ford without Cuchullin’s leave: Chief after chief had fallen in the attempt; And now the men of Erin through the night Asked in dismay, “Oh! who shall be the next To face the northern hound[30] and free the Ford?” “Let it now be,” with one accord they cried, “Ferdiah, son of Daman Dare’s son,
Of Domnann[31] lord, and all its warrior men.” The chiefs thus fated now to meet as foes In early life were friends–had both been taught All feats of arms by the same skilful hands In Scatha’s[32] school beneath the peaks of Skye, Which still preserve Cuchullin’s glorious name. One feat of arms alone Cuchullin knew
Ferdiah knew not of–the fatal cast– The dread expanding force of the gaebulg[33] Flung from the foot resistless on the foe. But, on the other hand, Ferdiah wore
A skin-protecting suit of flashing steel[34] Surpassing all in Erin known till then.
At length the council closed, and to the chief Heralds were sent to tell them that the choice That night had fallen on him; but he within His tent retired, received them not, nor went. For well he knew the purport of their suit Was this–that he should fight beside the Ford His former fellow-pupil and his friend.
Then Mave,[35] the queen, her powerful druids sent, Armed not alone with satire’s scorpion stings, But with the magic power even on the face, By their malevolent taunts and biting sneers, To raise three blistering blots[36] that typified Disgrace, dishonour, and a coward’s shame, Which with their mortal venom him would kill, Or on the hour, or ere nine days had sped, If he declined the combat, and refused
Upon the instant to come forth with them, And so, for honour’s sake, Ferdiah came. For he preferred to die a warrior’s death, Pierced to the heart by a proud foeman’s spear, Than by the serpent sting of slanderous tongues– By satire and abuse, and foul reproach.
When to the court he came, where the great queen Held revel, he received all due respect: The sweet intoxicating cup went round,
And soon Ferdiah felt the power of wine. Great were the rich rewards then promised him For going forth to battle with the Hound: A chariot worth seven cumals four times told,[37] The outfit then of twelve well-chosen men Made of more colours than the rainbow knows, His own broad plains of level fair Magh Aie,[38] To him and his assured till time was o’er Free of all tribute, without fee or fine; The golden brooch, too, from the queen’s own cloak, And, above all, fair Finavair[39] for wife. But doubtful was Ferdiah of the queen,
And half excited by the fiery cup,
And half distrustful, knowing wily Mave, He asked for more assurance of her faith. Then she to him, in rhythmic rise of song, And he in measured ranns to her replied.


A rich reward of golden rings
I’ll give to thee, Ferdiah fair,
The forest, where the wild bird sings, the broad green plain, with me thou’lt share; Thy children and thy children’s seed,
for ever, until time is o’er,
Shall be from every service freed
within the sea-surrounding shore.
Oh, Daman’s son, Ferdiah fair,
oh, champion of the wounds renowned, For thou a charm`ed life dost bear,
since ever by the victories crowned, Oh! why the proffered gifts decline,
oh! why reject the nobler fame,
Which many an arm less brave than thine, which many a heart less bold, would claim?


Without a guarantee, O queen!
without assurance made most sure,
Thy grassy plains, thy woodlands green, thy golden rings are but a lure.
The champion’s place is not for me
until thou art most firmly bound,
For dreadful will the battle be
between me and Emania’s Hound.
For such is Chuland’s name,
O queen, and such is Chuland’s nature, too, The noble Hound, the Hound of fame,
the noble heart to dare and do,
The fearful fangs that never yield, the agile spring so swift and light:
Ah! dread the fortune of the field!