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IRISH LYRICS AND BALLADS 



Irish Lyrics and ballads 



BY 



REV. JAMES B. DOLLARD 

LlTT. D. 



MCCLELLAND, GOODCHILD y STEWART, LTD. 

PUBLISHERS TORONTO 



COPYRIGHT 

1917 BY 

P. J. KENEDY & SONS 



PREFACE 

IN this book of poems the Author's aim is to 
represent in poetic form the three phases of imag- 
inative experience that come to a man of dreamy 
and sympathetic mind, living in Ireland. 

There is an atmosphere of strange enchantment 
at all times among the Irish glens and hills, par- 
ticularly at evening or night-time, when a huge, 
mystic moon gazes solemnly at one, from the sum- 
mit of some historic mountain, through the broken 
windows of an ancient tower! It is quite easy to 
believe in the existence of the People of the Sidhe 

the Fairies at such a moment, and the pre- 
historic Raths, or Fairy Mounds, in whose depths 
they still love to dwell, are pointed out on all 
sides, crowned with their almost impervious thick- 
ets of silver hazel and magic white-thorn! This 
phase of his acquired knowledge is partially cov- 
ered by the poems included under the heading 

"The Horns of Elfland." 

In the next place he will come to understand 
and to love the charm of the Irish people them- 
selves, and to feel the strange and intimate influ- 
ence of the glens and mountains in which they 
live. He will grow to appreciate the peasantry 
and to share with them in their joys and their 
griefs. His attitude towards them is interpreted 
[v] 



PREFACE 

in the series of poems under the heading "In 
the Shadowy Glens." 

Lastly, as he travels around the country, and 
comes upon the places whose names are celebrated 
in the weird, immemorial legends of the Red 
Branch, the Cuchulain Saga, of Fin, and Ossian, 
and Dhiarmuid of the Love Spot; when he visits 
"purple Slieve-na-mon" and the hill of Allen, 
Tailtea and Tara, Emania and Cashel of the Kings, 
he will find his soul under the spell of ancient 
Eire and of her godlike heroes the glory of whose 
exploits has been handed down to us by the Bards 
and Seanachies. Some of the knowledge which he 
obtains from this legendary phase is placed under 
the heading "The Ancient Celtic Glamour." 

The writer is well aware that many of the sub- 
jects touched herein cannot be properly felt or 
appreciated except by persons of Celtic blood, 
with Celtic souls vibrant to the mysteries of the 
spirit-world, and of that region which borders on 
it, the home of the enchanted imagination. 

But the Celtic blood is by this time so inter- 
mingled with the other races that there is little 
likelihood of these themes being unappreciated if 
the author has been successful in his literary pres- 
entation of them. 

TORONTO, CANADA, Oflober 8, 1917 



CONTENTS 

"THE HORNS OF ELF LAND" PAGE 

THE SILVER ANVILS 3 

THE FAIRY HARPERS 5 

BALLAD OF THE BANSHEE 7 

THE PASSING OF THE SIDHE 9 

THE HAUNTED HAZEL n 

MEELIN MOUNTAIN 14 

THE FAIRY PIPER 16 

AT DEAD o' THE NIGHT, ALANNA 18 

BY LIGHT o' THE MOON 20 

CNOC-AULINN 22 

IN THE SHADOWY GLENS 

SONG OF THE LITTLE VILLAGES 25 

BALLAGH GAP 28 

ON ARRAN SHORE " . . . 29 

RIDERS TO THE SEA 30 

IRELAND'S MISTY HILLS '. . . 31 

MAURYA BAWN 33 

ALL SOULS' NIGHT 35 

THE CONNAUGHT SHORE 37 

THE TINKERS 38 

IRELAND, MARCH 17, 1913 39 

To WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS 40 

EMMET'S EPITAPH 41 

IN MEMORIAM 43 

THE EXILE'S RETURN 45 

MOTHER LOVE 46 

EVELEEN BURKE 47 

TIPPERARY 49 

[vii] 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS 51 

RATHLIN ISLAND 52 

MOONDHARRIG BY THE SuiR 53 

ORANGE AND GREEN 56 

THE DAY OF THE "LITTLE PEOPLES" 58 

THE ANCIENT CELTIC GLAMOUR 

THE VIKINGS 63 

CNOC-AN-AR . 70 

THE THREE WAVES OF ERIN 72 

THE HILL OF ALLEN 78 

THE CELTIC GODS 80 

WHEN CONOR IN EMANIA REIGNED 82 

OSSIANIC 83 

THORSTEIN THE BRAVE 85 

PRINCE MURROUGH AT CLONTARF 88 

ANCIENT IRISH WAR SONG 90 

BATTLE OF GABHRA AND DEATH OF OSGAR ... 91 

THE DEATH OF GOLL, THE SON OF MORNA ... 96 

OSSIAN TO ST. PATRICK 98 

CREDA'S LAMENT FOR GAEL 100 

CUCHULAIN COMING TO THE FORD 102 

OSSIAN LAMENTS FOR THE TIR-NA-N'OG, THE LAND 

OF YOUTH 103 

THE DEATH OF CUCHULAIN 106 

THE COMING OF LUGH in 

MARCH OF THE ULTONIANS 120 

SONNETS 

THE OGHAM PILLAR-STONE 125 

THE HURLER 126 

KlLLARNEY 127 

THE VIKINGS 128 

THE ROUND TOWER OF DEVENISH ISLAND . . . 129 

TARA 130 

FINGAL'S CAVE 131 

C viii ] 



"THE HORNS OF ELFLAND 



THE SILVER ANVILS 

J. HERE was a rath I used to love, in Ireland 

long ago, 
An ancient dun in which they dwelt the Fairy 

Folk, you know. 
All belted round with hawthorn was this Rath of 

Closharink, 
And one could hear, when straying near, their 

silver anvils clink! 

O, clink, clank, clink hear the fairy hammers go; 
Clink, clank, clink, in their caves of gold below! 
What were they a-forging in the dun of Closharink 
Upon their silver anvils tapping clink, clank, 
clink ? 

When all the thorn was blossomed white, and yel- 
low was the furze, 

You'd hear them in the noonday hush when ne'er 
a linnet stirs; 

You'd hear them in the evening when the sun be- 
gan to sink, 

And purple glory flushed the hills that smiled on 
Closharink. 

O, clink, clank, clink, hear the fairy hammers 

sound 
Clink, clank, clink, in their forges underground; 



THE SILVER ANVILS 

What were they a-patterning, the Sidhe of Clo- 

sharink, 

With all their silver anvils sounding clink, 
clank, clink? 

What were they a-fashioning a crown for great 

Queen Mave; 
A helmet for Cuchulain, or a shield for Lugh the 

Brave; 
A scabbard for the Sword of Light that flames 

on danger's brink, 
A jeweled torque for Angus who is king at Clo- 

sharink? 

Clink, clank, clink, like a harp note, sweet and low, 
Clink, clank, clink, and a big moon climbing slow! 
Though youth is far from me to-night, and far is 

Closharink, 
My senses thrill to hear it still, that clink, clank, 

clink ! 



[4] 



THE FAIRY HARPERS 

./llS I walked the heights of Meelin on a tranquil 

autumn day, 
The fairy host came stealing o'er the distant 

moorland gray, 

I heard like sweet bells ringing, 
Or a grove of linnets singing, 

And the haunting, wailful music that the Fairy 
Harpers play! 

Like thunder of deep waters when vast-heaving 

billows break, 
Like soughing of the forest when ten thousand 

branches shake, 
Like moaning of the wind, 
When the night falls bleak and blind, 
So wild and weird the melodies the fairy minstrels 
make. 

The sunbeams fleck'd the valley, and the cloud- 
shades ranged the hill, 
The thistle-down scarce drifted in the air so calm 

and still. 

But along the slopes of Meelin, 
Came the ghostly music pealing, 
With sad and fitful cadences that set my soul 
a-thrill! 

[5] 



THE FAIRY HARPERS 

Then wan and wistful grew the sky o'er Meelin's 

summit lone, 
And weeping for the days gone by, my heart grew 

cold as stone, 

For I heard loved voices calling 
Beyond the sunlight falling 

On Meelin's mournful mountain where the magic 
Harps make moan! 



[6] 



BALLAD OF THE BANSHEE 



>ACK thro' the hills I hurried home 
Ever my boding soul would say: 
'Mother and sister bid thee come, 
Long, too long has been thy stay." 

Stars shone out, but the moon was pale, 
Touched by a black cloud's ragged rim, 

Sudden I heard the Banshee's wail 
Where Malmor's war-tower rises grim! 

Quickly I strode across the slope, 

Passed the grove and the Fairy Mound 

(Gloomy the moat where blind owls mope) 
Scarcely breathing, I glanced around! 

Mother of mercy! there she sat, 
A woman clad in a snow-white shroud, 
Streamed her hair to the damp moss-mat, 
White the face on her bosom bowed ! 

'Spirit of Woe," I eager cried, 
"Tell me none that I love has gone, 
Cold is the grave:" my accents died 
The Banshee lifted her face so wan. 

Pale and wan as the waning moon, 

Seen when the sun-spears herald dawn! 

Ceased all sudden her dreary croon 
Full on my own her wild eyes shone! 

m 



BALLAD OF THE BANSHEE 

Burned and seared my inmost soul 
(When shall sorrow depart from me?) 

Black-winged terror upon me stole, 
Blindly gaping, I turned to flee! 

Back by the grove and haunted mound, 
O'er the lone road I know not how, 

Hearkened afar my baying hound 
Home at last by the low hill's brow! 

Lone the cottage the door flung wide, 

Four lights burned oh, sight of dread ! 
Breathing a prayer, I rushed inside, 
"Mercy, God!" 'twas my mother dead! 

Dead and white as the fallen leaf, 

(Kneeling, my sister prayed near by), 

Wild as I wrestled with my grief, 

Far and faint came the Banshee's cry! 



[8] 



THE PASSING OF THE SIDHE 

J. HERE is weeping on Cnoc-Aulin, and on hoary 

Slievenamon, 
There's a weary wind careering over haggard 

Knock-naree, 

By the broken Mound of Almhin 
Sad as death the voices calling, 
Calling ever, wailing ever, for the passing of the 
Sidhe. 

Where the hunting-call of Ossian waked the woods 

of Glen-na-mar; 
Where the Fianna's hoarse cheering silenced noisy 

Assaroe; 

Like the homing swallows meeting 
Like a beaten host retreating 
Hear them sobbing as they hurry from the hills 
they used to know. 

There's a haunted hazel standing on a grim and 

gloomy scaur, 
Tossing ceaselessly its branches, like a keener o'er 

the dead; 

Deep around it press the masses 
Of the Sluagh-Sidhe 1 that passes 
To the moan of fairy-music timing well their 
muffled tread. 

1 Pronounced Slua Shee the Fairy Army. 

[9] 



THE PASSING OF THE SIDHE 

Came a wail of mortal anguish o'er the night- 
enshrouded sea, 
Sudden death o'ertook the aged, while the infant 

cried in fear, 

And the dreamers on their pillows 
Heard the beat of bursting billows, 
And the rumble and the rhythm of an army 
passing near! 

They have left the unbelieving past and gone 

their gentle sway, 
Lonely now the rath enchanted, eerie glen, and 

wild crannoge, 

But the sad winds unforgetting 
Call them back with poignant fretting, 
Snatching songs of elfin sorrow from the streams of 
Tir-na-n'og! 



[10] 



THE HAUNTED HAZEL 

A. DOWN a quiet glen where the gowan-berries 

glisten 
And the linnet, shyest bird of all, his wild note 

warbles free; 
Where the scented woodbine-blossoms, o'er the 

brooklet, bend to listen, 
There stands upon a mossy bank, a white-hazel 

tree. 

Oh! fair it is to view, when the zephyr rustles 

lightly, 
And warm sunlight glances back from polished 

bole and branch; 
For then like wavelets on a rill the pendent leaves 

flash brightly, 
And daisies nod in concert, round the column 

straight and staunch. 

But when the day is ended, and the solemn moon 
is shining; 

And shadows grim and ghostly, fall on grove and 
glen and lea, 

Then godless elves their fairy paths with glow- 
worm lamps are lining, 

And potent spells of magic bind this white-hazel 
tree! 



THE HAUNTED HAZEL 

For from their gorgeous palaces the fairy bands 
come stealing, 

To dance in sportive circles on the never bending 
moss; 

And the velvet-soft caressing of their finger- 
touches healing, 

Brings to the sere white-hazel bark again its youth- 
ful gloss. 

And round and round they skip and glide, in 

strange fantastic measure, 

To weird, unhallowed melodies of fairy minstrelsy, 
Yet mortal ear may never hear those sounds of 

elfin pleasure, 
And no whisper of its secrets gives the white-hazel 

tree! 

But should the peasant wander nigh that baleful 
bower, unthinking, 

And sudden feel the chilling of the haunted hazel's 
shade, 

A nameless horror seizes on his spirit, bowed and 
shrinking, 

And making oft the Holy Sign, he hurries home dis- 
mayed. 

For maid that treads the path of doom beneath 

the hazel's shadow, 
Shall be the bride of Death, they say, before a 

month has flown; 

[12] 



THE HAUNTED HAZEL 

And laughing swain, in pride of strength, who 

crossed at eve the meadow, 
Shall moulder 'neath the matted moss, e'er yet 

that mead is mown! 

So, in the solemn hours of night the fairies dance 

unharmed, 
Till thro' gray dawn the haggard moon her waning 

span doth dree, 
Then from the blessed sunbeam flies the evil 

power that charmed, 
And fairy spell is lifted from the white-hazel tree! 



MEELIN MOUNTAIN 

the slopes of Meelin Mountain 'tis as lone- 
some as can be, 
Up among the whins and heather where our little 

cottage stands 

And all night I hear the wailing 
Of the homeless curlews sailing 
And the ever-haunting rhythm of the marching 
Fairy bands. 

They are marching down from Meelin to the dark- 
ling vales below, 
Like an army off to battle massed in squadron 

and platoon 

I can see their lances gleaming 
And their rustling banners streaming, 
While ten thousand silvern helmets shame the 
lustre of the moon. 

They are passing down from Meelin to the Rath 

of Glen-na-shee 
Down the lonely mountain roadway by the Ridge 

of Moonamoe; 

And their Harpers all are playing 
Fairy tunes that set you swaying, 
Fairy strains that thrill the spirit with the spells 
of long ago! 



MEELIN MOUNTAIN 

Who is brave enough to follow where the solemn 

night-winds call? 
Who will join them down from Meelin in the 

moonbeams falling white ? 
All his earthly woes shall leave him, 
Human sorrows never grieve him, 
And the Fairy Harps shall lull him evermore 
with strange delight! 

They are marching down from Meelin, stepping 

fast before the dawn, 
Fainter grows the Fairy Music, dying plaintive 

on the blast, 

And I ponder by the embers 
While my tristful soul remembers 
All the magic of lost visions all the dreams of 
youth long-passed! 



THE FAIRY PIPER 

V^/NE evening as I wandered by the Rath of Ross- 

na-Ree 

I met a fairy piper and he quaintly winked at me; 
Said he, "You love our people and you sing their 

praise so fine 
That just by way of a reward you'll listen now to 

mine." 

His coat was red, and amber-barred, his panta- 
loons were blue, 
His eyes were black as ripened sloes, and they were 

dancing too, 
His pipes were gold and ivory, his chanter jewelled 

strange, 
And when the first wee note he struck, the world 

began to change! 

For all the birds in Ossory they gathered round us 
there, 

And every songster joined with him in chorus 
sweet and rare, 

Till my poor heart revived anew and lost its bur- 
den sad, 

And once again came rapture true, like when I 
was a lad. 

A rose-red flush lit up the skies and tinged the 
dappled green, 



THE FAIRY PIPER 

And seated on a sapphire throne I saw the Fairy 
Queen; 

And all the Red Branch heroes clad in armor 
dazzling bright 

Lined up around the fairy mound; it was a splen- 
did sight! 

Then suddenly an elfin door oped wide in Ross-na- 
Ree, 

A spell of gladness held the earth, and swayed 
each flow'r and tree, 

And out there trooped the Fairy Folk, ten thou- 
sand strong if one, 

All dancing in the sunshine, round about their 
haunted dun! 

The hours flew by like moments, and the daylight 

faded soon, 
Yet still went on that wondrous dance beneath 

a mystic moon; 
My eyes grew dim with happiness, but when I 

gazed once more, 
The vision all had vanished and the fairy spell 

was o'er! 

Yet often since, in gladsome dream, I hear that 

piper play, 
And feel again the rapture of that blissful summer 

day, 

And often, too, I wander by the Rath of Ross-na-Ree, 
Though now I know its magic door will ope no 

more to me! 

[17] 



AT DEAD O' THE NIGHT, ALANNA 



dead o' the night, alanna, I wake and see you 

there, 
Your little head on the pillow, with tossed and 

tangled hair; 
I am your mother, acushla, and you are my heart's 

own boy, 
And wealth o' the world I'd barter to shield you 

from annoy. 

At dead o' the night, alanna, the heart o' the world 

is still, 
But sobbing o' fairy music comes down the haunted 

hill; 
The march o' the fairy armies troubles the peace 

o' the air. 
Blest angels, shelter my darling for power of a 

mother's pray'r! 

At dead o' the night, alanna, the sleepless Banshee 

moans, 
Wailing for sin and sorrow, by the Cairn's crum- 

bling stones, 
At dead o' the night, alanna, I ask of our God 

above, 
To shield you from sin and sorrow, and cherish 

you in His love. 

[18] 



AT DEAD O' THE NIGHT, ALANNA 

At dead o' the night, alanna, I wonder o'er and 

o'er, 
Shall you part from our holy Ireland, to die on a 

stranger shore? 
You'll break my heart in the leaving like many a 

mother I know 
Just God, look down upon Erin and lift her at 

last from woe! 

At dead o' the night, alanna, I see you in future 

years, 
Grand in your strength, and noble, facing the wide 

world fears; 
Though down in the mossy churchyard my bones 

be under the sod, 
My spirit shall watch you, darling, till you come 

to your rest in God ! 



[19] 



BY LIGHT 0' THE MOON 



B 



>Y light o' the moon at the gray cairn-stone 

A wondrous sight you'll see; 
By light o' the moon when the Banshee's croon 

Faint comes o'er moor and lea! 
Weird cloud-shades hurry athwart the sky, 

The drowsy glens are still, 
And the march you'll see, of the Sluag-Sidhe 

By light o' the moon on the hill! 

By light o' the moon you'll hearken soon, 

Strange music throbbing sweet, 
The harp-notes bold of the Bards of old 

Your tranced ear shall greet! 
For theirs are the plans of the mystic ranns 

By the fairies filched away, 
And they echo still on the moonlit hill 

Where the elfin minstrels play. 

By the light o' the moon, as the reed-pipes croon, 

The fairy hosts are seen; 
And gallant and gay is their proud array 

With glint of shield and skian! 
They wage once more, in mimic war, 

Fierce fights of the days long o'er, 
When the Finian sword by Erna's ford, 

The "ridge of battle" up-bore! 

[20] 



BY LIGHT O' THE MOON 

By light o' the moon at the gray cairn-stone 

The fairy minstrels weep, 
And the melting tone of their sorrows' moan 

The winds of Erin keep. 
They weep her Harpers dead and gone, 

Whose strains would haunt and thrill, 
They mourn and wail o'er the doom of the Gael, 

By the light o' the moon on the hill! 



[21 J 



CNOC-AULINN 



I 



LEAVE my parents in Kilmacowen, 

My loving cousins in Ard-na-Grange, 
For o'er the mountains I must be goin', 

Where fairy voices all bid me range! 
Beyond those hill-tops fair visions shimmer, 

Bright with the sun, an' the water fallin*. 
Good-bye, Moondharrig! each moment dimmer, 

I fly forever to far Cnoc-Aulinn. 

Weary am I o j the wordy clatter, 

The busy tongue an' the sordid mind. 
The world which seemed a mighty matter 

Fades as I leave it far behind; 
I leave my plough in the grassy furrow, 

My patient horse in the headland stallin*. 
Good-bye, Gurthlawhan; for ere to-morrow 

I'll walk with Oscar on old Cnoc-Aulinn! 

There shall I listen to drowsy waters, 

And magic tones o' the Keol-Sidhe 
Hear Bardic rannin' of ancient slaughters 

And Finn's Dord-Fiann o'er Knoc-na-righ. 
With kings of old I shall be reclinin', 

In pleasant dreamin' fond scenes recalling 
While shamrocks there at my feet entwinin', 

Shall bless my slumbers on gray Cnoc-Aulinn. 



[22] 



IN THE SHADOWY GLENS 



SONG OF THE LITTLE VILLAGES 1 

JL HE pleasant little villages that grace the Irish 

glynns 
Down among the wheat-fields up amid the 

whins, 

The little white-walled villages crowding close to- 
gether, 
Clinging to the Old Sod in spite of wind and 

weather: 

Ballytarsney, Ballymore, Ballyboden, Boyle, 
Ballingarry, Ballymagorry by the Banks of 

Foyle, 

Ballylaneen, Ballyporeen, Bansha, Ballysadare, 
Ballybrack, Ballinalack, Barna, Ballyclare. 

The cosy little villages that shelter from the mist, 
Where the great West Walls by ocean-spray are 

kissed; 

The happy little villages that cuddle in the sun 
When blackberries ripen and the harvest work is 

done. 
Corrymeela, Croaghnakeela, Clogher, Cahirci- 

veen, 

Cappaharoe, Carrigaloe, Cashel and Coosheen, 
Castlefinn and Carrigtohill, Crumlin, Clara, 

Clane, 

Carrigaholt, Carrigaline, Cloghjordan and Cool- 
rain. 

1 All the names are genuine. 



SONG OF THE LITTLE VILLAGES 

The dreamy little villages, where by the fire at 

night, 
Old Shanachies with ghostly tale the boldest 

hearts affright; 
The crooning of the wind-blast is the wailing 

Banshee's cry, 
And when the silver hazels stir they say the fairies 

sigh. 

Kilfenora, Kilfinnane, Kinnity, Killylea, 
Kilmoganny, Kiltamagh, Kilronan and Kilrea, 
Killashandra, Kilmacow, Killiney, Killashee, 
Killenaule, Killmyshall, Killorglin and Killeagh. 

Leave the little villages, o'er the black seas go, 
Learn the stranger's welcome, learn the exile's woe, 
Leave the little villages, but think not to forget; 
Afar they'll rise before your eyes to rack your 

bosoms yet. 

Moneymore, Moneygall, Monivea and Moyne, 
Mullinahone, Mullinavatt, Mullagh and Moon- 
coin, 
Shanagolden, Shanb ally more, Stranorlar and 

Slane, 

Toberaheena, Toomyvara, Tempo and Stra- 
bane. 

On the Southern Llanos, north where strange 

light gleams, 

Many a yearning exile sees them in his dreams; 
Dying voices murmur (passed all pain and care), 
"Lo the little villages, God has heard our prayer." 

[26] 



SONG OF THE LITTLE VILLAGES 

Lisdoonvarna, Lissadil, Lisdargan, Lisnaskea, 
Portglenone, Portarlington, Portumna, Port- 

magee, 
Clondalkin and Clongowan, Cloondara and 

Clonae, 
God bless the little villages and guard them 

night and day! 



BALLAGH GAP 



B 



ALLAGH GAP, and the spring sun shining 
On Leinster's valleys far down below; 
Ballagh Gap, and the hedges lining 
The roadways, blossomed like sifted snow! 

'Tis there I'd be with Youth's comrades playing, 
In gladness maying through sweet lost days, 

The gold-eyed primrose green banks arraying, 
And daisies spangled in faerie maze. 

Again I'd hear, as the wind came sighing 

Across Mount Leinster and brown Creev-roe, 

The plovers fluting when day was dying 
And all the west was a magic glow. 

'Tis there I'd be when the sun, new-risen, 
Brought vales Elysian to raptured eyes, 

And the spirit saw, from its clayey prison, 
God's hand bedizen the seas and skies. 

Too soon, alas, from these fair scenes banished, 
The friends of Boyhood all passed away, 

And Youth's fond hoping too quickly vanished 
In grief and groping when skies were gray. 

Yet I still have visions that flash and quiver 
Dark gloom can never my soul enwrap 

For I see God's sunshine pour down forever 
A golden river o'er Ballagh Gap! 
[28] 



ON ARRAN SHORE 

BESIDE a white-walled cabin on the cliff 

She stands, and gazes on the cruel wave; 
Her hands are rough; her old face lined with grief; 

The sons she loved so well 
Lie drowned beneath the plangent ocean swell 

How dark and cold a grave! 

The curraghs straggle in across the bar, 

And many a happy mother hails them there, 

The fisher lads home-coming from afar; 
But now none comes to greet 

The lonely widow who with dragging feet 
Steals to her cabin bare! 

There is a Mother in the Heavens high 

Who comforts the bereft and broken heart; 

And when at night the wind goes whimpering by, 
And sobs the pitying rain; 

When voices of the dead are heard again, 
Mary doth peace impart! 



RIDERS TO THE SEA 

.ACROSS the bleak, wind-weary Erris plain 
Low trailing mists their ghostly banners fly; 

Like Druid hosts the legions of the rain 
Sweep to the spectral sea, 

Whose ashen billows thunder mournfully 
Beneath a lowering sky! 

Blue turf-smoke rises from a cabin there 

Close by the shore where falls the salty spray; 

An aged mother, and two sisters fair 
Are "caoining" for their dead! 

Three brothers strong who fought the sea for bread 
Have met their doom to-day! 

And thus the anguished mother maketh wail: 
"Now all my sons lie in the waters drowned 

'Tis now I shall have rest and peace! The gale 
Will not my soul affright! 

While wind and wave are battling all the night 
Deep will I sleep, and sound!" 



[30] 



IRELAND'S MISTY HILLS 

travelers prate of the Rockies great 

Or the Alleghanies blue, 
Or sights recall of the Andes tall 

That sentinel Peru; 
Of the Urals gray or the Himalay 

Where God's white daylight spills 
My fancy flies to the sea-warm skies 

And Irelands misty hills! 

With Druid cloud-belt girded on 

They lift their shoulders brown 
The Galtees, Toomies, Slieve-na-mon, 

Slieve Donard, Knoc-Mel-Dhown; 
And Kerry's Reek with tow'ring peak 

The homing exile thrills, 
When high and brave above the wave 

Rise Ireland's misty hills! 

The gorse is gold where heroes bold 

Of old were wont to stray; 
Where Finn and Ossian through the wold 

Went hunting day by day; 
Where Fergus and Cuhoolin trod 

Beside the wandering rills, 
And good St. Patrick blessed the sod 

On Ireland's misty hills! 



IRELAND'S MISTY HILLS 

No coward slaves have made their graves 

Upon these heathery heights, 
Where king and kerne in battle stern 

Have bled for Erin's rights! 
The wind that through her ancient tow'rs 

In mournful accent shrills, 
Shouts ranns of pride for the brave who died 

On Ireland's misty hills! 

May combats cease; and love and peace 

In that fair Island dwell; 
Each race and creed, in the country's need 

Her patriot anthems swell! 
May North and South together band 

To banish age-long ills, 
And all her clans undaunted stand 

For Ireland's misty hills! 



[3*] 



MAURYA BAWN 

WAKE up, wake up, alanna, Maurya Bawn, 

Maurya Bawn! 

(Hush! do not weep, mo creevin, in the dawn!) 
Your father must be goin' from the place he called 

his own, 

For the landlord wants the holdin,' Maurya 
Bawn! 

Rise up, rise up, alanna, Maurya Bawn, Maurya 

Bawn, 

(Now do not weep, mo veelish, in the dawn !) 
We must hurry no denyin' from the little 

cabin flyin' 
For they're comin' to evict us, Maurya Bawn! 

Your mother's dead an' buried, Maurya Bawn, 

Maurya Bawn! 

(Ah! Do not weep, mo colleen, in the dawn!) 
God's Holy Hand is in it sure the Home she 

has this minnit 
Ne'er a landlord can be stealin', Maurya Bawn! 

Tis well she's now in Heaven, Maurya Bawn, 

Maurya Bawn! 

(Acushla! Such wild sobbin', in the dawn!) 
'Tis she would grieve to view us Och ! wid 

tears o' blood she'd rue us, 
Driven forth to beg the world, Maurya Bawn! 

[33] 



MAURYA BAWN 

The hearth is cowld an' dreary, Maurya Bawn, 

Maurya Bawn! 

(Astboreen, like our hearts are, in the dawn!) 
*Tis you an' me to-morrow on the stony roads o* 

sorrow 

Come and kiss me in my throuble, Maurya 
Bawn! 

Rise up, rise up, alanna, Maurya Bawn, Maurya 

Bawn! 

(Rise up, an' laive the ould home, in the dawn!) 
The way is dark an' wairy, an' the hearts o' men 

contrairy, 

But we'll trust to God an' Mary, Maurya 
Bawn! 

Rise up, rise up, alanna, Maurya Bawn, Maurya 

Bawn! 
(Mavourneen, dry those tear drops 'tis the 

dawn!) 

Brush back the shiny hair from your little fore- 
head there! 

An' we'll face the world together, Maurya 
Bawn! 



ALL SOULS' NIGHT 

1 HEAR the waves, 

The lonely, homeless waves 
Clash on the beach; 

And in the darkening night 
The driven winds 

Are moaning to the bleak and wintry stars! 

Upon the cliff 

A whitewashed cabin stands; 
The fire burns low, a candle flickers dim, 

And kneeling there 
A mother tells her beads, and prays to Heaven. 

Strong is her prayer; 

The Powers on high are moved. 
The very Throne of God 

Is swayed as by a storm; 
Sweet Mary's Son 

Looks down upon that wild and barren coast! 

Up from the sea, 

Out of the black and grim and angry waves 
Four drowned fishers come 

The widow's sons 
Teig, Donal, Flann, and youthful Shemus, 

All long dead 
They strain towards the light, 

They drift like wavering mist-wraiths to the light ! 

[35] 



ALL SOULS' NIGHT 

Anon they stand 

Uncertainly, beside the cottage door, 
The salt sea drips 

Down from their hands and hair and hollow 

eyes; 
They touch the pane 

With slimy ringers, gibbering the while 
Ah, poor blind ghosts that know not why they 
come! 



The Heavens are oped, the mother gazes up 

The son of God is smiling down on her; 
The candle flares and sways! 

Angelic pinions stir the tranced air! 
Are these the four gray ghosts ? 

How changed now! 
No longer are their faces dull and dim; 

Transfigured now they shine with youth divine; 
Where now the slime 

And dripping sea-weed ? 
Donal, Teig, and Flann, 

And tall young Shemus, stand in dazzling white! 

In Heaven a hush! 

Who is it enters now? 
Are these four fisher lads, or victor kings ? 

Hark how the Archangelic hosts acclaim! 
Hark how the Heavenly trumpets fanfare blow! 



[36] 



THE CONNAUGHT SHORE 

J. HE bitter seas are racing, 

The salt spray tosses high, 
The gray and spumy cloud wrack 

Is surging through the sky; 
Wild billows sweeping landward 

A thousand miles and more 
Like famished wolves are leaping 

Against the Connaught Shore! 

The curraghs and the fishers 

Sailed out but yester e'en, 
When calm was on the water 

And sunset's golden sheen; 
The broken boats and bodies 

To-day a mad tide bore 
And flung with ruthless ravings 

Upon the Connaught Shore! 

Hark to that weird lamenting! 

The ancient caoines arise! 
The straw-roofed, white-walled cabins 

Are filled with anguished cries; 
That sound of sorrow pierces 

Above the ocean's roar 
Dear Christ, look down with pity 

Upon the Connaught Shore! 

[37] 



THE TINKERS 

J. HE tinkers passed by Dhrimoclare, 
White metal crackling on their backs; 
The girls wore roses in their hair, 

The men bore treasure in their packs! 

Long had they journeyed o'er the plain, 
From yon far mountain dim and tall; 

Through sunshine and the golden rain, 
Hearing the thrush and linnet call. 

And long before the sun has set 

They shall have reached my land o' dreams, 
Where yellow furze out-blossoms yet, 

And violets twinkle by the streams. 

They shall have reached my chosen land, 
Where never shall my footsteps stray; 

Where flowered fields and castles grand, 
And opal skies the eyes repay! 

For I shall never see beyond 

Those hills that shimmer in the sun, 

Tho' my sad heart with yearning fond 
Would follow where the tinkers run. 

Tied to my houses, cows and lands, 

I feel the prison chain and goad, 
Such riches all I'd give to stand 

Soul-free upon the tinkers' road! 

[38] 



IRELAND, MARCH 17ra, 1913 



stands beside her ancient seas 
Attentive to their threnodies; 

Gray-blue her eyes that frequent tears 
Have brimmed throughout long weary years; 

But now a new light in them glows, 
Her pale cheek mantles with the rose. 

Deep in her heart a song is sung, 
The anthem of the ever-young. 

The sun out-flashes, and the cold 

And leaden waves are fringed with gold; 

The lakes, the hills, the valleys green 
Bathed in gladsome light are seen. 

She kneels beside her deep-hued seas 
And strikes her harp to ecstasies: 

For all her woes are mem'ries old 
All, all her piteous tales are told, 

And, praising Heaven, she rises free 
To hail the Gael's great destiny. 

[39] 



TO WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS 

W HAT is my prayer for thee this Easter Day, 
Great bard of Erin's past, who dwell'st alone 
With the dim shadows of a vanished time 
With Ossian and pale Niam and wise Fin 
Among the brooding and lamenting hills ? 
I pray for thee the love of Jesus Christ, 
The comforts of His faith. May Mary spread 
The mantle of her night-black holy hair 
Over thy wearied eyes, and win thee back 
From endless wandering (like the wandering 

moon) 

With Goll and Caoilte, and the Finian bands 
Across wide barren plains and foam-white seas. 

And may the Judge say to thee at the last 

"Thou canst not enter here unheralded: 

Go back and bring the friends thou lovest most." 

And lo, again comes Yeats to heaven's gate 
And all the Finians with him cheering wild 
And stirring all its courts with brazen sounds 
Of the Dord Fiann. And their spears and shields 
Are cast, loud clashing, on the golden floor 
Till heaven is cluttered with their warlike gear! 

Then Michael waves his flaming sword on high 
And all his warrior angels welcome shout. 

[40] 



EMMET'S EPITAPH 

(One of the first official acts of the new Irish Parliament will be 
a vote in favor of a National Memorial to the noble young Protes- 
tant hero, Robert Emmet.) 

.DUILD ye a shrine to Emmet, the noblest of 

Ireland's dead 
Write ye in gold upon it the deathless words he 

said : 

"Let my epitaph not be written; let my dust 

unnoticed lie, 

Till the shout for Ireland's freedom goes up to 
God's fair sky! 

"When other men have arisen, and other times 

have birth, 

When my country stands, a Nation, 'mid the 
nations of the earth; 

"When my memory and my motives show cleared 

of shame and gloom, 

Let Ireland write my story let Ireland build 
my tomb!" 

Thro' years of trial and waiting have Ireland's 

sons obeyed 
This testament of their hero in death's drear 

shadows made; 



EMMET'S EPITAPH 

An hundred years of sadness did the martyr's 

bones remain 
Unmarked, uncared, uncovered to the tempest 

and the rain! 

Only in patriot bosoms his name thrice dear 

was writ, 
Or in lonely hearts of exiles love's shrines to 

him were lit! 

But now when her Cause has triumphed shall 

Erin proudly raise 
A pillar of glorious marble to blazon forth his 

praise! 

And on its stainless whiteness these words shall 

Erin grave: 
"Here lietb my best beloved my martyred hero 

brave! 

"Here lieth young Robert Emmet, the eagle of liberty, 
Who died, when the night was darkest, that Ireland 
might be free!" 



[4*] 



IN MEMORIAM 

(Very Rev. Canon Sheehan, of Doneraile, died Oct. 6th, 1913.) 

J. HE sun shines on his garden in the South, 
Where Doneraile beside the Awbeg's stream 
Lies drenched in light. Fair are the hills around 
And golden is the Autumn's mellow glow 
O'er Desmond, home of history and romance, 
And present charm. But in the souls of men 
Are grief and woe for he has passed away 
Who loved this land, and this his people true; 
Knew all the secrets of their souls, and made 
Their joys and woes his own (like him erewhile 
By gentle Goldsmith sung); with matchless pen 
Limning their lives. Another "Daddy Dan" 
He moved amongst them, reverenced and beloved; 
The children followed after for his smile: 
Strong youth and manhood claimed his benison; 
And ancient crones, to meet him on his way 
And gain a greeting, hobbled fast along, 
Forgetful of the weary weight of years! 

Who now will make the world attend and see 
The tragedy and comedy expressed 
In these deep vales ? Who now will make us smile 
And weep at every page, obedient 
Unto that magic wand he called his pen ? 
Who now will show us that blest miracle 
The love of Ireland's people for their priest 

[43] 



IN MEMORIAM 

And the priest's love for them the rock-ribb'd 

wall 

That broke dark Persecution's bitter tides 
Raging in vain and tossing spray obscene 
Against high heaven? 

Sheehan is dead is dead! 
And Doneraile is desolate! From far 
Across the world shall sound the message sad 
Of sorrowing friends whose myriad hearts he won 
By his great books, that touched profoundest 

chords 

Of the stirred soul. All these, his "shadow- 
friends" 

Shall weep with Doneraile! And even those 
Who when he lived, through envy and small mind, 
Did him no honor, now shall crowd around 
With tardy and unworthy hands to bring 
Unwelcome wreaths. 

His spirit shall not crave 
The eulogies of men. His Judge divine 
Weighing the toil of all his burdened years 
Of patient service; marking every care, 
And grief, and pain, and portioning reward 
For every noble thought flung far and wide 
Like heavenly seed, shall smile on him with love, 
Flooding his soul with rapture evermore! 



[44] 



THE EXILE'S RETURN 

A HE moaning of the wind on Carrig-Rue, 
The rustling of the sedges by Loch Finn 
Sound dirge-like in mine ears. A fairy tune 
Sadder than death I hear. 

The olden place 

Is there, and stand the mystic hills around; 
But all seem gray and ghostly, for no more 
The comrades of my youthful days I see 
They all have fled, and I am left alone 
With the familiar hills and long-known fields, 
An ache within my heart. It seems a dream, 
A weary dream from which I must awake 
To hear their voices call, and see their eyes 
So kind and friendly, gaze into mine own. 
I cry aloud their names friends of my youth 
Come back to me from out the mist of years. 
Come back to me from out the mournful Past; 
Come back, come back I shiver here alone, 
Here 'mid the sights and scenes you loved so well. 
My cry dies out upon the empty air, 
And fairy music sobbing sad and sore 
Burdens the hills. The wind on Carrig-Rue 
Moans, and the sedges toss beside Loch Finn. 



[45] 



MOTHER LOVE 

JL WAS a hurt and frightened little boy 

Running to mother's arms. All was well. 

There was the farm-house door, and, just inside, 

She would be waiting with her hands outstretched 

And love-light in her eyes to comfort me; 

And I would lie contented on her breast 

Until my sobbing ceased. Then she would kiss 

My tearful eyes, and call me loving names 

" Alanna bawn! alanna dbas machree! 

Yes, I was hurt, but all would soon be well. 

What is it? God! A dream? a dream you say? 
There is no house no mother I am old ? 
And she is dead and gone this many a year 
Under the graveyard mould. She cannot hear 
Think you she cannot hear? 

Ah, yes, she hears! 

She comes. I feel her arms about me now 
Her kisses on my face. Her tender voice 
Is crooning once again : " Alanna bawn ! 
Avic machree I Mo cuishla bawn astbore!" 



[46] 



EVELEEN BURKE 

(Translated from the Irish) 

IN Desmond are many fair maidens with faces 

as pure as the dawn, 
Whose eyes of deep blue sparkle bright as the 

dew on a green-bosomed lawn; 
And light is the song of their gladness, tho' near 

it the tear-drops may lurk, 
But none can make up for my sadness, since they 

buried you, Eveleen Burke! 

What right have I, Turlough O'Hagan, to speak 

of your beauty at all ? 
Or to tell how you made old Killaiden a place 

for the angels to call? 
Sure for me or my likes there was never a chance 

to be talking to you, 
Whom God had marked out for His Kingdom, as 

plain as His heavens are blue! 

'Twas my woe that the landlord was forcing the 

blood from my body for rent; 
'Twas my grief that the writs of eviction that 

left me no home had been sent! 
No word could I speak to you, Cushla, though wild 

the distress of my mind, 
When I saw you depart, weeping bitter to leave 

old Killaiden behind ! 

[47: 



EVELEEN BURKE 

Mo creevin! they say that you never got loving 

that land far away 
That your heart ever yearned for Desmond, 

and there to the last it would stay, 
That your eyes would grow dim with the longing, 

and blushes would come as of yore, 
And the voice and the lips of you quiver at 

mention of old Carron-More! 

One day came the thing that I dreaded a 

message to say you were dead ! 
The mountains were rocking around me the 

skies black as Judgment o'erhead ! 
And I that was best in the hurling, and first at 

the dance and the fair, 
Got withered and old like a dry branch that 

creaks in the cold winter air! 

In Desmond are many young maidens as sweet 

as the white ceann-a-bhan, 
But I watch for the hour when the Pikemen 

shall muster on gray Sliabh-na-mhan! 
Then little I'll brood o'er my sorrow, enthralled 

by the Hope and the Work, 
When the long blades go surging to Freedom 

and Death leads to Eveleen Burke! 



[48] 



TIPPERARY 

(If William Butler Yeats were requested to write a poem about 
Tipperary this is how he would go about it:) 



we rode from the plains of the sea's edge; 
the sea's edge barren and gray, 
On the foam-breasted horses of Mananan, 

under the slumbering trees; 
We were searching for old Tipperary, so far in 

the distance away; 

We were seeking the graves of the Red Branch, 
and rest from the moan of the seas ! 

The pearl-pale Niamh rode by us, more white 

than the waters are white; 
Her eyes were all clouded with sorrow, as the 

new-lit fire shadows the skies, 
And she said : " Shall we meet them, our comrades, 

the Finian heroes, to-night, 
Where the highlands of gray Tipperary, wind- 
blanched and lonely, arise?" 

And she cried: "Lo, I see in the distance the 

starry-edged rims of the hills, 
Slieve-na-mon, Galtymore, are unfolding to 

welcome us home from afar! 
O this is indeed Tipperary, aye wafting her soul- 

swooning thrills. 

Hark! the bugle of Fin on her mountains makes 
tremble the ultimate star!" 

[49] 



TIPPERARY 

Then Ossian came there to meet us gold- 
sandaled and silent he came, 
And he swayed in our faces the Bell Branch, 

slow-dropping a sound in faint streams 
Softer than snowflakes in April, and piercing the 

marrow like flame! 

And we slept in thy breast, Tipperary, while 
centuries vanished in dreams! 



WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS 

IT E mused upon a fitful Danaan rhyme 
All evening, leaning by an Ogham stone, 
Tracing its mystic rune that told of days 
Ere Firbolg or Fomorian walked the land; 
For in his soul weird whisperings he heard : 
The wild wind keening through an ancient tower, 
The rustling reeds on lone Coolaney's strand. 
The curlew's mournful call on Devenish shore, 
The sobbing of the music of the Sidhe 
In their enchanted raths! 

The moon arose 

Like a dim wraith, above a bastion black 
Of sombre cloud. And then unto him came 
His friends beloved, Fin, with all his troop; 
And ruddy Oscar, eager for the chase; 
And Ossian, fingering a fairy harp; 
And fierce Cuchulain, in his battle car, 
Gloomy as midnight; pearl-pale Niam, too, 
And Deirdre of the Sorrows ! 

All did pour 

From their deep eyes into the poet's soul. 
The ever-brooding sadness of the Past, 
The wistfulness of long-remembered dreams 
Then Ossian gave his harp and bade him sing. 



RATHLIN ISLAND 



Tw, 



evening when our ship passed Rathlin's 
shore. 

And, like some isle enchanted of the Sidhe, 
Her mighty cliffs o'erhung the darkening wave, 
Heavy with mystery. There was no sound 
In all that ghostly place; but solemn fires 
Like those erewhile unto the sun-god lit 
In pagan Erin burned and marked the spot 
Where kelp was stored. 

The sun went slowly down, 

Like Fin's broad burnisht shield, into the west, 
And Druid shadows draped the mournful night! 

To-night I think of Rathlin, in the north, 
Framed in the thunder of her gloomy seas, 
While war's dread pall descends. 

No fire-light gleams, 
And but the silent stars eternal glow, 
Where Britain shuts her gates against the world! 



MOONDHARRIG BY THE SUIR 

J-/ONELY 'tis to me by the Avondhu and Lee; 
Dull the hours I travel by the Shannon's waters 

pure, 

The days are slow to come, 
And I longing to be home, 

In the County of Kilkenny in Moondharrig by 
the Suir. 

Ormonde glens are fair, and the green fields of 

Kildare; 
Beauteous is Wicklow, while her mighty hills 

endure; 

To me more pleasing far 
The fairy meadows are 

And gentle streams that sparkle, in Moondharrig 
by the Suir! 

Pleasant there is spring, when the feathered 

warblers sing, 
And over many a mossy bank pale primroses allure, 

When the cuckoo's voice is heard, 

And the soul of man is stirred 
To worship his Creator, in Moondharrig by the Suir! 

Glad is summer time, when the clover and the 

thyme 
Breathe a breath of Eden that a broken heart 

would cure; 

[53: 



MOONDHARRIG BY THE SUIR 

When a haunting, dreamy haze 
Crowns the glory of the days; 
And through "Tir-na-n-og" we wander, in Moon- 
dharrig by the Suir! 

Sweet is autumn there, in the mellow golden 

air, 
When the grain is yellow, and the fruits of earth 

mature; 

When from the haunted mounds 
The "Keol-Shee" resounds, 

Beneath the moon of harvest, in Moondharrig by 
the Suir! 

Mild the winter blows, when the silent-falling 

snows 
Clothe the glittering landscape in a vesture bright 

and pure; 

From every mountain-pass 
Come the joyous folk to Mass, 
When Christmas bells are ringing, in Moondharrig 
by the Suir! 

Dear to me the friends, where my own loved river 

wends; 
Precious all the manly hearts that hold her fame 

secure 

O'er many a stubborn field 
That Gaelic slogan pealed: 

"Make way for old Kilkenny! 'tis Moondharrig 
by the Suir!" 

[54] 



MOONDHARRIG BY THE SUIR 

Wirrasthrue this tide! that in Breffny I must bide, 
Piping to the dancers from Sleedhu to Gortna- 

lure! 

While home this Christmas Day 
The loving neighbors say: 

"God guard old Shaun the Piper!" in Moon- 
dharrig by the Suir! 



ess: 



ORANGE AND GREEN 

1 WALKED out in the fields to-day 

(It is the most delightful season of the year). 

White clouds were sailing over a blue sky. 

Apple and cherry trees blossomed. 

Bobolinks clinked like silver bells; 

The new-born leaves, 

Delicately verdant, 

Interspersed the dark firs 

Like a translucent emerald mist. 

Or some filmy priceless tapestry. 

I thought it needed but a ruined Greek temple 

Of richly stained marble 

Jeweling the far landscape 

To make it seem like an enchanted vale 

Of Tempe or Arcady or Thessaly! 

Over the meadows around 

The dandelions grew lush among the grass 

Orange and Green! Orange and Green! 

Never were two more beautiful colors 

Never were two colors that blent so gaily! 

I thought the sunset skies 

Could not afford such contrast. 

I thought with sadness : 
In a short time the gold shall go 
And the green remain alone; 
Why can they not agree 

[56] 



ORANGE AND GREEN 

And flourish thus forever together ? 
But Nature said : 
" I am an old and wise mother 
And know what is good for my children. 
It is well they should blossom side by side 
In love and in friendship, 
Then blend all together in one 
Into the green of the fields, 
Under the blue of the heavens." 

How glorious they are! 

How tender they are ! 

Orange and Green! Orange and Green! 



[57] 



THE DAY OF THE " LITTLE 
PEOPLES" 

X HE banded races muster 

To join the fray afar, 
The souls of men are shaken, 

The skies are red with war; 
Thrones totter, tyrants tremble, 

The People's might is shown 
When myriad wrongs are righted 

Shall Ireland weep alone? 

These are the slogans shouted, 

These are the cries to-day: 
"Freedom for 'Little Peoples/ 

Tyranny swept away." 
"Freedom for Serb and Belgian, 
Freedom for Slav and Pole"; 
When all have gained their guerdon 
Shall Ireland miss the goal? 

Shall Ireland, who has striven 

Thro' years of woe and pain, 
Lifting to darkened heaven 

Her tortured eyes in vain 
She who in largesse prided, 

Whose kings were great of yore, 
A beggar stand derided 

At England's bolted door? 

[58] 



THE DAY OF THE "LITTLE PEOPLES" 

Then wake ye, Sons of Ireland! 

Demand your rights as men, 
She, too, is a "Little Nation," 

Thunder the fact again ! 
Canada and Australia 

Join in the mighty plea: 
"Ireland, within the Empire 

Self-ruled, self-guarded, free!" 



[593 



THE ANCIENT CELTIC GLAMOUR 



THE VIKINGS 

1. HEY sailed from out the hidden fiord 

When night-shades hovered dim, 
The sea-wind shook them in its might, 
And stretched their crackling pennants tight, 
And on their prows the Northern Light 
Flamed fitfully and grim! 

They swept from out the sheltered fiord 
And strange, wild vows, they made, 

To Freyja of the golden hair, 

And Odin in his heavens, where 

With Aesir he doth feast prepare 
For heroes unafraid. 

They called upon the Valkyries 

The Choosers of the Slain, 
And prayed for hearts 'gainst panic steeled, 
And souls that would not quail or yield, 
When Death strode o'^r the furrowed field, 

And blood bedewed the plain. 

Their long-ships spurned the ocean wave 

From North Cape's buttress tall, 
To Faroe's stark and savage shore 
And Iceland's firths oft-viewed before, 
And Erin's coasts where mad seas roar, 
Lashing the black cliff-wall. 

[63] 



THE VIKINGS 

All night like hungry hunting wolves 
The winds howled in the stays, 

And giant forms of fear and dread, 

And faces of their foes long dead 

Gleamed in the deep sea-troughs ahead 
Enwreathed in ghostly sprays. 

High o'er the evil-brooding shrouds, 

The shivering watch saw clear 
The Norns that shuttled webs of doom; 
And their own fylgjar in the gloom 
Gray with the mildew of the tomb, 

Filled them with nameless fear! 

All day the boisterous billows tossed, 

The drunken spars rolled free, 
And the weird dragons at the prow 
Glared up into the welkin now, 
Then with a wild fantastic bow 

Plunged down into the sea! 

The threatening clouds hung black and vast 

Across the waste close-drawn; 
By wind and rain and sleetstorm lashed, 
Into the green the slant bows crashed, 
As the huge oak-ribbed galleys dashed 

West through the mist-veiled dawn. 

The storm-birds whirled round about 

With raucous cries and shrieks; 
Their red-rimmed eyes of cruel gray 



THE VIKINGS 

Were like the Vikings' eyes that day, 
When straight into an English bay, 
They swung their galleys' peaks! 

And woe befell that English town 
When Hell broke loose around 
Its quiet streets and smoke and flame 
Enwrapt its roofs for Odin's name 
Gave sanction unto scenes of shame 
murderous deed and sound! 



The babes were tossed on Norman spears, 

The children hacked and slain; 
Nor youth, nor age exempted was, 
And the gray sire that wailed his loss 
They nailed upon a bloody cross, 
And left to writhe in pain. 

Then northward straight the Vikings sailed 

Rounding the Orkney Isles; 
And on a starry night and fine, 
They burned lona's sacred shrine, 
When the black seas, like Spanish wine, 

Shone redly tinged for miles! 

By Jura's shore and Colonsay 

They joined Earl Sigurd's fleet, 
And many a Viking chief was there, 
With stalwart form and ruddy hair, 
And arms and armor burnisht fair, 
Eager the foe to meet. 



THE VIKINGS 

For well 'twas known thro' all that host 

As skalds prophetic told, 
That Brian, Erin's King, should die, 
And all his Irish clansmen fly, 
If on Good Friday drawing nigh, 

They gave him battle bold. 

Part false, part true this augurs' tale 

That led them to their doom; 
As ringed with shields for ready war, 
They passed the Northern Channel's bar, 
Their long-ships sweeping proud and far, 
Making a wide sea-room. 

Swift course they laid for Dublin Bay 

And entered like a wedge, 
Solid and vast; a sight I ween 
That ne'er before the Isle of Green 
In all its troublous days had seen, 

Of direful strife the pledge! 

They landed where by Tolka's banks 

Clontarfs broad ridges swell, 
A fierce and glittering train to see 
With Raven banners billowing free, 
While Ocean, booming mournfully, 
Bade them a last farewell! 

King Sitrick's forces on the right 

In chain-mail gleaming far, 
And Sigurd, Earl of Orkney Isles, 
[66] 



THE VIKINGS 

And Anrud, lord of rough defiles, 
And Brodar of the treacherous wiles, 
Dared Erin's hosts to war. 

Nor long did Brian's hosts delay, 

That challenge to accept, 
For, like the thunder-clouds that go, 
With stately march o'er Aherlow, 
From Galty's heights portentous, slow, 

They to the onset swept! 

Murrough and Donal led them on 

(Chiefs of the house of Brian), 
Dalcassians and Eugenians brave, 
And Desmond's troops from Cleena's wave 
And Leinster's kerne, whose arrows drave 
Dense on the Danish line. 

Full thrice against the Viking left 
Tall Murrough hewed his way, 
Trampling upon the heathen crew, 
To where the Raven standard flew, 
And each time he the bearer slew 
Gleeful as if at play! 

And a note of death sang fierce and high 

Where Ireland's war-pipes blew, 
For as that Gaelic plaint did swell, 
The splintering axes rose and fell, 
Like Thor's great hammer, wielded well, 
Cleaving a dread road through! 



THE VIKINGS 

With ceaseless din the live-long day 

The battle raged amain, 
Till, as the sun dipped out of sight, 
The Cross of Christ showed forth its might, 
And the scared Vikings broke in flight 

On ClontarPs fated plain. 



Valhalla's halls can scarce contain 

The thronging warrior souls! 
Slow Tolka's stream is choked with dead, 
Ten thousand Scanian corpses spread 
Where on its marges, foaming red, 

The frightened ocean rolls! 
******* 

Gone are the Vikings from the wave, 

The boreal lights' weird glow 
On night-raid ne'er again shall dance, 
O'er brazen helm and glinting lance, 
While the grim dragons seaward prance 

And blood-red moons sink low! 

Gone are the Vikings from the seas, 

Their Raven flag unfurled 
Shall flaunt no more 'neath Northern skies, 
Where the dark island summits rise, 
Or southward swoop for prey or prize, 

And frighten half a world. 



THE VIKINGS 

Gone are the Vikings from the wave, 

But for their wild souls' rest 
The surges sullen and sad that go, 
Under thy wolf-tooth'd crags, Faroe, 
Still chant a requiem hoarse and low 
When night-clouds pall the west! 



[693 



CNOC-AN-AR 

(THE HILL OF SLAUGHTER) 

(A Pagan-Irish Dirge) 

JVlY hero lies wounded and dying, 'mid thou- 
sands on red Cnoc-an-ar, 

Where the hosts of the High King are charging 
the Finians in tumult of war, 

With Caoilte, and Diarmuid, and Oscar, he stood 
on the ridge of the slain, 

And the hosts of the High King broke past like 
the tide 'gainst a rock in the main. 

O, bright was his spear in the morning, and bur- 
nisht his great shield of brass, 

And pleasant his eyes that were blue as the hare- 
bell in dewy-wet grass; 

But his spear and his shield are now broken and 
crusted with carnage and gore, 

His eyes bloody-smeared shall flame out with the 
joy of the battle no more. 

The halls of the Finians shall ring with the glory 

and fame of this day, 
And the bards clash loud harps to the ranns, that 

the soul of proud Erin shall sway, 
And Caoilte, and Diarmuid, and Oscar shall stand 

up like gods, proud and tall, 
But the hero I weep will not hearken, tho' greater 

his glory than all. 



CNOC-AN-AR 

The Banshee is wailing o'er Desmond, I hear her 

wild caoine thro' the night, 
And o'er the lone home of my fathers there hovers 

a pallid death-light; 
I will raise him a cairn full kingly on the mournful 

mountains afar, 
And letter his praises in Ogham, my hero of dark 

Cnoc-An-Ar! 



[70 



THE THREE WAVES OF ERIN 1 

J. WAS Christmas of a year of omen great 
For that Green Isle so long to grief a prey, 
And deep I pondered on her misty past, 
Half waking and half sleeping, till at length 
I dreamt a dream in which I seemed to stand 
On regal Galty-Mhor, and a clear sun 
Shone dazzlingly o'er Eire's ancient land, 
Her beauties rare enhancing. Munster's vales 
Spread out beneath, and Leinster's pleasant shores 
And rugged Connaught frowning to the west, 
And Ulster northward in the cold, bright seas. 
And as I watched, a cloud of mystery, 
A druid haze enveloped hill and plain, 
Shrouding the view. And from the air around 
Three mighty Voices of the olden seas 
The Three Great Waves of Erin sang aloud, 
(With Cliodhna thundering deepest). 

This their song: 

We are the Waves of Erin, 

The Three strong Waves that roar, 
Since time began, and the race of man, 

First viewed her bastioned shore. 

1 The three mystical Waves of Erin, mentioned often in the old 
Irish manuscripts, are Tonn Cliodhna, or the Wave of Cleena, on 
the south coast, near Clonakilty Bay; Tonn Tuaghe, on the north 
coast, near the mouth of the Bann; and Tonn Ruadri, or the Wave 
of Rury, on the east coast, around the Bay of Dundrum. 



THE THREE WAVES OF ERIN 

We are the Waves of Erin, 

And hold inviolate 
The secret Word that then we heard 

From our Creator great. 

We are the Waves of Erin, 

In patience waiting long, 
Thro' myriad years dark-fraught with fears, 

To chant our triumph song: 

TONN CLIODHNA (THE WAVE OF CLEENA) 
SINGS ALONE: 

I saw the ships of Miledh 

Round up from golden Spain, 
Thro' the deep mist the Danaan made 
The secret for their Isle to shade 
In vain ! for soon from wold and glade 
Wild War yelled out amain! 

I saw the clans of Connacht 

And fleets of Granuaile 
Sail down from out the stormy West; 
Seeking the foe with savage zest, 
They churned the fretful seas to yeast, 

And scorned the rising gale! 

I heard the wails of sorrow 
When the great Earls passed. 

I saw rich Spain's armada tossed 

As jetsam on an iron coast, 

Huge hulls that oft the Atlantic crossed 
High 'gainst the heavens cast! 

[73] 



THE THREE WAVES OF ERIN 

(TONN RUADRI) THE WAVE OF RURY 
SINGS ALONE: 

When Patrick came to Erin 

Bearing a message blest, 
I sang him in the night to sleep, 
And calmed the ocean's fevered leap, 
Sounding to him a welcome deep, 

Who came to save the West. 

I saw the mail-clad Norman 

By false MacMurrough led, 
When Strongbow and De Pendergast 
Of stature tall and body vast 
Began the strife so long to last, 
While Erin groaned and bled. 

TONN TUAGHE (THE WAVE OF TUGA) 
SINGS ALONE: 

The Viking ships came hurrying 

(O, many a year ago!) 
From Faroe and the Orkneys bound, 
And distant Hecla's fire-clad mound, 
And Norway's fiords and Denmark's Sound, 

A fierce and warlike show! 

O gay, their crackling pennants! 

And white their sails did shine! 
And all the long fair summer's day 
Their fore-feet spurned the creaming spray 

[74] 



THE THREE WAVES OF ERIN 

As southward swooped they on their prey; 
Earl Sigurd's ships of line. 

Their gods were Thor and Odin, 

And plunder was their trade; 
And on their weird carved beaks at night 
The Boreal flame threw ghastly light, 
But to their last and greatest fight 

The Danes pressed unafraid! 

Three days I viewed them passing, 

And then the ocean's plain, 
Full many a year rolled dark and lone, 
The Valkyries had claimed their own! 
A thousand Viking Chiefs lay prone 

On Clontarf's field of slain! 

THE THREE WAVES SING TOGETHER: 

We are the Waves of Erin, 

Hearken our song at last! 
For the long night of pain is done, 
The heights are gained, the goal is won, 
Lo, in the east the rising sun! 

Our weary watch is passed. 

No more shall wars waste Erin, 

Or Strife or Hatred rave; 
But Peace brood there with wings outspread 
And her green vales shall freemen tread, 
And Fame encrown her martyred Dead, 

And Emmet's nameless grave! 

[75] 



THE THREE WAVES OF ERIN 

Her ships shall plough the Ocean 

Once more a joy to see; 
And in each rich and balmy dale, 
Shall prosper the contented Gael, 
And Christian joy and hope prevail, 

Thro' glorious years to be! 

The three great Voices ceased. A dimness fell 
Over the land, and shadowy figures loomed. 
The olden gods swept by in dread array; 
Angus, The Dagda, Mananan Mac Lir, 
Nuadha, Bres, and Balor Evil-Eyed, 
Their foreheads clad in clouds, and with them went 
Their ancient peoples, murmurous like the sea, 
Firbolg and Fomor, and the Danaan race 
Deep-skilled in magic! Next there came a train 
Of goodly heroes of the famed Red Branch; 
Fergus and Ferdiah, and Naesi's Sons, 
And Conall Cearnach of The Crimson Rout, 
And Conor, son of Nessa. Last of these 
Murhevna's pride, in form and face superb, 
Cuchulain strode, and struck his clanging shield 
Eager for battle. Close behind him marched 
The Finian ranks, with brazen helm and spear, 
And Finn in front with all his noble tribe 
Ossian and Oscar, Conn of the Hundred Fights, 
And Dhiarmuid Son of Duibhne! 

These passed away 

Into the mist, and with them disappeared 
All Pagan pride and pomp! 

Then far away 

76] 



THE THREE WAVES OF ERIN 

On a long hill, all in a globe of light, 

Like the low sun, I saw a little Babe 

Laid in a Manger, and a lustre grew 

Intense about Him, till the distant hills 

Leaped into view! Whereat the Christ-Child 

smiled 

And with a tiny Hand in blessing raised 
Scattered the mists, and made the Isle His own. 



[77] 



THE HILL OF ALLEN 

("The wine cup is circling in Almhuin's high hall." THOMAS 

>ORK.1 



\ I 

MOORE.) 



I 



SAID I will arise and wander forth 
High Almhuin's Hill to see, of Leinster wide 
The glory and the crown for I had read 
In many a wild and strange old bardic tale 
How on that hill great Finn his palace built, 
And all the heroes of his order famed 
Had lived and feasted there Ossian the bard 
And Caoilte and Conawn, and Goll the Red, 
And Diarmhuid, son of Doon, and Oscar brave 
And so I traveled far a lonely road 
Until I saw a mountain rise in air, 
Through trailing Druid mists. I clambered up 
Through reeds and withered grasses that sang out 
A haunting chorus in the querulous wind. 

A low, red sun hung sadly in the west, 
And shadows filled the valleys when I paused 
On Allen's summit. Lone and bare it was, 
And only gorse and heather flowered there 
Where flowered once proud Erin's chivalry! 
No mound arose to mark the place where stood 
The banquet hall where once the foaming mead 
Went round, and wondrous tales of war and chase 
Were chanted by the Bards to silvern harps, 
While Finn presided, giving gracious praise, 

[78] 



THE HILL OF ALLEN 

And Ossian sat and mused of Tir-na-n-og 
(A faery land he once had visited), 
And Oscar dreamt of hunting the wild boar, 
And Goll of bloody fields whereon he strode, 
Breaking the ridge of battle! 

Down below, 

And all about, stretched out an endless plain 
Of brown morass studded with silver pools. 
With here and there a patch of vivid green. 
All waste it was and empty sad as death 
No human habitation showed in sight, 
And ever and anon a curlew's cry 
The voice of desolation pierced the air, 
Re-echoing in my soul! 

Ah, nevermore 

Those ancient scenes that languish after them 
Shall hear the heroes' laughter, or the sound 
Of the Dord Fian (the hunting-horn of Finn). 
Or see again the beauty and the grace 
Of Diarmhuid and of Oscar ! Long I stood 
On Allen desolate till darkness fell 
And in the moaning winds I seemed to hear 
The baying of Finn's hounds, Skolawn and Bran. 
And swift Lomair: and mighty [sh apes thronged 

round 

Spear-armed for the chase! Then rose the moon 
Large, broad, and round, like Finn's emblazoned 

shield, 

Wheeling its mournful course across the sky, 
And through the mists an hundred little lakes 
Flamed up like crucibles of molten gold ! 

[79] 



THE CELTIC GODS 

(Time A.D. 1014. McLiag, King Brian's bard sings.) 

JL HE pagan gods are gone in Erin now 
Reigns the sweet, gentle Son Who died for man. 

The old war-burdened lays 

Give place to hymns of praise; 
The psaltery of Christ drowns out the Druid rann. 

Midhir and Lugh are shadows of the hills; 
Grey Mananan has stalled his demon steeds. 

Young Angus and Etain 

Long in the mould have lain, 
And Aoivell in the grave no mortal whisper heeds! 

The Celtic gods have passed; they could not brook 
The puny wights that now men heroes call. 

They missed lost Caoilte's grace, 

Cuhoolin's mournful face, 
And Fergus in his car, fierce trampling over all! 

Deep in their caves of gold, the Fairy Race, 
The wise De Danaan, wait the Judgment Day. 

Then shall they call on Him, 

Who made their glories dim, 
That He restore their heaven, for pride once 
snatched away. 

[803 



THE CELTIC GODS 

Balor and Bres are doomed; they walk no more 
On Almhuin or on purple Slieve-na-mon; 

The Viking hosts are flown 

From Toohmoon and Idrone, 
For Odin follows fast where all the gods have 
gone! 



[81] 



WHEN CONOR IN EMANIA REIGNED 

W HEN Conor in Emania reigned 

Fair was the land to view; 
The pictured sheen of Ulla's green 

Flashed from her lakes of blue. 
When shall the Bard, contemned, ill-starred, 

Such splendors know again? 
The sad winds rave o'er Conor's grave 

And mute his Harper's strain. 

When Conor in Emania reigned, 

Swift armies of the Sidbe, 
Rode on the wind, the host behind, 

His dread allies to be; 
A thousand elfin trumpets sang 

His worth and kingly fame; 
A thousand vibrant clairseacbs rang 

The glories of his name. 

When Conor in Emania ruled, 

The radiant crown he wore, 
Rich guerdon from the friendly sprites, 

A fairy maiden bore; 
And eke a shimmering Sword of Light 

No foeman could defy, 
When Conor lived the world was bright 

Alas! the King should die! 

[82] 



OSSIANIC 

JL HE Raven of Corran croaks hoarse o'er the 

desolate plain, 

Croaks loud o'er the Finian hosts that at Gabra 
were slain! 

The waves of the haven of Rinn-da-bharc roar 

on the strand, 
But ne'er shall they wash out the crimson of blood 

from our land ! 

The oak-woods of wild Giend avail, in pain quiver 
and toss, 

But the hunters will ne'er shout again unre- 
deemed is our loss! 

No more shall the pleasant Dord-Fiann, Finn's 

bugle be heard, 
When with baying of hounds Slieve-na-mon's 

mighty forests were stirred. 

All sudden o'er Leiter's dark lake does the hunt- 
ing moon rise, 

But fearful its look of red fire like a lost demon's 
eyes! 

The rustling of reeds where the sere marshes lean 

toward Rath-Gree 
Is wild with the sorrow of Earth and the grief of 

the sea! 

[83] 



OSSIANIC 

Oh, why should I, Ossian, be living and these to 

be gone: 
Great Caoiltya, and Oscar and Goll, mighty 

Finn and Conawn! 

Come, Death, come and lead me, I wait without 

shrinking or dread 
We will go with the fast-dying sun to the Isles of 

the Dead ! 



[84] 



THORSTEIN THE BRAVE 

(The incident on which the following poem is founded, is narrated 
in the Icelandic Saga of Burnt Njal.) 

WHEN Brian of the Dalagais 

On Clontarf's crimson plain, 
Let loose his Celtic chivalry; 
And his Dalcassians, dread to see, 
With broadswords cleaving murderously, 

Fell on the frightened Dane; 

Mad panic struck the Viking ranks, 

And all their mighty host 
Staggered and swayed in terror dire, 
Like forests filled with ravening fire, 
And all broke seaward, son and sire, 

To where their galleys tossed. 

But when, like billows bursting bounds, 

Swept on the Irish charge, 
Thorstein, the fearless son of Hall, 
Disdained to fly, and fronting all 
King Brian's troops a rushing wall 

Knelt on the ocean's marge! 

He knelt and tied his buskin-string, 

As one whose spirit free, 
Being made of more than mortal mould, 
No fear could conquer, or strike cold, 
And on the foe his glances bold, 

Glittered full scornfully. 



THORSTEIN THE BRAVE 

To whom spoke Kerthial, Thomond's chief, 

With dripping axe in hand: 
"How now, oh Dane? and wilt not run 
When all thy friends the conflict shun, 
Like mists that fly the morning sun ? 

Why singly hold the strand ? " 

And answered Thorstein, mockingly, 

With smile as when the day, 
One moment in a wintry gleam, 
Floods Iceland's frozen plains that seem 
Like seas of glass in evil dream 

One flash then all is gray : 

"Why should I run, oh chieftain brave? 

My home lies far away, 
Deep in the fog-shrouds of the north 
Where red volcanoes shake the earth 
My speed would be of little worth. 

I can't get there to-day! 

"The long day sleeps on the Polar seas, 

And the long, long night will gloom, 
And weary of endless day and night, 
I welcome death in the open fight, 
Bold foeman, strike my heart leaps light 
To meet a warrior's doom!" 

Then Kerthial's iron face relaxed, 

And his Irish eyes grew soft, 
As when on the heights of Galtee More, 
[86] 



THORSTEIN THE BRAVE 

The spring snows melt, and the torrents roar, 
And mild-eyed daisies cling all o'er, 
The sun-crowned slopes aloft. 

He reached a hand to the kneeling Dane, 

And raised him to his side, 
Then spoke: "On many a field I've stood 
And felt the terrors of battle brood 
But, by St. Bride and the Holy Rood, 

I clasp your hand with pride! 

"For I hold him more than warrior 

Who stands up, scorning all, 
When his comrades fly in panic dread 
And earth is rocking beneath his tread 
Your life I spare, and bare my head, 

To Thorstein, son of Hall!" 

Then hand in hand to the Irish camp 

The two great heroes went; 
And Thorstein tarried in Erin's land 
First chief in Kerthial's own command 
Christ's yoke he took, and the fierce gods banned 

For whom his youth was spent ! 

Honors and high renown were his, 

And when he died, a moan 
Went up from circling shore to shore, 
And on men's souls fell a burden sore, 
For Death was lord of the world once more 
When Thorstein's soul had flown! 



PRINCE MURROUGH AT CLONTARF 

A FRAGMENT 

J. HEN the Irish Chieftain, Murrough, 

Viewing with half-shut eyes, 
That blinding shimmer of Danish mail, 
Bade all his pipers skirl and wail, 
And rouse the saffron-girded Gael 

To deeds of great emprise. 

And first into the combat, he 

Swung his huge axe on high; 
And as the din of war did swell, 
His blows of death resistless fell, 
And many a Viking's parting yell 

Rose to the ruthless sky. 

Heimdal of Atlan first he slew, 

And Starkad of the Yews; 
And Vidar of the golden locks, 
And Eyjwolf of the castled rocks, 
And Loki of the battle-shocks, 

And Gymir of the Meuse. 

And Thangbrand, out of Helsingford, 
Who burned the Virgin's shrine; 

And Hrapp, that pillaged Wexford town, 

And Beld, a Baresark of renown, 

And Thorkell, of the evil frown, 
He split from crown to chine. 
[88] 



PRINCE MURROUGH AT CLONTARF 

Out to the Raven Standard's foot 

He cleft a gory lane; 
And as the flag of Odin fell, 
Rose up an agonizing yell 
From the lost Danes like souls in hell 

That drink the dregs of pain. 

Then Murrough raised the Strong Hand Cry, 

The call of his ancient line; 
And left and right, and all about, 
Answered his clansmen's rending shout, 
As roaring over the Norseman's rout, 

Thundered the troops of Brian! 



[89] 



ANCIENT IRISH WAR SONG 

(Air, The Minstrel Boy) 



JSE, men of Erin, grasp the sword 

And burst upon the foeman, 
Our war-cries oft these hills have stirred 

And now we'll crouch to no man! 
The chariots and the chargers bring 

That oft to victory bore us 
Our blows upon their mail shall ring 

While floats the Sun-burst o'er us. 

On many a crimsoned field of yore 

Our Gaelic slogan thundered, 
As on their wavering van we bore 

And broke their ranks all sundered! 
By Cleena's Wave and Desmond's plain 

And Shannon's surging water 
Their pirate blood left many a stain, 

Rolled back in waves of slaughter! 

With Dathi brave, our fathers swept 

O'er foreign lands victorious, 
The Gaul and haughty Roman wept 

To view their standards glorious! 
Rise sons of sires renowned as they 

Add lustre to their story, 
We'll conquer in the fight to-day 

Or die for Erin's glory! 

[90] 



BATTLE OF GABHRA AND DEATH 
OF OSGAR 

JjUT now the hovering shadows settled down, 
The glory-torches of the Fianna 
Flickered in smoke obscure, the end was nigh, 
Nor could a desperate valor Vert the doom 
The fates had ordered. 

Gabhra's dreadful day 

Raced through the imminent future like some orb 
Of deadliest menace thro' the fields of space. 

On the high hill of Teamhair, the Ard-Righ, 

Wearied of tithe and tribute, took resolve 

To break the Finian power and destroy, 

By might of arms their Order that so long 

Had mocked his sceptre. Swift command he gave, 

And gathered round his hall an armament 

Of all the men of Erin, and his plans 

Unfolded to their kings. Then word he sent 

To comely Osgar, asking would he come 

Unto a feast of welcome to be held 

At Royal Teamhair. And because he feared 

No living man, the valiant Osgar came 

With scarce three hundred of his body-guard 

To bear him company. Now as they passed 

By a lone ford, a woman of the "Sidhe" 

Was washing clothes that bloodied all the stream! 



BATTLE OF GABHRA, DEATH OF OSGAR 

And Osgar: "Red your washing, dread your 

task 

Washing red garments for the gory dead!" 
And answer made the woman of "Sidhe:" 
"Haughty your head, but soon shall ravens 

croak 
(When the fierce fight is done), above your corse." 

On fared the Finians then and never stopped 
Till Teamhair opened them her massive gates, 
And welcome good was theirs, and lordly feast 
Till three days passed, but then the King in pride 
Demanded Osgar's spear, which he refused, 
Whereat the King was wroth and threatened him, 
And words grew hot and angry 'twixt the twain, 
Till Osgar rose and in high dudgeon left 
The kingly halls, and journeyed back to Finn. 

Nor long was he arrived when message came 
From the Ard-Righ that now no longer he 
Would tribute pay to Finn, or recognize 
The Finian power thenceforward in the land. 
Then Finn sent challenge back, and mustering 
His swift battalions, marched to meet the foe. 

Now fails my pen to tell of Gabhra's Field, 
That hell of slaughter where red ravens croaked 
O'er mangled corses. Fearful was the clash 
Of shield 'gainst shield, the brandishing of 

swords 
The serpent hissing of ten thousand spears 



BATTLE OF GABHRA, DEATH OF OSGAR 

Hurtled thro' air. For every man with Finn 
Full twenty fought with Ireland's monarch there, 
Mighty the feats performed, and ne'er before 
Raged such a battle on the Irish soil 
Nor ever shall again! 'Twere hard to tell 
What slaughter Osgar made. By him there fell 
Five twenties from the Country of the Snow; 
Four hundred from the Country of the Lion! 
Of the Green Swords fell seven times twenty there! 
And five score of the sons of warlike Kings ! 
Right weak was he with wounding when he spied 
The great Ard-Righ before him, yet he rushed 
Like raging billow on his foe, who wheeled, 
And hurled a greedy spear that through and 

through 

Pierced Osgar's bosom, bringing him to knee. 
Yet as he knelt he cast his fatal lance 
That pierced the High King's brain and gave him 

death. 

Then in a faintness Osgar low reclined; 
The battle ceased, for few were left to fight, 
And the spent Finians raised a mournful "keen." 
And Caoilte came and asked, "Oh darling heart, 
How fares it with you now?" And Osgar said: 
"I only die as you would have me die!" 
Then lifting him upon their ample shields, 
Caoilte and Oisin took the wounded man, 
And brought him to a round and verdant hill, 
To strip his armor. Scarce a hand's breadth space 
Of his white body was without its wound, 
And the sad Finians wailed for Osgar brave, 

[93] 



BATTLE OF GABHRA, DEATH OF OSGAR 

Cursing the day; till far across the plain 

Finn's banner flashed and Finn came silent there, 

Whom Osgar saw and made salute, and said: 

"Oh! mighty Finn, I hold my wish in death." 

And Finn cried out, "Oh, would that I were there 

To fall in Osgar's place, black grief is mine!" 

Then Osgar, to assuage their bitter woe 

Spoke words he meant not, and 'tis what he said: 

"Indeed, oh Finn, if you were dead to-day 

No one would hear me keening, for no man 

Ever found any heart in me at all, 

But heart of twisted horn with iron bound. 

And that which vexes me full sore is this: 

The howling of the dogs around me here, 

The keening cries of tough old fighting-men 

And wailing of the women, one by one!" 

Then Finn made moan : " Oh, child of my own child, 

Slender and white, my sorrow 'tis that thou 

Art stricken low! My heart is starting now 

Like hunted deer! Oh, weak am I and sad 

For thee, and for our vanquished heroes all, 

For glory of the Finians passed away 

Like mists of morning. Farewell all renown, 

And farewell feasting now, and war and spoils, 

For every happiness was ever mine 

Has left my hands I grasp at empty air, 

My life is void." 

Then Osgar, as he heard 

These hopeless words, stretched out his wounded 
hands, 

C94: 



BATTLE OF GABHRA, DEATH OF OSGAR 

Closed his gray eyes, and died. And Finn went 

off 

Some distance from the rest and wept aloud, 
And the few Finians left gave three great cries 
Of haunting sorrow on the lonely hill! 



[95: 



THE DEATH OF GOLL, THE SON 
OF MORNA 

JL WAS in the waning of the Fenian power 
And enmities arose 'twixt Goll and Finn, 
Till one day Cairell, son of Finn, met death 
From Goll beside the cold, ensanguined sea. 
And Finn, when that he saw his comely son 
Lie dead and gray and like a blighted branch, 
Grew white with sudden anger, and resolved 
He would have life for life. 

But Goll went off 

Where a great cliff stretched out into the sea 
And in a cave abode; and Finn brought here 
A mighty host to guard the place around 
Lest he escape. Now Goll, because he knew 
His doom was sealed, lay on the shingly beach 
To wait for death; and he would not allow 
Or food or drink to pass his parched lips, 
And the sea-sand blew in his tortured eyes. 
And from the cliff his wife called down to him: 
"Oh, husband mine, a pity 'tis that thou 
Shouldst wait for death upon the salty rocks 
Beside the pitiless sea so come to me 
And I will nourish you to strength again, 
For I am sick at heart to see you lie 
Your gold hair crusted with the bitter spray." 
But all her cries were vain, he would not stir, 
And thus he spoke, in kindly tone withal: 

[96] 



THE DEATH OF GOLL 

"Oh sweet- voiced queen, 'tis better I should die; 

I never took advice of woman yet, 

To east or west, nor ever will I take; 

And do not you be fretting after me, 

Oh, queen of the white hands, remember all 

My gifts that make you rich, and when I die 

Take Aodh fbr husband who came out of Spain, 

The son of the best woman in the world; 

He loves you, and it is not well for you 

These troublous times to lack a husband's 

strength." 

He laid him down again upon the rocks 
And after twelve days died. 

And his good wife 

Keened there for long and made lament full sore 
For Goll, the son of Morna, whose great fame 
Filled all the land he was the best but one 
Of all the heroes in the host of Finn ! 



[97] 



OSSIAN TO ST. PATRICK 

PATRICK: 

Oh Ossian, son of Finn, though old and bent, 
Thou art not like my clerics, calm and mild. 
I fear me that thou dwellest in the past, 
And ponderest over fights, and gory fields 
Neglecting all thy prayers. 

Bethink thee well 
That thou art old and likely soon to die. 

OSSIAN: 

Oh Patrick, had you been with us to see 

The warriors of the Fianna lead the chase 

When the dun deer leaped swift thro' Glen-da- 

vaul, 

While baying hounds waked lonely Knoc-an-Ar 
Had'st heard the echoing horn upon Slieve Grot 
Or seen them plunge, spear-armed, in the woods 
Of Cliu-Mail, where the huge-branching trees 
Made gloom as of a cloudy winter's eve, 
And the wind's tumult mid the gnarled boughs 
Thrilled like the Ocean's voice when booming 

waves 

Burst in with thunder-shock at Bundatrore! 
Or had'st thou seen, oh Patrick, gentle saint, 
The Finians in furious battle-shock 
Shaking the desperate fields whose gory fame 
Rings o'er the ridges of the centuries : 

[98] 



OSSIAN TO ST. PATRICK 

Dubh-Cumair, Knucha, Moy-Muchrume the red, 
And Gabhra where their flaring glory-torch 
Plunged deep in blood, hissed out in rayless 

gloom 

Had'st thou, oh Patrick, seen such stirring things, 
Not all too calm would shine thy holy brow." 

PATRICK: 

Peace! peace! old, doting man, and think of Christ, 
Who answered not, nor spoke an angry word, 
When Jews and Romans nailed Him to a cross. 

OSSIAN: 

Oh! would that Finn were there all ready armed, 

With Oscar and Conawn, and close beside 

A thousand of the Fianna, they would sweep 

These cruel Jews, as roaring Assaroe 

Sweeps the dead leaves! 

PATRICK: 

Thy mind is all on strife, yet death is nigh, 
Think on thy sins and weep for them, for He, 
The loving Christ was sacrificed for sin. 

OSSIAN: 

Hard is the lessonj Patrick, Saint of God, 
That I must turn my mind away from Finn, 
From all his wars and all his hunting feats 
And weep my sins, in fasting and in prayer! 



[99] 



CREDA'S LAMENT FOR GAEL 

A HEN Creda, wife of Gael, came mourning 

there, 

And searching for the dead. And as she searched 
She saw a meadow crane defend its young 
Against a fox; and so she said with grief: 
"No wonder is it I am sad for Gael, 
Since the wild bird will sacrifice its life 
To save its loved ones." 

Then came Fergus there 

Called "of the True Lips," and she queried him, 
"What news of Gael?" and Fergus answered true: 
"The news I have of Gael is sad indeed; 
He died the last of all our men to-day. 
When all the fight was over he swam out 
Into the salty waves, although his wounds 
Were thick and deep, and sorely he had bled, 
And as the last man of the enemy, 
Finnachta Fiacloch, was leaping back 
Into his ship, he dragged him down to death 
In the cold sea." And by this time the waves 
Cast comely Gael upon the crimsoned shore, 
And all the searchers of the dead came there, 
And the sad Fianna gently raised him up, 
And Creda came and sang this mournful caoine: 
Cioo] 



CREDA'S LAMENT FOR GAEL 

"The harbor roars, the harbor roars in grief 
For drowning of the Hero of the Lake, 
The waves are keening wildly on the shore! 

"Full pitiful the singing of the thrush 

In Leiter Laeg and on the Pleasant Ridge, 

The blackbird mourns her nest all desolate! 

"On Drium-da-lis the deer are in distress, 
The mighty stag is calling on the doe, 
The doe that in Slieve-Silen stretches dead! 

"Full sorrowful to me the hero's death, 
The troubled sea is dashing on the beach 
And making heavy moan for mighty Gael! 

"Full many a king in battle fell by him, 

His shield ne'er trembled under rain of blows, 

But now his mighty arm is still and cold!" 

And having made lament, the anguished wife 
Fell dead of grief her husband's corse beside, 
And in the selfsame furrow both were laid. 
And Caoilte raised a stone above them there 
Graving their names in Ogam, and their tale 
Of warlike courage, and undying love! 



[101] 



CUCHULAIN COMING TO THE FORD 

.L/IKE a fierce god the young Cuhoolin came, 
His car of bronze swept on by furious steeds. 
Ruddy his cheeks; his hair was raven black, 
And, 'neath his brows, like sudden baleful fires, 
Dread eyes outgleamed. Strong spears stood by 
his side. 

His brazen belt supported a huge sword; 
Around his neck, that like a pillar rose, 
A torque of gold, against a saffron shawl, 
Blazed in the sunlight. Terrible to see 
Was the great Hound of Ulster, Erin's pride, 
Star of Emania; none might bar his path! 
Death rode before him in a whirling mist, 
And all men trembled when they saw him pass, 
Grinding the road to smoke beneath his wheels 
And furrowing the hills! 

Southward he sped 

His horses swooping like two raiding hawks 
From a tall cliff upon a stormy day; 
Or like the March wind over a smooth plain; 
Or like young stags first started by the hounds 
O'er their first field ! 

As if on flags of fire 
They spurned the earth that shook beneath their 

tread ! 

So came Cuhoolin to the Bloody Ford 
And faced the hosts of Connacht Maeve outspread 
Like a great sea with foamy banners flecked! 

[102] 



OSSIAN LAMENTS FOR TIR-NA-N'OG, 
THE LAND OF YOUTH 

1J.OW pale and wan the sun looks out above 

This world to which unwilling I returned! 

How dim and haggard gleams the moon at night 

Upon the mournful hills! Ah, different far 

The beauty and the glow of Tir-na-n'og, 

Where in the day an hundred golden suns 

Lit up the mellow skies and filled the vales 

With magic radiance; and in the night 

A thousand moons, as large as Oscar's shield, 

Flecked the deep vault like stars! 

The meadows there 

Were ever vernal, filled with honeyed flowers, 
Fragrant with musk and thyme and asphodel, 
And through the midst there wandered many a 

stream 

Making soft melody o'er colored sands, 
A music void of sadness! Mighty woods 
In which the breeze a sweet susurrus droned, 
And happy songsters fluted all the day, 
Stretched to the distant mountains, that in hues 
Like tinted ivory, flung back the light! 

In front a sea, of many changeful shades, 
Now gray with mist, now purple-hued and blue, 
Turquoise and sapphire, amber and red gold, 
Mirrored the skies; for never tempest came 

[ 103 ] 



OSSIAN LAMENTS FOR TIR-NA-N'OG 

To plough its surface; only gentle winds 
Played o'er its bosom, sending wavelets in 
To sport and chatter on the pebbled strand ! 

Why did I leave that bright and pleasant land 
For these gray cheerless shores? The warriors 

there 

Were young and tall and beautiful to see, 
And never could grow old or querulous, 
For to that isle no sadness ever came 
Or sob of earthly weeping, but the sounds 
That spoke of mirth and joy and innocence, 
Of hearts all free from earthly sin and care! 

What songs we sang unto the echoing groves! 

The blackbird piping sweet at Leiter Laeg, 

The golden-throated thrush in Glen-na-smole, 

Made not such jocund music, as we sang 

Our triumph over death and pain and woe, 

For none of these could ever enter in 

To Tir-na-n'og! The happiness and youth 

Of never-failing life, the wondrous joy 

Of growing things of plants and trees and 

flow'rs, 

And of the flocks that wandered 'mid the hills 
All, all of this we felt and understood ! 

Why did I leave that fair and blessed place, 
To face old age and palsied limbs and death, 
And dwell with grudging and ungentle folk ? 
If only Finn were living, all were well, 
[104] 



OSSIAN LAMENTS FOR TIR-NA-N'OG 

For he would clasp me to his mighty heart 
And call his hounds, and lead a glorious chase 
Once more through Glen-da-vall with Oscar 

there 

And Goll, and brave Conawn but they are dead, 
And I am left, a withered branch that shakes, 
Uncared, unsheltered, in the clamorous winds! 



THE DEATH OF CUCHULAIN 



now for he was spent with many wars 
Emer, Cuchulain's wife, the hero led 
To a deep Ulster glen, remote from men 
And from war's rumors. Fair the landscape was, 
With slumbrous, waving woods, and plashy brooks, 
And blossomed meadows. There the blackbird's 

song 

At morn and eve was heard, and the wild doe 
Played with her fawn along the shadowy glade; 
And on still nights chimed in the distant sea, 
Not mournfully, but as the far-off strains 
Of faery lullabies like magic harps 
That crooned sweet notes of drowsy rest and sleep, 
Of old, when the De Danaan banished pain 
After a bloody fight. 

His tent they set 

Beside a pleasant stream whose ferny marge 
Swelled soft and green, a rest for weary eyes; 
And there with all her household Emer hoped 
For quiet days, and nights from peril free 
While the great Hound of Ulster gathered strength 
To front his foes once more. But Connaught 

Maeve, 

The wily queen that ruled the rugged West, 
Enraged because Cuchulain had flung back 
Her mighty host, and all her scheming foiled, 
[106] 






THE DEATH OF CUCHULAIN 

Sought out his hiding place and rumors sowed 

Within his mind, by messengers disguised, 

How that red war had desolated all 

His land, Muirthemne; how his hall of fame 

Dundalgan, where his fathers dwelt of old, 

In ashes lay. The hero then began 

To fret his soul, desiring to depart 

To instant strife. But Emer and her maids 

Made shift to hold him, bidding him beware 

The false illusions of his enemies, 

And for a time they triumphed. Yet his sleep 

Was troubled with wild dreams in which he saw 

Long lines of fighting men who rushed at him 

Shouting fierce cries; and red-beaked birds of war 

Croaked round his head, and spears went hurtling by 

Like hail in winter! Then again he strove 

To leave the quiet glen grown hateful now, 

To his vexed mind: but Emer cried "My lord, 

Have patience till thy valiant friend arrives, 

The blazing torch of valor of the Gael 

Called Conall the Victorious. When he comes 

Let ye go forth together if alone 

Thou settest out, thou goest unto death; 

So have the Druids spoken, and the four 

Wise men that dwell at Saimer by the sea." 

II 

That night Cuchulain cried aloud in sleep, 
A mighty sea rose 'gainst him surge on surge, 
And with his sword he dreamt he fought the waves, 
The wild white steeds of Mananan. He woke 
[107] 



THE DEATH OF CUCHULAIN 

Weary and spent, and listening in the gloom, 

He heard a strange weird music wailing far, 

The faery harp of Mananan that called 

To strife and death. Sad Emer heard it too, 

And in her heart she owned her task in vain. 

So in the morning, Laeg the charioteer 

Yoked the two steeds far-famed thro* all the 

North 

To the scythed car. Then Emer and her maids 
Placed his sharp spears therein; his armor bright 
They buckled on, and put his deadly sword 
In his right hand. The champing steeds were loosed 
And like two hawks that on a windy day 
Swoop from the mountains, so across the plain 
They swept in thunder, and Cuchulain's heart 
Leaped high with joy the wine of battle filled 
His yearning soul! But as they passed the ford 
A woman of the Sidhe stooped by the wave 
Washing red clothes that bloodied all the stream! 
Then Laeg cried out "Oh, noble Hound, behold 
The fairy-woman, for a sign of death 
Is washing there these are your clothes that drip 
With mortal gore sweet master, let us back 
To Emer's side, nor tempt the chance of war 
And certain death forboded." Thus, in tears, 
The charioteer made plea. But Ulster's Hound 
Cuchulain spoke: "Fair fame outliveth life. 
Short life with honor crowned and valiant deeds 
Be mine, and not long life and cankering sloth; 
On to the battle then!" And southward swept 
The fiery steeds. As when o'er Sliabh-na-mban 
[108] 



THE DEATH OF CUCHULAIN 

The angry sun before a hurricane 

All baleful rises, glaring on the world, 

Thus o'er his shield Cuchulain's countenance 

Loomed dreadful, and the ".Hero-Light" shone out 

Above his head. 

So to his last great fight 

The matchless steeds Murhevna's Chieftain bore, 
While all beholding him, with terror quaked, 
Crying: "Beware, the Hound of Death is come." 

Ill 

All day the battle raged, and hundreds fell 
Beneath Cuchulain's blows. Wide lanes he cut 
Thro' the opposing ranks, till Maeve, the Queen, 
Wept bitter tears, and clenched her hands in fear 
To see her bravest champions thus laid low. 

At last, in direst need she had recourse 
Unto the sorcerers of the Danaan race, 
Bidding them fashion spears of magic power, 
Three spears of fatal cast; and these she gave 
To three of her best heroes. One she gave 
To Curoi, who was king of Munster wide, 
And one to Ere his son. The third great spear 
She gave to Luha of the Heavy Hand, 
Bidding him cast with all his strength and skill. 
Curoi cast first, and, going wide, the spear 
Pierced through the Gray of Macha. The brave 

steed 

Tottered, and groaning, fell. Ere cast the next 
Wounding Cuchulain lightly, and, beyond, 
[109] 



THE DEATH OF CUCHULAIN 

Pinning the charioteer. Cuchulain now 
Forgot his guard, and tried to pull the spear 
From Laeg's deep wound. 

Fierce Luha made his cast 
And pierced the Hound of Ulster through and 

through 

With deadly barb. Now great Cuchulain knew 
His death had come, and, rising in his seat, 
He tried to draw the spear-shaft from his breast, 
But tugged in vain. A silence fell around, 
And all men watched to see the hero die. 
The blows of battle ceased. 

There was, near by, 
A pillar stone set up in olden day, 
By the De Danaan or the wandering Pict, 
And runed with Ogham script. To this he came, 
Saying he would not lie before his foes 
Or cringe in death. He bound his girdle fast 
Around the stone, and underneath his arms, 
Placing his shield in front, and lifting high 
His bloody sword in air. And thus he stood 
The "Hero Light" a shimmer round his head, 
Pallid as when a winter sun goes down, 
Till the weird lustre slowly died away 
And the sword fell, as fell Cuchulain's head 
Upon his wounded breast! Thus nobly died 
Murhevna's Chieftain, glory of the Gael; 
And when he died, the Three Great Waves made 

moan 

Around the coast of Erin; while the Sidhe 
Woke with wild caoining all the mournful hills ! 
[no] 



THE COMING OF LUGH 



Yoi 



)UNG Lugh, Deliverer of the Danaan Race, 
For three times seven years remained away 
In Tir-na-n'og with Mananan MacLir, 
And happy was his stay. He raced the waves 
Along the level strand in boyish glee; 
He plucked enchanted apples, nectar-sweet 
From trees with scarlet blossoms. Wondrous 

birds 

With vari-colored breasts and golden wings 
Flew round about him. Gentle, milk-white deer 
From out the woods, and black-maned lions came 
To play with him, and strange beasts that none 

else 

Had ever seen all gamboled with the youth, 
So that the days passed swiftly. He forgot 
His home in Erin, and his people there, 
The Danaan Race, now prone beneath the heel 
Of the misshapen Fomor and their king 
Balor of the Evil Eye. At length one day 
When Lugh had grown to manhood, Mananan 
Bespoke him thus: " 'Tis now thrice seven years 
Since first I brought you here to Tir-na-n'og; 
No gift in all that time have you received, 
But now I bring you gifts. And then he gave 
The Sword of Light to Lugh, who when he took 
The Sword in hand, remembered how he had 
[in] 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

Long, long ago cried to the Irish hills : 

"Farewell, but some bright day I shall return." 

Then turning unto Mananan he spoke: 

"I must go back to Erin." Mananan 

Grew sad at this and muttered painfully: 

"O Lugh, and will you leave this fairy land 

Where sorrow never comes, nor age, nor death, 

And go to Erin where you will not find 

Or joy or feasting for the Fomor there 

Have shorn the Danaan of their olden power, 

Ogma their Champion they have made a slave, 

And Angus is an outcast. Nuadha, 

The king of all the Danaan, once so great, 

Now boasts one lonely dun in which his folk 

Hold secret meeting where they once were lords 

Of land and sea. Will you forsake me here 

And go to strangers?" Then made answer Lugh: 

"The mountains and the rivers and the woods 

Of Erin I remember, and if all 

My blood and kin were dead, and the high seas 

Had covered all but the bare mountain tops 

I would go there." Then Mananan replied: 

"You have the hardiness that triumph wins, 

And now I'll set you on my magic steed 

Leading a troop as valiant as yourself; 

My helmet I will place upon your head, 

And you shall wear my breast-plate. Soon indeed 

Like chaff before the winds ye shall expel 

The Fomor from fair Erin." 

Now when Lugh 
Put on the helmet, a great brightness shot 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

Into the sky, as if another sun 
Had risen. When the breast-plate covered him 
There swelled thro' all the land of Tir-na-n'og 
A mighty wave of music. When he leaped 
Upon the steed of Mananan, there rushed 
A great wind by him, and a gallant troop, 
Rode by his side. Their horses were like snow, 
And gladness that the years could not erase 
Beamed from their faces. Then they rode away 
Across the sea, and soon the Three Great Waves 
Of Erin welcomed them with thundrous voice: 
The Wave of Rury, and The Wave of Tuagh, 
And the long, foaming creast of Cliodhna's Wave. 

II 

No man of Erin saw the enchanted troop 

Coming to land; for where they went ashore 

A deep, dark wood of pine trees fringed the sea. 

Silent they rode between the tall straight trees 

Till in the forest's heart Lugh gave command : 

"Rest here till morning, I must go alone 

Unto the Dun of Nuadha the King 

For news of all my kinsfolk. He put off 

His shining armor, and put on a cloak 

Sombre and black. He then set out on foot 

And came at evening to the royal dun. 

Three times he struck the brazen door, whose 

guard 

Spake from within: "No man can enter here 
But one who is the master of some craft; 
What can you do?" "I am a carpenter." 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

And answer made the guardian of the door: 

"We have a carpenter already here, 

Luchtar the son of Luachaid." Then said Lugh: 

"I have the craft of smith." "We have within 

Colum, a smith, and master of his trade. " 

"I have the craft of Champion," pleaded Lugh. 

"We have here Ogma, Champion of the World." 

Then Lugh: "I am a harper of renown." 

"We have here Abhean, son of Bicelmos, 

In far-off Toomoon of the Fairy Hills 

Chosen by all the men of the three gods." 

Lugh spoke again: "I have the noble craft 

Of poet and historian." "We have here 

Ere son of Ethaman, a poet true." 

Said Lugh: "I am a wizard and physician." 

"We have the great physician Dian Cecht, 

And wizards and magicians by the score." 

"I have the craft of cupbearer," said Lugh. 

"Nine cupbearers we have within the dun." 

"I am a brazier working brass and gold." 

"We have the famous brazier, Credne Cerd." 

Then Lugh cried out: "Go, ask your Danaan 

king 

If he has ONE man who knows all these trades. 
If so I will not enter." Then went off 
The Keeper of the Door to Nuadha; 
"There is a wondrous youth who stands outside; 
As the Ildanach, Master of All Crafts, 
He seeks admittance." "Open then to him," 
Said Nuadha, "I wish to see this youth." 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

III 

Lugh passed into the dun, while Ogma gazed 
With eager looks upon him, for he thought 
To test the youth in feats. And so he stooped 
And lifting a great stone he cast it far 
Out thro' the open door, and past the fosse 
The effort of a giant. Then went Lugh 
And cast the mighty stone back to its place, 
Not through the door, but through the dun's 

strong wall! 

And Ogma said: "Your cast has beaten mine; 
Sit in the champion's seat, before the king, 
And let the chess be brought." They played, 

and Lugh 

Won every game. Then Nuadha, the king: 
"Truly you are Ildanach, I would fain 
Hear music of your making, but we have 
No harp to offer you." "I see one here," 
Said Lugh, "a harp full worthy of my skill." 
And answer made the king: "That is the harp 
Played by the Dagda, and no hand but his 
Can play upon it, for its magic spell 
Makes all the seasons blossom and decay." 
But Lugh said: "I will play upon this harp." 
So it was given to him. 

And first he played 

Music of life and joy, whereat, outside, 
The birds began to sing a morning song 
As though the sun were rising, and the dew 
Lay light upon the grass. And from the sward 

[US 3 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

Sprang crimson flowers, waving in the breeze, 

Touching each other with a faery sound, 

Like silver bells. Then those inside the dun 

Felt laughter in their hearts and subtle joy 

And gladness they had never felt before, 

So that they wished the sound would never cease, 

And they might die a-listening! Then he played 

The music of the sorrow of the world, 

And grief and tears possessed the souls of all. 

They leaned their heads upon their hands, and 

wept, 

And all the weight and burden of their lives 
Fell on them till they prayed for death's surcease. 
Outside, they heard a lonesome wind make moan 
And where the grass and twinkling flow'rs had been 
They saw a dark and leaden sea whose waves 
Made woesome sound, like mourners clapping 

hands 
While all the stars grew dim. 

The harper paused 

And then he played the music of sweet peace, 
And o'er the earth there fell what seemed like snow 
That settled flake by flake, and on the grass 
Turned into crystal dews. Thus flake by flake 
The quiet of the Land of Silver Fleece 
Settled upon the minds of all men there, 
And sorrow they forgot; they closed their eyes 
And each slept in his seat. Then Lugh laid by 
The magic harp and stole from out the dun 
With noiseless feet. The magic snow still dropt 
And on his shoulders shone like silver scales; 
[116] 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

< 

And on the thick bronze curlings of his hair 
It flashed like jeweled fire and filled the air 
With gracious radiance. 

So Lugh went back 

Unto his young companions in the wood, 
And drowsy night enshadowed Usna's Hill. 

IV 

The sun had risen in the morning sky 

When the De Danaan woke within the dun; 

Joyous and glad they were, and what had passed 

They deemed to be a strange and wondrous dream. 

And Nuadha the king spoke cheerfully: 

"The Fomor have not quenched God's blessed sun. 

Let us go out and make on Usna's height 

A valiant stand. "They took their weapons then 

And marched to Usna's Hill; nor were they long 

Upon its summit ere the Fomor came 

And jeered at them, and bade them all descend 

And bow before their masters. But the king 

Cried out, "We will not bow before you hence, 

For ye are vile and ugly, nor are ye 

Our lords, or lords of Erin from this day." 

Then with hoarse shouts the fierce Fomorians 
Attacked the hill, and Nuadha withstood 
With dauntless front that first terrific charge. 
But as their weapons clashed a blinding light 
Appeared on the horizon, and the sound 
Of screaming battle trumpets cleft the air. 
No man could gaze upon that radiance 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

As crimson streamers shot into the skies. 
Then cried the Fomor: "'Tis a second sun 
Rising to blind us; but the Danaan said: 
"Young Lugh is coming The Deliverer." 
And out of that great light the fairy troop 
From Tir-na-n'og came riding, At their head 
Rode Lugh, with flaming helmet and cuirass, 
And Mananan's white charger he bestrode, 
Bare in his hand the awful Sword of Light 
Burned as he swoopt upon the Fomor lines. 

As falls the swift sea-eagle on his prey, 

Or as the jagged lightning strikes a tree 

And burns and blasts it; as the stubble dry 

In droughty autumns is consumed by fire, 

So did the warriors from Tir-na-n'og 

Destroy the Fomor until only nine 

Were left alive. Then Lugh said to the nine: 

" Bow down and show obeisance to the king, 

And to the Danaan Race, for they are lords 

Of ye and of all Erin. Then go hence 

To Tir-Fo-Tonn the Land of Under Wave 

And say to Balor of The Evil Eye, 

Your Fomor monarch, that the Danaan Race 

Have taken back their own, and will wage war 

Against the Fomor till not one is left 

Of his misshapen brood to darken earth 

With their foul shadows." 

Then Lugh lifted up 

The Sword of Light, and chanted a wild rann, 
While lightnings crackled on his weapon's edge 

[118] 



THE COMING OF LUGH 

And all the air was filled with singing birds, 
Red blossoms covered all the naked trees, 
And flowers strewed the fields. The Danaan folk 
Shouted rejoicing till the forests shook, 
And all the seas of Erin heard that shout, 
And all the stars flung back the name of Lugh! 



C9] 



MARCH OF THE ULTONIANS 

(A fragment from the Cuchulain Saga) 

IvESTED at Slane the Army of the West, 
And slumber wrapped the camp; but in his 

sleep 

Cormac Conlongas started from his couch, 
Grasping his axe, and babbling that he saw 
A field red-heapt with slaughter! After that 
Dubhtach, the "Ulster Beetle," cried aloud. 
The two had dreamt of strife, and soon would 

sound 
The stormy clash of shields. 

Then fell o'er all 

Uneasy fear, and banished was their sleep. 
Now when the morning broke, King Ailell spoke: 
"Cuailne and Ulster we have harried long, 
While the great Northern armies lay entranced, 
O'ercome by Druid spells, and Conchobar 
Moaned in his troubled dreams. Good share of 

spoils 

We carry with us from their plundered lands; 
Now is it time that homeward to Magh Ai 
Our chariots turned; but ere we westward wheel, 
Glance let us take across the Meathian plain 
In search of foeman; for 'tis surely meet 
A King should combat, nor all times retreat." 
Then forth they sent the herald, keen MacRoth, 
Who climbed a nearby hill and searched afar 
[120] 



MARCH OF THE ULTONIANS 

With eagle eye; and soon there came a noise 
Like falling of the skies upon the land, 
Or roaring of the ocean bursting bounds, 
Or myriad mighty trees that crashing down 
In wintry tempest make the forests shake! 
Then back he went to Ailell and to Mave, 
Telling his story, and they quick enquired : 
"What else hast seen? And answer made Mac- 
Roth: 

"I saw a gray mist far across the plain, 
And a white flurry like the falling snow, 
And through the mist what looked like sparks of 

fire, 
Or the cold stars upon a frosty night." 

Then Ailell unto Fergus: "Famed MacRoy, 
Unfold to us the meaning of those signs." 
And Fergus said: "The mist was rolling dust 
Before the march of Ulster; what seemed snow 
Was foam flakes from their champing horses' bits, 
Tossed by the breeze of motion; and the stars 
Fierce gleaming of ten thousand angry eyes 
'Neath brazen helmets." 

Then spoke Connacht Mave: 
"Light do we reckon them, for we have here 
Strong fighting-men to stem that raging tide! 
Let them come on, Cuchulain at their head! 
Their charge shall crumble on our Connacht line 
Like the hoarse seas upon our Western shore; 
Form ranks, and let a thousand warpipes play 
The 'Graves of Inver/ Ulster's funeral march!" 

[121] 



SONNETS 



THE OGHAM PILLAR-STONE 

J.T stands upon a slope of Western shore 

Where lonely winds caress it day and night; 

The evening shadows and the morning light 
Strike on its rune-lined angles, and the roar 
Of the near sea whose billows evermore 

Surge in makes music round its ancient 
site! 

The curlew, calling sadly in his flight, 
Utters his plaintive anthem o'er and o'er! 

Aeons have passed and left no mark or trace 
Since this mysterious monument was raised; 

Firbolg and Fomor and the Danaan race 
Have gazed upon these symbols, sore 
amazed; 

Still do they mutely question earth and sky, 

And but the Druid winds give heed and sigh! 



THE HURLER 

(This sonnet is dedicated to Richard " Drug " Walsh, Moon- 
dharrig, to Tom Semple, of Thurles, and to James Kelliher, of Dun- 
gourney.) 

U PON his native sward the Hurler stands 
To play the ancient pastime of the Gael, 
And all the heroes famed of Innisfail 

Are typified in him I see the bands 

Of the Croabh Ruadh applauding with their hands, 
The Fianna shouting over Cliu Mail 
Oisin and Finn with eager faces pale, 

Caoilte and Goll are there from fairy lands 

And fierce Cuchulain comes his godlike face 
With yearning wild to grip in hand once more 

The lithe camawn and drive the hurtling ball. 
In Walsh's, Kelliher's and Semple's grace 
He sees again his glorious youth of yore 

And mourns his dead compeers, and Ferdia's 
fall. 



[126] 



KILLARNEY 

r AIR Erin's guardian Spirit lingers here 
Beneath the shadow of these purple hills: 
She sings beside those ever-brimming rills, 

And mirrors in those lakes the smile and tear; 

Here, hand-in-hand with Beauty, all the year, 
She answers back sweet Echo's voice that thrills 
TV impassioned dawn, when Erin's music fills 

The vales with sounds that haunt th' enraptured 
ear! 

Long have her songs to minor chords been set, 
And sadness was their theme; but now no more 

Shall past defeats her bouyant spirit fret, 
Or clouds oppress her from the night of yore; 

But, like Killarney's waters glad and free, 

Her soul shall leap to meet the years to be! 



THE VIKINGS 

J. HEIR long ships, hungry for the sportive wave, 
Lay on the beach; and so they left their fields. 
And ringed them with a thousand brazen 

shields, 
Then sought the Orkney coasts where wild seas 

rave 
And tempests roar o'er many a Norseman's 

grave! 
Thence down on Britain's fertile shores they 

swept, 
Where goodly towns and shires their prowess 

wept, 
While golden spoils they took, and trappings brave. 

Raid after raid on England's strands they made 
And Ireland's plains; but soon the reckoning 

came, 
When Brian in his tent at Clontarf prayed, 

And his brave army, like a searing flame, 
Smote them and hurled them from fair Erin's 

shore 
And whelmed their raven flag forevermore! 



[128] 



THE ROUND TOWER OF DEVENISH 
ISLAND 

W HO builded thee in the far-distant past, 
And set thee on this bleak and barren shore, 
To hear for aye the ocean's solemn roar, 

And quiver, harp-like, to the mournful blast? 

Around thy grim stones fairy spells are cast, 
And when the lambent moon her silver store 
Of beams has scattered on thine earthen floor, 

Strange elves come there and dance in measure 
fast! 

But when White Dawn comes stealing like a ghost, 
She sees thee as a hoary Druid crowned 

With misty mantle. All along the coast 

Glad waves rush in with tribute, vestal-gowned; 

Once more thy dialed shadow points the way, 

And thine own sun god greets his temple gray. 



[129] 



TARA 

LOW, round hill with earthen mounds o'er- 
spread, 

Covered with waving grass and purpling heath, 
Looks down upon the rolling plains of Meath 
And this is Tara all its glory fled 
Here Kings and Chieftains met in muster dread, 
And famous champions sought the victor's 

wreath, 

While music from the pulsing harp did breathe 
To laud the living and extol the dead! 

Now sounds no harp by Tara's crumbling walls; 

Like Tyre and Nineveh in dust it sits, 
The plaintive curlew o'er it sadly calls, 

And the gray bat above its ruin flits; 
But when the midnight wind makes mournful 

sigh, 
Then ghosts of mighty heroes gather nigh ! 



FINGAL'S CAVE 

1T1ERE where the furious ocean rushes in 
From wild Tiree and desolate Skerryvore, 
Shaking with thunder all that iron shore, 

Drowning the sea birds' cries with deafening din, 

Nature has built a monument to Fin, 

The son of Cool. And thro' its open door 
Tho' wave and wind shall batter evermore, 

Never his fortress can they hold or win. 

So is it with the spirit of the Gael: 
Tho' all the jealous nations should conspire 

In angry onslaught, they shall ever fail 
To break its purpose or to quench its fire; 

The earth shall rock, the sun in heaven grow pale 
Ere Gaelic strength and chivalry retire. 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES Of AMERICA 



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BOLLARD PH 

9304 
.04 
Irish lyrics and ballads 17