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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Paddy's Day Poetry...

from two of Ireland's silver-tongued rebel sons: Thomas Davis and Robert Dwyer Joyce, respectively. Whatever your politics may be, you can't doubt that these guys had a special flare for inspirational romantic poetry, and few could top their class of balladeers. So enjoy these two pieces...


The Flower of Finnae

By Thomas Davis

Bright red is the sun on the waves of Lough Sheelin,
A cool, gentle breeze from the mountain is stealing,
While fair round its islets the small ripples play,
But fairer than all is the Flower of Finae.

Her hair is like night, and her eyes like grey morning,
She trips on the heather as if its touch scorning,
Yet her heart and her lips are as mild as May day,
Sweet Eily MacMahon, the Flower of Finae.

But who down the hill-side than red deer runs fleeter?
And who on the lake-side is hastening to greet her?
Who but Fergus O'Farrell, the fiery and gay,
The darling and pride of the Flower of Finae?

One kiss and one clasp, and one wild look of gladness;
Ah! why do they change on a sudden to sadness? -
He has told his hard fortune, no more he can stay,
He must leave his poor Eily to pine at Finae.

For Fergus O'Farrell was true to his sire-land,
And the dark hand of tyranny drove him from Ireland;
He joins the Brigade, in the wars far away,
But he vows he'll come back to the Flower of Finae.

He fought at Cremona-she hears of his story;
He fought at Cassano-she's proud of his glory.
Yet sadly she sings Siúbhail a rúin[80] all the day,
'Oh! come, come, my darling, come home to Finae.'

Eight long years have passed, till she's nigh broken-hearted,
Her reel, and her rock, and her flax she has parted;
She sails with the 'Wild Geese' to Flanders away,
And leaves her sad parents alone in Finae.

Lord Clare on the field of Ramillies is charging-
Before him, the Sacsanach squadrons enlarging-
Behind him the Cravats their sections display-
Beside him rides Fergus and shouts for Finae.

On the slopes of La Judoigne the Frenchmen are flying
Lord Clare and his squadrons the foe still defying,
Outnumbered, and wounded, retreat in array;
And bleeding rides Fergus and thinks of Finae.

In the cloisters of Ypres a banner is swaying,
And by it a pale, weeping maiden is praying;
That flag's the sole trophy of Ramillies' fray;
This nun is poor Eily, the Flower of Finae.



The Wind That Shakes the Barley

By Robert Dwyer Joyce


I sat within the valley green
Sat there with my true love
And my fond heart strove to choose between
The old love and the new love
The old for her the new that made
Me think on Ireland dearly
While soft the wind blew down the glade
And shook the golden barley

Twas hard for mournful words to frame
To break the ties that bound us
But harder still to bear the shame
Of foreign chains around us
And so I said the mountain glen
I'll seek at morning early
And join the brave united men
While soft winds shook the barley

Twas sad I kissed away her tears
Her arms around me clinging
When to my ears that fateful shot
Came out the wild wood ringing
The bullet pierced my true love's side
In life's young spring so early
And there upon my breast she died
While soft winds shook the barley

I bore her to some mountain stream
And many's the summer blossom
I placed with branches soft and green
About her gore-stained bosom
I wept and kissed her clay-cold corpse
Then rushed o'er vale and valley
My vengeance on the foe to wreak
While soft winds shook the barley

Its blood for blood without remorse
I've took in Oulart Hollow
While to her grave my love's cold corpse
Where I full soon may follow
Around her grave I wander drear
Noon, night, and morning early
With breaking heart whene'er I hear
The wind that shakes the barley

The Emerald Isle...


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