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Full Online Book HomePoemsThe Irish Emigrant's Mother
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The Irish Emigrant's Mother Post by :armsonfire Category :Poems Author :Denis Florence Maccarthy Date :October 2011 Read :3334

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The Irish Emigrant's Mother

"Oh! come, my mother, come away, across the sea-green water;
Oh! come with me, and come with him, the husband of thy daughter;
Oh! come with us, and come with them, the sister and the brother,
Who, prattling climb thy ag'ed knees, and call thy daughter--mother.

"Oh come, and leave this land of death--this isle of desolation--
This speck upon the sunbright face of God's sublime creation,
Since now o'er all our fatal stars the most malign hath risen,
When Labour seeks the poorhouse, and Innocence the prison.

"'Tis true, o'er all the sun-brown fields the husky wheat is bending;
'Tis true, God's blessed hand at last a better time is sending;
'Tis true the island's aged face looks happier and younger,
But in the best of days we've known the sickness and the hunger.

"When health breathed out in every breeze, too oft we've known the fever--
Too oft, my mother, have we felt the hand of the bereaver:
Too well remember many a time the mournful task that brought him,
When freshness fanned the summer air, and cooled the glow of autumn.

"But then the trial, though severe, still testified our patience,
We bowed with mingled hope and fear to God's wise dispensations;
We felt the gloomiest time was both a promise and a warning,
Just as the darkest hour of night is herald of the morning.

"But now through all the black expanse no hopeful morning breaketh--
No bird of promise in our hearts the gladsome song awaketh;
No far-off gleams of good light up the hills of expectation--
Nought but the gloom that might precede the world's annihilation.

"So, mother, turn thy ag'ed feet, and let our children lead 'em
Down to the ship that wafts us soon to plenty and to freedom;
Forgetting nought of all the past, yet all the past forgiving;
Come, let us leave the dying land, and fly unto the living.

"They tell us, they who read and think of Ireland's ancient story,
How once its emerald flag flung out a sunburst's fleeting glory
Oh! if that sun will pierce no more the dark clouds that efface it,
Fly where the rising stars of heaven commingle to replace it.

"So come, my mother, come away, across the sea-green water;
Oh! come with us, and come with him, the husband of thy daughter;
Oh! come with us, and come with them, the sister and the brother,
Who, prattling, climb thy ag'ed knees, and call thy daughter--mother."

"Ah! go, my children, go away--obey this inspiration;
Go, with the mantling hopes of health and youthful expectation;
Go, clear the forests, climb the hills, and plough the expectant prairies;
Go, in the sacred name of God, and the Blessed Virgin Mary's.

"But though I feel how sharp the pang from thee and thine to sever,
To look upon these darling ones the last time and for ever;
Yet in this sad and dark old land, by desolation haunted,
My heart has struck its roots too deep ever to be transplanted.

"A thousand fibres still have life, although the trunk is dying,
They twine around the yet green grave where thy father's bones are lying;
Ah! from that sad and sweet embrace no soil on earth can loose 'em,
Though golden harvests gleam on its breast, and golden sands its bosom.

"Others are twined around the stone, where ivy-blossoms smother
The crumbling lines that trace your names, my father and my mother;
God's blessing be upon their souls--God grant, my old heart prayeth,
Their names be written in the Book whose writing ne'er decayeth.

"Alas! my prayers would never warm within those great cold buildings,
Those grand cathedral churches with their marbles and their gildings;
Far fitter than the proudest dome that would hang in splendour o'er me,
Is the simple chapel's white-washed wall, where my people knelt before me.

"No doubt it is a glorious land to which you now are going,
Like that which God bestowed of old, with milk and honey flowing;
But where are the blessed saints of God, whose lives of his law remind me,
Like Patrick, Brigid, and Columkille, in the land I'd leave behind me?

"So leave me here, my children, with my old ways and old notions;
Leave me here in peace, with my memories and devotions;
Leave me in sight of your father's grave, and as the heavens allied us,
Let not, since we were joined in life, even the grave divide us.

"There's not a week but I can hear how you prosper better and better,
For the mighty fire-ships o'er the sea will bring the expected letter;
And if I need aught for my simple wants, my food or my winter firing,
You will gladly spare from your growing store a little for my requiring.

"Remember with a pitying love the hapless land that bore you;
At every festal season be its gentle form before you;
When the Christmas candle is lighted, and the holly and ivy glisten,
Let your eye look back for a vanished face--for a voice that is silent, listen!

"So go, my children, go away--obey this inspiration;
Go, with the mantling hopes of health and youthful expectation;
Go, clear the forests, climb the hills, and plough the expectant prairies;
Go, in the sacred name of God, and the Blessed Virgin Mary's."


(The end)
Denis Florence MacCarthy's poem: Irish Emigrant's Mother

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