The Bride

An Irish Poem

The bridal veil hangs o’er her brow;

The ring of gold is on her finger;

Her lips have breathed the marriage vow.

Why should she at the altar linger?

Why wears her gentle brow a shade?

Why dim her eye, when doubt is over?

Why does her slender form for aid

Lean tremblingly upon her lover?

Is it feeling of regret

For solemn vows lately spoken ?

fear, scarce own’d as yet.

That her new ties may soon broken ?

Ah, no! such causes darken not

The cloud that’s swiftly passing o’er her,

Her’s is a fair and happy lot

The Chronicles

These are new stories brought to you by the team at ‘Ireland’s Lore and Tales’

My sabbatical is over and it’s time to get writing once again. The difference in these stories and recollections are that they are for the most part factual, taken from records with only names changed to protect the innocent. We hope to take things from the way life was in the past, the not so long ago, and the last fifty years, and relay them to you because they have, in all probability, never been read or heard by you before.

We shall take you on a journey in which you will occasionally find that truth is often stranger than fiction. And so, we will begin the Chronicles in August 2021.

BIDDY – To the Coming Flowers

Awake, dear sleepers, from your wintry tombs;

The sun has turned the point of Capricorn,

And ‘gins to pluck from Winter’s wings the plumes

Of darkness, and to wind his silver horn

For your return. Come to your homes, forlorn

In absence of your odours and your faces;

Like Rachel weeps for you the reaved morn,

As often as she views your empty places,

Erewhile the daily scene of her and your embraces.

Come, pensile snowdrop, like the earliest star

That twinkles on the brow of dusky Night;

Come, like the child that peeps from door ajar,

With pallid cheek, upon a wasteful sight:

And shouldst thou rise when all around is white,

The more thou’lt demonstrate the power of God

To shield the weak against the arms of might,

To strengthen feeble shoulders for their load,

And sinking hearts ‘mid ills they could not full forebode.

Come, crocus cup, the cup where early bees

Sip the first nectar of the liberal year,

Come and illume our green, as similes

Light up the poet’s song. And O ye dear

March violets, come near, come breathing near!

You too, fair primroses, in darksome woods

Shine forth, like heaven’s constellations clear;

And come, ye daisies, throng in multitudes,

And whiten hills and meadows with your saintly hoods.

Come with thy lilies, May; thy roses, June;

Come with your richer hues, Autumnal hours;

O tell your mellowing sun, your regal moon,

Your dewy drops, your soft refreshing showers,

To lift their blessing hands in Flora’s bowers,

Nor e’en to scorn the bindweed’s flossy gold,

Nor foxglove’s banner hung with purple flowers,

Nor solitary heath that cheers the wold,

Nor the last daisy shivering in November’s cold!

Unknown early 20th Century Irish Poet

The Stories of Seamus No.2

Anne Maria Carew

The following inscription was found in on a tombstone in the churchyard of Youghal that marks the grave of Anne Maria Carew, who died at the young age of 24 years.

’Tis ever thus, ’tis ever thus, when

hope hath built a bow’r

Like that of Eden, wreathed about

with many a thornless

flow’r,

To dwell therein securely, the self-

deceivers trust—

A whirlwind from the desert

comes, and all is in the dust.

’Tis ever thus, ’tis ever thus, that

when the poor heart clings

With all its finest tendrils, with all

its flexile rings,

That goodly thing it cleaveth to so

fondly and so fast,

Is struck to earth by lightning, or

shattered by the blast.

’Tis ever thus, ’tis ever thus, with

beams of mortal bliss,

With looks too bright and

beautiful for such a world as

this,

One moment round about us their

angel light wings play;

Then down the veil of darkness

drops, and all is passed

away.

’Tis ever thus, ’tis ever thus, with

creatures heavenly fair,

Too finely formed to bear

the brunt more earthly natures

bear—

A little while they dwell with us,

blest ministers of love,

Then spread the wings we had not

seen, and seek their homes

above.

(Unknown Author)

The Fairies

Where are the wonderful elves, and the fairy creatures bright?

Where are the tiny things that danced in the pale moonlight?

Danced in a magic ring, and fluttered in robes of white,

Like motes in the sunbeam whirled, like leaves in the forest hoar.

Hark to the sound of the sea, and the cry of the waves on the shore.

Where are the dusky gnomes who toiled in the golden ground?

So that the miners trembled hearing their hammers’ sound,

Hearing them tapping, tapping, delving in darkness bound,

A thousand tapping hammers, beneath them hammering.

Hark to the muttered thunder, the voice of the hidden spring.

Where are the forest fairies, the elves in Lincoln green,

Deep in the forest hidden, and never in cities seen,

Sought for by timid maidens, on sainted Hallowe’en,

The joy of all true lovers, a merry band were they!

Hark to the hum of the bee, in the scented blooms of May.

Where are the household fairies, who loved the embers’ glow,

Who played at games with the shadows flickering to and fro,

But left no track on the sanded floor, no trace on the fallen snow,

And filled up the little slippers the children left behind,

Hark to the howl of the tempest, the moan of the stormy wind.

The elves are waiting, waiting, for the golden days to come,

When grief shall be known no longer, nor faithful love be dumb;

Till the figures all are added up, and finished the mighty sum.

Ah yes, they are waiting, waiting, till grief shall be no more.

Hark to the rustle of raindrops, that kiss the deserted shore.

Sisters

There are occasions when you come across some lovely pieces of poetry when you study folklore and customs. The following is a poem I picked up a few weeks ago and thought it was so nice that I should share it with you. As for the author, all I know is that it is by a 19th Century Poet/Poetess. Please enjoy…

The day had gone as fades a dream;

The night had come, and rain fell fast;

While o’er the black and sluggish stream

Cold blew the wailing blast.

In pensive mood I idly raised

The curtain from the rain-splashed glass,

And as into the street I gazed,

I saw two women pass.

One shivering with the bitter cold,

Her garments heavy with the rain,

Limped by with features wan and old,

Deep farrowed by sharp pain.

A child in form, a child in years;

But from her piteous pallid face,

The weariness of life with tears

Had washed all childlike grace.

And as she passed me faint and weak,

I heard her slowly say, as though

With throbbing heart about to break:

‘”Move on!” Where shall I go?’

The other, who on furs reclined,

In brougham was driven to the play;

No thought within her vacant mind

Of those in rags that day:

With unmoved heart and idle stare,

Passed by the beggar in the street,

Who lifted up her hands in prayer,

Some charity to meet.

Both vanished in the murky night:

The outcast on a step to die;

The lady to a scene of light,

Where Joy alone did sigh.

But angels saw amid her hair

What was by human eyes unseen;

The grass that grows on graves was there,

With leaves of ghastly green.

And though her diamonds flashed the light

Upon the flatterers gathered near,

The outcast’s brow had gem more bright –

An angel’s pitying tear.

An Unknown 19th Century Irish Poet

The World’s Changes

By an unknown Irish Poet.

The Solemn Shadow that bears in his hands

The conquering Scythe and the Glass of Sands,

Paused once on his flight where the sunrise shone

On a warlike city’s towers of stone;

And he asked of a panoplied soldier near,

“How long has this fortressed city been here?”

And the man looked up, Man’s pride on his brow—

“The city stands here from the ages of old

And as it was then, and as it is now,

So will it endure till the funeral knell

Of the world be knolled,

As Eternity’s annals shall tell.

And after a thousand years were o’er,

The Shadow paused over the spot once more.

And vestige was none of a city there,

But lakes lay blue, and plains lay bare,

And the marshalled corn stood high and pale,

And a Shepherd piped of love in a vale.

“How!” spake the Shadow, “can temple and tower

Thus fleet, like mist, from the morning hour?”

But the Shepherd shook the long locks from his brow—

“The world is filled with sheep and corn;

Thus was it of old, thus is it now,

Thus, too, will it be while moon and sun

Rule night and morn,

For Nature and Life are one.”

And after a thousand years were o’er,

The Shadow paused over the spot once more.

And lo! in the room of the meadow-lands

A sea foamed far over saffron sands,

And flashed in the noontide bright and dark,

And a fisher was casting his nets from a bark;

How marvelled the Shadow!

“Where then is the plain?

And where be the acres of golden grain?”

But the fisher dashed off the salt spray from his brow—

“The waters begirdle the earth always,

The sea ever rolled as it rolleth now:

What babblest thou about grain and fields?

By night and day Man looks for what Ocean yields.”

And after a thousand years were o’er,

The Shadow paused over the spot once more.

And the ruddy rays of the eventide

Were gilding the skirts of a forest wide;

The moss of the trees looked old, so old!

And valley and hill, the ancient mould

Was robed in sward, an evergreen cloak;

And a woodman sang as he felled an oak.

Him asked the Shadow—“Rememberest thou

Any trace of a Sea where wave those trees?”

But the woodman laughed: Said he, “I trow,

If oaks and pines do flourish and fall,

It is not amid seas;—The earth is one forest all.”

And after a thousand years were o’er,

The Shadow paused over the spot once more.

And what saw the Shadow? A city agen,

But peopled by pale mechanical men,

With workhouses filled, and prisons, and marts,

And faces that spake exanimate hearts.

Strange picture and sad! was the Shadow’s thought;

And, turning to one of the Ghastly, he sought

For a clue in words to the When and the How

Of the ominous Change he now beheld;

But the man uplifted his care-worn brow—“Change?

What was Life ever but Conflict and Change?

From the ages of eld

Hath affliction been widening its range.”

Enough! said the Shadow, and passed from the spot

At last it is vanished, the beautiful youth

Of the earth, to return with no To-morrow;

All changes have checquered Mortality’s lot;

But this is the darkest—for Knowledge and Truth

Are but golden gates to the Temple of Sorrow!

You Can Guess

THERE are grottos in Wicklow, and groves in

Kildare,

And the loveliest glens robed with shamrock in

Clare,

And in fairy Killarney ’tis easy to find

Sweet retreats where a swain can unburden his

mind;

But of all the dear spots in our emerald isle,

Where verdure and sunshine crown life with a

smile,

There’s one boreen I love, for ’twas there I

confess

I first met my fate, — what it was you can guess.

It was under the shade of its bordering trees,

One day I grew suddenly weak at the knees

At the thought of what seemed quite a terrible

task,

And yet it was but a short question to ask.

’Twas over, and since, night and morning, I

bless

The boreen that heard the soft whisper of “yes.”

And the breezes that toyed with each clustering tress;

And the question was this— but I’m sure you

can guess.

Arthur M. Forrester

The Well-Known Spot

A Poem by an Unknown late 19th Century Irish Poet

Again, with joy I view the waking shore,

Where mem’ries live for ever in their green,

And from the solemn graveyard’s checkered floor

Gaze fondly o’er the all-enchanting scene.

The same sad rooks awake their mocking cries,

And drooping willows weep the early grave,

As o’er the dead the restless spirit flies,

Tries vainly yet yon broken heart to save.

But, hush! sad soul, nor leave this hallowed spot,

Where peaceful slumber seals the closèd eye.

The lonely sleeper now awaken not

By the rude raving, or the deep-drawn sigh.

Oh, let me mourn (the fainting heart replies),

These new-made graves, which take my wond’ring sight;

Say, who beneath this little tombstone lies,

Or who this Angel guards through the long night.

When last I saw, no mounds lay heaving there,

No sexton rude had turned the resting sod.

Alas, how changed! The holy and the fair

Have sunk in death and triumphed in their God.

Then let me pause, if here my Maker stays,

And guards his saints from the inhuman foe.

His word is true; my trembling heart obeys;

Bless’d are the dead who to the Saviour go.

Now new refulgence breathes o’er all the scene;

Yon lark’s sweet warble now is sweeter still;

Yon blady grass stands out in purer green;

And softer music tinkles from the rill.

For why? O mark! The cause is written here;

The pale-faced marble tells the softened tale,

That sweeteneth the sigh, arrests the starting tear,

And lulls to silence the untimely wail.