Selected Poems of James Clarence Mangan

“A Vision of Connaught in the 13th
  Century”
“My Dark Rosaleen”
“The Nameless One”
“Lament for ... Tirconnell”
“Hussey’s Ode to the Maguire”
“Gone in the Wind”
“The Lover’s Farewell”
“Siberia”
“The Woman of the Three Cows”
“And Then No More”


[Note: Each of the above poems is set here out in two columns, the column-break being marked by a link (i.e., cont.) which carries the reader to the top of the second column. The poems can be brought up for printing or viewing on a separate page (i.e., print).]

A Vision of Connaught in the Thirteenth Century

I walked entranced
Through a land of Morn;
The sun, with wondrous excess of light,
Shone down and glanced
Over seas of corn
And lustrous gardens aleft and right
Even in the clime
Of resplendent Spain,
Beams no such sun upon such a land;
But it was the time,
’Twas in the reign,
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.

Anon stood nigh
By my side a man
Of princely aspect and port sublime.
Him queried I -
‘O, my Lord and Khan,
What clime is this, and what golden time?’
When he - ‘The clime
Is a clime to praise,
The clime is Erin’s, the green and bland;
And it is the time,
These be the days,
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand!’

Then saw I thrones,
And circling fires,
And a Dome rose near me, as by a spell,
Whence flowed the tones
Of silver lyres,
And many voices in wreathed swell;

And their thrilling chime
Fell on mine ears
As the heavenly hymn of an angel-band -
‘It is now the time,
These be the years,
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand!’

I sought the hall,
And, behold! - a change
From light to darkness, from joy to woe!
King, nobles, all,
Looked aghast and strange;
The minstrel-group sate in dumbest show!
Had some great crime
Wrought this dread amaze,
This terror? None seemed to understand
’Twas then the time
We were in the days,
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand.

I again walked forth,
But lo! the sky
Showed fleckt with blood, and an alien sun
Glared from the north,
And there stood on high,
Amid his shorn beams, a skeleton!
It was by the stream
Of the castled Maine,
One Autumn eve, in the Teuton’s land,
That I dreamed this dream
Of the time and reign
Of Cahal Mór of the Wine-red Hand!


My Dark Rosaleen

‘O, my dark Rosaleen,
Do not sign, do not weep,
The priests are on the ocean,
They roll along the deep.
There’s wine from the good Pope,
To bring us joy,
To bring us hope
My dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope,
Shall give you health, and help, and hope,
My Dark Rosaleen!

Over hills and through dales
Have I roamed for your sake;
All yesterday I sailed with sails
On river and on lake.
The Erne at its highest flood
I dashed across unseen,
For there was lightning in my blood,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!

Oh! there was lightning in my blood,
Red lightning lightened in my blood,
My Dark Rosaleen!
All day long with unrest
To and fro do I move,
The very soul within my breast
Is wasted for you, love!
The heart in my bosom faints
To think of you, my Queen,
My life of life, my saint of saints,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!

To hear your sweet and sad complaints,
My life, my love, my saint of saints,
My Dark Rosaleen!
Woe and pain, pain and woe,
Are my lot night and noon,
To see your bright face clouded so,
Like to the mournful moon.
But yet will I rear your throne
Again in golden sheen;
’Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone,

My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!

’Tis you shall have the golden throne,
’Tis you shall reign, and reign alone,
My Dark Rosaleen!
Over dews, over sands
Will I fly for your weal;
Your holy delicate white hands
Shall girdle me with steel.
At home in your emerald bowers,
From morning's dawn till e’en,
You’ll pray for me, my flower of flowers,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My fond Rosaleen!

You’ll think of me through Daylight’s hours,
My virgin flower, my flower of flowers,
My Dark Rosaleen!
I could scale the blue air,
I could plough the high hills,
Oh, I could kneel all night in prayer,
To heal your many ills!
And one beamy smile from you
Would float like light between
My toils and me, my own, my true,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My fond Rosaleen!

Would give me life and soul anew,
A second life, a soul anew,
My Dark Rosaleen!
O! the Erne shall run red
With redundance of blood,
The earth shall rock beneath our tread,
And flames wrap hill and wood,
And gun-peal, and slogan cry,
Wake many a glen serene,
Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!

The Judgement Hour must first be nigh,
Ere you can fade, ere you can die,
My Dark Rosaleen!’


The Nameless One

Roll forth, my song, like the rushing river,
That sweeps along to the mighty sea;
God will inspire me while I deliver
  My soul of thee!

Tell thou the world, when my bones lie whitening
Amid the last homes of youth and eld,
That there was once one whose veins ran lightning
  No eye beheld.

Tell how his boyhood was one drear night-hour,
How shone for him, through his griefs and gloom,
No star of all heaven sends to light our

  Path to the tomb.

Roll on, my song, and to after ages
Tell how, disdaining all earth can give,
He would have taught men, from wisdom’s pages,   The way to live.

And tell how trampled, derided, hated,
And worn by weakness, disease, and wrong,
He fled for shelter to God, who mated
  His soul with song.

With song which alway, sublime or vapid,
Flowed like a rill in the morning beam,
Perchance not deep, but intense and rapid
  A mountain stream.

Tell how this Nameless, condemned for years long
To herd with demons from hell beneath,
Saw things that made him, with groans and tears,
  long
 For even death.

Go on to tell how, with genius wasted,
Betrayed in friendship, befooled in love,
With spirit shipwrecked, and young hopes blasted,
  He still, still strove.

Till, spent with toil, dreeing death for others,
And some whose hands should have wrought for bit,
(If children live not for sires and mothers),
  His mind grew dim.

And he fell far through that pit abysmal
The gulf and grave of Maginn and Burns,
And pawned his soul for the devil’s dismal
  Stock of returns.

But yet redeemed it in days of darkness
And shapes and signs of the final wrath,
When death, in hideous and ghastly starkness,
  Stood on his path.

And tell how now, amid wreck and sorrow,
And want, and sickness, and houseless nights,
He bides in calmness the silent morrow,
  That no ray lights.

And lives he still, then? Yes! Old and hoary
At thirty-nine, from despair and woe,
He lives enduring what future story
  Will never know.

Him grant a grave to, ye pitying noble,
Deep in your bosoms! There let him dwell!
He, too, had tears for all souls in trouble,
  Here and in hell.


Lament for the Princes of Tir-Owen and Tirconnell (from the Irish)

O Woman of the Piercing Wail,
Who mournest o’er yon mound of clay
With sigh and groan
Would God thou wert among the Gael!
Thou wouldst not then from day to day
Weep thus alone.

’Twere long before, around a grave
In green Tirconnell, one could find
This loneliness;
Near where Beann-Boirche’s banners wave,
Such grief as thine could ne’er have pined Companionless.

Beside the wave, in Donegal,
In Antrim’s glen, or fair Dromore, Or Killillee,
Or where the sunny waters fall
At Assaroe, near Erna’s shore,
This could not be.

On Derry’s plains - in rich Drumcliff
Throughout Armagh the Great, renowned
In olden years,
No day could pass but womads grief
Would rain upon the burial-ground
Fresh floods of tears!

Oh no! - from Shannon, Boyne, and Suir
From high Dunluce’s castle-walls,
From Lissadill,
Would flock alike both rich and poor.
One wail would rise from Cruachan’s halls
To Tara’s hill;

And some would come from Barrow-side,
And many a maid would leave her home
On Leitrim’s plains,
And by melodious Banna’s tide,
And by le Mourne and Erne, to come
And swell thy strains!

Oh! horse’s hoofs would trample down
The mount whereon the martyr-saint
Was crucified.
From glen and hill, from plain and town,
One loud lament, one thrilling plaint,
Would echo wide.

There would not soon be found, I ween,
One foot of ground among those bands
For museful thought,
So many shriekers of the keen
Would cry aloud, and clap their hands,
All woe-distraught!

Two princes of the line of Conn
Sleep in their cells of clay beside
O’Donnell Roe.
Three royal youths, alas! are gone.
Who lived for Erin’s weal, but died
For Erin’s woe!

Ah! could the men of Ireland read
The names these noteless burial stones
Display to view,
Their wounded hearts afresh would bleed,
Their tears gush forth again, their groans
Resound anew!

The youths whose relics moulder here
Were sprung from Hugh, high Prince and Lord
Of Aileach’s lands;
Thy noble brothers, justly dear,
Thy nephew, long to be deplored
By Ulster’s bands.

Theirs were not souls wherein dull Time
Could domicile Decay or house Decrepitude!
They passed from Earth ere Manhood’s prime,
Ere years had power to dim their brows
Or chill their blood.

And who can marvel o’er thy grid,
Or who can blame thy flowing tears,
That knows their source?
O’Donnell, Dunnasanas chief,
Cut off amid his vernal years,
Lies here a corse

Beside his brother Cathbar, whom
Tirconnell of the Helmets mourns
In deep despair
For valour, truth, and comely bloom,
For all that greatens and adorns,
A peerless pair.

Oh! had these twain, and he, the third,
The Lord of Mourne, O’Niall’s son,
Their mate in death
A prince in look, in deed and word
Had these three heroes yielded on
The field their breath;

Oh! had they fallen on Criflan’s plain,
There would not be a town or clan
From shore to sea
But would with shrieks bewail the slain,
Or chant aloud the exulting ram
Of jubilee.

When high the shout of battle rose
On fields where Freedom’s torch still burned
Through Erin’s gloom,

If one, if barely one of those
Were slain, all Ulster would have mourned
The hero’s doom!
Long must the north have wept his death
With heart-wrung tears!

If on the day of Ballachmyre,
The Lord of Mourne had met, thus young,
A warrior’s fate,
In vain would such as those desire
To mourn, alone, the champion sprung
From Niall the Great!

No marvel this - for all the dead,
Heaped on the field, pile over pile,
At Mullach-brack,
Were scarce an eric for his head,
If Death had stayed his footsteps while
On victory’s track!

If on the Day of Hostages
The fruit had from the parent bough
Been rudely torn
In sight of Munster’s bands - Mac-Nee’s
Such blow the blood of Conn, I trow,
Could ill have borne.

If on the day of Balloch-boy,
Some arm had laid, by foul surprise,
The chieftain low,
Even our victorious shout of joy
Would soon give place to rueful cries
And groans of woe!

If on the day the Saxon host
Were forced to fly - a day so great
For Ashanee -
The Chief had been untimely lost,
Our conquering troops should moderate
Their mirthful glee.

There would not lack on Lifford’s day,
From Galway, from the glens of Boyle,
From Limerick’s towers,
A marshalled file, a long array,
Of mourners to bedew the soil
With tears in showers!

If on the day a sterner fate
Compelled his flight from Athenree,
His blood had flowed,
What numbers all disconsolate
Would come unasked, and share with thee
Affliction’s load!

If Derry’s crimson field had seen
His life-blood offered up, though ’twere
On Victory’s shrine,
A thousand cries would swell the keen,
A thousand voices of despair
Would echo thine!

Oh! had the fierce Dalcassian swarm,
That bloody night on Fergus’ banks,
But slain our Chief;
When rose his camp in wild alarm,
How would the triumph of his tanks
Be dashed with grief!

How would the troops of Murbach mourn,
If on the Curlew Mountains’ day -
Which England rued -
Some Saxon hand had left them lorn:
By shedding there, amid the fray,
Their prince’s blood!

Red would have been our warriors’ eyes,
Had Roderick found on Sligo’s field
A gory grave.
No Northern Chief would soon arise,
So sage to guide, so strong to shield,
So swift to save.

Long would Leith-Cuinn have wept if Hugh
Had met the death he oft had dealt
Among the foe;
But, had our Roderick fallen too,
All Erin must, alas! have felt
The deadly blow.

What do I say? Ah, woe is me -
Already we bewail in vain
Their fatal fall!
And Erin, once the Great and Free,
Now vainly mourns her breakless chain,
And iron thrall!

Then daughter of O’Donnell, dry
Thine overflowing eyes, and turn
Thy heart aside;
For Adam’s race is born to die,
And sternly the sepulchral urn
Mocks human pride.

Look not, nor sigh, for earthly throne,
Nor place thy trust in arm of day:
But on thy knees
Uplift thy soul to God alone,
For all things go their destined way,
As He decrees.


Husseyís Ode to the Maguire (From the Irish of Ó hEochaisaidh.)

Where is my Chief, my Master, this bleak night,
  mavrone!
O, cold, cold, miserably cold is this bleak night for
  Hugh,
Itís showery, arrowy, speary sleet pierceth one
  through and through,
Pierceth one to the very bone!
Rolls real thunder? Or was that red, livid light
Only a meteor? I scarce know; but through the
  midnight dim
The pitiless ice-wind streams. Except the hate
  that persecutes him
Nothing hath crueller venomy might.

An awful, a tremendous night is this, meseems!
The flood-gates of the rivers of heaven, I think,
  have been burst wide -
Down from the overcharged clouds, like unto
  headlong oceanís tide,
Descends grey rain in roaring streams.

Though he were even a wolf ranging the round
  green woods,
Though he were even a pleasant salmon in the
  unchainable sea,
Though he were a wild mountain eagle, he could
  scarce bear, he,
This sharp, sore sleet, these howling floods.

O, mournful is my soul this night for Hugh Maguire!
Darkly, as in a dream, he strays! Before him and
  behind
Triumphs the tyrannous anger of the wounding wind,
The wounding wind, that burns as fire!

It is my bitter grief - it cuts me to the heart -
That in the country of Clan Darry this should be his fate!
O, woe is me, where is he? Wandering, houseless,
  desolate,
Alone, without or guide or chart!

Medreams I see just now his face, the strawberry
  bright,
Uplifted to the blackened heavens, while the
  tempestuous winds
Blow fiercely over and round him, and the smiting
  sleetshower blinds
The hero of Galang to-night!

Large, large affliction unto me and mine it is,
That one of his majestic bearing, his fair, stately
  form,
Should thus be tortured and o'erborne - that this
  unsparing storm

Should wreak its wrath on head like his!
That his great hand, so oft the avenger of the
  oppressed,
Should this chill, churlish night, perchance, be
  paralysed by frost -
While through some icicle-hung thicket - as one
  lorn and lost
He walks and wanders without rest.

The tempest-driven torrent deluges the mead,
It overflows the low banks of the rivulets andponds.
The lawns and pasture-grounds lie locked in icy bonds
So that the cattle cannot feed.

The pale bright margins of the streams are seen
  by none.
Rushes and sweeps along the untamable flood on
  every side -
It penetrates and fills the cottagersí dwellings far
  and wide -
Water and land are blent in one.

Through some dark woods, ímid bones of
  monsters, Hugh now strays.
As he confronts the storm with anguished heart,
  but manly brow
O! what a sword-wound to that tender heart of
  his were now
A backward glance at peaceful days.

But other thoughts are his - thoughts that can
  still inspire
With joy and an onward-bounding hope the
  bosom of Mac-Nee
Thoughts of his warriors charging like bright
  billows of the sea,
Borne on the windís wings, flashing fire!

And though frost glaze to-night the clear dew of
  his eyes.
And white ice-gauntlets glove his noble fine fair
  fingers oíer,
A warm dress is to him that lightning-garb he ever
  wore,
The lightning of the soul, not skies.

Avran: Hugh marched forth to the fight - I
  grieved to see him so depart;
And lo! to-night he wanders frozen, rain-drenched,
  sad, betrayed
But the memory of the limewhite mansions his right
  hand hath laid
In ashes, warms the heroís heart!


Gone in the Wind

Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the wind.
Like. the swift shadows of Noon, like the dreams
  of the Blind,
Vanish the glories and pomps of the earth in the
  wind.

Man! canst thou build upon aught in the pride of
  thy mind?
Wisdom will teach thee that nothing can tarry
  behind;
Though there be thousand bright actions
  embalmed and enshrined,
Myriads and millions of brighter are snow in the
  wind.

Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the
  wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the
  wind.
All that the genius of Man hath achieved or
  designed
Waits but its hour to be dealt with as dust by the
  wind.

Say, what is Pleasure? A phantom, a mask undefined;
Science? An almond, whereof we can pierce but
  the rind;
Honour and Affluence? Firmans that Fortune hath
  signed
Only to glitter and pass on the wings of the wind.

Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the
  wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the
  wind.
Who is the Fortunate? He who in anguish hath
  pined!

He shall rejoice when his relics are dust in the
  wind!

Mortal! be careful with what thy best hopes are
  entwined;
Woe to the miners for Truth - where the Lampless
  have mined!
Woe to the seekers on earth for - what none
  ever find!
They and their trust shall be scattered like leaves
  on the wind.

Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the
  wind.
Solomon! where is thy might? It is gone in the
  wind.
Pity in death are they only whose hearts have
  consigned
Earthís aflections and longings and cares to the
  wind.

Pity, thou, reader! the madness of poor Humankind,
Raving of Knowledge, - and Satan so busy to
  blind!
Raving of Glory, - like me, - for the garlands I
  bind
Garlands of song are but gathered, and - strewn
  in the wind!

Solomon! where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind.
Babylon! where is thy might? It is gone in the wind.
I, Abul-Namez, must rest; for my fire hath
  declined,
And I heat voices from Hades like bells on the
  wind.


The Lover’s Farewell

Slowly through the tomb-still streets I go -
Morn is dark, save one swart streak of gold -
Sullen rolls the far-off river’s flow,
And the moon is very thin and cold.

Long and long before the house I stand
Where sleeps she, the dear, dear one I love -
All undreaming that I leave my land,
Mute and mourning, like the moon above!

Wishfully I stretch abroad mine arms
Towards the well-remembered casement-cell cont.

Fare thee well! Farewell thy virgin charms!
And thou stilly, stilly house, farewell!

And farewell the dear dusk little room,
Redolent of roses as a dell,
And the lattice that relieved its gloom
And its pictured lilac walls, farewell!

Forth upon my path! I must not wait
Bitter blows the fretful morning wind:
Warden, wilt thou softly close the gate
When thou knowest I leave my heart behind?

 

Siberia

In Siberia’s wastes
The Ice-wind’s breath
Woundeth like the toothèd steel;
Lost Siberia doth reveal
Only blight and, death.

Blight and death alone.
No Summer shines.
Night is interblent with Day.
In Siberia’s wastes alway
The blood blackens, the heart pines.

In Siberia’s wastes
No tears are shed,
For they freeze within the brain.
Nought is felt but dullest pain,
Pain acute, yet dead;

Pain as in a dream,
When years go by
Funeral-paced, yet fugitive,
When man lives, and doth not live,
Doth not live - nor die.

In Siberia’s wastes
Are sands and rocks
Nothing blooms of green or soft
But the snow-peaks rise aloft
And the gaunt ice-blocks.

And the exile there
Is one with those;
They are part, and he is part,
For the sands are in his heart,
And the killing snows.

Therefore, in those wastes
None curse the Czar.
Each man’s tongue is cloven by
The North Blast, that heweth nigh
With sharp scimitar.

And such doom each drees,
Till, hunger-gnawn,
And cold-slain, he at length sinks there,
Yet scarce more a corpse than ere
His last breadth was drawn.


The Woman of Three Cows

O woman of Three Cows, agrá! donít let your
  tongue thus rattle!
O, donít be saucy, donít be stiff, because you
  may have cattle.
I have seen - and, hereís my hand to you, I only

  say whatís true -
A many a one with twice your stock not half so
  proud as you.

Good luck to you, donít scorn the poor, and donít
  be their despiser,
For worldly wealth soon melts away, and cheats
  the very miser,
And Death soon strips the proudest wreath from
  haughty human brows;
Then donít be stiff, and donít be proud, good
  Woman of Three Cows!

See where Momoniaís heroes lie, proud Owen
  Moreís descendants,
íTis they that won the glorious name, and had the
  grand attendants!
If they were forced to bow to Fate, as every
  mortal bows,
Can you be proud, can you be stiff, my Woman of
  Three Cows!

The brave sons of the Lord of Clare, they left the
  land to mourning;
Mavrone! for they were banished, with no hope of
  their returning
Who knows in what abodes of want those youths
  were driven to house?
Yet you can give yourself these airs, O Woman of
  Three Cows!

O, think of Donnell of the Ships, the Chief whom
  nothing daunted
See how he fell in distant Spain, unchronicled,
  unchanted!
He sleeps, the great O'Sullivan, where thunder
  cannot rouse -

Then ask yourself, should you be proud, good
  Woman of Three Cows!

OíRuark, Maguire, those souls of fire, whose
  names are shrined in story
Think how their high achievements once made
  Erinís highest glory
Yet now their bones lie mouldering under weeds
  and cypress boughs,
And so, for all your pride, will yours, O Woman of
  Three Cows!

The OíCarrolls, also, famed when Fame was only
  for the boldest,
Rest in forgotten sepulchres with Erinís best and
  oldest;
Yet who so great as they of yore in battle or
  carouse?
Just think of that, and hide your head, good
  Woman of Three Cows!

Your neighbourís poor, and you, it seems, are big
  with vain ideas,
Because, inagh! youíve got three cows - one
  more! see, than she has.
That tongue of yours wags more at times than
  Charity allows,
But if youíre strong, be merciful, great Woman of
  Three Cows!

Now, there you go! You still, of course, keep up
  your scornful bearing,
And Iím too poor to hinder you; but, by the cloak
  Iím wearing,
If I had but four cows myself, even though you
  were my spouse,
Iíd thwack you well to cure your pride, my Woman
  of Three Cows!


And Then No More

I saw her once, one little while, and then no more:
’Twas Eden’s light on Earth awhile, and then no more.
Amid the throng she passed along the meadow-floor:
Spring seemed to smile on Earth awhile, and then
  no more:
But whence she came, which way she went,
  what garb she wore I noted not;
I gazed awhile, and then no more!

I saw her once, one little while, and then no more:
’Twas Paradise on Earth awhile, and then no more.
Ah! what avail my vigils pale, my magic lore?
She shone before mine eyes awhile, and then no
  more.
The shallop of my peace is wrecked on Beauty’s
  shore.
Near Hope’s fair isle it rode awhile, and then no
 
more!

I saw her once, one little while, and then no more:
Earth looked like Heaven a little while, and then
  no more.
Her presence thrilled and lighted to its inner core
My desert breast a little while, and then no more.
So may, perchance, a meteor glance at midnight o’er
Some ruined pile a little while, and then no more!

I saw her once, one little while, and then no more:
The earth was Peri-land awhile, and then no more.
Oh, might i see but once again, as once before,
Through chance or wile, that shape awhile, and then
  no more!
Death soon would heal my griefs!
This heart, now sad and sore,
Would beat anew a little while, and then no
  more.’


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