Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Owen Reilly: A Keen (Author: James Clarence Mangan)
- Oh! lay aside the flax, and put away the wheel,
And sing with me, but not in gladness
The heart that's in my breast is like to break with sadness
God, God alone knows what I feel!
- There's a lone, a vacant place beside the cheerless hearth,
A spot my eyes are straining after
Oh! never more from thence will ring my boy's light laughter,
The outgushing of his young heart's mirth!
- No more will his hands clasp the cross before the shrine
Of Christ's immaculate Virgin Mother.
Never, oh! never more will he pour forth another
Prayer for himself, or me, or mine!
- The young men on the mountain sides will missmiss long,
The fleetest hurler of their number.
Powerless, alas! to-night in death's unbroken slumber,
Lies he, the Lithe of Limb, the Strong!
- Oh! raise the keen, young women, o'er my darling's grave
Oh! kneel in prayer o'er his low dwelling;
At break of day this morn there knelt his mother, telling
Her beads for him she could not save!
- Oh! plant, young men, the Shamrock near my darling's head,
And raise the hardy fir tree over
The spot: the strange wayfarer then will know they cover
My Oweneen's dark burial-bed!
- Heard ye not, yestereven, the Banshee deplore
His death on heath-clad Killenvallen?
'Ul-ullalu!' she cried, 'a green young oak is fallen,
For Owen Reilly lives no more!'
- There stands a lone grey hazel-tree in Glen-na-ree,
Whose green leaves put buds forth and wither.
I sigh and groan as often as I wander thither,
For I am like that lone grey tree!
- My four belovèd sons, where are they? Have they not
Left me a wreck here all as lonely?
They withered and they died! I, their old mother, only
Remain to weep and wail my lot!
- But I will follow them now soon; for oft amid
The storm I hear their voices calling,
'Come home!'and in my dreams I see the cold clay falling
Heavily on my coffin-lid!
- When the dark night films o'er my eyes, oh! let me be
Laid out by Aileen Bawn Devany;
And let the lights around me at my wake be as many
As the white hairs yet left to me!
- See that the tall white slender gowans blow and bloom
In the grass round my head-stone brightly;
I would not have the little orphan daisy nightly
Mourning in solitude and gloom!
- Let there be shrieking on the hill and in the glen,
Throughout the length and breadth of Galway's
Green land! Kathleen Dubh Reilly has herself been always
The Queen of Keeners; mourn her then!
- Lights will be seen to dance along Carn Corra's height,
And through the burial-field; but follow
Them not, young men and women! for, o'er hill and hollow
They will but lure to Death and Night!
- But come ye to my grave when, in the days of May,
The gladsome sun and skies grow warmer,
And say, 'Here sleeps Kathleen, where tempest cannot harm her,
Soft be her narrow bed of clay!'
- And count your beads, and pray, 'Rest her poor soul, O God!
She willed no ill to breathing mortal
Grant her, then, Thou, a place within Heaven's blessèd portal,
Now that her bones lie in the sod!'