Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IRELAND (1847), by DENIS FLORENCE MCCARTHY



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IRELAND (1847), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: They are dying! They are dying! Where the golden corn is growing
Last Line: Health is blowing!
Alternate Author Name(s): Maccarthy, Denis Florence
Subject(s): Freedom; Ireland - Famine; Patriotism; Liberty


THEY are dying! they are dying! where the golden
corn is growing;
They are dying! they are dying! where the
crowded herds are lowing:
They are gasping for existence where the streams
of life are flowing,
And they perish of the plague where the breeze of
health is blowing!

God of justice! God of power!
Do we dream? Can it be,
In this land, at this hour,
With the blossom on the tree,
In the gladsome month of May,
When the young lambs play,
When Nature looks around
On her waking children now,
The seed within the ground,
The bud upon the bough?
Is it right, is it fair,
That we perish of despair
In this land, on this soil,
Where our destiny is set,
Which we cultured with our toil,
And watered with our sweat?
We have ploughed, we have sown
But the crop was not our own;
We have reaped, but harpy hands
Swept the harvest from our lands;
We were perishing for food,
When lo! in pitying mood,
Our kindly rulers gave
The fat fluid of the slave,
While our corn filled the manger
Of the war-horse of the stranger!

God of mercy! must this last?
Is this land preordained,
For the present and the past
And the future, to be chained, --
To be ravaged, to be drained,
To be robbed, to be spoiled,
To be hushed, to be whipt,
Its soaring pinions clipt,
And its every effort foiled?

Do our numbers multiply
But to perish and to die?
Is this all our destiny below, --
That our bodies, as they rot,
May fertilize the spot
Where the harvests of the stranger grow?

If this be, indeed, our fate,
Far, far better now, though late,
That we seek some other land and try some other
zone;
The coldest, bleakest shore
Will surely yield us more
Than the storehouse of the stranger that we dare
not call our own.

Kindly brothers of the West,
Who from Liberty's full breast
Have fed us, who are orphans beneath a step
dame's frown,
Behold our happy state,
And weep your wretched fate
That you share not in the splendors of our em-
pire and our crown!

Kindly brothers of the East, --
Thou great tiaraed priest,
Thou sanctified Rienzi of Rome and of the
earth, --
Or thou who bear'st control
Over golden Istambol,
Who felt for our misfortunes and helped us in
our dearth, --

Turn here your wondering eyes,
Call your wisest of the wise,
Your muftis and your ministers, your men of
deepest lore;
Let the sagest of your sages
Ope our island's mystic pages,
And explain unto your highness the wonders of
our shore.

A fruitful, teeming soil,
Where the patient peasants toil
Beneath the summer's sun and the watery winter
sky;
Where they tend the golden grain
Till it bends upon the plain,
Then reap it for the stranger, and turn aside to
die;

Where they watch their flocks increase,
And store the snowy fleece
Till they send it to their masters to be woven o'er
the waves;
Where, having sent their meat
For the foreigner to eat,
Their mission is fulfilled, and they creep into
their graves.

'T is for this they are dying where the golden
corn is growing,
'T is for this they are dying where the crowded
herds are lowing,
'T is for this they are dying where the streams of
life are flowing,
And they perish of the plague where the breeze of
health is blowing!




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