Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DONAL KENNY, by JOHN KEEGAN CASEY



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DONAL KENNY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Come, piper, play the 'shaskan reel'
Last Line: For donal kenny's heart was broken.
Alternate Author Name(s): Leo
Subject(s): Love - Loss Of


"Come, piper, play the 'Shaskan Reel,'
Or else the 'Lasses on the Heather,'
And, Mary, lay aside your wheel
Until we dance once more together.
At fair and pattern oft before
Of reels and jigs we've tripped full many;
But ne'er again this loved old floor,
Will feel the foot of Donal Kenny."

Softly she rose and took his hand,
And softly glided through the measure,
While, clustering round, the village band
Looked half in sorrow, half in pleasure.
Warm blessings flowed from every lip
As ceased the dancers' airy motion:
O Blessed Virgin! guide the ship
Which bears bold Donal o'er the ocean!

"Now God be with you all," he sighed,
Adown his face the bright tears flowing--
"God guard you well, avick," they cried,
"Upon the strange path you are going."
So full his breast he scarce could speak,
With burning grasp the stretched hands taking,
He pressed a kiss on every cheek,
And sobbed as if his heart was breaking.

"Boys, don't forget me when I'm gone,
For sake of all the days passed over--
The days you spent on heath and bawn,
With Donal Ruadh, the rattlin' rover.
Mary, agra, your soft brown eye
Has willed my fate," he whispered lowly;
"Another holds thy heart: good-bye!
Heaven grant you both its blessings holy!"

A kiss upon her brow of snow,
A rush across the moonlit meadow,
Whose broom-clad hazels, trembling slow,
The mossy boreen wrapped in shadow;
Away o'er Tully's bounding rill,
And far beyond the Inny river;
One cheer on Carrick's rocky hill,
And Donal Kenny's gone for ever."

The breezes whistled through the sails,
O'er Galway Bay the ship was heaving,
And smothered groans and bursting wails
Told all the grief and pain of leaving.
One form among that exiled band
Of parting sorrow gave no token,
Still was his breath, and cold his hand;
For Donal Kenny's heart was broken.




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