by: Helen Selina Sheridan (Lady Dufferin) (1807-1867)

      'M sitting on the stile, Mary,
      Where we sat side by side
      On a bright May morning, long ago,
      When first you were my bride;
      The corn was springing fresh and green,
      And the lark sang loud and high;
      And the red was on your lip, Mary,
      And the love-light in your eye.
      The place is little changed, Mary,
      The day as bright as then;
      The lark's loud song is in my ear,
      And the corn is green again;
      But I miss the soft clasp of your hand,
      And your breath warm on my cheek;
      And I still keep listening for the words
      You never more will speak.
      'Tis but a step down yonder lane,
      And the little church stands near--
      The church where we were wed, Mary;
      I see the spire from here.
      But the graveyard lies between, Mary,
      And my step might break your rest--
      For I've laid you, darling, down to sleep,
      With your baby on your breast.
      I'm very lonely now, Mary,
      For the poor make no new friends;
      But, Oh! they love the better still
      The few our Father sends!
      And you were all I had, Mary--
      My blessing and my pride;
      There's nothing left to care for now,
      Since my poor Mary died.
      Yours was the good, brave heart, Mary,
      That still kept hoping on,
      When the trust in God had left my soul,
      And my arm's young strength was gone;
      There was comfort ever on your lip,
      And the kind look on your brow--
      I bless you, Mary, for that same,
      Tho' you cannot hear me now.
      I thank you for the patient smile
      When your heart was fit to break--
      When the hunger pain was gnawing there.
      And you did it for my sake;
      I bless you for the pleasant word,
      When your heart was sad and sore--
      Oh! I'm thankful you are gone, Mary,
      Where grief can't reach you more!
      I'm bidding you a long farewell,
      My Mary--kind and true!
      But I'll not forget you darling,
      In the land I'm going to;
      They say there's bread and work for all,
      And the sun shines always there--
      But I'll not forget old Ireland,
      Were it fifty times as fair!
      And often in those grand old woods
      I'll sit, and shut my eyes,
      And my heart will travel back again
      To the place where Mary lies;
      And I'll think I see the little stile
      Where we sat side by side,
      And the springing corn, and the bright May morn
      When first you were my bride.

"Lament of the Irish Emigrant" is reprinted from One Hundred Choice Selections. Ed. Phineas Garrett. Philadelphia: Penn Publishing Co., 1897.




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