LAMENT OF THE IRISH EMIGRANT
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.
MORE POEMS BY HELEN SELINA SHERIDAN
"Lament of the Irish Emigrant"
is reprinted from One Hundred Choice Selections. Ed. Phineas
Garrett. Philadelphia: Penn Publishing Co., 1897.