SOME BEAUTIFUL BARDIC POETRY from the book Irish Scholars of the Penal Days written by the Rev. William P. Treacy (1889)


Enthroned among the dark-green pines
By no one seen, the linnet sings;
Enthroned among the lone, dark pines
The linnet’s voice now clearly rings;
He recks not who may hear his songs;
He recks not though they be not heard.
He sings of loves, and joys, and wrongs,
He sings for self, the happy bird.

The shepherd on the lonely hills,
At eventide pours forth his strains;
He pipes of meads, and flocks, and rills
And hamlets on the flowery plains;
He dreams not, that deep in the vale,
The toilers pause to hear his voice,
He dreams not that his sweet notes sail
Far off, to make sad hearts rejoice.

Oh, thus the bards in their charmed cells,
Think of their lyres and not of men;
Oh, thus the bards in their hidden cells
Forget the workers in life’s glen;
They sing their songs to please themselves.
And not to please the world’s dull ear;
They sing their songs to soothe their souls,
Not dreaming of the listeners near.


O! holy Faith; O! Sacred Light,
Forever beam on me;
O like a star, shine on my night,
And light me o’er life’s sea.

The deep I sail is fierce and dark,
A wide, unbounded way,
I cannot steer my wandering bark
Without thy saving ray.

The shore is far away, I know,
And rocks and shoals are nigh,
Among a thousand wrecks I go,
O! star, my starless sky.

I sail, and sail, but know not where—
Before me, death and night;
O! holy Faith, now hear my prayer,
And show thy blessed light.

Shine on the waves that ’round me roar,
Shine on the far-off strand,
Be thou my light-house by the shore,
My sunshine on the land.


‘Tis vain to seek for bliss below—
The ancient curse will ever burn;
Our earth is but the nurse of woe—
Who seeks true joys, to God must turn.

Our gardens bear each hateful weed,
While all around the briers bloom;
From Paradise no blissful seed
Was blown afar to Adam’s tomb.

There is no stone on earth to build
A house where drossless joys abide;
There is no gold with power to gild
A peaceful home for human pride.

The world is but a stagnant lake,
Reflecting lovely shores and skies;
Its dazzling stillness dare to break,
And lo! what foulness in it lies.


Come back to me, my Fallen child,
Thou art the fruit of Heavenly Love;
I grieve to see thee thus denied:
Come back, come back, my Fallen dove.

A mother’s heart in me thou’lt find,
I’ll think not of thy sinfnl days;
My Daughter, come, —speak not unkind
To her who weeps thy dark, sad ways.

The holy font is near at hand,
I’ve laved in tears a robe for thee;
Thou art a dear though fallen land:
Come back, come back, my child to me.


My soul is like yon glowing fire,
Burning with a fond desire.
To ascend on high.

My life is like yon taper bright.
Wasting fast its measured light,
Soon, oh, bliss, to die.

My steps are like the dew at morn,
Passing from the rose and thorn,
Passing from earth’s joys and woes.

My heart is like the tiny bark
That flies the waves, when they grow dark,
And seeks in port a sweet repose.


What a fount of joy, of rapture,
Was this wood-born child of song! 

Like a smile or ray of sunshine,
Through the air he passed along;

All the Summer he was making
Verses wild, yet sweet of flow; 

Ah! how sad to see his plumage
Flying with the flakes of snow.

Priest and bard would come to listen
To his thrilling matin lay,

And the bard would sit all dreamy,
And the priest kneel down to pray; 

Hear the winds above him sighing!
Do they whisper of his woe?

Like a bunch of bleeding roses
Now he lies upon the snow.

Ah! no more we’ll see him building
Happy homes of down and moss; 

Ah! no more we’ll hear him chanting
On the chapel’s golden cross;

In the earth rich seeds are hidden,
Flowers will come in Summer’s glow; 

But our garden will be lonely,
For its bard sleeps in the snow.


Sweet lyre, adieu, adieu forever!
I lay thee by the lone, green sea,
Its troubled heart shall never, never,
Grow weary of thy melody.

Its winds and waves shall touch thy strings,
And saddest harmonies awake,
Its storms shall sweep thy music-springs,
While ships go down, and brave hearts break.

Sweet lyre, adieu, adieu forever!
The World cares not for songs from me,
I’ll sing no more; but Earth shall never
Be left without sweet sounds from thee!

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Filed under Bardic Poetry & Christian Verse, Celtic Miscellany

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