Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
130. Roisin Dubh
By Aubrey de Vere
O WHO are thou with that queenly brow
And uncrowned head?
And why is the vest that binds thy breast,
O’er the heart, blood-red?
Like a rose-bud in June that spot at noon,        5
A rose-bud weak;
But it deepens and grows like a July rose:
Death-pale thy cheek.
“The babes I fed at my foot lay dead;
I saw them die;        10
In Ramah a blast went wailing past;
It was Rachel’s cry.
But I stand sublime on the shores of Time,
And I pour mine ode,
As Miriam sang to the cymbals’ clang,        15
On the wind to God.
“Once more at my feasts my bards and priests
Shall sit and eat:
And the Shepherd whose sheep are on every steep
Shall bless my meat;        20
Oh, sweet, men say, is the song by day,
And the feast by night;
But on poisons I thrive, and in death survive
Through ghostly night.”
“The Little Dark Rose.” This poem of Aubrey De Vere’s was one of a series written in time of catastrophe—during the famine of 1846–47.


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