Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
138. The Irish Mother in the Penal Days
By John Banim
NOW welcome, welcome, baby-boy, unto a mother’s fears,
The pleasure of her sufferings, the rainbow of her tears,
The object of your father’s hope, in all he hopes to do,
A future man of his own land, to live him o’er anew!
How fondly on thy little brow a mother’s eye would trace,        5
And in thy little limbs, and in each feature of thy face,
His beauty, worth, and manliness, and everything that’s his,
Except, my boy, the answering mark of where the fetter is!
Oh! many a weary hundred years his sires that fetter wore,
And he has worn it since the day that him his mother bore;        10
And now, my son, it waits on you, the moment you are born;
The old hereditary badge of suffering and scorn!
Alas, my boy, so beautiful!—alas, my love so brave!
And must your gallant Irish limbs still drag it to the grave?
And you, my son, yet have a son, foredoomed a slave to be,        15
Whose mother still must weep o’er him the tears I weep o’er thee!


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