Verse > Padraic Colum > Anthology of Irish Verse
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  Anthology of Irish Verse.  1922.
 
85. John O’Dwyer of the Glen
 
By Thomas Furlong (Translated)
 
 
BLITHE the bright dawn found me,
Rest with strength had crown’d me,
Sweet the birds sang around me
Sport was their toil.
 
The horn its clang was keeping,        5
Forth the fox was creeping,
Round each dame stood weeping,
O’er the prowler’s spoil.
 
Hark! the foe is calling,
Fast the woods are falling,        10
Scenes and sights appalling
Mark the wasted soil.
 
War and confiscation
Curse the fallen nation;
Gloom and desolation        15
Shade the lost land o’er,
 
Chill the winds are blowing,
Death aloft is going,
Peace or hope seems growing
For our race no more.        20
 
Hark! the foe is calling,
Fast the woods are falling,
Scenes and sights appalling
Throng the blood-stained shore
 
Nobles once high-hearted,        25
From their homes have parted,
Scattered, scared, and started
By a base-born band.
 
Spots that once were cheering,
Girls beloved, endearing,        30
Friends from whom I’m steering,
Take this parting tear.
 
There are many versions and many translations of this famous poem. It laments the exile of the native Irish families and also the destruction of the Irish woods. The exile and the destruction went together. The woods were destroyed, partly as a measure of safety for the planters—the woods gave shelter to the “Rapparees” and partly as a quick way of exploiting the confiscated lands. It was then that the deforestation of Ireland began.
 

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