Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Ireland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V.  1876–79.
 
Miscellaneous
Dark Rosaleen
Hugh the Red O’Donnell (1572–1602)
 
        
Translated by James Clarence Mangan
  This impassioned ballad, entitled in the original Roisin Duh (or The Black Little Rose), was written in the reign of Elizabeth by one of the poets of the celebrated Tirconnellian chieftain, Hugh the Red O’Donnell. It purports to be an allegorical address from Hugh to Ireland, on the subject of his love and struggles for her, and his resolve to raise her again to the glorious position she held as a nation before the irruption of the Saxon and Norman spoilers.

O MY Dark Rosaleen,
  Do not sigh, do not weep!
The priests are on the ocean green,
  They march along the deep.
There ’s wine from the royal Pope,        5
  Upon the ocean green;
And Spanish ale shall give you hope,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
  My own Rosaleen!
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope,        10
Shall give you health and help and hope,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
 
Over hills and through dales
  Have I roamed for your sake;
All yesterday I sailed with sails        15
  On river and on lake.
The Erne, at its highest flood,
  I dashed across unseen,
For there was lightning in my blood,
  My Dark Rosaleen!        20
  My own Rosaleen!
O, there was lightning in my blood,
Red lightning lightened through my blood,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
 
All day long, in unrest,        25
  To and fro, do I move.
The very soul within my breast
  Is wasted for you, love!
The heart in my bosom faints
  To think of you, my queen,        30
My life of life, my saint of saints,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
  My own Rosaleen!
To hear your sweet and sad complaints,
My life, my love, my saint of saints,        35
  My Dark Rosaleen!
 
Woe and pain, pain and woe,
  Are my lot, night and noon,
To see your bright face clouded so,
  Like to the mournful moon.        40
But yet will I rear your throne
  Again in golden sheen;
’T is you shall reign, shall reign alone,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
  My own Rosaleen!        45
’T is you shall have the golden throne,
’T is you shall reign, and reign alone,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
 
Over dews, over sands,
  Will I fly, for your weal;        50
Your holy delicate white hands
  Shall girdle me with steel.
At home, in your emerald bowers,
  From morning’s dawn till e’en,
You ’ll pray for me, my flower of flowers,        55
  My Dark Rosaleen!
  My fond Rosaleen!
You ’ll think of me through daylight’s hours,
My virgin flower, my flower of flowers,
  My Dark Rosaleen!        60
 
I could scale the blue air,
  I could plough the high hills,
O, I could kneel all night in prayer,
  To heal your many ills!
And one beamy smile from you        65
  Would float like light between
My toils and me, my own, my true,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
  My fond Rosaleen!
Would give me life and soul anew,        70
A second life, a soul anew,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
 
O, the Erne shall run red
  With redundance of blood,
The earth shall rock beneath our tread,        75
  And flames wrap hill and wood;
And gun-peal and slogan cry
  Wake many a glen serene,
Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die,
  My Dark Rosaleen!        80
  My own Rosaleen!
The Judgment Hour must first be nigh,
Ere you can fade, ere you can die,
  My Dark Rosaleen!
 
 
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