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.
 
Introductory
Roisin Dubh; Or, the Bleeding Heart
Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)
 
          Roisin Dubh signifies the “Black little Rose,” and was one of the mystical names under which the bards celebrated Ireland.

O, WHO art 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 rosebud in June was that spot at noon,        5
    A rosebud 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 Myriam 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
O, sweet, men say, is the song by day,
    And the feast by night;
But on poisons I thrive, and in death survive
    Through ghostly might.”
 
 
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