Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Ireland
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V.  1876–79.
 
Leinster
Cathal’s Farewell to the Rye
Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825–1868)
 
          Cathal Crov-derg (the red-handed) O’Connor, being banished in his infancy from Connaught, was found in exile in Leinster by the Bollscaire (messenger or herald), who brought him the news of his father Thurlough’s death, and his own election. The Bollscaire found him reaping rye in a field with clowns. On hearing the news, Cathal cast the sickle on the ridge, saying: “Farewell, sickle; now for the sword!” To this day, “Cathal’s farewell to the Rye” has been a proverb among the Sil-Murray whenever they wanted to express a final farewell. See O’Donovan’s Annals of the Four Masters.

SHINING sickle! lie thou there;
  Another harvest needs my hand,
Another sickle I must bear
  Back to the fields of my own land.
          Farewell, sickle! welcome, sword!        5
 
A crop waves red on Connaught’s plain,
  Of bearded men and banners gay,
But we will beat them down like rain,
  And sweep them like the storm away.
          Farewell, sickle! welcome, sword!        10
 
Peaceful sickle! lie thou there,
  Deep buried in the vanquished rye;
May this that in thy stead I bear
  Above as thick a reaping lie!
          Farewell, sickle! welcome, sword!        15
 
Welcome, sword! out from your sheath,
  And look upon the glowing sun;
Sharp-shearer of the field of death,
  Your time of rust and rest is gone.
          Welcome, welcome, trusty sword!        20
 
Welcome, sword! no more repose
  For Cathal Crov-derg or for thee,
Until we walk o’er Erin’s foes,
  Or they walk over you and me,
          My lightning, banner-cleaving sword!        25
 
Welcome, sword! thou magic wand,
  Which raises kings and casts them down;
Thou sceptre to the fearless hand,
  Thou fetter-key for limbs long bound,—
          Welcome, wonder-working sword!        30
 
Welcome, sword! no more with love
  Will Cathal look on land or main,
Till with thine aid, my sword! I prove
  What race shall reap and king shall reign.
          Farewell, sickle! welcome, sword!        35
 
Shining sickle! lie thou there;
  Another harvest needs my hand,
Another sickle I must bear
  Back to the fields of my own land.
          Farewell, sickle! welcome, sword!        40
 
 
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors