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John Todhunter

The Black Knight

1.

A beaten and a baffled man,
My life drags lamely day by day,
Too young to die, too old to plan,
In failure grey.


2.

The knights ride east, the knights ride west,
For ladyes' tokens blithe of cheer,
Each bound upon some gallant quest;
While I rust here.

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Golgotha

1.

On his cross still hangs the Saviour,
Bears our sins in dreadful sum,
Eighteen centuries and three quarters,
Yet his kingdom is not come.


2.

"It is finished!" Was it finished
When thy path of pain was trod?
Thou didst bear the sins of mortals,
Who shall bear the sins of God?

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A June Day

The very spirit of summer breathes to-day,
Here where I sun me in a dreamy mood,
And laps the sultry leas, and seems to brood
Tenderly o'er those hazed hills far away.
The air is fragrant with the new-mown hay,
And drowsed with hum of myriad flies pursued
By twittering martins. All yon hillside wood
Is drowned in sunshine till its green looks grey.
No scrap of cloud is in the still blue sky,
Vaporous with heat, from which the foreground trees
Stand out--each leaf cut sharp. The whetted scythe
Makes rustic music for me as I lie,
Watching the gambols of the children blythe,
Drinking the season's sweetness to the lees.

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The Marseillaise

What means this mighty chant, wherein its wail
Of some intolerable woe, grown strong
With sense of more intolerable wrong
Swells to a stern victorious march--a gale
Of vengeful wrath? What mean the faces pale,
The fierce resolve, the ecstatic pangs along
Life's fiery ways, the demon thoughts which throng
The gates of awe, when these wild notes assail
The sleeping of our souls ? Hear ye no more
Than the mad foam of revolution's leaven,
Than a roused people's throne-o'erwhelming tread?
Hark! 'tis man's spirit thundering on the shore
Of iron fate; the tramp of Titans dread,
Sworn to dethrone the Gods unjust from Heaven.

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Maureen

O, you plant the pain in my heart with your wistful eyes,
Girl of my choice, Maureen!
Will you drive me mad for the kisses your shy, sweet mouth denies,
Maureen?

Like a walking ghost I am, and no words to woo,
White rose of the West, Maureen:
For it 's pale you are, and the fear that 's on you is over me too,
Maureen!

Sure it 's one complaint that 's on us, asthore, this day,
Bride of my dreams, Maureen:
The smart of the bee that stung us his honey must cure, they say,
Maureen!

I'll coax the light to your eyes, and the rose to your face,
Mavourneen, my own Maureen!
When I feel the warmth of your breast, and your nest is my arm's embrace,
Maureen!

[...] Read more

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Aghadoe

There's a glade in Aghadoe, Aghadoe, Aghadoe,
There 's a green and silent glade in Aghadoe,
Where we met, my love and I, Love's fair planet in the sky,
O'er that sweet and silent glade in Aghadoe.

There 's a glen in Aghadoe, Aghadoe, Aghadoe,
There 's a deep and secret glen in Aghadoe,
Where I hid from the eyes of the red-coats and their spies,
That year the trouble came to Aghadoe.

O, my curse on one black heart in Aghadoe, Aghadoe,
On Shaun Dhu, my mother's son in Aghadoe!
When your throat fries in hell's drouth, salt the flame be in your
mouth,
For the treachery you did in Aghadoe!

For they track'd me to that glen in Aghadoe, Aghadoe,
When the price was on his head in Aghadoe:
O'er the mountain, through the wood, as I stole to him with food,
Where in hiding lone he lay in Aghadoe.

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The Banshee

Green, in the wizard arms
Of the foam-bearded Atlantic,
An isle of old enchantment,
A melancholy isle,
Enchanted and dreaming lies;
And there, by Shannon's flowing,
In the moonlight, spectre-thin,
The spectre Erin sits.

An aged desolation,
She sits by old Shannon's flowing,
A mother of many children,
Of children exiled and dead,
In her home, with bent head, homeless,
Clasping her knees she sits,
Keening, keening!

And at her keen the fairy-grass
Trembles on dun and barrow;
Around the foot of her ancient crosses

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