My Father

William Drennan
The Cabinet of Irish Literature (edited by Charles A. Read)
Volume 2

Who took me from my mother’s arms,

And, smiling at her soft alarms,

Showed me the world and Nature’s charms?

Who made me feel and understand

The wonders of the sea and land,

And mark, through all, the Maker’s hand?

Who climbed with me the mountain’s height,

And watched my look of dread delight,

While rose the glorious orb of light?

Who from each flower and verdant stalk

Gathered a honey’d store of talk,

And fill’d the long, delightful walk?

Not on an insect would he tread,

Nor strike the stinging-nettle dead—

Who taught, at once, my heart and head?

Who fired my breast with Homer’s fame,

And taught the high heroic theme

That nightly flashed upon my dream?

Who smiled at my supreme desire

To see the curling smoke aspire

From Ithaca’s domestic fire?

Who, with Ulysses, saw me roam,

High on the raft, amidst the foam,

His head upraised to look for home?

“What made a barren rock so dear?”

“My boy, he had a country there!”

And who, then, dropped a precious tear?

Who now, in pale and placid light

Of memory, gleams upon my sight,

Bursting the sepulchre of night?

O! teach me still thy Christian plan,

For practice with thy precept ran,

Nor yet desert me, now a man.

Still let thy scholar’s heart rejoice

With charm of thy angelic voice;

Still prompt the motive and the choice—

For yet remains a little space,

Till I shall meet thee face to face,

And not, as now, in vain embrace—

My Father!