My Father

By William Drennan

From The Cabinet of Irish Literature, Volume 2, edited by Charles A. Read

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!