The Irish Peasant Girl

By Charles Joseph Kickham

From The Cabinet of Irish Literature, Volume 4, edited by T. P. O'Connor

She lived beside the Anner,
At the foot of Sliev-na-mon,
A gentle peasant girl,
With mild eyes like the dawn;
Her lips were dewy rosebuds;
Her teeth of pearls rare;
And a snow-drift 'neath a beechen bough
Her neck and nut-brown hair.

How pleasant 'twas to meet her
On Sunday, when the bell
Was filling with its mellow tones
Lone wood and grassy dell!
And when at eve young maidens
Strayed the river bank along,
The widow's brown-haired daughter
Was loveliest of the throng.

O brave, brave Irish girls—
We well may call you brave!—
Sure the least of all your perils
Is the stormy ocean wave,
When ye leave your quiet valleys,
And cross the Atlantic's foam,
To hoard your hard-won earnings
For the helpless ones at home.

"Write word to my dear mother—
Say, we'll meet with God above;
And tell my little brothers
I send them all my love;
May the angels ever guard them,
Is their dying sister's prayer"—
And folded in the letter
Was a braid of nut-brown hair.

Ah, cold, and well-nigh callous,
This weary heart has grown
For thy hapless fate, dear Ireland,
And for sorrows of my own;
Yet a tear my eye will moisten,
When by Anner side I stray,
For the lily of "the Mountain-foot"
That withered far away.