Irish Minstrelsy/Volume 2/Part 3/Lament for the Queen of James II

Irish Minstrelsy
by Seán Ó Neachtain, translated by Henry Grattan Curran
Lament for the Queen of James II
3509584Irish Minstrelsy — Lament for the Queen of James IIHenry Grattan CurranSeán Ó Neachtain



Dark source of my anguish! deep wound of a land,
Whose young and defenceless the loss will deplore;
The munificent spirit, the liberal hand,
Still stretched, the full bounty it prompted to pour.

The stone is laid o'er thee! the fair glossy braid,
The high brow, the light cheek with its roseate glow;
The bright form, and the berry that dwelt, and could fade,
On these lips, thou sage giver, all, all are laid low.

Like a swan on the billows she moved in her grace,
Snow white were her limbs, and with beauty replete;
And time on that pure brow had left no more trace,
Than if he had sped with her own fairy feet.

Whatever of purity, glory, bath ever
Been linked with the name, lovely Mary was thine;
Woe! woe, that the tomb, ruthless tyrant, should sever,
The ties which our spirits half broken resign.

Than Cæsar of hosts3—the true darling of Rome,
Far prouder was James—where pure spirits are met;
The virgin, the saint—though heaven's radiance illume
Their brows—Erin's wrongs can o'ershadow them yet.

And rank be the poison—the plagues that distil,
Through the heart of the spoiler that laid them in dust;
The rapt bard with their glory the nations shall fill.
With the fame of his patrons, the generous, the just.

Wherever the beam of the morning is shed.
With its light the full fame of our loved ones hath shone;
The deep curse of our sorrow shall burst on his head
That hath hurled them—the pride of our hearts! from
their throne—

The mid-day is dark with unnatural gloom—
And a spectral lament wildly shrieked in the air,
Tells all hearts that our princess lies cold in the
Bids the old and the young bend in agony there!

Faint the lowing of kine o'er the seared yellow lawn!
And tuneless the warbler that droops on the spray!
The bright tenants that flashed through the current are
For the princess we honoured is laid in the clay.—

Darkly brooding alone o'er his bondage and shame,
By the shore, in mute agony, wander the Gael—
And sad is my spirit—and clouded my dream,
For my king—for the star my devotion would hail—

What woe, beyond this, hath dark fortune to wreak?
What wrath o'er the land yet remains to be hurled?
They turn them to Rome! but despairing they shriek,
For Spain's flag, in defeat, and defection is furled—

Though our sorrows avail not—our hope is not lost—
For the Father is mighty!—the Highest remains!—
The loosed waters rushed down upon Pharoah's wide
But the billows crouch back from the foot He sustains—

Just power! that for Moses the wave didst divide,
Look down on the land where thy followers pine;
Look down upon Erin! and crush the dark pride
Of the scourge of thy people—the foes of thy shrine.