Poem of the day

Deirdre’s Lament for the Sons of Usnach
by Samuel Ferguson (1810-1886)

The lions of the hill are gone,
And I am left alone—alone—
Dig the grave both wide and deep,
For I am sick, and fain would sleep!

The falcons of the wood are flown,
And I am left alone—alone—
Dig the grave both deep and wide,
And let us slumber side by side.

The dragons of the rock are sleeping,
Sleep that wakes not for our weeping:
Dig the grave and make it ready;
Lay me on my true Love’s body.

Lay their spears and bucklers bright
By the warriors’ sides aright;
Many a day the Three before me
On their linked bucklers bore me.

Lay upon the low grave floor,
’Neath each head, the blue claymore;
Many a time the noble Three
Redden’d those blue blades for me.

Lay the collars, as is meet,
Of their greyhounds at their feet;
Many a time for me have they
Brought the tall red deer to bay

Oh! to hear my true Love singing,
Sweet as sound of trumpets ringing:
Like the sway of ocean swelling
Roll’d his deep voice round our dwelling.

Oh! to hear the echoes pealing
Round our green and fairy sheeling,
When the Three, with soaring chorus,
Pass’d the silent skylark o’er us.

Echo now, sleep, morn and even—
Lark alone enchant the heaven!—
Ardan’s lips are scant of breath,—
Neesa’s tongue is cold in death.

Stag, exult on glen and mountain—
Salmon, leap from loch to fountain—
Heron, in the free air warm ye—
Usnach’s Sons no more will harm ye!

Erin’s stay no more you are,
Rulers of the ridge of war;
Never more ’twill be your fate
To keep the beam of battle straight.

Woe is me! by fraud and wrong—
Traitors false and tyrants strong—
Fell Clan Usnach, bought and sold,
For Barach’s feast and Conor’s gold!

Woe to Eman, roof and wall!—
Woe to Red Branch, hearth and hall!—
Tenfold woe and black dishonour
To the false and foul Clan Conor!

Dig the grave both wide and deep,
Sick I am, and fain would sleep!
Dig the grave and make it ready,
Lay me on my true Love’s body.

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