The Vale Of Shanganah.

A poem by Denis Florence MacCarthy

When I have knelt in the temple of Duty,
Worshipping honour and valour and beauty--
When, like a brave man, in fearless resistance,
I have fought the good fight on the field of existence;
When a home I have won in the conflict of labour,
With truth for my armour and thought for my sabre,
Be that home a calm home where my old age may rally,
A home full of peace in this sweet pleasant valley!
Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
May the accents of love, like the droppings of manna,
Fall sweet on my heart in the Vale of Shanganah!

Fair is this isle--this dear child of the ocean--
Nurtured with more than a mother's devotion;
For see! in what rich robes has nature arrayed her,
From the waves of the west to the cliffs of Ben Hader,[2]
By Glengariff's lone islets--Lough Lene's fairy water,[3]
So lovely was each, that then matchless I thought her;
But I feel, as I stray through each sweet-scented alley,
Less wild but more fair is this soft verdant valley!
Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
No wide-spreading prairie, no Indian savannah,
So dear to the eye as the Vale of Shanganah!

How pleased, how delighted, the rapt eye reposes
On the picture of beauty this valley discloses,
From the margin of silver, whereon the blue water
Doth glance like the eyes of the ocean foam's daughter!
To where, with the red clouds of morning combining,
The tall "Golden Spears"[4] o'er the mountains are shining,
With the hue of their heather, as sunlight advances,
Like purple flags furled round the staffs of the lances!
Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
No lands far away by the swift Susquehannah,
So tranquil and fair as the Vale of Shanganah!

But here, even here, the lone heart were benighted,
No beauty could reach it, if love did not light it;
'Tis this makes the earth, oh! what mortal could doubt it?
A garden with it, but a desert without it!
With the lov'd one, whose feelings instinctively teach her
That goodness of heart makes the beauty of feature.
How glad, through this vale, would I float down life's river,
Enjoying God's bounty, and blessing the Giver!
Sweetest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
Greenest of vales is the Vale of Shanganah!
May the accents of love, like the droppings of manna,
Fall sweet on my heart in the Vale of Shanganah!

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