My Own Green Land

A poem by Nora Pembroke

It was in the early morning
Of life, and of hope to me,
I sat on a grassy hillside
Of the Isle beyond the sea,
Erin's skies of changeful beauty
Were bending over me.

The landscape, emerald tinted,
Lying smiling in the sun,
The grass with daisies sprinkled,
And with shamrocks over run,
The Maine water flashed and dimpled,
Still flowing softly on.

The lark in the blue above me,
A tiny speck in the sky,
Rained down from its bosom's fulness
A shower of melody,
Dropping through the golden sunlight,
And sweetly rippling by

Afar in the sunny distance,
O'er the river's further brim,
Like a stern old Norman warder,
Stood the castle tall and grim,
And, nearer a grassy ruin,
Where an old name grew dim

I knew that the balmy gladness
Was brooding from sea to sea,
But I felt a note of sadness
That sobered my youthful glee,
The love of my mother Erin
Stirred all my heart in me

Oh Erin! my mother Erin,
Thou land of the tearful smile,
Hearts that feel, and hands of helping
Are thy children's blessed Isle'
The stranger is so no longer
That rests on thy breasts awhile

Be he Saxon, Dane or Norman,
That steps on thy kindly shore,
Who sets his foot on thy daisies
Is kinder for evermore,
For thy cead mille failtha
Thrills warm to his bosom's care.

But Erin, never contented
Struggles again and again,
As all proud and free born captives
Must strive with the conqueror's chain.
That, if ever snapped asunder,
Is riveted firm again

The words of an Hebrew exile,
Like to some sweet song's refrain,
That sweetly goeth and cometh
And echoes through heart and brain,
"Be sure that the day is coming
"When Erin shall rise again

"She only of all the nations,
"Since in dust our temple lies,
"Has not our blood on our garments
"Has brought no tears to our eyes,
"He says, they prosper who love us
"Thy Erin at last shall rise."

I waited, watched for the blessing
Promised, oh so long ago,
I looked for the brilliant future
The end of the long drawn woe,
My hopes, with my years, Time the reaper,
Hath laughingly laid them low.

Oh Erin! my mother Erin!
Will "to be" repeat what has been?
Will your sons ever "shoulder to shoulder"
Be strong and united seen?
Will ever the foreign lilies
Blend with the nation's green?

For in other lands the peoples,
Quite forgetting ancient wrong,
Have blended and fused, becoming
Because of their union strong,
Leaving all old feuds and battles,
As themes for romance and song

From party's Promethean vulture,
When wilt thou get release?
When will the strife of races,
The strife of religions cease?
And the hearts of thy loving children
Mingle and be at peace?

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