Nora To David Herbison.

A poem by Nora Pembroke

There's a place in the North where the bonnie broom grows,
Where winding through green meadows the silver Maine flows,
Every lark as it soars and sings that sweet spot knows;
For the mate for whom it sings,
Till the clear blue heaven rings,
Is brooding on its nest mid the daisies in the grass;
And that psalmist sweet, the thrush,
And the linnet in the bush,
Tell the children all their secrets in song as they pass.

Oh brightly shines the sun there where wee birdies sing,
A glamour's o'er the buds in the green lap of spring,
In happy, happy laughter children's voices ring!
Like some fair enchanted ground,
In memory it is found,
Where my childhood's golden hours of happiness were spent;
There within a leafy nook,
I have pored upon a book
Till romance and fairy lore with every thought were blent.

I mind how fair the world was one bright summer day,
Sitting in a shady place better seemed than play;
Childhood's golden memories never fade away;
My child friend most sweet and fair,
My bright Lily she was there;
We read and mused in silence and spoke our thoughts by turns;
Lily, with her lofty look,
Turned oftenest to her book,
The book that lay between us was the peasant poet Burns.

The heaven-gifted man with winsome witching art,
Who touches at his will the kindly human heart,
'Till it throbs with joy like pain and tears begin to start;
He so tenderly touched ours
With his melting magic powers,
Made feelings which he felt within our bosoms spring,
Where he wished for Scotia's sake,
Some plan or book to make,
Or to write the bonnie songs his country loves to sing.

Fancies wild were ours on that day so long ago,
Stirred by Burns's genius, for we had learned to know
The beauty of sweet Erin and something of her woe;
And in song we longed to tell
Of the land we loved so well,
Singing words of hope and cheer, wailing each sad mishap,
Like the daisies on the sod,
With their faces turned to God,
Clung we to the island green that nursed us on her lap.

I said to Lily, fair, my hand among her curls,
If we were Red Branch Knights, or high and noble Earls,
Or poets grand like Burns, instead of simple girls,
We might do some noble deed,
Or touch some tuneful reed,
Something for the land we love to bring her high renown,
The land where we were born;
Is spoken of with scorn,
Her children's songs should praise her, her children's deeds should

My fair and stately Lily how thy hand sought mine
Clasped it warm and tender with sympathy in thine,
As I wished that we could make our 'streams and burmes shine'
There's many a ruin old,
There's many a castle bold,
There's Sleive mis with his head in mist, here's the silver Maine,
But who of them will sing
Till the whole world shall ring,
With the melody, and ask to hear it once again?

If one of her own children standing boldly forth,
With eyes to see her beauty, a heart to know her worth,
Would fling the charm of song o'er the green robe of the North
Lily said, sweet friend there's one,
And his name is Herbison,
Who sings of Northern Erin in sunlight and in storm,
Of the legend and the tale,
Of the banshees awful wail,
Of Dunluce upon the sea, of the castle of Galgorm

Of the gallant deeds of the all but vanished race,
The high O'Neils who kept with princely state their place
Of their white armed daughters in beauty's woeful race
In that joyful youthful time
All my pulses beat to rhyme,
I thought what you were doing that I would also do,
I would praise the bonnie North,
And draw its legends forth
From cottage and from castle the pleasant country through

I'd make the land I loved in poesy to shine,
The Maine should flow along in "many a tuneful line,"
Songs praising hills and streams full sweetly should be mine,
And the legends I would sing,
From lip to lip should ring,
My native land should ask for, and hear my humble name;
When like her tuneful son,
Green laurels I had won,
I'd think her love for me was better far than fame.

Blessed be the green recess by the sweet Maine water where
I a little child with my child friend sweet and fair
Built with golden fancies this castle in the air!
My child friend is at rest,
Erin's shamrock's on her breast,
I her little minstrel am all unknown to fame,
For the songs are all unsung,
And not a northern tongue
Has spoken once in praise my very unknown name

But I know heroic souls beyond my feeble praise,
I know of calm endurance like the great of other days,
High deeds for battle song, worth a poet's noblest lays,
Of the pathos of the strife
In the lowly walks of life,
Of many an unknown hero that has won the victor's crown
And the lovely, lovely land,
Landscape fair, and castle grand,
Worthy the coming bard who will sing of their renown.

I love thee well, sweet Erin, though fate led another way;
I'll call thee still, mavourneen, when head and heart are grey;
Another one will say and sing what I have failed to say;
But this very day to me,
There has come across the sea
Some pleasant verses bearing a well remembered name;
That has done for Erin's land
What I only thought and planned,
And won a place in Erin's heart that I can never claim.

So unknown beside a pine-fringed lake away beyond the sea,
Half in gladness of remembrance, half in wakened childish glee
I stretch my hand in homage and kindredship to thee,
I greet thee this bright day
From three thousand miles away,
And to thy well earned laurels I'd add a sprig of bay
Glad to know thou'rt rhyming yet,
For thy readers can't forget
Erin's genial loving son,
Poet of the steadfast North kindly David Herbison

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