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Irish Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Be Thou My Vision by Dallan Forgaill
  2. Saint Patrick by Edwin Markham
  3. Reptilian Anatomy by Anonymous

  1. Be Thou My Vision

    by Dallan Forgaill

    Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
    Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
    Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
    Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

    Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word;
    I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
    Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
    Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

    Be Thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
    Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight;
    Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower:
    Raise Thou me heav’nward, O power of my power.

    Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
    Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
    Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
    High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.

    High King of Heaven, my victory won,
    May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
    Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
    Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

  2. Saint Patrick

    by Edwin Markham


    Wandered from the Antrim hills,
    Wandered from Killala's rills,
    He could hear upon the breeze
    Voices from the Irish seas.
    Folk of Fochlad called to him
    From their forest deep and dim;
    And in vision little hands
    Beckoned from the Irish lands,
    Where the western billows spoke
    With the Druid groves of oak.
    Evermore their cry did seem
    Calling, calling, through his dream:
    "Hasten with the flower of truth,
    Walk among us, holy youth!"


    When he spread his dauntless sail
    To the gladness of the gale,
    Glowering demons, mile on mile,
    Stood in league around the Isle,
    Laughing out their crackling rage,
    At the young, unfearing sage.
    There with lifted cross he came,
    Breathing low the Sacred Name,
    And the demons, form by form,
    Fled in fury down the storm.
    Over the Isle his spirit went
    Like fire across the firmament.
    Kings at Tara caught the word,
    Churl and kern and chieftain heard.
    Lo, the Druid's mystic rod
    Fell down withered before God!

    With the frost he kindled fire;
    Drove the snakes from brake and briar,
    Hurling out the writhing brood
    With the lightning of his rood.
    Once he stooped, and with his hand
    Traced a cross upon the sand;
    Then a wonder—from the ground
    Sprang a stream with silver sound;
    And a blind man kneeling there
    Laved his eyelids, whispering prayer.
    Then on his relighted eyes
    Rushed the splendor of the skies—
    Flashed the water's glancing bubble—
    Gleamed the gold across the stubble—
    Shined the roads that have no ends—
    Smiled the faces of old friends.


    And when Patrick fell on sleep,
    Twelve the days were, still and deep—
    Twelve the days, with never a night,
    Never a cloud across the light.
    Angels chanted out the hours
    Leaning from their sky-hung towers;
    Like a garden blown to bloom
    Was the sweetness round his tomb....

    Fable, legend, all are true:
    More than these did Patrick do!
    For he cleared the serpent den,
    Hiding in the hearts of men;
    Letting Love's bright fountain spring
    Into sweetest murmuring.
    Yes, the wise, heroic breed
    Bring us miracle indeed.
    On the dark he left God's smile,
    Lighting up Ierne's Isle;
    And forever lives his name
    As the rose upon her fame.

  3. Reptilian Anatomy

    by Anonymous

    "Bedad, that hurt!" and Patrick held
    A bleeding finger up to view.
    Erstwhiles he'd poked up shrimps and such
    To see just what the things would do.

    The Irishman's patrons gathered 'round;
    But not with sympathy — they laughed
    At Paddy's little turtle scrape —
    And, while the reptile crawled, they chaffed.

    Howld on, I want to know pfwhere is
    "His head," says Paddy's Irish tongue,
    "And pfwhere's his tail?" "Why so?" says one.
    "To know if I am bit or shtung!"

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