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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V. 1876–79.

Erne, the River

A Burial-place

By William Allingham (1824–1889)

WHERE those green mounds o’erlook the mingling Erne

And salt Atlantic, clay that walked as Man

A thousand years ago, Oster or Kerne,

May still repose: and thither, if ye can,

I pray ye, friends, to see my ashes borne

When I have measured out this mortal span;

After so many centuries have rolled,

Adding one brother to the sleepers old.

The silver salmon shooting up the fall,

Itself at once the arrow and the bow;

The shadow of the old quay’s weedy wall

Cast on the shining turbulence below;

The water-voice which ever seemed to call

Far off out of my childhood’s long-ago;

The gentle washing of the harbor wave;—

Be these the sounds and sights around my grave.

Soothed also with thy friendly beck, my town,

And near the square gray tower, within whose shade

I might not with my fathers lay me down:

Whilst, by the wide heavens changefully arrayed,

The purple mountains its horizon crown;

And westward ’tween low hummocks is displayed

In lightsome hours, the level pale blue sea,

With sails upon it, creeping silently:

Or, other time, beyond that tawny sand,

And ocean glooming underneath the shroud

Drawn thick athwart it by tempestuous hand;

When like a mighty fire the bar roars loud,

As though the whole sea came to whelm the land,—

The gull flies white against the stormy cloud,

And in the weather-gleam the breakers mark

A ghastly line upon the waters dark.

A green, unfading quilt above be spread,

And freely round let all the breezes blow;

May children play beside the breathless bed,

Holiday lasses by the cliff-edge go;

And manly sports upon the sward be sped,

And cheerful boats beneath the headland row.

And be the thought, if any rise, of me,

What happy soul might choose that thought to be.