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

Brosna, the River

Brosna’s Banks

By John Frazer (1809–1849)

YES, yes, I idled many an hour,

(O, would that I could idle now,

In wooing back the withered flower

Of health into my wasted brow!)

But from my life’s o’ershadowing close,

My unimpassioned spirit ranks

Among its happiest moments those

I idled on the Brosna’s banks.

For there upon my boyhood broke

The dreamy voice of nature first;

And every word the vision spoke

How deeply has my spirit nursed!

A woman’s love, a lyre, or pen,

A rescued land, a nation’s thanks,

A friendship with the world, and then

A grave upon the Brosna’s banks.

For these I sued and sought and strove,

But now my youthful days are gone,

In vain, in vain,—for woman’s love

Is still a blessing to be won;

And still my country’s cheek is wet,

The still unbroken fetter clanks,

And I may not forsake her yet

To die upon the Brosna’s banks.

Yet idle as those visions seem,

They were a strange and faithful guide,

When Heaven itself had scarce a gleam

To light my darkened life beside;

And if from grosser guilt escaped

I feel no dying dread, the thanks

Are due unto the Power that shaped

My visions on the Brosna’s banks.

And love, I feel, will come at last,

Albeit too late to comfort me;

And fetters from the land be cast,

Though I may not survive to see.

If then the gifted, good, and brave

Admit me to their glorious ranks,

My memory may, though not my grave,

Be green upon the Brosna’s banks.