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

Devenish, the Island


By John Reade (1837–1919)

’T WAS years since I had heard the name,

When, seen in print, before my eyes

The old Round Tower seemed to rise,

With silent scorn of noisy fame.

Our little boat, like water-bird,

Touches the still lake, breast to breast;

No sound disturbs the solemn rest

Save kiss of oar and whispered word.

All nature wears a placid smile

Of gold and blue and tender green;

And in the setting of the scene

Lies, like a gem, the Holy Isle.

Hushed is the music of the oar;

A little hand is placed in mine;

My blood runs wildly, as with wine,—

We stand together on the shore.

O boyish days, O boyish heart,

In vain I wish you back again!

O boyish fancy’s first sweet pain,

How glorious, after all, thou art!

The old Round Tower, the ruined walls,

Where mouldering bones once knelt in prayer,

The Latin legend, winding stair,—

These any “tourist’s book” recalls.

But, O, the love, the wild delight,

The sweet romance of long ago,

All these have vanished, as the glow

Of eventide fades out at night.