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

Funcheon Woods

Funcheon Woods

By Bartholomew Simmons (1804–1850)

DARK woods of Funcheon! treading far

The rugged paths of duty,

Though lost to me the vesper star

Now trembling o’er your beauty,

Still vividly I see your glades,

The deep and emerald-hearted,

As when from their luxuriant shades

My lingering steps departed.

That wild autumnal morning!—well

Can haunted thought remember

How came in gusts o’er Corrin-fell

The roar of dark September,

When I through that same woodland path

To endless exile hasted,

Where many an hour my lavish youth

The gold of evening wasted.

O for one day of that glad time!

—Say, reckless heart, how is it

There ’s still so many a cliff to climb,

And well-known nook to visit?

The Filea’s spring is gurgling near,

And may I not, delaying,

One moment watch the glittering sand

Beneath its crystal playing?

No!—“Onward!” cried the mighty breeze,

“From all thy heart rejoices!”

And loud my childhood’s ancient trees

Then lifted up their voices,

As though they felt and mourned the loss

(With heads bowed down and hoary)

Of him who, seated at their feet,

First sang their summer glory.

Too like the fair beloved group

From whose embrace I wended,

In vain the pine-trees’ shapely troop

Their graceful arms extended;

And vainly fast as sisters’ tears

The pallid birch was weeping,

While woke, like cousins’ sad blue eyes,

The winkle’s flower from sleeping.

Farewell,—I thought,—ye only friends

The heart can trust in leaving,

Untroubled by the primal curse,

The dread of your deceiving.

I shall not see at least your fall,

And so, when wronged and wounded,

Still feel secure of peace at last,

By you, old friends! surrounded.

And since in nature’s scenes, the grand

Or beautiful or tender,

He who invests them with a light

That sanctifies their splendor,

Finding no one abiding-place;

Be his the deep reliance

That he for holier worlds received

The bard’s immortal science.

Green Funcheon-side! your sounding woods

Heaved wide as tossing ocean

When my last glance that autumn morn

Turned from their billowy motion,—

Turned where the willow’s tresses streamed

Above the river stooping,

Dark as your own bright lady’s-hair

Magnificently drooping.

Ah, in that wild tumultuous hour

When heaven with earth seemed warring,

And swept the tempest’s demon-power,

The landscape’s lustre marring,

One gentle spirit (haply then

Of Funcheon’s beauty thinking),

A fading girl, like a tired child,

On Death’s calm breast was sinking.

They ’ve made her grave far, far from all

The haunts she prized so dearly;

O, place no marble o’er its turf,

For there shall flourish yearly

Such flowers as in her Bible’s leaves

She loved to fold and cherish,—

Pansies and early primroses,

That, as they blossom, perish.

Rave on, loud winds, from tranquil rest

Ye nevermore shall stir her;

And ye, fair woods, now vanishing

From memory’s darkened mirror,

Farewell; what meeter time for thought,

The lost and loved recalling,

Than in this solemn evening hour

When autumn-leaves are falling!