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

Gougaune Barra, the Lake

Gougaune Barra

By James Joseph Callanan (1795–1829)

THERE is a green island in lone Gougaune Barra,

Where Allua of songs rushes forth as an arrow;

In deep-valleyed Desmond a thousand wild fountains

Come down to that lake from their home in the mountains.

There grows the wild ash, and a time-stricken willow

Looks chidingly down on the mirth of the billow;

As, like some gay child, that sad monitor scorning,

It lightly laughs back to the laugh of the morning.

And its zone of dark hills,—O, to see them all brightening,

When the tempest flings out its red banner of lightning,

And the waters rush down, mid the thunder’s deep rattle,

Like clans from their hills at the voice of the battle;

And brightly the fire-crested billows are gleaming,

And wildly from Mullagh the eagles are screaming!

O, where is the dwelling, in valley or highland,

So meet for a bard as this lone little island?

How oft when the summer sun rested on Clara,

And lit the dark heath on the hills of Ivera,

Have I sought thee, sweet spot, from my home by the ocean,

And trod all thy wilds with a minstrel’s devotion,

And thought of thy bards, when assembling together,

In the cleft of thy rocks, or the depth of thy heather;

They fled from the Saxon’s dark bondage and slaughter,

And waked their last song by the rush of thy water.

High sons of the lyre, O, how proud was the feeling,

To think while alone through that solitude stealing,

Though loftier minstrels green Erin can number,

I only awoke your wild harp from its slumber,

And mingled once more with the voice of those fountains

The songs even Echo forgot on her mountains;

And gleaned each gray legend that darkly was sleeping

Where the mist and the rain o’er their beauty were creeping!