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


Mitchelstown Caverns

By Gerald Griffin (1803–1840)

GRIMLY it frowned when first with shuddering mind

We saw the far-famed Cavern’s darkling womb,

And for that vault of silence and of gloom

Left the fair day and smiling world behind.

But what bright wonder hailed our eyes erelong!

The crystal well, the sparry curtained dome,

The sparkling shafts that propped that caverned home,

And vaults that turned the homeliest sounds to song.

O, this, I thought, is sure a symbol plain

Of that undreaded death the holy die,

Stern at the first and withering to the view;

But past that gate of darkness and of pain,

What scenes of unimagined rapture lie,

Rich with elysian wealth and splendor ever new.