Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  O’Connor’s Child; Or, the Flower of Love Lies Bleeding

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


O’Connor’s Child; Or, the Flower of Love Lies Bleeding

By Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)

O, ONCE the harp of Innisfail

Was strung full high to notes of gladness;

But yet it often told a tale

Of more prevailing sadness.

Sad was the note, and wild its fall,

As winds that moan at night forlorn

Along the isles of Fion-Gael,

When for O’Connor’s child to mourn,

The harper told, how lone, how far

From any mansion’s twinkling star,

From any path of social men,

Or voice, but from the fox’s den,

The lady in the desert dwelt,

And yet no wrongs, no fear she felt:

Say, why should dwell in place so wild

The lovely pale O’Connor’s child?

Sweet lady! she no more inspires

Green Erin’s heart with beauty’s power,

As in the palace of her sires

She bloomed a peerless flower.

Gone from her hand and bosom, gone,

The regal broche, the jewelled ring,

That o’er her dazzling whiteness shone

Like dews on lilies of the spring.

Yet why, though fallen her brother’s kerne,

Beneath De Bourgo’s battle stern,

While yet in Leinster unexplored,

Her friends survive the English sword,

Why lingers she from Erin’s host,

So far on Galway’s shipwrecked coast;

Why wanders she a huntress wild,—

The lovely pale O’Connor’s child?

And fixed on empty space, why burn

Her eyes with momentary wildness;

And wherefore do they then return

To more than woman’s mildness?

Dishevelled are her raven locks,

On Connocht Moran’s name she calls,

And oft amidst the lonely rocks

She sings sweet madrigals.

Placed in the foxglove and the moss,

Behold a parted warrior’s cross!

That is the spot where, evermore,

The lady, at her shieling door,

Enjoys that in communion sweet

The living and the dead can meet:

For lo! to lovelorn fantasy

The hero of her heart is nigh.

Bright as the bow that spans the storm,

In Erin’s yellow vesture clad,

A son of light, a lovely form,

He comes and makes her glad:

Now on the grass-green turf he sits,

His tasselled horn beside him laid;

Now o’er the hills in chase he flits,

The hunter and the deer a shade!

Sweet mourner! those are shadows vain,

That cross the twilight of her brain;

Yet she will tell you she is blest,

Of Connocht Moran’s tomb possessed,

More richly than in Aghrim’s bower,

When bards high praised her beauty’s power,

And kneeling pages offered up

The morat in a golden cup.